A 71 CPU 2011 round up (the year, not the socket)

Subject: Processors | January 30, 2012 - 04:51 PM |
Tagged: Intel, amd, sandybridge, llano, bulldozer, Sandy Bridge E

If you are looking for a quick way to contrast the processors that were released this year then iXBT Labs has a review for you.  They've added their CPU/APU reviews for the past year together and compiled some rather lengthy charts which reflect the comparative performance of a few older chips as well as the majority of chips released this year.  Both Intel and AMD desktop and server chips are included, mobile users will need to look elsewhere to compare chips designed specifically for laptops.  Their benchmarks range from 3D modelling to 3D gaming as well as compression, office suites and raster graphics processing so no matter what purpose you will be putting these chips to you should be able to get an idea what chips to be on the look out for.

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Told you it was big, visit iXBT Labs if you want the readable version.

"The year 2011 has ended, so it's high time to sum up the results and see the general picture. If you're looking to upgrade, we hope this will make choosing a processor easier."

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Processors

 

Source: iXBT Labs

The many faces of Sandybridge motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | October 18, 2011 - 06:21 PM |
Tagged: Z68XP-UD3, x68, sapphire, sandybridge, Pure Platinum Z68, p67, Maximus IV Extreme B3, Intel, gigabyte, G1.Sniper, asus

When building a SandyBridge system you have several types of motherboard chipset to choose from, some with more capabilities than others.  The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme B3 is the odd duck in this roundup, being the only P67 board in an Z68 round up which means that it loses out on Intel SRT, which is not a drawback for those planning on using an SSD with a high enough capacity to be used as a main drive.  The two Gigabyte boards and the Sapphire board are Z68 and therefore sport all of the bells and whistles that come with that chipset.  In terms of pure performance and overclocking ability it is not the feature set that matters, it is the ability of the board its self.  Check out which of these 4 boards reigns supreme in Neoseeker's benchmarks here.

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"A quartet of motherboards based the Intel P67 and Z68 chipsets arrives at Neoseeker's labs, covering both the value and enthusiast market spectrums. There just might be something for everyone with a Intel LGA 1155 socket CPU in our latest motherboard roundup."

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Source: Neoseeker

ASRock Vision 3D HTPC With Sandy Bridge CPU Leaks to Web

Subject: General Tech | September 8, 2011 - 08:09 PM |
Tagged: sandybridge, Intel, htpc, asrock

ASRock, a company most well known for its motherboards, has built a sleek little HTPC (home theater PC) whose specifications recently leaked to the web. Powered by a choice of Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge Core i3, i5, or i7 processors, and a discrete Nvidia GT540M graphics card with 1 GB RAM the small black or silver chassis has enough power to deliver 2D or 3D video with ease. Further, the computer features a Blu-ray drive, the aforementioned Nvidia 3D Vision technology, a media center remoter, and a media card reader.

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Connectivity includes headphone and microphone inputs, two USB 3.0 ports, SD card reader, and power button on the front. The rear of the HTPC contains a host of connectivity options including a power jack, S/PDIF, 7.1 channel analog audio jacks, Ethernet, two USB 3.0 ports, DVI, E-SATA, HDMI 1.4a, and four USB 2.0 ports. Air ventilation slots and a Kensington lock slot.

Needless to say, this little PC is loaded with options, and would even be capable of some light gaming in addition to its role as a movie and multimedia playback device. The aesthetics are pretty good as well. Do you have a dedicated HTPC box in your entertainment center or do you use extender devices like the Xbox 360 to play your media on the TV?  You can see more photos and details on the HTPC over at Engadget.

Source: Engadget

No Intel architecture refresh can be complete without a Pentium model

Subject: Processors | August 12, 2011 - 01:35 PM |
Tagged: sandybridge, pentium, G850, Intel

Intel has updated the Pentium processor for the SandyBridge era with the 32nm G620, G840 and G850, all of which cost under $100.   All are rated at 65W TDP with 3MB of level 3 cache, an integrated DDR3 memory controller, PCI Express 2.0 interface, Direct Media Interface 2.0, and Intel HD Graphics 2000.  Legit Reviews tested the 2.9GHz G850 model and found no surprises, neither good nor bad.  The Pentium line remains the workhorse model, perfect for office usage, web browsing and even watching movies.  Those who make movies or want to do more than basic gaming are better off looking at an older LGA1156 processor or even a slightly more expensive Intel or AMD chip.  If you've a relative that only needs a PC for light duty tasks, consider a system built around one of these new SandyBridge Pentiums.

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"After trying out both the Intel Pentium G620 and Pentium G850 we must admit that we are still impressed by what these cost effective mainstream processors can do. Thanks to the powerful Intel 'Sandy Bridge' microarchitecture these dual-core processors don't run too far behind the more expensive offerings from Intel and AMD. You can find some pretty good deals on LGA775 and LGA1156 platforms right now, but the Intel Pentium series for LGA1155 has more features and as you could see in the performance tests they weren't that far behind in the benchmarks..."

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Toshiba Satellite p755, at least the 3D isn't proprietary

Subject: Mobile | July 14, 2011 - 02:10 PM |
Tagged: toshiba, 3d display, 15.6 inch, sandybridge

It's yet another 3D laptop, as the only thing geekier that walking around staring at a notebook is to do so wearing big green NVIDIA glasses.  The arguments for and against 3D vision aside, this 15.6" 1366x768 TFT LED is powered by a 2.3GHz Core i5 with 6GB DDR3, a Geforce GT540M with 1GB dedicated VRAM and a Blue-ray drive.  Those features, especially the Blue-ray and 3D display help push the price over the $1000 mark.   The Inquirer had fun reviewing this laptop, but were not impressed with the low brightness in 3D mode and were very disappointed with the battery life.

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"THE SATELLITE P755 is one of Toshiba's top of the range laptops. It aims to offer the full entertainment and multimedia package with Nvidia's active shutter 3D technology built in.

The laptop is good looking with its silvery grey textured finish. We think it looks stylish without going over the top and the design should appeal to a range of tastes."

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Source: The Inquirer

SandyBridge graphics performance showdown; Linux versus Win7

Subject: Processors | July 13, 2011 - 05:27 PM |
Tagged: linux, windows, ostc, SBNA, sandybridge

In the first showdown that Phoronix tried, the Linux driver for Intel's HD3000 iGPU beat out the Win7 driver handily.  That win was due to the OSTC Linux engineers at Intel doing a bang up job on the Linux drivers, while the Windows team lagged behind a bit.  A few months have passed and the laggards on the Windows team have since released a major update to their drivers, necessitating Phoronix to repeat the test.  Unfortunately for them the Linux team has also released improvements, specifically "Sandy Bridge New Acceleration".  Can the Windows team retake the lead, or should you switch to OpenGL games on Linux? Read on to see.

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"The new benchmarks going out today on Phoronix are looking at the performance of Intel's Sandy Bridge graphics with the latest Microsoft Windows 7 and Ubuntu Linux drivers. Not only are we using the very latest drivers, but there is also a separate Linux test run with SNA, the "Sandy Bridge New Acceleration" architecture enabled."

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Source: Phoronix

The difference a letter can make; 4 LGA1155 boards from Gigabyte

Subject: Motherboards | July 6, 2011 - 06:27 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, sandybridge, ga-z68x, lga1155

Gigabyte's GA-Z68X-UD3P-B3, GA-Z68X-UD4-B3, GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 and GA-Z68X-UD7-B3 are up for review on X-bit Labs right now.   You need to be fairly observant to notice the difference in the models and have a great memory to know which is which at a glance.  They all share some similar characteristics, such as the lack of onboard video out but also share positive traits like Dual BIOS and Phase LEDs and a number of USB 3.0 and SATA 6G ports.  They had a few problems during the review which you might want to find out about before purchasing one of these boards.

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"Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3P-B3, GA-Z68X-UD4-B3, GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 and GA-Z68X-UD7-B3 mainboards do not have video Outs, that is why integrated graphics doesn’t work on them. They can use Intel Smart Response technology, but do not support any of the Lucid Virtu modes. Read our in-depth review to find out about other features of these mainboards."

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Source: X-Bit Labs

Gigabyte Launches New Super4 Motherboards Based On Intel's H61 Chipset

Subject: Motherboards | June 10, 2011 - 04:07 AM |
Tagged: sandybridge, lga1155, Intel, h61, gigabyte

Gigabyte is on a roll lately as far as cranking out new motherboard series, and their latest unveiling introduces a new lineup that the company has dubbed its “Super4” motherboard series. The new motherboards amount to a budget Sandy Bridge platform that is positioned to save budget PC gamers a few bucks compared to the more feature-full, and more expensive, P67 and H67 chipsets by cutting out features that they do not necessarily need.

The GA-H61M-USB3-B3 Model Is Part of the New Super4 Series.

To be more specific, the new Super4 series is a new line of Gigabyte motherboards based around Intel’s H61 Express chipset, and supporting Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge socket 1155 processors. This chipset is fairly similar to it’s higher-end H67 brethren; however, it features only a single PCIe 2.0 x16 slot, 10 USB 2.0 ports, and four SATA II (3.0 Gb/s) ports versus the two PCIe 2.0 x16 slots, 14 USB 2.0 ports and six Sata II ports of H67. (A full comparison by Intel of the two chipsets can be found here.  Another differentiator between the two chipsets is the number of RAM DIMM slots available.  Whereas H67 boards could support four DIMM slots, H61 boards will only include two slots.

Gigabyte has then further added USB 3.0 support to their specific motherboards by including two USB 3.0 ports on the rear IO panel powered by an Etron EJ168 chip. Realtek Audio and Gigabit Ethernet is also included and accessible via the rear IO. As far as expansion slots, on the GA-H61M-USB3-B3 for example, Gigabyte has laid out the expansion slots as follows: One PCIe 2.0 x16 (running at x16) slot, one PCIe x1 slot, and two PCI slots. As the motherboards are based on Intel’s “H” chipset variant, their are the traditional DVI-D and VGA video outputs for the Intel processor graphics.

The new Super4 motherboard roll-out currently includes the following models: GA-P61-USB3-B3, GA-P61-DS3-B3, GA-HA65M-D2H-B3, GA-H61M-USB3-B3, GA-H61M-D2-B3, and GA-H61M-S2V-B3.

Gigabyte’s marketing team has appeared in full force, presenting the new Super4 series as “Super Safe, Super Speed, Super Savings, and Super Sound,” where the four pillars make up the motherboards “Super4” moniker.  The boards will likely retail for under $100 USD and will be priced lower than P67 and H67 based boards due to the fewer ports and supported PCIe x16 slots reducing the manufacturing cost. For single graphics card gaming rigs with only one or two storage drives, the new H61 motherboards may well prove to be a viable option. You can learn more about the boards by perusing the press release as well as by staying tuned to PC Perspective.

Source: Gigabyte

More high end SandyBridge goodness, the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro

Subject: Motherboards | May 16, 2011 - 05:00 PM |
Tagged: asus, z68, sandybridge

The expiration of the NDA on the Z68 chipset has launched an impressive amount of reviews, which represents just how much choice you will have if you upgrade to a high end SandyBridge motherboard.  That is also easy to see if you search NewEgg for Z68 based boards, which range from $120ish to over $350 depending on the features.  One possibility is the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro, a middle of the road $210 board sporting two PCIe x16 slots running 8x is you use dual GPUs along with an impressive array of output and input ports and 7.1 sound.  Legit Reviews didn't hand it an Editors Choice Award for nothing, this board has a lot going for it.

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"Prior to the Intel Z68 chipset, you would have to choose. Either you could have integrated graphics and no overclocking capabilities, or overclocking abilities as well as the need to invest in a discrete graphics card. Fortunately that is no longer the case. We now have the best of both worlds at our fingertips with motherboards like the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro that we have been looking at today. Every gaming benchmark that we ran, the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro was able to out perform the GIGABYTE P67A-UD7..."

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Motherboards

Tri-Fire/SLI redux, look at the difference SandyBridge makes!

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | May 6, 2011 - 01:09 PM |
Tagged: tri-fire, crossfire, sli, triple, sandybridge

Not too long ago [H]ard|OCP examined the price to performance ratio between a triple SLI GTX580 system and a Tri-Fire HD6990 and HD6970 and discovered that as far as value goes, NVIDIA could not touch AMD.  A reader of theirs inquired if it was the aging Core i7-920 that was holding the cards back even with the overclock of 3.6GHz.  A SandyBridge system with a Core i7-2600K and an ASUS board with the NF200 bridge chip was used to revisit the performance of the two vendors GPUs.  The result; we can hardly wait for the Z68 boards to come out!

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"We have re-tested performance between GTX 580 3-Way SLI and Radeon HD 6990+6970 Tri-Fire with a brand new Sandy Bridge 4.8GHz system. Our readers wanted to know if the CPU speed would improve performance and open up the potential of this triple-GPU performance beasts. To put it succinctly, they were right. The results completely turn the tables upside down and then some."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP