It's been far too long since we've run a Parts and Price Guide on the website, but we're now ready to get back into the groove of monthly component recommendations for your next PC build. This month, we're starting off with a $1000 PC. You'll be surprised at how much power and storage you can get for a grand -- even we're hesitant to call it a mere budget rig. In the following weeks, we'll also be running guides for $1500, $2000 systems, and will even try assembling and benchmarking a $500 configuration for the really budget-conscious (the troubled economy pretty much mandates it!). But for now, take a dive into our choices for a respectable system, and sound off on how you would build your PC differently!
Four-monitor support in a single-slot, low-profile, half-length videocard? You betcha. That's exactly what AMD's offering up with the release of its professional ATI FirePro 2450 multi-view graphics card.
"The ATI FirePro 2450 offers the reliability professionals expect and the efficiency IT departments require. IT managers want a card they can test once, deploy virtually anywhere, and count on to run reliably,” said Janet Matsuda, senior director, AMD Professional Graphics. “The low power consumption enables cool, energy-efficient operation, as well as superior reliability and longevity. The compact form factor can be deployed in nearly any system. This accelerator is perfect for customers who need more than two displays, such as in financial services and process control."
The FirePro 2450 comes equipped with 512MB of GDDR3 memory, variable speed fan sink, maximum resolution of 1920 x 1200, DirectX 10.1 and OpenGL 2.1 support, native PCI-E x16 and x1, and support for up to four independent DVI or VGA monitors.
According to AMD, the new card consumes less than 18W on average for 2D business usage, and no more than 32W when fully stressed.
The ATI FirePro 2450 is available now with an MSRP of $499.
Think your quad-VelociRaptors in a RAID 0 array are hardcore? Try 'hardly impressive,' at least when compared to the scintillating setup Samsung put together consisting of 24 -- TWENTY FOUR -- 256GB SSDs running in RAID. The goal? To show the world how awesome SSDs are via a YouTube video.
"While one SSD gives you an amazing 220MB/s access speed, we could actually use more of them together to build something extreme," Samsung narrated in a YouTube video. "Through RAID, we could theoretically combine 24 in tandem to make the world's most power consumer computer. Now that would prove SSD awesomeness."
Even without the massive collection of SSDs, Samsung's testbed impresses with two quad-core QX9775 processors, two HD 4870 X2 videocards in a CrossFire configuration, a custom 4GB 800MHz FB-DIMM, and two 1000W power supplies. But with the SSDs hooked up, Samsung's setup is nothing short of astonishing.
After playing around with stripe sizes, Samsung managed to break 2000MB/s (2GB/s). But Samsung didn't just strut its stuff with synthetic benchmarking. The video shows all of Microsoft Office opening in just 0.5 seconds, or instantaneously. This was followed by opening up all of the system's Start menu programs (53 in all) in a mere 18 seconds. Want more? Try copying a 700MB DVD rip from one location to another in 0.8 seconds.
And yes, it can play Crysis. See for yourself right here.
Asus has been showing off its cool and quirky Marine Cool concept motherboard at CeBIT, and it's like nothing you've ever seen before. We say 'cool' in a literal sense, as the board's underbelly comes equipped with a backplate the company says utilizes "micro-porous ceramic" technology. According to Asus, the backplate provides "aerospace-grade thermal dissipating," while also adding to the board's structural integrity. Combined with the metal heat-pipe module covering the chipset and PWM, Asus says "these revolutionary designs improve heat dissipation by up to 2 fold."
The prototype board also boasts an onboard UPS consisting of a built-in polymer battery in the gray portion of the backplate, providing backup power and preventing damage in the case of a blackout. But the quirkiness comes in the form of SO-DIMM memory slots typically found on notebooks. We suppose the space-saving slots might have made sense on paper, but that's probably where it should have stayed. However, we do dig the built-in Failover Memory, which Asus says guarantees the system will boot when using incompatible or faulty memory.
Thoughts on the Marine Cool motherboard? Hit the jump and sound off.
Netbooks have become so wildly popular that we could hardly blame Intel if it decided to focus solely on its Atom processors. Rest assured that's not the case. According to UK news and rumor site Channel Register, Intel will soon release mobile Penryn-based processors clocked at 3GHz and higher.
The faster processors will be part of Intel's Montevina Plus platform, which will focus more heavily on HD capabilities. Quoting Intel''s mobile marketing director Karen Regis, Channel Register reports the rollout also means Intel will expand its ultra low voltage (ULV) technology into mainstream markets. These include systems just above the netbook sector typically running between $600 and $1,000, Regis said.
Look for Montevina Plus to show up in the second quarter of this year.
If you're not yet ready to make the the jump to DDR3 memory but are itching to upgrade nonetheless, MSI has you covered, and it doesn't matter if you're an AMD or Intel fan. The motherboard maker has released a pair of hybrid motherboards, one for each camp, supporting both DDR2 and DDR3 RAM.
On the AMD side, MSI's AM3-based 790GX-8D supports both DDR2-1066 and DDR3-1333 memory when paired with an AM3 processor, and also works with AM2+ CPUs with DDR2 memory. Four slots of each are crammed onto the PCB, however you can't use both memory technologies at the same time. Moving away from the memory, the board also comes with two PCI-E x16 slots, two PCI-E x1 slots, and a single standard PCI slot. Using the onboard graphics, gamers can also set up a CrossFireX hybrid configuration.
Switching gears to Intel, MSI's P45-8D sports four each DDR2 and DDR3 slots as well, though it remains a generation behind as an LGA775 board with support for Intel's Core 2 processors. On the expansion front, the P45-8D comes outfitted with a one PCI-E x16 slot, one PCI-E x1 slots, and three standard PCI slots.
The P45-8D is available now for around $170 street. No word yet on price or availability for the 790GX-8D.
Integrated graphics has run its course and will soon become virtually extinct, according to a new report by Jon Peddie Research (JPR). The prediction? In just four years time, IGPs won't even make up 1 percent of all GPUs shipped.
That's in stark contrast to 2008, in which integrated graphics accounted for 67 percent of all graphics chips shipped. But JPR sees IGPs stronghold weakening to just 20 percent by 2011, resulting in a significant gains for both the discrete GPU market and emerging CPU+GPU technologies.
If JPR is correct, it will be interesting to see how Intel fares in an IGP-less world. The No. 1 CPU chip maker also accounts for roughly half of all desktop and notebook graphics, a position made possible due to the demand for IGP chipsets. Both Intel and AMD (Fusion) are working on CPUs with embedded graphics, which JPR believes will be a strong segment starting sometime between 2010 and 2012. For Intel's part, the company thinks it will be ready to serve the desktop (Clarkdale) and notebook (Arrandale) markets with CPUs with embedded graphics cores by the end this year, and AMD's Fusion is expected sometime in 2011.
Will IGP chipsets all but vanish completely in the next four years? Hit the jump and post your predictions.
A-DATA this week launced its 512GB XPG 2.5-inch solid state drive (SSD), which it claims is the highest capacity SSD to date. The new drive will be pitched to both laptop and desktop users.
Balancing capacity with performance, A-DATA says its 512GB XPG reads data at up to 230MB/s and writes up to 160MB/s. By comparison, Intel's highly touted X-25M boasts read and write speeds of up to 250MB/s and 70MB/s, respectively, giving A-DATA's a sizable paper-spec advantage in write speeds and a slight disadvantage in read bandwidth.
The new drive comes enclosed in a "dashing, durable, lightweight aluminum casing" and boasts a shock resistance rating of 1500G/0.5ms. In other words, it could probably survive an accidental drop or three, even if the rest of your laptop doesn't.
With the introduction of four new specialized Atom processors (as well as two new system controllers to accompany them) Intel is looking to put their wildly popular Atom processor into more platforms. Notably, they’re making a push for internet-pones and in-car devices.
The processors, which are made from the same 45nm manufacturing process as their siblings, aren’t too different from the others that already exist. The processors, which will clock between 1.1GHz and 1.6GHz will consume very little power, and fit perfectly into a whole myriad of industrial options.
So who knows, perhaps in the coming years not only your computer, but your car might have Intel inside.
Call it the dawn of a new era or the beginning of the end, but however it turns out, AMD has officially closed the deal to finalize its processor manufacturing spinoff. Previously coined The Foundry, the new company will now be called Globalfoundries and led by former AMD executives.
"With the close of this historic transaction, AMD and its committed partners have conceived two strong industry-leading companies capable of charting future courses that will dramatically improve the technology industry,” said Dirk Meyer, president and chief executive officer of AMD. "Our ‘Asset Smart’ strategy is about more than providing AMD with long term access to world-class, leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing that is foundational to our growth strategy. It is about transforming the industry."
The finalized deal improves AMD's cash position by about $825 million, and as previously reported, the spinoff will be responsible for AMD's manufacturing needs. Globalfoundries also said it will offer an expanded roadmap of technologies to third-party customers, giving them early access to volume chip production when traditionally new technologies would be limited only to high-end microprocessor makers.
A new $4.2 billion manufacturing facility at the Luther Forest Technology Campus in Saratoga County, NY is also being planned. The facility will focus on 32nm and smaller technologies, and according to Globalfoundries, it will be the only independently-managed, advanced semiconductor manufacturing foundry in the U.S.