New ASRock Z68 Fatal1ty Motherboard Supports PCI-E 3.0

Subject: Motherboards | June 29, 2011 - 08:08 AM |
Tagged: z68, pcie 3.0, motherboard, Intel

ASRock recently unveiled a new enthusiast Z68 chipset based motherboard supporting the PCI-Express 3.0 standard. Dubbed the Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen3, the company claims that when coupled with the upcoming Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs, “users are assured to enjoy the full power of PCIe Gen3 standard” as a powerful gaming motherboard.

 

Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen3(M).jpg

The board further features the LGA 1155 socket, four DDR3 DIMM slots capable of 2133 Mhz, two PCI-Express 3.0 slots, one PCI-Express 2.0 x16, one PCIe x1 slot, and two PCI slots. IO standards include the latest SATA III 6 Gbps, Intel’s SRT (Smart Response Technology) caching, and USB 3.0. The board is further capable of supporting either NVIDIA Quad SLI or AMD CrossfireX technology. An on-board PLX PEX8608 chip has been added to allow the PCIe 2.0 and PCIe 3.0 ports to coexist at their native speeds.

Rear connections include a special Fatal1ty mouse port that users can adjust the polling rate of to anywhere between 125 Hz to 1000 Hz, eight USB ports (likely four USB 2.0, four USB 3.0), VGA output, two HDMI outputs, Digital audio out, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and 7.1 channel THX TruStudio audio outputs.

The ASRock board is ready to get its game on according to the company who stated that “is the world's first motherboard that supports PCIe 3.0 and goes on sale now.”

Source: ASRock

Badaboom, the once NVIDIA only transcoding accelerator, now works with Sandy Bridge

Subject: General Tech | June 28, 2011 - 11:34 AM |
Tagged: transcoding, quick sync video, nvidia, Intel, badaboom

When we first met Elemental Technologies Badaboom video transcoding accelerator it would only work with NVIDIA CPUs.  Ryan tested version 1.1 of the program, taking various movies and recorded TV and transcoding it into formats able to play on Blackberrys, iPhones, YouTube and a wide variety of other formats. 

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The testing showed nice improvements when utilizing an NVIDA GPU and the ability to use multiple GPUs, each able to do their own transcoding simultaneously would help anyone who needed a couple of Blu-ray movies transferred to their mobile device in a hurry.  The quality of the transcoding was of high quality and Ryan did not see any of the issues that were present when using AMD's Avivo, as there is little point in quickly transcoding video if it ends up painful to watch.

We hadn't heard much else about Badaboom until today, when it was announce that version 2.0 will support Intel's new Quick Sync Video as well as NVIDIA's cards.  We don't have any benchmarks to show you how effective Sandy Bridge parts will be at accelerating transcoding but you can see the long list of pre-processing filters and learn a bit about Intel's media SDK on this page at Intel.

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"Intel Quick Sync Video, built right into 2nd generation Intel Core processors, is breakthrough hardware acceleration that lets the user complete in minutes what used to take hours. Create DVDs or Blu-ray discs, cover video files for your media plater, and convert video for upload to your favorite social networking sites - all in a flash.

Badaboom uses Intel Quick Sync Video technology to transcode video files in just minutes. Why do videos need to be transcoded? In order for a video to play back on a device such as a smartphone or a tablet, it needs to be formatted to correct specifications. With so many different devices out there, odds are low a video from a camcorder will automatically play on all of them. That's where Badaboom comes in: it transcodes video files to play on hundreds of the most popular devices available today-and it does so quickly and easily."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Intel

Intel learns from Sandy Bridge mistakes, but is it enough?

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | June 24, 2011 - 01:13 PM |
Tagged: linux, Ivy Bridge, Intel

Back when Sandy Bridge launched, Intel had some difficulty with Linux compatibility due to their support software not being available long enough ahead of launch for distribution developers to roll it in to their releases. As a result, users purchasing Sandy Bridge hardware would be in for a frolic in the third-party repositories unless they wished to wait four or five months for their distributions to release their next major version. This time Intel is pushing code out much earlier though questions still remain if they will fully make Ubuntu’s 11.10 release.

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You mean there's Intel... inside me?

Intel came down hard on themselves for their Sandy Bridge support. Jesse Barnes, an open-source Linux developer at Intel, posted on the Phoronix Forums his thoughts on the Sandy Bridge Linux issue:

"No, this is our job, and we blew it for Sandy Bridge. We're supposed to do development well ahead of product release, and make sure distros include the necessary code to get things working … Fortunately we've learned from this and are giving ourselves more time and planning better for Sandy Bridge's successor, Ivy Bridge."

Now, six months later as support for Ivy Bridge is getting released and rolled into their necessary places, Intel appears to be more successful than last time. Much of the code that Intel needs to release for Ivy Bridge is already available and rolled in to the Linux 3.0 kernel. A few features missed the deadline and must be rolled in to Linux 3.1 kernel. While Phoronix believes that Fedora 16 will still be able to roll in support in time it is possible that Ubuntu 11.10 may not unless the back-port the changes to their distribution. That is obviously not something Intel would like to see happen given all their extra effort of recent.

Source: Phoronix

Super Fast PCI Express Cable Capable of 32 Gbps Announced By The PCI SIG

Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 23, 2011 - 07:30 PM |
Tagged: thunderbolt, storage, pcie, PCI SIG, Opitical, Intel

Just as Intel is slowly persuading its super fast data interconnect, the PCI Special Interest Group is already introducing their own competing standard in the form of a PCI Express cable that is slated to be capable of a drool-worthy 32Gbps (gigabits per second). Planned to be constructed from copper wire, the cable standard will be launched as part of the PCI Express 3.0 standard and will be able to pipe both data and power through a thin, flattened cable up to 3 meters (9.84 feet) in length.

The PCIe cable is able to achieve this high bandwidth by combining up to four parallel lanes, each capable of 8 Gigatransfers per second (GT/s). Further, it will be able to provide approximately 20 watts of maximum power to peripheral devices. Speedy connectivity to fast SSD based portable hard drives as well as to tablet and smart phone devices for sync, additional touch interface, and external displays are all aims of the PCIe cable. It is squarely aimed to compete with Intel-backed Thunderbolt; however, the PCI SIG has not stated as such, yet. The interest group was quoted by EE Times in saying "There are solutions [like this] in the industry--Thunderbolt is one of them, and some companies are doing own thing,"

 

Intel's Thunderbolt and the PCIe cable will soon enter the Thunderdome to battle for supremacy

The PCIe cable is expected to be ready for peripheral device makers’ integration as early as June 2013. In the future, the cable is likely to be included in the PCI Express 4.0 standard where it will receive an upgrade to 16 GT/s lanes, and from their it will subsequently receive an upgrade to an optical based transmission material.

You can read more about the new PCI Express cable as well as its merits as a open standard (and how that affects Thunderbolt’s proprietary nature) over at EE Times.

Source: EE Times
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo
Tagged: X1, Thinkpad, Lenovo, Intel

Introduction and Design

thinkpadx1-1.jpg

Achieving smaller, thinner profiles is a long-standing goal of laptop manufacturers, but there’s been a particular obsession with ultra-thin laptops ever since Apple introduced the MacBook Air by taking it out of a manila envelope. Since then, tablets and smartphones have only increased the appeal of thin laptops. Consumers are becoming used to the idea of their electronics tightening their waistlines, and there’s no sign that this trend will stop.

The manufacturer response to this demand has been a lackluster. Laptops like the Dell Adamo came and went, but didn’t seem to put much dent in the market. That wasn’t terribly surprising, because making a laptop thin is expensive, and the Windows laptop brands generally struggle to bring in customers for products priced over $1000. 

One of the most successful responses to the Air was arguably Lenovo’s ThinkPad X series. The X series had always been thin-and-light, but was never targeted towards the average consumer. Still, these laptops – particularly the X301, which had a display size similar to the MacBook Air – seemed reasonable competition. Then Lenovo pulled the plug on the X301, leaving a 13 inch thin-and-light shaped hole in the roster. Today’s we’re looking at the plug for that hole.

Continue on and read our full review of the Lenovo X1 notebook...

PC Perspective Podcast #159 - AMD Llano Notebook Platform, AMD Fusion platform architecture, X79 Rumors, the deal about BAPCo and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2011 - 02:39 PM |
Tagged: x79, podcast, nvidia, llano, Intel, fusion, APU, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #159 - 6/23/2011

This week we talk about the AMD Llano Notebook Platform, AMD Fusion platform architecture, X79 Rumors, the deal about BAPCo 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 Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:27:10

Program Schedule:

 

  1. 0:00:30 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:01:50 AMD A-Series Llano APU Sabine Notebook Platform Review
  6. 0:05:00 AMD Fusion System Architecture Overview - Southern Isle GPUs and Beyond
  7. 0:33:24 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  8. 0:34:00 AFDS11: AMD Demonstrates Trinity Powered Notebook
    1. AFDS11: Upcoming Trinity APU will use VLIW4 / Cayman Architecture
  9. 0:35:45 AFDS11: ARM Talks Dark Silicon and Computing Bias at Fusion Summit
  10. 0:41:30 AFDS11: Microsoft Announces C++ AMP, Competitor to OpenCL
  11. 0:45:45 New Rumor Indicates X79 Chipset Will Support Both 1366 and 2011 Sockets
  12. 0:49:49 Microsoft is probably laughing as AMD speculates the unlikelihood of Intel buying NVIDIA
  13. 0:54:45 Larrabee rides again, almost ... meet Knights Corner the new Many Integrated Core design
    1. Intel Hopes For Exaflop Capable Supercomputers Within 10 Years
  14. 0:58:35 What's the big deal with BAPCo? Why Benchmarking Matters
  15. 1:05:20 Crysis 2: Cry Harder (with DX11 and High Res textures)
  16. 1:06:00 *Allyn Show and Tell*
  17. 1:12:45 Quakecon Reminder - http://www.quakecon.org/
  18. 1:13:17 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: https://www.findbigmail.com/
    2. Jeremy: How to Encrypt Your Dropbox Files, at Least until Dropbox Wakes the F* up
    3. Josh: nice combo!  http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.654093.24-176-144
    4. Allyn: Lytro
  19. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  20. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  21. 1:25:45 Closing

Source:

One H61 iCafe motherboard please; hold the cream

Subject: Motherboards | June 22, 2011 - 02:51 PM |
Tagged: h61, sandy bridge, Intel

Overshadowed by the release of the high end X68 boards was the release of the Intel H61 Express chipset, the polar opposite of the enthusiast board.  The board is a full sized ATX instead of the mATX you might expect though you only get 4 + 1 phase power which does keep the production costs down.  You are also limited to DDR3-1333 though SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0 are available as well as a selection of audio and video out on the back panel and even a UEFI BIOS.  Think Computers rather liked the budget ASRock H61iCafe Intel H61 motherboard; check it out for yourself.

TC_asrock_h61icafe.jpg

"With Intel’s introduction of its second generation Core processors the main chipsets you have been hearing about and we have been covering are the P67, H67 and Z68. These chipsets are the mainstream and enthusiasts chipsets that give you everything you would ever want on a motherboard, but what if you are trying to save money? Or just build a simple machine? ASRock has you covered with the H61iCafe motherboard. This board is of course based on the Intel H61 Express Chipset. This board features USB 3.0 connectivity, Graphical UEFI BIOS, and support for Intel’s second generation processors. Let’s check it out!"

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

What's the big deal with BAPCo? Why Benchmarking Matters

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | June 21, 2011 - 02:36 PM |
Tagged: VIA, sysmark, nvidia, Intel, benchmark, bapco, amd

It seems that all the tech community is talking about today is BAPCo and its benchmarking suite called Sysmark.  A new version, 2012, was released just recently and yesterday we found out that AMD, NVIDIA and VIA have all dropped their support of the "Business Applications Performance Corporation".  Obviously those companies have a beef with the benchmark as it is, yet somehow one company stands behind the test: Intel.

Everyone you know of is posting about it.  My twitter feed "asplode" with comments like this:

AMD quits BAPCo, says SYSmark is nutso. Nvidia and VIA, they say, also.

AMD: Voting For Openness: In order to get a better understanding of AMD's press release earlier concerning BAPCO...

Ooh, BapCo drama.

Why Legit Reviews won't use the latest BAPCo benchmark:

Even PC Perspective posted on this drama yesterday afternoon saying: "The disputes centered mostly over the release of SYSmark 2012. For years various members have been complaining about various aspects of the product which they allege Intel strikes down and ignores while designing each version. One major complaint is the lack of reporting on the computer’s GPU performance which is quickly becoming beyond relevant to an actual system’s overall performance. With NVIDIA, AMD, and VIA gone from the consortium, Intel is pretty much left alone in the company: now officially."

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Obviously while cutting the grass this morning this is the topic swirling through my head; so thanks for that everyone.  My question is this: does it really matter and how is this any different than it has been for YEARS?  The cynical side of me says that AMD, NVIDIA and VIA all dropped out because each company's particular products aren't stacking up as well as Intel's when it comes to the total resulting score.  Intel makes the world's fastest CPUs, I don't think anyone with a brain will dispute that, and as such on benchmarks that test the CPU, they are going to have the edge.  

We recently reviewed the AMD Llano-based Sabine platform and in CPU-centric tests like SiSoft Sandra, TrueCrypt and 7zip the AMD APU is noticeably slower.  But AMD isn't sending out press releases and posting blogs about how these benchmarks don't show the true performance of a system as the end user will see.  And Intel isn't pondering why we used games like Far Cry 2 and Just Cause 2 to show the AMD APU dominating there. Why?  Because these tests are part of a suite of benchmarks we use to show the overall performance of a system.  They are tools which competent reviewers wield in order to explain to readers why certain hardware acts in a certain way in certain circumstances.  

Continue reading for more on this topic...

Source: PCPer

Intel Hopes For Exaflop Capable Supercomputers Within 10 Years

Subject: Systems | June 21, 2011 - 03:52 AM |
Tagged: supercomputing, mic, larrabee, knights corner, Intel

Silicon Graphics International and Intel recently announced plans to reach exascale levels of computational power within ten years. Exascale computing amounts to computers that are capable of delivering 1,000+ petaflops (One exaflop is 1000 petaflops) of computational horsepower to process quintillions of calculations. To put that in perspective, today’s supercomputers are just now breaking into the level of single-digit petaflop performance, with the fastest supercomputer delivering 8.16 petaflops. It is capable of this thanks to many thousands of eight core CPUs, whereas other top 500 supercomputers are starting to utilize a CPU and GPU combination in order to achieve petaflop performance.

The Aubrey Isle Silicon Inside Knights Corner

This partnering of Central Processing Unit (CPU) and GPU (or other accelerator) allows high performance supercomputers to achieve much higher performance than with CPUs alone. Intel CPUs power close to 80% of the top 500 Supercomputers; however, they have begun to realize that specialized accelerators are able to speed up highly parallel computing tasks. Specifically, Intel plans to combine Xeon processors with successors to their Knights Corner Many Integrated Core accelerator to reach exascale performance levels when combined with other data transfer and inter-core communication advancements. Knights Corner is an upcoming successor to the Knights Ferry and Larrabee processors.

Computer World quotes Eng Lim Goh, the CTO of SGI, in stating that “Accelerators such as graphics processors (GPUs) are currently being used with CPUs to execute more calculations per second. While some accelerators achieve desired results, many are not satisfied with the performance related to the time and cost spent porting applications to work with accelerators.”

Knights corner will be able to run x86 based software and features 50 cores based on a 22nm manufacturing process.  Each core will run four threads at 1.2 GHz, have 8 MB of cache, and will be supported by 512 bit vector processing units.  It’s predecessor, Knights Ferry is based on 32 45nm cores and eight contained in a Xeon server and are capable of 7.4 teraflops. Their MIC chip is aimed directly at NVIDIA’s CUDA and AMD’s OpenCL graphics processors, and is claimed to offer performance in addition to ease of use as they are capable of running traditional x86 based software.

It looks like the CPU-only supercomputers will be seeing more competition from GPU and MIC accelerated supercomputers, and will eventually be replaced at the exascale level. AMD and NVIDIA are betting heavily on their OpenCL and CUDA programmable graphics cards while Intel is going with a chip capable of running less specialized but widely used x86 programmable chips.  It remains to be seen which platform will be victorious; however, the increased competition should hasten the advancement of high performance computing power.  You can read more about Intel’s plan for Many Integrated Core accelerated supercomputing here.

Intel Updates ULV Lineup With Four New 17W Processors

Subject: Processors | June 21, 2011 - 12:51 AM |
Tagged: ulv, sandy bridge, Intel, cpu, celeron

According to Maximum PC, Intel recently revamped its official price list by adding four new ULV (ultra-low-voltage chips generally found in ultraportable notebooks) processors. The new additions feature three Sandy Bridge based chips and one Intel Celeron processor. The three new Sandy Bridge ULV CPUs include the dual core hyperthreaded Core i5 2557M with 3 MB cache running at 1.7 GHz, Core i7 2637M with 4 MB cache running at 1.7GHz, and the Core i7 2677M at 1.8 GHz with 4 MB cache. Utilizing Turbo Boost, the chips are able to reach 2.7 GHz, 2.8 GHz, and 2.9 GHz respectively. Further, the new Celeron ULV is the dual core Celeron 847 processor with 2 MB cache running at 1.1 GHZ.

 

The Core i5 2557M carries a pricetag of $250, while the Core i7 2637M goes for $289, and the Core i7 2677M has an MSRP of $317. You can see the entire price list here.  The new Sandy Bridge based ULV processors are able to Turbo Boost from between 1.0 and 1.1 GHz depending on model, which should provide plenty of power for mobile devices while sipping battery power with a TDP (themal design power) of only 17 watts.

Source: Maximum PC