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November 7, 2011 - 03:07 PM | Ryan Shrout
Just Delivered is a new section of PC Perspective where we share some of the goodies that pass through our labs that may or may not see a review, but are pretty cool none the less.
Sometimes we receive interesting packages in the mail and when we get things from Corsair, we tend to pay attention. Oddly, I had not seen a box quite this size before. What comes from Corsair in the shape of a cube?
As it turns out, it was four 16GB DDR3 memory kits, preparing our team for the upcoming Sandy Bridge-E platform reviews!
Each kit includes 4 modules, getting us ready for the quad-channel memory controller on the upcoming Intel CPU. Corsair included both Vengeance and Vengeance LP kits for us, offering an option is lower profile for potentially larger heatsinks.
For motherboards that will ship with 8 DIMM slots, this allows us to test configurations as high as 32GB!! We are going to be covering all of these bases for you in the coming weeks before launch but don't worry - we are going test the standard 4 x 2GB configurations as well. :)
November 3, 2011 - 08:22 PM | Scott Michaud
We have been discussing AMD’s condition and future outlook over most of recent memory. Since the lawsuit versus Intel and the subsequent trying by the Big Blue Giant: AMD’s apparent jab-haymaker combo of lawsuit-Sempron to push heavily in the consumer market seems to have been mostly dodged and countered by Intel. While this last quarter has been positive there is little time for positive press; AMD has, today, removed 1400 employees from their company.
There was a time that AMD said they could beat anything Intel could throw at them.
That means that what AMD is releasing now is as-good or better than where they thought CPUs would be.
Food for thought.
It is not very uncommon to see layoffs during restructuring in the 10% range when a new CEO enters a company. The sad part of restructuring is that there is often little consideration about which employees comprise that 10%; rather, their job descriptions. These layoffs in isolation do not say much about AMD’s health in the upcoming time but should tint in one way or another how to perceive their upcoming actions. Where the future is positive or negative depends on how this ties into that.
November 2, 2011 - 05:55 PM | Scott Michaud
Remember back in September when Ryan was all excited about seeing AMD exceed Intel with their Liquid Helium-cooled overclock? 8.429 GHz bulldozed past the 8.309 GHz record set upon Intel’s Celeron and all rejoiced at AMD’s 130 MHz triumph. Well out with the old and in with the new: there is a new overclocking king and it goes by the name of -- well it is also the AMD FX-8150. That is irrelevant, however, as the new record (if validated before someone beats it too) has become 8.461 GHz.
Someone’s the new king in town… the current king.
The new world record was set by Andre Yang, an overclocked from Taiwan, with an ASUS Crosshair V Formula motherboard. Benchmarks were not possible as when you get overclocking to this level: successfully running CPU-Z just to query the specifications of a CPU is generally considered sufficiently stable to be qualified as an overclock. Do not be surprised if SuperPi blows a hole through your chassis. It was not stated which method of cooling was used to allow the processor to reach those specifications.
November 1, 2011 - 02:48 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Windows and to an extent other OSes are now familiar with Intel's HyperThreading and tend to be able to schedule threads in an optimized manner, but what about the eight 'cores' in the AMD A8-3850? The Tech Report found a way to test this and the results are conclusive; Windows 7 is not optimized properly for Bulldozer. The Bulldozer has two cores on each module, easy to see in the picture below. By playing with the core affinity via the command line you can run benchmarks using specific cores, to test the impact clustering together 4 threads in two modules versus spreading out the threads to one per module. As it turns out, there is a noticeable difference when you do set the processor to run with one thread in each cluster.
"Is an awareness of the shared nature of AMD's Bulldozer architecture the key to unlocking its performance? We investigate."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer on Asus Crosshair V @ The Inquirer
- DIY Guides: How To Install/Remove AMD Socket FM1 CPU and Heatsink @ PCSTATS
- AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer Tested - Windows 8 vs. Windows 7 Performance @ Frostytech
- Mobile CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- CPU Performance Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Intel Core i7 2700k @ kitguru
- Intel Core i7 2700k Flagship Showdown Review @ eTeknix
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | October 31, 2011 - 02:22 PM | Matt Baynum
Tagged: video, sandy bridge, Intel, bf3, battlefield 3, APU, amd
Everyone is playing Battlefield 3 these days; we even had a virtual LAN party this weekend where forum members and PC Perspective team members played from about 10am until well after 1am ET. We have done more than our fair share of Battlefield 3 articles as well including hardware performance on high end graphics cards, multi-GPU scaling and more.
We had some requests and questions about what was the lowest priced hardware you could play the game on and while we had run some tests on the GeForce 9800 GT, I decided to take a stab at running BF3 at its lowest settings with integrated graphics on Intel's Sandy Bridge processor and AMD's A-series APU. Here were our test settings:
We ran at a fairly low resolution of 1366x768 (both indicative of mobile resolutions as well as low-end hardware restrictions) and the Low in-game preset. As it turns out this was the level at which the A8-3850 Llano APU was able to maintain an average around 30 FPS while the Intel Core i3-2105 (both priced around $140) was able to reach only a third of that.
With both systems coming in at the ~$450 mark, this could qualify as the lowest priced PC that is capable of getting you into the BF3 action!
You can see our full comparison right here in this short video!
October 17, 2011 - 05:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
One of the questions we have been asking about Bulldozer is how much it effects game play performance. We know that for non-multithreaded applications th FX-8150 falls behind the top SandyBridge processors and barely breaks even on heavily multithreaded apps. That doesn't necessarily mean that it will lag behind SandyBridge in gaming as many games do not utilize the CPU enough to make a huge difference, though that premise needs to be proved. Enter Tweaktown who have taken the top Bulldozer and SandyBridge CPUs along with three Sapphire HD 6970 video cards, and placed them in a Maximus IV Extreme-Z and Crosshair V Formula motherboard respectively. With that much graphical power, it is possible to see the performance difference that the CPU and the motherboard chipset have on performance. Read on to see how Bulldozer fared.
"We've already provided a fair bit of coverage on the new FX-8150 CPU from AMD and it hasn't all been favorable for the team over at AMD. If you haven't looked yet, I highly recommend you check out our other pieces that cover the VGA testing side of things and my editorial Shi**y Marketing Killed the Bulldozer Star which has really gained traction over the last few days.
Today we test the video card side of things a bit more and see what goes on when we start to make use of CrossFireX on the 990FX platform. The 990FX chipset shows some good potential and it's going to be interesting to see what happens when we start to make use of all those PCIe lanes that are on offer."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Bulldozer has an evolutionary uncore @ SemiAccurate
- AMD FX-8150 vs. Core i5-2500K and Core i7-2600K CPU Review @ Hardware Secrets
- KitGuru Lite examines AMD’s Bulldozer
- AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer 2600MHz DDR RAM Overclocking @ Tweaktown
- Power Consumption: FX 8150 v i5 2500k v i7 2600k @ kitguru
- Bulldozer Has Arrived: AMD FX-8150 @ X-bit Labs
- Desktop CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Everything You Need to Know About the HyperTransport Bus @ Hardware Secrets
- Intel Core i7 2630QM @ Phoronix
October 12, 2011 - 12:44 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
You've been waiting through years of rumour and innuendo but the day has finally arrive, AMD's brand new Bulldozer architecture is here. It is like nothing we've seen before in any chip based off of the venerable Athlon line, which has served dutifully for over a decade. Bulldozer takes AMD's vision of a dual core processor not as two cores sewn together, but more as Siamese twins which share vital resources and are so closely conjoined that you cannot truly say where one ends and the other begins. The Bulldozer core is exactly that, while only four Bulldozer cores exist they can handle eight integer execution units, and four shared 2 x 128 bit floating point/SIMD which is interpreted by your OS as 8 cores.
Implementing a new technology is not without its drawbacks. The Athlon/Phenom architecture has been perfected by AMD thanks to its long life, while the Bulldozer is brand new and they've already started polishing it into Piledriver which will we see in the not too distant future (especially compared to the wait for Bulldozer). That immaturity is shown in Ryan's review where he compares it clock for clock to a Phenom II. It gets worse when compared against SandyBridge as the Bulldozer can at most occaisonally equal the performance of an i7-2600K. The only saving grace is price when you look at heavily multi-threaded applications and there are not many out there.
However one benchmark cannot tell the whole story, which is why [H]ard|OCP released two reviews on Bulldozer which focus on different aspects of the chips performance. Start off with their look at the performance which will give you an idea of how the chip performs under normal circumstances with its power saving features enabled and overclocked with those features disabled. Then they head onto what most people are interested in, the gaming benchmarks. Theoretical and productivity software benchmarks are one thing but we've all got to have fun sometimes and for those moments the new FX chips don't look too bad at all ... unless you are a Civ V fan.
"Computer hardware enthusiasts have literally waited for years for AMD's Bulldozer architecture to come to market and we finally see this today in its desktop form, code named Zambezi, brand named AMD FX. In this article we share with you our analysis of Bulldozer's performance in synthetic benchmarks and desktop applications."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- AMD FX-8150 Processor Review - Bulldozer Arrives @ Legit Review
- AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer CPU Review @ Neoseeker
- AMD FX-8150 Black Edition Processor Launch Review vs Intel Core i7-2600K @ HardwareHeave
- AMD FX-8150, FX-8120, FX-6100 and FX-4170 @ Legion Hardware
- AMD FX-8150 - Bulldozer @ Overclockers.com
- AMD FX-8150 CPU Review: Can Bulldozer Raze The Playing Field? @ Hi Tech Legion
- AMD Bulldozer FX-8150 Processor Review @ Hardware Canucks
- AMD FX-8150, FX Series Reviewed - Bulldozer makes debut @ Techspot
- AMD FX 8150 Black Edition @ kitguru
- AMD's FX-8150 "Zambezi" CPU @ LostCircuits
October 7, 2011 - 06:44 AM | Tim Verry
It is less than a week before Bulldozer’s official launch (October 12th), and it would seem that a Ukrainian retailer was not able to wait as it leaked AMD’s FX-8120 Bulldozer processor in a price list. The 32nm chip is stated to have eight cores running at 3.1 GHz, 8 MB L2 cache, and 8MB of L3 cache. Further, the core stepping is said to be B2 and is comprised of Zambezi processing cores. The FX-8120 has a 95W TDP and is compatible with motherboards from the AM3+ series and newer.
The processor is listed as model number FD8120FRGUBOX, and carries a price of $221 USD or 1,791 UAH. The website is currently listing October 10th; however, it is not clear if customers will be able to purchase the processor that day by the pricing page alone. If the leaked benchmarks turn out to be close to the truth, would you consider the FX-8120 a good value?
Subject: Processors | October 3, 2011 - 12:29 AM | Tim Verry
Intel has held the performance lead for several processor generations now, and while AMD is still technically in the game for home theater PC and budget builds, many enthusiasts have moved to Intel for gaming and high performance computers. Many of those people have also held hope that the chip manufacturer would eventually come back strong and maintain some level of competition in the industry. As we move closer to AMD's Bulldozer launch (which seems to have been confirmed for October 12th), enthusiasts and reviewers alike are clamoring to answer a long awaited question: "will Bulldozer give Intel a run for its money?"
According to website Donanim Haber, enthusiasts’ high hopes may finally be realized. The site has posted several benchmarks results that indicate Bulldozer is not only cheaper than Sandy Bridge, but performs on par with Intel’s top end Sandy Bridge chips. In many tests, the AMD FX 8150 CPU’s eight core performance matches the multi-threaded (8 threads, 4 cores) performance of Intel’s high end Core i7 2600k processor.
In the benchmarks that the site performed, the AMD FX 8150 was tested against the Intel Core i7 980X for 1080p gaming and the Core i7 2500k and 2600k for multi-threaded performance. In the graph shown above, the AMD Bulldozer CPU was roughly on par with the i7 980X, trading wins in some games and providing a similar level of performance in others. The AMD processor won in the Metro 2033 and Lost Planet benchmarks, but was slightly slower in Civilization V and F1 2010. In AVP and Batman (among others), the two competing processors saw equal results.
They also ran several benchmarks using highly multi-threaded programs to take advantage of the many-core designs of the AMD and Intel processors, including WinRar 4, Handbrake, 7zip, and wPrime 32M. The eight core AMD FX 8150 Bulldozer processor was tested against both an Intel Core i5 2500k and a Core i7 2600k. The AMD CPU came out ahead in 7zip, wPrime 32M, and Bibble 5.0. It was slower than the Core i7 2600k in the WinRar 4 tests and slower than both the 2500k and 2600k in the ABBYY OCR10 benchmarks. In the other tests, the AMD processor kept pace with or was only slightly behind the top end Intel 2600k CPU.
From the leaked benchmarks (which you can read here), AMD’s new Bulldozer CPUs have made an admirable showing. Should these benchmarks hold true, Intel will have some serious competition on its hands, something that the company has not had to deal with in a long time. Whether Bulldozer will result in price cuts or ramped up production on the Intel side remains to be seen; however, the results are not going to be easy for Intel to ignore.
Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more Bulldozer news in the coming weeks.
Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Processors | October 1, 2011 - 01:55 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: FX, bulldozer, amd, am3+
AMD has not been too well received in the upper end of CPUs for quite some time now. Once Intel started pushing for performance with their Conroe core, AMD was forced to stay competitive in the mainstream market to survive and that is pretty much where we have been for the last 5 years. Also returning after a nearly 5-year hiatus is the FX moniker for AMD’s flagship products. According to leak(s) from Microcenter that floated past our desks we should see a resurgence of at least one of those two on October 12th, 2011:
"AMD is launching their new AM3+ FX series processors on 10/12/11. We currently have a number of AM3+ compatible motherboards in stock. These motherboards will support the new AM3+ FX processors as well as legacy AM3 processors."
Personally, I would shy away from the words "Bull" and "Dozer" in my product line.
Also from the memo we learned that the new AM3+ FX SKUs that will launch includes: FX-6100, FX-8120, and the FX-8150. The 6000-series parts constitute 6-core processors where the 8000-series parts constitute 8-core parts. To support those processors we shall see three Gigabyte motherboards, four ASUS motherboards, and four ASRock motherboards. Update Oct 1 @ 2pm: There may be more motherboards at launch but since this is a Microcenter leak it only considers their stock.
|ASRock||890FX Deluxe 5|
|ASRock||880G PRO 3*|
|ASRock||890GX PRO 3*|
Each of these motherboards will require a BIOS update to be serviceable though the leak suggests that the update would be performed by Microcenter themselves. If for some reason you have the board on your own you will need an older AM3 processor to perform the update. Also, the last two ASRock motherboards (asterixed) do not yet have a BIOS update for AM3+. AMD is expected to post an official blog about the topic on October 3rd at AMD.com.
Subject: Processors | September 22, 2011 - 02:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, Ivy Bridge, tick, 22nm, tri-gate
Over at AnandTech you can read about the first processor to be designed using Intel's new Tri-Gate transistors, Ivy Bridge. As well this new take on Sandy Bridge will natively support USB 3.0 thanks to the improved Z77, Z75 and H77 chipsets. There will also be Q77, Q75 and B75 to make sure you get a more alphabet soup to deal with. The new GPU inside is something Intel is rather proud of, a claimed 33% improvement is impressive and signals that Intel really is taking the iGPU portion of their chips seriously. That focus is confirmed if you read through the minimal improvements to the CPU side, not a bad thing at all, simply confirmation that Intel is concerned more with power efficiency and graphics performance instead of just pumping up the megahertz.
"Five years ago Intel announced its ambitious tick-tock release cadence. We were doubtful that Intel could pull off such an aggressive schedule but with the exception of missing a few months here or there tick-tock has been a success. On years marked by a tick Intel introduces a new manufacturing process, while tock years keep manufacturing process the same and introduce a new microprocessor architecture. To date we've had three tocks (Conroe, Nehalem, Sandy Bridge) and two ticks (Penryn, Westmere). Sampling by the end of this year and shipping in the first half of next year will be Intel's third tick: Ivy Bridge."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Intel Core i5 2400S @ Phoronix
- All Core i7 Models @ Hardware Secrets
- All Core i5 Models @ Hardware Secrets
- All Core i3 Models @ Hardware Secrets
- Mobile CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Workstation & Server CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Interactive AMD Phenom product ID guide @ OC Inside
Subject: Processors | September 22, 2011 - 11:39 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: sandy bridge, Intel, core i7, 2700K, 2600K
Intel’s 2600K processor has sat at the top of the company’s lineup for almost a year now. As the company has had time to work out production issues and streamline the binning on their silicon, the Core i7 2700K that was revealed recently through a materials declaration data sheet (MDDS) would be identical to the 2600K except for a 100MHz bump in clock speed. Launching in October 2011, the new processors are said to be great overclockers due to Intel cherry picking the silicon used in the 2700K.
Interestingly, the 2700K may not replace the current Core i7 2600K processor in the lineup. According to a source by VR-Zone, the 2700K will debut at a higher price point than the 2600K which suggests that Intel has no plans to phase out the processor. Specifically, the new 2700K will not result in cheaper 2600K parts as it debuts at the current list price (for the 2600K) of $317 USD. Rather, VR-Zone suspects that the new Sandy Bridge CPU will launch at a higher price point in the range of $340 to $350 USD.
What are your thoughts on the new Core i7 2700K? Do you think Intel will keep both the 2600K and 2700K around, and (more importantly) will the 2700K be worth the extra money as a pseudo cherry picked 2600K with a 100MHz higher stock clock? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Subject: Processors | September 20, 2011 - 01:00 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: sandy bridge, quad core, Intel, core i7 2700k
The Intel Core i7 2600K is the company’s top tier Sandy Bridge processor; or at least it was until now. CPU World discovered interesting part numbers on the company’s Material Declaration Data Sheet (MDDS) that suggests that there may be a new contender for the top spot. Specifically, the new part numbers are BX80623172700K and BXC80623172700K, which suggests that the new processor will be launched as the Intel Core i7 2700K.
CPU World's discovery of new part numbers.
The site suggests that the new 2700K will be a higher clocked version of the 2600K processor, including a 95 watt TDP, four cores, hyperthreading technology, and 8 MB of cache. Unfortunately, it is not clear just how much higher the 2700K will be clocked at; however, as an unlocked processor with relatively good binning, enthusiasts should be able to get some great overclocks out of them.
Have you upgraded to Sandy Bridge, or are you planning on skipping over it for another upgrade instead? Either way, I think it is a good thing to see Intel updating its current lineup while also pursuing Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge-E.
September 15, 2011 - 06:17 PM | Ryan Shrout
Very few things impress like a collection of 256 processor cores in a box. But that is exactly what we saw on our last visit to the floor at the Intel Developer Forum this year when I stopped by to visit friend-of-the-site Daniel Pohl to discuss updates to the ray tracing research he has been doing for many years now. This is what he showed us:
What you see there is a dual-Xeon server running a set of 8 (!!) Knights Ferry many-core processor discrete cards. Each card holds a chip with 32 Intel Architecture cores running at 1.2 GHz on it and each core can handle 4 threads for a total of 1024 threads in flight at any given time! Keep in mind these are all modified x86 cores with support for 16-bit wide vector processing so they are pumping through a LOT of FLOPS. Pohl did note that only 31-32 of the cores are actually doing ray tracing at any given time though as they reserve a couple for scheduling tasks, operating system interaction, etc.
Each of the the eight cards in the system is using a pair of 6-pin PCIe power connectors and they are jammed in there pretty tight. Pohl noted this was the only case they could find that would fit 8 dual-slot add-in cards into it so I'll take a note of that for when I build my own system around them. Of course there are no display outputs on the Knights Ferry cards as they were never really turned into GPUs in the traditional sense. They are essentially development and research for exascale computing and HPC workloads for servers though the plan is to bring the power to consumers eventually.
To run the demo the Knights Ferry ray tracing server was communicating over a Gigabit Ethernet connection to this workstation that was running game processing, interaction processing and more and passed off data about the movements of the camera and objects in the ray traced world to the server. The eight Knights Ferry cards then render the frame, the Xeon CPUs compress the image (8:1 using a standard Direct 3D format) and send the data across the network. All of this happens in real time with basically no latency issues when compared to direct PC gaming.
While the ray tracing game engine projects might seem a little less exciting since the demise of Larrabee, Pohl and his team have been spending a lot of time on learning how to take advantage of the x86 cores available. The Wolfenstein demo we have seen in past events has been improved to add things like HDR lighting, anti-aliasing and more.
Though these features have obviously been around in rasterization based solutions for quite a long time, the demo was meant to showcase the fact that ray tracing doesn't inherently have difficulty performing those kinds of tasks as long as the processing power is there and alotted to it.
I am glad to see the ray tracing research continuing at Intel as I think that in the long-term future, that is the route that gaming and other graphics-based applications will be rendering. And I am not alone - id Software founder and Doom/Quake creator John Carmack agreed in a recent interview we held with him.
September 15, 2011 - 01:54 PM | Ryan Shrout
During Justin Rattner's closing keynote at the Intel Developer Forum he discussed the pending changes to the Many Integrated Core Architectures (MIC) that we previously knew as the Terascale projects. While we have heard about the Knights Ferry component for some time, and it was basically used a software development platform for Intel's many-core initiative.
Impressive to see at this stage, the upcoming Knights Corner product will actually be built on the new 22nm tri-gate transistors and with more than 50 cores. They haven't posted more details on what exactly ">50" refers to but it does mean that Intel continues to progress down this path and is going to be pushing the terascale computing projects into the future.
Rattner also indicated that not all of the cores on the many-core projects have to be identical and we will soon see designs that combine more than the x86 processors to make for truly heterogeneous computing platforms.
Research into the program continues including things like stacked and shared memory, new communications protocols like optical interconnects, etc. We are just as eager to see the fruits of this research as we were for its application to gaming and graphics that eventually failed.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Processors, Chipsets, Systems, Storage, Mobile, Shows and Expos | September 15, 2011 - 12:15 PM | Ryan Shrout
PC Perspective is all over the 2011 Intel Developer Forum and we'll be covering it LIVE here all week. Expect to hear news about Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge-E, SSDs, X79 chipsets, 22nm tri-gate transistors and more! We will have specific news posts about the major topics but if you want to keep up with our information to the minute, then you'll want to migrate to this page throughout Tuesday, Wednesay and Thursday morning.
You can also hit up http://www.pcper.com/category/tags/idf to see all of the posts relating to and coming from IDF this week!
Feel free to leave comments for me on what exactly you want to know and I will do my best to address your questions as the day progresses.
September 14, 2011 - 01:25 PM | Ryan Shrout
Today is day 2 at the Intel Developer Forum and with the first keynote out of the way, we can share a few short details about Ivy Bridge that we didn't know before. First, the transistor count is 1.48 billion - a hefty jump over Sandy Bridge that had less than 1 billion.
There was also mention of a new power management feature that will allow interrupts from other hardware devices to go to other cores than Core0, which it had ALWAYS done in the past. This means that it can route it to a core that is already awake and doing some work and not wake up a sleeping core unless necessary.
We also saw the Ivy Bridge processor running the HAWX 2 benchmark, now with support for DX11.
If you look at the die image at the top of this post, you will also notice that it appears more of the die has been assigned to graphics performance than was allocated to it on Sandy Bridge. Remember that on AMD's Llano about 50% of the die dedicated to stream processors; it would appear that by adding support for DX11, nearly doubling performance and including required support for things like DirectCompute, Intel was forced to follow suit to some degree.
Mooly laughed at press taking pictures of the die as he had purposely modified the image to hide some of the details or distort them to prevent precise measurements. Still, it looks like about 33% of the new Ivy Bridge processor is dedicated to graphics and media. This is good news for consumers, but potentially very bad news for the discrete GPU market in notebooks and low end PCs.
Finally, Mooly Eden ended with a brief look at future Ultrabooks that will be based on the Ivy Bridge processor.
If you thought the current generation of Ultrabooks was sexy (as I do) then you will really like what is coming up next.
September 14, 2011 - 11:48 AM | Ryan Shrout
Yes, I realize the ASUS UX21 was first shown at Computex in June, but this was my first chance to get my hands on it and I have to say after using it for just a few minutes and comparing it to the aging Lenovo X201 that I am typing this on, I am in love with the form factor.
I don't have anything else to report yet - no performance metrics, no real-world testing, but I couldn't pass posting these few pictures of it. Enjoy!
September 14, 2011 - 10:59 AM | Ryan Shrout
Many of Intel's partners are on hand at IDF to showcase upcoming products and I was able to stop by the MSI booth yesterday to get a peek into the future of the X79 chipset. This chipset will launch with the upcoming Sandy Bridge-E processors (for enthusiast) sometime later this year and introduce a new processor socket (Socket 2011) as well as some new features like dozens of PCI Express connections and quad-channel memory.
The flagship board on display was the X79A-GD65 (8D) that is one of the few X79 boards I have seen sporting 8 DIMM slots (hence the name) and capacities as high as 64GB! Most of the MSI features we have come to love on current motherboards are going to be on this line as well including Military Class components, OC Genie II and the much updated and improved ClickBIOS II.
The board is completely 3-Way SLI ready (and CrossFire as well) and sports three total PCI Express 3.0 slots at x16 bandwidth but also adds in three more PCIe 2.0 slots for good measure.
There are 4x USB 3.0 ports, 12x USB 2.0 ports, 4x SATA 6G ports and 4x SATA 3G ports. Needless to say the X79 platforms are going to be an enthusiast's dream.
MSI is also likely to include a new breakout box with X79 motherboards that will reside in a 5.25-in bay slot on your case (and honestly I need more things to use up there these days) and give you a couple of USB ports, an OC Genie button that will double as a BIOS reset button when held down, and even integrated WiFi and Bluetooth. The above photo is just a mock up but the plans are in place to deliver them with these new boards.
Finally, MSI did have the much improved and updated ClickBIOS II UEFI on display and without a doubt it kicks the first version's ass. We are working on a review that includes this new implementation so expect more on that soon.
September 13, 2011 - 06:07 PM | Ryan Shrout
While learning about the intricacies of the Intel tri-gate 22nm process technology at the Intel Developer Forum, Senior Intel Fellow Mark Bohr surprised me a bit by discussing the competition in the foundry market. Bohr mentioned the performance advantages and competitive edge that the new 22nm technology offers but also decided to mention that other companies like TSMC, GlobalFoundries, Samsung and IBM are behind, and falling further behind as we speak.
When Intel introduced strained silicon in 2003, it took competition until 2007 to implement it. For High-K Metal Gate technology that Intel brought into market in 2007 it wasn't until 2011 that AMD introduced in its product line. Finally, with tri-gate coming in 2011, GlobalFoundries is talking about getting it implemented in the 2015 time frame.
Obviously those are some long delays but more important to note is that the gap between Intel and the field's implementations has been getting longer. Three years for strained silicon, three and a half for high K and up to four years for tri-gate. Of course, we could all be surprised to see tri-gate come from a competitor earlier, but if this schedule stays true, it could mean an increasing advantage for Intel's products over AMD's and eventually into ARM's.
This also discounts the occasional advantage that AMD had over Intel in the past like being the first to integrate copper interconnects (on the first Athlon) and the first to develop a Silicon-on-Insulator product (starting with the 130nm process); though Intel never actually adopted SOI.