Podcast #216 - GTX 660Ti Roundup, AMD Steamroller Details, Multi GPU Graphics Card Rumors and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2012 - 04:22 PM |
Tagged: zotac, Steamroller, ssd, revodrive, podcast, ocz, msi, MARS III, Intel, galaxy, evga, asus, arm, ARES II, amd, 7990, 690, 660ti

PC Perspective Podcast #216 - 08/30/2012

Join us this week as we talk about our GTX 660Ti Roundup, AMD Steamroller Details, Multi GPU Graphics Card Rumors 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, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:01:56

Program Schedule:

  1. Introduction
  2. PCPer moving to pcper.com/live
  3. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  4. http://pcper.com/podcast
  5. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:02:15 GeForce GTX 660 Ti Roundup
    2. 0:16:00 AMD Steamroller details from HotChips
    3. 0:27:30 ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A Review
  2. 0:29:45 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  3. News items of interest:
    1. 0:30:25 EVGA 1500 watt power supply
    2. 0:34:30 Powercolor HD 7990 Devil 13 graphics card
    3. 0:37:26 AMD releases FX-4130 and lowers prices
    4. 0:39:24 Synology refreshes DiskStation
    5. 0:40:50 ASUS MARS III GTX 680 - dreamers only
    6. 0:43:17 EVGA Mini ITX Z77 motherboard
    7. 0:45:15 NVIDIA shows Unreal Engine 3 on Tegra 3
  4. Closing:
    1. 0:51:11 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: OCZ RevoDrive 3 x2
      2. Jeremy: Something to vie for your upgrade budget
      3. Josh: Can never have enough space
      4. Allyn: Kingston HyperX Genesis 32GB DDR3 1600
  1. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  4. Closing/outro

 

Author:
Manufacturer: Various

Multiple Contenders - EVGA SC

One of the most anticipated graphics card releases of the year occurred this month in the form of the GeForce GTX 660 Ti from NVIDIA, and as you would expect we were there on the day one with an in-depth review of the card at reference speeds. 

IMG_7336.JPG

The GeForce GTX 660 Ti is based on GK104, and what you might find interesting is that it is nearly identical to the specifications of the GTX 670.  Both utilize 7 SMX units for a total of 1344 stream processors – or CUDA cores – and both run at a reference clock speed of 915 MHz base and 980 MHz Boost.  Both include 112 texture units though the GeForce GTX 660 Ti does see a drop in ROP count from 32 to 24. Also, L2 cache drops from 512KB to 384KB along with a memory bus width drop from 256-bit to 192-bit. 

We already spent quite a lot of time talking about the GTX 660 Ti compared to the other NVIDIA and AMD GPUs in the market in our review (linked above) as well as on our most recent episode of the PC Perspective Podcast.  Today's story is all about the retail cards we received from various vendors including EVGA, Galaxy, MSI and Zotac. We are going to show you each card's design, the higher clocked settings that were implemented, performance differences between them and finally the overclocking comparisons of all four.  

Continue reading our roundup of four NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti cards!!

Live Review Recap: MSI Z77 MPower Motherboard Preview and GPU Lineup

Subject: Motherboards | August 22, 2012 - 08:35 AM |
Tagged: z77 mpower, Z77, video, msi, mpower, live review, live

Earlier this week MSI's Alex Chang stopped by the PC Perspective office to show off a new motherboard, the Z77 MPower.  If you missed the live stream, you can check out the replay right here below!  Be sure you keep an eye on our LIVE schedule on the right hand side as future events pop up!

MPower introduces a 24-hour burn-in test that is one of a kind. Electronic components are manufactured on an assembly line and then statistical sampling is used to ensure quality of construction. Every MPower board is tested using a full Prime95 burn-in test for 24 hours under a heavy overclock.

msimpower.jpg

While you can probably reproduce this yourself in the comfort of your own home, MSI basically is doing this at the factory level to ensure every single board performs at the highest level. Not only are we changing the game of overclocking, but we’re also ensuring consistent and enduring performance from a desktop mainboard.

Source: MSI

MSI MPower Motherboard Q&A - Ask your questions!!

Subject: Editorial, Motherboards | August 21, 2012 - 10:18 AM |
Tagged: Z77, msi, mpower, live

Tomorrow on our PC Perspective Live! channel we are going to be hosting MSI's Alex Chang, the man in charge of product marketing for motherboards and GPUs - so you'll definitely want to stop by and see what he has to say!  In preparation for his visit we wanted to give our readers a chance to ask some questions about the new product line coming from MSI, the MPower motherboards. 

msimpower.jpg

Starting with the Z77 model that has been teased at various locations (including our own PC Perspective Hardware Workshop at Quakecon 2012), the MPower motherboards will be doing some unique things like extending warranties to overclockers and running overclocking tests on EACH motherboard board it ships to retailers.  Here is a quick note from MSI on the topic:

MPower introduces a 24-hour burn-in test that is one of a kind. Electronic components are manufactured on an assembly line and then statistical sampling is used to ensure quality of construction. Every MPower board is tested using a full Prime95 burn-in test for 24 hours under a heavy overclock.

While you can probably reproduce this yourself in the comfort of your own home, MSI basically is doing this at the factory level to ensure every single board performs at the highest level. Not only are we changing the game of overclocking, but we’re also ensuring consistent and enduring performance from a desktop mainboard.

MSI has posted some new information on its website recently as well including some details on the overclocking burn-in tests:

OC Certified is MSI's OC testing procedure where Z77 MPOWER mainboards tested for stability with a 24-hour Prime95 stress test. OC Certified test a mainboard in three key areas:
• Higher Performance
• Enhanced PWM Cooling
• Better Power Stability

Higher Performance means all OC Certified tests are run at 4.6 GHz CPU speed. The Enhanced PWM Cooling test ensures that, even without airflow in a high-temperature room (30°C) without airflow from a CPU cooler. Better Power Stability is tested by running Prime95 for 24-hours in these conditions.

I would imagine that you have some questions about the product - its features, its new warranty, the overclocking capability for it, etc. and we want to offer you the chance to ASK those questions of MSI directly. 

You can comment on our post here (no registration is required) and then join us tomorrow at 1pm ET / 10am PT for the LIVE discussion and presentation of the MSI MPower Z77 motherboard.  We will have some prizes for those of you that ask the best questions so be sure to get your question in EARLY!

pcperlive.png

Author:
Manufacturer: MSI

Spicing up the GTX 670

The Power Edition graphics card series from MSI is a relatively new addition to its lineup. The Power Edition often mimics that of the higher-end Lightning series, but at a far lower price (and perhaps a smaller feature set). This allows MSI to split the difference between the reference class boards and the high end Lightning GPUs.

msi_gtx670_pe_01.jpg

Doing this allows users a greater variety of products to choose from, and to better tailor users' purchases by their needs and financial means. Not everyone wants to pay $600 for a GTX 680 Lightning, but what if someone was able to get similar cooling, quality, and overclocking potential for a much lower price?  This is what MSI has done with one of its latest Power Edition cards.

The GTX 670 Power Edition

The NVIDIA GTX 670 cards have received accolades throughout the review press. It is a great combination of performance, power consumption, heat production, and price. It certainly caused AMD a great amount of alarm, and it hurriedly cut prices on the HD 7900 series of cards in response. The GTX 670 is a slightly cut-down version of the full GTX 680, and it runs very close to the clock speed of its bigger brother. In fact, other than texture and stream unit count, the cards are nearly identical.

Continue reading the entire review!

Author:
Manufacturer: MSI

The HAWK Returns

The $300 to $400 range of video cards has become quite crowded as of late.  If we can remember way back to March when AMD introduced their HD 7800 series of cards, and later that month we saw NVIDIA release their GTX 680 card.  Even though NVIDIA held the price/performance crown, AMD continued to offer their products at what many considered to be grossly overpriced considering the competition.  Part of this was justified because NVIDIA simply could not meet demand of their latest card, and they were often unavailable for purchase at MSRPs.  Eventually AMD started cutting back prices, but this led to another issue.  The HD 7950 was approaching the price of the HD 7870 GHz Edition.  The difference in prices between these products was around $20, but the 7950 was around 20% faster than the 7870.  This made the HD 7870 (and the slightly higher priced overclocked models) a very unattractive option for users.

r7870h_01.jpg

It seems as though AMD and their partners have finally rectified this situation, and just in time.  With NVIDIA finally being able to adequately provide stock for both the GTX 680 and GTX 670, the prices on the upper-midrange cards has taken a nice drop to where we feel they should be.  We are now starting to see some very interesting products based on the HD 7850 and HD 7870 cards, one of which we are looking at today.

The MSI R7870 HAWK

The R7870 Hawk utilizes the AMD HD 7870 GPU.  This chip has a reference speed of 1 GHz, but with the Hawk it is increased to a full 1100 MHz.  The GPU has the entire 20 compute units enabled featuring 1280 stream processors.  It has the 256 bit memory bus running 2GB of GDDR-5 memory at 1200 MHz, which gives a total bandwidth of 160 GB/sec.  I am somewhat disappointed that MSI did not give the memory speed a boost, but at least the user can enable that for themselves through the Afterburner software.

Continue reading our review of the MSI R7870 HAWK Graphics card!!

MSI Possibly Working on SandForce SF-2000-series SSD

Subject: Storage | July 14, 2012 - 07:43 AM |
Tagged: storage, ssd, SF2000, sandforce, msi

The solid state market is heating up as spindle-based drives continue to sell at much higher prices than last year and NAND flash is getting cheaper. The latest entrant may be motherboard and laptop vendor MSI, if a recent addition to SandForce’s SSD partner list holds true.

msi_ssd.jpg

Unfortunately, we do not have any further details so it’s hard to say what sort of drive this will be other than it will use solid state NAND flash. Being a 2000-series SandForce controller is promising for performance, however. Stay tuned for more details as they develop. I’m excited to see what MSI can bring to the SSD table, and here’s hoping that they break a cost/GB record (I can dream heh). For now though, we will have to suffice with the currently available SSD options, which you can check out on our SSD Decoder at pcper.com/ssd. What do you think about the prospect of an MSI SSD?

Source: SandForce

MSI's mid range enclosure, the Ravager

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 13, 2012 - 06:26 PM |
Tagged: msi, ravager

MSI's second case has hit the market, a mid-tower case called the Ravager which comes with a $100 price tag.  On the exterior, apart from a nice paint job and window you will find two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports as well as audio ports and the HDD LED.  The blue interior is quite striking, even before any parts are installed and tool-less quick mounts for the six 3.5" and three 5.25" hard drives are well appreciated though some 2.5" adapters would be a nice touch for SSD users.  Techware Labs really liked this case; it is good to see MSI's quality extend into new markets.

TWL_msi-ravager-02.jpg

"MSI has sent us the new Ravager mid tower case. If the black with blue claw marks on the sides doesn't get your attention, the price will at just $99 MSRP at the time of this review. The blue color scheme continues inside with most of the motherboard mounting plate, HDD trays and quick-release clips for the 5.25” drive bays. The Ravager comes with many features that can be expanded upon and upgraded easily so the consumer can not only purchase the case at a great price but is able to customize case with what he/she wants. Lets' dive into what the Ravager has to offer..."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

 

Rosewill's Cherrys, Antec's case and MSI's take on a tablet hybrid

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 8, 2012 - 02:30 PM |
Tagged: computex, computex 2012, msi, slider s20

We've seen a few hybrid tablet/notebooks, from the familiar ASUS Transformer to Acer's Iconia but MSI has one that really stands out.  As you can see from the pictures that The Tech Report snapped, MSI's Slider S20 has a retractable keyboard instead of a detachable one which will likely add to the weight but could be more convenient than a keyboard dock especially as it also acts as a stand.

Antex is working on their P280 series, with a microATX version and a full sized version with an integral housing for a radiator on the top for those who want a tidy watercooling solution.  If you more into CherryMX switches then it is the Rosewill pictures that will interest you as they showed off a few new models at their booth.

TR_MSIhalf.jpg

"For our third Computex digest, we have news about an MSI Windows 8 tablet with a slide-out keyboard, a new version of Antec's famous P280 enclosure, and upcoming Rosewill mechanical keyboard with configurable backlighting."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source:

MSI Unveils Ultra Portable Laptop and Windows 8 Tablet

Subject: Mobile | June 7, 2012 - 11:22 PM |
Tagged: x460dx, video, ultraportable, tablet, slider s20, notebook, msi, laptop, computex

MSI has been extremely busy at this year’s Computex trade show by releasing tons of new hardware. The company today officially announced two new Ultra series laptops that are less than 1” thick and made to be ultraportable and stylish.

The MSI X460DX is a 14” thin and light notebook with metal alloy chassis, Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 processor, NVIDIA GT630M graphics card, HDMI, Bluettoth, and USB 3.0 technology. It also supports the company’s Turbo Battery+ technology and a hotkey to turn off idle hardware. The computer sports a stylized trackpad, chiclet keyboard, and metal accents.

MSI X460DX.png

The MSI X460DX weighs in at 2kg and is less than an inch thick. No word yet on pricing or availability.

The other MSI Ultra series notebook is the Slider 20. The 11.6” device is constructed of plastic with brushed metal textures, weighs in at 1.3kg and is stated to be “less than 2 centimeters thin.” The interesting bit about the MSI Slider S20 is the touchscreen, however. The 11.6” screen (which has a resolution of 1366x768) can lay flat over the keyboard in slate mode or slide back and tilt upwards. In laptop mode, the chiclet keyboard is exposed. The computer will run Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system. Powering the ultrabook is an Intel Chief River based Core i3 CULV processor, Intel IGP for graphics, and accelerometer. On the outside it features an Ethernet port, two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI port, audio output, and webcam.

MSI Slider S20.png

The MSI Slider S20 is certainly an interesting form factor, and I suspect it will be sturdier than other convertible tablets that utilize a single hinge in the center to connect the display and keyboard. Engadget managed to get their hands on the device. They reported that although the Slider S20’s keyboard is a bit cramped and even a little too flexible, the screen hinge felt sturdy and the device felt rather lightweight. Beyond that, MSI isn't talking detailed specifications.

MSI S20_Windows 8.png

 

Word around the Internet is that the S20 will be sold for under $1,000 USD which is pretty good (depending on just how far under it is). I’m certainly interested in seeing what this Windows 8 tablet can do.

Source: MSI