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Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

Revamped Enthusiast Platform

Join us at 12:30pm PT / 3:30pm ET as Intel's Matt Dunford joins us for a live stream event to discuss the release of Haswell-E and the X99 platform!! Find us at http://www.pcper.com/live!!

Sometimes writing these reviews can be pretty anti-climactic. With all of the official and leaked information released about Haswell-E over the last six to nine months, there isn't much more to divulge that can truly be called revolutionary. Yes, we are looking at the new king of the enthusiast market with an 8-core processor that not only brings a 33% increase in core count over the previous generation Ivy Bridge-E and Sandy Bridge-E platforms, but also includes the adoption of the DDR4 memory specification, which allows for high density and high speed memory subsystems.

And along with the new processor on a modified socket (though still LGA2011) comes a new chipset with some interesting new features. If you were left wanting for USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt on X79, then you are going to love what you see with X99. Did you think you needed some more SATA ports to really liven up your pool of hard drives? Retail boards are going to have you covered.

Again, just like last time, you will find a set of three processors that are coming into the market at the same time. These offerings range from the $999 price point and go down to the much more reasonable cost of $389. But this time there are more interesting decisions to be made based on specification differences in the family. Do the changes that Intel made in the sub-$1000 SKUs make it a better or worse buy for users looking to finally upgrade? 

Haswell-E: A New Enthusiast Lineup from Intel

Today's launch of the Intel Core i7-5960X processor continues on the company's path of enthusiast branded parts that are built off of a subset of the workstation and server market. It is no secret that some Xeon branded processors will work in X79 motherboards and the same is true of the upcoming Haswell-EP series (with its X99 platform) launching today. As an enthusiast though, I think we can agree that it doesn't really matter how a processor like this comes about, as long as it continues to occur well into the future.

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The Core i7-5960X processor is an 8-core, 16-thread design built on what is essentially the same architecture we saw released with the mainstream Haswell parts released in June of 2013. There are some important differences of course, including the lack of integrated graphics and the move from DDR3 to DDR4 for system memory. The underlying microarchitecture remains unchanged, though. Previously known as the Haswell-E platform, the Core i7-5960X continues Intel's trend of releasing enthusiast/workstation grade platforms that are based on an existing mainstream architecture.

Continue reading our review of the new Intel Core i7-5960X Haswell-E processor!!

Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

Tonga GPU Features

On December 22, 2011, AMD launched the first 28nm GPU based on an architecture called GCN on the code name Tahiti silicon. That was the release of the Radeon HD 7970 and it was the beginning of an incredibly long adventure for PC enthusiasts and gamers. We eventually saw the HD 7970 GHz Edition and the R9 280/280X releases, all based on essentially identical silicon, keeping a spot in the market for nearly 3 years. Today AMD is launching the Tonga GPU and Radeon R9 285, a new piece of silicon that shares many traits of Tahiti but adds support for some additional features.

Replacing the Radeon R9 280 in the current product stack, the R9 285 will step in at $249, essentially the same price. Buyers will be treated to an updated feature set though including options that were only previously available on the R9 290 and R9 290X (and R7 260X). These include TrueAudio, FreeSync, XDMA CrossFire and PowerTune.

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Many people have been calling this architecture GCN 1.1 though AMD internally doesn't have a moniker for it. The move from Tahiti, to Hawaii and now to Tonga, reveals a new design philosophy from AMD, one of smaller and more gradual steps forward as opposed to sudden, massive improvements in specifications. Whether this change was self-imposed or a result of the slowing of process technology advancement is really a matter of opinion.

Continue reading our review of the AMD Radeon R9 285 Tonga GPU!!

Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

Pushing the 8 Cores

It seems like yesterday when I last talked about an AMD refresh!  Oh wait, it almost was.  Some weeks ago I was able to cover the latest AMD APU offerings that helped to flesh out the Kaveri lineup.  We thought AMD was done for a while.  Color us wrong.  AMD pulled out all the stops and set up an AM3+ refresh!  There is a little excitement here, I guess.  I am trying to contain the tongue-in-cheek lines that I am oh-so-tempted to write.

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AMD is refreshing their FX lineup in the waning days of Summer!

Let me explain the situation from my point of view.  The FX lineup for AM3+ has not done a whole lot since the initial release of the Piledriver based FX-8350 and family (Vishera).  Piledriver was a pretty significant update from Bulldozer as it slightly improved IPC and greatly improved power consumption (all the while helping to improve clockspeed by a small degree).  There were two updates before this one, but they did not receive nearly as much coverage.  These updates were the FX-6350 and the FX-9000 series.  The FX-6350 is quite popular with the budget enthusiast crowd who still had not moved over to the Intel side of the equation.  The FX-9000 series were OEM only initially and reaching up to $1000 at the high end.  During that time since the original Vishera chips were released, we have seen the Intel Ivy Bridge and Haswell architectures (with a small refresh with Haswell with the 2nd gen products and the latest Socket 2011 units).

Click here to read the rest of the review on AMD's latest FX refresh!

Podcast #315 - AMD Radeon R7 SSD, Haswell-E Rumors, Radeon R9 285, and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 28, 2014 - 01:47 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, amd, radeon r7 ssd, Haswell-E, r9 285, haf stacker, coolermaster, Broadwell, nuc, zotac, zbox pico

PC Perspective Podcast #315 - 08/28/2014

Join us this week as we discuss the AMD Radeon R7 SSD, Haswell-E Rumors, Radeon R9 285, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano

Program length: 1:22:59
 

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

 

Chrome officially hits the 64-bit era

Subject: General Tech | August 27, 2014 - 12:34 PM |
Tagged: chrome, 64-bit

The new version of Chrome can now supports 64-bit if you so choose to install that version of Google's browser.  The ability to address more memory is not the only benefit to this new version, it is also optimized for the P9 codec used for Youtube HD which The Inquirer was told now processes 15% more quickly and they agreed that it felt generally faster when using the new browser to surf.  The new version should also offer improved protection from memory layout vulnerabilities so it is certainly worth using on your 64 bit machine.

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"GOOGLE'S 64-BIT EDITION of the Chrome web browser for Windows has been declared stable with the release of Chrome 37."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

ZOTAC Shrinks Mini-PC Further with New Pocket- Sized ZBOX PI320 pico

Subject: Systems | August 27, 2014 - 01:08 PM |
Tagged: zotac, zbox, PI320 pico, baytrail, win 8.1, htpc

Zotac's tiny new ZBOX PI320 pico should arrive in stores towards the end of September for $200, which includes not only the hardware but Win 8.1 meaning you can simply plug it in and start using it.  At 115.5mm x 66mm x 19.2mm (4.5" x 2.6"x 0.75") it is smaller than your average Galaxy smartphone and every bit as capable.

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HONG KONG – Aug. 27, 2014 – ZOTAC International, a global innovator and manufacturer of graphics cards and mini-PCs, today shrinks the mini-PC further with the pocket-sized ZBOX PI320 pico. The new ZOTAC ZBOX PI320 pico delivers a superb quad-core Windows 8.1 with Bing computing experience in a compact and versatile form factor.

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“ZOTAC is a major innovator when it comes to miniaturizing the traditional PC. We began our push towards smaller and smaller mini-PCs with the ZBOX nano form factor and followed up with the ZBOX nano XS,” said Tony Wong, CEO, ZOTAC International. “Now with the all-new ZBOX PI320 pico, we have created our smallest mini-PC that can fit in your pocket.”

The pocketable form factor measures in at 115.5mm x 66mm x 19.2mm, which is roughly the same size as a small smartphone. Thanks to the tiny size, the ZOTAC ZBOX PI320 pico is the perfect mini-PC for any room in a house, specialized installations, and for seasoned travelers on the go.

At the heart of the ZOTAC ZBOX PI320 pico is an Intel Baytrail quad-core processor with Intel HD Graphics technology for snappy system responsiveness and stunning high-definition video playback capabilities. The very energy-efficient processor is cooled with a fan-less heatsink that generates zero noise for an excellent silent computing experience.

Microsoft Windows 8.1 with Bing is preinstalled on the ZOTAC ZBOX PI320 pico mini- PC for instant out-of-box use. Just unbox the ZOTAC ZBOX PI320 pico, plug it in, connect peripherals, and power it on.

The ZOTAC ZBOX PI320 pico ships with 2GB of DDR3L memory and 32GB solid-state storage with a micro SDXC slot to instantly increase storage up to 128GB. External expansion is available via three USB 2.0 ports on the ZOTAC ZBOX PI320 pico.

A single HDMI output that’s capable of up to 1080p resolution enables the ZOTAC ZBOX PI320 pico to easily connect to most LCD monitors and displays. High-speed 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0 technologies ensure the ZOTAC ZBOX PI320 pico delivers fast networking performance with and without wires.

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Source: Zotac
Author:
Manufacturer: Corsair

Little. Yellow. Different.

Corsair just can't help themselves, they just can't stop building new cases. Obsidian, Carbide, Graphite; the obsession is never ending it seems. That's good news for enthusiasts though as Corsair's entries to the case market have almost always been high quality. Today's official launch of the Graphite 380T, available in yellow, black and white color schemes, brings yet another entry to the Mini-ITX form factor. It's a market that has been getting a lot of attention lately and one that requires more careful thought in design.

With a price of $139-149 depending on color, the Graphite 380T isn't a cheap case by most users descriptions but it is quite unique - both from the look and style as well as the implementation of components. You get a 3-speed fan controller as well as an interior dome light that adds a little character to an exterior that will already get a lot attention. And maybe some comparisons to a Dewalt portable worksite stereo.

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The front panel removes with a simple spring-loaded click release and acts as both air inlet and filter for the large 140mm fan included up front.

Continue looking through pictures of the Corsair Graphite 380T Mini ITX Case!!

NETGEAR Announces Nighthawk X4 AC2350 Router

Subject: General Tech, Networking | September 2, 2014 - 08:31 AM |
Tagged: nighthawk x4, netgear, mu-mimo, 802.11ac

Today, NETGEAR has announced the Nighthawk X4 802.11ac router. It is dual-band, with up to 1733 Mbps of bandwidth (four channels of 433 Mbps) on 5.0 GHz and up to 600 Mbps (three channels of 200 Mbps) on 2.4 GHz. Compared to the Nighthawk X6, released earlier in the year, the X4 is design for fewer users who demand more performance.

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The first thing that stood out for me was its processor...s. The router contains two of them. Its main CPU is a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon-based (Update - Sept 2nd @ 5:20pm EDT: "Snapdragon-based" is unclear and misleading. It has "Snapdragon DNA with dual Krait cores". It is from their Qualcomm Internet Processors (IPQ) line, as mentioned in the following sentence.) ARM processor, clocked at 1.4 GHz. It is from their Qualcomm Internet Processors (IPQ) line, so it is not directly comparable to an SoC from their mobile line-up. NETGEAR also added a second, dualcore processor, clocked at 500 MHz, that is dedicated to deal with WiFi-related tasks as an "offload".

The reason why I found this interesting was that, not too many years ago, routers did not advertise their processor and RAM. There was once a niche who would create their own routers out of old PCs and an x86-compatible firmware (like OpenWRT). The push was to cheap routers with high bandwidth ratings. When I asked NETGEAR at what point did the industry decide to take the internal hardware seriously, their response was that about 73% of customers are repeat buyers. They upgraded their router because they were not happy with the performance that they were getting. Users have changed. HD video is going to numerous devices all over the home at the same time as games and downloads do their thing. The extra performance is necessary to keep the potential bandwidth in line with its usage.

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One feature about this router that NETGEAR was promoting is Dynamic QoS. Using the extra processing power, mentioned in the two paragraphs above, the device identifies applications and allocates bandwidth accordingly. One example that they gave is YouTube versus Netflix. While both stream, Netflix will only grab what it needs while YouTube will load as quickly as possible to buffer ahead. If resources are tight, and Netflix is attempting to coexist with YouTube at any given time, the router will throttle the YouTube stream to provide it with at least enough bandwidth to stream, but not buffer, like, ten times faster than real time and choke out Netflix into a lower bit rate. If necessary, it will also prioritize the larger screen (TV) with the higher bit rate Netflix connection, where it will be more noticeable (than the smaller screen of a tablet, for instance).

And yes, QoS has been present in routers for more than a dog's age. They claim that it is typically a feature that users turn on, dislike, then turn right back off again. They believe that their new implementation will actually win you over.

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The router will also feature two USB 3.0 ports and an eSATA connection. It will allow networked PC backup to an external hard drive and streaming media (photos, music, and videos) to TVs by DLNA.

The NETGEAR Nighthawk X4 AC2350 (R7500) is available now for $279.99.

Source: NETGEAR

AMD Never Settle Space Edition

Subject: General Tech | August 27, 2014 - 02:12 PM |
Tagged: star citizen, never settle, gaming, fragging frogs, amd, alien isolation

With the release of the new GPUs from AMD comes an addition to the Never Settle bundle, aptly named Never Settle Space Edition.  In addition to the games already available on the Never Settle Forever those who buy the new R9 285 will be able to choose from Alien: Isolation, Star Citizen, Space Run and Habit.  You can see a model of the ship that seems to come with Star Citizen at HEXUS.

The Fragging Frogs will be logging in tonight to get in some gaming action after the Podcast, you can see what is planned and make suggestions in this thread on our Forums.

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"To coincide with the launch of the AMD Radeon R9 285 graphics cards AMD will augment the Never Settle choices and re-name the bundle as the 'Never Settle Space Edition'. With the newly announced additional quartet of space games AMD graphics card purchasers will have a choice of 31 games to pick though, depending upon what GPUs they buy."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: Hexus

Volition to Release Saint's Row IV Mod Kit

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2014 - 05:15 PM |
Tagged: Saints Row IV, mod, pc gaming

I just finished discussing how Grand Theft Auto IV's mod community thrives almost in spite of not having an official toolkit. Apparently, at PAX 2014, Volition announced that Saint's Row IV's official development kit will be released to the public. This follows their announcements of Saint's Row 4: Re-elected, an updated version for PS4 and Xbox One, and Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell, a spin-off of Saint's Row IV for the PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, and Windows PC, that claims to place the Third Street Saints in a Disney-esque musical set in Hell.

As usual, I encourage as many developers as possible to release their development tools to the community. If you have a good game, and the community believes they could make it even better, that could help you. This seems obvious but has some development costs and (irrational?) fear of eating into DLC sales. On the other hand, it could help promote your product and its DLC, spin-offs, and so forth... see above.

Source: Joystiq

ASUS Announces X99 Series Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | August 29, 2014 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: asus, X99, Rampage V Extreme, X99 Deluxe, X99-E WS

Fremont, CA (29th August, 2014) - ASUS today announced the X99-Deluxe, X99-Pro and X99-A, three new ATX motherboards based on the new Intel X99 chipset. Packed with exclusive technologies, including OC Socket and 5-Way Optimization, ASUS’ X99 motherboards ensure ultimate performance from the latest LGA 2011-v3 Intel Core i7 processors.

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The X99-Deluxe is the flagship model, with a bundled ASUS Hyper M.2 x4 expansion card for ultra-fast 32Gbit/s transfer speeds; onboard 3x3 antenna 802.11ac for ultra-fast Wi-Fi speeds of up to 1,300Mbit/s; and an ASUS Fan Extension Card for flexible cooling options.

All new X99 Series motherboards feature Crystal Sound 2 audio, Turbo LAN technology for lag-free online gaming, a plethora of advanced software features and our renowned UEFI BIOS for intuitive setup and platform control. With a refined look, the ASUS X99 motherboard lineup delivers the cutting-edge performance and style demanded by PC enthusiasts

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X99 Deluxe

OC Socket for extended overclocking headroom and ASUS 5-Way Optimization X99 Series motherboards are equipped with a brand-new ASUS innovation — our patent-pending OC Socket. This unique socket includes extra pins that connect proprietary circuitry to extra contacts found on Haswell-E's land grid array (LGA) and is 100% compatible with Intel’s new LGA 2011-v3 (‘Haswell-E’) processors. In combination with the ASUS UEFI BIOS, OC Socket enables higher DDR4 memory frequencies, lower memory latencies and enhanced stability while overclocking, extending all the way to extreme overclocking conditions, such as Liquid Nitrogen (LN2).Users are also able to increase DDR4 memory frequencies to 3200MHz and beyond, even with all eight DIMM slots populated.

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Rampage V Extreme

PC enthusiasts also benefit from exclusive 5-Way Optimization technology to dynamically optimize an X99-Deluxe, X99-Pro or X99–A based PC with one click. First up is Turbo Processor Unit (TPU), a custom microprocessor that provides automated overclocking and advanced voltage controls – catering for novice and advanced users. Then there’s Energy Processing Unit (EPU) to deliver system-wide real-time power savings, controlled via a simple onboard switch or the easy-to-use AI Suite 3 utility.

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X99-E WS

5-Way Optimization technology also encompasses tuning of the Digi+ voltage-regulator module (VRM) to enhance performance, increase efficiency and ensure reliability, and Fan Xpert 3 for peerless fan calibration and control. Completing the 5-Way Optimization technology line-up is Turbo App, an intuitive tuning panel to tailor and boost all parts of the system for specific games or programs.

Loaded with extreme hardware for extreme builds
The X99-Deluxe is a high-end motherboard loaded with extras for the ultimate in enthusiast PC builds. The bundled Hyper M.2 x4 expansion card gives users flexibility to equip their systems with up to two M.2 devices - providing transfer speeds of up to 32Gbit/s. Hyper M.2 x4 supports M.2 devices from the smallest 30mm (2230) to full-length 110mm (221100) cards.

The supplied ASUS Fan Extension Card provides flexible additional cooling in the shape of three 4-pin/3-pin fan headers. As with all fan headers on ASUS X99 motherboards, the Fan Extension Card features hardware-level PWM or DC control modes – for setting the best control curve for high performance or “silent” PCs.

The X99-Deluxe also features super-fast 802.11ac wireless connectivity on board. The 3x3 antenna configuration enables wireless speeds of up to 1,300Mbit/s. In common with the other X99-series motherboards, the X99-Deluxe supports the ASUS ThunderboltEX II expansion card. This gives users the freedom to add Thunderbolt 2 connectivity to X99-Deluxe at any time for bi-directional transfer speeds up to 20Gbit/s — that's four times (4X) faster than USB 3.01.

AVAILABILITY & PRICING
The X99-Deluxe is priced at $399 and will be available now at authorized ASUS resellers and distributors. The X99-A lands with an MSRP of $279 and will be available from early September, while the X99-Pro is expected in early October, price TBD.

Source: ASUS

New Haswell's aren't just for the desktop, they go in the server room too

Subject: General Tech | August 29, 2014 - 12:55 PM |
Tagged: Intel, Haswell-EP, E5-2600v3, hp, proliant

HP is releasing numerous new systems that will be running the Haswell-EP E5-2600v3, a tower format ML350 and the rack-mount DL360 and DL380 systems as well as a BL460c blade server and two brand new entry level models, the racked DL360e and DL380e.  These systems will be optimized heavily to take advantage of a proprietary PCI Express workload accelerator, HP Smartcache, HP DDR4 SmartMemory and Flexfabric adapters.  We won't see pricing until the release date of September 8 but until then you can check out the some of the stats at The Register.

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"The Gen9 Proliant systems will be made available on 8 September, HP said at the London launch event, and will be based on Intel's upcoming Xeon E5-2600v3 processors, which the chipmaker has yet to release."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

MSI launches 5 new mighty X99 motherboards loaded with impressive features

Subject: Motherboards | August 29, 2014 - 04:15 PM |
Tagged: msi, X99, x99s sli plus, X99S GAMING 9 AC, X99S GAMING 7, X99S XPOWER AC, X99S MPOWER

MSI, world leading in motherboard technology, is pleased to announce the launch of the new MSI X99 motherboards line-up. Featuring 5 models, the X99S GAMING 9 AC, X99S GAMING 7, X99S XPOWER AC, X99S MPOWER and X99S SLI PLUS, MSI caters to everyone’s needs. With a long history of unique high performance motherboards under any condition, MSI X99 motherboards are based on Military Class 4 components and come packed with a freight train of features. All MSI X99 motherboards feature Turbo M.2 to maximize M.2 performance up to 32 Gb/s and SATA Express for the latest technology in data storage. MSI X99 also offers full support for Quad SLI and CrossFire configurations, whether you demand the highest performance when GAMING, Overclocking or rendering graphics.

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MSI X99 GAMING for the best gaming experience
Inheriting true GAMING DNA, years of building the best motherboards, closely working with world’s best gamers and collecting over 300 awards from worldwide media, MSI proudly presents the next generation of GAMING motherboards. MSI X99 GAMING motherboard comes equipped with the evolution of the best on-board audio solution called Audio Boost 2, Killer networking and support for Turbo M.2 32 Gb/s and SATA Express devices together with other key gaming features. Its masterpiece is Streaming Engine, featured on MSI X99S GAMING 9 AC, which is a dedicated onboard hardware streaming solution for streaming gaming activities at 1080p 60Mbps without impacting FPS. Time for hi-end GAMING with MSI.

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A new round of breaking world records
The Overclocking Champion returns. After generations of proven world class overclocking performance, MSI is proud to add the X99S XPOWER AC motherboard to this glorious family. Top overclockers around the world relying on nothing but the best were involved in its birth. With each model built with Military Class 4 components and specifically tuned for an overclocking segment, MSI’s OC Certified models deliver stability and top overclocking performance with the latest Intel HEDT CPUs.

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Clever solutions are once again handed to devoted overclockers to help break world records. DirectUSB is available for easy USB flashing and saving scores. This series features a new OC Backplate, a smart solution for overclockers to mount their LN2 pot, and Delid Die Guard to make mounting a cooling solution easier, safer and to help squeeze every last MHz out of the a delidded CPU. The next generation OC Engine is offers a dedicated Clock Generator for more flexible BCLK adjustments, from 100 / 125 / 167 MHz straps. Using these straps prevents system crashing while overclocking on the edge and opens doors to achieve the absolute maximum. The next generation chip offers even lower jitter and power consumption resulting in even higher stability under the most extreme conditions.

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Stable and highly efficient, packed with features
The new MSI X99S SLI PLUS motherboard presents an arsenal of new features and improvements as well as technical ingenuity. Offering reliable and fast Gigabit LAN from Intel and Nvidia SLI support for enthusiasts looking to pair up multiple graphics cards. Delivering speeds up to 32Gb/s, Turbo M.2 is more than 5 times faster than a regular SATA III 6 Gb/s connection. Turbo M.2 32 Gb/s is the successor to M.2 10 Gb/s, offering performance up to 3 times more performance. M.2 is packed in a small form factor and is compatible with 3 different sizes to fit all M.2 devices. SATA Express is supported up to 10 Gb/s. Gamers can enjoy blazing fast system boot up and loading of applications and games. GuardPro and Military Class 4 provide all the stability you need through carefully selected and thoroughly tested components and materials.

Source: MSI

ASUS Quietly Refreshes Its Transformer T100 Tablet With New Hardware and Color Options

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | August 28, 2014 - 01:30 PM |
Tagged: Windows 8.1, transformer t100, Intel, Bay Trail, Atom Z3775, asus

Following rumors earlier this summer, ASUS has quietly refreshed its Transformer T100 tablet. ASUS is now offering T100 tablet versions in multiple colors with a faster Intel Bay Trail processor as well as a version that retains the original SoC but adds a 500GB hard drive to the keyboard dock. I have been keeping an eye on the T100 since it first launched almost a year ago at IFA 2013, and have been eagerly waiting for the rumored refresh. Fortunately, that wait is now over because the updated Transformer T100s are finally starting to appear and be available for purchase on retailers' websites (first at Tiger Direct, then Amazon, and others now).

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The T100 is now available in red and white as well as the original gray. The red and white SKUs feature a higher end Bay Trail SoC while the updated gray SKU comes with a 500GB mechanical hard drive nested inside the keyboard dock. The table below lists the model numbers for the new tablets. I should note that there are conflicting specifications at different retailers for the model numbers listed, which makes this under-the-radar refresh so frustrating, but after a bit of digging I believe the specifications to be accurate and any conflicting information to simply be errors on the part of those retailers.

New ASUS Transformer T100 Tablet SKUs (T100 Refresh)
Model Numbers Processor Internal Storage Color Price (Amazon) Price (MSRP)
T100TA-C1-WH(S) Intel Z3775 64GB eMMC White $394.99 $399
T100TA-C1-RD(S) Intel Z3775 64GB eMMC Red $388.99 $399
T100TA-C1-GR(S) Intel Z3775 64GB eMMC Gray $329.99 $399
T100TA-H2-GR Intel Z3740 64GB eMMC + 500GB HDD Gray $449.99 $?
T100TA-H1-GR Intel Z3740 32GB eMMC + 500GB HDD Gray $369.00 $399

The new colors are nice (I'm partial to the red T100), but the upgraded processor is the truly interesting bit about this Windows tablet (which won PC Perspective's "Best Hardware of 2013" award). The original T100 launched with an Intel Atom Z3740 SoC an the refreshed Transformer T100 uses a higher clocked Atom Z3775. The Z3775 is a higher-end Intel Bay Trail processor with four Silvermont CPU cores clocked at 1.46GHz that can boost to as high as 2.39GHz. The HD Graphics GPU retains the same base clockspeed as the Z3740 but has a higher turbo frequency of 778MHz (versus 667MHz on the Z3740). The table below lists the specifications of the two chips. The new SoC has significantly higher CPU clocks and a decent boost to potential GPU horsepower (thermals permitting).

Intel Atom SoC Z3740 Z3775
CPU Cores 4 x "Silvermont" Cores 4 x "Silvermont" Cores
CPU Clockspeeds (Base/Boost) 1.33GHz / 1.86GHz 1.46GHz / 2.39GHz
HD Graphics GPU Clockspeeds (Base/Boost) 311MHz / 667MHz 311MHz / 778MHz
L2 Cache 2MB 2MB
Memory Support 4GB 1066MHz 4GB 1066MHz
SDP 2W 2W
Process Node 22nm 22nm
Tray Price $32.00 $35.00

The refreshed T100 has an MSRP of $399 USD for the red and white versions with 64GB eMMC storage and gray SKU with 32GB internal storage and 500GB keyboard dock though retail prices are slightly less than that at the time of writing. The Transformer T100 with 64GB eMMC and additional 500GB hard drive has a retail price of around $450 but the MSRP is unknown.

ASUS T100 White WIndows Tablet.jpg

If you have been holding off, now is a good time to pick up an updated version for a small price premium (or an older version at a discount!). However, if you already own a T100, the relatively minor update will is a hard to justify upgrade (you would likely be better off waiting on Cherry Trail-based devices with better battery life or other improvements as possible upgrades).

Haswell-E shows its stuff

Subject: Processors | August 29, 2014 - 02:08 PM |
Tagged: Intel, Haswell-E, haswell, evga, ddr4, corsair, core i7, asus, 5960X

The Tech Report took the new i7-5960X, Asus X99 Deluxe, 16 GB of Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4, a Kingston HyperX SH103S3 240GB SSD and a XFX Radeon HD 7950 DD and set it loose on the test bench.  The results were impressive to say the least, especially when they moved on from games to test productivity software where the Haswell architecture really shines.  When they attempted to overclock the CPU they found a hard limit feeding the processor 1.3V and running 4.4GHz, any faster would cause some applications to BSoD.  On the other hand that applied to all 8 cores and the difference in performance was striking.

Also make sure to read Ryan's review to get even mroe information on this long awaited chip.

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"Haswell-E has arrived. With eight cores, 20MB of cache, and quad channels of DDR4 memory, it looks to be the fastest desktop CPU in history--and not by a little bit. We've tested the heck out of it and have a huge suite of comparisons going to back to the Pentium III 800. Just, you know, for context."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

Interview with Intel's Matt Dunford about Haswell-E and X99

Subject: Processors, Chipsets | August 29, 2014 - 07:25 PM |
Tagged: video, Intel, X99, Haswell-E, core i7-5960x, 5960X, ddr4

Though my review of the Intel Core i7-5960X Haswell-E processor was posted earlier today, we hosted a live stream later in the afternoon where Allyn and I talked about the launch. We were also able to welcome Matt Dunford, Princpal Evangelist at Intel to talk about his role in the Haswell-E release, the future of the platform, how DDR4 memory fits into it all and much more.

The video is embeded in the processor review now as well but I have included it separately below for those of you that want to jump straight in.

My thanks goes out to Matt from Intel for joining us on the live stream and to all the viewers that came by to submit questions and participate!

Kingston's new HyperX Fury SSD; fool me once ...

Subject: Storage | August 27, 2014 - 04:09 PM |
Tagged: Sandforce SF2281, kingston, hyper x fury, 240gb

The Kingston Hyper X Fury 240GB is a slim SSD able to fit in the anemic ultrabooks though it does ship with a 2.5mm adapter for systems which are a little more meaty.  It uses the familiar Sandforce SF2281 controller and has changed to 128GBit ONFi 3 NAND from the previous ONFi 1 and 2 found in the V300 and the first Fury models.  This NAND is slower at reads but at the same time it is also significantly more rugged, with a endurance rating of 641TB worth of writes.  Hopefully Kingston learned from the reaction to its previous release of the V300 where review models were sent out with Toggle Mode NAND which was then switched for ONFi in the retail models.  Hardware Canucks saw decent performance at a price in line with the market, but it is up to you to decide if you are willing to forgive Kingston and purchase this new SSD.

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"Kingston has long been known as a company that caters to budget-minded buyers and that's exactly what their new HyperX Fury SSD does. However, this time performance is also a priority."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Falcon Northwest Offering X99 Based PCs In Three Form Factors

Subject: Systems | September 1, 2014 - 01:06 AM |
Tagged: X99, system builder, SFF, Intel, Haswell-E, falcon northwest

Haswell-E is official and components supporting the new X99 platform are flooding the market (or at least your news feed!). Intel's latest chip is not just for the DIY crowd, however. Boutique system builders have started announcing their refreshed lineups. First up is Falcon Northwest which has refreshed its product lineups to feature Haswell-E in small form factor (Micro ATX), mid-tower, and full tower systems.

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Falcon Northwest has updated the Mach V, Talon, and FragBox PCs to include Haswell-E, updated X99 chipset motherboards, up to 64GB of DDR4 memory, and the latest connectivity options such as at least six USB 3.0 ports and up to 10 SATA III 6Gbps ports. 

Users will be able to configure the refreshed models with any of Intel's launch CPUs: the six core i7 5820K, hexacore i7 5930K, and flagship 8-core i7 5960X (our review). All three processor options will come with a liquid cooler and optional overclock.

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A tray of Intel Core i7 5930K Haswell-E Processors. Photo Courtesy Falcon Northwest.

Per the press blast, Falcon Northwest President Kelt Reeves had the following to say about Intel's new enthusiast desktop platform:

“In our 23 years of building high-end PCs, I can’t ever remember seeing this much new tech hitting at the same time.” said Kelt Reeves, president of Falcon Northwest. “Our fall desktop lineup of Intel X99-based systems with 8-core CPUs, 10 SATA ports, 12 USB 3.0 ports, and 64 gigs of DDR4 memory make the systems we built even a year ago look like antiques. Intel X99 is that big of a leap forward.”

The new systems can be configured with various storage, graphics card, and case/aesthetical options much like their predecessors. The newer platform which supports more processor power, 40 PCI-E 3.0 lanes, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 2, and DDR4 (which uses less power and offers up more bandwidth versus DDR3) is the notable factor here.

The small form factor (and LAN party friendly) FragBox PC starts at $2,313. The mid-tower Talon and full tower Mach V start at $2,330 and $3,021 respectively. You can find the updated custom built boxes on the Falcon Northwest website.

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While I would not go as far as Mr. Reeves, I do think Haswell-E noticeably improves upon Ivy Bridge-E and it brings hardware to bear that will be most welcomed by professionals in workstations and servers that can take advantage of the power. For enthusiasts and gamers, it also represents a much waited-for trickle down of technology from the Xeon lineup of an Intel chip with 8 physical cores to consumers at a price that is relatively affordable (heh).

Are you excited for Haswell-E? Will you be upgrading or carrying on with your current setup? Here's hoping Broadwell-E (or whatever the next generation ends up being called, of course) brings the 8 core monster to the $400 space so my i7 860 can finally rest and graceful Linux test box retirement before I end up killing it from too much time overclocked and over-volted ;).

ASRock Shows Off Upcoming X99 Extreme6 Haswell-E Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | August 30, 2014 - 01:43 AM |
Tagged: X99, socket 2011-3, lga 2011, Haswell-E, atx, asrock

Today, ASRock unveiled the X99 Extreme6 motherboard, a high end board for enthusiasts featuring Intel's X99 chipset and support for Haswell-E processors and all of the latest connectivity options (short of SATA Express).

This ATX motherboard uses a black PCB, gold capacitors, and blue heatsinks to create an appealing color scheme. A 12 power phase "Digi Power" design feeds the LGA 2011-3 CPU socket. Eight total DDR4 memory slots surround the processor socket (four on each side) with support for up to 128GB of DDR4 running at 3000+MHz (w/ requisite CPU/IMC overclock).

The bottom half of the motherboard hosts the PCI-E slots, PCH, and 10 SATA 3 ports. Specifically, the X99 Extreme6 features three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (supporting Triple SLI or CrossFire), two PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots, a single Mini PCI-E connector, and one "Ultra M.2" PCI-E 3.0 x4 M.2 slot for SSDs. Ten right angled SATA III 6Gbps ports sit to the right of the southbridge.

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Using internal headers, users can add four USB 3.0, four USB 2.0, one Thunderbolt port (requires an add-on card to work), and one COM port(s) for additional connectivity and connecting case front panel ports.

Rear IO on the Extreme6 includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 6 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x eSATA
  • ​7.1 Channel Purity Sound 2 Audio (Realtek ALC1150)
    • 5 x Analog audio
    • 1 x Optical audio output
  • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
    • 1 x Intel 1218V NIC
    • 1 x Qualcomm Atheros NIC

The X99 Extreme6 is part of ASRock's new "Super Alloy X99" lineup. It is available now from retailers for $279.99 with a three year manufacturer warranty.

Also read: Haswell-E: The Intel Core i7-5960X 8-core Processor Review at PC Perspective.

Source: ASRock

Broadwell Intel NUCs Being Developed. Rumored Q1 2015?

Subject: General Tech, Systems | August 27, 2014 - 08:27 PM |
Tagged: Intel, nuc, Broadwell

The Intel NUC is their small computing form factor, packing what is equivalent to an Ultrabook into a chassis that is smaller than a CD spool. The first release came with Ivy Bridge and it was refreshed with Haswell about a year later. FanlessTech has got a hold a... semi-redacted (?)... slideshow presentation that outlines various models and features. Six models are expected, spread out between Q4 2014 (Haswell), Q1 2015 (Broadwell Core iX), and Q2 2015 (Broadwell Celeron).

Note that a typical Intel NUC contains fans, although the company has released a fanless Bay Trail-based model (and third parties have made their own, custom cooled models based on the form factor). I expect that FanlessTech covers it for those two reasons; it does not mean that these models will be passively cooled. In fact, the product matrix claims that none of these new products will be.

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The six models are broken into three code names.

Both Maple Canyon and Rock Canyon cover the Core i3 and i5 processor segments. Both include NFC, an optional 2.5" drive, four external USB 3.0 ports, LAN, a SATA 3 port, and so forth. They begin to diverge in terms of display outputs, however. Rock Canyon, which is targeted at home theater, home office, and gaming, includes one mini HDMI (1.4a) and one mini DisplayPort (1.2) output. Maple Canyon, on the other hand, includes two mini DisplayPort (version unknown, probably also 1.2) connections. While I do not have a slide for Maple Canyon, replacing the mini HDMI for a mini DisplayPort suggests that it will be targeted more at kiosks and other situations where monitors, rather than TVs, will be used.

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One Haswell Core i5-based Maple Canyon NUC is expected for Q4 2014. Maple Canyon with Broadwell Core i3, Maple Canyon with Broadwell Core i5, Rock Canyon with Broadwell Core i3, and Rock Canyon with Broadwell Core i5 are all expected in Q1 2015. All models will accept up to two DIMMs of memory (16 GB max).

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Only one Pinnacle Canyon model is listed. It will be based on Broadwell Celeron, allow up to 8 GB of memory (1 DIMM), and include four USB 3.0 ports (external). Its display configuration is significantly different from Rock Canyon and Maple Canyon, however. It will have one, full-sized HDMI (1.4a) and one VGA output. It will launch in Q2 2015.

For more information, check out the slides at FanlessTech.

Source: FanlessTech