Out with the old and in with the new, or in this case, MSI is anxious to bid a fond farewell to the Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) and get cooking with Non-Volatile Media Express (NVMe). To get the party started, MSI issued a round of BIOS updates for a whole bunch of motherboards based on Intel's X99, Z97, and H97 chipsets, making the company the first motherboard maker to fully support NVMe.
Renowned overclocker K|NGP|N (or Kingpin, from here on out) has endorsed EVGA's latest GeForce GTX 980 graphics card, which has been "meticulously designed for the extreme overclocker." More than just lip service, this card packs a 14+3 power phase design, a new digitally controlled VRM capable of delivering up to a whopping 600A of current, and three power inputs (two 8-pin and a single 6-pin).
What do you do when you see your enemy twisting in the wind? You strike, of course, and that's exactly what AMD predictably decided to do as rival Nvidia goes into damage control concerning the memory controversy on its GeForce GTX 970 graphics card. AMD and its partners have lowered the price of their Radeon R9 290X graphics cards to as low as $280 after rebate, or $300 without.
Sapphire was the first company to release an 8GB version of AMD's Radeon R9 290X graphics card, though it's no longer the only one -- a handful of other graphics card players jumped on board after AMD gave them a reference design to play with. Be that as it may, Sapphire is intent on standing out from the crowd, so it went and retooled its 8GB R9 290X with a triple fan cooler and some other changes.
Upcoming driver could improve GTX 970's memory performance
Nvidia really stepped in a pile of PR poo when it was discovered that there was an internal communication gaffe over the way the GeForce GTX 970 handles its 4GB of onboard memory and the resulting specs. In short, the GTX 970 has 56 ROPs and 1,792KB of L2 cache instead of matching the GTX 980's 64 ROPs and 2,048KB of L2 cache as originally advertised. However, Nvidia wants to make things right and has offered to help GTX 970 owners obtain a refund, if need be. Should you go that route?
Internal miscommunication at Nvidia led to confusion over the GTX 970's specs
Sometimes the tech world can be like a geek version of a soap opera, and this is one of those times. The main characters in this case are Nvidia and the GeForce GTX 970. If you're looking for a quick summary of events, it's this: Gamers noticed a slowdown in performance when games tried to access more than 3.5GB of memory on the GTX 970. This in turn led to Nvidia explaining a new memory architecture in the GTX 970, along with clarification of specs that were different than originally reported. In light of all this, there's a petition floating around demanding a refund for anyone who purchased a GTX 970, but to really understand what's going on, a deeper explanation is necessary.
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 Crucial's Ballistix Elite line, now available in DDR4 form 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.
You probably already have at least a basic understanding of how a mechanical hard disk drive (HDD) works, but have you ever tried to explain it someone less savvy? It's a little more difficult than it seems -- there's a lot going on inside a hard drive. This is where infographics can come in handy, and eBuyer just sent us a rather neat one that takes a look at the various parts inside your typical HDD.
Apacer exec expects another free fall in SSD pricing
Solid state drives may never reach the tantalizing price-per-gigabyte ratio that mechanical hard disk drives enjoy, though that's okay, we're willing to pay a premium for performance. However, that premium might not be finished shrinking. We already saw NAND flash memory pricing take a nose dive, which in turn led to more affordable SSDs, and now we hear that the cost of SSDs could drop even lower this year.
Asus and Gigabyte dominated the motherboard market in 2014, with Asus coming out slightly ahead of its rival for bragging rights. However, there's more at stake than bragging rights for second tier players. ASRock, Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS), and Micro-Star International (MSI) all have new strategies for 2015 to help better compete with the big boys, though not all may survive.