NETGEAR Announces Nighthawk X4 AC2350 Router

Subject: General Tech, Networking | September 2, 2014 - 08:31 AM |
Tagged: nighthawk x4, netgear, mu-mimo, 802.11ac

Today, NETGEAR has announced the Nighthawk X4 802.11ac router. It is dual-band, with up to 1733 Mbps of bandwidth (four channels of 433 Mbps) on 5.0 GHz and up to 600 Mbps (three channels of 200 Mbps) on 2.4 GHz. Compared to the Nighthawk X6, released earlier in the year, the X4 is design for fewer users who demand more performance.

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The first thing that stood out for me was its processor...s. The router contains two of them. Its main CPU is a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon-based (Update - Sept 2nd @ 5:20pm EDT: "Snapdragon-based" is unclear and misleading. It has "Snapdragon DNA with dual Krait cores". It is from their Qualcomm Internet Processors (IPQ) line, as mentioned in the following sentence.) ARM processor, clocked at 1.4 GHz. It is from their Qualcomm Internet Processors (IPQ) line, so it is not directly comparable to an SoC from their mobile line-up. NETGEAR also added a second, dualcore processor, clocked at 500 MHz, that is dedicated to deal with WiFi-related tasks as an "offload".

The reason why I found this interesting was that, not too many years ago, routers did not advertise their processor and RAM. There was once a niche who would create their own routers out of old PCs and an x86-compatible firmware (like OpenWRT). The push was to cheap routers with high bandwidth ratings. When I asked NETGEAR at what point did the industry decide to take the internal hardware seriously, their response was that about 73% of customers are repeat buyers. They upgraded their router because they were not happy with the performance that they were getting. Users have changed. HD video is going to numerous devices all over the home at the same time as games and downloads do their thing. The extra performance is necessary to keep the potential bandwidth in line with its usage.

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One feature about this router that NETGEAR was promoting is Dynamic QoS. Using the extra processing power, mentioned in the two paragraphs above, the device identifies applications and allocates bandwidth accordingly. One example that they gave is YouTube versus Netflix. While both stream, Netflix will only grab what it needs while YouTube will load as quickly as possible to buffer ahead. If resources are tight, and Netflix is attempting to coexist with YouTube at any given time, the router will throttle the YouTube stream to provide it with at least enough bandwidth to stream, but not buffer, like, ten times faster than real time and choke out Netflix into a lower bit rate. If necessary, it will also prioritize the larger screen (TV) with the higher bit rate Netflix connection, where it will be more noticeable (than the smaller screen of a tablet, for instance).

And yes, QoS has been present in routers for more than a dog's age. They claim that it is typically a feature that users turn on, dislike, then turn right back off again. They believe that their new implementation will actually win you over.

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The router will also feature two USB 3.0 ports and an eSATA connection. It will allow networked PC backup to an external hard drive and streaming media (photos, music, and videos) to TVs by DLNA.

The NETGEAR Nighthawk X4 AC2350 (R7500) is available now for $279.99.

Source: NETGEAR

Falcon Northwest Offering X99 Based PCs In Three Form Factors

Subject: Systems | September 1, 2014 - 01:06 AM |
Tagged: X99, system builder, SFF, Intel, Haswell-E, falcon northwest

Haswell-E is official and components supporting the new X99 platform are flooding the market (or at least your news feed!). Intel's latest chip is not just for the DIY crowd, however. Boutique system builders have started announcing their refreshed lineups. First up is Falcon Northwest which has refreshed its product lineups to feature Haswell-E in small form factor (Micro ATX), mid-tower, and full tower systems.

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Falcon Northwest has updated the Mach V, Talon, and FragBox PCs to include Haswell-E, updated X99 chipset motherboards, up to 64GB of DDR4 memory, and the latest connectivity options such as at least six USB 3.0 ports and up to 10 SATA III 6Gbps ports. 

Users will be able to configure the refreshed models with any of Intel's launch CPUs: the six core i7 5820K, hexacore i7 5930K, and flagship 8-core i7 5960X (our review). All three processor options will come with a liquid cooler and optional overclock.

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A tray of Intel Core i7 5930K Haswell-E Processors. Photo Courtesy Falcon Northwest.

Per the press blast, Falcon Northwest President Kelt Reeves had the following to say about Intel's new enthusiast desktop platform:

“In our 23 years of building high-end PCs, I can’t ever remember seeing this much new tech hitting at the same time.” said Kelt Reeves, president of Falcon Northwest. “Our fall desktop lineup of Intel X99-based systems with 8-core CPUs, 10 SATA ports, 12 USB 3.0 ports, and 64 gigs of DDR4 memory make the systems we built even a year ago look like antiques. Intel X99 is that big of a leap forward.”

The new systems can be configured with various storage, graphics card, and case/aesthetical options much like their predecessors. The newer platform which supports more processor power, 40 PCI-E 3.0 lanes, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 2, and DDR4 (which uses less power and offers up more bandwidth versus DDR3) is the notable factor here.

The small form factor (and LAN party friendly) FragBox PC starts at $2,313. The mid-tower Talon and full tower Mach V start at $2,330 and $3,021 respectively. You can find the updated custom built boxes on the Falcon Northwest website.

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While I would not go as far as Mr. Reeves, I do think Haswell-E noticeably improves upon Ivy Bridge-E and it brings hardware to bear that will be most welcomed by professionals in workstations and servers that can take advantage of the power. For enthusiasts and gamers, it also represents a much waited-for trickle down of technology from the Xeon lineup of an Intel chip with 8 physical cores to consumers at a price that is relatively affordable (heh).

Are you excited for Haswell-E? Will you be upgrading or carrying on with your current setup? Here's hoping Broadwell-E (or whatever the next generation ends up being called, of course) brings the 8 core monster to the $400 space so my i7 860 can finally rest and graceful Linux test box retirement before I end up killing it from too much time overclocked and over-volted ;).

Volition to Release Saint's Row IV Mod Kit

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2014 - 05:15 PM |
Tagged: Saints Row IV, mod, pc gaming

I just finished discussing how Grand Theft Auto IV's mod community thrives almost in spite of not having an official toolkit. Apparently, at PAX 2014, Volition announced that Saint's Row IV's official development kit will be released to the public. This follows their announcements of Saint's Row 4: Re-elected, an updated version for PS4 and Xbox One, and Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell, a spin-off of Saint's Row IV for the PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, and Windows PC, that claims to place the Third Street Saints in a Disney-esque musical set in Hell.

As usual, I encourage as many developers as possible to release their development tools to the community. If you have a good game, and the community believes they could make it even better, that could help you. This seems obvious but has some development costs and (irrational?) fear of eating into DLC sales. On the other hand, it could help promote your product and its DLC, spin-offs, and so forth... see above.

Source: Joystiq

Watch_Dogs Mod for Grand Theft Auto IV

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2014 - 04:40 PM |
Tagged: watch_dogs, watch dogs, pc gaming, mod, GTA4

If you are not in our IRC chat room, at irc.pcper.com in the #pcper channel, then you could be missing out. We often promote the forums, especially when they review components or host a LAN party, the chatroom is populated just about 24/7. A couple of days ago, KngtRider, IRC regular and owner of Nitroware, an Australian computer hardware news and review website, dropped me a link to a Grand Theft Auto IV mod that adds Watch Dogs elements. You can see the main features in the video below.

The level to which Grand Theft Auto games have been modded is surprising, especially since the tools are community-developed (unless I am completely mistaken). In this mod, the player is able to hack into cameras, ATMs, lights, and even blackout the area around his or her character. The developers even add in a custom HUD, the new wanted level system, and take down attacks.

While I did not try it, the video is impressive. For more information, check out the Kotaku article.

Source: Kotaku

ASRock Launches High End X99 WS E-ATX Motherboard For Workstations and Servers

Subject: Motherboards | August 30, 2014 - 01:10 PM |
Tagged: xeon, x99 ws, X99, workstation, socket 2011-3, Intel, Haswell-E, asrock

Alongside the X99 Extreme6 for enthusiasts, ASRock has launched the X99 WS (E-ATX) motherboard for professional workstations and servers. The board uses a black PCB, blue aluminum heatsinks on the power phase and PCH areas, and gold colored caps. The E-ATX motherboard uses short screws and a thinner CPU socket backplate to allow it to fit into 1U server cases. You have ample PCI-E slots, DDR4 (and ECC RDIMMs), USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 2 (with an AIC), eSATA, M.2, and SATA III for connectivity. Power is regulated by a 12 power phase "Digi Power" design with high quality Ultra Dual-N MOSFETs, 60A chokes, 12K Nichicon capacitors.

The X99 WS also uses larger heatsinks, especially around the CPU area. The board features an Intel LGA 2011-3 socket that will accept Haswell-E or Xeon E5-1600/2600 v3 processors up to 18 cores and 160W TDPs. Eight memory slots surround the CPU socket and support a maximum of 128GB of DDR4 3200+ memory. Storage is handled by 10 SATA III 6Gbps ports and a single "Ultra M.2" slot that supports SATA III or PCI-E x4 controller equipped drives.

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This worskation board takes advantage of the Extended ATX form factor to cram in additional PCI-E 3.0 slots versus the shorter X99 Extreme6. A PCI-E 2.0 x 16 slot sits directly below the CPU socket followed by the (mentioned above) M.2 slot and five PCI-E 3.0 x 16 slots. The five PCI-E 3.0 slots allow for 4-Way CrossFireX and 4-Way SLI multi-GPU setups. To take full advantage of this board, you will want to pair it with the higher end Haswell-E parts (5930K, 5960X, et al) with the full 40 lanes rather than the entry level 5820K with its limited 28 PCI-E lanes.

Using internal headers, the X99 WS supports a TPM module, two COM ports, two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, and a Thunderbolt port (via an extra add-in-card). It features two CPU fan and three chassis fan headers as well.

The X99 WS features the following ports on the rear IO panel.

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x eSATA
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x Gigabit LAN
    • 1 x Intel I217LM
    • 1 x Intel I210AT
  • 7.1 Channel Audio (Realtek ALC1150)
    • 5 x Analog audio outputs
    • 1 x Optical audio output

The X99 WS is available now with a three year manufaturer warranty for $323.99. The price alone pushes this board well into the professional market, but gamers can get most of the way to the WS feature-wise with the X99 Extreme6. The WS goes up against the boards like the ASUS X99-Deluxe and MSI X99S XPOWER AC.

Source: ASRock

Creative Introduces Sound Blaster E5 Portable USB DAC and Headphone Amp

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2014 - 11:44 AM |
Tagged: usb, Portable Audio, headphones, Headphone Amp, DAC, D/A Converter, Cirrus Logic

Creative has added a new member to their portable Sound Blaster "E" series lineup with the E5. 

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This new multi-function DAC and headphone amp features a reference-grade D/A converter chip from Cirrus Logic, the CS4398, which supports up to 24-bit/192kHz PCM audio (and technically DSD 2.8MHz/5.6MHz, though this does not seem to be implemented here). In addition to the realistic analog reproduction possible from a high quality chip like the CS4398, the Sound Blaster E5 provides amplification via a Texas Instruments TI6120A2, which Creative says gives the E5 a "best-in-class 600 ohm headphone amplifier".

Another aspect of the E5 that sets it apart from the previous E1 and E3 models is the inclusion of optical digital input/output, to go along with USB and dual 3.5" headphone jacks. The two 3.5" jacks can simultaniously drive two pairs of headphones, and on the back of the unit there are additional 3.5" jacks for microphone input, line input/output, and these double as optical input/output via mini TOSLINK. (This might be geared for portable use, but would serve as a fine external sound solution for desktops as well!)

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The input stage of the E5 uses another Cirrus Logic chip, the CS5361, enabling high quality recording options from various sources at up to same 24-bit/192kHz. While supporting external microphones (as well as line/optical input) the E5 also has "built-in beamforming CrystalVoice microphones for audio recording and calls". And while the E5 is employing Creative's SBX sound processing chip, this DSP can be switched off with a button on the side of the device - a welcome option for serious music listening from high-resolution source material.

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The Sound Blaster E5 also supports digital input from iPhone and "select" Android phones (listed compatible devices include the Samsung Galaxy S4/S5, Galaxy Note 2/3, and Nexus 5/7). For portable use the E5 has a built-in rechargeable 3200mAh lithium polymer battery, which Creative says will provide up to 8 hours of playback per charge.

The Sound Blaster E5 will be available in October for $199 at Creative's online store (and likely various other retail outlets).

Source: Creative

ASRock Shows Off Upcoming X99 Extreme6 Haswell-E Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | August 30, 2014 - 01:43 AM |
Tagged: X99, socket 2011-3, lga 2011, Haswell-E, atx, asrock

Today, ASRock unveiled the X99 Extreme6 motherboard, a high end board for enthusiasts featuring Intel's X99 chipset and support for Haswell-E processors and all of the latest connectivity options (short of SATA Express).

This ATX motherboard uses a black PCB, gold capacitors, and blue heatsinks to create an appealing color scheme. A 12 power phase "Digi Power" design feeds the LGA 2011-3 CPU socket. Eight total DDR4 memory slots surround the processor socket (four on each side) with support for up to 128GB of DDR4 running at 3000+MHz (w/ requisite CPU/IMC overclock).

The bottom half of the motherboard hosts the PCI-E slots, PCH, and 10 SATA 3 ports. Specifically, the X99 Extreme6 features three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (supporting Triple SLI or CrossFire), two PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots, a single Mini PCI-E connector, and one "Ultra M.2" PCI-E 3.0 x4 M.2 slot for SSDs. Ten right angled SATA III 6Gbps ports sit to the right of the southbridge.

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Using internal headers, users can add four USB 3.0, four USB 2.0, one Thunderbolt port (requires an add-on card to work), and one COM port(s) for additional connectivity and connecting case front panel ports.

Rear IO on the Extreme6 includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 6 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x eSATA
  • ​7.1 Channel Purity Sound 2 Audio (Realtek ALC1150)
    • 5 x Analog audio
    • 1 x Optical audio output
  • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
    • 1 x Intel 1218V NIC
    • 1 x Qualcomm Atheros NIC

The X99 Extreme6 is part of ASRock's new "Super Alloy X99" lineup. It is available now from retailers for $279.99 with a three year manufacturer warranty.

Also read: Haswell-E: The Intel Core i7-5960X 8-core Processor Review at PC Perspective.

Source: ASRock

Interview with Intel's Matt Dunford about Haswell-E and X99

Subject: Processors, Chipsets | August 29, 2014 - 07:25 PM |
Tagged: video, Intel, X99, Haswell-E, core i7-5960x, 5960X, ddr4

Though my review of the Intel Core i7-5960X Haswell-E processor was posted earlier today, we hosted a live stream later in the afternoon where Allyn and I talked about the launch. We were also able to welcome Matt Dunford, Princpal Evangelist at Intel to talk about his role in the Haswell-E release, the future of the platform, how DDR4 memory fits into it all and much more.

The video is embeded in the processor review now as well but I have included it separately below for those of you that want to jump straight in.

My thanks goes out to Matt from Intel for joining us on the live stream and to all the viewers that came by to submit questions and participate!

MSI launches 5 new mighty X99 motherboards loaded with impressive features

Subject: Motherboards | August 29, 2014 - 04:15 PM |
Tagged: msi, X99, x99s sli plus, X99S GAMING 9 AC, X99S GAMING 7, X99S XPOWER AC, X99S MPOWER

MSI, world leading in motherboard technology, is pleased to announce the launch of the new MSI X99 motherboards line-up. Featuring 5 models, the X99S GAMING 9 AC, X99S GAMING 7, X99S XPOWER AC, X99S MPOWER and X99S SLI PLUS, MSI caters to everyone’s needs. With a long history of unique high performance motherboards under any condition, MSI X99 motherboards are based on Military Class 4 components and come packed with a freight train of features. All MSI X99 motherboards feature Turbo M.2 to maximize M.2 performance up to 32 Gb/s and SATA Express for the latest technology in data storage. MSI X99 also offers full support for Quad SLI and CrossFire configurations, whether you demand the highest performance when GAMING, Overclocking or rendering graphics.

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MSI X99 GAMING for the best gaming experience
Inheriting true GAMING DNA, years of building the best motherboards, closely working with world’s best gamers and collecting over 300 awards from worldwide media, MSI proudly presents the next generation of GAMING motherboards. MSI X99 GAMING motherboard comes equipped with the evolution of the best on-board audio solution called Audio Boost 2, Killer networking and support for Turbo M.2 32 Gb/s and SATA Express devices together with other key gaming features. Its masterpiece is Streaming Engine, featured on MSI X99S GAMING 9 AC, which is a dedicated onboard hardware streaming solution for streaming gaming activities at 1080p 60Mbps without impacting FPS. Time for hi-end GAMING with MSI.

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A new round of breaking world records
The Overclocking Champion returns. After generations of proven world class overclocking performance, MSI is proud to add the X99S XPOWER AC motherboard to this glorious family. Top overclockers around the world relying on nothing but the best were involved in its birth. With each model built with Military Class 4 components and specifically tuned for an overclocking segment, MSI’s OC Certified models deliver stability and top overclocking performance with the latest Intel HEDT CPUs.

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Clever solutions are once again handed to devoted overclockers to help break world records. DirectUSB is available for easy USB flashing and saving scores. This series features a new OC Backplate, a smart solution for overclockers to mount their LN2 pot, and Delid Die Guard to make mounting a cooling solution easier, safer and to help squeeze every last MHz out of the a delidded CPU. The next generation OC Engine is offers a dedicated Clock Generator for more flexible BCLK adjustments, from 100 / 125 / 167 MHz straps. Using these straps prevents system crashing while overclocking on the edge and opens doors to achieve the absolute maximum. The next generation chip offers even lower jitter and power consumption resulting in even higher stability under the most extreme conditions.

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Stable and highly efficient, packed with features
The new MSI X99S SLI PLUS motherboard presents an arsenal of new features and improvements as well as technical ingenuity. Offering reliable and fast Gigabit LAN from Intel and Nvidia SLI support for enthusiasts looking to pair up multiple graphics cards. Delivering speeds up to 32Gb/s, Turbo M.2 is more than 5 times faster than a regular SATA III 6 Gb/s connection. Turbo M.2 32 Gb/s is the successor to M.2 10 Gb/s, offering performance up to 3 times more performance. M.2 is packed in a small form factor and is compatible with 3 different sizes to fit all M.2 devices. SATA Express is supported up to 10 Gb/s. Gamers can enjoy blazing fast system boot up and loading of applications and games. GuardPro and Military Class 4 provide all the stability you need through carefully selected and thoroughly tested components and materials.

Source: MSI

Haswell-E shows its stuff

Subject: Processors | August 29, 2014 - 02:08 PM |
Tagged: Intel, Haswell-E, haswell, evga, ddr4, corsair, core i7, asus, 5960X

The Tech Report took the new i7-5960X, Asus X99 Deluxe, 16 GB of Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4, a Kingston HyperX SH103S3 240GB SSD and a XFX Radeon HD 7950 DD and set it loose on the test bench.  The results were impressive to say the least, especially when they moved on from games to test productivity software where the Haswell architecture really shines.  When they attempted to overclock the CPU they found a hard limit feeding the processor 1.3V and running 4.4GHz, any faster would cause some applications to BSoD.  On the other hand that applied to all 8 cores and the difference in performance was striking.

Also make sure to read Ryan's review to get even mroe information on this long awaited chip.

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"Haswell-E has arrived. With eight cores, 20MB of cache, and quad channels of DDR4 memory, it looks to be the fastest desktop CPU in history--and not by a little bit. We've tested the heck out of it and have a huge suite of comparisons going to back to the Pentium III 800. Just, you know, for context."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

New Haswell's aren't just for the desktop, they go in the server room too

Subject: General Tech | August 29, 2014 - 12:55 PM |
Tagged: Intel, Haswell-EP, E5-2600v3, hp, proliant

HP is releasing numerous new systems that will be running the Haswell-EP E5-2600v3, a tower format ML350 and the rack-mount DL360 and DL380 systems as well as a BL460c blade server and two brand new entry level models, the racked DL360e and DL380e.  These systems will be optimized heavily to take advantage of a proprietary PCI Express workload accelerator, HP Smartcache, HP DDR4 SmartMemory and Flexfabric adapters.  We won't see pricing until the release date of September 8 but until then you can check out the some of the stats at The Register.

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"The Gen9 Proliant systems will be made available on 8 September, HP said at the London launch event, and will be based on Intel's upcoming Xeon E5-2600v3 processors, which the chipmaker has yet to release."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

ASUS Announces X99 Series Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | August 29, 2014 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: asus, X99, Rampage V Extreme, X99 Deluxe, X99-E WS

Fremont, CA (29th August, 2014) - ASUS today announced the X99-Deluxe, X99-Pro and X99-A, three new ATX motherboards based on the new Intel X99 chipset. Packed with exclusive technologies, including OC Socket and 5-Way Optimization, ASUS’ X99 motherboards ensure ultimate performance from the latest LGA 2011-v3 Intel Core i7 processors.

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The X99-Deluxe is the flagship model, with a bundled ASUS Hyper M.2 x4 expansion card for ultra-fast 32Gbit/s transfer speeds; onboard 3x3 antenna 802.11ac for ultra-fast Wi-Fi speeds of up to 1,300Mbit/s; and an ASUS Fan Extension Card for flexible cooling options.

All new X99 Series motherboards feature Crystal Sound 2 audio, Turbo LAN technology for lag-free online gaming, a plethora of advanced software features and our renowned UEFI BIOS for intuitive setup and platform control. With a refined look, the ASUS X99 motherboard lineup delivers the cutting-edge performance and style demanded by PC enthusiasts

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X99 Deluxe

OC Socket for extended overclocking headroom and ASUS 5-Way Optimization X99 Series motherboards are equipped with a brand-new ASUS innovation — our patent-pending OC Socket. This unique socket includes extra pins that connect proprietary circuitry to extra contacts found on Haswell-E's land grid array (LGA) and is 100% compatible with Intel’s new LGA 2011-v3 (‘Haswell-E’) processors. In combination with the ASUS UEFI BIOS, OC Socket enables higher DDR4 memory frequencies, lower memory latencies and enhanced stability while overclocking, extending all the way to extreme overclocking conditions, such as Liquid Nitrogen (LN2).Users are also able to increase DDR4 memory frequencies to 3200MHz and beyond, even with all eight DIMM slots populated.

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Rampage V Extreme

PC enthusiasts also benefit from exclusive 5-Way Optimization technology to dynamically optimize an X99-Deluxe, X99-Pro or X99–A based PC with one click. First up is Turbo Processor Unit (TPU), a custom microprocessor that provides automated overclocking and advanced voltage controls – catering for novice and advanced users. Then there’s Energy Processing Unit (EPU) to deliver system-wide real-time power savings, controlled via a simple onboard switch or the easy-to-use AI Suite 3 utility.

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X99-E WS

5-Way Optimization technology also encompasses tuning of the Digi+ voltage-regulator module (VRM) to enhance performance, increase efficiency and ensure reliability, and Fan Xpert 3 for peerless fan calibration and control. Completing the 5-Way Optimization technology line-up is Turbo App, an intuitive tuning panel to tailor and boost all parts of the system for specific games or programs.

Loaded with extreme hardware for extreme builds
The X99-Deluxe is a high-end motherboard loaded with extras for the ultimate in enthusiast PC builds. The bundled Hyper M.2 x4 expansion card gives users flexibility to equip their systems with up to two M.2 devices - providing transfer speeds of up to 32Gbit/s. Hyper M.2 x4 supports M.2 devices from the smallest 30mm (2230) to full-length 110mm (221100) cards.

The supplied ASUS Fan Extension Card provides flexible additional cooling in the shape of three 4-pin/3-pin fan headers. As with all fan headers on ASUS X99 motherboards, the Fan Extension Card features hardware-level PWM or DC control modes – for setting the best control curve for high performance or “silent” PCs.

The X99-Deluxe also features super-fast 802.11ac wireless connectivity on board. The 3x3 antenna configuration enables wireless speeds of up to 1,300Mbit/s. In common with the other X99-series motherboards, the X99-Deluxe supports the ASUS ThunderboltEX II expansion card. This gives users the freedom to add Thunderbolt 2 connectivity to X99-Deluxe at any time for bi-directional transfer speeds up to 20Gbit/s — that's four times (4X) faster than USB 3.01.

AVAILABILITY & PRICING
The X99-Deluxe is priced at $399 and will be available now at authorized ASUS resellers and distributors. The X99-A lands with an MSRP of $279 and will be available from early September, while the X99-Pro is expected in early October, price TBD.

Source: ASUS

Corsair and ASUS Join Forces to Create World’s Fastest Production DDR4 Memory Kit

Subject: Motherboards, Memory | August 29, 2014 - 12:25 PM |
Tagged: X99, ddr4, corsair, asus, Dominator Platinum, X99-Deluxe, Rampage V Extreme

PAX Prime, Seattle —August 29, 2014 — Corsair, a worldwide leader in high-performance PC components and ASUS a worldwide leader in motherboards, today announced the availability of the Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4 memory kits in 3300MHz, 3200MHz and 3000MHz speeds – the world’s fastest production memory kits. Corsair developed the new high-speed DDR4 memory in close collaboration with ASUS, tuning and validating the memory timings to take advantage of the optimized DRAM layout and UEFI firmware of ASUS’s new X99 motherboards. The new Dominator DDR4 memory kits, when paired with the ASUS X99 Deluxe and Rampage V Extreme motherboards, creates some of the fastest, most stable enthusiast PC platforms available for the new Intel Core i7 processors (codenamed Haswell-E).

“Our rigorous validation with ASUS has enabled us to make Dominator Platinum 3300MHz the fastest desktop DDR4 memory available at launch,” said Thi La, Chief Operating Officer at Corsair. “Our OC team and engineers are excited to see such performance headroom the new Intel platform and are looking forward to releasing even faster kits in the near future.”

“It is always exciting when two companies renowned for being at the forefront of innovation and pushing performance boundaries work together to create new products for end-users. The combination of ASUS X99 motherboards with Corsair Dominator Platinum ushers in a new era of memory performance and stability for enthusiasts,” Joe Hsieh, ASUS Corporate Vice President and General Manager of the Motherboard and Desktop System Business Unit.

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Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR Memory
Dominator Platinum memory kits have a striking industrial design for good looks, patented DHX technology for cooler operation, user-swappable colored “light pipes” for customizable downwash lighting, and Corsair Link compatibility for real-time temperature monitoring. Dominator Platinum memory is built with hand-screened ICs, undergoes rigorous performance testing, and incorporates state-of-the-art cooling for reliable performance in demanding environments.

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The ASUS X99-Deluxe and Rampage V Extreme
The ASUS X99-Deluxe and Rampage V Extreme feature an enhanced CPU socket and DRAM trace layout to improve signal integrity, providing increased overclocking headroom and stability over reference designs. This is coupled with a highly customized and refined UEFI firmware that allows easy setup and tweaking – perfect for getting the most from Corsair Dominator Platinum memory.

Availability and Warranty
The DDR4 memory kits are available in Corsair’s Vengeance LPX and Dominator Platinum lines. The memory kits are available immediately via Corsair’s worldwide network of authorized distributors and resellers and are backed by a lifetime warranty.

The ASUS X99-Deluxe and Rampage V Extreme motherboards are available now at ASUS authorized distributors and resellers worldwide. Both motherboards are covered by a three year warranty with advanced replacement in the first year.

Source: ASUS

Podcast #315 - AMD Radeon R7 SSD, Haswell-E Rumors, Radeon R9 285, and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 28, 2014 - 01:47 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, amd, radeon r7 ssd, Haswell-E, r9 285, haf stacker, coolermaster, Broadwell, nuc, zotac, zbox pico

PC Perspective Podcast #315 - 08/28/2014

Join us this week as we discuss the AMD Radeon R7 SSD, Haswell-E Rumors, Radeon R9 285, and more!

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The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano

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A Haswell powered ZBox

Subject: Systems | August 28, 2014 - 01:46 PM |
Tagged: SFF, zotac, zbox, zbox ID92. haswell

The Zotac Zbox ID92 is not quite as small as the PI320 pico at 7.4" x 7.4" x 2" (188 x 188 x 51 mm) nor as inexpensive as it ships for $486 sans memory, storage and OS.  However with a 2.9GHz Core i5-4570T is significantly more powerful and the HD4600 GPU will allow you to enjoy some light gaming and to enjoy 4K content with an appropriate display.  With both SATA and mSATA the storage subsystem is more agile and also upgradeable as are the two SO-DIMM slots.   The Tech Report quite liked this device for media but suggest those intending to spend more time gaming spend an extra $100 on the Zbox EN760 with its GTX860M.

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"In recent months, we've reviewed two Gigabyte mini-PCs with Haswell inside. In light of those experiences, we figured we'd take a look at one of Zotac's newest Zbox systems: a 7.4" x 7.4" x 2" machine with a 35W Haswell processor, room for dual storage devices, and generous connectivity."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

ASUS Quietly Refreshes Its Transformer T100 Tablet With New Hardware and Color Options

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | August 28, 2014 - 01:30 PM |
Tagged: Windows 8.1, transformer t100, Intel, Bay Trail, Atom Z3775, asus

Following rumors earlier this summer, ASUS has quietly refreshed its Transformer T100 tablet. ASUS is now offering T100 tablet versions in multiple colors with a faster Intel Bay Trail processor as well as a version that retains the original SoC but adds a 500GB hard drive to the keyboard dock. I have been keeping an eye on the T100 since it first launched almost a year ago at IFA 2013, and have been eagerly waiting for the rumored refresh. Fortunately, that wait is now over because the updated Transformer T100s are finally starting to appear and be available for purchase on retailers' websites (first at Tiger Direct, then Amazon, and others now).

ASUS T100 Red Windows 8 Tablet.jpg

The T100 is now available in red and white as well as the original gray. The red and white SKUs feature a higher end Bay Trail SoC while the updated gray SKU comes with a 500GB mechanical hard drive nested inside the keyboard dock. The table below lists the model numbers for the new tablets. I should note that there are conflicting specifications at different retailers for the model numbers listed, which makes this under-the-radar refresh so frustrating, but after a bit of digging I believe the specifications to be accurate and any conflicting information to simply be errors on the part of those retailers.

New ASUS Transformer T100 Tablet SKUs (T100 Refresh)
Model Numbers Processor Internal Storage Color Price (Amazon) Price (MSRP)
T100TA-C1-WH(S) Intel Z3775 64GB eMMC White $394.99 $399
T100TA-C1-RD(S) Intel Z3775 64GB eMMC Red $388.99 $399
T100TA-C1-GR(S) Intel Z3775 64GB eMMC Gray $329.99 $399
T100TA-H2-GR Intel Z3740 64GB eMMC + 500GB HDD Gray $449.99 $?
T100TA-H1-GR Intel Z3740 32GB eMMC + 500GB HDD Gray $369.00 $399

The new colors are nice (I'm partial to the red T100), but the upgraded processor is the truly interesting bit about this Windows tablet (which won PC Perspective's "Best Hardware of 2013" award). The original T100 launched with an Intel Atom Z3740 SoC an the refreshed Transformer T100 uses a higher clocked Atom Z3775. The Z3775 is a higher-end Intel Bay Trail processor with four Silvermont CPU cores clocked at 1.46GHz that can boost to as high as 2.39GHz. The HD Graphics GPU retains the same base clockspeed as the Z3740 but has a higher turbo frequency of 778MHz (versus 667MHz on the Z3740). The table below lists the specifications of the two chips. The new SoC has significantly higher CPU clocks and a decent boost to potential GPU horsepower (thermals permitting).

Intel Atom SoC Z3740 Z3775
CPU Cores 4 x "Silvermont" Cores 4 x "Silvermont" Cores
CPU Clockspeeds (Base/Boost) 1.33GHz / 1.86GHz 1.46GHz / 2.39GHz
HD Graphics GPU Clockspeeds (Base/Boost) 311MHz / 667MHz 311MHz / 778MHz
L2 Cache 2MB 2MB
Memory Support 4GB 1066MHz 4GB 1066MHz
SDP 2W 2W
Process Node 22nm 22nm
Tray Price $32.00 $35.00

The refreshed T100 has an MSRP of $399 USD for the red and white versions with 64GB eMMC storage and gray SKU with 32GB internal storage and 500GB keyboard dock though retail prices are slightly less than that at the time of writing. The Transformer T100 with 64GB eMMC and additional 500GB hard drive has a retail price of around $450 but the MSRP is unknown.

ASUS T100 White WIndows Tablet.jpg

If you have been holding off, now is a good time to pick up an updated version for a small price premium (or an older version at a discount!). However, if you already own a T100, the relatively minor update will is a hard to justify upgrade (you would likely be better off waiting on Cherry Trail-based devices with better battery life or other improvements as possible upgrades).

WinXP Service Pack 4, but from a third party

Subject: General Tech | August 28, 2014 - 01:15 PM |
Tagged: windows xp

Would you trust a third party developer to provide you with a new service pack for Windows XP?  There is currently a beta version of SP4 developed by one 'harkaz' that you can download and install by following the link at The Inquirer on 32-bit versions of XP with at least SP1 installed.  There are updates to .NET, MCE and a variety of hotfixes in the Service Pack so the majority of the patches are already officially available as individual updates from Windows Update, just rolled into one easy to install package.  The one major change is the POSready registry setting which will allow machines to get the updates intended for Windows XP Embedded which is supported until 2019.  Check it out, if you dare.

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"The developer, who is known as "harkaz", has been working on the service pack since last September. It will work on any version of Windows XP with at least Service Pack 1 applied and can easily be slipstreamed into installation media for fresh installs."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Broadwell Intel NUCs Being Developed. Rumored Q1 2015?

Subject: General Tech, Systems | August 27, 2014 - 08:27 PM |
Tagged: Intel, nuc, Broadwell

The Intel NUC is their small computing form factor, packing what is equivalent to an Ultrabook into a chassis that is smaller than a CD spool. The first release came with Ivy Bridge and it was refreshed with Haswell about a year later. FanlessTech has got a hold a... semi-redacted (?)... slideshow presentation that outlines various models and features. Six models are expected, spread out between Q4 2014 (Haswell), Q1 2015 (Broadwell Core iX), and Q2 2015 (Broadwell Celeron).

Note that a typical Intel NUC contains fans, although the company has released a fanless Bay Trail-based model (and third parties have made their own, custom cooled models based on the form factor). I expect that FanlessTech covers it for those two reasons; it does not mean that these models will be passively cooled. In fact, the product matrix claims that none of these new products will be.

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The six models are broken into three code names.

Both Maple Canyon and Rock Canyon cover the Core i3 and i5 processor segments. Both include NFC, an optional 2.5" drive, four external USB 3.0 ports, LAN, a SATA 3 port, and so forth. They begin to diverge in terms of display outputs, however. Rock Canyon, which is targeted at home theater, home office, and gaming, includes one mini HDMI (1.4a) and one mini DisplayPort (1.2) output. Maple Canyon, on the other hand, includes two mini DisplayPort (version unknown, probably also 1.2) connections. While I do not have a slide for Maple Canyon, replacing the mini HDMI for a mini DisplayPort suggests that it will be targeted more at kiosks and other situations where monitors, rather than TVs, will be used.

Intel-NEW_NUC_4.png

One Haswell Core i5-based Maple Canyon NUC is expected for Q4 2014. Maple Canyon with Broadwell Core i3, Maple Canyon with Broadwell Core i5, Rock Canyon with Broadwell Core i3, and Rock Canyon with Broadwell Core i5 are all expected in Q1 2015. All models will accept up to two DIMMs of memory (16 GB max).

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Only one Pinnacle Canyon model is listed. It will be based on Broadwell Celeron, allow up to 8 GB of memory (1 DIMM), and include four USB 3.0 ports (external). Its display configuration is significantly different from Rock Canyon and Maple Canyon, however. It will have one, full-sized HDMI (1.4a) and one VGA output. It will launch in Q2 2015.

For more information, check out the slides at FanlessTech.

Source: FanlessTech

Watch Notch Make a Doom Renderer in Dart and WebGL

Subject: General Tech | August 27, 2014 - 04:54 PM |
Tagged: Notch, webgl, dart, doom

Notch, creator of Minecraft, is developing a rendering engine for Doom in Dart and WebGL (I assume as a hobby). I am a little late to the party, and he has been developing for the last couple of hours now. If you were curious about what it looks like to watch someone develop a 3D rendering engine, this could be your chance. He also interacts with the chatroom, which should be more interesting.

notch-doom-dart-webgl.png

Dart is an open-source programing language that was released by Google in 2011. It compiles to Javascript, but also can be used to make applications via a modified Chromium browser with a direct Dart virtual machine (VM). It can also be run within a command-line.

Watching people program is picking up in popularity. While you would think that this is even more boring than watching people play video games, and you might be right, it could still gain an audience. Epic Games has been working to develop Twitch streaming capabilities directly within Unreal Engine 4's editor, to allow indies (or even large developers) to interact with fans and colleagues.

If interested, check out Notch's stream at Hitbox.tv.

Source: Hitbox.tv

Kingston's new HyperX Fury SSD; fool me once ...

Subject: Storage | August 27, 2014 - 04:09 PM |
Tagged: Sandforce SF2281, kingston, hyper x fury, 240gb

The Kingston Hyper X Fury 240GB is a slim SSD able to fit in the anemic ultrabooks though it does ship with a 2.5mm adapter for systems which are a little more meaty.  It uses the familiar Sandforce SF2281 controller and has changed to 128GBit ONFi 3 NAND from the previous ONFi 1 and 2 found in the V300 and the first Fury models.  This NAND is slower at reads but at the same time it is also significantly more rugged, with a endurance rating of 641TB worth of writes.  Hopefully Kingston learned from the reaction to its previous release of the V300 where review models were sent out with Toggle Mode NAND which was then switched for ONFi in the retail models.  Hardware Canucks saw decent performance at a price in line with the market, but it is up to you to decide if you are willing to forgive Kingston and purchase this new SSD.

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"Kingston has long been known as a company that caters to budget-minded buyers and that's exactly what their new HyperX Fury SSD does. However, this time performance is also a priority."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage