Subject: General Tech | January 2, 2014 - 06:51 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, tegra note 7, podcast, nvidia, Mantle, hardware picks of the year, Hardron Air, evga, amd, 290x tri-x
PC Perspective Podcast #282 - 01/02/2014
Join us this week as we discuss our Hardware Picks of the Year, the Sapphire 290X Tri-X, and the EVGA Hadron Air!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano and Scott Michaud
Thanks to Don Komarechka for the Sky Crystals book
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
0:27:00 Steam Holiday Sales on Amazon
PC Perspective Hardware Picks of the Year
Best Graphics Card of 2013
Best CPU of 2013
Best Storage of 2013
Best Case of 2013
Best Motherboard of 2013
Best Price Drop of 2013
Best Mobile Device of 2013
Best Trend of 2013
Worst Trend of 2013
EVGA Enters the Chassis Market
Cases are a funny thing. Some people spend more time fretting over the chassis of their new system than any other component while some builders simply could not care less about what "box" is holding the carefully selected components that power their gaming rig. While I can see both points of view, I think it is a shame to completely ignore the "look" of your system as it will be the one part of your design choices that you'll see on a daily basis.
EVGA has a great reputation in the enthusiast market thanks to its top of the line graphics cards and the emphasis of the company on enthusiast level products, water cooling and more. In recent years EVGA has branched into motherboards (again), power supplies and now cases. But rather than target a market that was saturated and dominated by a few big players, they decided to target the Mini ITX form factor. Having just recently released the Z87 Stinger Mini ITX motherboard, EVGA has created an ecosystem that allows a builder to use exclusively EVGA components with the new Hadron Air case.
In our video review below you'll see our overview of the design, the positive and negatives of the design and of small cases in general and my final thoughts on this rather impressive mITX design. After you are done watching it head down to the collection of photos below for a written analysis of the Hadron Air.
If you have never worked in a small form factor PC before, let me warn you up front - this is not as simple of a process as building a computer in a standard ATX case. Space is tight and doing simple things like routing cables from the motherboard to the hard drive can be a 10 minute ordeal. Additionally, sometimes the ORDER of installation can make a HUGE difference in the ease of the entire process so pay attention to other users that might have used your particular chassis.
Don't let its small size fool you though, the EVGA Hadron Air can pack a lot of punch. Using the latest mITX motherboard and graphics cards from EVGA's lineup you can literally build one of the most powerful gaming systems around in its small 6x12x12-in space!
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of EVGA
The EVGA Z87 Stinger is EVGA's Z87-based answer for the small form-factor crowd. Sporting the micro-ITX form factor, the board is featured packed and offers support for the latest generation of Intel LGA1150-based processors. While its MSRP of $229.99 may seem large for its small stature, the Z87 Stinger's feature list makes it well worth the outlay.
Courtesy of EVGA
The EVGA Z87 Stinger board features a 6-phase power delivery system and an impressive 10 layer PCB. Additionally, EVGA designed the CPU socket with a higher amount of gold, as well as use of solid state capacitors throughout the board to ensure problem-free operation under all operational circumstances. The following features are integrated into the Z87 Stinger: 4 SATA 6Gb/s ports; 1 mPCIe/mSATA 6Gb/s port; 1 eSATA 6Gb/s port; an Intel GigE NIC; 1 PCI-Express x16 slot; on board power, reset, and BIOS reset buttons; BIOS Select switch; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.
Courtesy of EVGA
Technical Specifications (taken from the EVGA website)
|Based on Intel Z87 chipset|
|2 x 240-pin DIMM sockets
Maximum of 16GB of DDR3 (2666MHz+ in dual channel configuration)
|4 x Serial ATA 600MB/sec (4 Internal) with support for RAID 0 and RAID1|
|Audio connector (Line-in, Line-out, MIC)|
|6 Channel Creative Sound Core3D
1 x 10/100/1000 (Intel i217)
|mITX Form Factor
Length: 6.7in - 170.18mm
Width: 6.7in - 170.18mm
Operating System Support
|Windows 8 32/64bit
Windows 7 32/64bit
Windows Vista 32/64bit
Windows XP 32/64bit
|This product comes with a 3 year warranty. Registration is recommended.|
NVIDIA Tegra Note Program
Clearly, NVIDIA’s Tegra line has not been as successful as the company had hoped and expected. The move for the discrete GPU giant into the highly competitive world of the tablet and phone SoCs has been slower than expected, and littered with roadblocks that were either unexpected or that NVIDIA thought would be much easier to overcome.
The truth is that this was always a long play for the company; success was never going to be overnight and anyone that thought that was likely or possible was deluded. Part of it has to do with the development cycle of the ARM ecosystem. NVIDIA is used to a rather quick development, production, marketing and sales pattern thanks to its time in high performance GPUs, but the SoC world is quite different. By the time a device based on a Tegra chip is found in the retail channel it had to go through an OEM development cycle, NVIDIA SoC development cycle and even an ARM Cortex CPU development cycle. The result is an extended time frame from initial product announcement to retail availability.
Partly due to this, and partly due to limited design wins in the mobile markets, NVIDIA has started to develop internal-designed end-user devices that utilize its Tegra SoC processors. This has the benefit of being much faster to market – while most SoC vendors develop reference platforms during the normal course of business, NVIDIA is essentially going to perfect and productize them.
EVGA Brings Custom GTX 780 Ti Early
Reference cards for new graphics card releases are very important for a number of reasons. Most importantly, these are the cards presented to the media and reviewers that judge the value and performance of these cards out of the gate. These various articles are generally used by readers and enthusiasts to make purchasing decisions, and if first impressions are not good, it can spell trouble. Also, reference cards tend to be the first cards sold in the market (see the recent Radeon R9 290/290X launch) and early adopters get the same technology in their hands; again the impressions reference cards leave will live in forums for eternity.
All that being said, retail cards are where partners can differentiate and keep the various GPUs relevant for some time to come. EVGA is probably the most well known NVIDIA partner and is clearly their biggest outlet for sales. The ACX cooler is one we saw popularized with the first GTX 700-series cards and the company has quickly adopted it to the GTX 780 Ti, released by NVIDIA just last week.
I would normally have a full review for you as soon as we could but thanks to a couple of upcoming trips that will keep me away from the GPU test bed, that will take a little while longer. However, I thought a quick preview was in order to show off the specifications and performance of the EVGA GTX 780 Ti ACX.
As expected, the EVGA ACX design of the GTX 780 Ti is overclocked. While the reference card runs at a base clock of 875 MHz and a typical boost clock of 928 MHz, this retail model has a base clock of 1006 MHz and a boost clock of 1072 MHz. This means that all 2,880 CUDA cores are going to run somewhere around 15% faster on the EVGA ACX model than the reference GTX 780 Ti SKUs.
We should note that though the cooler is custom built by EVGA, the PCB design of this GTX 780 Ti card remains the same as the reference models.
Subject: Mobile | September 18, 2013 - 12:04 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: tegra note, tegra 4, tegra, tablet, pny, nvidia, evga
Over the past couple of months there have been several leaks about a potential NVIDIA-branded tablet based on the Tegra 4 SoC. Most speculated that NVIDIA had decided to enter into the hardware market directly with a "Tegra Tab" in a similar vein to the release of NVIDIA SHIELD. As it turns out though NVIDIA has created a platform for which other companies can rebrand and resell an Android tablet.
According to NVIDIA, the Tegra Note platform will enable partners to bring 7-in tablets to market packed with the feature set NVIDIA has been promising since the launch of the Tegra 4 SoC. Those include stylus support, high quality audio, HDR camera capabilities and 100% native Android operating systems.
Maybe more interesting are the partners that NVIDIA is teaming with for this launch. While companies like ASUS have already done the development work to prepare various size tablets based on Tegra chips in the past, NVIDIA is going to introduce a couple of its graphics cards partners to the mobility ecosystem: EVGA and PNY in North America.
While we have questions about the capability for either of these companies to truly support a tabletin today's market but the truth is likely that NVIDIA is handling most if not all of the logistics on this project. What is not in question is the potential for high value: these tablets will start with a suggested retail price of $199.
We already know most of the technical details about the Tegra 4 SoC including the 4+1 Cortex A15 CPU cores and the 72-core GPU. NVIDIA claims they will get 10 hours of video playback with this platform but I would like to get data on the weight and battery size before calling that a win. The display resolution is a bit lower than other competing high-end options in the market today but the sub-$200 price point does mean there had to be some corners cut.
UPDATE: I asked NVIDIA for more information on the size, weight and battery capacity and got a quick answer. The battery capacity is 4100 mAh and the entire device weighs 320g. Compared to the Google Nexus 7, the current strongest 7-in tablet in my opinion, that is a 4% larger battery (vs 3950 mAh) and 10% heavier device (vs 290g). The Tegra Note reference is also a bit thicker at 9.6mm compared to the 8.65mm of the Nexus 7.
There are more details on the official NVIDIA blog post making the announcement this morning including direct OTA Android updates so check that out if you think you might be interested in one of these tablets in the coming months!
Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 13, 2013 - 01:44 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: mini ITX, hadron air, hadron, evga
EVGA has launched a new barebones Mini ITX case called the Hadron Air. The new case is in the same vein as the MiniBox chassis it showed off at Computex earlier this year. The new Hadron Air measures 12" x 6.6" x 12.1" (HxWxD) and is constructed of aluminum with a black brushed finish on the outside.
The Hadron Air has curved edges and rounded corners. The front of the case is lifted up slightly by case feet, putting the case at a slight angle. There are vents on the top and right side of the case as well as an acrylic window on the left side panel. A bay for a slim slot loading optical drive and the front IO port are located on the right side of the case. The front IO includes two USB 3.0 ports and two HD audio jacks. The back of the case has a bottom mounted power supply, two PCI slots, and two water cooling passthrough grommets.
EVGA is bundling the case with a small form factor 500W power supply. The PSU is 80 PLUS Gold rated and offers up 40A on the 12V rail. The case supports Mini ITX motherboards, two 2.5" or 3.5" storage drives, and dual slot graphics cards up to 267mm in length. As far as cooling, the case supports two 120mm exhaust fans in the top panel and the power supply has its own small intake fan. A list of compatible CPU coolers can be found here.
The case comes bundled with a 500W power supply, manual, AC power cord, two SATA cables, and a bracket for a slim slot loading optical drive.
The Hadron Air is available now for $189.99. The Mini ITX chassis is part of the Hadron series of cases which includes the Air and a water cooling optimized version called the Hadron Hydro which is reportedly "coming soon."
More information on the Hadron Air can be found on this EVGA product page.
Subject: Graphics Cards | August 14, 2013 - 06:03 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: sweepstakes, sli, nvidia, giveaway, evga, contest
UPDATE: Winners have been selected and contacted - if you weren't one of the five winners check back for more contests and giveaways!! Thanks for listening!!
While at Quakecon this year EVGA showed off its new collection of Pro SLI Bridges that add a bit of sexy to any NVIDIA multi-GPU system. These are much more than just the standard SLI bridge that you know of today: they are sleek, have a brushed metal finish and if you have GTX 700-series or TITAN graphics card, they light up as well!
Because EVGA is a big supporter of PC Perpsective, they are sending over a handful of the 3-Way Pro SLI Bridges (that can also be used in 2-Way configurations) to give away to our readers.
How can you win one of the five free units that EVGA sent us?
- Fill out the form below with the requested information.
Listen to this week's (Episode #264) PC Perspective Podcast (live or after the fact) and I'll give you the code word to include in the form below.
- You can download or watch the podcast right here: http://pcper.com/podcast
That's it!! You can win anywhere in the world and our winners will be randomly picked from the submissions we receive no later than the 20th of August at 6pm ET.
A big thanks goes to EVGA for providing these units!!
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | July 12, 2013 - 04:13 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: PSU, Intel, haswell, evga, c7, c6, 80 Plus Bronze
EVGA recently launched a new 500W power supply called the 500B. The new ATX PSU is haswell ready and supports the advanced low-wattage C6 and C7 sleep states. The 500B, as the name suggests, is a 500W unit rated 80 PLUS Bronze for 85% efficiency under typical workloads.
Although it is not modular, it has several other enthusiast friendly features. It supports 40 Amps on the single +12V rail and has over-current and over-voltage protection. Further, it has two 6+2-pin PCI-E power connectors, a single 8-pin CPU power, and a 24-pin ATX connector along with a couple molex and SATA power for good measure. Also, the PSU fan automatically adjusts speed for low noise.
The EVGA 500B (model number 100-BR-0500-KR) comes with a 3 year warranty. Pricing and availability have not been announced. It looks to be a decent option for budget builds, and should be priced competitively. More information and additional photos can be found on this EVGA product page.
EVGA has announced a new flagship LGA 2011 motherboard called the X79 Dark. The new motherboard is E-ATX and measures 304.8 x 263.5mm. It features a 12 layer PCB, new UEFI BIOS, and a number of enthusiast and overclocking-friendly features.
The motherboard features a 12+2 VRM for the CPU, and a 4 phase VRM for the memory. The board has a single LGA 2011 processor socket surrounded by four DDR3 DIMM slots on either side and a large hexagonal heatsink for the VRM above it. Below the CPU socket, EVGA has included five PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots and a single PCI-E 3.0 x4 slot. All of the physical PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots are at least electrically x8, and two of them are electrically x16. The bottom-right corner of the motherboard is taken up by a massive PCH heatsink with a large red EVGA logo. To the right of the PCH heatsink, the board has 10 SATA ports at right angles to the board PCB. Six of the SATA ports are SATA III 6Gbps and four of them are SATA II 3Gbps.
Of course, the board has Intel Ethernet controllers, 8 channel audio, and internal headers for two additional USB 3.0 ports. The board requires one 24-pin, two 8-pin, and one 6-pin PCI-E power connectors to supply power to the board and connected components. Finally, EVGA has also included EVBot voltage measurement points along with an updated UEFI BIOS.
The EVGA X79 Dark has a fairly extensive external IO panel, which includes:
- 6 x USB 2.0
- 1 x Bluetooth
- 4 x USB 3.0
- 2 x eSATA 3Gbps
- 5 x Analog audio jacks
- 1 x S/PDIF
- 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports (Intel NICs)
The new LGA 2011 X79 Dark motherboard is model number 150-SE-E789-KR and will be available soon for $399.99.
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