After a lengthy standoff that ultimately punished the consumer rather than each other, Intel and Nvidia recently came to an agreement over using Nvidia's SLI technology on Intel chipset-based motherboards, specifically the Core i7 friendly X58. And now for the first time, Intel has licensed SLI for use on its own DX58SO "Smackover" motherboard.
"The addition of Nvidia SLI technology to the Intel DX58SO motherboard has been a welcome addition," said Clem Russo, VP and GM of Channel Desktop Platform Group at Intel. "The pairing of our new Core i7 processors on our Extreme Series motherboard and Nvidia GeForce graphics has resulted in some of the world's fastest consumer gaming PC platforms. For playing any of today's hottest PC titles, this is one awesome combination that our customers have been asking for."
Nvidia says the DX58SO supports any combination of GeForce GPUs, including support for quad-SLI, which will come as a boon to Smackover owners who have been lusing over Nvidia's new dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295 videocard.
Maker’s Mark is of course the name of a fine Kentucky bourbon whiskey, but the phrase also applies to the stamp that skilled artisans apply to their creations. When you’ve finished building your custom PC, we’d encourage you to stamp it with your own maker’s mark; after all, the one-of-a-kind creation you’ll have wrought will have nothing in common with the mass-produced rigs that mainstream manufacturers churn out by the millions.
That’s one of the most exciting aspects of our hobby. Automobile buffs can tune and customize their factory-built cars and trucks, but computer geeks like us get to build something new and unique almost entirely from whole cloth. And it’s so easy that you have to wonder why anyone would buy a preassembled PC in the first place.
Thanks to the relatively open architecture that IBM stumbled into oh so many years ago (and has likely regretted ever since), we can rebuild and retune our creations again and again, boosting their performance and postponing their obsolescence. We do hit a wall every now and again. Intel’s new Core i7 CPU is a good example. Because the new processor features an onboard memory controller—a first for Intel, although AMD’s procs have had the technology for years—the company had to design a new socket architecture to accommodate the additional pins. That blocks the upgrade path for anyone using an LGA775 motherboard.
Intel has AMD on the run in the CPU front, but AMD is poking Nvidia in the behind in the graphics processor market. The result: ever more powerful, ever less expensive videocards. The two companies have shipped so many new parts that we expect things will stabilize over the next quarter or so, so now’s the time to find a great deal whether you’re building a new rig or retrofitting an old one. And if you’ve never experienced the joy and pride of building your own PC, click through to read our in-depth, hands-on guide.
Intel's three-chip Core i7 lineup is about to get a little more robust, and it starts at the top end. The chip maker has introduced a pair of new CPUs, with the Core i7 975 Extreme supplanting the 965 Extreme as the company's flagship processor. Intel's newly minted 975 model blazes a trail at 3.33GHz, up from 3.2GHz on the 965.
But it's not just the flagship model that's getting faster; Intel is also planning to release the Core i7 950. The new chip runs at 3.06GHz, nestling in between the 2.93GHz Core i7 940 and the aforementioned Core i7 965 Extreme.
No word yet on price or availability, however the Core i7 975 is expected to replace the 965 at the $999 mark.
I fought the law and the law won. Moore’s Law that is. As proof, Intel on Tuesday demonstrated both desktop and mobile CPUs running an OS using a new 32nm process some of which are due as early as this year. Intel’s updated roadmap for performance desktop, mainstream desktop and mobile features a few new twists and turns from the company’s accelerated 32nm process.
Intel updated its public roadmap of the 32nm “Westmere” family. Like the switch from Conroe to Penryn, Westmere is a smaller “tick” that offers some upgrades from the current 45nm Nehalem CPUs.
Find out how this affects power users and Intel's desktop mainstream lineup. Plus, a first look at LGA 1156 details!
Who says AMD moves too slowly? Just a month after releasing its well regarded Phenom II mid-range CPUs, the company is back with no fewer than five new P-II chips and its new AM3 socket that support DDR3.
War. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Well, except when it’s a CPU war. In that case, it’s good for consumers. Really good for us. With the unveiling of five new AMD’s latest Phenom II CPUs supporting DDR3, it’s pretty clear that the CPU war that started with the unveiling of the Phenom II in January is escalating.
AMD’s new lineup includes the 2.6GHz Phenom II X4 for $175, the 2.8GHz Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition at $145, and the 2.6GHz Phenom II X3 710 for $125. AMD’s two other new chips: the 2.6GHz Phenom II X4 910 and the 2.5GHz Phenom II X4 805. The 910 and 805 are OEM only CPUs and pricing was not released but you can expect that gray-markets will carry them and that the prices will follow the numbers. The 805, for example, should be slightly cheaper than the $175 810 and the 910 should be cheaper than the $195 Phenom II X4 920.
Lost in the numbers? So where we. AMD’s lineup is so bewildering to us today that we had build a spread sheet just to sort it out! We give you the skinny on AMD’s latest quad and tri-cores and help you sort through AMD’s bewildering array of CPU choices.
LaCie's newest Blu-ray burner might as well be called the 'Top Gun' model because the company obviously felt the need for speed when designing it. The newly announced LaCie d2 Blu-ray Drive gooses the burn rating to 8X, or double the speed of its previous high-capacity Blu-ray drive.
"With the doubling of the speed to burn Blu-ray discs, video professionals will be able to spend more time creating content and less time on production," said Christelle Dexet, Multimedia Product Manager for LaCie. "And for those who need to safely store large quantities of information for extended periods of time on secure removable media, the LaCie d2 Blu-ray Drive is an ideal solution."
The external drive supports both USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 and can burn up to 50GB on a single dual-layer BD-R disc. DVD recording checks in at 16X, CDs at 48X, and dual-layer DVD at 8X.
LaCie's d2 Blu-ray burner is available now starting at $450 and comes bundled with Easy Media Creator 10 and Toast 9 Titanium software.
Western Digital just upped the capacity ante with a mind-blowing two-terabye internal hard drive. It doesn’t break any land speed records, but the 2TB Caviar Green is unmatched for capacity—at least for now.
The Caviar Green 2TB packs a full 500GB more onto its four platters than our previous capacity champion, Seagate’s 1.5TB 7200.11 Barracuda, which has suffered from firmware-related hitches and freezing. The Barracuda (when it works) marries speedy performance with high capacity, while the Caviar Green, like the rest of Western Digital’s Green line, focuses on quiet performance and lower power consumption. The 2TB Caviar Green has four 500GB platters spinning at a rate somewhere between 5,400 and 7,200rpm, with a 32MB cache, and an areal density per platter of 400Gb/square inch.
If the way you swept your girlfriend off her feet was by showing her your crazy high 3DMark06 score and boasting about your badass overclock with exotic cooling, then perhaps Metadot's latest promotion is right up your alley.
Metadot, the maker of the Das Keyboard, is running a "Buy One, Get One Half-Off for your Sweetheart" Valentine's sale. The promotion runs from Saturday, February 7th until 3:00 PM EST Thursday, February 12th and includes free ground shipping. However, to guarantee delivery on or before Valentine's Day, you'll need to place your order before 4:00 PM EST on February 9th, Metadot says. If you've already purchased either model between July 14, 2008 and February 6, 2009, Metadot says existing customers should refer to an email notification detailing a "Valentine's Appreciation Offer."
Made famous for its label-less design, Metadot recently refreshed its Das Keyboard lineup with two new redesigned models, the Professional (labeled keys) and Ultimate (blank plank). Mechanical gold-plated key switches contribute to the audible key clicks and tactile feedback, and an n-key rollover function allows up to 12 keys to be pressed simultaneously.
We had the LaCie 730 delivered to the Lab as a possible contender for our upgrading feature (page 25)—at $5,000 and change it’s certainly a comfortable fit at the high end of the price spectrum. Of course, it wasn’t just the price that intrigued us. The LaCie 730 includes a number of features that set it apart from other monitors we’ve reviewed—as well as one oversight that keeps it from attaining our highest praise.
While most monitors that come to the Lab sport 6- or 8-bit panels, the 730 has a 14-bit panel, which should greatly increase the color depth of this monitor. Additionally, the 730 includes an LED backlight rather than the more typical cold-cathode fluorescent backlight. An LED backlight should produce a truer black than a CCF because unlike the CCF, LEDs can switch on and off while a CCF is always on (for this same reason, an LED backlight should also reduce the amount of light seepage at the edges of a monitor). However, the first LED backlight monitor we reviewed, ViewSonic’s VLED221wm (May 2008), was able to create the darkest black we had ever seen but couldn’t differentiate the darkest grays in our grayscale test.
Out with the old and in with the new, and for Intel, that means putting its Core 2 Extreme processors on the chopping block. The chip maker has told system builders it is phasing out both the QX9650 and QX9770 processors, leaving the QX9775 as the last remaining Core-based 45nm Extreme processor. Intel will take final orders for the discontinued CPUs on June 5 and final tray processors will ship in early February 2010. OEM versions will ship until September of 2010, so you still have plenty of time to overspend on a dated CPU.
By phasing out all but one of its 45nm Core 2 Extreme processors, Intel would appear to be on track to release more Core i7 CPUs in Q2 2009. Intel has also indicated that the first commercial processors built on a 32nm manufacturing process are expected to debut by the end of the year, putting the chip maker at least a year ahead of AMD.