All of the Radeon HD 5870s reviewed here are essentially identical—they’re the fastest single-GPU graphics cards you can buy currently. Out of the box, you get a typical one-year limited warranty. But if you register XFX’s product online within 30 days of purchase, the warranty lasts for “the duration of your life.” Not a bad deal, assuming the company is around that long.
It’s nice having a great warranty, but you want great performance for your $390. You’ll get that in spades. The XFX card burned through our performance tests, posting the highest scores in the 3DMark Vantage Extreme and Crysis benchmarks. The differences were minimal, though, and other 5870s won in other benchmarks.
Further proof that DDR2 is on its way out, several memory backend suppliers have been preparing for a major DDR3 push, news and rumor site DigiTimes reports.
Memory packaging and testing firms Powertech Technology, Formosa Advanced Technologies Company, and Walton Advanced Engineering all say that DRR3 will account for 90 percent of their DRAM shipments by the end of next year, up from 40 to 50 percent at the end of 2009. Walton estimates that some 90 percent of its overall DRAM revenue will come from DDR3 in 2010.
The writing has been on the wall for some time now. DDR2 pricing began rising months ago until DDR2 contract prices finally jumped ahead of DDR3 at the beginning of October.
Citing anonymous sources from notebook heavyweights, news and rumor site DigiTimes says we can expect Intel to launch four 32nm dual-core Arrandale CPUs (Calpella platform) by the second week of January 2010. These will include the Core i5 520M and 430M, and Core i3 350M and 330M.
Details weren't available on all four chips, but it looks like the Core i5 430M will come clocked at 2.26GHz and include Intel's Turbot Boost Technology, which could bump the clockspeed up to 2.53GHz for a single core. The Core i3 350M will also boast a 2.26GHz clockspeed, but no Turbo Boost.
The Core i5 will feature a graphics clock running at 500MHz and up to 766MHz with Turbo Boost, whereas the Core i3 will also run at 500MHz, but top out at 667MHz. All four chips will support DDR3 memory, come equipped with 3MB of L3 cache, and come rated with a TDP of 35W.
If the Mac Mini and a bag of Skittles were to share a night of unbridled love, we're pretty the love child of such an affair would look identical to the Zino HD, Dell's new line of colorful low-power home theater PCs.
Dell kicks off the HTPC line with several base configurations, each one built around an AMD processor. The least expensive Zino HD starts at just $230 and includes an AMD Athlon 2560e processor (1.6GHz, 512KB L2 cache), 2GB of DDR2-800 memory, 250GB hard drive spinning at 7200RPM, integrated ATI Radeon HD3200 graphics, 2.1 audio, an 8X DVD burner, and Windows Vista Home Basic. The OS is a bit of a surprise, considering each of the three other configurations come with Windows 7 Home Premium in 64-bit trim.
The highest priced model checks in at $650 and kicks the processor up to an AMD Athlon 2850e (1.8GHz, 512KB L2 cache), doubles up on memory (4GB), adds twice as much storage (500GB), tosses in an ATI Radeon HD 4330 videocard with a 512MB frame buffer, and includes a 20-inch Dell ST2010 widescreen monitor.
All of the models come with 4 USB ports (2 each on the front and back) and 2 eSATA ports.
Motorola has put the word out that it wants to sell off its "Home and Network Mobility" unit. The unit, which makes equipment for cable and wireless companies, is Motorola's largest division, Businessweek.com reports.
According to the latest tech chatter, a deal worth $4.5 billion could be on the table. It's unknown exactly who the potential buyer(s) might be, but the most likely bet would include private-equity firms and makers of telecommunications equipment, like Samsung, the Wall Street Journal speculated.
Should Motorola find a buyer, it would be left with two other divisions: Mobile Devices, which makes cell phones, and Enterprise Mobility, with makes bar code scanners and other equipment for corporate use,
If you thought Intel’s new budget Nehalem meant rock-bottom, feature-stripped motherboards to match, think again.
Gigabyte’s GA-P55-UD6 jams just about every feature you could think of into the new LGA1156 platform. There are the de rigueur updated power-saving utilities and the dual BIOS, which can save your bacon should your BIOS get corrupted.
And then there’s a whole kitchen sink of new features, such as the ability to secure the system using the onboard TPM module and then have it unlock when the computer detects your Bluetooth phone nearby. The same Bluetooth phone can also be used to put the system in standby or hibernate if you walk away, to save power.
Two other features are probably a bit more useful: As part of the board’s Smart Six apps, the BIOS QuickBoot feature allows you to set the BIOS to initialize much faster if no hardware has been changed. With the feature turned on, we saw the system go from a 30-second POST-to-OS load to 15 seconds. That’s pretty spectacular. The OS QuickBoot promises faster boots, too, but as far as we can tell, it’s simply a different way to invoke Vista’s Hybrid Sleep mode.
We did some digging, and from what we can tell, G.Skill's correct in claiming that it's new DDR3 kit is the fastest around, so long as we put the CAS Latency (CL) setting front and center.
The new kit, which is part of G.Skill's Pi series and "specially tuned for Intel Lynnfield Core i7 870, 860 processors," comes rated at DDR3-2200 with 7-10-10-10 timings at 1.65V. It's available in 4GB (2x2GB) form, but is it really the overall fastest?
That's a tough one to answer. A quick peek on Newegg shows one other DDR3-2200 memory kit, this one from Super Talent. It comes rated at 8-8-8-24, so we're willing to give G.Skill's kit the slight edge, at least on paper.
G.Skill says its new modules will be available through collaborated distribution partners "immediately with affordable price." As of this writing we weren't able to track down a kit online.
You might think GPU and CPU upgrades happen quickly, but they’re practically glacial compared to the SSD market, where a platform can go from Kick Ass Award–winning performance to merely good in a few months.
Witness Kingston’s SSDNow V+ 256GB, essentially a rebadge of Samsung’s 256GB drive, to which we gave a Kick Ass Award back in July. The Samsung and Kingston drives, as well as Corsair’s P256 rebadge, all use 256GB of Samsung NAND chips, with the Samsung S3C29RBB01 controller and 128MB of onboard DDR cache to prevent random-write stuttering.
The SSDNow’s sustained average read speeds clocked in at 193.8MB/s, slightly higher than the OEM Samsung version but not quite up to the 209MB/s established by the 160GB Intel X-25M we reviewed in November. Its average sustained writes of 153MB/s trailed behind Indilinx-controlled devices like the Patriot Torqx, with its 175MB/s sustained writes, while the X-25M’s mere 79MB/s seem positively prehistoric by comparison.
AMD revealed new mobile and desktop platforms for the coming year, confirmed that it is launching a new dual GPU card next week codenamed “Hemlock,” and even gave the public a glimpse of its upcoming Fusion products that combines a traditional CPU and GPU in a monolithic die, at its annual briefing to financial analysts.
AMD is dubbing its upcoming Fusion products as the “APU” or Accelerated Processor Unit, the first of which will be codenamed “Llano.” Llano will combine a DX11, gigaflop-capable, graphics core with a quad core processor on a single die. Interestingly, Llano will not be based on the company’s new Bulldozer core. AMD will instead use an improved 32nm version of the current Stars core which currently powers the Phenom II.
Llano will be used in upcoming desktop and mobile platforms. The bad news for Llano is that it will not see the light of day until 2011. Intel is expected to beat it to the punch with its CPU cum GPU late next year. AMD officials, however, pooh poohed Intel’s approach.
One of the hottest trends in electronics right now is digital readers, but no matter how many companies jump on the bandwagon -- and several of them have -- prices will have to come down before the public embraces them, according to Gartner.
"At the moment it appears that $199 will be the lowest price for fully featured e-reading devices for the 2009 shopping season, but prices will need to drop closer to $99 to gain significant traction," Gartner noted.
At the same time, Gartner predicts e-reader "mania" in 2010, though getting to that point won't be without a few hurdles. The market research firm says a wider variety of retail channels is needed, and more publishers need to be seen buying into e-readers.
"It's the perfect time for a trial and to establish relationships with others in the value-chain -- that is service providers and digital warehouses -- that can be positioned to assist in a rapid deployment if the market takes off earlier than anticipated," Gartner added.