NVIDIA SLI Breaks EVGA GTX 560 Ti 2Win and X79 Combinations

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 16, 2011 - 04:39 PM |
Tagged: x79, sli, evga, GTX 560 Ti, 2win

Sometimes, the best intentions fumble out of the gates.  When we reviewed the EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2Win graphics card in November, I gave it a glowing review as a product that offered better performance than the GTX 580 while selling at a very similar price (currently just $20 more).  My test configuration at the time included an X58 motherboard based on the Nehalem architecture that has been tried and tested over the years.

For the forthcoming review of the Radeon HD 7970 graphics card, we decided to move our GPU test bed to the new X79-based Sandy Bridge-E platform since it was the new hotness and because it continued to be the best option for multi-GPU configurations going forward.  Or so we thought.

While preparing for our review, I was configuring our NVIDIA cards due for re-testing on this platform and brought the GTX 560 Ti 2Win out from the back room.  However, no matter which driver I used, I was unable to enable SLI on it and running a quick performance test confirmed we were running in a single GPU configuration.  We used driver versions from the 285.xx stack as well as the 290.xx stack - all with the same results.

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Both GPUs were enabled and would show up in the Windows Device Manager AND inside the NVIDIA control panel.  However, the standard SLI configuration switch was nowhere to be found.  We only had the ability to select enabling PhysX on different the GPUs...

After a quick talk with both NVIDIA and EVGA we confirmed this to be a bug with the EVGA GTX 560 Ti 2Win and the X79 platform as a whole.  Why?  Apparanetly a driver fix is in the works - it is all simply a software issue.  A new version is "coming soon" though no specific dates were given.  If you have one of these cards and upgraded to an X79 motherboard, we apologize for you only being able to utilize half of your investment.

Which brings me back to my consistent stance - NVIDIA's SLI Technology would be better served as an openly available multi-GPU solution without the restrictions of licensing and software hacks.  Why?  The money that NVIDIA makes on the licensing is pretty minimal and the only goal is to uphold the "value" of the SLI brand.  Instead, everytime a hiccup like this occurs, more gamers decide that the benefits aren't worth the potential hassle owning multiple graphics cards may cause.  

CrossFireX doesn't have nearly the marketing push behind it that SLI does yet it continues to have legs without the rather outdated partner licensing restrictions.  Every multiple PCIe slot motherboard (essentially) will support CrossFireX - users that might want SLI configurations need to look for that damn logo on the box...

Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

The Low Cost Sandy Bridge-E

In the conclusion to my original story looking at the performance characteristics of the Sandy Bridge-E platform, I wrote this:

I am most interested in the Core i7-3930K (as I think most of you will be), but we are going to have to wait a bit to see if we can get performance and power results for that part.

Well good readers, I am here with that information!  After getting my hands on the Core i7-3930K processor that makes up the other 50% of the available options for the X79 chipset motherboards, I can definitively say that THIS is the processor you want.  Unless you are crazy-go-nuts rich.  

With a clock speed only about 2.5% lower than its bigger brother yet a price that is 44% lower, the LGA2011 socket definitely has its enthusiast favorite. 

The Sandy Bridge-E Summary

I am not going to bother reprinting everything that we discussed about the new Sandy Bridge-E processor architecture, the X79 chipset and platform changes here though if you haven't read about them before today, you should definitely take a look at my earlier article

Here is a quicker summary:

The answer might surprise you, but truthfully not a whole lot has changed.  In fact, from a purely architectural stand point (when looking at the x86 processor cores), Sandy Bridge-E looks essentially identical to the cores found in currently available Sandy Bridge CPUs.  You will see the same benefits of the additional AVX instruction set in applications that take advantage of it, a shared L3 cache that exists between all of the cores for data coherency and the ring bus introduced with Sandy Bridge is still there to move data between the cores, cache and uncore sections of the die.

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Turbo Boost technology makes a return here as well with the updated 2.0 version in full effect - there are more steppings in scalability on this part than on the Nehalem or Westmere CPUs. 

Continue reading our review of the Intel Core i7-3930K Sandy Bridge-E processor!!

Puget Systems will build you a Sandy Bridge E system

Subject: Systems | December 6, 2011 - 05:37 PM |
Tagged: x79, Sandy Bridge E, puget systems, i7-3960x, GTX580, sli

If you want to get your hands on a pre-built Sandy Bridge E system you could do worse than the Puget Systems Deluge.  You get the Core i7-3960X on an ASUS Sabertooth X79 with 32GB of 1500MHz Patriot Viper Xtreme DDR3, a pair of EVGA GTX580s and both an Intel 510 250GB SSD and a 2TB WD Caviar Black for storage.  The whole system is cooled with a custom watercooler with a 360mm radiator and will only cost $7,254.  The system does give you enough power to game in NVIDIA Surround with decent frame rates, but AnandTech is of the opinion that this system is perhaps a bit too powerful.  So much of the capability of this system is not utilized by even the most demanding of games, and what is needed can be duplicated with parts that have a much smaller price tag.  However if you need the bragging rights then this system is for you.

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"It's been a little while since we've had a Puget Systems desktop in, and so far we haven't yet tested any of their big dog gaming machines. Everything else we've tested, we've liked, but what happens when the fine folks over at Puget Systems pull out all the stops and put together a high end gaming machine? The answer: the Deluge, an X79-based rig in a modified Antec P183, employing a custom liquid-cooling loop. It's big, powerful, and expensive. Did Puget Systems hit another custom out of the park, and is Sandy Bridge-E the enthusiast platform we were waiting for?"

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

Source: AnandTech

GSkill Heard You Like Memory…

Subject: Memory | December 6, 2011 - 11:35 AM |
Tagged: x79, SB-E, Sandy Bridge E, Intel, gskill, DDR-3 2400, DDR-3, bulldozer, amd, am3+, 64 GB

So they are giving us as much, and as fast, as we could possibly handle.  GSkill has announced their latest Ripjaw-Z kits specifically aimed at the latest Intel Socket 2011 chips on the X79 platform.  These kits range from 4 x 8GB @ 2100 speeds with 1.5 v up to 8 x 8GB at 2400 speeds at 1.65 v.  For those wishing to push clock speeds up higher, they offer a 4 x 4GB kit at 2500 speeds at 1.65v as well.

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Red is the new black.  This is what 32 GB of memory looks like now.

The past few months I have been using a few sets of GSkill memory with the latest Llano based chips from AMD.  These are 4 x 4 GB 1866 products that run at 1.5v, and they have been pretty phenomenal for me.  Now that we are moving into new CPU architectures from both manufacturers, memory speeds have become important again.  For quite some time people could easily get by with DDR-3 1333 modules and not experience any kind of performance bottleneck.  The reasons for this were due to CPU designs (quad core CPUs rarely required more than 12 GB/sec of bandwidth in most applications) as well as the non-integrated nature of graphics for the most part.

Read the full post here.

Source: GSkill

ECS and their no holds barred approach to the X79 chipset

Subject: Motherboards | November 30, 2011 - 05:29 PM |
Tagged: ECS, X79R-AX Extreme, x79

ECS put out the X79R-AX Extreme and it certainly deserves that moniker.  They went for 4 USB 3.0 ports instead of 2, they included a CLRTC button on the back panel, dual NIC s and Bluetooth and as well as WiFi with an external wire style antenna.  Internally there are 8 SATA 6Gb/s ports and 4 SATA 3Gb/s ports, a diagnostic LED which also displays current CPU temperature and 4 PCIe x16 slots and 2 PCIe x1 slots.  That list goes far beyond the other Extreme X79 boards on the market.  Guru3D warns that the BIOS is more than a little confusing when you overclock but at roughly $300 to pick up when it becomes available this is a sweet example of an X79 motherboard.

g3d_ecsx79.jpg

"Today we take a look at the new motherboard from ECS, the X79R-AX Extreme. We'll throw in a decent photo-shoot and a benchmark suite at the product and get an indication what performance is like with the Intel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E).

Admittedly I was a little shocked when the motherboard arrived, as it is probably the most feature rich X79 motherboard we've had in our labs."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

Source: Guru3D

Gear Up with MSI: Win Intel Motherboards, GeForce Graphics Cards

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards | November 30, 2011 - 11:13 AM |
Tagged: z68, x79, sandy bridge-e, msi, GTX 580, GTX 560, giveaway, contest

This is a pretty big week here at PC Perspective as we released our highly anticipated review of the Intel Sandy Bridge-E and X79 platform.  If you haven't read that over, you need to do so, right away!!  But we also have some impressive gear to giveaway thanks to our friends at MSI and their "Gear Up with MSI" campaign!

What are the prizes?  I know that's what you want to know first...

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prize2.jpg

Wow, these are some stellar prizes!  First prize basically gets the components required for one of the fastest gaming rigs on the planet while the 2nd prize will be able to play Batman: Arkham City with all the top settings! 

So what do you have to do to win these prizes?  The steps are simple:

  1. Make a comment on this post thanking MSI for this kick ass contest!!  That's pretty simple right?  You don't have to register, though we would appreciate it!
  2. Like MSI on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MSI.ComputerUS
    1. (Just a hint, they have a lot of Facebook-specific contests throughout the year!)
  3. Like PC Perspective on Facebook: http://facebook.com/pcper
  4. Follow PC Perspective on Twitter: http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. Circle PC Perspective on Google+: http://gplus.to/pcper
    1. (Another hint, comments on our G+ post about this contest get another entry!)

We will pick random winners in our pool of entries on Wednesday, the 7th of December!  Sorry, US and Canada residents only for this one!  If you don't have a Facebook/Twitter/Google+ account commenting here will still enter you.

Oh, and if you haven't seen the other contest MSI is running around the release of Batman: Arkham City, you should check out this page on their site.  Posting a photo of yourself dressed up like Batman has never been so lucrative! 

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The Grand Prize for MSI's Batman Photo Contest!!

Winners Announced!!  Sorry about the late update, but we did pick our winners!  The first prize went to use "Equinox2355" and the second prize went to "Deman".  Thanks to everyone for participating and we'll have more contests very soon!!!

Extreme overclocking potential from the new ASUS ROG Rampage IV Extreme

Subject: Motherboards | November 22, 2011 - 05:14 PM |
Tagged: asus, ROG Rampage IV Extreme, socket 2011, x79, ROG

ASUS had the extreme overclocker in mind when they were building the Rampage III Extreme, not many people need two type-K Probe digital thermometers for operating below 0C nor 6 variable resistors, voltage sensors to monitor your GPUs exact current voltage nor an external device to monitor and tweak settings that doesn't need CPU cycles.  If you are more of a casual overclocker you should not let that scare you off as there is a solid BIOS for more casual tweaking which you can even access using an iPhone/iPad over Bluetooth.  It also sports what ASUS calls the X-Socket which will allow you to use an LGA1366 heatsink on this board.  It might cost almost $500 but once you are done reading Hardware Canucks review you might be trying to find ways to put this board in your next system.

HWC_Rampage.jpg

"You saw them in our i7-3960X review; the much anticipated Sandy Bridge Extreme launch along with the X79 code name Patsburg chipsets. Not only do we have a brand new socket (2011) but motherboard manufacturers have have been quick on the uptake and ASUS is trying to lead the pack with their X79 Rampage IV Extreme."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

Single malt, second opinion, triple checked and quad channel; one of these things is not like the other

Subject: Memory | November 21, 2011 - 06:02 PM |
Tagged: quad channel, x79, Intel DX79SI, corsair CMGTX8, ddr3-1333

If one wanted to explore the actual benefit of the new quad channel memory feature on the X79 motherboard, the most logical way would be to use the same RAM and test it in single, dual, triple and quad channel.  That is exactly what Legit Reviews did using a quad channel kit of DDR3-1333 from Corsair and the Intel SX79SI motherboard, moving from single up to quad channel as well as upping the speed of the DIMMs.  As most may already know, on synthetic benchmarks you do see a relatively linear progression in theoretical bandwidth however the same cannot be said when looking at actual tasks like encoding.   Head on over to see the results.

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"We started out running a single module at 1333MHz and then another module at a time to test dual channel, triple channel and finally quad channel. The Intel X79 chipet on the Intel SX79SI motherboard was able to properly run each memory configuration. The benchmark results in Sandra 2012 were very impressive in the sense that the benchmark results were nearly linear when moving from single channel to triple channel memory. Adding the fourth module for quad channel performance showed..."

Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:

Memory

 

Podcast #179 - Sandy Bridge-E Review, X79 Motherboards, a new NAS device from Western Digital, Aquarium PCs and more!

Subject: Editorial | November 17, 2011 - 04:17 PM |
Tagged: x79, western digital, storage, sandy bridge-e, podcast, nvidia, NAS, Intel, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #179 - 11/17/2011

Join us this week as we talk about our Sandy Bridge-E Review, X79 Motherboards, a new NAS device from Western Digital, Aquarium PCs 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

Program length: 1:14:31

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:24 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 Intel Sandy Bridge-E Review - Core i7-3960X and X79 Chipset Tested
    1. Sandy Bridge-E Prices Leaked In Company Bulletin
  6. 0:27:45 X79 Motherboard Roundup Video Preview
    1. ASUS
    2. Gigabyte
    3. MSI
  7. 0:28:53 Alienware M17x (R3) Gaming Notebook Review: It Glows!
  8. 0:30:25 Thermaltake Toughpower Grand 1200W Power Supply Review
  9. 0:31:20 NVIDIA Reports Q3 2012 Results
  10. 0:39:15 Western Digital launches Sentinel Series of NAS devices, bringing enterprise features to the small business.
  11. 0:46:20 The mineral oil in this Aquarium will be hard on the fish but not your components
  12. 0:53:45 Antec Announces P280 Enclosure
  13. 0:54:50 Win a Free Copy of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim from PC Perspective
    1. You missed it, but Jared H. didn't!
  14. 0:56:15 Bulldozers at Knights Corner; duelling server chips
  15. 0:59:45 More Free Stuff Friday: XFX Radeon HD 6870 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  16. 1:00:12 The Intel 32 in 32 Challenge on Facebook
  17. 1:01:22 Free Stuff Wednesday: Gigabyte G1 Assassin X58 Motherboard Giveaway!!
  18. 1:02:15 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Random.org - finally get an answer to "where should we eat tonight?"
    2. Jeremy: Buckets are teh win but to be more useful Disconnect for Chrome is a nice choice
    3. Josh: Fast 120GB SSD for $140
    4. Allyn: Ironkey - now available in MLC
  19. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  20. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  21. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  22. Closing

MSI's All-new X79 Series Mainboards Deliver Superior Stability with Military Class III Components

Subject: Motherboards | November 16, 2011 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: msi, x79, X79A-GD65 (8D), X79A-GD65, X79A-GD45, X79MA-GD45

(Industry, CA) -- Leading international mainboard and graphics card manufacturer MSI today announces the official release of its X79A-GD65 (8D), X79A-GD65, X79A-GD45, and X79MA-GD45 mainboards. The new mainboards are based on Intel's latest X79 chipset and uses the LGA 2011 socket supporting the 2nd generation Core i7 processors. The X79A-GD65 (8D) features with 8 memory DIMMs, supports 16GB DDR3 memory modules, bringing maximum capacity up to a staggering 128GB! For superior quality and stability, MSI X79 series mainboards adopts Military Class III components. With DrMOS II - the next generation of DrMOS with improved double thermal protection - the lifetime of components is maximized, even in warmer environments or when the machine is heavily overclocked. MSI X79 series mainboards also feature the latest PCI Express Gen 3 bus and MSI's proprietary Click BIOS II for maximum performance and user convenience. When taking into account all of the other advanced technologies supported such as 3-Way NVIDIA SLI and 4-way AMD CrossFireX multi-GPU processing technology, THX TruStudio PRO sound, Multi-BIOS II, Control Center II, and Super Charger, MSI X79-series mainboards are simply the best choice for enthusiasts!

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New Military Class III Components and the Next-gen DrMOS: DrMOS II
MSI X79 series mainboards maintains MSI's commitment to product stability and reliability by introducing Military Class III components. In addition to the use of Tantalum core capacitors (Hi-c CAP), Super Ferrite Chokes (SFC) and Solid Capacitors (Solid CAP), MSI now incorporates next-generation DrMOS II design. While competitors are just beginning to adopt a DrMOS solution, MSI's DrMOS II provides an integrated and fully-automated Double Thermal Protection to maximize the lifespan of components – even in warmer environments or when heavily overclocked. All Military Class III components have passed MIL-STD-810G certification, making MSI's Military Class III components synonymous with premium quality and ultimate stability.

Double the Bandwidth with PCI Express Gen 3
MSI's X79 mainboards support the latest PCI Express Gen 3 standard to deliver a staggering 32GB/s of bandwidth, double that of the previous generation. PCI Express Gen 3 support can also be enabled or disabled through the BIOS interface to ensure compatibility with graphics cards regardless of whether users use a PCI Express Gen 3 graphics card!

World's 1st Unified UEFI & Software Graphical Interface – Click BIOS II
MSI's Click BIOS II is the world's 1st to provide a unified graphical user interface under both UEFI & Windows. System settings can be adjusted using the mouse or even LCD touch control under different environments. Click BIOS II can not only save overclocking settings to a USB storage device but also upload them for sharing with other overclocking enthusiasts. This convenient and intuitive design is the result of continual technological breakthrough developed by MSI for its flagship mainboard line.

Easiest One-second Overclocking Technology – OC Genie II
MSI's proprietary OC Genie II can achieve amazing performance increases in just one second. CPU and memory performance are optimized without compromising system stability, significantly saving the time required by overclockers for fine-tuning. Once the user enables OC Genie on MSI's X79 mainboards, the clock rate on the Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition processor pumped from a default of 3.3GHz to 4.0GHz. The 21% increase enables users to enjoy the performance boost from overclocking with ease.

Comprehensive Support for Multi-GPU Processing Technology
MSI X79 mainboards fully support 4-way AMD CrossFireX and 3-way NVIDIA SLI multi-GPU processing technologies, providing the most scalability and performance for gamers who require extreme gaming performance.

THX TruStudio PRO Surround Sound Technology for the Best Audio Experience
MSI X79 series mainboards are all equipped with THX TruStudio PRO audio technology for the best sound quality. Experience the most immersive surround sound effects when you are watching Blu-ray movies, other media, or playing 3D games!

Multi-BIOS II Offers Safe and Convenient BIOS Switching
MSI's X79 mainboards support the latest Multi-BIOS II technology. The integrated dual BIOS design improves safety and convenience by allowing enthusiasts to use a switch on the mainboard to manually switch between different BIOS setups when one is corrupted by overclocking or other factors.

Super Charger Charges Your iPad / iPhone / Smart Phone, Even When Computer is Powered Off!
MSI's X79 mainboards support Super Charger fast charging technology to deliver triple the current of standard USB 2.0 interfaces. Even if your computer is switched off, you’ll still be able to quickly recharge your iPad/iPhone or smart phone to ensure you always stay connected!

Source: MSI