Last month, we reviewed Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 295, a dual-GPU GT200-based board that benefited from a die-shrink from 65 nanometers to 55 nanometers. This month, we’re testing the GTX 285, which uses the same silicon as the GTX 295, in a clocked-up single-GPU design. Unfortunately, the paltry clock-speed improvements that the die shrink allowed don’t deliver enough of a performance boost to make this board worth recommending, especially for folks who already own a GTX 280 board.
When you compare the GTX 285 to the GTX 280, you can see what the problem is. The GTX 285’s GT200 core is clocked at 648MHz, up from 602MHz for a stock GTX 280. The 1GB of GDDR3 memory runs at just 621MHz on a 512-bit bus—the GTX 280’s memory runs at 550MHz. The upshot is that this new card delivers less than a 10 percent performance increase over the GTX 280 parts in most benchmarks. The only big gains over the 280 are at lower resolutions with very high antialiasing and anisotropic filtering levels. The big gain is in power consumption. The 285 features a TDP of about 183W, while the 280 drew a massive 236W. That means that the 285 will actually run in a system that’s equipped with just a pair of 6-pin PCI-E video connectors—you don’t need the 6-pin and 8-pin combo that’s been de rigueur for the last few months.
Asus has fleshed out its notebook line with a number of new models with screen sizes ranging from 15.6 inches to 17.3 inches. The notebook maker didn't play favorites, either, as both AMD and Intel are represented in the new units.
At 17.3 inches, the K70AB-TY002C and TY001C are the biggest of the bunch, both of which sport AMD chips inside. The 2C uses an AMD Turion 64 X2 RM 74 (2.2GHz) processor, while the 1C steps to the plate with a Turion 64 X2 Ultra ZM-84 (2.3GHz). Different processors aside, both machines come with 4GB of DDR2 memory and an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570 with a 512MB frame buffer.
Of the 15.6-inch models, the U50VG-XX060C comes equipped with an Intel Core 2 Duo T6500 (2.1GHz), 4GB of memory, Nvidia GeForce G 105M graphics with a 512MB frame buffer, 250GB hard drive, HDMI port, and a 1.3MP webcam.
Another Intel machine, the F52Q-SX071E sports a dual-core T3200 processor (2GHz), 2GB of RAM, and the GL40 chipset. This one's aimed at business users.
Lastly, the K50AB (AMD Turion 6 4X2 Ultra ZM-84) and KB0IJ (Intel Pentium dual-core T4200) both come with 4GB of RAM, with the former sporting an ATI Mobile Radeon HD 4570 and the latter outfitted with Intel GMA X4500HD graphics with shared memory.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Gigabyte should be blushing. Why? Because Asus, highly regarded among power users for the company's high-end motherboards, has taken a page from Gigabyte and quietly outfitted some of its motherboards with 2-ounce copper PCBs (printed circuit boards).
Well over half of Gigabyte-brand motherboards shipped during the week before Computex were 2-ounce copper, and by the end of the year, Gigabyte predicts the copper design will account for 80 percent of its boards. But what's interesting about Asus following suit is that Asrock, an Asus subsidiary, at one time decried Gigabyte's copper design as completely unnecessary.
Asrock went on a rampage sending out PowerPoint presentations to the press that not only said a 2-ounce copper design didn't benefit cooling, but was actually harming the environment as well. Funny how watching another company gain marketshare can change one's perspective, isn't it?
Earlier this week Asus announced their RT-N16 router, which brings their “three ‘S’s’ – Speed for ultra-fast data transfers, Simplicity for unparalleled ease-of-use and ease-of-setup, and Security for absolute peace of mind when performing online tasks.” (Seriously.)
The RT-N16 will feature wireless speeds up to 300Mbps, use an innovative “EZ UI” which will let system administrators easily setup and manage their networks, as well as allocate bandwidth to suit specific needs. And lastly, it’ll sport WiFi Protected Setup (WPS), so that users can lock down their networks quickly and easily.
Let's get this out of the way right off the bat - Asus launched its P6T7 WS SuperComputer motherboard in mid-March, so technically it's not 'new.' But there's no splitting hairs about this workstation board being one of the baddest mobos around thanks to a whopping seven PCI-E x16 slots. Yes, we said SEVEN!
While there's nothing to stop a power user from building a truly brag worthy rig with the P6T7 WS as its foundation, this motherboard was really designed for parallel computing. It's been certified for Nvidia Tesla GPU computing with support for up to three Nvidia Tesla cards and one Nvidia Quadro card. Such a configuration adds up to 960 parallel processing cores pumping out 4 freakin' teraflops of processing power, enough to qualify for a basement level supercomputer.
Other specs include RAID 0/1/5/10 support, up to 12 USB 2.0 ports (6 native and 3 USB connectors supporting an additional 6 ports), 2 eSATA 3Gb/s ports, two nForce 200 chips, three-way ATI CrossFireX and Nvidia SLI support, dual LAN ports, and more.
Not a whole lot separates Asus' upcoming Eee PC 1005HA from the already available 1008HA launched earlier this year. We're talking about a user-replaceable battery, a slightly thicker shell, and, according to Engadget, no more recessed ports and port doors.
Familiar specs include an Intel Atom N270 processor (1.6Ghz), 1GB of DDR2 memory, 160GB hard drive, WiFi, 1024x600 LCD display, and Windows XP. But it's the removable battery that might ultimately make the 1005HA more popular than the 1008HA, even though Asus claims up to 8.5 hours of run time on the stock 6-cell unit.
No word yet on when the new model will ship, but you can grab one on preorder from Amazon for $350.
Asus is probably looking to toy with the definition of netbook. It has made official the Eee PC 1101HA netbook. The 1101HA features an expansive 11-inch screen. Though it can be placed in the netbook segment by the virtue of its specs and price, the size of its screen does cast a serious doubt on its netbook status. According to rumors, Asus plans to begin shipping the 1101HA later this month. It will feature an Intel Atom Z520 processor with a clock speed of 1.33 GHz, 1GB memory, a 160GB hard-drive, WiFi, Bluetooth, 1.3MP camera and - hold your breath - an untrimmed keyboard. Its price is expected to be between $550 and $750.
In what could turn out to be a huge score for Asus, the Eee PC maker has teamed up with Disney to build a Disney-branded netbook being dubbed Netpal. Aimed at kids between the ages of 6 and 12, the netbooks will come in "Princess Pink" (with florals) or "Magic Blue" (miniature Mickey Mouse icons).
Disney's influence will extend beyond the casing. A kid-friendly user interface will sit on top of Windows XP making it easy for users to change the desktop with customizable themes, which will include Cars, Toy Story, WALL-E, and more, says USA Today. The Netpal also comes with a Magic Desktop 'gadget tray' with icons for a Disney browser, email, and parental controls.
On the hardware front, the 8.9-inch Netpal will pack an Intel Atom processor and a 16GB SSD or 160GB hard drive. It will also come with WiFi. Other specs are not yet known, but we imagine it will resemble any other Eee PC.
Power users routinely punch into the BIOS in order to fine tune their system, but it can be an intimidating place to go exploring if you've never before burrowed beneath the surface. And just like in real life, poking around in unknown places can be a dangerous affair if you don't know what you're doing or where you're going. On the other hand, once you understand the inner workings of your PC's control center, a whole world of overclocking and troubleshooting suddenly opens up. But what exactly is the BIOS?
Every modern motherboard comes with an embedded Flash EEPROM module, otherwise known as the BIOS chip. Short for Basic Input Out System, this is the first bit of code executed when you boot your PC. The BIOS stores all kinds of essential information about your system, such as your CPU's clockspeed, the size and type of RAM you're running, the boot order of your media, what onboard devices are present, and much, much more. An improperly configured BIOS can prevent Windows (or Linux) from loading, while a finely tuned BIOS has the potential to significantly improve performance over that of a similarly spec'd machine.
Whatever your goal is, this is your go-to guide for everything you've ever wanted to know about the BIOS. We cover every setting -- even the obscure ones -- so you'll never feel lost or out of your element, no matter what motherboard you're rocking under the hood.