Wouldn't it be awesome if there were do-overs in everyday life like there are in some sports? That's pretty much what EVGA is offering through a line of graphics cards that now feature "Double BIOS," the marketing name for what's essentially a secondary BIOS in case you screw something up. It's also there to support experimentation with custom BIOSes, and should something go wrong, BIOS recovery is a flip of the switch away.
It's kind of ironic that AMD once pooh-pooh'd the whole MHz/GHz craze back when Intel was kicking tail with its Netburst architecture, because these days, the Sunnyvale chip designer is making headlines based on clockspeed. If you recall, AMD was quick to point out that its FX-9590 Piledrive part qualified as the world's first commercially available 5GHz processor (Turbo speed). Now just a couple of weeks later, an overclocker just set a record with AMD's A10 6800K processor.
When's the last time you saw a tablet or smartphone overclocked to 5GHz and beyond? The answer is "never" and it probably won't happen for a long, long time yet. On the desktop, well, that's an entirely different story. Not only are high overclocks common, but early looks at overclocking results on Intel's Haswell parts would indicate that the fun is just beginning, and you don't even need exotic cooling to participate.
The overclocking community is wasting no time putting AMD's new 8-core "Vishera" FX-8350 processor to work chasing world records for CPU frequency. To wit, MSI yesterday sent out a press release bragging that it's 990FXA-GD80 motherboard was used by an overclocker to set a world record of 8.37GHz, and it's already been leapfrogged...twice! The new record, at least for today, stands at 8.67GHz, giving Asus a bit of momentary bragging rights.
Memory maker G.Skill is laying claim to the "world's fastest RAM" after an overclocker goosed the company's TridentX Extreme Performance memory kit to 1,950MHz (3,900MHz effective). Whether you want to qualify that as the world's fastest RAM is up to you (and clearly G.Skill does), but it is a new memory frequency world record, so there are some well deserved bragging rights to go around.
Recently, researchers at the University of Southampton used 64 Raspberry Pi computers and Lego to build a dirt cheap supercomputer. They even published a step-by-step guide for making a Raspberry Pi supercomputer (PDF) for those interested in emulating their feat. But we understand that making supercomputer clusters isn’t for everyone and that most Raspberry Pi owners would probably settle for something as unexciting as tweaking the config.txt file to overclock and overvolt its 700MHz ARM chip. Now, though, such people may have to look elsewhere for their kicks, as the Raspberry Pi Foundation (hereinafter referred to as the “Foundation”) has effectively taken the fun out of overclocking the Pi by announcing an official “turbo mode” for the credit card-sized computer.
ANOTHER ALL-IN-ONE liquid-cooling loop! Hooray! Corsair’s H100 is its fifth liquid cooler; after two with Asetek, the company has put out three with CoolIT. The H60 is your standard 120mm radiator-with-single-fan, the H80 is the double-thick double-fan version, and the H100, the first Corsair liquid-cooler to support LGA2011, is its first cooler with a 240mm radiator.
The H100’s radiator is around an inch thick and 10.8 inches long and fits in any case that can accommodate a 240mm radiator, though some cases may not have the vertical clearance to mount the fans inside the case. The pump/heat exchange unit is square, and very slightly taller than Asetek’s. It contains four 4-pin PWM headers to control the radiator fans, as well as a connector for Corsair’s Link system control software/hardware combo (sold separately). There’s also a three-speed fan-control button on top of the pump. The pump unit itself has a 3-pin motherboard fan connector and a 2-pin Molex for power. The cooler unit mount is simple; four double-sided thumbscrews mount to the unified backplate, the brackets at the corners of the pump unit slide onto those, and more thumbscrews secure them in place.
Intel isn’t shipping stock heatsinks with Sandy Bridge-E CPUs, perhaps assuming that consumers of $600 and $1,000 CPUs are going to want performance a little better than Intel’s stock coolers have typically provided. Instead, Intel is offering a branded liquid-cooling loop as an optional accessory. The Asetek-built cooling loop features a glowing blue Intel logo and a bright blue LED on its single 12cm fan, but otherwise looks nearly identical to the Antec Kuhler 620, which was also built by Asetek (which also built AMD’s Bulldozer-branded liquid cooling loop).
The latest Zalman heatsink looks cooler than it is
THE CNPS12X MIGHT be Zalman’s most eye-catching cooler, with two arrays of black-nickel-coated cooling fins and three 12cm fans to push air through them. And it is massive. It’s 6.1 inches tall, 5.25 deep, and more than 6 inches wide, and weighs two pounds, four ounces. It’s so big it overhangs the inner four RAM slots on our Asus P9X79 Deluxe test motherboard, requiring the use of RAM without tall heat spreaders. The six direct-contact heat pipes rise into two sets of cooling fins, with the front and rear fans nestled into their respective fins, and the middle fan in between the two sets. All three fans are controlled via a single 3-pin power connector.
WHEN WE REVIEWED the first-edition Noctua NH-D14 back in April 2010, we praised its quiet performance, but our then-current test bed didn’t put out enough heat to best showcase its cooling chops. Fortunately, our new one does. This coincides nicely with Noctua’s release of the NH-D14 SE2011, which includes (gasp) LGA2011 support and updates the D14’s two fans to include PWM, or pulse-width modulation.