Intel Prevents Overclocking of non-K Haswell Processors, and Strips Virtualization and TSX Features From K Parts

Subject: Processors | June 13, 2013 - 09:59 AM |
Tagged: tsx, overclocking, Intel, i7-4770k, haswell

First revealed at IDF Beijing, Intel's latest generation 4th Generation Core "Haswell" processors enjoy a refined architecture, improved processor graphics, an integrated voltage regulator (FIVR), and for the enthusiast crowd, new methods for overclocking.

In truth, the methods for overclocking Haswell are very similar to those used to overclock Intel's Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors. However, Intel has further unlocked the new Haswell CPUs. Enthusiasts can set an overclocked Turbo clockspeed, use additional base clock (BCLK) values (100 MHz, 125 MHz, and 167 MHz), and overclock the unlocked processor graphics core clockspeed and memory clockspeed (memory in 200 MHz or 266 MHz steps). The additional BCLK values allow for easy overclocks without putting the other subsystems (such as the PCI-E bus, GPU, and memory) out of spec, which is important for the PCI-E bus which needs to be close to 100 MHz for a stable system.

The following PC Perspective articles have further information on overclocking unlocked "K" edition Haswell processors:

Although Intel's overclocking reveal at IDF was fairly detailed, the company did not get into specifics on how overclocking would work on non-K chips.

On that note, the crew over at the Tech Report uncovered some rather disheartening facts such that the non-K edition Haswell processors will, essentially, be locked at stock speeds and not overclockable (they are slightly more locked down than previous generations).

While the K edition Haswell processors, such as the Core i7-4770K, will enjoy unlocked multipliers, unlocked GPU and memory clockspeeds, and additional BCLK options, the standard non-K chips (ie Core i7-4770, Core i5-4670, et al) will have locked multipliers, no Turbo Boost clockspeed overclocking, and will not be allowed to use the additional 125 MHz and 167 MHz BLCK options, which effectively makes overclocking these standard chips impossible. It may still be possible to push the BLCK up a few MHz, but without the extra stepping and gearing ratio options, the other component clockspeeds based off that same base clock are going to go out of spec and will become unstable fairly quickly as you try to push that BLCK up.

There is one saving grace for enthusiasts considering a non-K part, however. The standard non-K CPUs will have Intel's latest TSX extensions and enterprise virtualization technologies enabled.

Although quite the head scratcher, Intel has decided to disable TSX, vPro, and VT-d on the unlocked K edition chips. The TSX extensions are not widely used yet, but will provide a noticeable performance boost to future programs that do take advantage of them by allowing developers to essentially mark off sections of code that can be run independently, and thus increase the multi-threaded-ness of the application by running as much code in parallel across multiple cores as possible. Further, the vPro and VT-d features are used by virtual machine applications (with VT-d being more relevant to the consumer side of things).

In short, Intel has continued to lock down and artificially limit its chips, as many enthusiasts suspected would happen. Standard non-K Haswell processors are more locked down than ever, and even the premium unlocked K CPUs suffer with the (odd) removal of TSX and virtualization support. As Mr. Gasior points out, enthusiasts are going to be faced with an odd choice where they can either spend extra money on a premium K part that will overclock but is limited in other ways, or go with the lower cost part that has all of the ISA extensions and virtualization support turned on... but is not overclockable.

In my opinion, locking down the standard chips is one thing-- Intel needs to incentivize enthusiasts to go with the more expensive (~$25 premium) unlocked K processors some how -- but if those same enthusiasts are spending extra money for a premium chip, they should get all the features the accompanying non-K SKU has as well as overclocking.

What do you think about the artificial limitations placed on the various Haswell SKUs?

Source: Tech Report

Computex 2013: Intel Demos Baytrail Tablet, Haswell Ultrabook, Ivy Bridge Passive Tablet

Subject: Processors, Mobile | June 6, 2013 - 04:01 PM |
Tagged: computex, computex 2013, Intel, haswell, Ivy Bridge, k900, Lenovo, baytrail, silvermont, ultrabook, acer, aspire s7

Intel had a host of new technologies to show off at Computex this year, starting of course with the Haswell processor launch.  Hopefully you have read our review of the Core i7-4770K LGA1150 CPU already but thanks to some video sent our way, we have other interesting bits to share.

Sequence-01.jpg

Below you will see Intel demonstrating four new products.  First is the Acer Aspire S7 using a Haswell dual-core platform playing back 4K content.  Next up is an Ivy Bridge tablet that is running completely fanless (passive) thus generating no noise at all while still offering impressive CPU and graphics performance.  Intel then pulls a Lenovo K900 Android smartphone out of its pocket powered by the Clovertrail+ enabled Atom Z2580 SoC.  Finally, we get a sneak peak at the next-generation of SoC designs with a look at a Silvermont-based Baytrail tablet running at 2560x1440. 

Author:
Manufacturer: ASUS

JJ pays PC Perspective a visit!

In case you hadn't heard, on June the 4th, (world famous) JJ Guerrero from ASUS stopped by the PC Perspective offices to help host a live stream focused on Z87 platforms and the Intel Haswell processor.  Since Intel decided to launch on a Saturday morning, you might have missed the boat: the Core i7-4770K was reviewed right here on PC Perspective and the results are pretty good. 

jjryan.jpg

Motherboards, we got motherboards here!!

Along with Haswell though is the release of the new Z87 chipset and with THAT, about 100 different ASUS motherboards.  I exaggerate, but only a little.  In our live stream that aired for about 4.5 hours, JJ and I discussed about 20 different motherboard ranging from Mini-ITX options to the budget-minded Z87-A and even the ROG Maximus VI Extreme! 

Below you will find an on-demand version of the stream, broken up into five segments. 

 

ASUS Z87 Motherboard Segmentation

This first segment details the mindset ASUS had when creating the four different motherboard product lines: Mainstream, Workstation, TUF and ROG.  Why do they need all of these options and what features and quality points are common across the entire families? 

 

ASUS Mainstream Z87 Motherboard Lineup

ASUS' new mainstream line of motherboards with the z87 chipset range from the Z87-A to the Z87-Deluxe/Dual.  JJ talks about the features that are added as you move up the product stack so that you can find the option that fits your platform needs and budget.

Continue rearding our recap of the ASUS/PC Perspective Z87 live stream for more videos!!

Manufacturer: Intel

An new era for computing? Or, just a bit of catching up?

Early Tuesday, at 2am for viewers in eastern North America, Intel performed their Computex 2013 keynote to officially kick off Haswell. Unlike ASUS from the night prior, Intel did not announce a barrage of new products; the purpose is to promote future technologies and the new products of their OEM and ODM partners. In all, there was a pretty wide variety of discussed topics.

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Intel carried on with the computational era analogy: the 80's was dominated by mainframes; the 90's were predominantly client-server; and the 2000's brought the internet to the forefront. While true, they did not explicitly mention how each era never actually died but rather just bled through: we still use mainframes, especially with cloud infrastructure; we still use client-server; and just about no-one would argue that the internet has been displaced, despite its struggle against semi-native apps.

Intel believes that we are currently in the two-in-one era, which they probably mean "multiple-in-one" due to devices such as the ASUS Transformer Book Trio. They created a tagline, almost a mantra, illustrating their vision:

"It's a laptop when you need it; it's a tablet when you want it."

But before elaborating, they wanted to discuss their position in the mobile market. They believe they are becoming a major player in the mobile market with key design wins and outperforming some incumbent system on a chips (SoCs). The upcoming Silvermont architecture pines to be fill in the gaps below Haswell, driving smartphones and tablets and stretching upward to include entry-level notebooks and all-in-one PCs. The architecture promises to scale between offering three-fold more performance than its past generation, or a fifth of the power for equivalent performance.

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Ryan discussed Silvermont last month, be sure to give his thoughts a browse for more depth.

Also, click to read on after the break for my thoughts on the Intel keynote.

Computex 2013: Gigabyte Launches New GB-XM1 SFF Brix PCs With Haswell and Kabini CPU Options

Subject: General Tech, Systems | June 4, 2013 - 05:40 AM |
Tagged: Kabini, Intel, haswell, gigabyte, computex 2013, computex, brix, amd

Earlier this year, Gigabyte showed off a new small form factor (SFF) mini PC called the Brix during its New Idea Tech Tour. Those initial models came equipped with Intel Ivy Bridge processors, two SO-DIMM slots (a maximum of 16GB of DDR3 1600MHz memory), one mSATA slot, and one mPCI-E connector for storage and wireless networking respectively. The Brix hardware is housed in an aluminum chassis that doubles as a heatsink. However, since the Brix's debut, both Intel and AMD have come out with new more power efficient processors. In light of this, Gigabyte is not only showing off the original Brix PC at Computex 2013, but a new SKU called the GB-XM1 that comes equipped with your choice of Intel Haswell or AMD Kabini processors.

Gigabyte Brix SFF PC.jpg

The new 4.5 x 4.2 x 1.2" Gigabyte Brix XM1 PC supports mSATA, mPCI-E, dual display outputs, USB 3.0, and is VESA mountable. The Haswell variant's processor options range from a Core i3-4010U to a Core i7-4500U. On the AMD side of things, the GB-XM1 is available with options ranging from the E1-2100 to the A4-5000. All of the AMD "Kabini" chips are outfitted with 12 Radeon cores, but they differ from there. The highest-end chip, the A4-5000, is a quad core with 2MB of L2 cache while the lower tier chips are dual cores with only 1MB of L2 cache. The following chart outlines all of the Haswell and Kabini CPU choices.

GB-XM1 (Haswell) GB-XM1 (Kabini)
Core i7-4500U A4-5000
Core i5-4200U E2-3000
Core i3-4100U E1-2500
Core i3-4010U E1-2100

For more information on Kabini, check out our review of the AMD A4-5000 Kabini processor. If you need a refresher on Intel's Haswell architecture, you can also find a review of the Core i7-4770K here.

Gigabyte has not released pricing or availability information on the GB-XM1, but expect the Kabini models to be noticeably cheaper than the Haswell counterparts. Thankfully, it is not all bad news for Kabini users, as the Radeon cores help the low power processor accomplish 3D and media playback tasks, as noted in Josh's review.

For those interested in the mini Brix PC as a media center box or low-power desktop PC, Engadget reports that Gigabyte is also experimenting with specialized Brix SKUs, including a wireless charging pad for mobile devices and another Brix with a Pico projector. These accessories are merely prototypes at this point and may not go into mass production.

I'm glad to see Gigabyte moving forward with its Brix lineup to provide a useful alternative to Intel's NUC.

Computex 2013: ASUS Reveals New ROG Gaming and Overclocking Hardware

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Systems, Shows and Expos | June 4, 2013 - 04:36 AM |
Tagged: z87, ROG, Maximus VI Formula, maximus vi, Intel, haswell, gaming, g30, crosschill, computex 2013, computex, asus

During an ASUS ROG press conference at Computex 2013 in Taipei, Taiwan, ASUS launched a number of new bits of hardware aimed at PC gamers and overclocking enthusiasts. In addition to the mini ITX Maximus VI Impact launch, ASUS showed off the ASUS Maximus VI Formula motherboard, OC Panel accessory, and ROG G30 desktop. The available details on each piece of hardware is as follows:

ASUS Maximus VI Formula Motherboard

While ASUS hinted at several of its Z87 motherboards last month by allowing us to post teaser photos ahead of the launch, until today enthusiasts have not seen the latest "Formula" motherboard. However, now that the board is official, you can see the new Z87 motherboard in high resolution photos below!

ASUS Maximus VI Formula Z87 Motherboard with SupremeFX and CrossChill.jpg

The board comes in red and black colors, and surprisingly, comes equipped with ASUS' thermal armor accessory which includes a plastic shroud for the front of the motherboard and a SECC back-plate with thermal pads to aid in cooling and supporting the motherboard (even with heavy CPU HSFs). In addition to the thermal armor, the board has finned heatsinks on the PCH and VRM hardware. The VRM heatsink in particular uses the company's CrossChill technology which allows user to integrate the VRM heatsink into their water cooling loop or leave it as air-cooled. The board also features a diagnostic display and start/reset buttons.

The ASUS Maximus VI Formula features a LGA 1150 CPU socket, four dual channel DDR3 DIMM slots, three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, three PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots and a total of 10 SATA 3 6Gbps ports.

ASUS_ROG_Maximus_VI_Formula_with_ROG_Armor.jpg

The rear IO panel includes a mPCI-E Combo II card that supports 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless radios along with a M.2 NGFF (Next Generation Form Factor) SSD slot at the top. Other IO includes:

  • 4 x USB 2.0 ports (one used for BIOS flashing)
  • 6 x USB 3.0 ports
  • 2 x HDMI video outputs
  • 1 x S/PDIF connector
  • 1 x RJ45 Gigabit LAN
  • 6 x analog audio jacks

Overclocking technology includes ASUS' Extreme Engine DIGI+ III power delivery that incorporates 60A BlackWing chokes, (90% efficient) NexFET MOSFETs, and 10K Black Metallic capacitors.

Finally, ASUS has also added a SupremeFX chipset for quality onboard audio. This audio chip is capable of 120dB SNR, a headphone amplifier for 600 ohm cans, EMI shielding, and quality OpAMPs.

ASUS OC Panel Overclocking Accessory

The ASUS OC Panel is a hardware accessory for the company's ROG Maximus VI Extreme motherboard. It allows you to adjust the BCLK and other settings related to overclocking your processor in real time. It also provides CPU temperature feedback on the top of the LED display.

ASUS_ROG_Maximus_VI_Extreme_with_OC_Panel_Extreme_Mode.jpg

According to the press release, overclockers Andre Yang and Shamino managed to push a system with a Maximus VI Extreme motherboard, 32GB RAM, and a Core-i7 Haswell processor to 7GHz CPU and 4200MHz clockspeed using liquid nitrogen cooling. It looks like a cool accessory that will allow you to easily adjust the overclocking settings without rebooting into the UEFI BIOS. Pricing and availability have not been announced, but expect it soon.

ASUS ROG G30 Gaming Desktop

The ROG TYTAN G30 desktop PC features a stylized case with red LEDs and a front door with ROG and ASUS logos. Internals include an Intel Core i7 4770K "Haswell" processor and a NVIDIA GTX 780 graphics card. Even better, ASUS is using liquid cooling for the CPU, and offers a 1-button overclock of all four CPU cores to 4.1GHz. The PC also integrates ASUS' SonicMaster and AudioWizard technology which reportedly enhances in-game audio.

ASUS_ROG_G30_Gaming_Desktop_PC_with_ROG_AudioWizard.jpg

Again, pricing and availability for the haswell gaming PC are still unknown.

What do you think of ASUS' recent ROG product announcements? Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more Computex 2013 news throughout the week!

Also read:

Source: ASUS

Computex 2013: ASUS G750 Gaming Notebook Uses Haswell, GTX 700M Hardware

Subject: Systems, Mobile | June 4, 2013 - 01:30 AM |
Tagged: asus, g750, gaming notebook, haswell, gtx 700M, nvidia, Intel, computex, computex 2013

With the launch of new processors and mobile graphics cards, many vendors are announcing gaming systems at the Computex 2013 trade show. One such product which was announced a couple of hours ago is the ASUS G750 17" gaming notebook. This portable powerhouse utilizes Intel's 4th Generation Core "Haswell" chips as well as NVIDIA's GTX 700M mobile GPU series in a sleek aluminum chassis to offer up decent gaming and compute performance on the go.

ASUS_ROG_G750_Gaming_Notebook_Front.jpg

Much like MSI's GS70, the ASUS G750 is monster of a laptop at 17". The aluminum chassis has a brushed metal texture and the large display lifts up and exends forward towards the keyboard slightly to angle the display without stressing the hinge (presumably). The backlit keyboard is full QWERTY with a number pad to the right and isolated arrow keys. A large touchpad occupies the area under the keyboard and has multi-touch support and hardware mouse buttons. The chassis itself has a highly angular design that does its best not to look boxy despite the large form factor. The most eye catching feature is actually on the back, however, where the two large stylized Battlestar Galactica-esque vents reside.

External connectivity options include a Kensington lock, two USB 3.0 ports, and a DVD multi drive on the left side of the G750. The right side of the gaming notebook hosts the power jack, and VGA, HDMI, and DisplayPort video outputs as well as two USB 3.0 and two 3.5mm audio jacks. The headphone jack doubles as a S/PDIF output and also features a built-in headphone amplifier. ASUS Sonic Master audio and AudioWizard software offers 5 genre audio equalization modes.

ASUS_ROG_G750_Gaming_Notebook_Rear.jpg

As mentioned above, the system will use Core i7 Intel Haswell CPUs and the new NVIDIA GTX 700M graphics cards, which you can read about here. The exact CPU and GPU you get will depend on your configuration choices at checkout, though expect at least the GTX765M to be available.

ASUS has not yet announced pricing or availability for the G750. You can find the full release linked below.

Source: ASUS

Computex 2013: MSI Launches GS70 17" Gaming Notebook With GTX765M Graphics

Subject: Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 3, 2013 - 10:59 PM |
Tagged: computex 2013, computex, nvidia, msi, kepler, Intel, haswell, gtx 700M, gs70, gaming notebook

A couple of weeks ago, MSI revealed the GX70 and GX60 gaming notebooks powered by AMD's latest Richland APUs and 8970M (and 7970M) discrete graphics cards. Today, the company added the GS70 notebook to its lineup, and it is the opposite in terms of underlying technology. Specifically, the GS70 is a 17" gaming notebook with an Intel Haswell processor and a NVIDIA GTX765M. The portable gaming machine is 22mm thick and weighs in at less than 5.7 pounds (2.6kg), which is a noticeably weight reduction versus the Richland-powered models.

MSI GS70 Stealth 17-inch Gaming Notebook.jpg

Expert Reviews UK goes hands-on with a prototype of the MSI GS70 at Computex 2013.

The GS70 comes clad in glossy black and is constructed of aluminum. External features include a large 17" (likely TN) display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080, a SteelSeries-engineered multicolor backlit keyboard, and a large trackpad. Connectivity options include:

  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x RJ45 LAN jack
  • 3 x audio jacks (with surround sound support)
  • 1 x SD card slot
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 2 x mini DisplayPort

Internal specifications include a not-yet-named Intel 4th Generation Core "Haswell" CPU, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and a NVIDIA GTX 765M. The discrete GPU is based on NVIDIA's Kepler architecture and features 768 CUDA cores clocked at 850 MHz and up to 2GB of graphics memory clocked at 1 GHz on a 128-bit bus. The system also uses a Killer NIC networking card and MSI's own SuperRAID technology that pairs two solid state drives in a RAID configuration for pure performance. The system should be able to play all modern PC games, though some details will need to be turned down. Multi-display output is supported for up to three external displays as well.

Unfortunately, MSI has not yet announced pricing or availability for this notebook. I would expect it to (paradoxically, despite the naming conventions) cost more than the existing GX70 (due to the newer, and faster, technology used) which starts at $1,399.99 MSRP. Keep an eye out for reviews later this year if you are interested in a mobile gaming PC, as this one looks interesting. Until then, Expert Reviews UK has some initial impressions and additional photos in this article.

Computex 2013: Gigabyte Launches U21M Convertible Tablet With An Intel Haswell CPU

Subject: Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 3, 2013 - 01:33 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, u21m, Intel, haswell, gigabyte, convertible tablet, computex 2013, computex

Gigabyte launched its U21M convertible tablet at Computex this week. The Windows 8 PC is an 11.6” convertible notebook that is 20mm thick and weights approximately 3.28 pounds (or 3.06 lbs without HDD). It is powered by an Intel Haswell CPU with HD4000 processor graphics and it runs the full x86-64 version of Windows 8.

Gigabyte U21M Convertible Tablet.jpg

The notebook features a black and slate gray colored chassis that has a brushed metal texture over the top of the keyboard deck and display bezel. Design wise, it is reminiscent of Dell's Latitude XT series with more curves. The U21M uses a similar center 180-degree hinge that allows the display to be rotated around and then laid flat against the keyboard to enable tablet mode. There are no face function buttons on the display bezel aside from the Windows key, however.

Gigabyte has made ample use of the 11.6” form factor by designing a keyboard that stretches from one side of the system to the other. The six-row keyboard looks to be well laid out with good spacing between the keys and no real key placement oddities. key travel may be an issue though as the keys are close to the metal, as it were.  Below the keyboard is a large touchpad with hardware mouse buttons.

The display itself is an 11.6” capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 1366 x 768. There does not appear to be digitizer/stylus support on the U21M, however. Above the touchscreen is a 1.3MP webcam. It also features two 1.5W speakers.

External IO options include:

  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x RJ45 (Gigabit Ethernet)
  • 2 x Audio
  • 1 x SD
  • 1 x SIM card slot

Internally, the U21M does not disappoint, with an Intel Haswell CPU, up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, and either a 128GB or 256GB mSATA SSD plus an optional mechanical hard drive up to 1TB. There is no discrete GPU, however. The system will rely on the Haswell CPU's processor graphics, though Gigabyte has not announced specific chips so the iGPU used is unknown. Wireless connectivity options include 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 + LE, and a built-in 3.5G radio. The system uses a respectable 7.4V, 40Wh Lithium-Polymer battery.

Gigabyte U21M Convertible Tablet In Tablet Mode.jpg

Gigabyte has not yet released pricing or availability dates, but you can find all the specifications along with additional photos on this product page.

My thought on this system is that it might be a good upgrade once my Dell Latitude XT finally dies on me (heh). It should definitely be faster and get much better battery life than my current convertible tablet, that's for sure! I'll be on the lookout for reviews, but what do you think about the U21M so far? If only it came in blue...

Source: Gigabyte

Computex 2013: Acer's Refreshed Aspire S3 Has Solid Internals, Odd Keyboard Layout

Subject: Mobile | June 3, 2013 - 04:09 AM |
Tagged: acer, computex 2013, aspire s3, haswell, gt700m, nvidia, Intel, gt735m

Acer is showing off a refresh of its Aspire S3 notebook at Computex in Taipei this year that will integrate the latest technology from Intel and NVIDIA. The new Acer Aspire S3 (not to be confused with the existing model) is a 13.3” notebook that measures 0.7” thick and weighs in at 3.63 pounds.

The Aspire S3 will come with a Gorilla Glass lid that is available in either red, white, or yellow according to The Verge. External IO options include Thunderbolt, HDMI, two USB 3.0 ports, a LAN port, and an audio jack.

Acer Aspire S3 with Haswell CPU and NVIDIA GT735M GPU.jpg

The red colored lid model in particular looks nice, though I have my doubts about the rather cramped-looking keyboard. Acer has performed some strange key acrobatics in order to fit all the needed keys into five rows. For example, the tilde key has been moved to the right of the caps lock and the delete key is at the bottom of the keyboard to the right of the right-hand Alt button. I'm not entirely sure what Acer was thinking there (that is solely my opinion/first impression though, I have not had any hands-on time with it).

Internal hardware will include as as-yet-unnamed Intel Haswell processor, a NVIDIA GT735M (384 CUDA cores at 889 MHz with an unknown capacity 1GHz memory on a 64-bit bus), and a 1TB laptop hard drive (spindle speed not listed). It should be a decent performer and the Haswell CPU should get good battery life. If this comes in at or around the original Aspire S3's $650 price tag, and as long as the keyboard passes muster with the review sites, it might be a good buy if you don't need something super thin and/or lightweight.

Unfortunately, Acer has not yet talked about pricing or availability for the 13.3" Aspire S3 notebook.

Source: The Verge