AMD Never Settle Sweepstakes Part 3: ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II for FREE!

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 5, 2012 - 01:53 PM |
Tagged: never settle, HD 7970, asus, amd

UPDATE: We have selected a winner for this contest!  If you didn't get an email from me on it, then better luck next time.  We'll have more contests coming up very soon at PC Perspective!!

AMD is really excited about its Never Settle campaign and the bundle packages it has built for the holiday season.  PC gamers looking for an uprade will defintely want to read up on the special promotion but we have another surprise for you as well - A FREE GRAPHICS CARD!

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AMD and ASUS are partnering up with PC Perspective to hand out an ASUS HD 7970 DirectCT II graphics card, perfect for gaming on your PC!

Not only do you get the card in this sweet contest but you'll get the same software bundle as if you had purchased them at retail.

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That means a 20% off coupon for Medal of Honor Warfighter, a FREE copy of Far Cry 3, a FREE copy of Hitman: Absolution and a FREE copy of Sleeping Dogs! 

What do you have to do to enter to win this hardware?  It couldn't be easier:

  1. Visit your favorite PC Perspective pages like our YouTube channel, Facebook page and Twitter account.  You should subscribe, like and follow us, you know...if you want to.  We'd appreciate it!
  2. Check out the AMD Never Settle page to read up on the bundle and special offers they are running right now!
  3. Leave a comment here on this post!

That's it - we love our fans so we want to make sure everyone gets a chance to win some free stuff!  Sorry though, North American readers only on this one!

We will close the contest on Wednesday December 12rd at 1pm EST or so - so get your entries in!  Thanks again for being a fan of PC Perspective, thanks to AMD for the great prizes and stay tuned for MORE contests and giveaways in the coming days!

Author:
Manufacturer: ASUS

A ton of technology in here

In the world of graphics cards there a lot of also-rans, cards that were released but didn't really leave a mark on the industry.  Reference cards are a dime a dozen (not really, though $0.10 HD 7970s sounds like a great thing to me) and when the only thing vendors can compete on is price it is very hard to make a compelling argument for one card over another.  The ASUS Matrix Platinum HD 7970 that we are looking at today in no way suffers from these problems - it is a custom design with unique features that really give it the ability to stand out from the clogged quarters of the GPU shelf.

As you should expect by now with the ASUS ROG brand, the Matrix HD 7970 not only has a slightly overclocked clock speed on the GPU and memory but also some unique features like VGA Hotwire, TweakIt buttons and more!

ASUS ROG Matrix Design

Before we dive into performance and our experiences in overclocknig the HD 7970 with the ASUS Matrix Platinum we wanted to go over some of the design highlights that make this graphics card unique.  Available in both Matrix and Matrix Platinum (hand picked chips) revisions, this triple-slot design will include a custom built PCB with 20-phase power and quite a bit more. 

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This "exploded" view of the Matrix HD 7970 shows a high-level view of these features with details to follow below.  Some of the features are really aimed at the extreme overclockers that like to get their hands into some LN2 but there is still a lot to offer users that just want to try their hand at getting additional performance through air overclocking. 

ASUS' custom DirectCU II cooler is at work on the ASUS Matrix HD 7970 using all copper heatpipes to help lower temps by 20% compared to the reference HD 7970 while also running quieter thanks to the larger 100mm fans.  These fans can be independently controlled and include the ASUS dust proof fan technology we have seen previously.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS Matrix HD 7970 3GB Graphics Card!!

The A10 5800K on LN2

Subject: Processors | December 4, 2012 - 01:52 PM |
Tagged: amd, APU, A10 5800K, overclocking, LN2

It is worth remembering the AMD A10 5800K for a number of reasons, a mere $120 gets you not only a relatively decent CPU, the onboard 7660D will function quite effectively for streaming HD video or light gaming.  As well it is unlocked which means you can overclock both processors; MadShrimps hit 1186MHz on the 7660D from the 800MHz base clock and could easily reach 4.5GHz on the CPU cores.  Make sure to pick up memory of 1600MHz or more to feed that GPU and don't expect to see these overclocks on air, but perhaps a good liquid cooler might get you close to some of these scores.  If you know someone who needs a new multipurpose PC and looks at you blankly when you ask if it needs to be able to play Crysis, you could do worse than AMD's A10 5800K.

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"Who hasn't heard about the following phrase? The Future is Fusion! Unless you have been living under a rock for the last years, this AMD marketing slogan was pretty much everywhere. AMD wanted to create a platform that was mainly very affordable, where a dedicated graphics card was not a must, while being power efficient, especially for the mobile market and up to the task to satisfy our multimedia, digital desires/needs. One option already existed in the form of an integrated graphic chips solutions on the motherboard. However the latter had non-conforming performance for todays standards. This all lead to the creation of the APU, Accelerated Processing Unit. The first steps to make Fusion a reality. The FM1 socket Llano CPUs was AMD's first succesful try in this new market. As usual the competition caught up, so time for a new revision of the AMD APU. Hello world this is platform Virgo calling... Time to have a look at AMD's latest Trinity socket FM2 APU."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

Source: MadShrimps

How much horsepower do you need to BLOPS2 properly?

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 3, 2012 - 02:02 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, call of duty, black ops 2, amd

[H]ard|OCP set out to determine how well AMD and NVIDIA's cards can deal with the new Call of Duty game.  To do so they took a system built on a GIGABYTE Z77X-UP4-TH, a Core i7 2600k @ 4.8GHz, and 8GB of Corsair RAM and then tested a HD7970, 7950 and 7870 as well as a GTX680, 670 and 660Ti.  There is good news for both graphics companies and gamers, the HD7870 was the slowest card and still managed great performance on maximum settings @ 2560x1600 with 8X MSAA and FXAA.  For the absolute best performance it is NVIDIA's GTX680 that is your go to card though since this is a console port, albeit one that [H] describes as well implemented, don't expect to be blown away by the quality of the graphics.

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"Call of Duty: Black Ops II is the first Call of Duty game on PC to support DX11 and new graphical features. Hopefully improvements to the IW Engine will be enough to boost the CoD franchise near the top graphics-wise. We also examine NVIDIA's TXAA technology which combines shader based antialiasing and traditional multisampling AA."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

The GPU wars will start up again in the New Year

Subject: General Tech | December 3, 2012 - 01:40 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, radeon 8xxx

The next Sea Islands GPU should arrive in the beginning of the year as AMD struggles to bring in enough revenue to remain competitive.  We don't know the exact specs, though there were some leaked a while ago that you can speculate from, nor is it clear if AMD will lead the new series with the high end or midrange so you don't have to hold off on asking for that new GPU for Christmas.  Of course this means that NVIDIA will be immediately be countering this move and you can expect to see new Kepler based cards around the same time.  Pricing will likely be an interesting battleground, as AMD's last cards came out at a price which in hindsight was too high so we will have to wait to see if NVIDIA will attempt to undercut AMD's pricing again.  AMD did not refute the news that DigiTimes posted, so you can be pretty sure they are on the mark with the date.

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"AMD reportedly plans to release its Radeon HD 8000 series GPUs in the second quarter of 2013 as the company is currently going through a business reorganization to aid its poor performance in the third quarter, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

AMD originally planned to release the GPU series at the end of the fourth quarter to compete against Nvidia's products."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Podcast #228 - Intel Socket Controversy, a new OCZ SSD, GPU-less Ivy Bridge and more!

Subject: General Tech | November 29, 2012 - 02:20 PM |
Tagged: vector, ssd, socket, podcast, ocz, LGA, layoffs, Intel, Indilinx, BGA, amd, 3550p

PC Perspective Podcast #228 - 11/29/2012

Join us this week as we talk about Intel Socket Controversy, a new OCZ SSD, GPU-less Ivy Bridge 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

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:22:57

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. 0:01:20 Never Settle Contest Part 2 is running!
  2. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:03:00 Nintendo Wii U Teardown
    2. 0:06:00 Digital Storm Bolt Mini-ITX System
    3. 0:12:00 Dell XPS One 27 System All-in-One
    4. 0:18:10 Intel Core i5-3550P Ivy Bridge CPU
    5. 0:27:15 LEPA Gold Series 750 watt PSU
    6. 0:29:00 OCZ Vector 256GB Indilinx Barefoot 3 SSD
  3. 0:40:30 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  4. News items of interest:
    1. 0:41:30 Intel Broadwell goes BGA Only; Desktop is dead?
    2. 0:56:00 More AMD Layoffs coming?
    3. 0:58:45 Intel CEO is leaving too
    4. 1:00:00 Western Digital 4TB Black HDD
    5. 1:02:00 Fujifilm working on 1TB optical discs
    6. 1:06:00 Jon Peddie Q3 GPU Results
    7. 1:08:00 Microsoft sells 40 million Windows 8 licenses
    8. 1:09:45 Rumored 'Blue' Subscription based Windows OS
    9. 1:12:00 Intel Updates SSD Toolbox, 335 Firmware
  5. Closing:
    1. 1:15:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: iFixit Pro Tech Tool Kit
      2. Jeremy: Leatherman Raptor
      3. Josh: Nice monitor!
      4. Allyn: OCZ Vector
  1. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  4. Closing/outro

Be sure to subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel!!

 

GIGABYTE Launches New HD Series - Brings HDMI and DVI Outputs to Value Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | November 29, 2012 - 01:27 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, amd, Intel, Z77, z75, h61, a85, a75, A55

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City of Industry, California, October 28, 2012 – GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, today launched its latest HD series motherboards, bringing unprecedented dual digital display support, including HDMI and DVI, to a range of value segment motherboard models.

The new GIGABYTE HD motherboard series defies the current ethos that means true digital display outputs are reserved for upper mainstream models, adding both HDMI and DVI ports to a range of motherboard models at attractive and affordable price points. All DIY enthusiasts can now enjoy true HD display capability using the most commonly integrated digital output technologies on today’s HD displays and TVs.

“The new GIGABYTE HD motherboard series means our customers can get much more bang-per-buck from their value segment motherboards,” commented Henry Kao, Vice President of GIGABYTE Motherboard Business Unit. “Adding dual digital display ports to this segment really sets GIGABYTE apart from the competition, raising the bar for value segment motherboard design.”

HD_WhiteMaking Digital Display Support a Standard Feature
Digital output technologies like HDMI are becoming the de-facto standard on most HDTVs and PC monitors, with the advantage of carrying both HD audio* and video signals over a single cable. As well as offering higher screen resolutions than analog display outputs, digital display outputs also offer support for the latest 3D media content as well as access to protected content via HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection).

Having access to dual digital displays is also a great way to increase productivity, offering much more on-screen real-estate than entry-level motherboards typically provide. GIGABYTE HD series motherboards are ideal for a range of business, office and education scenarios where adding an additional digital display or projector is paramount.

GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 4 Classic
GIGABYTE HD series motherboards integrate GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ 4 Classic technology with built-in features that prevent common malfunction threats. Protection against humidity, electrostatic damage, power failure and high-temperatures is achieved using a range of technologies and features including glass fabric PCB technology, Lower RDS(on) MOSFETs, anti-surge ICs, solid capacitors and GIGABYTE Dual BIOS™.

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Intel models

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AMD models

You learn more about GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 4 Classic technology here: http://www.gigabyte.us/microsite/297/images/overview.html

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Source: Gigabyte

AMD Never Settle Sweepstakes Part 2: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7870 OC Edition CrossFire

Subject: Graphics Cards | November 27, 2012 - 08:11 PM |
Tagged: never settle, hd 7870, gigabyte, amd

UPDATE: We have selected our winner for this contest and we'll have another one ready for you tomorrow, so be sure to CHECK BACK!!!

AMD is really excited about its Never Settle campaign and the bundle packages it has built for the holiday season.  PC gamers looking for an uprade will defintely want to read up on the special promotion but we have another surprise for you as well - FREE GRAPHICS CARDS!

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AMD and Gigabyte are partnering up with PC Perspective to hand out a pair of Gigabyte Radeon HD 7870 OC Edition 2GB cards to a single winner, perfect for a CrossFire setup in your PC!

Not only do you get the cards in this sweet contest but you'll get the same software bundle as if you had purchased them at retail.

neversettlematrix.jpg

That means a 20% off coupon for Medal of Honor Warfighter, a FREE copy of Far Cry 3 and a FREE copy of Hitman: Absolution!  (Which we happen to be doing a live stream of with even MORE stuff to give away!)

What do you have to do to enter to win this hardware?  It couldn't be easier:

  1. Visit your favorite PC Perspective pages like our YouTube channel, Facebook page and Twitter account.  You should subscribe, like and follow us, you know...if you want to.  We'd appreciate it!
  2. Check out the AMD Never Settle page to read up on the bundle and special offers they are running right now!
  3. Leave a comment here on this post!

That's it - we love our fans so we want to make sure everyone gets a chance to win some free stuff!  Sorry though, North American readers only on this one!

We will close the contest on Monday December 3rd at 1pm EST or so - so get your entries in!  Thanks again for being a fan of PC Perspective, thanks to AMD for the great prizes and stay tuned for MORE contests and giveaways in the coming days!

Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

Moving Towards BGA Only?

The sky is falling.  Does this mean that Chicken Little is panicking for no reason or is Chicken Little the Cassandra of our time?  It has been widely reported that Intel will not be offering the next generation Broadwell architecture as a LGA based product.  Broadwell is a 14 nm product that will integrate southbridge functions into the chip, making it essentially a SOC.  It will be offered only as a BGA only product, which means that it will be soldered onto a motherboard with no chance of being able to be swapped out.  Broadwell is the successor to the upcoming Haswell, itself a 22 nm product that features many architectural changes to both the CPU and graphics portion as compared to the current 22 nm Ivy Bridge.

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Will Broadwell be the death of the desktop industry and enthusiasts?  Will LGA become as scarce as chicken teeth?  Will we ever see a product with a swappable CPU after 2014?

Broadwell is aimed at TDPs ranging from 10 watts to 57 watts.  Current high end Ivy Bridge parts max out at 77 watts and do not feature any southbridge type functionality.  So that means that another 5 to 7 watts are added in for the chipset when discussing basic system TDPs.  So we are looking at around 87 watts for a top end product when including SATA and USB functionality.  30 watts is a pretty big deal in OEM circles.  We see right off the bat that Intel is aiming this architecture at a slightly different market, or at least a changing marketplace.

The unease that we are seeing is essentially this; Intel appears to be trying to take more profits from this setup and pass more costs onto the motherboard industry.  This is not necessarily new for Intel, as they did this when transitioning to the LGA socket.  LGA sockets are more expensive and more troublesome for the motherboard manufacturers as compared to a more traditional pin based interface.  AMD continues to use pin based chips as this lowers the cost that is incurred by the motherboard manufacturers, and it also lowers overall support issues.  LGAs are pretty solid, but it is very easy to bend one or more of those contacts so that they in fact do not create a solid connection with the CPU.  This is something that is uncommon with pin based CPUS, but the downside of pin based is that it is more expensive to produce the CPU in the first place as compared to a LGA chip which only features the pads on the substrate of the CPU.

Continue reading our thoughts on Intel's move to BGA processors...

BioStar's inexpensive Hi-Fi A85W is one BIOS update away from greatness

Subject: Motherboards | November 26, 2012 - 03:16 PM |
Tagged: amd, a85, socket fm2, biostar, Hi-Fi A85W

Biostar's Hi-Fi A85W is a low cost way to start building a new AMD system, currently after MIR it is $85 on NewEgg and comes with 8GB of free G.SKILL RAM.  You get a board that supports Hybrid CrossFire and sports a pait of PCIe 2.0 x16 slots (only one is full speed), two PCIe 2.0 x1 slots and a pair of legacy PCI slots.  It has eight SATA 6.0 Gb/s, eight USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports to give you a lot of flexibility for drives and peripherals as well as DVI, HDMI and VGA outputs and a feature dubbed "PURO Hi-Fi"; a sheild for the better than average onboard audio codec.  TechPowerUp were impressed with the wide variety of overclocking options in the UEFI BIOS, until they tried overclocking and found a variety of issues with TurboCore and other overclocking settings.  Hopefully Biostar wil release a BIOS update to fix what is otherwise a solid choice of FM2 motherboard.

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"Biostar is at it again with a mid-range entry level product, the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W. Ready to rock out with AMD's new Piledriver FM2 APUs, the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W comes with an audio-oriented theme that's usually reserved for high-end products. Did it play sweet music, or is it a bit out of tune?"

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: TechPowerUp