At long last, power users have a plethora of performance numbers to ponder now that Intel has lifted its NDA on Core i7 benchmarks. But even though the first batch of benches show the new architecture living up to the hype, AMD isn't packing its bags and going home. On the contrary, the rival chip maker has a slew of 45nm chips coming out, starting this month.
Citing sources at un-named motherboard makers, DigiTimes reports AMD will launch a pair of 45nm quad-core desktop CPUs (Deneb) designed for AM2+ systems this month. The Phenom X4 20550 will come clocked at 3GHz and the 20350 at 2.8GHz. A series of 45nm triple-core chips are also on the way, though these won't start shipping until Q1 2009. These chips include the 14x00, 12x00, and 1xx00e series. On the high end, AMD plans to launch six 45nm quad-core Deneb chips and four entry-level Propus chips in the same time frame.
All the new releases could potentially have AMD competing with its upcoming dual-core Athlon X2 processors. To prevent this scenario from playing out, AMD will delay shipping its 45nm AM3-based dual-core parts (Regor) until Q3 2009.
The new processors will also lead to price cuts within AMD's existing product line as the chip maker looks to clear its inventory. If you're an AMD-loyal, keep your eyes peeled for some tantalizing deals on Phenom processors this holiday shopping season and beyond.
With Intel's new Core i7 platform nearing release, expect a deluge of X58 motherboard announcements by various manufacturers. EVGA has already offered a glimpse of its upcoming X58 SLI FTW board, and now Gigabyte follows suit with two boards of its own -- GA-EX58-EXTREME and GA-EX58-UD5 -- based on the enthusiast X58 chipset.
Both boards will sport six DIMM slots for three-channel DDR3 memory and support for up to a whopping 24GB of RAM, but the hardware ménage à trois doesn't end there. Both boards will also come ready for three-way SLI action, or if you prefer ATI brand videocards, you can get your groove on with three-way CrossFireX support. Other traits the two boards have in common include ten SATA 3Gb/s ports, a PATA connector, RAID support, 8-channel onboard audio, three Firewire ports, and a dozen USB 2.0 ports.
The GA-EX58-EXTREME separates itself by adding Gigabyte's "Hybrid Silent-Pipe 2" cooling solution and is being aimed at watercooling enthusiasts. By combining liquid cooling, screen cooling, and an external heatsink, Gigabyte claims users can expect upwards of a 30 percent drop in thermals. The GA-EX58-UD5, on the other hand, sticks to a more traditional air cooling scheme, while also adding LED onboard displays of system vitals.
For many of us, the idea of building your own laptop seems pretty farfetched. But OCZ is looking to change all of that with a recently announced15” DIY gaming notebook. The notebook will be based on Intel’s Centrino 2 processor and ATI’s Radeon HD3650 integrated graphics. According to OCZ, these will “provide a premium gaming experience that lets gamers power through all of today's most advanced and graphic-intensive games and applications with DirectX 10.1 compatibility.”
“At OCZ, empowering the enthusiast end-user in the mobile gaming space is an exciting opportunity for us, and with the powerful technology found in our latest Intel Centrino 2 based notebook we are again at the forefront of this growing market,” states Ryan Edwards, Director of Product Management, in OCZ’s the press release. “With OCZ DIY notebooks, end-users have complete control of the cost/performance ratio of key components, giving consumers the opportunity to personalize a true gaming and multi-tasking powerhouse notebook by using a validated component list and our easy to follow step-by-step manual included with every DIY package.”
While the notebook isn’t one that you’ll be building from the ground up, there are plenty of great options to give it a DIY feel. In the box you’ll get the case of the machine, which features a 15” screen, optical drive, and motherboard while the HDD (or SSD), memory and processor are your call. Thanks to some conveniently placed covers, all it takes to install the components is a screwdriver a little bit of know-how. OCZ even provides a catalog of components that work in each slot, so you’ll have a short list of parts to choose from when deliberating on what to use.
For true DIY’ers, this isn’t much to concern yourself with. But if you’re someone looking for a way to get your feet wet in the DIY scene (and it truly is the place to be), this isn’t a bad place to start. Follow the simple instructions and the fundamentals of building a PC are all yours.
Tick tock? More like ding-dong, mutha—shut your mouth. What baby? We’re talkin’ about Core i7.
Our apologies to Isaac Hayes, but if he were alive, we’re almost certain he would have been tapped to hammer out a theme song for Intel’s most significant CPU launch in, well, ever.
Why is this CPU more significant than the 8088, Pentium, or Pentium M? As the second new chip produced after a series of embarrassing losses to archrival AMD, the Core i7 will answer for the world whether Intel is prepared to ride the momentum of its Core 2 launch with another winning chip or if it’s content to rest on its laurels, as it did with the Pentium 4.
Core i7 also represents a major new direction for Intel, which has stubbornly clung to the ancient front-side-bus architecture and discrete memory controller for years. Indeed, with its triple-channel integrated DDR3 memory controller and chip-to-chip interconnect, the block map of a Core i7 looks more like an Athlon 64 than a Core 2 chip.
Intel actually has three quad-core Core i7 CPUs ready: the top-end 3.2GHz Core i7-965 Extreme Edition, the performance-oriented 2.93GHz Core i7-940, and the midrange 2.66GHz Core i7-920. For the most part, all three are exactly the same except for clock speeds, multiplier locking (only the Extreme is unlocked), and QuickPath Interconnect speed. See the chart on page 42 for details.
The bigger issue is how Core i7 performs. To find out, we ran the Extreme 965 against AMD’s fastest proc as well as Intel’s previous top gun in a gauntlet of benchmarks. Read on for the results.
Continue reading for our comprehensive review and benchmarks!
The mini-ITX form factor is still alive and kicking, and to prove it, Zotac has just expanded its mini-ITX lineup with the nForce 630i-ITX WiFi motherboard. As the board's nomenclature suggests, WiFi comes integrated with 802.11b/g support, as does graphics chores, which are handled by Nvidia's GeForce 7100 chipset.
The pint-sized board comes ready for Intel's lineup of Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors with support for a full 1333MHz frontside bus. RAM support, on the other hand, comes somewhat gimped topping out at DDR2-800 instead of DDR2-1066 or DDR3. Other features include:
Eight USB 2.0 ports (four on back panel, four on pin header)
Onboard 10/100 Ethernet
HD Audio 5.1
Dual display ready (VGA / DVI)
Four SATA II ports with RAID Support
Not a bad feature-set for a compact board, particularly if you're in the market for an HTPC build, where the integrated WiFi could end up a major selling point.
Die hard Apple fans love to defend their platform, and that’s okay, it’s actually good to know they are capable of emotion. But is this really what passes for a news story? The popular web tabloid AppleInsider.com ran a news feature on Friday criticizing Microsoft’s decision to place a Vista campaign booth outside an Apple store in Birmingham England. The booth was apparently set up to record I’m a PC videos for possible use in upcoming marketing efforts. Some of the clips gathered are slated for use in TV commercials while others will be used for web promotions. In addition to gathering video clips, Microsoft staffers are on hand to convert potential Mac customers back into the fold. The booths are the continuation of the Vista ad campaign which started with Bill Gates and Jerry Sienfeld, and more recently matured into the “I’m a PC” initiative.
Intel’s current lineup of desktop and laptop processors are currently being built with a 45nm process, a process which AMD is only now catching up with. It appears however that the race continues as Intel plans to unveil its new 32nm process technology on December 15th at the International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM). 32nm might sound like nothing new, and in actuality the technology was first showcased back in 2007. At the time however, little was revealed and the company didn’t give many details as to the process itself. According to recent information Intel will share the specifics for the first time at IDEM and we expect to hear an announcement on new processors as well. The first platform is is rumored to be codenamed ‘Westmere’ which should hit the market in late 2009. Westmere however, is expected to be little more than a die shrink of Nehalem.
New features of the 32nm manufacturing process are expected to include second-generation high-k/metal gate technology, and nine levels of low-k interconnect dielectrics. According to the EE Times, Intel tested its new process by building a 32nm, 291-Mbit SRAM array test chip which has a cell size of 0.171-micron2. It houses over 2 billion transistors and has an array density of 4.2-Mbit2. The chip managed to run at an impressive 3.8 GHz while requiring only a meager 1.1v. Given the amount of time Intel has been working on this process experts expect commercialization next year to be highly plausible. The die shrinks will have the greatest benefits for mobile computing as it will boot performance while lowering the voltage requirements and the amount of heat generated. The future for mobile computing is bright indeed.
He heavily extolled Blu-ray, which he believes is a huge asset for media editing professionals and enterprises - a demographic that Psystar can now serve.
Psystar is certainly trying its best to get under the skin of Apple whose patience must be wearing thin. Around a fortnight ago, Apple and Psystar agreed to an “Alternative Dispute Resolution”. Prior to that, in July, Apple had slapped a lawsuit against Psystar. The latter soon returned the favor by filing a lawsuit of its own against Apple.
Lucid has now raised $32 million in all. It intends to use the funds to propagate its multi-GPU HYDRA technology, which is an alternative to Nvidia SLI and ATI Crossfire multi-GPU solutions.
“Our recent announcements and engagements with major partners have demonstrated that we can deliver and commercialize our technology,” said an optimistic Offir Remez Hydra, Lucid’s founder and VP of business development. Hydra scores over SLI and Crossfire due its unique ability to extract 100% linear performance from each of the GPUs – it supports up to four GPUs from the same manufacturer.
Lucid can pat its back for having secured fresh funding when most venture capitalists have pulled in their horns as the global economy wades through a turbulent storm.
Even notebooks and PCs that earn Maximum PC's coveted Kick Ass award leave room for improvement. Take Gateway's stellar P-7811FX gaming notebook, for instance. Somehow, Gateway managed to cram a bevy of high componentry into a package that's priced way below what gamers are accustomed to paying for pixel pushing laptops. But while the 9800M GTS and 4GB of DDR3 RAM are noteworthy high points, the integrated speakers and poor placement of the optical drive's eject button are both less than ideal. More SATA ports would make for welcome additions, too.
We all have different ideas as to what's important when it comes to desktop and mobile PCs, but we're ultimately left at the mercy of the manufacturer. Think you can do better? In a joint effort between Asus and Intel, your ideas can be heard and shared, and might even materialize on an actual shipping product.
That's the concept behind WePC.com, a new site by Asus and Intel that encourages visitors to share ideas and even create what they would consider to be a Dream PC. After selecting from three different categories -- Gamer PC, Notebook, and Netbook -- you can describe your idea(s) and name your creation, and even upload an image of what you're envisioning. Selecting the Dream PC option gives you even more options, including the ability to post a YouTube video, and greater control over the specifics, like what ports should be included, whether a large hard drive or an SSD is more important, and much more.
Once published, other community members can vote on your creation and leave comments. And if intriguing or popular enough, Asus might even build it. With Intel inside, of course.
What do you envision? Hit the jump and tell us all about it.