GPU-Z Releases Version 0.5.5 With Improved Support for AMD and Nvidia Graphics Cards

Subject: General Tech | September 6, 2011 - 01:32 AM |
Tagged: gpu, hardware, Utility, windows, amd, Intel, nvidia

GPU-Z is a fine little Windows utility that, much like its CPU-Z brethren, can tell you all sorts of useful information about your graphics sub-system. The lightweight program does not require a restart, and weighs in at 922 KB. GPU-Z is distributed by TechPowerUp, and is now officially on it’s 0.5.5 version.

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The new version adds support for a slew of AMD and Nvidia graphics cards, improved support for BIOS identification, and a new tab for a giveaway by graphics card vendor PowerColor. On the AMD front, the new version adds support for the companies line of A-Series APU graphics cores, AMD’s mobile cayman GPU “Blackcomb,” and various FirePro cards including the V8000, V3700, and 2460 (FireMV). On the Nvidia side of things, the new version adds support for the GeForce GT 530, GT 545, GT 560 Ti OEM, Quadro 400, Quadro 4000M, and Quadro 5000. Further, GPU-Z updated support for mobile versions of Nvidia cards, including the GeForce GT 305M, 410M, 520M, 520MX, 555M, and the GTX 580M.

The program further improves the BIOS readings of Nvidia cards as well as fixing a shader count detection bug on the Blackcomb mobile Cayman AMD parts. The ASUS MARS II GPU also receives support in version 0.5.5. PowerColor is holding a giveaway for a 6990 graphics card to a lucky winner. The new GPU-Z tab has all the relevant information as well as an entry form. Lastly, the program will now remember the last selected GPU selected from the drop down on multi-GPU systems.

The updated support is nice, and the lightweight program starts up just as fast as the previous versions. Do you use GPU-Z?  You can download the new version here.

Intel Unveils 16 New 32nm Processors

Subject: Processors | September 5, 2011 - 09:52 PM |
Tagged: sandy bridge, pentium, Intel, cpu, Core, celeron, 32nm

Intel today released a price list which included 16 new 32nm processors. The new additions fill in gaps in the Celeron, Pentium, and Core product lines. The new additions are then further broken down into the desktop and mobile camps. On the desktop front, there are four Celeron models ranging from $47 to $52, three Pentium models ranging from $70 to $86, and four new Core i series processors ranging from $127 to $177. Within that range, there are three hyper-threaded dual core Core i3 part and one quad core Core i5 processor.

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The mobile additions include one low end and four high end models. On the low end is the dual core Celeron B840 at 1.9GHz with 2 MB L3 cache and 35W TDP. On the high end are four Core i7 chips. The Core i7 2640M is a $346 part and is a hyper-threaded dual core chip at 2.8 GHz, 4 MB L3 cache, and 35W TDP. The Core i7 2760QM is a hyper-threaded quad core part at 2.4 GHz, 6 MB L3 cache, and a 45W TDP. As another 45W TDP part, the Core i7 2860 QM is also a hyper-threaded quad core at 2.5 GHz with 8 MB L3 cache. The highest end mobile chip addition is the Core i7 2960XM, which is a hyper-threaded quad core at 2.7 GHz, a 55W TDP, and 8 MB of L3 cache.

As you can see, there are quite a few new additions filling out the product lineup at various price points and performance segments. See the chart below for the full list and specs.

  Processor Clockspeed Cores/Threads L3 Cache TDP Price
Desktop            
  Core i5-2320 3.0 GHz 4/4 6MB 95W $177
  Core i3-2130 3.4 GHz 2/4 3MB 65W $138
  Core i3-2125 3.3 GHz 2/4 3MB 65W $134
  Core i3-2120T 2.6 GHz 2/4 3MB 35W $127
             
  Pentium G860 3.0 GHz 2/2 3MB 65W $86
  Pentium G630 2.7 GHz 2/2 3MB 65W $75
  Pentium G630T 2.3 GHz 2/2 3MB 35W $70
             
  Celeron G540 2.5 GHz 2/2 2MB 65W $52
  Celeron G530T 2.0 GHz 2/2 2MB 35W $47
  Celeron G530 2.4 GHz 2/2 2MB 65W $42
  Celeron G440 1.6 GHz 1/1 1MB 35W $37
Mobile            
   Core i7-2960XM  2.7 GHz  4/8  8MB  55W  $1,096
   Core i7-2860QM  2.5 GHz  4/8  8MB  45W  $568
   Core i7-2760QM  2.4 GHz  4/8  6MB  45W  $378
   Core i7-2640M  2.8 GHz  2/4  4MB  35W  $346
             
   Celeron B840  1.9 GHz  2/2  2MB  35W  $86

 

Source: Tech Connect

Acer Unveils Super Thin Aspire S3 Ultrabook at IFA in Berlin

Subject: Mobile | September 3, 2011 - 08:03 AM |
Tagged: ultrabook, ssd, Intel, acer

Hot on the heels of the Toshiba and Lenovo ultrabook announcements comes a new ultrabook from Acer. Engadget recently got their hands on the new Acer Aspire S3 ultrabook at the IFA (Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin) technology showcase in Berlin. The 13.3” computer carries some impressive specifications, including a 7 hour long battery life, metal chassis, and the latest Intel processors.

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To be more specific, the Acer computer is a 13.3” ultrabook composed of a magnesium alloy chassis measuring 13mm thick. Inside the metal frame lies an ultra low voltage Core i3, i5, or i7 Sandy Bridge processor, DDR3 RAM, and an interesting storage solution made of a 20GB SSD and 320GB mechanical hard drive combination. Acer is promising a 7 hour battery life, and a 1.5 second resume from sleep time. Further, the ultrabook features a glossy 1366 x 768 resolution display, and a chicklet keyboard whose keys Engadget notes feels like plastic.

While their is no word on US pricing, Acer has released the European starting price at €799. Compromises have been made to reach the price point (mainly in the keyboard); however, if the specifications and design hold up it looks to be a solid competitor in the ultrabook market.  More photos as well as a video tour of the ultrabook can be found here.

Source: Engadget

Toshiba Unveils Portege Z830 Ultrabook Series

Subject: Mobile | September 2, 2011 - 01:08 AM |
Tagged: z830, ultrabook, toshiba, sandy bridge, portege, Intel

There has been quite the buzz over ultrabooks for the past few weeks, and it seems as though Toshiba is ready to grab their slice of the news pie (actually, can we have cake?) with the announcement of their Portege Z830 series of, you guessed it, ultrabooks.

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Powered by Intel Sandy Bridge processors, the ultra (slim) book is housed in a magnesium alloy chassis measuring 15.9mm (0.63 inches) thick. Slated to be 20% lighter and 40% thinner than their previous ultraportable Portege R830 series, the company has reinforced the chassis with a honeycomb ribbing (I’m sure Josh is making a joke out of that right now) and some new internal shock dampening structures.  The company stated that the Z830 would weigh less than 2.5 lbs, though the number may vary depending on the specific configuration.  Because the notebook is so thin, they needed to go metal for the chassis to prevent serious warping and bending of the computer (and is coincidentally one of the items that caused manufacturers to complain about the sub-$1,000 requirement). Other chassis features include a full size LED backlit and spill resistant keyboard.

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Other hardware details about the computer are scarce in that Toshiba has not released much. The ultrabook will contain a 128 GB solid state drive and DDR3 memory. From photos of the ultrabook, the computer supports (likely Gigabit) Ethernet, USB, and HDMI ports. Stereo speakers by Waves Audio, Toshiba’s High Speed Start and USB Sleep and Charge technologies are also featured.

The Protege Z830 ultrabook series will be available in November 2011, and will carry a MSRP of less than $1,000 USD. Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more ultrabook coverage.

Source: Toshiba

New Gigabyte Tool Switches SATA Mode In Windows

Subject: Motherboards | August 30, 2011 - 07:17 AM |
Tagged: Utility, p67, motherboard, Intel, gigabyte, bios

According to Tech Power UP, Gigabyte recently released a Windows tool that allows users to change the SATA controller mode without digging into the BIOS. The SATA controller mode relates to how the controller on the motherboard or add-on card communicates with the hard drive or SSD. Users will be able to choose from legacy IDE, AHCI, and RAID modes. From the brightly colored Windows tool, users can change the setting accordingly. The utility will then write the setting to the CMOS and prompt the user to reboot the computer so that the change can take effect.

The tool will work with any Gigabyte motherboards with the Intel H61, H67, P67, or Z68 chipsets. Further, the utility will run on both 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems. It is available to download from here.  The package comes as a zip file containing an executable that does not need to be installed, which is a welcome touch.

diskswitch.png

While the Gigabyte Disk Mode Switch tool will make changing the setting easier than digging through the BIOS, it effectively accomplishes the same thing. What this means from a practical standpoint is that the Windows tool for changing the SATA mode suffers from the same issues that changing it in the BIOS does; mainly that the (Windows) operating system does not like such drastic changes and the user may encounter problems with Windows recognizing the drive and/or assigning the proper drivers. This is an issue primarily when changing the SATA mode of the drive that the operating system is installed on. While there are some registry tweaks that promise to help smooth the process, it is generally recommend to ensure the proper SATA mode is set before installing Windows onto the drive. Therefore, this tool’s usefulness is somewhat questionable.

Have you encountered any issues in changing the SATA mode post-install? Is this gigabyte tool useful or just another piece of manufacturer "helpware" that DIYers will never use?

Cedar Trail preview, can it keep Intel's netbook lineup alive?

Subject: General Tech | August 29, 2011 - 01:56 PM |
Tagged: cedar trail, Intel, Atom N2800

If you haven't run across them yet, VR-Zone just released a sneak peek at Intel's new ultramobile chip lineup, which we know as Cedar Trail.  The benchmarks that they found are a little odd, consisting of 3DMark 2006 and PCMark 2005 so the results need to be taken with that context in mind.  Still the Atom N2800 manages to triple the performance of the previous Atom generation so there have been some noticeable improvements.  The problem is the netbook form factor its self, as tablets and even smart phones can replicate the tasks that the netbook was intended for.  That could mean that no matter how good Cedar Trail is, the form factor it is set to dominate may be going extinct.  They do offer HDMI out now though.

VR_Z_CedarTrail_benchmarks.jpg

"We're not sure how much life there's left in the netbook market, but considering that Intel is looking to offer some very affordable next gen Atom processors, its upcoming Cedar Trail processors might just be what the netbook market space needs to catch a second wind. VR-Zone can exclusively unveil the first benchmark figures for Intel's upcoming mobile Atom processors and although they're unlikely to blow anyone's mind, they're a huge improvement over the previous generation."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: VR-Zone

Will Windows 8 be for the tablet or the ultrabook?

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2011 - 11:56 AM |
Tagged: ultrabook, tablet, windows 8, microsoft, Intel

Two contrasting opinions appeared this morning on the internet, concerned with not only the future of mobile computing in a possibly post-PC market but also touching on the impact Microsoft's Windows 8 could have on that choice.  DigiTimes has a report from Wistron, an original design manufacturer based in Taiwan, which is concerned with the ultrabook.  They see the coming year as dominated by the contentious ultrabook platform which Intel has been talking up recently.  The company managed US$21.1B in revenue last year, so they are neither a small player nor uninformed about the industry.  That does leave one wondering how they plan on making a profit if the bill of materials is as high as some manufacturers have claimed.  Still, that is where the manufacturer sees Windows 8 making the most difference to the market.

Ars Technica sees a different path for Microsoft to take, one that would be very different from the theory discussed by DigiTimes and very different from anything Microsoft has previously done.  In this article, Ars suggests that the PC market is at a standstill because we have hit a post-PC market thanks to the tablet.  While Microsoft has always considered the tablet to be a PC in a different form factor, Apple and other successful tablet marketers have visualized a completely different model.  While Apple may have taken it to the most extreme, with no visible OS nor even a USB connector so you can transfer files directly from a camera or thumbdrive, nor hook up a wired peripheral.  Other manufacturers have taken a less extreme approach but still hide the OS and have removed associated tasks like driver installation.  That is very different from Microsoft's version of a tablet or phone which runs a trimmed down but still very recognizable OS and tends not to sell very well.

The question becomes one of design incompatibility; if Microsoft wants to release a Windows 8 which emulates the successful tablet OSes of the competition it will have to design something so different from their past OSes that it would be unrecognizable as a PC.  In order to hide the OS and offload applications onto the cloud to make a perfect tablet the design choices would limit the effectiveness of Win8 as a PC OS.  On the flip side, if they choose to design for the Ultrabook, risky in that we still have yet to hear the end of the pricing issues, the OS will be much lighter than previous versions but will still have a recognizable file system, the ability to update or customize drivers and all the other features common to netbooks through laptops.  It will however not be a successful tablet OS, as history has shown with the failures of Microsoft's tablets and phones, some of which died before every being released.

The one thing that they can't do is try to make Windows 8 do both service as a laptop and a tablet OS.  If they go that way, users on both sides of the divide will likely lose as you end up with an OS not customizable enough to do duty on a more powerful notebook or desktop.  As well, it will have an interface which is similar to previous attempts by Microsoft to sell tablets which to this date have all failed against the competition.

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"The launch of ultrabooks and Microsoft's Windows 8 OS will serve as growth drivers for the notebook industry in 2012, according to Simon Lin, chairman of Taiwan-based notebook ODM Wistron.

Shipments of ultrabooks will account for 10-20% of Wistron's total notebook shipments in 2012, Lin estimated.

 

Despite current economic turbulence touched off by debt issues in Europe and the US, Wistron's target to ship 30 million notebooks in 2011 remains unchanged, said Lin, who added that notebook Wistron's shipments will grow by a single-digit rate sequentially in the third and fourth quarters.

However, the company has slashed its LCD TV shipment target for the year to 8.5 million units, from 10 million units projected previously, while also scaling down the target for mobile devices from 10-12 million units to nine million.

Wistron has reported net profits of NT$4.5 billion (US$154.77 million) for the first half of 2011, down 20.44% from a year earlier. The earnings translated into an EPS of NT$2.28 for the six-month period."

 

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Intel returns to upgrade cards for more of their crippled parts

Subject: General Tech, Processors | August 20, 2011 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: upgrade, Intel

It has almost been a complete year since Intel decided to sell $50 upgrade cards for their processors. Ryan noted that the cost of upgrade between the two processors was just $15 (at the time) which made the $35 premium over just outright purchasing the higher-end CPU seem quite ludicrous. Whether or not you agree with Intel’s methodology is somewhat irrelevant to Intel however as they have relaunched and expanded their initiative to include three SKUs.

intelupgrade.jpg

DLCpu: Cash for cache!

Ryan was deliberately trying to pose the issue in question-form because it really is business as usual when it comes to hardware companies to artificially lock down higher SKUs for a lower price-point. The one thing he did not mention was that this upgrade seems to be designed primarily for processors included in the purchase of a retail PC where the user might not have had the choice of which processor to include.

As for this upgrade cycle there are three processors that qualify for the upgrade: the Pentium G622 can be upgraded to the Pentium G693, receiving a clock-rate boost; the Core i3-2102 can be upgraded to the Core i3-2153, receiving a clock-rate boost; the Core i3-2312M can be upgraded to the Core i3-2393M, receiving both a clock-rate boost as well as extra unlocked cache. There is no word on if each SKU would have its own upgrade card or even the cost of upgrading apart from the nebulous “affordable”. Performance is expected to increase approximately 10-25% depending on which part you upgrade and what task is being pushed upon it, the Pentium seeing the largest boost due to this unlock.

Do you agree with this initiative?

Source: Intel

Intel steps out of line to show off 3D transistors

Subject: General Tech | August 19, 2011 - 11:40 AM |
Tagged: Intel, transistor, tri-gate, Ivy Bridge

Back in May Intel released an interesting video showing off Tri-Gate technology, which brings a third dimension to transistors.  That will allow transitions to happen with much less voltage, reducing power requirements and heat generation and allowing for increases in transistor density.  Ivy Bridge was suggested as the likely suspect for Intel to first utilize Tri-Gates and over at SemiAccurate you can see the proof as well as the process.  Intel is claiming a 37% performance increase at low voltages or about half the power usage if you keep the same performance.  Read on to see the difference between FINFets that will be in the competitions chips and the Intel-only three dimensional transistors.

Planar_vs_Tri-Gate.jpg

"Intel is set to become the first company to mass produce non-planar transistors with their upcoming 22nm process. Others are talking about FD-SOI, FINFets, and several related structures, but only Intel is set to produce anything in the near future.

There has been a lot of talk about what Intel is doing, and a lot of incomplete or incorrect information put forward from many different sources. What Intel is making is called Tri-Gate transistors, something that is a radical departure from planar ’2D’ transistors, and distinct from FINFets in a very important way."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: SemiAccurate

Podcast #166 - John Carmack interview, Crysis 2 DX11, Samsung SSD announcements, and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 18, 2011 - 08:32 PM |
Tagged: ssd, podcast, nvidia, Intel, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #166 - 8/18/2011

This week we talk about our John Carmack interview, Crysis 2 DX11, Samsung SSD announcements, 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: 1:04:28

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:37 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. 0:01:35 John Carmack Interview: GPU Race, Intel Graphics, Ray Tracing, Voxels and more!
  6. 0:14:43 NVIDIA Releases Q2 FY 2012 Results
  7. 0:23:17 Acer AC700-1099 Chromebook Review: Cut to the Bone
  8. 0:24:05 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  9. 0:25:20 Never mind the barrier, we even tessellated the water table !
  10. 0:31:00 SSD News
    1. Samsung Announces New High Performance SSDs for Mobile
    2. Samsung Announces New 830 SATA 3 SSDs for Consumers
    3. Intel Releasing Firmware Fix For 8MB SSD Bug In Two Weeks (correction: NOW)
    4. The Good, the bad and the ugly of SSDs
  11. 0:41:32 AMD Announces New Sub-$100 Triple Core A6-3500 APU
  12. 0:43:11 Intel ultra-balks at Ultrabook manufacturers requests
  13. 0:47:50 Sandy Bridge-E Processors: Cooler Sold Separately                                       AMD Considers Bundling FX Processors With Sealed Loop Water Coolers (LCS)
  14. 0:52:20 Bitcoin Trojan Stuff
  15. 0:55:08 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Tripit.com and apps
    2. Jeremy: Antikeylogger01-USB @ $49 or Brain experimentation 
    3. Josh: AMD A-3850... same price, but DiRT 3 for FREE!
    4. Allyn: Anti-pick: McAfee iOS app fail
  16. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  17. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  18. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  19. 1:03:28 Closing
Source: