Yet another leaked slide has made its way to the web, this time showcasing a triumvirate of motherboards slated for a late 2008 release by top tier vendor MSI. The company has labeled its enthusiast offering as the Eclipse, and its performance board will carry the familiar Platinum nomenclature as the X58 Platinum. The third board, which doesn't yet have a name (X58 Diamond?), will target the "Über Overclocker" according to the slide.
The mystery board carries the most intrigue, and not because of its lack of name. While all three motherboards bring support for Nvidia's SLI and ATI's CrossFireX, the board without an identity shows support for quad-SLI or tri-SLI with PhysX support in full speed x16 PCI-E v2 slots (insert your own Crysis reference).
One of the first questions new system builders ask centers around the amount of RAM to invest in, and it wasn't very long ago when the decision came down to 1GB or 2GB. With the emergence of Vista, and particularly the 64-bit version, the big question now is whether or not to go with 4GB. How long will it be before we see 16GB rigs in quantity?
It could be sooner than you think, and at least one company has already begun preparations. Samsung said it has started sampling 50nm DDR3 devices that ultimately will enable memory modules up to 16GB in capacity. The samples consist of 2Gb (that's lowercase 'b') chips with double the density of current 1Gb parts, while also cutting back on power by over 40 percent.
According to Samsung, the new small form factor paves the way for 8GB RIMMs and 4GB SODIMMs, equating to 16GB and 8GB respectively in dual-die packages. Next up - finding mainstream applications capable of feasting on hordes of memory.
Samsung said it will begin mass producing the 2Gb chips by the end of the year and make 2Gb DDR3 its primary DRAM process technology in 2009. As for pricing? We'll have to wait and see.
The mighty Fudzilla has dropped a rumor that we can expect the first Core i7 to arrive in the US in week 46, between the 10th and 14th of November. They also said that Japanese customers might even be able to buy them as early as the first days of November. They cite unnamed sources.
Intel of course, remains mum only saying to expect it sometime in Q4 of 2008. Intel is more of a tease than my first girlfriend.
As Fudzilla notes there are plenty of X58 based motherboard prototypes that have floated on the internet in the pasted few months from names like MSI, Gigabyte, and Asus. If there is a mid November launch of Core i7, there should be a selection of motherboards available for it, some with overclocking features.
I have only had my Newegg wish list system configured since last March. It has gone through several revisions waiting on Core i7, and the power supply is up in the air depending on the stated needs of the motherboard I pick. I figured on $300 on the CPU and another $300 on the Motherboard. Yeah, I know it is no Dream Machine. However, I have to operate like the government and tell the wife that my stated budget is $1800, when in reality its $2,200 and I am going to run a little over that. Better to beg forgiveness and have a nice new game machine to console myself with, than to ask permission and be denied. I know my limits however and racking up a $5,000 bill on a game system would result in my summary execution. Another $500 bucks I can fix with flowers, chocolate and extra attention (I hope).
Anyone else have a wish list for their new Core i7 system? Tell me about it below!
Has there ever been a better time than right now to be a PC enthusiast? Due to oversupply, RAM remains dirt cheap, and pricing wars between Nvidia and ATI in the graphics sector, and Intel and AMD on the processor front have made it so you can build a killer rig on a manageable budget. Could motherboards be next?
If there is to be a price war among motherboard vendors, you can count Gigabyte out of the battle. Richard Ma, VP of Gigabyte, says his company has no plans to cut motherboard pricing in response Asus' recent adjustments, fearing that such a move would force Asus' hand to lower prices even more. Instead, Ma says his company's strategy will be to focus on improving quality, an area he claims is of primary concern to those who purchase mid-range and high-end motherboards.
Motherboard shipments, while still meeting Gigabyte's goal of 20 million units, haven't met the company's expectations the past two months, in part because of the new price competition. However, September sales have been kinder to Gigabyte, and Ma expects October and November to be even better with Core i7 CPUs and the X58 chipset on the horizon.
Is Gigabyte making a mistake by not dropping prices? Hit the jump and let us know.
Notebook vendors appear to cooling off towards the Blu-ray format, but can the high definition format attract more customers on the desktop? Buffalo seems to think so, who today has released not one, but two new 8x Blu-ray burners, one internal and one external.
The MediaStation 8x external Blu-ray drive holds promise for its obvious portability, and comes ready to connect via USB 2.0 or eSATA. The new drive measures 6.4 x 1.9 x 11 inches and weighs less than four pounds. In addition to 8x read and write speeds for BD-R media, Buffalo rates both the internal and external models at BD-RE 2x, DVD RAM 5x, DVD-R 16x, DVD+R 16x, DVD-RW 6x, DVD+RW 8x,CD-R 48x, and CD-RW 24x.
MSRP has been set to $400 for the external version and $350 for the internal model, both shipping with a suite of CyberLink software.
If there's one company that understands how to hype up a product, it's Art Lebedev Studios, the company responsible for the Optimus Maximus. Oft delayed to the point of being considered vaporware, the OLED keyboard finally saw the light of day after laying not so low for nearly 3 years, and now you can pick one up for just shy of $2,000.
This time around it's the Optimus Aux that's being pimped to the press with new product shots emerging. Formerly known as the Pultius, the renamed Aux is a numeric keypad designed with the same OLED DNA as the Maximus. According to the company's blog, the key rows have been moved closer together in this newest revision (fifteen keys in all), and it now looks to ship with two downstream USB ports instead of one. There's also an upstream USB port, a Kensigton lock hole, and a power socket.
No word on price or availability, but if the past is any indication, expect it to be expensive and delayed.
More price cuts are on the horizon from Intel, with some processors soon to reach their end of life (EOL), say motherboard makers. As DigiTimes reports it, Intel will announce product discontinuance notices (PDNs) for the Core 2 Extreme QX9770 and QX9650 in the first quarter of 2009. PDNs will also be sent out for four quad-core chips, one of which is the Q9450 and ten dual-core CPUs, including the E8300.
Specific numbers haven't been released, but come October 19, Intel is expected to cut the price of the Core 2 Quad Q8200 and Q6600, Core 2 Duo 7300, and Pentium E2220 and E2220 CPUs. Around the same time the chip maker will launch its Core 2 Duo E7400.
In November, look for Intel to release a Core 2 Quad Q8300 clocked at 2.5GHz, Pentium E5300 clocked at 2.6GHz, and a dual-core Celeron E1500 at 2.2GHz. Prices in thousand-unit quantities will sit at $224, $86, and $53 respectively.
And finally, on January 18, 2009, Intel plans to launch the Core 2 Duo E7500 (2.93GHz, $133) and will make the following price cuts:
Core 2 Quad Q8200 from $193 to $183
Core 2 Duo E7400 from $133 to $113
Pentium E5200 from $84 to $76
Pentium E2200 from $84 to $64
Celeron E1400 from $54 to $43
Keep in mind that none of this is official, with Intel declining to comment on the price cuts and product launches.
In case you missed it, Intel earlier this week officially released its Dunnington-based 7400 server CPUs. Dunnington has garnered attention in the press for being a six-core processor, and also for being the first Intel chip to sport a monolithic design, meaning all six cores come on a single die. Dunnington's predecessor, the 7300 series Tigerton, was a quad-core processor two dual-core chips wedged onto a single slice of silicon.
But Dunnington is no big deal, according to AMD. Jon Fruehe, worldwide market development manager for the rival chip maker, dubbed Dunnington as nothing more than a "benchmark chip" and a "placeholder" until Intel can move away from an external memory controller.
Fruehe also huffed at Intel having the first six-core CPU, saying it's just a glued together triple-dual core processor with 50 percent more cores than the quad-core and costing 50 percent more, but only offering 30 percent more performance. He also pooh-poohed the 130W TDP rating (early reports indicate first run Core i7 processors will also be rated at 130W), and downplayed Tigerton's success, saying market share gains can be attributed to AMD being late with Barcelona.
Is Fruehe's criticism of Intel's Dunnington architecture valid, or did someone just take a whiz in his Wheaties?
Arguably no other company is doing more to push SSDs into the mainstream than OCZ, who earlier this year released its Core Series SATA II SSD drives, undercutting the competition in price and hurdling past in performance. Now the company is at it again, slashing prices one more time.
It was just a week ago that OCZ's 32GB Core SSD dropped down to just $99 after mail-in-rebate, and now the company's 64GB model is receiving similar treatment. Newegg is now selling the bigger model for the same price after a $70 mail-in-rebate, which means you can now get double the storage space for a single C-note than what you could have received last week.
It's not all peaches and cream, though, as the price cuts come on the heels of heavy criticism by Anandtech, who faulted the drives for random write issues resulting in "horrible stuttering/pausing/lagging."
Is the new low price per gigabyte enough to make up for SSD technology's shortcomings?
Have better things to do than to surf your videocard maker's website every day to check for updated drivers? That's okay, because we've done the legwork for you and found new drivers, so go ahead an hightail it over to ATI.
The just released Catalyst 8.9 driver package applies to both Windows XP and Vista in 32- and 64-bit trim. Home theater buffs should be particularly interested in the new drivers, as 8.9 introduces a 1080P @ 50Hz custom display mode for HDTVs. On the extreme gaming front, ATI's OverDrive overclocking utility now supports quad CrossFireX configurations, giving gamers the ability to overclock each card using manual controls or via the auto-tuning option.
Other goodies include OpenGL 3.0 extension support and several bug fixes for a variety of games, including recent releases Age of Conan and Spore.