New Intel Xeon D Broadwell Processors Aimed at Low Power, High Density Servers

Subject: Editorial, Processors | March 12, 2015 - 08:29 PM |
Tagged: Xeon D, xeon, servers, opinion, microserver, Intel

Intel dealt a blow to AMD and ARM this week with the introduction of the Xeon Processor D Product Family of low power server SoCs. The new Xeon D chips use Intel’s latest 14nm process and top out at 45W. The chips are aimed at low power high density servers for general web hosting, storage clusters, web caches, and networking hardware.

Intel Xeon D Processor.png

Currently, Intel has announced two Xeon D chips, the Xeon D-1540 and Xeon D-1520. Both chips are comprised of two dies inside a single package. The main die uses a 14nm process and holds the CPU cores, L3 cache, DDR3 and DDR4 memory controllers, networking controller, PCI-E 3.0, and USB 3.0 while a secondary die using a larger (but easier to implement) manufacturing process hosts the higher latency I/O that would traditionally sit on the southbridge including SATA, PCI-E 2.0, and USB 2.0.

In all, a fairly typical SoC setup from Intel. The specifics are where things get interesting, however. At the top end, Xeon D offers eight Broadwell-based CPU cores (with Hyper-Threading for 16 total threads) clocked at 2.0 GHz base and 2.5 GHz max all-core Turbo (2.6 GHz on a single core). The cores are slightly more efficient than Haswell, especially in this low power setup. The eight cores can tap into 12MB of L3 cache as well as up to 128GB of registered ECC memory (or 64GB unbuffered and/or SODIMMs) in DDR3 1600 MHz or DDR4 2133 MHz flavors. Xeon D also features 24 PCI-E 3.0 lanes (which can be broken up to as small as six PCI-E 3.0 x4 lanes or in a x16+x8 configuration among others), eight PCI-E 2.0 lanes, two 10GbE connections, six SATA III 6.0 Gbps channels, four USB 3.0 ports, and four USB 2.0 ports.

Intel Xeon D Server Processor Performance.png

All of this hardware is rolled into a part with a 45W TDP. Needless to say, this is a new level of efficiency for Xeons! Intel chose to compare the new chips to its Atom C2000 “Avoton” (Silvermont-based) SoCs which were also aimed at low power servers and related devices. According to the company, Xeon D offers up to 3.4-times the performance and 1.7-times the performance-per-watt of the top end Atom C2750 processor. Keeping in mind that Xeon D uses approximately twice the power as Atom C2000, it is still looking good for Intel since you are getting more than twice the performance and a more power efficient part. Further, while the TDPs are much higher,

Intel has packed Xeon D with a slew of power management technology including Integrated Voltage Regulation (IVR), an energy efficient turbo mode that will analyze whether increased frequencies actually help get work done faster (and if not will reduce turbo to allow extra power to be used elsewhere on the chip or to simply reduce wasted energy), and optional “hardware power management” that allows the processor itself to determine the appropriate power and sleep states independently from the OS.

Being server parts, Xeon D supports ECC, PCI-E Non-Transparent Bridging, memory and PCI-E Checksums, and corrected (errata-free) TSX instructions.

Ars Technica notes that Xeon D is strictly single socket and that Intel has reserved multi-socket servers for its higher end and more expensive Xeons (Haswell-EP). Where does the “high density” I mentioned come from then? Well, by cramming as many Xeon D SoCs on small motherboards with their own RAM and IO into rack mounted cases as possible, of course! It is hard to say just how many Xeon Ds will fit in a 1U, 2U, or even 4U rack mounted system without seeing associated motherboards and networking hardware needed but Xeon D should fare better than Avoton in this case since we are looking at higher bandwidth networking links and more PCI-E lanes, but AMD with SeaMicro’s Freedom Fabric and head start on low power x86 and ARM-based Opteron chip research as well as other ARM-based companies like AppliedMicro (X-Gene) will have a slight density advantage (though the Intel chips will be faster per chip).

Intel Xeon Processor D Product Family Server SoC.png

Which brings me to my final point. Xeon D truly appears like a shot across both ARM and AMD’s bow. It seems like Intel is not content with it’s dominant position in the overall server market and is putting its weight into a move to take over the low power server market as well, a niche that ARM and AMD in particular have been actively pursuing. Intel is not quite to the low power levels that AMD and other ARM-based companies are, but bringing Xeon down to 45W (with Atom-based solutions going upwards performance wise), the Intel juggernaut is closing in and I’m interested to see how it all plays out.

Right now, ARM still has the TDP and customization advantage (where customers can create custom chips and cores to suit their exact needs) and AMD will be able to leverage its GPU expertise by including processor graphics for a leg up on highly multi-threaded GPGPU workloads. On the other hand, Intel has the better manufacturing process and engineering budget. Xeon D seems to be the first step towards going after a market that they have in the past not really focused on.

With Intel pushing its weight around, where will that leave the little guys that I have been rooting for in this low power high density server space?

Source: Intel

Cougar CMD Digital Power Supplies Come With Integrated Fan Controller

Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 12, 2015 - 04:52 PM |
Tagged: power supply, modular psu, Cougar, 80+ bronze

Cougar is launching its new CMD Digital power supplies in 500W and 600W versions. In a move to differentiate itself from the crowd, Cougar has packed in an integrated fan controller and the ability to monitor and control the PSU (e.g. voltage) using software.

The new power supplies are modular excluding the main 24-pin ATX and CPU cables. Both models use a single 12V rail rated at 40A on the 500W model and 49A on the 600W PSU. Cougar uses a temperature controlled 140mm fan to keep the PSU cool. The CMD Digital is 80+ Bronze certified and features various over and under current and voltage protections (OCP, SCP, OVP, UVP, and OPP).

Cougar CMD Digital Power Supply.png

The following power cables and connectors are included:

  • 1 x 24-pin ATX
  • 3 x 4-pin Peripheral (Molex)
  • 5 x SATA (6 on the 600W model)
  • 2 x 8-pin PCI-E (6+2)
  • 1 x 8-pin CPU (4+4)
  • 2 x 3-pin Fan headers
  • 1 x TSR temp sensor port

In all, it’s a fairly standard layout with enough amperage and PCI-E power connectors to support a high end GPU setup.

The integrated fan controller drives up to two case fans (more if you use a splitters, I suppose) that are connected to the back of the power supply. Further, Cougar provides a temperature sensor that you can place anywhere inside your case to monitor case temperature. 

Cougar UIX Analysis.jpg

Using the company’s Cougar UIX software, users can monitor and control fan speeds, monitor system component utilization (CPU, HDD, etc), monitor power consumption, adjust voltage levels, and log various power delivery stats.

Cougar has not yet released pricing, but it will be available in April.

From the features, it sounds like a decent power supply though my opinion would heavily be influenced by the included software. Despite ample computing resources, I like to run a lean system with as little running in the background as possible. If Cougar UIX sips resources and it holds up to the advertised power delivery ratings, I would consider it.

Hopefully we can get one in for review soon and Lee can put it through its paces.

Source: Cougar

Google Releases the Pixel: A $999 Chromebook

Subject: Mobile | March 12, 2015 - 02:56 PM |
Tagged:

Until yesterday virtually all Chromebooks had two things in common: low-end specs and equally low prices. Most sell for around $200 and are available from virtually every manufacturer, and the relative success of these Google Chrome OS laptops in the post-netbook portable space has relied on price. Now Google has announced a new concept for a Chromebook: give it high-end specs and charge $999.

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Is it reasonable to assume in 2015 that a user could be perfectly content using cloud storage and web-based apps to accomplish daily tasks? In many cases, yes. But asking $1k on the strength of better hardware is going to be a difficult sell for a Chromebook. The specs are impressive, beginning with a very high resolution 2560x1700 touchscreen, and like the new MacBook this is also sporting USB Type-C connectivity (with the same 5Gbps speed as the Apple implementation).

The pricing for this device continues a disturbing trend, coming just days after Apple's announcement of a Core M MacBook for $1299. In appearance the Pixel seems to borrow rather heavily from the MacBook Air design with a silver finish, glass trackpad, and backlit island-style black keyboard. If the build quality and screen are top notch then Google may have some justification for the price, but with the limitation of just 32GB of local storage (an additional 1TB cloud storage is offered at no cost for 3 years) and an OS that can only run applications from Google's Chrome store, the price does seem high.

Screenshot_2015-03-12-11-03-30~2.jpg

Specs from Google below:

    • 12.85" multi touch display, 2560 x 1700 (239 ppi), 400 nit brightness, 178° viewing angle
    • Intel® Core™ i5 processor @ 2.2GHz, 8GB memory or Intel® Core™ i7 processor @ 2.4GHz, 16GB memory
    • Intel® HD Graphics 5500, supports 4K video output over DisplayPort or HDMI with optional Type-C video adapter cable
    • 32GB or 64GB of flash storage
      Backlit keyboard, fully clickable etched-glass trackpad
    • 720P HD wide angle camera with blue glass
    • 2x USB Type-C (up to 5Gbps data, 4K display out with optional HDMI or DisplayPort™ adapter, 60W charging)
    • 2x USB 3.0
    • SD card reader
    • Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 2x2, Bluetooth 4.0
    • High power stereo speakers, built-in microphone, headphone/mic combo jack
    • Universal Type-C USB Charger, 60W
    • Up to 12 hours of battery life
    • Dimensions: 11.7” x 8.8” x 0.6”, 3.3lbs

If you're ready for the $999 Chromebook experience the Pixel is available now from Google's online store.

Source: Google

The MSI GS30; is that a GTX 980 in your dock or are you just happy to see me?

Subject: Mobile | March 12, 2015 - 02:46 PM |
Tagged: msi, gs30, gamingdock

The MSI GS30 Shadow is a high powered laptop with the first external GPU that you can actually buy.  The GamingDock is indeed rather unattractive and hefty on the outside but it is what is on the inside that counts, a full GTX 980 with its own dedicated PSU.  The external connection is a rear mounted PCIe slot which allows the 980 to run at the speeds you would expect it it were inside a desktop PC.  The laptop itself has a Haswell i7-4870HQ, 16GB of DDR3-1600 and pair of Kingston 256GB M.2 SSDs in RAID 0, with the only internal graphics being the Iris Pro 5200 on the CPU.  Kitguru has posted a review here, though it would be interesting another review featuring a head to head competition with the GTX980M.

P4890090.jpg

"When we previewed the MSI GS30 Shadow and GamingDock at the end of 2014 we were blown away by the combination of Core i7-4870HQ CPU in the laptop and the desktop GTX 980 graphics card in the GamingDock. The concept of using an external dock to add proper gaming graphics to a thin and light laptop worked superbly well and we could hardly wait for the official release of the final package of hardware."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

Source: KitGuru

Podcast #340 - News from GDC 2015, FreeSync Release Date, Vulkan and Mantle, and more!

Subject: General Tech | March 12, 2015 - 02:09 PM |
Tagged: western digital, vulkan, video, SSD 750, Re+, raptr, r9 390x, podcast, nvidia, Mantle, Intel, imagination, gtx 960, gsync, gdc 15, freesync, Broadwell, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #340 - 03/12/2015

Join us this week as we wrap up news from GDC 2015, FreeSync Release Date, Vulkan and Mantle, 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, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, and Paul Heimlich

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

 

Beware strange USB drives, they can be killers

Subject: General Tech | March 12, 2015 - 01:52 PM |
Tagged: usb, flash drive

It is not easy to kill something via USB as the plugs deal with all sorts of devices that are off spec but it can be done.  If you short ground and power the plug disables itself, TVS diodes prevent static electricity from damaging anything and excessive RF is bled off by the inline filtering beads.  That didn't stop this Hack a Day reader from figuring out a way to make a killer USB drive with a inverting DC-DC converter and capacitor bank.  The drive uses the power provided by the USB port to charge the capacitors to -110VDC which then discharges that to the data pins, enough to overcome the protection on the port and it repeats until the USB port is no longer capable of delivering power.  Considering many USB ports are integrated onto your CPU at this point, this is not a very nice thing to do; we present this as a warning and do not recommend this or similar projects be undertaken by our readers.

usb-fryer1.jpg

"[Dark Purple] recently heard a story about how someone stole a flash drive from a passenger on the subway. The thief plugged the flash drive into his computer and discovered that instead of containing any valuable data, it completely fried his computer. The fake flash drive apparently contained circuitry designed to break whatever computer it was plugged into."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Hack a Day

Waiting for a date with USB 3.1?

Subject: General Tech | March 11, 2015 - 05:47 PM |
Tagged: usb 3.1, Superspeed+, Superspeed Plus, asus, Z97-A/USB 3.1

Not too long ago Al and Ryan had a chance to play with a prototype USB 3.1 enclosure from ASUS and an add-in card with a controller from ASMedia.  The Tech Report also received the prototype USB 3.1 enclosure with two mSATA drives running in RAID-0 mode but they happened to have an ASUS Z97-A/USB 3.1 motherboard which has a built in port and ASMedia controller.  Their CrystalDiskMark results showed a ~75% boost in sequential read and write performance with 4K random write speeds also vastly increased.  That is not the highlight of their review however; ASUS provided a list of upcoming USB 3.1 releases from multiple vendors so you can now get an idea when you might want to upgrade to a board with USB 3.1 on it.

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"Today, we're going to take our very first look at some USB 3.1 gear. Asus has supplied us with a drive enclosure and a matching motherboard, which will help us gauge the kinds of performance gains users can expect."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

More shiny zombies; Dying Light is brought to you by a similar engine to Dead Island

Subject: General Tech | March 11, 2015 - 01:56 PM |
Tagged: gaming, zombies, dying light, Chrome Engine 6

Dead Island used Chrome Engine 5 and Dying Light will use the sixth version of this engine which should give you an idea of the look and scope of this game.  As for performance, look no further than this article from [H]ard|OCP which details the performance of the game on NVIDIA cards ranging from the GTX 750 Ti to the GTX 980 as well as Radeons from R9-285 through the 290X.  This engine proved to love VRAM, at 4K the GTX 980 and R9 290X stuttered at points and the three 2GB cards showed the same problems at 1080p.  It would seem that even though the 970 never used more than 3.6GB of VRAM the card performed better than either of AMD's top offerings.  Pity about the lack of multiple GPU support.

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"Dying Light is out on the PC and we are liking it. Today we evaluate performance on many video cards to find out what kind of gameplay experience to expect. We will also compare graphical settings and find out which ones are the most demanding and what level of video card you need for this game."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Hey Cortana, your father is 20 now! Hope you fare better than BOB

Subject: General Tech | March 11, 2015 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, fail, bob

For those who have seen the interface in the YouTube video before; we apologize for the mess you just made on your floor but the younger generations should be reminded of what has come before.  Microsoft Bob was released 20 years ago yesterday and most of it died very shortly afterwards as Windows 95 did not need a replacement GUI for the File Manager, the only way to interface with your Windows machine previously.  The saddest part is that File Manager grew up to become Windows Explorer while what remained of Bob were only seen when you encountered a machine that did not have the Search Buddy turned off.  You may recognize that giant waste of CPU cycles, Rover, as that Search Buddy but he also stalked you throughout the Bob GUI, though back then he would roll over if you scratched him.  You can find Bob and Win3.1 on the net in seconds but The Register was also nice enough to link to an .OVA file so you can relive one of the more painful memories of both Microsoft users and executives.  Let's hope Cortana doesn't suffer as horrible a fate as her predecessor.

"Tuesday, 10 March 2015, is a day of infamy, for on that day in 1995 Microsoft gave the world Bob, the “social interface” for Windows 3.x and 95."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

MSI Announces 4GB Version of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 Gaming Graphics Card

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 10, 2015 - 07:35 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, msi, gtx 960, geforce, 960 Gaming, 4GB GTX 960

Manufacturers announcing 4GB versions of the GeForce GTX 960 has become a regular occurrence of late, and today MSI has announced their own 4GB GTX 960, adding a model with this higher memory capacity to their popular MSI Gaming graphics card lineup.

MSI_9604GB.jpg

The GTX 960 Gaming 4GB features an overclocked core in addition to the doubled frame buffer, with 1241MHz Base, 1304MHz Boost clocks (compared to the stock GTX 960 1127MHz Base, 1178MHz Boost clocks). The card also features their proprietary Twin Frozr V (5 for non-Romans) cooler, which they claim surpasses previous generations of their Twin Frozr coolers "by a large margin", with a new design featuring their SuperSU heat pipes and a pair of 100mm Torx fans with alternating standard/dispersion fan blades.

MSI_GTX9604GB.png

The card is set to be shown at the Intel Extreme Masters gaming event in Poland later this week, and pricing/availability have not been announced.

Source: MSI

The new 4GB ASUS Strix GeForce GTX 960

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 10, 2015 - 05:48 PM |
Tagged: strix, gtx 960, factory overclocked, DirectCU II, asus, 4GB

The ASUS Strix Series is popular around PC Perspective thanks to the hefty factory overclocks and the quiet and efficient DirectCU II cooling.  We have given away 2GB versions of the GTX 960 and Josh recently wrapped up a review of the tiny GTX 750 Ti for SFF builds. 

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Today ASUS announced the STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5, a 4GB version of the Strix GTX 960 with a base clock of 165MHz higher than the default at 1291MHz and with a 1317MHz boost clock and memory clocked at 7010MHz.  The DirectCU II cooling solution has proven to live up to the hype that surrounds it, indeed the cooler is whisper quiet and even under load which heavily overclocked it is much less noticeable than other solutions, especially when attached to Maxwell.

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The outputs are impressive, DVI, HDMI and three DisplayPort outputs will have you gaming on a variety of monitors and it will support 4k resolutions, at reasonable graphics settings of course.  Along with the card you get the familiar GPU Tweak utility for tweaking your card and for a limited time the card will come with a free one year XSplit Premium License to allow you to share your best and worst moments with the world.  So far only the 2GB model is showing up at Amazon, NewEgg and B&H so you might want to hold off for a few days but it is worth noting that these cards will get you a free pre-ordered copy of Witcher 3.

xsplit.PNG

Source: ASUS

Western Digital Launches Re+ Datacenter HDD, Bests HGST He6 in Power Consumption

Subject: Storage | March 10, 2015 - 03:44 PM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, Re+, hdd, 6tb, 5TB

Western Digital has just launched a new entry in their Datacenter Capacity HDD lineup:

WD_Datacenter_PRN Graphic.jpg

The Re+ is based on the Re series of enterprise 3.5" HDDs (first revision reviewed here), but this one reduces the spin speed down from 7200 RPM to 5760 RPM. The HGST Ultrastar He6 is a great power efficient and Helium filled drive, but while that unit spins at 7200 RPM, it's max data rate is only 177 MB/sec. The 6TB WD RE spins at the same speed with a much higher rate of 225 MB/sec, but also draws more power than an He6. By reducing the platter speed, WD was able to bring power consumption into the 4.6-6.2W range with peak transfer rates of 175 MB/sec. The competing He6 draws 5.0-7.0W.

While dialing back the RPM was a simple way to achieve this very low power consumption, the He6 would still have the advantage in seek times (a faster spinning disk means less time waiting for the data to come around to the read head). The seek time argument may be moot given the purpose of these HDDs leans towards cold/warm/archival data storage that is very infrequently and sporadically accessed. Still, it is an interesting point that WD's platter density was so much higher that they could simply slow the RPM and yet maintain throughputs competitive with a faster spinning unit.

In combination with this announcement is the fact that the Re and Se lines (formerly limited to 4TB) are now available in 5TB and 6TB capacities. With the Se moving up to 6TB, we may see a Red Pro in the same capacity in the near future (depending on demand).

More to follow on these at a future date. Full press blast after the break.

A well built and reasonably priced case from Silverstone, the PS11B-W

Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 10, 2015 - 02:50 PM |
Tagged: Silverstone, PS11B-W

At 215.3 x 426.5 x 481.5mm (8.5 x 16.8 x 19") the SilverStone PS11B-W is built for ATX motherboards but it is not so large a micro ATX board would look ridiculous installed within it.  The simplicity of the design is reflected in the $50 asking price which is perfect for those just looking for a functional enclosure to house their components.  Air cooling will likely be sufficient for most builds, two 120/140mm fan slots in the front as well as two 120mm on the back and one on both the top and bottom will keep air moving or give a good mounting position for an AiO watercooler.  Check out Benchmark Reviews full article here for more information.

silverstone-ps11b-w-inside.jpg

"The SilverStone PS11B-W is a versatile entry level enthusiast case, featuring bottom-mount PSU, USB 3.0, variable size fan mounts and locations, a variety of hard drive mount options, and space enough for the most gigantic of graphics cards on the market. In this article for Benchmark Reviews, I’ll be putting the SilverStone PS11B-W to the test. Can the SST-PS11B-W deliver on all it’s promises? Let’s find out."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Will a 1000W SilverStone PSU get the 7 year itch?

Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 10, 2015 - 01:42 PM |
Tagged: PSU, Silverstone, olympia 1000W, kilowatt, endurance

Seven years ago [H]ard|OCP reviewed a SilverStone Olympia 1000W PSU and it has seen regular usage since then, which lead them to wonder if there have been any changes now that the PSU is four years past warranty.  The testing did reveal certain changes of which the most troubling was the PSUs inability to finish the full load test at 100 or 120v .  When tested at 750W the PSU had no issues and while the voltage regulation was not quite as tight as it was it is still impressively stable for a PSU of this age.  Power output has also suffered, with an increase in noise, enough to take it out of specification and the PSU was also louder than it was way back then.  Take a read through this article for an idea how this particular PSUs performance has changed over time.

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"Many people ask about long term computer power supply testing, and simple truth is that it is too expensive for HardOCP to do in-house as it would require hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of resources. However, we can give the inquisitive a non-scientific look at how well a personal PSU does in our testing 7 years later."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

It has been a rough quarter for the tech industry

Subject: General Tech | March 10, 2015 - 12:36 PM |
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.

ARROW-415137.jpg

"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:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

ASUS Announces UEFI Update with Socketed 5th-Gen Intel Broadwell Support for 9 Series Motherboards

Subject: Processors | March 10, 2015 - 10:20 AM |
Tagged: uefi, motherboards, lga 1150, Intel, Broadwell, bios, asus

ASUS has announced that all current Intel 9 Series motherboards will support the upcoming 5th-Generation Intel Broadwell LGA 1150 CPUs with an UEFI update.

ASUSIntel.jpg

We reported last week that Intel’s 5th-generation Broadwell CPU had been demonstrated at GDC using Intel’s Iris Pro graphics, though official details about the new LGA versions of Broadwell are not yet public. The desktop variants will no doubt use the same 14nm process technology of the current BGA parts, and it has been rumored that the new CPUs will initially launch in both Core i5 and i7 versions, with the potential for Core i3 and Pentium branded parts to follow (though any potential product information is mere speculation at this point).

It will be interesting to see if the upcoming LGA 5th-Generation CPUs will be able offer any higher perfomance for desktop users compared to existing Haswell parts (such as the i7-4790K), or if there will even be unlocked processors. Considering Broadwell is a mobile-focused part designed for efficency and lower power consumption the chips could offer a compelling solution for small form-factor computers such as HTPCs, as they will presumably provide lower heat and higher IPC than existing parts.

Update.png

The UEFI updates will go live later today (some updates have already been released) and include all ASUS motherboard models with Z97 and H97 chipsets.

Source: ASUS

The ROCCAT Tyon; this mouse is nubbed for your pleasure

Subject: General Tech | March 9, 2015 - 05:20 PM |
Tagged: input, gaming mouse, tyon, roccat

Counting the different mouse wheel directions and the Easy-Shift button alternate pressing you can program up to 32 different buttons on the Roccat Tyon mouse.  As even the mouse wheel can be programmed to function completely differently between scrolling directions, this should count as long as your game supports it.  Not only do you get a ridiculous amount of customization, the nub you see on top of the mouse can function just like the throttle slider on your joystick, an interesting feature considering the number of space sims launching in the near future.  Hardware Asylum really like the mouse though they did dock points for not being usable by sinister types, check out the full review and the software suite right here.

tyon_left.jpg

"The Tyon has innovative buttons just where you expect them without becoming overwhelming. Maybe the best part is you don’t even notice them when you don’t want to use them."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Intel 750 Series SSD Spotted at PAX East, Appears to be SSD DC P3500-based

Subject: Storage | March 9, 2015 - 04:56 PM |
Tagged: SSD 750, pcie, p3500, NVMe, Intel

At PAX East, what appears to be the new Intel SSD 750 Series was spotted:

b7684a3fb48d3cbea13dff718c34b6d9_XL.jpg

The above article mentiones the 750 will be available in 400GB and 1.2TB versions, with an 800GB model 'being considered internally'. Those capacities sound familiar - look at this crop of the specs for the P3500/P3600/P3700 Series:

P3x00 specs.png

Note the P3500 has identical capacity grades. As one more point of comparison, look at this leaked screen shot of the UNH-IOL compatibility list:

43331_01_new-consumer-intel-750-nvme-ssd-pops-up-unh-iol-compatibility-list_full.jpg

Source: TweakTown

...so with what appears to be identical firmware revisions, it's a safe bet that the upcoming SSD 750 Series will borrow the same fire-breathing 18-channel controller present in the Intel SSD DC P3700 (reviewed here). The packaging may be more consumer oriented, and the power is likely dialed back a bit as to produce less heat in more airflow constrained consumer PC cases, but it's looking more and more like the SSD 750 will be a reasonably quick consumer / prosumer / workstation SSD. Given that the P3500 launched at $1.50/GB, we hope to see the 750 launch for far less.

My biggest beef with this upcoming consumer NVMe part from Intel is the (possible) lack of an 800GB capacity. Many power users will consider 400GB too small, but would then be forced to jump 3x in capacity (and price) to the 1.2TB model. That might be ok for enterprise budgets, but it won't fly for PC users who can choose from other PCIe SSDs that fill that possible 800-960GB void in Intel's lineup.

Source: Gamers Nexus

Connected Data Updates Transporter Line, iOS App, Adds Standard Links

Subject: Storage | March 9, 2015 - 02:50 PM |
Tagged: transporter, filetransporter

Transporter is a pairing of hardware and software to accomplish the goal of having your own personal file storage cloud - but this one scales all the way from a single user to enterprise. Connected Data has been on a bit of a roll these past couple of weeks. First they announced some big updates to their product line:

transporter 15 30.png

Here's a look at the old product line:

Transporter (old).png

...and now the new line:

transporter (new)-.png

The two middle (and likely most popular) tiers have been replaced with a complete hardware redesign. The units that used to borrow from Drobo design cues are now what appear to be the first round of Transporter-specific multi-HDD units. The specs have also been beefed up for those two models, as both now employ dual Gigabit Ethernet with increased capacity and simultaneous user ratings also increased accordingly. You'll still need to step up to the true business tiers for redundant power supplies and rack mountability, but the 15 and 30 should be great for small businesses or remotely located groups within a business.

The new units are priced at $2499 for the 15 (~6TB) and $4999 for the 30 (~9TB). Full details available in their spec sheet (PDF). Full press blast on the above appears after the break.

Next up is an update to their iOS app:

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Updates in this release:

  • Provides storage for your other apps using new iOS 8 Storage Extensions to upload, open, and save files directly to Transporter
  • New VLC video player for enhanced video playback in addition to Apple Player option
  • Faster app startup and additional performance throughout the app
  • New user interface with cleaner layout and folder icons

Integration into iOS's native 'save to' dialog is a welcome addition for an app directly competing with Dropbox.

Finally is the addition of standard links:

blog-man-link-13.png

Transporter could previously support direct links, but standard links shift the hosting for those shared files to the Connected Data servers. Since direct links are limited by the speed of the Internet connection of the Transporter hosting the data, standard links can be used to speed up the transfer to multiple users. This would be ideal for family photo albums and other non-confidential files.

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As you can see above, once standard links have been enabled, you still have file-level control of which shared data passes through Connected Data's servers. This means you can still keep those sensitive files restricted to your own device, which is part of the reason for using one of these.

Good stuff coming from these guys. We're working on sampling one of these new models and will report on our experiences as we make them.

Oh, one more thing - they are running a buy one get one free sale on Transporter Sync. Promo code DOUBLELUCK gets you a free ($99) device! This U.S. only deal likely expires on the 17th.

Gigabyte's Super OverClocking X99 board

Subject: Motherboards | March 9, 2015 - 02:49 PM |
Tagged: x99 soc champion, X99, gigabyte

There are a lot of features on the Gigabyte X99 SOC Champion and if you want Haswell-E and can afford DDR4 it is currently on sale at Amazon for $310, expensive but in range with other flagship boards.  It is capable of supporting triple and quad GPU setups, has 10 SATA 6Gbps ports, a SEx port and even M.2 along with a half dozen USB 3.0 ports and eight legacy USB ports.  [H]ard|OCP had a few issues with the UEFI BIOS, nothing deal breaking but it certainly made overclocking more of a chore than on other X99 boards and may have reduced the top frequencies below what the board is actually capable of.

We will see if a newer UEFI release and other skilled hands can coax some more performance out of this board soon, as Morry will be reviewing this board in the near future.

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"The X99 SOC Champion LGA 2011-v3 socketed motherboard from GIGABYTE has all the ingredients for record breaking performance, rock solid stability, and outstanding performance. GIGABYTE's hardware design has been moving in the right direction lately so how does this "Super OverClocking" motherboard hold up to stress?"

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP