We know what you’re thinking, what more could a motherboard vendor put on the PCB that would convince anyone to part with $400? Asus thinks its latest Rampage II Extreme board in the Republic of Gamer’s series will do it.
This X58-based Core i7 board features support both Tri-SLI and CrossFire X, six DDR3 DIMM slots, EAX 4.0 software support, an audio card riser, heat pipes, LCD poster displays and a joystick and probe ports to connect your multi-tester.
What the hell do you need a joystick on a mobo for? Using the provided small single-line LCD display, you can toggle voltages, overclocking profiles or clock speeds. Want even more insane features? The board features probe ports to connect a multi-meter to the motherboard to read direct voltages for the RAM, southbridge, PCI-E, CPU, QPI and CPU PLL’s.
One feature the board doesn’t have that we expected was support for Nvidia’s nForce 200 chip. Instead of the Nvidia hardware, Asus has SLI certification for up to three-way SLI in a x16/x8/x8 configuration. There’s no word as to whether Asus plans to offer a board with an nForce 200 part in it yet.
Citing un-named sources at channel vendors in China, DigiTimes says that Foxconn Electronics (otherwise known as Hon Hai Precision Industry) may be jumping out of the branded motherboard market. The overseas rumors stem from Foxconn reportedly cutting off its sales department from taking any new orders on select motherboard models, in addition to no longer putting together order volume forecasts for all of its new models. In other words, the company looks to be clearing its inventory.
While power users typically levitate towards the likes of Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI, Foxconn is far from being a small player in the motherboard market. The company has seen steady growth since shipping six million of its own branded boards back in 2005, and surpassed the 10 million mark in 2007. Estimated shipments for 2008 have the company seeing an annual growth of around 30 percent.
As some of you may recall, we featured a Budget Badass Buyer’s Guide at the beginning of the month to provide some guidance to those looking for solid performance at what we, Maximum PC, would consider to be a reasonable price. We read your responses to the build and many felt that $1500 was a bit over what the typical user would consider “budget.” So, we took it a step further and created a Budget PC below the $1500 mark. In fact, we even dropped it under $1000. At $800, we couldn’t quite figure out if it would even be possible to construct a PC that could play the latest games or even do some basic photo-manipulation in Photoshop. We stepped up to the challenge and built this Budget PC and put it to the test against our hardcore, $5000 machines to see how they match up.
Since we are still in the process of assembling the rig, benchmarks have yet to be run. For now, we give you our parts list. Check back soon for the results from our tests!
The masterminds at Puget Systems have decided to make the most of their extremely popular YouTube video, and offer a DIY kit so that the public can create their own mineral oil-cooled PC. Puget is claiming hat they’ve been using the system featured in their video for over a year now with no hardware issues.
Each kit will come fully loaded with an aquarium tank and cover, motherboard tray and IO panel, power/HDD LED’s, a power switch, SSD hard drive mounting bracket and a power cord with an extension to reach the bottom of the tank. That’s the base model, and it’ll run you $312.50. There’s also a higher end version with a radiator aimed at systems that are packing heavier hardware, such as quad-core CPUs, and any video card higher than an 8800GT. That version will run you $375.
So if you’re not worried about voiding the warranty on every component that you submerge in the liquid, head on over to Puget Systems’ site and pick up a aquarium to sink your hardware into. But keep in mind that once you submerge your hardware there will be no going back. According to Puget, “Mineral oil is very difficult, if not impossible to clean from your components once they are submerged.”
Apogee Digital has begun shipping it's Symphony 64 soundcard worldwide. The PCI Express-based card supports up to 64 channels of 24-bit 192kHz digital input and output, or double the amount of I/O in Apogee's previous Symphony soundcard. Apogee has designed the card to interface the company's X-Series and Rosetta Series converters directly to the Mac Pro, the culmination of which would create The Symphony System, a complete pro audio solution.
Other goodies include Apogee's VBus technology, which gives users the ability to route stand-alone software instruments directly between Core Audio based applications rather than as plug-ins, and the company's SBus technology, which Apogee claims "doubles the DSP power of The Symphony System."
Gamers and PC users (as in, non-Mac owners) need not apply, and that's probably a good thing given the soundcard's $1000 price tag. Ouch!
With Intel's Core i7 launch now less than a month away, several memory vendors are readying three-packs of RAM in anticipation of the new platform's triple-channel memory support. Companies like Corsair, OCZ, and G.Skill have all jumped on board, but Kingston looks to leapfrog to the front of the pack as the first, and so far only company to release triple-channel memory clocked at 2GHz.
"Kingston is excited to bring the fastest DDR3 triple-channel memory products to market as we are the first to deliver 2000MHz gaming kits of three with Intel's reduced voltage," said Mark Tekunoff, senior technology manager at Kingston. "All of our triple-channel kits can be overclocked manually or by using XMP-ready profiles."
Kingston's triple channel memory kits will run the gamut from the aforementioned 2GHz enthusiast HyperX range all the way down to the company's budget ValueRAM lineup:
Maybe a plethora of new must-have gaming titles has caused demand to spike, or perhaps the price war between AMD and Nvidia has sparked GPU sales. But whatever the reason, overall GPU shipments in the third quarter reached a staggering 111 million units, according to research and consulting firm Jon Peddie Research (JPR). That's up 22.5 percent from the 91 million units sold this time last year, and 18 percent from the 94 million units sold in the second quarter of this year.
"The third quarter is seasonally up as OEMs place orders for chips to build inventory for the holiday season," said Dr. Jon Peddie, president of JPR. "However, this quarter was up more than any other for some time, and in spite of suggestions of a recession that started from the fourth quarter last year."
The big benefactor in the booming graphics market is Intel, who increased it's overall market share to a dominant 49.4 percent, up from 33.4 percent one year prior. Intel rules both the desktop and notebook sectors with a 43.9 percent share in the former and a 56.2 percent share in the latter.
AMD last week launched its HD 4830 graphics card, a sub-$150 GPU with support for DirectX 10.1 instructions. With a budget price tag and impressive spec sheet, the HD 4830 has been positioned to compete with Nvidia's 9800 GT videocard, but some buyers may find that their HIS-branded HD 4830 isn't living up to expectations.
"AMD has identified that, in addition to reference samples of the ATI Radeon HD 4830 boards sent to media with a pre-production BIOS potentially impacting the card's performance, a very limited number of ATI Radeon HD 4830 boards were released to market with the same pre-production BIOS," AMD said in a statement. "This is no way hardware related, and an updated BIOS fully resolves the performance limitation."
Updating the BIOS doesn't perform any voodoo shenanigans on affected cards, and instead enables all 640 stream processors that the HD4830 is supposed to have. For whatever reason, a "small number of HIS-branded" cards sporting the pre-production BIOS only showed 560 stream processors as being enabled, resulting in an undue performance hit.
If you think you might own one of the gimped cards or simply want to verify that your videocard's running at full speed, download and run the GPU-Z utility.
RAID 5 users anxiously awaiting the debut of 2 TB drives to help build massive storage array’s may want to think twice before taking the plunge. An in-depth look into the underlying problems with massive storage RAID5 configurations suggests that s a single drive as redundancy might not cut it anymore. SATA drives carry a specified unrecoverable read rate of 10^14. This might sound like a huge number, but it basically tells us that any array in excess of 11.37 TB will contain at least one unrecoverable read. In the case of a RAID 5 rebuild, this can be catastrophic.
Hit the jump to learn why RAID 6 won't help you, and to see what the future holds.
Having a tough time waiting for Intel's Core i7 platform to finally reach retail shelves? While power users patiently wait for next generation components to emerge, Evga has offered up an early look at its upcoming X58 SLI FTW motherboard.
"Evga is proud to show a sneak peek of a new motherboard based on the Intel X58 Express Chipset, supporting the upcoming Intel Core i7 processor," Evga wrote in in a statement. "The Evga X58 SLI FTW motherboard will feature 6 DIMMs of triple channel DDR3 memory, and a board layout optimized for the enthusiast including 2-way and 3-way SLI support."
The new board represents a departure from what has been an exclusive partnership with Nvidia, at least in terms of the chipset. Nvidia will still be represented on the all-black PCB with SLI support, which has been a long awaited marriage between Intel chipsets and Nvidia graphics.
As implied by the FTW moniker, Evga's upcoming motherboard boasts several features of interests to enthusiasts and overclockers, such as VDroop control, 100 percent solid state capacitors, and no less than 10 SATA ports with an eSATA port thrown in for good measure.
Evga says the board will be available in November for an as-yet undetermined amount.