File this one under unconfirmed, but word on the web is that Intel plans to release a six-core Nehalem chip before the end of the year. Citing "sources close to Intel," Bit-tech says existing X58 motherboard owners should be able to drop the new chip into their motherboard with only a BIOS update, giving current Core i7 owners a tantalizing upgrade path to look forward to.
Not much else is known about the supposed six-core Nehalem, however those same sources did say the new chip won't fall into the Core i7 naming scheme. The name is still being worked out
Should this come to fruition, Intel would be the first to market with a six-core consumer desktop CPU. AMD earlier this month released a six-core part well ahead of schedule, but it's a server chip and not a desktop part. Intel also has an existing six-core processor in Xeon form, also intended for servers.
Biostar's second Core-i7 compatible motherboard, the TPower X58A, is now available for sale, and here's why the company believes you should look at upgrading to the platform, price be damned.
"Although Intel X58 chipset based motherboard is sold at a relatively higher price in the market, Biostar still has an excellent reputation for TPower series, in which TPower X58 and TPower I45 are very popular with a lot of power users," Biostar writes in its press release.
Alrighty then. But quirky marketing aside, the revised TPower X58A does come with some enthusiast features, such as adopting an overclocker-friendly 12+2 power phase design (12-phase CPU and 2-phase memory), Ferrite core chokes, all Japananese manufactured solid capacitors, support for up to 24GB of DDR3-1333/1600/2000, three PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots, eSATA support, and a 'Rapid Debug 3' POST LED display to help you figure out which device(s) might be failing.
It's worth noting that Biostar has made a major push in the past 12 months to shed its reputation as a budget option and compete at the high end, snagging overclocking and frontside bus world records along the way.
To run Asus’s $400 Rampage II Extreme board you’d have to be either extreme or the world’s biggest poseur. How extreme would you have to be? You’d have to be the type of person who boils liquid helium atop his CPU to keep it cool. And because you can’t waste time overclocking from within the OS, you’d want to reach your hands into the guts of your case and use the board’s PCB-mounted controls that let you check and change voltage, fan speeds, and temps on a tiny one-line LCD external display.
In fact, you’d be so damn hardcore, you wouldn’t even fully trust those voltage readings from the board. Instead, you’d want to hook your Fluke meter directly to the available ports on the board to check the voltage of the CPU, the PCI Express lanes, and the north bridge directly. That’s how badass you’d be.
If you’ve tried to research the differences between Intel’s top-end Core i7-965 Extreme Edition and the midrange 940 and budget 920 parts, you’re probably as confused as us. And we even have direct access to Intel. But the technical differences between these parts are enormously important for system builders when you consider the price disparity -- $1000 for a Core i7-965 compared to under $300 for a Core i7-920.
What we do know is that the Core i7-965 has unlocked multipliers going up and down (although we have to point out that we have not seen any motherboards with multipliers that let you actually set it higher. You can only do that by increasing the Turbo Mode ratio.)
One other known fact is that you cannot set the Turbo Mode ratios on the 940 and 920. OK fine. But what else is different? Intel told us as recently as two months ago that the QPI was locked at 4.8GT/s to prevent you from running it at the Extreme’s 6.4GT/s speed. Memory ratios, however, are supposed to be unlocked.
Overclocking can kill your CPU. It can corrupt your OS, melt your motherboard, and cause you to lose a month’s work or more. Despite those dire orange-alert warnings, however, overclocking has moved on from the Nerd’s Only Club to become practically a mainstream hobby in the last few years.
So why overclock if the risks are so great? For some folks, it’s about bragging rights. Like drag-strip racers who burn up an engine just to set a quarter-mile record, there’s a small community who will overclock a CPU to the brink of destruction just to run a benchmark and take a screen shot of the result.
The bulk of overclockers, however, are more concerned with the cost dividends. If you can take a $300 CPU and make it as fast or faster than one that costs $1,000, the money you save can go toward other components in your system. For these folks, it’s like getting a free high-end videocard.
Whether you’re a cheapskate or a drag racer, you’ll find that Intel’s new Core i7 CPU is unlike any previous Intel CPU, and overclocking this beast requires more tinkering than you might expect. Follow along as we explore what it takes to push this chip hard.
Asus’s P6T Deluxe isn’t the most over-the-top Core i7 board we’ve tested, but it certainly has a leg up on Intel’s bare-bones DX58SO. For one thing, it finally brings us graphics reunification by supporting both two-card SLI and CrossFire X configurations.
And instead of the gimpy four-slot DIMM setup of Intel’s DX58SO, the P6T Deluxe features six DDR3 DIMM slots. The board, of course, supports all Core i7 CPUs. Since Intel is the sole chipset provider for X58 and the memory controller is in the CPU itself, most performance differences will be the result of BIOS tweaks each manufacturer implements. We found Asus’s BIOS to be far friendlier than the Intel board’s, which at first glance seems designed for engineers. Truth be told, though, the Asus BIOS can be just as daunting if you tread into the Advanced section.
The advent of triple channel memory has opened the door to a whole new world of marketing jargon, including the latest windy kit from G.Skill dubbed 'Perfect Storm.'
Like A-Data's recently announced DDR3-2133X kit, G.Skill's Perfect Storm modules come with a funktastic looking two-fan active air cooling solution with blue LEDs, only G.Skill's kit calls for a much less frightening 1.65V compared to A-Data's 2.05V - 2.15V.
The 6-layer Perfect Storm series tout 7-8-7-20, 2T memory timings at DDR3-2000 (PC3-16000), and like all tri-channel modules are designed for Intel's X58 platform. G.Skill also claims "a rigorous, 100 percent hand-tested regime" for its new memory, which, in theory, means the kit should work out of the box with minimal futzing in the BIOS for those sometimes elusive compatibility settings.
G.Skill says its Perfect Storm series will be offered in both 3GB (3x1GB) and 6GB (3x2GB) capacities. No word yet on pricing or availability.
Dual-channel memory might not be dead, but Intel's Core i7 platform has kicked off the era of triple-channel memory kits and most manufacturers have already jumped on board. Enter Mushkin, who not only is making tri-channel DDR3 kits available, but has launched 16 different models ranging in speed from 1066MHz to 1600MHz.
998674 – 3GB (3x1GB) XP3-10666 6-6-6-18 1.65V
998675 – 6GB (3x2GB) XP3-10666 6-6-6-18 1.65V
998676 – 3GB (3x1GB) HP3-10666 7-7-7-20 1.5-1.6V
998677 – 6GB (3x2GB) HP3-10666 7-7-7-20 1.5-1.6V
998583 – 3GB (3x1GB) EM3-10666 9-9-9-24 1.5V
998585 – 6GB (3x2GB) EM3-10666 9-9-9-24 1.5V
998678 – 3GB (3x1GB) XP3-12800 7-8-7-20 1.65V
998679 – 6GB (3x2GB) XP3-12800 7-8-7-20 1.65V
998680 – 3GB (3x1GB) XP3-12800 8-8-8-24 1.6-1.65V
998681 – 6GB (3x2GB) XP3-12800 8-8-8-24 1.6-1.65V
998658 – 3GB (3x1GB) HP3-12800 9-9-9-27 1.5-1.6V
998659 – 6GB (3x2GB) HP3-12800 9-9-9-27 1.5-1.6V
998682 – 3GB (3x1GB) HP3-8500 6-6-6-18 1.5-1.6V
998683 – 6GB (3x2GB) HP3-8500 6-6-6-18 1.5-1.6V
998570 – 3GB (3x1GB) EM3-8500 7-7-7-20 1.5V
998571 – 6GB (3x2GB) EM3-8500 7-7-7-20 1.5V
"We’ve worked diligently to create parts for the Core i7 platform that push specifications to unprecedented levels while maintaining the high quality and reliability standards of our existing products," said Brian Flood, director of product development for Mushkin. "Our triple-pack customers will be rewarded with the utmost reliability from our standard rated products, and greatly increased performance from our high performance line."
Mushkin claims that each kit is hand-tested beyond its rated specification, suggesting at least a modicum of overclocking headroom. Each of the 16 kits also come bearing Mushkin's FrostByte heatspreader.
It may have been little more than a cruel mistake, but Newegg certainly got our hopes up by showing Core i7 CPU’s for sale a whole three days before the official launch. The offending links and advertisements were quickly pulled from the site and now, little more than a handful of screenshots exist as evidence.
Core i7 is currently slated for launch on November 17thand it appears as though we’ll have to wait until then to place our orders. Normally, this incident wouldn’t classify as news, but the Newegg slip up does give us a pretty good idea of what the retail pricing will be on the three new SKU’s. The site was offering the 2.66GHz entry level part for $319.99, while the 2.93GHz and 3.2GHz models were priced at $599.99 and $1069.99 respectively. UK customers are seeing similar pricing and power users the world over are waiting with egger anticipation to embrace the new architecture.This isn’t surprising given that early benchmarks have the entry level Core i7’s mopping the floor with pricier, and higher clocked Core 2’s.
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.