With Intel's new Core i7 platform nearing release, expect a deluge of X58 motherboard announcements by various manufacturers. EVGA has already offered a glimpse of its upcoming X58 SLI FTW board, and now Gigabyte follows suit with two boards of its own -- GA-EX58-EXTREME and GA-EX58-UD5 -- based on the enthusiast X58 chipset.
Both boards will sport six DIMM slots for three-channel DDR3 memory and support for up to a whopping 24GB of RAM, but the hardware ménage à trois doesn't end there. Both boards will also come ready for three-way SLI action, or if you prefer ATI brand videocards, you can get your groove on with three-way CrossFireX support. Other traits the two boards have in common include ten SATA 3Gb/s ports, a PATA connector, RAID support, 8-channel onboard audio, three Firewire ports, and a dozen USB 2.0 ports.
The GA-EX58-EXTREME separates itself by adding Gigabyte's "Hybrid Silent-Pipe 2" cooling solution and is being aimed at watercooling enthusiasts. By combining liquid cooling, screen cooling, and an external heatsink, Gigabyte claims users can expect upwards of a 30 percent drop in thermals. The GA-EX58-UD5, on the other hand, sticks to a more traditional air cooling scheme, while also adding LED onboard displays of system vitals.
For the first time in… ever, Apple has gone ahead and crushed a rumor. Specifically, about the possibility of there being new Macs before the holidays.
A (previously) circulating rumor about the chances of a new Mac mini or iMac being released before this upcoming holiday season has been debunked by Apple spokesman Bill Evans. Evans, clearly being a man of few words, simply stated, “our holiday lineup is set.”
Translation; this isn’t Apple pulling anyone’s chain. If you’re looking to buy someone a shiny new toy from the Cupertino giant, go right ahead. They’re not going to risk making the Apple faithful or new switchers mad by releasing a new version of a product right after they’ve finished their holiday shopping, so put your mind (but not your wallet) at ease.
You've bought computer parts online, right? If you have, then we're sure you've experienced the Herculean ordeal of trying to free a delicate little part (say, a memory card) from its nigh-unbreakable PVC prison. Well, today Amazon has shown that they feel our pain, announcing a new initiative to eventually offer all their products with less obnoxious, extraneous packaging.
The initiative extends beyond tech stuff and beyond just PVC blister packs. The retail giant says that the plan won't just save our fingers, but the environment too. For instance, the press release says that for a single toy pirate ship, the new packaging "eliminates 36 inches of plastic-coated wire ties, 1,576.5 square inches of printed corrugated package inserts and 36.1 square inches of printed folding carton materials. Also eliminated are 175.25 square inches of PVC blisters, 3.5 square inches of ABS molded styrene and two molded plastic fasteners."
For right now Amazon's only going to be offering the new packaging on items from certain sourcces, like Microsoft and Transcend, but says "our vision is to offer our entire catalog of products in Frustration-Free Packaging."
Sounds pretty good, right? Do you think we can expect other retailers to follow suit? Let us know after the break.
For many of us, the idea of building your own laptop seems pretty farfetched. But OCZ is looking to change all of that with a recently announced15” DIY gaming notebook. The notebook will be based on Intel’s Centrino 2 processor and ATI’s Radeon HD3650 integrated graphics. According to OCZ, these will “provide a premium gaming experience that lets gamers power through all of today's most advanced and graphic-intensive games and applications with DirectX 10.1 compatibility.”
“At OCZ, empowering the enthusiast end-user in the mobile gaming space is an exciting opportunity for us, and with the powerful technology found in our latest Intel Centrino 2 based notebook we are again at the forefront of this growing market,” states Ryan Edwards, Director of Product Management, in OCZ’s the press release. “With OCZ DIY notebooks, end-users have complete control of the cost/performance ratio of key components, giving consumers the opportunity to personalize a true gaming and multi-tasking powerhouse notebook by using a validated component list and our easy to follow step-by-step manual included with every DIY package.”
While the notebook isn’t one that you’ll be building from the ground up, there are plenty of great options to give it a DIY feel. In the box you’ll get the case of the machine, which features a 15” screen, optical drive, and motherboard while the HDD (or SSD), memory and processor are your call. Thanks to some conveniently placed covers, all it takes to install the components is a screwdriver a little bit of know-how. OCZ even provides a catalog of components that work in each slot, so you’ll have a short list of parts to choose from when deliberating on what to use.
For true DIY’ers, this isn’t much to concern yourself with. But if you’re someone looking for a way to get your feet wet in the DIY scene (and it truly is the place to be), this isn’t a bad place to start. Follow the simple instructions and the fundamentals of building a PC are all yours.
Tick tock? More like ding-dong, mutha—shut your mouth. What baby? We’re talkin’ about Core i7.
Our apologies to Isaac Hayes, but if he were alive, we’re almost certain he would have been tapped to hammer out a theme song for Intel’s most significant CPU launch in, well, ever.
Why is this CPU more significant than the 8088, Pentium, or Pentium M? As the second new chip produced after a series of embarrassing losses to archrival AMD, the Core i7 will answer for the world whether Intel is prepared to ride the momentum of its Core 2 launch with another winning chip or if it’s content to rest on its laurels, as it did with the Pentium 4.
Core i7 also represents a major new direction for Intel, which has stubbornly clung to the ancient front-side-bus architecture and discrete memory controller for years. Indeed, with its triple-channel integrated DDR3 memory controller and chip-to-chip interconnect, the block map of a Core i7 looks more like an Athlon 64 than a Core 2 chip.
Intel actually has three quad-core Core i7 CPUs ready: the top-end 3.2GHz Core i7-965 Extreme Edition, the performance-oriented 2.93GHz Core i7-940, and the midrange 2.66GHz Core i7-920. For the most part, all three are exactly the same except for clock speeds, multiplier locking (only the Extreme is unlocked), and QuickPath Interconnect speed. See the chart on page 42 for details.
The bigger issue is how Core i7 performs. To find out, we ran the Extreme 965 against AMD’s fastest proc as well as Intel’s previous top gun in a gauntlet of benchmarks. Read on for the results.
Continue reading for our comprehensive review and benchmarks!
The mini-ITX form factor is still alive and kicking, and to prove it, Zotac has just expanded its mini-ITX lineup with the nForce 630i-ITX WiFi motherboard. As the board's nomenclature suggests, WiFi comes integrated with 802.11b/g support, as does graphics chores, which are handled by Nvidia's GeForce 7100 chipset.
The pint-sized board comes ready for Intel's lineup of Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors with support for a full 1333MHz frontside bus. RAM support, on the other hand, comes somewhat gimped topping out at DDR2-800 instead of DDR2-1066 or DDR3. Other features include:
Eight USB 2.0 ports (four on back panel, four on pin header)
Onboard 10/100 Ethernet
HD Audio 5.1
Dual display ready (VGA / DVI)
Four SATA II ports with RAID Support
Not a bad feature-set for a compact board, particularly if you're in the market for an HTPC build, where the integrated WiFi could end up a major selling point.
"Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes speeding down the highway." - Andrew Tanenbaum
Western Digital's bringing back the sneakernet with a media player that displays video, audio, and photos from your USB devices on your TV - no networking required.
In fact, the WD TV HD Media Player doesn't have any networking capabilities at all. Instead, this little device plays files from your WD Passport (or other USB devices, although WD would love it if you used their portable hard drives) on your TV screen, in glorious 1080p resolution.
Die hard Apple fans love to defend their platform, and that’s okay, it’s actually good to know they are capable of emotion. But is this really what passes for a news story? The popular web tabloid AppleInsider.com ran a news feature on Friday criticizing Microsoft’s decision to place a Vista campaign booth outside an Apple store in Birmingham England. The booth was apparently set up to record I’m a PC videos for possible use in upcoming marketing efforts. Some of the clips gathered are slated for use in TV commercials while others will be used for web promotions. In addition to gathering video clips, Microsoft staffers are on hand to convert potential Mac customers back into the fold. The booths are the continuation of the Vista ad campaign which started with Bill Gates and Jerry Sienfeld, and more recently matured into the “I’m a PC” initiative.
Intel’s current lineup of desktop and laptop processors are currently being built with a 45nm process, a process which AMD is only now catching up with. It appears however that the race continues as Intel plans to unveil its new 32nm process technology on December 15th at the International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM). 32nm might sound like nothing new, and in actuality the technology was first showcased back in 2007. At the time however, little was revealed and the company didn’t give many details as to the process itself. According to recent information Intel will share the specifics for the first time at IDEM and we expect to hear an announcement on new processors as well. The first platform is is rumored to be codenamed ‘Westmere’ which should hit the market in late 2009. Westmere however, is expected to be little more than a die shrink of Nehalem.
New features of the 32nm manufacturing process are expected to include second-generation high-k/metal gate technology, and nine levels of low-k interconnect dielectrics. According to the EE Times, Intel tested its new process by building a 32nm, 291-Mbit SRAM array test chip which has a cell size of 0.171-micron2. It houses over 2 billion transistors and has an array density of 4.2-Mbit2. The chip managed to run at an impressive 3.8 GHz while requiring only a meager 1.1v. Given the amount of time Intel has been working on this process experts expect commercialization next year to be highly plausible. The die shrinks will have the greatest benefits for mobile computing as it will boot performance while lowering the voltage requirements and the amount of heat generated. The future for mobile computing is bright indeed.
So, you’re in the market for an all-in-one computer with a 24-inch screen, but you’re not looking to splurge on one of those yucky iMacs, huh? Well Dell has got your back, and it comes in the form of the XPS One 24.
The 24-inch beast packs plenty of powerful features, too. Including a gigantic 1920x1080 native resolution on a 16:9 display, 4GB RAM (standard), Intel GMA X4500HD graphics (or an upgraded Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT) and an Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 processor. Should you feel the need to donate money to some worthwhile causes without actually doing so yourself, there’s a (PRODUCT) RED version available too.
While admittedly the name isn’t the best we’ve ever seen (seriously, say it out loud), it is shaping up to be a very worthwhile media machine. Some upgraded speakers and a built in TV tuner are looking to drive that point home. It’s shipping now, and will run you $1,700 for a base model.