Podcast #192 - AMD Radeon HD 7870 and 7850, Z77 Motherboard previews, and a Steam console

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | March 8, 2012 - 04:00 PM |
Tagged: Z77, ssd, podcsat, podcast, msi, Intel, gpu, cpu, asus, amd, 7870, 7850

PC Perspective Podcast #192 - 03/08/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the AMD Radeon HD 7870 and 7850, Z77 Motherboard previews, and a Steam console?

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!

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  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 54:59

Program Schedule: 

  1. 0:00:42 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. 0:02:00 Installing Windows 8 Consumer Preview In A VirtualBox Virtual Machine
  6. 0:05:00 AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB and HD 7850 2GB Pitcairn Review
    1. Radeon HD 7870 2GB vs HD 7850 2GB vs HD 5870 1GB Quick Look
  7. 0:18:30 ASUS Z77 Chipset Motherboard Preview: Formula, Gene, mini-ITX
  8. 0:24:30 MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) LGA 2011 ATX Motherboard Review
  9. 0:26:00 Visual Computing Still Decades from Computational Apex
  10. 0:36:00 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  11. 0:37:00 GDC 12: The bigger big picture, Steam Box to be announced?
  12. 0:40:30 MSI Shows of Next Generation Twin Frozr IV Cards at Cebit
  13. 0:42:30 Peter Pan presents a stylish mouse at CeBIT; Thermaltake's Level 10 M
  14. 0:45:45 Apple Launching Quad Core Graphics A5X Powered iPad 3 With Retina Display
  15. 0:49:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: How about a new laptop?  Time for shopping!!  Ultrabook?  IVB maybe?
    2. Jeremy: Ever heard of the brown note?
    3. Josh: They have arrived
    4. Allyn: sleep lulz
  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. Closing

Source:

MSI Shows of Next Generation Twin Frozr IV Cards at Cebit

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 6, 2012 - 08:55 PM |
Tagged: Twin Frozr, R7970, R7870, msi, Lightning, hd 7950, hd 7850, HD 77750, hd 7770, hawk

The Romanian site Lab 501 was able to snap some shots and get some information about the latest generation of custom built graphics products from MSI.  We had actually talked to Alex Chang of MSI about what Twin Frozr IV would bring to the table, but today we actually get to see the (nearly) finished parts.

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It looks as if MSI is changing around their color scheme, but the heatsink remains as big as the previous generation's.  (image courtesy of Lab 501)

The products shown were of course only the AMD based parts, as the NVIDIA Kepler products are still under wraps (but apparently should see the light of day later this month).  MSI is giving the full Twin Frozr IV treatment to every HD 7750 and above part.  The HD 7970 is getting the Lightning edition with all the bells and whistles, while the HD 7870 is going under the Hawk brand.

We have few details about what all Twin Frozr IV includes, but it keeps the propeller blades and the anti-dust technology that we first saw in the N580GTX Lightning.  From the shots we have, it does not appear that they will be using the temperature sensitive fan units that actually change color when going above 45C.

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They were able to take a good shot of the board without the heatsink, and it is just as jam packed as the previous Lightning products.  (image courtesy of Lab 501)

The Lightning will feature a total of 4 Display Ports and 2 DVI ports, so it can support up to 6 monitors at once.  This appears similar to what Asus did with the EAH6950 and EAH6970 cards that were recently reviewed here.  The Hawk will only feature 2 Display Ports, HDMI, and DVI-I.  The rest of the lineup looks like reference based cards with custom Twin Frozr IV coolers.

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It is good to see MSI continues with the more affordable Hawk brand.  (image courtesy of Lab 501)

Of particular interest is the board design of the Lightning card.  It is simply jam packed with power regulation components and the new "Twin Form-in-One" bracing system which supports both sides of the PCB with metal plates to minimize warping, improve cooling, and funnel airflow.  Looking at the back of the card reveals the plate having a nice sized hole in it which would be perfect for another fan to cool all of the components on the back.  More digging has informed us that it is actually a removable "GPU Reactor Core".  More details should be available soon.

Source: MSI Computer
Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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Courtesy of MSI

My first Sandy Bridge-E motherboard review of 2012 showcases the talents of Intel's latest i7-3820 3.6GHz quad-core processor and MSI's X79A-GD65 (8D) ATX motherboard. The enhancements included in the LGA 2011 platform combined with MSI's unique optimizations to the board's overclocking, gaming, and power management capabilities should make for an exciting testing experience.

 

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Courtesy of MSI

MSI currently has six motherboards that support the LGA 2011 socket and the X79A-GD65 (8D) is considered one of their higher-end offerings at $289.99. This board targets users who want to take advantage of three PCI-E x16 slots for AMD CrossfireX or NVIDIA SLI configurations. It also gives users the ability to use up to two SATA 6GB/s and four SATA 3GB/s devices courtesy of the X79 chipset. MSI also used a second ASMedia controller to add two more SATA 6GB/s ports to the board. All of these SATA3 ports support Intel's Rapid Storage Technology, but the SATA3 devices managed by the X79 chipset can only handle RAID 0 and 1 versus the ASMedia chip that handles RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10.

Continue reading our review of the MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) Motherboard!!

ASUS gives you previews but MSI gives you full Ivy Bridge reviews

Subject: Motherboards | March 6, 2012 - 05:30 PM |
Tagged: msi, Ivy Bridge, Z77, z77a-gd65, lga1155

Legit Reviews have posted a full review of the Ivy Bridge based MSI Z77A-GD65, with an i7-2600K, 8GB DDR3-1600, a Corsair Force GT 240GB SSD and a Radeon HD6950.  This new platform brings native USB 3.0 to Intel chipsets, but since they don't yet have an Ivy Bridge CPU to test we don't get a chance to see PCIe 3.0 in action, the new SATA 6Gbps controller fared well though.  There is a new UEFI ClickBIOS implementation which some might find a compelling reason to upgrade but if you are currently running a Sandy Bridge machine you are better off to wait until you can get your hands on one of the soon to be released Ivy Bridge processors.

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"It's going to be an interesting ride for the Intel Z77 chipset. It is looking like the only difference is the addition of the SuperSpeed USB 3.0. The problem with the Intel Z77 chipset is that it doesn't feature anything really worth upgrading for over the Intel Z68 system. If your looking to build a new system with either a Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge processor, the Intel Z77 would be the way to go. If you're on an existing 'Sandy Bridge' system, there really isn't a good reason to make the switch..."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

All New MSI R7800 Twin Frozr Series Runs up to 15˚C Cooler and 9dB Quieter

Subject: General Tech | March 5, 2012 - 05:23 PM |
Tagged: msi, hd 7850, hd 7870, Twin Frozr

(Industry, CA) Leading international mainboard and graphics card maker MSI today officially announced the launch of R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC and R7850 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC, two new graphics cards equipped with AMD's latest 28nm HD 7800 GPU. The R7800 series features the exclusive Twin Frozr III cooling design that is equipped with MSI's Propeller Blade technology - patented in several countries – for 20% more cooling than conventional fans. Combined with MSI's SuperPipe technology and large cooling fins, the R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC core temperature is 15°C lower than reference boards and fan noise is reduced by 9dB* in full load. The R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC supports GPU voltage adjustment technology to boost overclocking potential by up to 20%** when used with MSI's exclusive Afterburner overclocking utility. Gamers can now unleash the full potential of their graphics card for gaming and multimedia applications.

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Advanced Twin Frozr III Design Runs 15˚C Cooler and 9dB Quieter than Reference Boards
The MSI R7870/R7850 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC features the Twin Frozr III cooling module that has won popular acclaim from media around the world. The proprietary Propeller Blade technology has been patented in multiple countries and features special airflow channels on the edge of the fan blades to increase airflow by 20% compared to conventional designs and reduce noise as well! Under full load, the GPU core of the R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC graphics card is 15˚C lower than the reference design and operating noise is reduced by 9dB to less than 30dB. This combination of outright performance and ultra-quiet operation is proof that MSI products can provide gaming enthusiasts with the coolest and quietest user experience!

MSI's Exclusive Afterburner Core Voltage Adjustment Technology
The R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC graphics card supports GPU core voltage adjustment technology that can be used with the popular Afterburner overclocking utility to boost overclocking potential by 20%. The ability to push the graphics card to its limits reinforces MSI's excellence in software and hardware customization, making MSI the first choice of overclocking enthusiasts. In addition to overclocking, Afterburner also supports advanced fan speed control, custom overclocking settings, Predator audio/video capture and Kombustor burn-in testing. Most exciting of all is that gamers can download the Afterburner APP for Android or iOS operating systems to perform overclocking, remote monitoring and fan speed control in real-time from their handheld devices.

PCI Express Gen 3 Graphics Card with 28nm GPU
The MSI R7800 family is equipped with AMD's latest 28nm GPU that offers greater performance and processing power than the previous generation, while reducing power consumption. The MSI R7800 series graphics cards support thePCI Express Gen 3 standard, which when combined with a compatible CPU and mainboard, double bandwidth to a staggering 32GB/s for delivering the ultimate in gaming performance.

Supports Next Generation AV Ports and AMD Eyefinity Multi-Display Technology
MSI R7800 graphics cards provide DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4a outputs that support 3D video, 7.1 channel lossless TrueHD video and DTS-HD audio, as well as supporting AMD's proprietary Eyefinity multiple display technology. The support for next-generation audio-video standards makes the MSI R7800 family the best choice for professionals and gamers.

Source: MSI

Just Delivered: MSI Z77A-GD65 Motherboard Preview

Subject: Motherboards, Processors, Chipsets | February 29, 2012 - 12:03 PM |
Tagged: just delivered, z77a-gd65, Z77, sandy bridge, msi, Ivy Bridge, Intel

In preparation for Intel's 3rd generation of Intel Core microprocessor architecture (can you see we are dancing around things already), MSI has started showing a new line of motherboards.  While at CES in January we saw the Z77A-GD65 option that will be available soon and offers some interesting new specs and features. 

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The Z77A-GD65 sports Military Class III components as well as support for a host of new items including PCI Express 3.0 and USB 3.0.  While we can't share much more than that in terms of details I thought it might be worth showing off a few shots of the upcoming motherboard from our friends at MSI.

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See more photos of the MSI Z77A-GD65!!

Apart from the aesthetics, MSI's X79A-GD65 (8D) is a solid choice for LGA2011 processors

Subject: Motherboards | February 28, 2012 - 02:55 PM |
Tagged: MSI X79A-GD65 (8D), msi, lga2011

The MSI Z79A-GD65 (8D) provoked an immediately negative reaction from [H]ard|OCP as two of the first things they noticed were the inconvenient placing of the CMOS battery and the auxiliary power plug for the PCIe slots.  If you are planning on a triple GPU system you are not going to like this board.  However if you plan on only a single or dual GPU system then these points of contention may not apply to you and other features, such as the impressive overclocking potential, make this board a solid choice.  It seems that it could use a BIOS update though, not only because of strange voltage readings but also because of the clunky implementation of the UEFI aka Click-BIOS.

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"MSI is known for high quality motherboards, many of which are targeted toward the enthusiast and gamer. It is one of these products we are looking at today in the form of the MSI X79A-GD65 (8D). A mid-range offering in the LGA2011 motherboard market. Sandy Bridge E processor and 8 DIMM slots for your exploitation!"

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Manufacturer: MSI Computer

MSI's Alex Chang Speaks Up

MSI was founded in 1986 and started producing motherboards and video cards for the quickly growing PC market.  Throughout the life of the company they have further diversified their offerings to include barebones systems, notebooks, networking/communication devices, and industrial products.  While MSI has a nice base of products, they are still primarily a motherboard and video card company.  In the past 10 years MSI has become one of the top brands in North America for video cards, and they have taken a very aggressive approach to design with these products.

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I had the chance to send MSI quite a few questions concerning their video card business and how they develop their products.

What is your name, title, and how long have you worked at MSI?

My name is Bob, and I’m…. actually, I’m just Alex Chang. I’m the Associate Marketing Manager. I’ve been with the company for 2 years.

Typically how long does it take from the original reference design card release to when we can first expect to see a Twin Frozr III based card hit retail?  How much longer does it take to create the “Lightning” based products?

Historically, we’ve seen the introduction of a non-reference thermal solution within 2-4 weeks of product launch. As an example, GTX580 was launched in November 2010, and by December there was already a reference PCB GTX580 w/ the Twin Frozr II cooler.

In the case of Lightning cards, the development timeframe is longer due to more R&D, validation, and procurement of components. With GTX580, the timeframe was around 6 months, but moving forward MSI is pulling in the launch timeframe of our flagship products.

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Continue reading our interview with MSI's Alex Chang!!

Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

Southern Islands Get Small

When AMD first started to talk to me about the upcoming Southern Islands GPUs they tried to warn me.  Really they did.  "Be prepared for just an onslaught of card releases for 2012," I was told.  In much the same strategy the company took with the HD 6000 series of cards, the new Radeon HD 7000 cards have been trickling out, part by part, so as to make sure the name "AMD" and the brand "Radeon" are showing up as often as possible in your news feeds and on my keyboard.  In late December we wrote our review of the Radeon HD 7970 3GB flagship card and then followed that up in January with a review of the Radeon HD 7950.  In those briefings were told in a general way about Cape Verde, the Radeon HD 7700 series, and Pitcairn, the Radeon HD 7800 series, but without the details of performance, specifications or release dates.  We have the answer for one more of these families now: Cape Verde.

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Cape Verde is the smallest of the Southern Islands dies and falls into the sub-$175 graphics market depending on card vendors' pricing and overclocking settings.  The real question we all wanted to know is what performance levels these new cards were going to offer and if they could be the TRUE successor to popular Radeon HD 5770.  While the answer will take pages and pages of details to cement into place, I can say that while an impressive card, I wasn't as excited as I had wanted to be.

But I am getting ahead of myself...  Check out our video review right here and then keep reading on for the full evaluation!!

AMD Cape Verde - the smallest of the Southern Islands

GPU companies like to brag when they are on top - you'll see that as a recurring theme in our story today.  One such case is the success of the Radeon HD 5770 that mentioned above - it still today sits on the throne of the most adopted DX11 capable GPU on the Steam Hardware Survey, one of our best places for information on the general PC gamer.  

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While the inclusion of it, as well as the Radeon HD 5870 and HD 5850, on this list are great for AMD a couple of years ago, the lack of a 6000-series card here shows us that users need another reason to upgrade; another card that is mass market enough (ala under $200) and offers performance advantages that really push gamers to spend that extra cheddar.

Bring in the Cape Verde GPU...

Continue reading our review of the Radeon HD 7770 1GB GHz Edition and HD 7750 Graphics cards!!

MSI Announces 7950 Twin Frozr III Graphics Cards

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 31, 2012 - 05:48 PM |
Tagged: msi, HD7950, hd 7950, graphics cards, gpu, amd

MSI today officially announced their new Radeon HD 7950 graphics cards with Twin Frozr III coolers. Specifically, the new cards are part of the "R7950 Twin Frozr 3GD5/OC" series. The new Twin Frozr III cooler features a nickel plated block, two 8mm Superpipes (heatpipes), and dual 80mm propeller blade fans that, according to MSI, delivers up to 10 degrees Celsius lower GPU temperatures versus reference coolers. Further, the dark gray Twin Frozr III cooler reduces noise by 13.7dB by using two slower spinning fans versus the single reference design fan spinning twice or more as fast. This extra bit of overclocking headroom has allowed MSI to claim a large "core and memory voltage potential providing up to 37.5% overclockability" Just like the company's motherboards, they are advertising the new graphics cards as being built with Hi-c CAP Super Ferrite Choke and solid capacitors that pass MIL-STD-810G testing. Based on the AMD 28nm Radeon HD 7950 reference design, the card supports the PCI Express 3.0 interface.  Also, the card features 1 DVI, 1 HDMI, and two Mini-DisplayPort video outputs.

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Further specifications include 3 GB of GDDR5 memory on a 384 bit bus, a core clock speed of 880 MHz, and memory clock of 5,200 MHz (effective, 1,300 MHz base). The card itself measures 261mm x 111mm x 38mm, (just under 10.3") which means that it should fit comfortably inside most Mid Tower (or larger) cases. While the 80 MHz increase in GPU clock speed over the reference design is not saying much, the cards themselves should have plenty of overclocking headroom beyond what MSI does at the factory. In our review of the AMD Radeon HD 7950 graphics card with reference cooler we achieved a nice 1050 MHz clock speed, and the "Supa-pipe" (as Josh likes to say) powered Twin Frozr III 7950 cards should be able to go even further beyond that, specific GPU permitting of course.

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In addition to the new Twin Frozr III cooler powered cards, MSI is releasing a version of the Radeon 7950 with a reference design cooler and another Radeon 7970 card with a reference cooler to provide gamers with plenty of alternative options. Unfortunately, there is no word (yet) on pricing or availability.  The Twin Frozr III version of the 7950 sure looks a lot cooler, so it will be interesting to see if it actually keeps the GPU cooler (heh).

Source: MSI