Subject: General Tech | March 10, 2015 - 12:36 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Q1, gigabyte, earnings, msi, TSMC, amd, Intel, nvidia
There is quite a bit of news on how various component manufacturers have fared at the beginning of 2015 and not much of it is good. Gigabyte has seen revenues drop almost 20% compared to this time last year and a significantly higher overall drop and while MSI is up almost 4% when compared to this quarter in 2014, February saw a drop of over 25% and over the total year a drop of nearly 8%. TSMC has taken a hit of 28% over this month though it is showing around 33% growth over the past year thanks to its many contract wins over the past few months. Transcend, Lite-On and panel maker HannStar all also reported losses over this time as did overseas notebook designers such as Wistron, Compal and Inventec.
Intel is doing well though perhaps not as profitably as they would like, and we know that NVIDIA had a great 2014 but not primarily because of growth in the market but by poaching from another company which has been struggling but not as much as previous years. The PC industry is far from dead but 2014 was not a kind year.
"Gigabyte Technology has reported consolidated revenues of NT$3.216 billion (US$101.93million) for February 2015, representing a 39.31% drop on month and 26.75% drop on year.
The company has totaled NT$8.515 billion in year-to-date revenues, down 18.47% compared with the same time last year."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The SHOCKING storage truth: Everyone's buying spinning rust @ The Register
- iOS 8.2 shoves a non-deletable Apple Watch app onto your iPhone @ The Inquirer
- Ouch! Google crocks capacitors and deviates DRAM to root Linux @ The Register
- 2015 Hackaday Prize: Build Something that Matters @ Hack a Day
Followers of PC Perspective have likely seen a pair of stories previewing the upcoming performance and features of USB 3.1. First we got our hands on the MSI X99A Gaming 9 ACK motherboard and were able to run through our very first hands-on testing with USB 3.1 hardware. The motherboard had built-in USB 3.1 support and a device that was configured with a RAID-0 of Intel SSD 730 Series drives.
We followed that up with a look at the ASUS USB 3.1 implementation that included a PCIe add-on card and a dual-drive mSATA device also in RAID-0. This configuration was interesting because we can theoretically install this $40 product into any system with a free PCI Express slot.
Performance was astounding for incredibly early implementations, reaching as high as 835 MB/s!
In that last article I theorized that it would be some time before we got our hands on retail USB 3.1 hardware but it appears I wasn't giving the industry enough credit. ASUS passed us a list of incoming devices along with release schedules. There are 27 devices scheduled to be released before the end of April and ~35 by the middle of the year.
It's a daunting table to look at, so be prepared!
The product categories are mostly dominated by the likes of the a USB 3.1 to 2.5-in adapter; that would be useful but you aren't going to top out the performance of the USB 3.1 with a single 2.5-in SATA device. Iomaster has one listed as a "USB 3.1 to MSATA & M2 SSD enclosure" which could be more interesting - does it accept PCI Express M.2 SSDs?
Minerva Innovation has a couple of interesting options, all listed with pairs of mSATA or M.2 ports, two with Type-C connections. What we don't know based on this data is if it supports PCIe M.2 SSDs or SATA only and if it supports RAID-0.
A couple more list dual SATA ports which might indicate that we are going to see multiple hard drives / SSDs over a single USB 3.1 connection but without RAID support. That could be another way to utilize the bandwidth of USB 3.1 in a similar way to how we planned to use Thunderbolt daisy chaining.
We don't have pricing yet, but I don't think USB 3.1 accessories will be significantly more expensive than what USB 3.0 devices sell for. So, does this list of accessories make you more excited to upgrade your system for USB 3.1?
Introduction and Background
We first got a peek of USB 3.1 at CES 2015. MSI had a cool demo showing some throughput figures including read and write speeds as high as 690 MB/s, well over the ~450 MB/s we see on USB 3.0 options shipping today.
We were of course eager to play around with this for ourselves, and MSI was happy to oblige, sending along a box of goodies:
Stuff we will be testing today (Samsung T1 was not part of the MSI demo).
For those unaware, USB 3.1 (also known as Superspeed+), while only a 0.1 increment in numbering, incorporates a doubling of raw throughput and some dramatic improvements to the software overhead of the interface.
Don't be confused between the USB 3.1 standard and the new USB Type-C connector - they are unrelated and independent of each other.
Yes, you’re all going to have to buy *more* cables in the future.
Type-C connectors will enable more simple cable design and thinner connections going forward but USB 3.1 will exist in both Type-A/B and Type-C going forward. Our benchmarking today will utilize Type-A.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 12, 2015 - 01:41 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: overclocking, nvidia, msi, gtx 960, GM206, maxwell
While Ryan was slaving over a baker's dozen of NVIDIA's GTX 960s, [H]ard|OCP focused on overclocking the MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 2G that they recently reviewed. Out of the box this GPU will hit 1366MHz in game, with memory frequency unchanged at 7GHz effective. As users have discovered, overclocking cards with thermal protection that automatically downclocks the GPU when a certain TDP threshold has been reached is a little more tricky as simply upping the power provided to the card can raise the temperature enough that you end up with a lesser frequency that before you overvolted. After quite a bit of experimentation, [H] managed to boost the memory to a full 8GHz and the in game GPU was hitting 1557MHz which is at the higher end of what Ryan saw. The trick was to increase the Power Limit and turn the clock speed up but leave the voltage alone.
"We push the new MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING video card to its limits of performance by overclocking to its limits. This NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 GPU based video card has a lot of potential for hardware enthusiasts and gamers wanting more performance. We compare it with other overclocked cards to see if the GTX 960 can keep up."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Five GeForce GTX 960 cards overclocked @ The Tech Report
- NVIDIA GTX 960 Reference Review @ Hardware Canucks
- MSI GTX 960 Gaming GPU, The Sweet Spot @ Bjorn3d
- MSI GTX 960 Gaming 2G @ Modders-Inc
- 6-way GeForce GTX 960 Shootout @ Legion Hardware
- Testing Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 960 2GB Graphics Cards In SLI @ eTeknix
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 Video Card Review - EVGA SSC Edition @ NitroWare
- Gigabyte GTX 980 G1 Gaming 4GB @ Modders-Inc
- Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X OC 8GB @ Kitguru
- Corsair H105 on 4770K and R9 290 @ HardwareOverclock
Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Storage | February 11, 2015 - 09:59 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: usb 3.1, usb, msi, asmedia
USB 3.0, for storage, is fast. If you are using an external, spindle-based hard drive, it will perform basically as fast as an internal sibling would. Apart from my two SSDs, I do not even have an internal drive anymore. You can safely install games to external hard drives now.
But with USB 3.1, the spec doubled to 10 Gbps, which matches the first generation Thunderbolt connector. A couple of weeks ago, Tom's Hardware put it to the test with an ASMedia USB3.1 to SATA 6 Gbps developer board. Sure enough, when you are raiding a pair of Intel 730 SSDs, you can achieve over 700 MB/s read/write in CrystalDiskMark.
About the most interesting part of Tom's Hardware testing is their CPU usage benchmark. While USB 3.0 on Intel's controller choked a CPU thread, USB 3.1 on ASMedia's controller did not even reach half of a thread's maximum (the CPU in question is a Core i7-5930K Haswell-E at 3.5 GHz).
So until we get flash drives that are constrained by USB 3.0's fairly high ceiling, we might be able to have reduced CPU usage.
A baker's dozen of GTX 960
Back on the launch day of the GeForce GTX 960, we hosted NVIDIA's Tom Petersen for a live stream. During the event, NVIDIA and its partners provided ten GTX 960 cards for our live viewers to win which we handed out through about an hour and a half. An interesting idea was proposed during the event - what would happen if we tried to overclock all of the product NVIDIA had brought along to see what the distribution of results looked like? After notifying all the winners of their prizes and asking for permission from each, we started the arduous process of testing and overclocking a total of 13 (10 prizes plus our 3 retail units already in the office) different GTX 960 cards.
Hopefully we will be able to provide a solid base of knowledge for buyers of the GTX 960 that we don't normally have the opportunity to offer: what is the range of overclocking you can expect and what is the average or median result. I think you will find the data interesting.
The 13 Contenders
Our collection of thirteen GTX 960 cards includes a handful from ASUS, EVGA and MSI. The ASUS models are all STRIX models, the EVGA cards are of the SSC variety, and the MSI cards include a single Gaming model and three 100ME. (The only difference between the Gaming and 100ME MSI cards is the color of the cooler.)
To be fair to the prize winners, I actually assigned each of them a specific graphics card before opening them up and testing them. I didn't want to be accused of favoritism by giving the best overclockers to the best readers!
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 30, 2015 - 03:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, msi gaming 2g, msi, maxwell, gtx 960
Sitting right now at $220 ($210 after MIR) the MSI GTX 960 GAMING 2G is more or less the same price as a standard R9 280 or a 280x/290 on discount. We have seen that the price to performance is quite competitive at 1080p gaming but this year the push seems to be for performance at higher resolutions. [H]ard|OCP explored the performance of this card by testing at 2560 x 1440 against the GTX 770 and 760 as well as the R9 285 and 280x with some interesting results. In some cases the 280x turned out on top while in others the 960 won, especially when Gameworks features like God Rays were enabled. Read through this carefully but from their results the deciding factor between picking up one or the other of these cards could be the price as they are very close in performance.
"We take the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 GPU based MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 2G and push it to its limits at 1440p. We also include a GeForce GTX 770 and AMD Radeon R9 280X into this evaluation for some unexpected results. How does the GeForce GTX 960 really compare to a wide range of cards?"
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Gigabyte GTX 960 G1 Gaming 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- Asus GeForce GTX 960 DirectCU II OC STRIX @ eTeknix
- ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Strix @ Benchmark Reviews
- Asus GeForce GTX 960 Strix OC @ Silent PC Review
- Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 960 @ eTeknix
- GeForce GTX 960 Article Round Up @HiTech Legion
- Linux Benchmarks Of NVIDIA's Early 2015 GeForce Line-Up @ Phoronix
- Corsair HG-10 gpu bracket @ HardwareOverclock
Subject: General Tech | January 23, 2015 - 12:56 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: msi, beema, APU, amd, all in one, AIO
MSI will soon release three new All In One PCs under its Adora and Entertainment series. The new PCs are powered by AMD’s Beema APU and are aimed at light duty home computing and commercial applications respectively.
MSI AE200 5M and AE220 5M AIO PC
The AIOs are clad in a white plastic casing with a clear bezel surrounding the matte display. The Adora20 5M offers a 19.5” 1600 x 900 screen while the AE200 5M and AE220 5M feature a 19.5” 1600 x 900 and 21.5” 1920 x 1080 displays respectively. All the displays use MSI’s anti flicker, blue light reduction, and optional anti-glare technologies to reduce eye strain. The panels are multi-touch capable as well.
As far as I/O, the AIOs have webcams, optical disc drives, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, HDMI, RJ45 Ethernet, analog audio in/out, and an SD card reader. All of the PCs support 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. The Entertainment series PCs (AE200 5M and AE220 5M) further add a Mini-PCIe connection and a COM port on the back to support barcode scanners, card readers, and other legacy peripherals.
Internally, the PCs are powered by a low power AMD “Beema” APU, up to 8GB of DDR3L memory, and a single 2.5” SATA III hard drive or SSD. The Beema APUs in question are the AMD A4-6210 and E2-6110 with the Adora20 5M getting the latter chip. Both processors are 15W 28nm SoCs with four Puma+ x86 cores and discrete Radeon GCN graphics. The A4-6210 and E2-6110 are similarly configured but the A4-6210 has higher clockspeeds on the quad core CPU (up to 1.8GHz vs 1.5GHz) and 128 GCN graphics cores (600MHz vs 500MHz). Josh wrote up an article following the launch of Beema that goes into more details, but the gist of it is that Beema is competing with Intel’s Bay Trail Atom chips in this area and the chips tend to trade benchmark wins. Depending on the application used under Windows 7/8.1, users should see roughly similar performance versus an Atom based system. I will admit to being surprised to see AMD get a design win here given the huge popularity of Bay Trail, but in this form factor Beema should do well.
Rear IO of the AE220 5M and AE200 5M PCs.
As is usually the case with these sort of announcements, there is no word on pricing or availability yet. Keep in mind that the AE200 5M and AE220 5M are aimed at businesses for use as kiosks, checkout terminals, product demonstrations, et al while the Adora20 5M is aimed more towards consumers who need a second PC or a primary PC for those with basic (mostly web-based or media playback focused) needs.
Subject: General Tech | January 5, 2015 - 03:26 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, usb type-c, usb 3.1, Tegra X1, tegra, podcast, nvidia, msi, Lenovo, ces 2015, CES
CES 2015 Podcast Day 1 - 01/04/15
It's time for podcast fun at CES! Join us as we talk about the first day of the show including a lot of announcements from Lenovo, MSI, the NVIDIA Tegra X1, USB 3.1 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, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano and Ken Addison
Program length: 47:58
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2015 - 03:24 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: z97i gaming ack, z97, video, msi, M.2, ces 2015, CES
We have definitely seen our share of Z97 motherboards using the Mini-ITX form factor by now, but the new MSI Z97I Gaming ACK offers a couple of unique twists worth noting. First, the board features both wireless and wired Killer Networking components, has four SATA 6 Gb/s ports and a total of six USB 3.0 ports. Click BIOS, OC Genie and Command Center are all MSI specific features found on the ACK.
The most interesting feature though is the rear-mounted M.2 port that allows the user to install a full 10 Gb/s M.2 storage device on the back side of the motherboard! Obviously you will have to be sure that the stand offs on your case will allow the spacing required for an M.2 device, but MSI doesn't think it will be a problem for most cases. It's a very interesting way to integrate more hardware on a design that is incredibly space limited. (Note: you'll have to watch the video to see the rear mounted M.2 port.)
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!