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

The new Sapphire Toxic HD6950 is [H]ard core

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 30, 2011 - 02:45 PM |
Tagged: toxic, sapphire, hd6950

To get the bad news out of the way first, as Josh observed last week the stocks of HD6950 and 6970s are sparse, so you if you see the Sapphire Toxic HD6950 for sale grab it right away!

Why should you grab the card without hesitation?  It has Sapphire's Vapor Chamber cooling and comes with an 80MHz GPU clock and 50MHz GDDR5 overclock right out of the box and [H]ard|OCP hit 978MHz GPU and 1450MHz GDDR5 using Sapphire's TriXX OC Utility to boost the frequency and voltage.  You don't even have to worry about flashing the BIOS to make the card an HD6970, Sapphire did it for you, plus there is also a BIOS available which will set the +20% to PowerTune automatically.  This is the most serious GPU for under $300 right now.

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"SAPPHIRE claims to have produced the fastest HD 6950 on the market in the SAPPHIRE HD6950 TOXIC Edition. It competes with a stock Radeon HD 6950 and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570. We also put it to the test against a Radeon HD 6970 and GeForce GTX 580 with results that might shock you. And did we mention you get two free games?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Sapphire's custom cooled HD 6950 2GB GDDR5 DiRT 3 Special Edition

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 28, 2011 - 03:22 PM |
Tagged: sapphire, HD6950 2GB DiRT 3 Special Edition, hd6950

The HD6950 is a fairly mature card, which means that the top tier partners have had time to perfect their designs and implement functional improvements.  Sapphire chose to customize the cooler on their DiRT 3 Special Editon HD6950, which [H]ard|OCP took advantage of to focus on overclocking.  Sapphire's TRIXX Tweak Utility played a big part in their testing, especially when overvolting the card.  Check out the full review here.

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"Overclocking a video card provides a better gameplay experience, or so every enthusiast hopes. Today we have the Sapphire HD 6950 2GB DiRT 3 Special Edition on our gaming rig to see how well it performs and overclocks using Sapphire's TRIXX Tweaking utility. Will this overclock yield a better gameplay experience?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Sapphire jumps on the AMD A75 chipset

Subject: Motherboards | July 27, 2011 - 06:03 PM |
Tagged: a75, sapphire, sapphire pure platinum, llano, hudson

Longtime GPU partner Sapphire is taking advantage of the new AMD A75 Hudson-D3 FCH chipset to put out their new Sapphire Pure Platinum A75 motherboard.  Onboard are five SATA3 ports, a single PCIe 16x, a single PCI 4x, two PCIe 1x, and two 32-bit PCI slots along with 7.1 sound from a Realtek ALC892 chip and a mini PCIe slot.  Externally you will find four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, a LAN port and even Bluetooth.  As far as budget boards for Llano go, Hi Tech Legion have not seen better and that was before they managed the 35% overclock.

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"Sapphire has just released their venture into Llano with the Sapphire Pure Platinum A75 Motherboard. The Platinum A75 offers all of the premium niceties that can be found with AMD's Lynx platform. First, there is the top tier A75 Hudson-D3 FCH chipset. This has an FM1 socket for the latest Llano APU chips. There is support for up to 16GB of 800/1033/1333/1600/1866 MHz speed DDR3 memory. This chipset offers exceptional connectivity as you get five SATA3 ports, one 16x PCI-E, two 1x PCI-E, one 4x PCI-E, two 32-bit PCI, and four USB 3.0 ports. Because the APU is a CPU/GPU combination, for video connectivity, there is an HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort available."

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Sapphire Introduces New Pure Platinum Motherboard Supporting AMD A-Series APUs

Subject: Motherboards | July 21, 2011 - 11:25 AM |
Tagged: sapphire, motherboard, fusion, APU, amd

Sapphire Technologies, most popular for their line of AMD discrete graphics cards, has recently unveiled a new ATX motherboard supporting AMD’s A-Series APUs. Dubbed the Sapphire Pure Platinum A75, the board supports the latest interface standards including SATA 3 6Gbps, USB 3.0, PCI-E 2, and USB 2.0. Further, the board supports Gigabit LAN, Bluetooth, and four dual channel memory sockets.

Sapphire Pure Platinum A75.jpg

The Pure Platinum A75 motherboard is a full ATX affair that is chock full of expansion slots. Four dual channel DIMM slots for DDR3 memory, two PCI-E 2 x1 slots, one PCI-E 2 x4 slot, one PCI-E 2 x16 slot, and two PCI slots along the bottom of the board. On the storage front, the motherboard contains five SATA 3 6Gbps ports with ACHI and RAID support and a single SATA 2 3Gbps port that is connected to the rear header and is used as an eSATA connection.

Other features of the board include Dual Graphics support when the APU is paired with a AMD HD 6600 or HD 6500 series for a boost in graphics performance by using both the discrete card and APU together. A single digital debug display, push buttons for resetting the BIOS, starting, and restarting the system, Dual BIOS support, and voltage test pads that allow voltage readings of the APU and memory circuits. Further, the motherboard uses gold plated connectors on the USB 3.0 and LAN ports in addition to solid capacitors and Sapphire Diamond Black chokes in the VRM area.

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Rear IO of the board includes Display Port, DVI, HDMI, four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, one Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR antenna, one eSATA port, and one PS/2 keyboard/mouse combination port. The board also included the standard fair of audio ports, supporting up to 7.1 audio.

According to Sapphire, the board is currently in production and will be available through the usual channel partners and retailers. You can check out more photos of the motherboard here.

Source: Sapphire

PDXLAN Gears up with sponsors and gamers

Subject: Editorial, Shows and Expos | July 16, 2011 - 12:51 PM |
Tagged: sli, sapphire, pdxlan, pdx, nvidia, msi, amd

If you are a PC gaming and live near or around the Portland, OR area you are familiar with the concept of PDXLAN - one of the most popular (but still cool and underground) LAN events in the country.  The primary event is going on this weekend and I am here to both game and take a look at what the sponsors are showing off. 

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MSI has a lot of stuff going on including a look at the latest version of the Afterburner overclocking tool, the 3GB version of the GTX 580 Lightning (that Josh is currently working on a review of) and even a NVIDIA Surround based Dirt 3 sim seat.

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Gaming laptops are still taking off here in the US and MSI has a couple on display including a HUGE 18-in mode (on the right) with a keyboard that lights up with various colors of LEDs, configurable.  

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The Sapphire guys are here as well and are showing off much of what AMD for gamers including Eyefinity configurations like the very popular 5x1 portrait mode.  This is something that only AMD offers currently and in this demo we were looking at Dragon Age II.  It was definitely grabbing some attention!

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Showing that AMD's HD3D technology does indeed have legs Sapphire was showing off the new Samsung SyncMaster SA950 that has a nice external design.  I am going to spend some more time with it today to see how it performs, so check back for more!

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If you are here, you can also find me getting butt kicked at various games.  This is the machine I'll be on, a Maingear built GTX 580 SLI right with an overclocked Intel Core i7 Sandy Bridge processor and 30-in display.  I know, it sucks to be me, but someone has to sacrifice and play on it, right?

More from PDXLAN later today!

Source: PCPer

Buy an AMD GPU (or two) and get a free copy of DiRT 3

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 24, 2011 - 02:29 PM |
Tagged: xfx, sapphire, powercolor, msi, his, free, dirt 3, amd

If you haven't heard of DiRT 3 by now, you've been missing one of the more technically innovative games developed recently.  Racing fans will go overboard for the choice of cars, spanning 50 years of racing history, which you can compete with in races across all terrain types and the more artistic will like the freestyle gymkhana events. 

The techies will be impressed by the depth of support for DX11 features and we're not just talking about tessellation added on as an afterthought.  The game was designed from the ground up to take advantage of the best graphics cards and to move the way light and shadows interact beyond DX10 HDR and the features other new games have been using. 

Whichever you are, picking up a new Radeon card from Sapphire, Powercolor, MSI, HIS or XFX nets you a free copy of the game! How can you go wrong with that?

 

 

No doubt you’ve heard that the newest addition to Codemasters’ racing games, DiRT 3 has launched today. The reviews are also in, and they’re great, I mean, they’re really great.

Being a Gaming Evolved title, we worked with Codemasters very closely on this one - DiRT 3 makes advances in graphics technologies, taking full advantage of the DirectX™ 11 API, first supported by AMD Radeon graphics. Here’s a glimpse of what DiRT 3 is truly capable of doing – giving players the ultimate visual experience:

  • Shader Model 5.0 Contact Hardening Shadows
  • DirectCompute Accelerated High Definition Ambient Occlusion
  • Optimized Hardware Tessellation

In addition, DiRT 3 has been validated for various Eyefinity configurations, including the brand new 5x1 setup. But the fun doesn’t stop there. You’ll see some examples of it here.

We believe DiRT 3 is such a great game, that we’ve been working with our AIB partners to make this game widely accessible to everyone who buys an AMD Radeon graphics card from our select AIBs, FOR FREE – please visit www.amd.com/dirt3 for more details.

 

Source: AMD

Sapphire's snappy ION 2 powered Edge HD

Subject: Processors, Chipsets, Systems | May 19, 2011 - 06:10 PM |
Tagged: sapphire, ion 2, htpc

At an estimated $450, the Sapphire Edge HD mini PC, powered by a dual core Atom D510 1.66 GHz with ION 2 graphics is a pretty good deal for those looking for a nettop.  With only 250GB of storage you will probably want this connected to a large storage device either over ethernet or USB, though with services like Google Music Beta, Wolfgang's Vault and YouTube that might not be a problem.  From InsideHW's testing you certainly won't have to worry about videos skipping just because your email is open.

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"A dual-core CPU that won’t be stricken down by several programs running at the same time, GeForce that chews on any video that you put in front of it, sufficient RAM to make Windows 7 jump around, complete support for all types of video/audio formats and subtitles, and all this for a price of a good Blu-ray player - what else could you wish for?"

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Source: InsideHW