What time is it? It's time to Build a PC with our Blueprints! This month, we've built three rigs at three approximate price points: Budget, Baseline, Performance. "Budget" is an entry-level rig with pep, Baseline gets you a powerful system for gaming and content creation at 1080p, and Performance beefs everything up across the board.
New graphics card from Nvidia wields a full GK110 GPU
What do you get if you take a GeForce GTX 780 Ti graphics card and give it a shot of adrenaline? You end up with Nvidia's GeForce GTX Titan Black, a new graphics card with full CUDA support and double precision floating-point compute performance. In other words, it comes out swinging with a fully equipped 28nm GK110 GPU without any arbitrary restrictions. Intrigued? Let's have a look at some other specs.
New Haswell processors may arrive a month ahead of schedule
It seems like we hear something new everyday by hanging around the CPU rumor mill. Once again, Intel is at the center of speculation, though instead of talking about delays, rumor has it the Santa Clara chip maker is planning to launch its refreshed Haswell line a month early. That means new Haswell processors could appear just a few weeks from now, in April, rather than May as originally planned.
Where have all the Radeon R9 290X graphics cards gone?
Back in December of last year, we noticed that AMD's Radeon R9 290X graphics card was hard to find, which we (and the rest of the web) ultimately surmised was due to the virtual coin mining craze. With the rapid rise in value of Bitcoins, miners who were late to the party started looking at Litecoin mining in hopes of making some easy money. Since AMD's cards do a better job at mining these virtual gold nuggets, the 290X became a hot commodity. Fast forward to today and the card is still in short supply, but is mining still to blame?
Cool air is pulled in from the rear and expelled out the front
Lian Li's been busy turning its prototype PC-A51 chassis into a real product, and that mission is now complete. What makes the PC-A51 unique is that it sports a reverse airflow design in which cool air is pulled in from the back of the case through a filtered 120mm fan and pushed out through a front-mounted 140mm fan that sits above the front-mounted PSU. An additional 120mm or 140mm fan can be installed on the floor of the case.
A Broadwell delay isn't what the PC industry needs
It was last October when Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said a "defect density issue" was negatively affecting yields, prompting the Santa Clara chip maker to delay its 14nm Broadwell launch by a quarter. Production was to begin in the first quarter of 2014, though there's a rumor going around that Intel might postpone Broadwell's big debut to the fourth quarter of this year. Is that really the case?
Radeon R7 265 pairs 2GB of GDDR5 memory with a 256-bit bus
AMD is relentless in its assault on the graphics card market, especially the budget and mid-range tiers as represented by the Radeon R7 Series. Today AMD added to the heap by announcing the Radeon R7 265, the highest-end model in the R7 Series and a seemingly tantalizing option at $149 MSRP. As things are starting to get a little crowded in this segment, AMD is dropping the price of the Radeon R7 260X to $119.
Gigabyte will try to surpass Asus as the No. 1 motherboard player (in terms of shipments)
Top tier motherboard makers Asus and Gigabyte continue to dominate the mobo market just as they did in 2013, but only one can take the top spot. It was a close race between the two last year, and it could be another photo finish this year, with Gigabyte expecting to ship over 5 million motherboards in the first quarter. If so, that could give Gigabyte an early lead over rival Asus.
Ivytown will slip into Intel's Xeon E7 chip family
Intel's codenames for processors sound like directions someone might give you if you get lost in the country. Take a wrong turn off of I64 in West Virginia, for example, and you might be told that Ivytown is on the other side of Ivy Bridge, not to be confused with Sandy Bridge. In reality, Ivytown is Intel's codename for an upcoming 15-core Xeon processor based on Ivy Bridge and designed for high-end servers.
AMD today formally introduced the Radeon R7 250X, an affordable graphics card aimed at gamers looking to play their titles at Full HD 1080p. Some vendors already had the new SKU listed as early as last week, though it should be a lot easier to find starting today and going forward. It's a $99 card, give or take a few dollars depending on what AMD's hardware partners do with the reference design -- the chip designer says custom cooled designs are ready to launch.