MSI has unfurled a couple of AMD-based products. One of those two products is its 760GTM-P33 motherboard based on the AMD 760G chipset. The motherboard features an integrated ATI Radeon HD 3000 graphics core and supports DirectX 10 and Hybrid CrossFireX. To boot, MSI has packed the motherboard with some proprietary technologies: Active Phase Switching (APS) for managing power usage, Easy OC Switch technology for one-click overclocking and TPM for data encryption and storage. The other AMD-based product that MSI introduced is the R4890 Cyclone series graphics card – the fastest clocked HD 4890 hitherto, which was covered in a previous article.
At five inches high, 6.14 inches square at the top, and weighing a few ounces shy of two pounds, the Thermaltake BigTyp 14 Pro is among the biggest and heaviest coolers we’ve tested—although it’s not as big as Cooler Master’s V10, reviewed last month.
The BigTyp 14 Pro contains six heat pipes routed through aluminum fins mounted perpendicular to the motherboard and is topped with a plastic shroud and 14cm variable-speed fan, which blows hot air straight down instead of through the back of the case, like with most performance coolers. Two retention clips screw into the base and are fastened with nuts on the underside of the motherboard, just like with the Cooler Master V10. Installing the BigTyp 14 Pro is easier than the V10—it’s smaller and lighter, it won’t bump up against crucial components like RAM, and the nuts can be screwed in with a Phillips screwdriver as opposed to a hex wrench. But there’s no room for a 12cm rear fan with the BigTyp installed.
MSI this week announced the R4890 Cyclone series graphics card. Like other HD 4890 videocards, the Cyclone comes equipped with 800 stream processors and 1GB of GDDR5 with a 256-bit memory bus, but what separates this card from the pack is its cooling solution.
According to MSI, the Cyclone is the only HD 4890 to sport a 10cm PWM fan. The cooling solution also packs four 8mm heatpipes, which the company says is 60 percent thicker than traditional heatpipes and offers up to 90 percent better cooling efficiency. The end result is a 1GHz core clockspeed, making the Cyclone the fastest clocked HD 4890 yet.
Taking the marketing blitz to another level, MSI boasts "Military Class Components." These include Hi-c capacitors made of Tantalum, an all-in-one solid chock, and all solid caps.
Netbooks might not be getting bigger (or else they'd be called notebooks), but according to Slashgear, the average screen resolution in systems using Intel's Atom N-series chipsets is going up, and with the chip maker's blessing.
"According to HKEPC, Intel has increased the maximum allowed resolution from 1024 x 600 to 1366 x 768, as seen on the recently-announced Sony VAIO W," Slashgear wrote.
As it stands right now, in order to use the higher resolution panels, companies must choose from Intel's Z-series Atom chips, or else forgo the preferential N-series pricing. Intel's reasoning for doing this has been to clearly distinguish between a netbook and notebook, but perhaps the company is now content to let the physical screen size separate the two segments.
According to a report in the Apple Daily, a Chinese newspaper, Acer plans to launch the dual-OS netbook in August. Acer chairman JT Wang believes a dual-OS netbook is a much safer way of throwing Android at the deep end as compared to an Android-only netbook.
Asus recently announced the Xtreme Design motherboard series, a new designation the company claims denotes "ground-breaking design innovations." The P6TD Deluxe will be one of Asus' existing boards to receive the Xtreme makeover.
One of those "innovations" comes in the form of improved cooling. Dubbed "Stack Cool3," Asus says it re-engineered the original copper cooling solution found on the P5E64 WS motherboard with an enhanced PCB layer, a move Asus claims will result in substantially improved heat dissipation.
Also traits of the Xtreme Design series, designated boards will feature an improved phase design, Turbo V overclocking for "an overwhelming boost of up to 51 percent in processing throughput," and more stringent Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) testing.
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.
AMD hasn't put up much of a fight in the desktop market, but when it comes to the server sector, the scrappy chip maker is giving Intel everything it's got. Adding to its arsenal, AMD is launching new versions of its Opteron HE and SE series, both of which will add to its existing six-core lineup.
AMD first launched a six-core chip on June 1, 2009, six months ahead of schedule. According to the chip maker, these new ones boast 18 percent better performance per watt than the original models, though that doesn't necessarily mean a low wattage design.
On the contrary, the high-performance Opteron SE will consume 105W and is being aimed at those who need performance more than power savings. The low-power Opteron HE, however, will consume just 55W and will likely find a home in cloud computing data centers.
The HE chips will run anywhere from $455 to $1,019, while the SE will cost $1,514 to $2,649.
At $2,300, CyberPower’s Extreme M1 17-inch gaming notebook is the antithesis of the budget Gateway P-7811 FX we’ve been raving about for months. The most obvious extravagance you get for the higher price is dual-GPU graphics in the form of two ATI Radeon HD 3870 cards in CrossFireX. The Extreme M1’s 2.53GHz T9400 Core 2 Duo CPU is also 270MHz faster and features twice the cache as the Gateway’s proc, its 320GB hard drive is more than 50 percent bigger, and its optical drive supports Blu-ray playback.
The question is, how do these extras translate in performance? Compared with our zero-point notebook, the Extreme M1 excelled in all the benchmarks to varying degrees—not surprising, given the zero-point’s age. Against the Gateway P-7811 FX, there was a little more give and take. For example, in the ProShow Producer and MainConcept benchmarks, CyberPower’s rig had gains hovering around 10 percent, which is proportionate to the M1’s clock-speed advantage over the Gateway’s 2.26GHz CPU. But in our Photoshop benchmark, the Extreme M1 was actually around 7 percent slower than Gateway’s P-7811 FX.
Home users aren't the only ones reluctant to shell out big bucks for low capacity SSDs; companies are too. But while the former might be justified in waiting until the bang-for-buck ratio becomes a bit more favorable, a new report by J. Gold Association says that companies can save money by investing in SSDs right now.
"Our intent was to identify the true costs associated with equipping notebook computers deployed in the enterprise," said Jack Gold, principal analyst at the firm. "We discovered that the savings were very significant for a standard three year cycle."
According to the report, despite the comparatively high cost of SSDs, a company stands to save about $214 over three years and up to $492 if the notebook remains in service for five years. Part of the savings comes from in-warranty repair costs, which J. Gold Association claims averages out to $970 for a notebook with a conventional hard drive, compared to $715 for one equipped with an SSD.
Other reasons for the disparity include lower failure rates and less power consumption.