If the EVGA nForce 790i board is a Shelby Cobra—a bristling big-block V8 with drum brakes and leaf springs—Asus’s Striker II Extreme is a high-tech, twin-turbo, all-wheel-steering Nissan Skyline GT-R R35. In other words, the Striker II Extreme is a spectacle of bells, whistles, and doohickeys. So much so that you actually won’t mind shelling out $450 for it. Read on to find what your dough'll getcha.
We weren’t impressed with Nvidia’s follow up to the popular 680i chipset. The 780i felt like a retread of the original and lacked support for Intel’s top proc: the 1,600MHz FSB Core 2 Extreme QX9770. Plus, PCI Express 2.0 was simply tacked on as an extra chip and DDR3 support was glaringly absent.
Nvidia heard our complaints and created the 790i chipset, represented here by EVGA’s Ultra SLI board. It has native PCI-E 2.0, 1,600MHz FSB support, and DDR3. This board even addresses another shortcoming of the 680i and 780i reference boards: lack of eSATA. Read on for the full review!
Gigabyte must have read our minds when we were thinking of our dream motherboard because the X48T-DQ6 has a feature we’ve been longing for: eight frigging USB ports! That’s just one of the things Gigabyte does right with this motherboard. Based on Intel’s DDR3, 1,600MHz FSB chipset, the X48T-DQ6 is a far better example of what a performance X48-based board should be than, well, Intel’s own implementation. It's fast and overclocker-friendly, with the safety net of an Intel chipset.
On the eve of the GeForce GTX 280 launch just last week, ATI unveiled a bombshell—a brand-new GPU architecture that utilized better process technology and a more power efficient design to outperform Nvidia's gargantuan new GPU. ATI eschewed the huge, hot monolithic GPU for a more compact, but modular core. With twin goals of decreased power consumption and more efficiency per die area, ATI looks poised to dethrone Nvidia, and all without building a videocard that sports an aural footprint roughly equivalent to a Dyson vacuum cleaner.
With the new RV770 GPU comes two products, the $200 Radeon 4850 and the $300 Radeon 4870. While their prices vary wildly, the videocards all use the same GPU. Click the jump to find out exactly what makes it tick.
Cnet reports that Intel's upcoming Centrino 2 processors are beginning to preview at resellers, as backordered of course. HP's 6930p Toshiba's Qosmio G55 and others are among the first laptops expected to use new Intel’s latest mobile processor. Even though Intel’s "Montevina" Centrino 2 mobile platform roll out was scaled back by Intel in May, processors are still slated for July 14th. Intel may be feeling a bit of heat from AMD’s roll out of “Puma” their next generation mobile processor for the fall 'back to school' sales.
The Centrino 2 is offering low-power processors with TDPs as low as 5W. That should offer us a nice long battery life. Better graphics processing is in the cards with the inclusion of the GM45 chipset, a much needed improvement for integrated graphics laptops with Vista. Rumor has it that these CPUs will eventually have Wi-MAX support. Some earlier leaked details have processor offerings between 2.26GHz and 3.06GHz and having up to 5 cores.
Zalman’s CNPS9700 has been the Godzilla of coolers and a Best of the Best champion for more than a year. But it’s finally facing its Megalon in Thermaltake’s DuOrb cooler. The extra-wide cooler, shaped in a 20-centimeter-wide figure eight, comes with two 8cm blue and red LED fans tucked inside two rings of copper fins.
ASUS announced the availability of their 22-inch VW223 LCD monitor with built-in DisplayLink technology. This monitor was designed with multitasking in mind available monitors letting up to six additional monitors to be networked together using a single PC over the USB 2.0 interface.
The VW223B monitor delivers a native 1680x1050 wide-screen resolution, 3000:1 contrast ratio, and 5-millisecond response time help ensure smooth video display on all of the networked displays without lag or ghosting effects.
ASUS will also ship a 20-inch version, the VW202B starting sometime in July.
Much has been made of the incredible speed advantages PCI Express offers over PCI. Beyond GPUs, however, we haven’t found much worthy of occupying those slots. Asus hopes to change that with its Xonar D2X card—the first soundcard we’ve reviewed that makes use of the PCI Express interface. The D2X is basically a PCI-E version of the Xonar D2 (reviewed April 2008). In our review of the Xonar D2 we lamented the card’s lack of advanced EAX support, something Asus has tried to fix here. But do their workarounds, well, work?
If you’re already gaming with a G92-based 8800 GTS, there’s very little reason to move up to a G92-based 9800 GTX such as PNY’s XLR8. The architecture in both GPUs is nearly the same, with 128 stream processors, a 256-bit interface, and 512MB of GDDR3. Slightly faster clock speeds yield only a modest bump in performance. That’s not to say the 9800 brings nothing to the table, but you’ll have to decide for yourself whether its offerings are worth the price.
Watching the ongoing race between AMD and Nvidia to build the ultimate graphics processor reminds us of the tale of the tortoise and the hare. AMD has played the hare, aggressively bounding ahead of Nvidia in terms of process size, number of stream processors, frame buffer size, memory interface, die size, and even memory type. Yet Nvidia always manages to snag the performance crown. The GeForce 200 series is but the latest example. We lay hands on the smokin’-fast GeForce GTX 280. Could this be the graphics processor to finally tame Crysis? We reveal what makes the card unique and how its architectural advances translate in the benchmarks!