Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of EVGA
Sometimes, good things do come in small packages. The latest board on our test bench from EVGA proves that fact, the EVGA Z77 Stinger. The Z77 Stinger is a micro-ITX form factor board based on the Intel Z77 chipset, but don’t let its size fool you. This board is packed with features and delivers the performance that we’ve come to expect out of its full-size brethren. At a mere $199.99 base price, the EVGA Z77 Stinger would be at home in any enthusiast’s full tower case or HTPC build.
Courtesy of EVGA
Even with its small stature, the EVGA Z77 Stinger promises to pack some power. It features support for the following: SATA 2, SATA 3, eSATA, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 type devices; two different network types featuring an Intel GigE NIC and an Atheros Bluetooth adapter; PCI-Express x16 3.0 and m-PCIe ports; and HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.1a style video ports. With the addition of an m-PCIe adapter, the board can support onboard Wi-Fi as well.
Subject: Motherboards | December 3, 2012 - 04:51 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: mini-itx, Intel, gigabyte, ga-c847n, ga-c807n, celeron 807
Gigabyte recently announced two mini-ITX form factor motherboards. In an interesting twist, instead of an AMD platform like many of the mini-ITX boards released this year, the Gigabyte GA-C807N and GA-C847N motherboards are based on the Intel NM70 chipset and come with integrated Intel Celeron 800-series processors.
Both motherboards come with Gigabyte’s Ultra Durable 4 Classic design and feature set. Two DDR3 (1333 MHz) DIMM slots, a single legacy PCI expansion slot, 5.1 channel audio controller, and a UEFI DualBIOS are all included features on the motherboards.
The GA-C807N has three SATA II 3Gbps ports and one SATA III 6Gbps port. It further includes an Intel Celeron 807 processor that features a single physical core clocked at 1.5GHz.
External IO on the GA-C807N includes:
- 2 x PS/2 ports
- 1 x Parallel printer port
- 1 x COM port
- 1 x VGA port
- 4 x USB 2.0 ports
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet jack
- 3 x analog audio outputs
On the other hand, the Gigabyte GA-847N motherboard has two SATA II 3Gbps ports and one SATA III 6Gbps port. It also bumps up the processor to a dual core Celeron 847 clocked at 1.1Ghz.
External IO on the GA-847N includes:
- 2 x PS/2 ports
- 1 x Serial port
- 1 x VGA
- 1 x eSATA
- 1 x HDMI
- 4 x USB 2.0 ports
- 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
- 3 x Analog audio jacks
Unfortunately, there is no word yet on pricing or availability of the two Mini-ITX motherboards. With that said, the GA-C847N in particular looks like a neat motherboard. The dual GbE ports would make it a good DIY router+firewall or server box. As far as the Gigabyte GA-C807N, the parallel printer port is an odd included feature, but otherwise it looks like a decent entry level Mini-ITX board+cpu combination.
Subject: General Tech | November 29, 2012 - 02:20 PM | Ken Addison
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!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the 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: 1:22:57
Podcast topics of discussion:
- 0:01:20 Never Settle Contest Part 2 is running!
- Week in Reviews:
- 0:40:30 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
News items of interest:
- 0:41:30 Intel Broadwell goes BGA Only; Desktop is dead?
- 0:56:00 More AMD Layoffs coming?
- 0:58:45 Intel CEO is leaving too
- 1:00:00 Western Digital 4TB Black HDD
- 1:02:00 Fujifilm working on 1TB optical discs
- 1:06:00 Jon Peddie Q3 GPU Results
- 1:08:00 Microsoft sells 40 million Windows 8 licenses
- 1:09:45 Rumored 'Blue' Subscription based Windows OS
- 1:12:00 Intel Updates SSD Toolbox, 335 Firmware
- 1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
Subject: Motherboards | November 29, 2012 - 01:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gigabyte, amd, Intel, Z77, z75, h61, a85, a75, A55
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™.
You learn more about GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 4 Classic technology here: http://www.gigabyte.us/microsite/297/images/overview.html
Subject: General Tech | November 29, 2012 - 12:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: pentium, celeron, Intel, 22nm, G2130, G2020, G2020T, G1620, G1610, G1610T, Ivy Bridge
There won't be any new Intel desktop processors for Christmas and even in the New Year it will be the entry level lineup that is first refreshed. Six older Pentium and Celeron models will hit EOL and be replaced with new Ivy Bridge based 22nm models, likely with similar specs and reduced power consumption. The news for mobile processors is a little better with the Core i7-3687, Core i5-3437U, Celeron 1037U, 1007U, 1020M and 1000M all slated for the first quarter of 2013. DigiTime also mentions a new 20nm member of the 530 series of SSDs should be arriving at the same time.
"Intel is set to upgrade its entry-level desktop Pentium and Celeron product lines in the first quarter of 2013 with the launch of Ivy Bridge-based 22nm Pentium G2130, G2020 and G2020T and Celeron G1620, G1610 and G1610T processors, while its existing Sandy Bridge-based 32nm Pentium G870, G645 and G645T as well as Celeron G555, G550 and G550T will be phased out of the market starting the end of 2012, according to sources from the upstream supply chain."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Ten weird Chinese mobile phones @ The Register
- RIM reveals Blackberry 10 Dev device with physical QWERTY keypad @ The Inquirer
- Samsung printers have secret admin account @ The Register
- Electrical Applications for Infrared Thermometers @ TechwareLabs
- Protect Your Home from Burglary & Vandalism: There’s an App for That @ TechwareLabs
- Win a Nokia Lumia 820 Windows 8 Phone With Scancom @ eTeknix
Subject: Storage | November 28, 2012 - 10:32 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: ssd toolbox, Intel, firmware, 335
A quick note to users of Intel SSDs - specifically for owners of the 335 Series. Intel has updated their SSD Toolbox app to v3.1.2. This app is used for various tasks on Intel SSDs, such as secure erasure, performance optimization under Windows, and TRIM through RAID-0 under Intel RST / ICH / PCH motherboard SATA controllers. This update is significant in that it can in turn update the firmware of the Intel 335 Series SSDs to correct a bug in how those drives report wear. This bug was initially discovered by Kristian Vättö, over at Anandtech.
If you have a newer version of the SSD Toolbox, F9 will be listed as "Total NAND Writes", and list that value in MB. The issue with the original 335 firmware was that it incorrectly calculated the wear (the Wearout Indicator - E9 above) such that it would list the drive as worn out after ~1,000 total flash cell erase cycles (i.e. 1,000 x the capacity of the SSD). The firmware update corrects this value to ~3,000 cycles, which is more appropriate for the rating of IMFT 20nm flash. Updating should be non-destructive, but you should backup just in case. The update is not urgent, in that it only corrects how the drive does the math to calculate E9. The Wearout Indicator will change to the correct value after the update, regardless of when it is applied. Additionally, if the MWI reaches 0 prematurely, it should have no impact on operation of the SSD.
Grab the update here.
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.
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.
Ivy Bridge without the HD Graphics
The processor market is kind of stale these days; there aren't a lot of releases and the dominance of Intel in the high-end CPU market kind of makes things uninteresting. We still have lot of great AMD processors in the low and mid-range markets but if you want a $200+ card part you will probably find your way into the world of Intel.
Today's processor review cuts across segments with a unique twist. The Intel Core i5-3350P can be picked up at Newegg.com for $189 putting it right in the price point of the AMD FX-8150 (Zambezi) and the AMD FX-8320 (Vishera). It also undercuts the very popular Intel Core i5-3570K by $50 or so while still offering some impressive performance results.
The only catch: this Ivy Bridge based processor does not include any integrated graphics.
The Intel Core i5-3350P
Intel recently released a couple of Ivy Bridge based processors that have disabled the integrated graphics completely, the 3350P being one of them. This allows Intel to sell processor die that might have a defect on the GPU portion to increase the relative yield rate of their 22nm process and also gives them another weapon to fight off any pricing competition from AMD.
Subject: General Tech | November 23, 2012 - 01:03 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gpgpu, amd, nvidia, Intel, phi, tesla, firepro, HPC
The skeptics were right to question the huge improvements seen when using GPGPUs in a system for heavy parallel computing tasks. The cards do help a lot but the 100x improvements that have been reported by some companies and universities had more to do with poorly optimized CPU code than with the processing power of GPGPUs. This news comes from someone who you might not expect to burst this particular bubble, Sumit Gupta is the GM of NVIDIA's Tesla team and he might be trying to mitigate any possible disappointment from future customers which have optimized CPU coding and won't see the huge improvements seen by academics and other current customers. The Inquirer does point out a balancing benefit, it is obviously much easier to optimize code in CUDA, OpenCL and other GPGPU languages than it is to code for multicored CPUs.
"Both AMD and Nvidia have been using real-world code examples and projects to promote the performance of their respective GPGPU accelerators for years, but now it seems some of the eye popping figures including speed ups of 100x or 200x were not down to just the computing power of GPGPUs. Sumit Gupta, GM of Nvidia's Tesla business told The INQUIRER that such figures were generally down to starting with unoptimised CPU."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel reportedly speeds up development of low-power processors @ DigiTimes
- Firefox and Opera squish big buffer overflow bugs @ The Register
- Hexing MAC address reveals Wifi passwords @ The Register
- Cisco Linksys EA6500 Smart Wi-Fi Router Review @ Legit Reviews
- Camera shootout: Samsung Galaxy S III vs S III mini @ Hardware.info
- Black Friday Tech Deals @ TechReviewSource
- Lawrence 'Empire Strikes Back' Kasdan to pen future Star Wars script @ The Register
- Win Corsair AX860i, AX760i, AX860 & AX760 power supplies @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | November 23, 2012 - 01:18 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Intel, CEO
Intel has not had any financial or directional problems nor have they experienced a revolving door in upper management, at least to my knowledge. Paul Otellini was expected to remain at the helm of the chip giant until he turned 65 at which point he would enjoy a wonderful retirement. He would have commanded the company for a full decade.
Intel recently announced that Otellini will leave the company and retire at 62.
Possibly the most important part of the story might be the non-story piece: there does not appear to be any reason for him to leave. The board apparently did not want him to go. ARM holds a large lead in momentum over Intel, during Paul’s watch, in the mobile market but even then the future looks promising with early commentaries about Clover Trail. If I had to guess I would posit that his decision to step down is entirely for personal and possibly sudden circumstances. That was just a guess, however.
To further speculation about its abruptness, Intel does not seem to have anyone in mind as a replacement in just 6 months’ time. For the first time Intel will consider fulfilling the position from outside the company.
In related news, Intel’s stock made a slight dip in value after the abrupt announcement. While the decline was slight it does echo the reluctance mentioned earlier and shows that even the stock market approved of Intel’s performance over the last eight years.