Memory http://www.maximumpc.com/taxonomy/term/1111/ en G.Skill Boasts Fastest 128GB DDR4 Memory Kit at 2,800MHz http://www.maximumpc.com/gskill_boasts_fastest_128gb_ddr4_memory_kit_2800mhz <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/gskill_128gb.jpg" alt="G.Skill 128GB" title="G.Skill 128GB" width="228" height="141" style="float: right;" />Living large</h3> <p>Well, it's about time! We know what you're thinking, "I'll jump on the DDR4 memory bandwagon and overhaul my rig as soon as a company comes out with a 128GB kit capable of running at 2,800MHz, and not a moment sooner!" We all pretty much share the same sentiment, right? Probably not, but for the 1 percenters out there who've been waiting for precisely such a kit, G.Skill has your back (and your wallet). <strong>G.Skill has just announced the world's only 128GB DDR4-2800 memory kit</strong>, which consists of eight 16GB modules.</p> <p>Samsung gets a fist bump for creating the new 8Gb ICs built on a 20nm manufacturing process that comprise the 16GB sticks, which are part of G.Skill's Ripjaws 4 series. These are 1.35V modules with timings rated at CL16-16-16-36.</p> <p>"While 16GB capacity have been available for server memory in the past, support and design for such large capacity memory modules are now paving its way to consumer memory modules, suitable for workstation level workloads where high capacity memory is vital," G.Skill says.</p> <p>G.Skill says it validated the new kit to run in quad-channel at the advertised speed and timings on an Asus X99 Rampage V Extreme motherboard with an Intel Haswell-E processor pulling CPU chores. Of course, if your needs don't require a massive amount of RAM, you can get these sticks in smaller kits in frequencies ranging from DDR4-2133 to DDR4-2800.</p> <p>There's no mention of price or availability, and so far we've been unable to find the 128GB selling online. We've reached out to G.Skill for an MSRP and will update when/if we hear back. In the meantime, don't forget to take your heart medication.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/gskill_boasts_fastest_128gb_ddr4_memory_kit_2800mhz#comments Build a PC ddr4 g.skill Hardware Memory ram News Thu, 23 Apr 2015 16:05:06 +0000 Paul Lilly 29772 at http://www.maximumpc.com Corsair Touts Dominator Platinum DDR4 3400MHz RAM for Gigabyte's X99-SOC Champion Motherboard http://www.maximumpc.com/corsair_touts_dominator_platinum_ddr4_3400mhz_ram_gigabytes_x99-soc_champion_motherboard <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/corsair_ddr4_0.jpg" alt="Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4" title="Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4" width="228" height="179" style="float: right;" />Two speed demons team up</h3> <p>Are you planning to build a system around Gigabyte's X99-XOC Champion motherboard? If so, <strong>Corsair say its new Dominator Platinum DDR4 3400MHz memory kits are performance tuned to run at that frequency and beyond using air cooling when paired with that specific Gigabyte motherboard</strong>. It's a bit of a marketing play, as there shouldn't be anything stopping the same kit from working on other X99-chipset boards that require DDR4 RAM, though you may very well achieve higher overclocks when pairing the two together.</p> <p>"Our Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion is engineered with highly optimized trace paths between the processor and DIMM sockets to enable incredible memory clock speeds," said Colin Brix, Director of Marketing of Gigabyte’s Motherboard Business Unit. "We worked with Corsair to tune an exceptional edition of Dominator Platinum DDR4 that can help overclockers push the X99-SOC Champion to reach unprecedented memory speeds."</p> <p>Corsair COO Thi La says each Dominator Platinum 3400MHz DDR3 module is built with hand-picked ICs that are then tuned to play nice with the X99-SOC Champion board. At the stock frequency, timings run at 16-18-18-36.</p> <p>Orange colored anodized heat spreaders that match the color scheme of the Gigabyte board keep the chips cool, and you can monitor temps using Corsair Link. They also feature user-swappable colored light pipes for customizable downwash lighting, Corsair says.</p> <p>Professional overclocker Hicookie used the Dominator Platinum RAM and Gigabyte mobo combo to set a world record for DDR4 memory frequency at 4,365.6MHz. Of course, that was using liquid nitrogen.</p> <p>Swallow your swig of coffee before checking out the MSRP, your monitor will thank you in a moment. Ready? It's $1,000 for a 16GB kit.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/corsair_touts_dominator_platinum_ddr4_3400mhz_ram_gigabytes_x99-soc_champion_motherboard#comments Build a PC corsair ddr4 dominator platinum gigabyte Hardware Memory motherboard ram X99-SOC Champion News Mon, 23 Mar 2015 18:49:56 +0000 Paul Lilly 29627 at http://www.maximumpc.com G.Skill Pushes Pedal to the Metal, Sets Another DDR4 Frequency Record http://www.maximumpc.com/gskill_pushes_pedal_metal_sets_another_ddr4_frequency_record_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/gskill_ripjaws_4_0.jpg" alt="G.Skill Ripjaws 4" title="G.Skill Ripjaws 4" width="228" height="131" style="float: right;" />G.Skill Ripjaws 4 memory kit hits 4355MHz</h3> <p>You know that friend of yours that can't help but to go over the speed limit at every opportunity? That's G.Skill, a memory maker that's heavily involved in the overclocking scene, and with DDR4 RAM being relatively new, there's plenty of uncharted memory frequency territory to explore. A month ago, G.Skill set a <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/gskill_sets_ddr4_memory_frequency_record_2015" target="_blank">DDR4 memory record</a> by taking a single 4GB module and pushing it to 4,255MHz. And this month? <strong>G.Skill broke its own DDR4 frequency record by hitting 4,355MHz</strong>.</p> <p>The new record was set by again using G.Skill's Ripjaws 4 Series memory nestled into an Asus Rampage V Extreme motherboard with a 5th Generation Intel Core i7 5960X (Broadwell) processor. And again it was achieved with a single 4GB stick and liquid nitrogen (LN2) cooling.</p> <p>To squeeze an extra 100MHz out of what was surely a cherry picked memory module, G.Skill relaxed the timings to 19-21-21-63, compared to 18-18-18-63 when it set the record last month. It's not clear if G.Skill used the exact same module as before or if it found a different one with a little more headroom.</p> <p>Either way, G.Skill's on a record breaking role. In addition to this new DDR4 frequency record, the company's memory kits have also been used to set a total of <a href="http://hwbot.org/newsflash/2790_january_2015_world_record__and__global_first_place_report" target="_blank">nine world records</a> in January alone. Half a dozen were set with the company's TridentX Series, and the other three were achieved using Ripjaws 4 memory.</p> <p>Granted, none of us are in a big hurry to run a single 4GB module with LN2 cooling for daily computing chores, though give G.Skill credit for being so actively involved in the overclocking scene where such combinations are par for course. If nothing else, it's nice to see a company excited about frequencies.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/gskill_pushes_pedal_metal_sets_another_ddr4_frequency_record_2015#comments 4355MHz ddr4 g.skill Memory overclocking ram News Wed, 04 Feb 2015 16:56:03 +0000 Paul Lilly 29365 at http://www.maximumpc.com Crucial Ballistix Elite RAM Now Available in DDR4 Memory Kits http://www.maximumpc.com/crucial_ballistix_elite_ram_now_available_ddr4_memory_kits_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/ballistix_ddr4.jpg" alt="Crucial Ballistix DDR4" title="Crucial Ballistix DDR4" width="228" height="124" style="float: right;" />Another memory option for Intel X99 platforms</h3> <p>The number of DDR4 memory kits is growing and will continue to do so as more people build (or buy) systems based on Intel's X99 chipset. One of the newest is <strong>Crucial's Ballistix Elite line, now available in DDR4 form</strong> as a single 4GB module and in 8GB (2x4GB) and 16GB (4x4GB) kits (Crucial says a 32GB kit is also available, though it's not listed on the company's web store yet). As both kits use essentially the same 4GB module, the performance ratings are the same across the board.</p> <p>Crucial's 4GB DDR4 Ballistix Elite module is rated at DDR4-2666 (PC4-2133), which Crucial calls an "introductory" speed -- we take that to mean there should be some overclocking headroom, especially since the Ballistix Elite series is aimed at "extreme enthusiasts, gamers, and overclockers." The sticks also support Intel XMP 2.0 profiles, feature a custom-designed baclk PCB with anodized aluminum heat spreaders, and sport 16-17-17 timings at 1.2V.</p> <p>If you do plan to overclock, you might want to take advantage of Crucial's exclusive Ballistic Memory Overview Display utility, otherwise known as M.O.D. You can use M.O.D. to read information from the modules, including real-time temperatures from the integrated thermal sensor, voltages, and more.</p> <p>Pricing on <a href="http://www.crucial.com/usa/en/memory/ballistix%20elite" target="_blank">Crucial's website</a> breaks down as follows:</p> <ul> <li>4GB Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $95</li> <li>8GB (2x4GB) Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $190</li> <li>16GB (4x4GB) Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $380</li> </ul> <p>Newegg also carries the kits, though they're in <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&amp;IsNodeId=1&amp;N=100006519%2050001455%2040000147%20600531811&amp;Manufactory=1455" target="_blank">pre-order form</a>. Pricing looks like this:</p> <ul> <li>4GB Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $100 (out of stock)</li> <li>8GB (single stick) Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $220 (releases March 10, 2015)</li> <li>8GB (2x4GB) Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $200 (releases February 6, 2015)</li> <li>16GB (2x8GB) Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $352 (releases March 10, 2015)</li> <li>16GB (4x4GB) Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $380 (releases February 6, 2015)</li> <li>32GB (4x8GB) Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $704 (releases March 10, 2015)</li> </ul> <p>Shipping charges range from $1 to $3, depending on the kit.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/crucial_ballistix_elite_ram_now_available_ddr4_memory_kits_2015#comments ballistix elite Build a PC Crucial ddr4 Hardware Memory ram News Tue, 27 Jan 2015 17:01:16 +0000 Paul Lilly 29319 at http://www.maximumpc.com Samsung Wins Race to 8 Gigabit GDDR5 Memory, Begins Mass Production http://www.maximumpc.com/samsung_wins_race_8_gigabit_gddr5_memory_begins_mass_production_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/samsung_8gb_gddr5.jpg" alt="Samsung 8Gb GDDR5 Memory Chips" title="Samsung 8Gb GDDR5 Memory Chips" width="228" height="178" style="float: right;" />Denser memory solution could lead to larger frame buffers</h3> <p><strong>Samsung today announced that its has started mass producing what it claims is the industry's first 8 gigabit (Gb) GDDR5 DRAM</strong>, which is being built on the company's 20nm manufacturing process. This is the same type of memory that's found on scores of graphics cards for PCs, along with onboard graphics solutions in game consoles and some laptops PCs, though it's a denser solution.</p> <p>It takes combining just eight of the new 8Gb chips to achieve the same density at the 8GB needed in the newest game consoles, which could lead to higher capacity solutions compared to the company's own 4Gb GDDR5 DRAM. The newer chips also sport faster reads at 8Gb per second per pin, versus 7Gb per second for the old stuff. That's four times faster than the DDR3 DRAM found in most notebooks today, with each chip being able to process data at 32-bit I/O rate.</p> <p>According to Samsung, 2GB of graphics memory can be created with just two of the new chips, which together can process up to 64GB of graphical images per second -- that's enough to process about 12 Full HD 1080p DVDs (5GB) in a single second.</p> <p>"We expect that our 8Gb GDDR5 will provide original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with the best graphics memory solution available for game consoles as well as general use notebook PCs," <a href="http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150114006210/en/Samsung-Electronics-Starts-Mass-Producing-Industry%E2%80%99s-8-Gigabit#.VLfDWSvF_4Y" target="_blank">said Joo Sun Choi</a>, Executive Vice president of Memory Sales and Marketing at Samsung Electronics. "By expanding our production of 20nm-based DRAM products including the new GDDR5, we will meet increasing global customer demand and take the lead in accelerating the growth of the premium memory market."</p> <p>Therein lies the real takeaway for consumers -- more efficient production should lead to somewhat lower pricing, giving graphics cards makers even more flexibility to wage price wars. We're not saying that video card pricing is set to plummet, but in theory, this should give vendors a bit more wiggle room. It should also allow for graphics cards with larger frame buffers, which could be of importance as the industry shifts to 4K resolutions and beyond.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/samsung_wins_race_8_gigabit_gddr5_memory_begins_mass_production_2015#comments 8GB GDDR5 graphics Memory ram samsung News Thu, 15 Jan 2015 14:03:45 +0000 Paul Lilly 29258 at http://www.maximumpc.com G.Skill Scales Consumer Ripjaws 4 DDR4 Memory Kits to 3400MHz http://www.maximumpc.com/gskill_scales_consumer_ripjaws_4_ddr4_memory_kits_3400mhz_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/ripjaws_4.jpg" alt="G.Skill Ripjaws 4 with Fan" title="G.Skill Ripjaws 4 with Fan" width="228" height="108" style="float: right;" />Comes with their own cooling fans</h3> <p>There have only been a few RAM kits we can recall that came with cooling fans, or that were recommended to pair with an active cooling scheme. Of course, those were back in the early days of DDR memory, when buying a kit of overclocking RAM could you make late with your mortgage payment that month. In any event, much as changed since then, though apparently we haven't seen the last of RAM and fan combinations -- G.Skill's new Ripjaws 4 DDR4 3200MHz and 3400MHz memory kits both with active cooling add-ons.</p> <p>G.Skill bundles its <a href="http://www.gskill.com/en/product/ftb-3500c5-dr" target="_blank">Turbulence III Memory Cooling Fan</a> with each kit. The apparatus consists of dual 50mm fans spinning at 3,500 RPM to cool your RAM while remaining quieter than a whisper from a five-foot distance (22dBA), according to G.Skill. On a standalone basis, the Turbulence III runs about $20.</p> <p>Getting back to the RAM, the 16GB (4GBx4) 3200MHz kit (<a href="http://www.gskill.com/en/product/f4-3200c15q-16grkd" target="_blank">F4-3200C15Q-16GRKD</a>) sports 15-15-15-35 timings and requires 1.35V, while the same capacity kit in 3400MHz (<a href="http://www.gskill.com/en/finder?cat=31&amp;series=2275" target="_blank">F4-3400C16Q-16GRKD</a>) features 16-16-16-36 timings at the same voltage.</p> <p>According to G.Skill, both kits are made from hand-picked ICs and go through the company's "highly selective binning process." They've also been tested for compatibility on the Asus Rampage V Extreme and Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion motherboards, though they should work with other X99 boards as well.</p> <p>No word yet on price or availability.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/gskill_scales_consumer_ripjaws_4_ddr4_memory_kits_3400mhz_2015#comments Build a PC ddr4 g.skill Hardware Memory ram ripjaws 4 News Thu, 15 Jan 2015 13:37:27 +0000 Paul Lilly 29257 at http://www.maximumpc.com G.Skill Sets DDR4 Memory Frequency Record http://www.maximumpc.com/gskill_sets_ddr4_memory_frequency_record_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/gskill_ripjaws_4_0.jpg" alt="G.Skill Ripjaws 4" title="G.Skill Ripjaws 4" width="228" height="131" style="float: right;" />The need for speed</h3> <p>Now that Haswell-E and accompanying Intel X99-based motherboards requiring DDR4 RAM are here, we expect to see a lot of record announcements. It always happens when new platforms are introduced, and G.Skill is wasting no time adding to its virtual shelf of overclocking tropies -- <strong>G.Skill today announced that it set a new memory record for fastest DDR4 memory frequency at 4,255MHz</strong>.</p> <p>Record breaking attempts are sometimes marred by reality, which in this case is the realistic nature of running DDR4 RAM at 4255MHz. To achieve the record, G.Skill used a single 4GB stick of RAM in single-channel mode, even though the X99 chipset supports quad-channel memory. However, quad-channel mode requires four sticks, and running multiple modules isn't conducive to chasing frequency records.</p> <p>In any event, that's how these things are played out, and for now, G.Skill holds the record. It achieved the feat using its Ripjaws 4 Series plugged into an Asus Rampage V Extreme motherboard with an Intel Core i4 5960X CPU (liquid nitrogen cooling was also used). Timings were set at 18-18-18-63.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/gskill_sets_ddr4_memory_frequency_record_2015#comments Build a PC ddr4 g.skill Hardware Memory overclocking ram records ripjaws 4 News Mon, 12 Jan 2015 17:07:23 +0000 Paul Lilly 29241 at http://www.maximumpc.com Computer Upgrade Guide http://www.maximumpc.com/computer_upgrade_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3>Avoid the pitfalls and upgrade your computer like a pro</h3> <p>Building a new PC is a relatively easy task—you pick your budget and build around it. It’s not the same with upgrading a computer. No, upgrading an older computer can be as dangerous as dancing Footloose-style through a minefield. Should you really put $500 into this machine, or just buy a new one? Will that new CPU really be faster than your old one in the real world? Are you CPU-limited or GPU-limited?</p> <p>To help give you more insight on how to best upgrade a PC that is starting to show its age, follow along as we take three real-world boxes and walk you through the steps and decisions that we make as we drag each machine back to the future through smart upgrades. While our upgrade decisions may not be the same ones you would make, we hope that we can shed some light on our thought process for each component, and help you answer the eternal question of: “What should I upgrade?”</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/mpc99.feat_pcupgrade.opener_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u154082/computer_upgrade.jpg" alt="computer upgrade" title="computer upgrade" width="620" height="533" /></a></p> <h3>Practical PC upgrading advice</h3> <p>There’s really two primary reasons to upgrade. The first is because you can—and believe us, we’ve upgraded just because “we could” plenty of times. Second, because you need to. How you define “need to” is very much a personal preference—there’s no way to put a hard number on it. You can’t say, “If I get a 5.11 in BenchMarkMark, I need to upgrade.” No, you need to determine your upgrade needs using everyday metrics like, “I will literally throw this PC through a window if this encode takes any longer,” or “I have literally aged a year watching my PC boot.” And then there’s the oldie: “My K/D at Call of Battlefield 5 is horrible because my graphics card is too slow.”</p> <p>Whether or not any of these pain points apply to you, only you can decide. Also, since this article covers very specific upgrades to certain components, we thought we’d begin with some broad tips that are universally applicable when doing the upgrade dance.</p> <h4>Don’t fix what’s not broken</h4> <p>One of the easiest mistakes to make with any upgrade plan is to upgrade the wrong component. The best example is someone who decides that his or her PC is “slow,” so they need to add RAM and take it from 8GB to 16GB, or even 16GB to 32GB. While there are cases where adding more RAM or higher-clocked RAM will indeed help, the vast majority of applications and games are pretty happy with 8GB. The other classic trap is deciding that a CPU with more cores is needed because the machine is “slow” in games. The truth is, the vast majority of games are coded with no more than four cores in mind. Some newer games, such as Battlefield 4, do indeed run better with Hyper-Threading on a quad-core or a six-core or more processor (in some maps) but most games simply don’t need that many cores. The lesson here is that there’s a lot of context to every upgrade, so don’t just upgrade your CPU willy-nilly on a hunch. Sometimes, in fact, the biggest upgrade you can make is not to upgrade.</p> <h4>CPU-bound</h4> <p>You often hear the term “CPU-bound,” but not everyone understands the nuances to it. For the most part, you can think of something being CPU-bound when the CPU is causing a performance bottleneck. But what exactly is it about the CPU that is holding you back? Is it core or thread count? Clock speeds, or even microarchitecture efficiency? You’ll need to answer these questions before you make any CPU upgrade. When the term is used in association with gaming, “CPU-bound” usually indicates there is a drastic mismatch in GPU power and CPU power. This would be evident from, say, running a GeForce Titan in a system with a Pentium 4. Or say, running a Core i7-4960X with a GeForce 8800GT. These are extreme cases, but certainly, pairing a GeForce Titan or Radeon 290X with a low-end dual-core CPU will mean you would not see the most performance out of your GPU as you could with a more efficient quad-core or more CPU. That’s because the GPU depends on the CPU to send it tasks. So, in a CPU-bound scenario, the GPU is waiting around twiddling its thumbs most of the time, since the CPU can’t keep up with it.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/mpc99.feat_pcupgrade.nehalem_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/mpc99.feat_pcupgrade.nehalem_small.jpg" alt="One of the trickier upgrades is the original LGA1366 Core i7 chips. Do you upgrade the chip, overclock it, or just dump it?" width="620" height="605" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>One of the trickier upgrades is the original LGA1366 Core i7 chips. Do you upgrade the chip, overclock it, or just dump it?</strong></p> <h4>GPU-bound</h4> <p>The situation can be reversed, too. You can indeed get GPU-bound systems by running older or entry-level graphics with a hopped-up CPU. An example could be a Haswell Core i7-4770K overclocked to 4.5GHz paired with say, an entry-level GeForce GTX 750. You will certainly get the best frame rate out of the GPU possible, but you probably did not need the overclocked Haswell to do it. You could have kept that entry-level GPU well-fed with instructions using a cheaper Core i5-4670K or AMD FX part. Still, the rule of thumb with a gaming machine is to invest more in the GPU than the CPU. If we had to make up a ratio though, we’d say your CPU can cost half that of your GPU. A $500 GPU would be good with a $250 CPU and a $300 GPU would probably be OK with a $150–$170 CPU.</p> <h4>You can ignore the GPU sometimes</h4> <p>Keep in mind, this GPU/CPU relationship is in reference to gaming performance. When it comes to application performance, the careful balance between the two doesn’t need to be respected as much, or even at all. For a system that’s primarily made for encoding video, photo editing, or other CPU-intensive tasks, you’ll generally want as fast a CPU as possible on all fronts. That means a CPU with high clocks, efficient microarchitecture, and as many cores and threads possible will net you the most performance. In fact, in many cases, you can get away with integrated graphics and ignore discrete graphics completely. We don’t recommend that approach, though, since GPUs are increasingly becoming important for encoding and even photo editing, and you rarely need to spend into the stratosphere to get great performance. Oftentimes, in fact, older cards will work with applications such as Premiere Pro or Photoshop, while the latest may not, due to drivers and app support from Adobe.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Core 2 Quad box</h3> <p><strong>A small Form Factor, Light-Gaming Rig before SFF was popular</strong></p> <p>This small box has outlived its glory days, but with a modest injection of capital and a few targeted upgrades, we’ll whip it back into shape in no time. It won’t be able to handle 4K gaming, but it’ll be faster than greased lightning and more than capable of 1080p frag-fests.</p> <p>This particular PC could have very easily resided on the desktop of any Maximum PC staffer or reader back in the year 2009. We say that because this is, or was, actually a pretty Kick Ass machine in the day. It was actually a bit ahead of its time, thanks to its combination of benchmark-busting horsepower and small, space-saving dimensions. This mini-rig was probably used for light gaming and content creation, with its powerful CPU and mid-tier GPU. As far as our business here goes, its diminutive size creates some interesting upgrade challenges.</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><strong><span class="module-name">Specifications</span></strong><br /> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="width: 627px; height: 270px;" border="0"> <thead> <tr> <th class="head-empty"> </th> <th class="head-light">Original part</th> <th>Upgrade Part</th> <th>Upgrade Part Cost</th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="item">Case/PSU</td> <td class="item-dark">Silverstone SG03/500w</td> <td><span style="text-align: center;">No Change</span></td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td>CPU</td> <td>Intel Core 2 Quad QX6800</td> <td><span style="text-align: center;">No change</span></td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Motherboard</td> <td class="item-dark">Asus P5N7A- VM</td> <td>No Change</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Cooling</td> <td>Stock</td> <td>No Change</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td>RAM</td> <td>4GB DDR2/1600 in dual-channel mode</td> <td>No Change</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">GPU</td> <td class="item-dark">GeForce 9800 GT</td> <td><strong>EVGA GTX 750 Ti<br /></strong></td> <td>$159</td> </tr> <tr> <td>HDD/SSD</td> <td>500GB 7,200rpm WD Caviar</td> <td>240GB OCZ Vertex 460</td> <td>$159</td> </tr> <tr> <td>ODD</td> <td>DVD burner</td> <td>No Change</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td>OS</td> <td>32-bit Windows Vista Ultimate</td> <td>No Change</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Misc.</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>USB 3.0 add-in card</td> <td>$12</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Total upgrade cost</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>$330</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> </div> <p>It’s built around a Silverstone SG03 mini-tower, which is much shorter and more compact than the SFF boxes we use nowadays. For example, it can only hold about nine inches of GPU, and puts the PSU directly above the CPU region, mandating either a stock cooler or a low-profile job. So, either way, overclocking is very much out of the question. Water-cooling is also a non-starter, due to the lack of space for a radiator either behind the CPU area or on the floor of the chassis. In terms of specs, this system isn’t too shabby, as it’s rocking an LGA 775 motherboard with a top-shelf Core 2 Quad “Extreme” CPU and an upper-midrange GPU. We’d say it’s the almost exact equivalent of a $2,000 SFF gaming rig today. The CPU is a 65nm Kentsfield Core 2 Quad Extreme QX6800, which at the time of its launch was ludicrously expensive and the highest-clocked quad-core CPU available for the Core 2 platform at 2.93GHz. The CPU is plugged into an Asus P5N7A-VM motherboard, which is a microATX model that sports an nForce 730i chipset, supports up to 16GB of RAM, and has one PCIe x1 slot in addition to two PCI slots, and one x16 PCI Express slot. GPU duties are handled by the venerable GeForce 9800 GT, and it’s also packing 4GB of DDR2 memory, as well as a 500GB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive. Its OS is Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit.</p> <h4>Lets dig in</h4> <p>The first question that crossed our minds when considering this particular machine’s fate was, “Upgrade certain parts, or go whole-hog with a new motherboard/CPU/RAM?” Sure, this is Maximum PC, and it would be easy to just start over. But that’s not really an upgrade; that’s more like open-heart surgery. Besides, where’s the challenge in that? Anyone can put together a new system, so we decided to buckle down, cinch up our wallets, and go part-by-part.</p> <p>Starting with the motherboard, CPU, and RAM, we decided to leave those as they were. For Intel at the time, this CPU was as good as it gets, and the only way to upgrade using the same motherboard and chipset is to move to a Yorkfield quad-core CPU. That’s a risky upgrade, though, for two reasons. First, not all of those 45nm chips worked in Nvidia’s nForce chipset, and second, benchmarks show mostly single-digit percent performance increases over Kentsfield. So, you’d have to be crazy to attempt this upgrade. We also deemed its 4GB of DDR2 to be satisfactory, since we’re running a 32-bit OS and anything over 4GB can’t be seen by it. If we were running a 64-bit OS, we’d upgrade to 8GB as a baseline amount of memory, though. We’re not happy about the motherboard’s SATA 3Gb/s ports, and the lack of a x2 PCIe slot is a problem, but SATA 3Gb/s is fast enough to handle any late-model hard drive, or an SSD upgrade. Another problem area is its bounty of 12 USB 2.0 ports. We appreciate the high number of ports, but USB 2.0 just plain sucks, so we added a PCIe USB 3.0 adapter, which gave us four SuperSpeed ports on the back of the chassis.</p> <p>One area ripe for upgrade is the GPU, because a GeForce 9800 GT is simply weak sauce these days. It was actually a rebadge of the 8800 GT when it arrived in 2009. This GPU was actually considered to be the low-end of the GeForce family when it arrived, as there were two models above it in the product stack—the 9800 GTX and the dual-GPU 9800 GX2. This single-slot GPU was only moderately powered at the time and features 112 shader processors clocked at 1,500MHz, and 512MB of GDDR3 clocked at 1.5GHz on a 256-bit memory bus. Since this system has limited space and only a single six-pin PCIe connector, we decided to upgrade the GPU to the Sapphire Radeon R7 265, which is our choice for the best $150 GPU. Unfortunately, the AMD card did not get along at all with our Nvidia chipset, so we ditched it in favor of the highly clocked and whisper-quiet EVGA GTX 750 Ti, which costs $159. This will not only deliver DX11 gaming at the highest settings at 1080p, but will also significantly lower the sound profile of the system, since this card is as quiet as a mouse breaking wind.</p> <p>Another must-upgrade part was the 500GB WD hard drive. As we wrote elsewhere, an SSD is a must-have in any modern PC, and we always figured it could make an aging system feel like new again, so this was our chance to try it in the real world. Though we wanted to upgrade to a 120GB Samsung 840 EVO, we couldn’t get our hands on one, so we settled for a larger and admittedly extravagant OCZ Vertex 460 240GB for $160. We decided to leave the OS as-is. Despite all the smack talk it received, Windows Vista SP2 was just fine.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/main_image_3_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/main_image_3_small.jpg" width="620" height="404" /></a></p> <h4>Real-World Results</h4> <p>Since we upgraded the GPU and storage subsystem, we’ll start with those results first. With the SSD humming along, our boot time was sliced from 1:27 to 1:00 flat, which is still a bit sluggish but doesn’t tell the whole story. Windows Vista felt instantly “snappy,” thanks to the SSD’s lightning-fast seek times. Everything felt fast and responsive, so though we didn’t get a sub-20-second boot time like we thought we would, we still gained a very noticeable increase in day-to-day use of the machine. For the record, we blame the slow boot time on the motherboard or something with this install of Vista, but this is still an upgrade we’d recommend to anyone in a similar situation. Interestingly, we also saw a boost in one of our encoding benchmarks, which could be due to the disk I/O, as well. For example, Sticth.Efx 2.0 dropped from 41 minutes to 36 minutes, which is phenomenal. Stitch.Efx creates in excess of 20,000 files, which will put a drag on a 500GB hard drive.</p> <p>Our gaming performance exploded, though, going from 11fps in Heaven 4.0 to 42fps. In Batman: Arkham Origins, we went from a non-playable 22 fps to a smooth 56fps, so anyone who thinks you need a modern CPU for good gaming performance is mistaken (at least for some games); the GPU does most of the heavy lifting in gaming. We also got a major reduction in case temps and noise by going from the hot-and-loud 9800 GT to the silent-and-cool GTX 750 Ti. The old card ran at 83 C under load, while the new one only hit 53 C, and made no noise whatsoever.</p> <h4>No regrets</h4> <p>Since we couldn’t do much with the motherboard/CPU/RAM on this board without starting fresh, we upgraded what we could and achieved Kick Ass real-world results from it, so this operation upgrade was very successful. Not only does it boot faster and feel ultra-responsive, it’s also ready for at least another year of gaming, thanks to its new GPU. Plus, with USB 3.0 added for storage duties, we can attach our external drives and USB keys and expect modern performance. All-in-all, this rig has been given a new lease on life for just a couple hundies—not bad for a five-year-old machine.</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><strong><span class="module-name">Benchmarks</span></strong></div> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="width: 627px; height: 270px;" border="0"> <thead> <tr> <th class="head-empty"> </th> <th class="head-light">Pre-upgrade</th> <th></th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="item">Cinebench R15 64-bit</td> <td class="item-dark">WNR</td> <td><span style="text-align: center;">WNR</span></td> </tr> <tr> <td>ProShow Producer 5.0 (sec)</td> <td>3,060</td> <td><span style="text-align: center;">3,334 <strong>(-8%)</strong></span></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Stitch.Efx (sec)</td> <td class="item-dark">2,481</td> <td>2,166</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Bootracer (sec)</td> <td>90</td> <td>60</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Batman: Arkham Origins (fps)</td> <td>22</td> <td>56 <strong>(+155%)</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Heaven 4.0 (fps)</td> <td class="item-dark">11</td> <td>42<strong> (+282%)</strong></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> <div class="spec-table orange"> <hr /></div> <h3>Skeleton Rises</h3> <p><strong>Flying the AMD flag</strong></p> <p>Our second rig flies the AMD “Don’t Underclock Me” flag. You know the type. No matter how wide a gap Intel opens up with its latest CPU techno-wonder, this AMD CPU fanboy won’t switch until you pry that AM3 CPU from his cold, dead motherboard. In fact, the bigger the performance gap with Intel, the deeper this fanboy will dig in his heels.</p> <p>The box itself is built around the eye-catching and now discontinued Antec Skeleton open-air chassis. It draws a lot of whistles from case aficionados when they walk by, but truth be told, it’s really not great to work in and not exactly friendly to upgrading. The base machine parts are pretty respectable, though. The mainboard is an Asus Crosshair IV (CHIV) Formula using the AMD 890FX chipset, with a quad-core 3.2GHz Phenom II X4 955 and GeForce GTX 570 graphics. For the record, this machine was not built by us, nor do we know who built it, but the original builder made the typical error of inserting the pair of 2GB DDR3/1066 DIMMs into the same channel memory slots, causing the sticks to run in single-channel mode instead of dual-channel. As any salty builder knows, there’s a reason the phrase “RTFM” exists. For storage, the machine packs a single 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive and a DVD burner. Power is handled by an AntecTruePower 750, which is plenty for a rig like this. Cooling is a stock AMD affair with dual heat pipes.</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><strong><span class="module-name">Specifications</span></strong><br /> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="width: 627px; height: 270px;" border="0"> <thead> <tr> <th class="head-empty"> </th> <th class="head-light">Original part</th> <th>Upgrade Part</th> <th>Upgrade Part Cost</th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="item">Case/PSU</td> <td class="item-dark">Antec Skeleton / TruePower 750</td> <td><span style="text-align: center;">No Change</span></td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td>CPU</td> <td>3.2GHz Phenom II X4 955</td> <td><span style="text-align: center;">4GHz FX-8350 Black Edition</span></td> <td>$199</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Motherboard</td> <td class="item-dark">Asus Crosshair IV Formula</td> <td>No Change</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Cooling</td> <td>Stock</td> <td>No Change</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td>RAM</td> <td>4GB DDR3/1066 in single-channel mode</td> <td>8GB DDR3/1600 in dual-channel mode</td> <td>$40</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">GPU</td> <td class="item-dark">EVGA GeForce GTX 570 HD</td> <td>Asus GTX760-DC2OC-2GD5<strong><br /></strong></td> <td>$259</td> </tr> <tr> <td>HDD/SSD</td> <td>1TB 7,200 Hitachi</td> <td>256GB Sandisk Ultra</td> <td>$159</td> </tr> <tr> <td>ODD</td> <td>DVD burner</td> <td>No Change</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td>OS</td> <td>32-bit Windows Vista Ultimate</td> <td>No Change</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Total upgrade cost</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>$657</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> </div> <h4>The easy upgrade path</h4> <p>All in all, it’s not a bad PC, but the most obvious upgrade was storage. It’s been a long time since we used a machine with a hard drive as the primary boot device, and having to experience it once again was simply torture. We’re not saying we don’t love hard drives—it’s great to have 5TB of space so you never have to think about whether you have room to save that ISO or not—just not as the primary boot device. Our first choice for an upgrade was a 256GB Sandisk Ultra Plus SSD for $159. We thought about skimping for the 128GB version, but then figured it’s worth the extra $60 to double the capacity—living on 128GB is difficult in this day and age. The SSD could easily be moved to a new machine, too, as it’s not tied to the platform.</p> <p>The OS is 64-bit Windows 7 Pro, so there’s no need to “upgrade” to Windows 8.1. No, we’d rather put that $119 into the two other areas that need to be touched up. The GPU, again, is the GeForce GTX 570. Not a bad card in its day, but since the Skeleton’s current owner does fair bit of gaming, we decided it was worth it to invest in a GPU upgrade. We considered various options, from the GeForce GTX 770 to a midrange Radeon R9 card, but felt a GeForce GTX 760 was the right fit, considering the system’s specs. It simply felt exorbitant to put a $500 GPU into this rig. Even the GTX 770 at $340 didn’t feel right, but the Asus GTX760-DC2OC-2GD5 gives us all the latest Nvidia technologies, such as ShadowPlay. The card is also dead silent under heavy loads.</p> <p>Our next choice was riskier. We definitely wanted more performance out of the 3.2GHz Phenom II X4 955 using the old “Deneb” cores. The options included adding more cores by going to a 3.3GHz Phenom II X6 1100T Thuban, but all we’d get is two more cores and a marginal increase in clock speed. Since the Thuban and Deneb are so closely related, there would be very little to be gained in microarchitecture upgrades. X6 parts can’t be found new, and they fetch $250 or more on eBay. As any old upgrading salt knows, you need to check the motherboard’s list of supported chips before you plug in. The board has an AM3 socket, but just because it fits doesn’t mean it works, right? Asus’ website indicates it supports the 3.6GHz FX-8150 “Zambezi” using the newer Bulldozer core, but the Bulldozer didn’t exactly blow us away when launched and they’re also out of circulation. (Interestingly, the FX-8150 sells for less than the Phenom II X6 chips.) Upgrading the motherboard was simply out of the question, too. Our last option was the most controversial. As we said, you should always check the motherboard maker first to find out what chips are supported.</p> <p>After that, you should then check to see if some other adventurous user has tried to do it anyway: “Damn the CPU qual list, full upgrade ahead!” To our surprise, yes, several anonymous Internet forums have indeed dropped the 4GHz FX-8350 “Vishera” into their CHIV boards with no reported of issues. That FX-8350 is also only $199—cheaper than a used X6 part. We considered overclocking the part, but the Skeleton’s confines make it pretty difficult. It’s so tight that we had issues putting the GeForce GTX 760 in it, so using anything larger than the stock cooler didn’t make sense to us. We’re sure you can find a cooler that fit, but nothing that small would let us overclock by any good measure, so it didn’t seem prudent.</p> <h4 style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/main_image_2_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/main_image_2_small.jpg" width="620" height="401" /></a></h4> <h4>Was it worth it?</h4> <p>Let’s just say this again if it’s not clear to you: If you are running a hard drive as your boot device, put this magazine down and run to the nearest store to buy an SSD. Yes, hard drives are that slow compared to SSDs. In fact, if we had money for only one upgrade, it would be the SSD, which will make an old, slow machine feel young again. This machine, for example, would boot to the desktop in about 38 seconds. With the SSD, that was cut down to 15 seconds and general usability was increased by maybe 10 million percent.</p> <p>Our CPU upgrade paid off well, too. AMD’s Vishera FX-8350 offers higher clock speeds and significant improvements in video encoding and transcoding. We saw an 83 percent improvement in encoding performance. The eight cores offer a huge advantage in thread-heavy 3D modelling, as well. We didn’t get the greatest improvement with Stitch.Efx 2.0, but the app is very single-threaded initially. Still, we saw a 30 percent increase, which is nothing to sneeze at.</p> <p>In gaming, we were actually a bit disappointed with our results, but perhaps we expected too much. We tested using Batman: Arkham Origins at 1080P with every setting maxed out and saw about a 40 percent boost in frame rates. Running Heaven 4.0 at 1080P on max we also saw about a 42 percent increase in frame rate. Again, good. But for some reason, we expected more.</p> <h4>Regrets, I’ve had a few</h4> <p>PC upgrades can turn into a remorsefest or an inability to face the fact that you made the wrong choice. With our upgrades, we were generally pleased. While some might question the CPU upgrade (why not just overclock that X4?), we can tell you that no overclock would get you close to the FX-8350 upgrade in overall performance. The SSD upgrade can’t be questioned. Period. End of story. The difference in responsiveness with the SSD over the 1TB HDD is that drastic.</p> <p>When it comes to the GPU upgrade, though, we kind of wonder if we didn’t go far enough. Sure, a 40 percent performance difference is the difference between playable and non-playable frame rates, but we really wanted to hit the solid 50 percent to 60 percent mark. That may simply be asking too much of a two-generation GPU change, not going all the way to the GeForce GTX 570’s spiritual replacement: the GeForce GTX 770. That would actually put us closer to our rule of thumb on a gaming rig of spending about half on your CPU as your GPU, but the machine’s primary purpose isn’t just gaming, it’s also content creation.</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><strong><span class="module-name">Benchmarks</span></strong></div> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="width: 627px; height: 270px;" border="0"> <thead> <tr> <th class="head-empty"> </th> <th class="head-light">Pre-upgrade</th> <th></th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="item">Cinebench R15</td> <td class="item-dark">326</td> <td><span style="text-align: center;">641</span></td> </tr> <tr> <td>ProShow Producer 5.0 (sec)</td> <td>3,276</td> <td><span style="text-align: center;">1,794</span></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Stitch.Efx (sec)</td> <td class="item-dark">1,950</td> <td>1,500</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Bootracer (sec)</td> <td>37.9</td> <td>15 <strong>(+153%)</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Batman: Arkham Origins (fps)</td> <td>58</td> <td>81</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Heaven 4.0 (fps)</td> <td class="item-dark">29.5</td> <td>41.9<strong>&nbsp;</strong></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> <div class="spec-table orange"> <hr /></div> <h3>One Dusty Nehalem</h3> <p><strong>The original Core i7 still has some juice</strong></p> <p>It’s easy to make upgrade choices on an old dog with AGP graphics and Pentium 4, or even a Core 2 Duo on an obsolete VIA P4M890 motherboard (yes, it exists, look it up.) When you get to hardware that’s still reasonably fast and relatively “powerful,” the upgrade choices you have to make can get quite torturous.</p> <p>That’s certainly the case with this PC, which has an interesting assortment of old but not obsolete parts inside the Cooler Master HAF 922 case. We’ve always been fans of the HAF series, and despite being just plain-old steel, the case has some striking lines. It does, however, suffer from a serious case of dust suckage. Between the giant fan in front and various other fans, this system was chock-full of the stuff.</p> <p>The CPU is the first-generation Core i7-965 with a base clock of 3.2GHz and a Turbo Boost of 3.46GHz. That may seem like a pretty mild Turbo, but that’s the way it was way back in 2008, when this chip was first released. It’s plugged into an Asus Rampage II Extreme motherboard using the X58 chipset, and running 6GB of DDR3/1600 in triple-channel mode.</p> <p>In graphics, it’s also packing some heat with the three-year-old GeForce GTX 590 card. For those who don’t remember it, the card has two GPU cores that basically equal a pair of GeForce GTX 570 cards in SLI. There was a secondary 1TB drive in the machine, but in the state we got it, it was still using it’s primary boot device—a 300GB Western Digital Raptor 10,000rpm hard drive that was 95 percent stuffed with data. Oh, and the OS is also quite vintage, with 64-bit Windows Vista Ultimate.</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><strong><span class="module-name">Specifications</span></strong><br /> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="width: 627px; height: 270px;" border="0"> <thead> <tr> <th class="head-empty"> </th> <th class="head-light">Original part</th> <th>Upgrade Part</th> <th>Upgrade Part Cost</th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="item">Case/PSU</td> <td class="item-dark">Cooler Master HAF 922 / PC Power and Cooling 910</td> <td><span style="text-align: center;">No Change</span></td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td>CPU</td> <td>3.2GHz Core i7-965 Extreme Edition</td> <td><span style="text-align: center;">No change</span></td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Motherboard</td> <td class="item-dark">Asus Rampage II Extreme</td> <td>No Change</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Cooling</td> <td>Stock</td> <td>Corsair Hydro Cooler H75</td> <td>$69</td> </tr> <tr> <td>RAM</td> <td>6GB DDR3/1600 in dual-channel mode</td> <td>No Change</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">GPU</td> <td class="item-dark">GeForce GTX 590</td> <td>No Change</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>HDD/SSD</td> <td>300GB 10,000rpm WD Raptor, 1TB 7,200rpm Hitachi </td> <td>256GB Sandisk Ultra</td> <td>$159</td> </tr> <tr> <td>ODD</td> <td>Lite-On Blu-Ray burner</td> <td>No Change</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td>OS</td> <td>64-bit Windows Vista Ultimate </td> <td>No Change</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Total upgrade cost</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>$277</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> </div> <h4>Always Be Upgrading The SSD</h4> <p>Our first upgrade decision was easy—SSD. In its day, the 300GB Raptor was the drive to have for its performance, but with the drive running at 90 percent of its capacity, this sucker was beyond slow. Boot time on the well lived-in Vista install was just over two minutes. Yes, a two-minute boot time. By moving to an SSD and demoting the Raptor to secondary storage, the machine would see an immediate benefit in responsiveness. For most people who don’t actually stress the CPU or GPU, an SSD upgrade is actually a better upgrade than buying a completely new machine. And yes, we fully realize the X58 doesn’t have support for SATA 6Gb/s, but the access time of the SSD and pretty much constant read and writes at full bus speed will still make a huge difference in responsiveness.</p> <p>The real conundrum was the CPU. As we said, this is the original Core i7, a quad-core chip with Hyper-Threading and support for triple-channel RAM. The CPU’s base clock is 3.2GHz. It is an unlocked part, but the chip is sporting a stock 130W TDP Intel cooler. Believe it or not, this is actually how some people build their rigs—they buy the overclocked part but don’t overclock until later on, when they need more performance. Well, we’re at that point now, but we knew we weren’t going very far with a stock Intel cooler, so we decided that this was the time to introduce a closed-loop liquid cooler in the form of a Corsair H75. Our intention was to simply overclock and call it a day, but when we saw some of the performance coming out of the AMD Skeleton, we got a little jealous. In two of our tests for this upgrade story, the AMD FX-8350 was eating the once-mighty Nehalem’s lunch. Would overclocking be enough? That got us wondering if maybe we should take the LGA1366 to its next-logical conclusion: the Core i7-970. The Core i7-970 boasted six cores with Hyper-Threading for a total of 12 threads. It has the same base clock of 3.2GHz and same Turbo Boost of 3.46GH, but it uses the newer and faster 32nm “Westmere” cores. Long since discontinued, it’s easy to find the chips used for about $300, which is about half its original price. This is that conundrum we spoke of—while the Westmere would indeed be faster, especially on thread-heavy tasks such as video encoding and 3D modeling, do we really want to spend $300 on a used CPU? That much money would almost get us a Core i7-4770K, which would offer far more performance in more apps. Of course, we’d have to buy a new board for that, too. In the end, we got cold feet and decided to stick with just an overclock.</p> <h4>Windows Vista Works</h4> <p>Even our OS choice had us tied up. There’s a reason Windows Vista was a hated OS when it was released. It was buggy, slow, and drivers for it stunk. For the most part, though, Windows Vista turned into a usable OS once Service Pack 1 was released, and Service Pack 2 made it even better. While we’d never buy Vista over Windows 7 today, it’s actually functional, and the performance difference isn’t as big as many believe it to be, when it’s on a faster system. The only real shortcoming of Windows Vista is the lack of trim support for the SSD. That means the build would have to have the SSD manually optimized using the drive’s utility, or we’d have to count on its garbage collection routines. For now, we’d rather put the $119 in the bank toward the next system build with, perhaps, Windows 9.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/main_image1_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/main_image1_small.jpg" width="620" height="403" /></a></p> <p>Even more difficult was our choice on the GPU. The GeForce GTX 590 was a top-of-the-line card and sold for $700 in 2011. Obviously, this card was put into the system after the box was initially built, so it has had one previous upgrade. In looking at our upgrade options, our first thought was to go for something crazy—such as a second GTX 590 card. They can be found used for about $300. That would give the machine Quad SLI performance at far less the cost of a newer top-tier GPU. That fantasy went up in smoke when we realized the PC Power and Cooling Silencer 910 had but two 8-pin GPU power connectors and we’d need a total of four to run Quad SLI. Buying another expensive PSU just to run Quad SLI just didn’t make sense in the grand scheme of things, since the PSU is perfectly functional and even still under warranty. Once the second GTX 590 was ruled out, we considered a GeForce GTX 780 Ti as an option. While the 780 Ti is a beast, we came to the realization that the GTX 590 honestly still has plenty of legs left, especially for gaming at 1080p. The 780 Ti is indeed faster by 20 to 50 percent, but we decided not to go that route, as the machine still produces very passable frame rates.&nbsp; In the end, we spent far less upgrading this machine than the other two. But perhaps that makes sense, as its components are much newer and faster than the other two boxes.</p> <h4>Post-upgrade performance</h4> <p>With our only upgrades on this box being an overclock and an SSD, we didn’t expect too much—but we were pleasantly surprised. Our mild overclock took the part to 4GHz full-time. That’s 800MHz over the base clock speed. In Cinebench R15, the clock speed increase mapped pretty closely to the performance difference. In both ProShow Producer and Stitch.Efx, though, we actually saw greater performance than the simple overclock can explain. We actually attribute the better performance to the SSD. While encoding tasks are typically CPU-bound, disk I/O can make a difference. Stitch.Efx also spits out something on the order 20,000 files while it creates the gigapixel image. The SSD, of course, made a huge difference in boot times and system responsiveness, even if it wasn’t on a SATA 6Gb/s port.</p> <h4>Regrets</h4> <p>Overall, we were happy with our upgrade choices, with the only gnawing concern being not upgrading the GPU. It just ate us up knowing we could have seen even better frame rates by going to the GTX 780 Ti. But then, we also have $750 in our pocket that can go toward the next big thing.</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><strong><span class="module-name">Benchmarks</span></strong><br /> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="width: 627px; height: 270px;" border="0"> <thead> <tr> <th class="head-empty"> </th> <th class="head-light">Pre-upgrade</th> <th></th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="item">Cinebench R15 64-bit</td> <td class="item-dark">515</td> <td><span style="text-align: center;">617</span></td> </tr> <tr> <td>ProShow Producer 5.0 (sec)</td> <td>2,119</td> <td><span style="text-align: center;">1,641<strong>&nbsp;</strong></span></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Stitch.Efx (sec)</td> <td class="item-dark">1,446</td> <td>983</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Bootracer (sec)</td> <td>126</td> <td>18&nbsp; <strong>(+600%)</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Batman: Arkham Origins (fps)</td> <td>86</td> <td>87</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Heaven 4.0 (fps)</td> <td class="item-dark">68.2</td> <td>68.7</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> </div> <h3> <hr /></h3> <h3>How to upgrade from Windows XP</h3> <p><strong>It’s game over, man!</strong></p> <p>Stick a fork in it. It’s done. Finito. Windows XP is a stiff. Bereft of life, it rests in peace… on a considerable number of desktops worldwide, much to Microsoft’s chagrin.</p> <p>You’ve read Microsoft’s early-2012 announcement. You’ve seen all the news since then: the warnings, the pleas, the tomes of comments from frustrated users who wish they could just have a fully supported Windows XP until the launch of Windows 20. If you were a holdout, you even got a few pop-ups directly in your operating system from Microsoft itself, imploring you to switch on up to a more powerful (re: supported) version of Windows. So says Microsoft:</p> <p>“If you continue to use Windows XP after support ends, your computer should still work, but it will become five times more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. And as more software and hardware manufacturers continue to optimize for more recent versions of Windows, a greater number of programs and devices like cameras and printers won’t work with Windows XP.”</p> <p>There you have it: Keep on keepin’ on with Windows XP and you’ll slowly enter the wild, wild west of computing. We can’t say that your computer is going to be immediately infected once you reach a set time period past what’s been chiseled on the operating system’s tombstone. However, the odds of you suffering an attack that Microsoft has no actual fix for certainly increase. You wouldn’t run a modern operating system without the latest security patches; why Windows XP?</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/main_image_4_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/main_image_4_small.jpg" width="620" height="397" /></a></p> <p>So, what’s a person to do? Upgrade, obviously. We do warn in advance that if your current Windows XP machine is chock-full of legacy apps (or you’re using more antiquated hardware like, dare we say it, a printer attached to a parallel port), then you might find that upgrading to a newer version of the OS ruins the experience you previously had. For that, we can only suggest taking advantage of the ability of newer versions of Windows to support virtualized Windows XP environments—Windows 7 supports the Virtual PC–based “Windows XP Mode” natively, whereas those on Windows 8 can benefit from freeware like Virtualbox to run a free, Microsoft-hosted download of a virtualized Windows XP.</p> <p>As for what you should upgrade to, and how, we’re recommending that you go with Windows 8—unless you can find Windows 7 for extremely cheap. Microsoft has greatly improved resource use in its flagship OS, in addition to streamlining startup times, adding more personalization, and beefing up security. Windows 8 has far more time before its end-of-life than Windows 7, even though, yes, you’ll have to deal with the Modern UI a bit when you make your upgrade.</p> <h3>Step-by-Step Upgrade Guide</h3> <p><strong>Anyone can upgrade, but there is a right way and wrong way</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/mpc99.feat_pcupgrade.xp_3_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/mpc99.feat_pcupgrade.xp_3_small.jpg" alt="The Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor is a bit more useful than the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant in terms of actionable items that you’ll want to know about. Doesn’t hurt to run both!" width="620" height="457" /></a></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor is a bit more useful than the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant in terms of actionable items that you’ll want to know about. Doesn’t hurt to run both!<br /></strong></p> <p>Will your legacy system even run a modern version of Windows? That’s the first thing you’re going to want to check before you start walking down the XP-to-8 upgrade path. Microsoft has released two different tools to help you out—only one of them works for Windows XP, however. Hit up Microsoft’s site and do a search for “Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant.” Download that, install it on your Windows XP machine, and run the application.</p> <p>After a (hopefully) quick scan of your system, the program will report back the number of apps and devices you’re using that are compatible with Windows 8. In a perfect world, that would be all of them. However, the tool will also report back fatal flaws that might prevent you from running Windows 8 on your Windows XP machine to begin with—like, for example, if your older motherboard and CPU don’t support the Windows 8–required Data Execution Prevention.</p> <p>Since Windows 8 is quite a bit removed, generation-wise, from Windows XP, there’s no means by which you can simply run an in-place upgrade that preserves your settings and installed applications. Personal files, yes, but now’s as good a time as any to get your data organized prior to the big jump—no need to have Windows 8 muck things up for you, as it will just create a “windows.old” folder that’s a dump of the “Documents and Settings” folders on your XP system.</p> <p>If you have a spare hard drive lying around, you could always clone your current disk using a freeware app like Clonezilla, install Windows 8 on your old drive, and sort through everything later. If not, then you’re going to want to grab some kind of portable storage—or, barring that, sign up for a cloud-based storage service—and begin the semi-arduous task of poring over your hard drive for all of your important information.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/mpc99.feat_pcupgrade.xp_7_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/mpc99.feat_pcupgrade.xp_7_small.jpg" alt="The Windows Easy Transfer app, downloadable from Microsoft, helps automate the otherwise manual process of copying your files from your XP machine to portable storage." width="620" height="491" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Windows Easy Transfer app, downloadable from Microsoft, helps automate the otherwise manual process of copying your files from your XP machine to portable storage.</strong></p> <p>There really isn’t a great tool that can help you out in this regard, except perhaps WinDirStat—and that’s only assuming that you’ve stored chunks of your important data in key areas around your hard drive. If worse comes to worse, you could always back up the entire contents of your “Documents and Settings” folder, just to be safe. It’s unlikely that you’ll have much critical data in Program Files or Windows but, again, it all depends on what you’ve been doing on your PC. Gamers eager to make sure that their precious save files have been preserved can check out the freeware GameSave Manager to back up their progress.</p> <p>As for your apps, you’re going to have to reinstall those. You can, however, simplify this process by using a tool like Ninite to quickly and easily install common apps. CCleaner, when installed on your old XP system, can generate a list of all the apps that you’ve previously installed within the operating system—handy for making a checklist for things you’ll want to reinstall later, we suppose. And finally, an app like Magical Jelly Bean’s Product Key Finder can help you recover old installation keys for apps that you might want to reinstall within Windows 8.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/mpc99.feat_pcupgrade.xp_8_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/mpc99.feat_pcupgrade.xp_8_small.jpg" width="620" height="452" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Need to know what you’ll need to reinstall in Windows 8? Use CCleaner to make a simple text file of every app you installed on Windows XP, and check off as you go! </strong></p> <p>As for installing Windows 8, we recommend that you purchase and download the ISO version of the operating system and then use Microsoft’s handy Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool to dump the contents of that ISO onto a portable flash drive. Your installation process will go much faster, trust us. From there, installing the OS is as easy as inserting your USB storage, resetting your computer, and booting from the flash drive—which might be accessible via some “boot manager” option during your system’s POST, or might be a boot order–related setting that you have to set up within the BIOS itself.</p> <p>Other than that, the installation process is fairly straightforward once Windows 8 gets going. You’ll enter your product key, select a Custom installation, delete or format your drive partitions, install Windows 8 on the new chunk of blank, empty storage, and sit back and relax while the fairly simple installation process chugs away.</p> <p>You might not have the speediest of operating systems once Windows 8 loads, depending on just how long your Windows XP machine has been sitting around, but at least you’ll be a bit more secure! And, hey, now that you have a license key, you can always upgrade your ancient system (or build a new one!) and reinstall.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/computer_upgrade_2014#comments computer upgrade Hardware Hardware how to June issue 2014 maximum pc Memory News Features Mon, 13 Oct 2014 22:11:21 +0000 Maximum PC staff 28535 at http://www.maximumpc.com Samsung's 20nm 6Gb LPDDR3 RAM Promises Longer Battery Life for Mobile Devices http://www.maximumpc.com/samsungs_20nm_6gb_lpddr3_ram_promises_longer_battery_life_mobile_devices <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/samsung_6gb.jpg" alt="Samsung 20nm 6Gb" title="Samsung 20nm 6Gb" width="228" height="139" style="float: right;" />Look for thinner, longer lasting mobile gadgets</h3> <p><strong>Samsung said it has begun mass producing its 6-gigabit (Gb) low-power double data rate 3 (LPDDR3) mobile DRAM based on its 20-nanometer process technology</strong> (not to be confused with 20nm-class, which could mean anywhere from 20nm to 29nm). Why should you care? The new mobile memory chip is more efficient, which in turn will enable longer battery life in mobile devices. It could also lead to slimmer, less expensive mobile products.</p> <p>The new 6Gb LPDDR3 has a per-pin data transfer rate of up to 2,133 megabits per second (Mbps). It takes four of them to comprise a 3GB package, which Samsung says is more than 20 percent smaller and consumes 10 percent less energy than the currently available 3GB package using the company's previously lowest process technology. The end product is an improvement in every way -- mobile memory based on Samsung's 20nm process is smaller, thinner, faster, and more power efficient.</p> <p>"Our new 20nm 6Gb LPDDR3 DRAM provides the most advanced mobile memory solution for the rapidly expanding high-performance mobile DRAM market," <a href="http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20140917006467/en/Samsung-Mass-Producing-Industry%E2%80%99s-20-Nanometer-6Gb-LPDDR3#.VBr_pfldVCg" target="_blank">said Jeeho Baek</a>, vice president, memory marketing, Samsung Electronics. "We are working closely with our global customers to offer next-generation mobile memory solutions that can be applied to a more extensive range of markets ranging from the premium to standard segments."</p> <p>Samsung says its new 20nm process brings about more than a 30 percent productivity gain. With that being the case, they should be cheaper to produce and could ultimately lead to price savings for the end user.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/samsungs_20nm_6gb_lpddr3_ram_promises_longer_battery_life_mobile_devices#comments 6Gb Hardware lpddr3 Memory mobile ram samsung 20nm News Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:56:44 +0000 Paul Lilly 28558 at http://www.maximumpc.com Crucial Brings Ballistix Sport Memory into the DDR4 Era http://www.maximumpc.com/crucial_brings_ballistix_sport_memory_ddr4_era_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/crucial_ballistix_sport_ddr4.jpg" alt="Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR4" title="Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR4" width="228" height="143" style="float: right;" />More DDR4 options</h3> <p>The selection of DDR4 modules is growing by the day. In fact, it almost feels like the old days -- you know, back when memory makers would launch new kits at a near non-stop pace. In continuing with the recent trend, <strong>Crucial today announced the availability of Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR4 memory and Crucial DDR4 desktop memory</strong>, both designed for Intel's X99 chipset.</p> <p>In case you're not familiar, Crucial is a division of Micron, a major player in the memory chip business. That allows Ballistix memory to be manufactured completely in-house. There's an interesting video showing how Ballistix memory is made -- we've posted it before and also embedded it below.</p> <p>DDR4 memory is up to 40 percent more energy efficient than DDR3, offers more bandwidth, and runs faster. In addition, select Ballistix Sport DDR4 modules are plug-and-lay with XMP 2.0 profiles.</p> <p>Both Crucial DDR4 and Crucial Ballistix Sport <a href="http://www.crucial.com/usa/en/memory-ddr4-info" target="_blank">DDR4 memory</a> modules are available in densities up to 8GB and kits up to 32GB.</p> <p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/dFsSxtJpm3w" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/crucial_brings_ballistix_sport_memory_ddr4_era_2014#comments ballistix sport Build a PC Crucial ddr4 Hardware Memory ram News Tue, 09 Sep 2014 15:26:04 +0000 Paul Lilly 28504 at http://www.maximumpc.com G.Skill Unleashes Ripjaws 4 DDR4-3333 RAM, World's Fastest Memory http://www.maximumpc.com/gskill_unleashes_ripjaws_4_ddr4-3333_ram_worlds_fastest_memory <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/gskill_ripjaws_4.jpg" alt="G.Skill Ripjaws 4" title="G.Skill Ripjaws 4" width="228" height="203" style="float: right;" />Breaking the speed limit</h3> <p>How high will memory makers take DDR4 RAM kits? We're in the process of finding out. In the meantime, G.Skill is laying claim to the world's fastest DDR4 memory with its new Ripjaws 4 DDR4-3333 memory kit (F4-3333C16Q-16GRK). It's a 16GB kit consisting of four 4GB modules for quad-channel fun on your new Intel Haswell-E build with 16-16-16-36-2N timings and 1.35V.</p> <p>G.Skill says its RAM is fully validated on the newest Asus Rampage V Extreme X99 motherboard, though it should work on other motherboards built around Intel's X99 chipset as well. It also features Intel XMP 2.0, meaning you shouldn't have to fuss with settings in the BIOS.</p> <p>You can also pick up a Ripjaws 4 kit clocked at 3300MHz (F4-3300C16Q-16GRK) or 3200MHz (F4-3200C16Q-16GRK) for a bit less money. They're also quad-channel kits consisting of four 4GB modules with the same timing.</p> <p>The 3200MHz (<a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231803&amp;Tpk=20-231-803" target="_blank">$470</a>) and 3300MHz (<a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231804&amp;Tpk=20-231-804" target="_blank">$580</a>) are available now; the 3333MHz kit should be available soon for <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231805&amp;Tpk=20-231-805" target="_blank">$700</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/gskill_unleashes_ripjaws_4_ddr4-3333_ram_worlds_fastest_memory#comments Build a PC ddr4 g.skill Hardware Memory ram ripjaws 4 News Fri, 05 Sep 2014 15:39:49 +0000 Paul Lilly 28484 at http://www.maximumpc.com Kingston's HyperX Genesis Memory Turns Savage http://www.maximumpc.com/kingstons_hyperx_genesis_memory_turns_savage_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/kingston_hyperx_savage.jpg" alt="Kingston HyperX Savage" title="Kingston HyperX Savage" width="228" height="140" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>New Savage line replaces mid-level Genesis family</h3> <p>Most of the memory announcements we're seeing lately have to do with new DDR4 RAM kits for Intel's X99 chipset and Haswell-E processors. However, if you're not ready to make the leap to DDR4, don't sweat it -- companies aren't turning their backs on DDR3 memory kits just yet. Hence we have <strong>Kingston announcing its new HyperX Savage DDR3 memory line</strong> with red aluminum heatspreaders.</p> <p>Kingston's HyperX Savage replaces the HyperX Genesis. It's a mid-range line that sports a black PCB encased in an asymmetrical heatspreader with a diamond cut finish. Though it has an aggressive look to it, the kits are low profile, giving system builders a bit of extra room for oversized CPU coolers.</p> <p>"After replacing HyperX blu with Fury for entry-level gamers, it was time to refresh our mid-level Genesis line with HyperX Savage," <a href="http://www.kingston.com/us/company/press/article/7344?Article-Title=HyperX-Releases-Savage-Memory" target="_blank">said Lawrence Yang</a>, business manager, HyperX. "The bold and stylish red heatspreader offers enthusiasts and gamers a radical new look combined with high performance and capacities to match."</p> <p>Speaking of which, capacities range from 4GB and 8GB single modules to 8GB to 32GB dual-channel or quad-channel kits. Frequency options run the gamut from 1600MHz to 2400MHz with CAS latencies between 9 and 11.</p> <p>Kingston's HyperX Savage memory kits are <a href="http://www.kingston.com/us/hyperx/memory/savage" target="_blank">available now</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/kingstons_hyperx_genesis_memory_turns_savage_2014#comments Build a PC Hardware hyperX Kingston Memory ram savage News Thu, 04 Sep 2014 14:55:10 +0000 Paul Lilly 28475 at http://www.maximumpc.com G.Skill Sets Memory Frequency Record Using Ripjaws 4 DDR4 RAM http://www.maximumpc.com/gskill_sets_memory_frequency_record_using_ripjaws_4_ddr4_ram_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/gskill_oc_0.jpg" alt="G.Skill Ripjaws 4 OC" title="G.Skill Ripjaws 4 OC" width="228" height="151" style="float: right;" />DDR4 memory record sits at 4,004MHz</h3> <p>We said over and over that Haswell-E was just around the corner, and after all that waiting and anticipation, today marks the official launch of the new CPU line from Intel (see our <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/haswell-e_review_2014">review of Haswell-E</a>). It's not just about the processors, though -- it takes a village of components to raise Haswell-E the right way, and if you're looking to set records, G.Skill makes a strong case for its <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/gskill_unveils_ripjaws_4_series_ddr4_memory_kits_redesigned_heatspreaders_2014">Ripjaws 4 Series</a>. At present, <strong>G.Skill and its Ripjaws 4 Series of DDR4 RAM own the DDR4 frequency record</strong> after hitting 4,004MHz.</p> <p>There are always caveats to this level of extreme overclocking, such as cooling. As you probably guessed, it took doses of LN2 to keep things cool enough to set the record. That's a buzz kill if you're only interested in stable clocks using air or liquid cooling, though it's par for course in the overclocking sector.</p> <p>G.Skill also had to drop down to single-channel mode. In doing so, the company was able to push its Ripjaws 4 to 2,002.2MHz (4,004MHz effective) with 17-25-29-50 timings. The memory was plopped into an Asus ROG Rampage V Extreme motherboard with an Intel Core i7 5930K processor.</p> <p>It's only a matter of time before the record is broken -- perhaps by G.Skill -- but for now, this is where the bar has been set.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/gskill_sets_memory_frequency_record_using_ripjaws_4_ddr4_ram_2014#comments Build a PC ddr4 g.skill Hardware Memory ram ripjaws 4 News Fri, 29 Aug 2014 17:06:04 +0000 Paul Lilly 28449 at http://www.maximumpc.com Samsung’s 3D TSV DDR4 Modules Sport Quad Stacked Memory Dies http://www.maximumpc.com/samsung%E2%80%99s_3d_tsv_ddr4_modules_sport_quad_stacked_memory_dies_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/samsung_ddr4_0.jpg" alt="Samsung DRAM" title="Samsung DRAM" width="228" height="146" style="float: right;" />Industry's first 3D TSV-based DDR4 modules go into mass production</h3> <p>The desktop isn't the only place you'll find interesting things happening with double data rate-4 (DDR4) memory. <strong>Samsung this week said it has begun mass producing what it claims is the industry's first 64GB DDR4 RDIMMs using three dimensional "through silicon via" (TSV) package technology</strong> intended for enterprise servers, cloud-based applications, and other data center solutions.</p> <p>Sounds pretty fancy, right? Let us break it down. The new RDIMMs employ 36 DDR4 DRAM chips, each of which consists of 4-gigabit (Gb) DDR4 DRAM dies. They're built using Samsung's 20nm-class and 3D TSV package technologies, the latter of which marks a new milestone in memory technology.</p> <p>Following in the footsteps of 3D Vertical NAND (V-NAND) that uses high-rise vertical structures of cell arrays inside a monolithic die, 3D TSV is a different type of structure that vertically interconnects stacked dies. To build a 3D TSV DRAM package, the DDR4 dies must first be ground down as thin as just a few micrometers, then pierced with hundreds of tiny holes. Electrodes pass through the fine holes to vertically connect the dies.</p> <p><a href="http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20140826006160/en/Samsung-Starts-Mass-Producing-Industry%E2%80%99s-3D-TSV#.U_8jzzLt_vk" target="_blank">According to Samsung</a>, its new 64GB TSV module performs twice as fast as a 64GB module using wire bonding packaging, and consumes around half the power to boot.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/samsung%E2%80%99s_3d_tsv_ddr4_modules_sport_quad_stacked_memory_dies_2014#comments ddr4 enterprise Memory ram samsung tsv News Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:07:01 +0000 Paul Lilly 28433 at http://www.maximumpc.com G.Skill Unveils Ripjaws 4 Series DDR4 Memory Kits with Redesigned Heatspreaders http://www.maximumpc.com/gskill_unveils_ripjaws_4_series_ddr4_memory_kits_redesigned_heatspreaders_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/ripjaws4.jpg" alt="G.Skill Ripjaws 4" title="G.Skill Ripjaws 4" width="228" height="127" style="float: right;" />More parts in preparation for Haswell-E</h3> <p>One thing you won't have to worry about when Intel rolls out its Haswell-E processors is finding supplementary components to accommodate the new parts. That includes DDR4 memory. <strong>G.Skill is the latest to jump on the DDR4 bandwagon</strong>, and it brought along its familiar Ripjaws branding. The new Ripjaws 4 Series of DDR4 memory kits represent the fourth generation of Ripjaws, and with it comes a redesigned heatspreader.</p> <p>The aggressive looking heatspreaders come in red, blue, and black. Though the heatspreaders on these kits are reflective of a brand new design, G.Skill says each module still measures 40mm high, the same as previous generation Ripjaws RAM.</p> <p>G.Skill is releasing a whole bunch of Ripjaws 4 Series kits ranging in frequency from 2133MHz to 3200MHz. They include:</p> <ul> <li>2133MHz; 15-15-15-15; 1.2V; 16GB (4GBx4), 32GB (8GBx4 / 4GBx8), 64GB (8GBx8)</li> <li>2400MHz; 15-15-15-15; 1.2V; 16GB (4GBx4), 32GB (8GBx4 / 4GBx8), 64GB (8GBx8)</li> <li>2666MHz; 15-15-15-35; 1.2V; 16GB (4GBx4), 32GB (8GBx4 / 4GBx8), 64GB (8GBx8)</li> <li>2800MHz; 16-16-16-36; 1.2V; 16GB (4GBx4), 32GB (8GBx4 / 4GBx8), 64GB (8GBx8)</li> <li>3000MHz; 15-15-15-35; 1.35V; 16GB (4GBx4), 32GB (8GBx4 / 4GBx8)</li> <li>3000MHz; 16-16-16-36; 1.35V; 32GB (8GBx4)</li> <li>3200MHz; 16-16-16-36; 1.35V; 16GB (4GBx4)</li> </ul> <p>Memory kits above 2400MHz support Intel XMP 2.0 for easy tuning, and all Ripjaws 4 kits have been validated for compatibility with "most X99 motherboards," <a href="http://www.gskill.com/en/press/view/g-skill-announces--ripjaws-4-series-ddr4-memory-kits" target="_blank">G.Skill says</a>.</p> <p>The Ripjaws 4 kits in capacities up to 32GB are available now ranging in price (street) from around $260 to $530.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/gskill_unveils_ripjaws_4_series_ddr4_memory_kits_redesigned_heatspreaders_2014#comments Build a PC ddr4 g.skill Hardware Memory ram ripjaws 4 News Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:47:13 +0000 Paul Lilly 28397 at http://www.maximumpc.com