NZXT Phantom Big-Tower in Orange with USB 3.0
NZXT presents the Phantom Big-Tower in orange, another special edition of the successful chassis. All new Phantoms, including this variant also come equipped with USB 3.0 connectivity. Additional features of these enclosures are a five channel fan controller with 20W load capacity on each circuit, spacious interior, lighting which may be turned off, elaborate cable management, numerous anti-vibration measures and a water cooling ready design.
The futuristic design of the NZXT Phantom makes it the perfect basis for an extravagant gaming PC as the case specialist has included unique shapes and lines which resembles that of modern high performance sports cars. A front door covers the drive bays, so that the chassis looks perfect, regardless of what type of drives you have installed. Besides the white, black, red and red/white color options, NZXT also offers a special pink variant and now the sleek black and orange version.
In terms of cooling, the NZXT Phantom manages to blend form and function perfectly, as the black mesh elements do not simply look good, but also allows access to fresh to any installed fan. To keep temperatures down, two 120 mm fans have been installed in the side panel, pushing cool air across the hard drive bays, with another one in the rear along with a large and quiet 200 mm unit in the ceiling pulling air out of the case.
Those wanting even more cooling performance can turn the interior of the Phantom into a wind tunnel by installing another 200 mm unit in the ceiling of the chassis and a 140 mm unit in the ceiling as well. In addition, one may exchange the two 120 mm units with a 200 or 230 variant. To keep things quiet, NZXT has included a high-performance fan controller with 5 channels and 20W capacity on each circuit.
Dust filters on all intake areas ensure that the interior of the Phantom stays clean and presentable and that the bottom mounted power supply life span is kept at a maximum. For drive bays, the case allows for a slew of drives to be installed as it comes with five 5.25
ASUS bundles Batman: Arkham City with some DirectCU cards
ASUS announced it's now bundling Batman: Arkham City with some of its DirectCU cards:
The ASUS DirectCU series of graphics cards is now more extensive than ever, bringing gamers worldwide cooler and better performing hardware with DirectCU thermal designs and Super Alloy Power construction. To demonstrate the smooth and solid gaming these DirectX
ASUS USB 3.0 Boost faster data transfers
ASUS announced USB 3.0 Boost, it adds UAS Protocol support to enable up to 170 percent faster data transfers.
ASUS USB 3.0 Boost adds new UAS Protocol support for improved data transfer speeds and lower CPU utilization, offering compliance with a protocol recently introduced by the USB-IF to augment data connectivity. USB 3.0 Boost enables native UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) support, as well as full backward compatibility with the traditional Bulk-Only Transport (BOT) protocol. Auto detection of connected devices ensures the most suitable protocol available is used, resulting in 170% faster data speeds compared to original USB 3.0 speeds. A dedicated USB 3.0 Turbo Mode accelerates the performance of all USB devices for an overall increase in data transfer speeds.
The benefits of UASP implementation
Initial USB 3.0 integration retained the BOT protocol of USB 2.0, in effect limiting potential transfer speeds and bandwidth even though USB 3.0 has been designed to work up to ten times faster than USB 2.0. As soon as UASP became available, ASUS made sure to begin its deployment. Compared to traditional protocols, UASP offers maximized bandwidth utilization, and can handle multiple data transfer requests at once, unlike the slower queue system of B OT, which only provides single-task command. Because of this, USB 3.0 connections working in UASP mode result in higher data speeds and lower CPU utilization. UASP clears data queues faster, translating into a smoother-operating PC.
USB 3.0 Boost goes beyond the specs
In addition to UASP compatibility, USB 3.0 Boost from ASUS includes three modes that cater to different user needs and profiles for increased flexibility. UASP Mode maximizes usage of the new protocol, Turbo Mode accelerates all USB devices, and Normal Mode operates at original USB 3.0 speeds to guarantee the best compatibility with all devices. Instant auto detection determines the best mode for any connected USB device on USB 3.0 ports, switching between UASP Mode and Turbo Mode as needed. All told, USB 3.0 Boost can accelerate data speeds by 170% with UASP mode compared to original USB 3.0 speeds. To make usage more accessible, USB 3.0 Boost comes with a friendly and intuitive interface exclusive to ASUS motherboards, helping users make the most of its full potential.
ASUS USB 3.0 Boost exceeds USB 3.0 performance
Compared to traditional protocols, UASP offers a significant speed boost, increasing data transfer expediency. UASP is also a much more efficient protocol in terms of data spread. ASUS USB 3.0 Boost makes the most of the advantages of UASP and traditional architectures, decreasing latency between the motherboard and connected devices considerably. It is the result of extensive research and prompt implementation in a wide range of new motherboard products.
- Maximus IV GENE-Z/GEN3
- P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3
- P8Z68-V PRO
- P8Z68-V LE
- P8Z68-V LX
- P8Z68-M PRO
- SABERTOOTH 990FX
- M5A99X EVO
- M5A97 EVO
- M5A97 PRO
- M5A97 ?@
- F1A75-V EVO
- F1A75-V PRO
- F1A75-M PRO
- F1A75-M PRO/CSM
AMD could ship 28nm GPUs in December
AMD might still be planning to introduce some 28nm GPUs in the second week of December. It's expected that these chips will be low-end to mid-range chips, and not high-end parts.
One of these sources specifically named December 06. Details on whether the launched GPU will be for the mobile (notebook) or desktop (graphics card) platforms; or even whether it will use the VLIW4 or so-called 'NextGen' compute architecture, are not known at this point.
Another source reinforced the theory that the launch will be more about symbolism than volume manufacturing for sales. It's likely that a small number of these GPUs will be manufactured, just about enough to send to OEMs for their qualification, and perhaps even the media for published performance testing.
Intel Sandy Bridge-E limited to 6 cores due to TDP
Intel's initial Sandy Bridge-E processors don't offer eight cores because this would push the TDP over 130W as vrzone reports today:
There's another reason, that may top them all though - TDP. Yes, these are really big dies, with many cores and lots of cache - not as many as the Xeon E7 - Westmere-EX - series in the same 32 nm process, but E7's 10 cores and 30 MB cache top out at 2.4 GHz only. Here, we have an expectation that the full 8 core chip should still work at just above 3 GHz right at the announcement - at least in the '3-D workstations only' 150 W version. See the number? Now, well, desktops don't really go with more than 130 W TDP per socket these days, yet the per core clock has to be higher, to justify the migration from older Core i7, and to keep the difference with the LGA1155 4-core SB chips, as well as AMD Bulldozer.
So, to get 3.3 GHz or higher core speed, and fit it all into 130W TDP, a 6 core limit sounds about right for the current C series steppings at least. A future D stepping could enable higher clocks at the same TDP, or maybe enabling all the cores too at a similar speed.
ThermalRight Archon revision gets 150mm fan
ThermalRight introduced a revision of its Archon processor cooler. The new edition features a 150mm fan instead of the original 140mm model. The cooler can be found in Europe for 52.90EUR.
The Archon heatsink measures 170 (H) x 155 (L) x 53 (W) mm and features a mirrored copper base, and six 6mm nickel plated heatpipes, while the fan is 160 by 140 by 26.5 mm, operates at 500 to 1100 RPM and has a sound output of 19 to 23 dBA.
Ultimate Battlefield 3 Simulator
It's one thing to play Battlefield 3 in 3D, but this Battlefield 3 simulator lets you play in 360 degrees and control the character with your own body!
This is a world first. A unique FPS simulator that turns gaming into reality as you move, aim, fire and get shot within a 360-degree immersive environment. Using a pre-release copy of Battlefield 3 and a team of top technology experts from across Europe we've built a truly one of a kind simulator. Centred on the world's first, portable omni-directional treadmill (designed by Swedish company MSE Weibull) the simulator lets you control the movements of a Battlefield 3 character with your own body. Other key technology employed includes: 12 paintball markers that allow the player, in real time, to feel the enemy gunfire experienced in the game; a wireless gun system; ambient LED lighting; and an Xbox Kinect camera hack.
OCZ Firmware Update to Address SF2281 BSOD Issue
SandForce has finally duplicated, verified and provided a fix for the infamous BSOD/disconnect issue that affected SF-2200 based SSDs. The root cause is a bug in the firmware, although specifics are pretty slim.
The first out with a new Firmware is OCZ.
OCZ is pleased to announce that the cause of a BSOD issue experienced by some SF-2000-based drive owners has been identified by OCZ and SandForce. A new firmware update which directly addresses this BSOD occurrence related to SF-2000 based SSDs is available here. All newly manufactured OCZ SF-2000 based SSDs will feature the new 2.15 firmware revision (which is based on SandForce firmware version 3.3.2.) We highly recommend that any customers that have experienced the BSOD issue update their firmware to 2.15.
We sincerely appreciate the support from our customers, and if any customers have any questions or require additional support please do not hesitate to contact a customer service representative and we will be happy to address any questions or concerns.
ADATA SH14 portable USB 3.0 HDD review
It's time to review another USB 3.0 storage unit. It's originates from ADATA and is called the Superior (not a pun) SH14. We test the 750GB version of this model which should bring us read performance of 90 MB/sec.
ADATA's latest looks quite fashionable. Buried under red is a 2.5-inch, 5400RPM drive that's IPX4 water-resistant and "military grade shockproof."
Read the article here.
EVGA X79 Classified E779 motherboard caught on camera
EVGAshows a photo of its X79 Classified E779 motherboard. There will be three Intel X79 boards when the LGA2011 socket launches. EVGA is looking at this launch as a fresh start for the motherboard team. The three boards that are going to be available at launch are:
EVGA x79 SLI - E775
EVGA X79 FTW - E777
EVGA X79 Classified - E779
The motherboard shown is was the flagship board, the EVGA X79 Classified (part number E779).
Former AMD engineer talks about Bulldozer
X-bit Labs reports an ex-AMD engineer spoke out about some of the reasons why Bulldozer disappoints:
The reason why performance of the long-awaited Bulldozer was below expectations is not only because it was late, but because AMD had adopted design techniques that did not allow it tweak performance, according to an ex-AMD engineer.
Cliff A. Maier, an AMD engineer who left the company several years ago, the chip designer decided to abandon practice of hand-crafting various performance-critical parts of its chips and rely completely on automatic tools. While usage of tools that automatically implement certain technologies into silicon speeds up the design process, they cannot ensure maximum performance and efficiency.
Automated Design = 20% Bigger, 20% Slower
"The management decided there should be such cross-engineering [between AMD and ATI teams within the company] ,which meant we had to stop hand-crafting our CPU designs and switch to an SoC design style. This results in giving up a lot of performance, chip area, and efficiency. The reason DEC Alphas were always much faster than anything else is they designed each transistor by hand. Intel and AMD had always done so at least for the critical parts of the chip. That changed before I left - they started to rely on synthesis tools, automatic place and route tools, etc.," said Mr. Maier in a forum post noticed by Insideris.com web-site.
Apparently, automatically-generated designs are 20% bigger and 20% slower than hand-crafted designs, which results in increased transistor count, die space, cost and power efficiency.
"I had been in charge of our design flow in the years before I left, and I had tested these tools by asking the companies who sold them to design blocks (adders, multipliers, etc.) using their tools. I let them take as long as they wanted. They always came back to me with designs that were 20% bigger, and 20% slower than our hand-crafted designs, and which suffered from electro-migration and other problems," the former AMD engineer said.
Inefficiencies in Design?
While it is unknown whether AMD used automatic design flow tools for everything, there are certain facts that point to some inefficient pieces of design within Bulldozer. Officially, AMD claims that the Zambezi/Orochi processor consists of around 2 billion transistors, which is a very large number.
AMD publicly said that each Bulldozer dual-core CPU module with 2MB unified L2 cache contains 213 million transistors and is 30.9mm2 large. By contrast, die size of one processing engine of Llano processor (11-layer 32nm SOI, K10.5+ micro-architecture) is 9.69mm2 (without L2 cache), which indicates that AMD has succeeded in minimizing elements of its new micro-architecture so to maintain small size and production cost of the novelty.
As a result, all four CPU modules with L2 cache within Zambezi/Orochi processor consist of 852 million of transistors and take 123.6mm2 of die space. Assuming that 8MB of L3 cache (6 bits per cell) consist of 405 million of transistors, it leaves around whopping 800 million of transistors to various input/output interfaces, dual-channel DDR3 memory controller as well as various logic and routing inside the chip.
800 million of transistors - which take up a lot of die space - in an incredibly high number for various I/O, memory, logic, etc. For example, Intel's Core i-series "Sandy Bridge" quad-core chip with integrated graphics consists of 995 million.
While it cannot be confirmed, but it looks like AMD Orochi/Zambezi has several hundreds of millions of transistors that are a result of heavy reliance onto automated design tools.
The Result? Profit Drop!
As a consequence of inefficient design and relatively low performance, AMD has to sell its eight-core FX series processors (315mm2 die size) for up to $245 in 1000-unit quantities. By contrast, Intel sells hand-crafted Core i-series "Sandy Bridge" quad-core chips (216mm2 die size) for up to $317 in 1000-unit quantities. Given the fact that both microprocessors are made using 32nm process technology [and thus have comparable per-transistor/per square mm die cost], the Intel one carries much better profit margin than AMD's microprocessor.
AMD did not comment on the news-story.
MSI list of Bulldozer supporting motherboards
MSI has published a list of its motherboards that support AMD's new Bulldozer chip, you can check it out over here.
MSI released the mainboard BIOSes with full AMD AM3+ 8-core CPU support for download today. Enthusiasts that own one of the listed mainboards1 can now download the update to support the latest AMD AM3+ 8-core CPUs (B2 Stepping). For those planning to purchase a new mainboard, if the box is labeled with "Supports AM3+ CPU with New BIOS," the mainboard will support the powerful AMD AM3+ 8-core CPUs out of the box. Enthusiasts that have purchased a mainboard that is on the list of compatible mainboards can update the BIOS themselves to support the latest AM3+ 8-core CPUs. Also, new in this BIOS update is official support for MSI's proprietary ClickBIOS II system optimization tool for all AMD 900 mainboards. The graphical UEFI BIOS provides mainboard-level support, and exporting OC Profiles to USB drives offers unparalleled convenience.
Support for Latest AMD AM3+ 8-core CPUs Out of the Box with Designated Mainboards
Starting today, enthusiasts can purchase MSI mainboards with a "Supports AM3+ CPU with New BIOS" label on the box. The labeling indicates that the mainboard has been updated with the latest BIOS and already supports the AMD AM3+ 8-core CPUs (B2 Stepping), so users can enjoy the extreme performance of the next-generation processors straight out of the box. Buyers of MSI mainboards on the list of compatible models will not need to buy a new mainboard. Once they update to the new BIOS, their mainboard will be ready for AMD AM3+ 8-core CPUs.
ClickBIOS II on all MSI AMD 900 Mainboards
All MSI AMD 900 mainboards now also come with MSI's proprietary ClickBIOS II UEFI. System settings can be adjusted using the mouse, and the ClickBIOS II utility also supports online driver updates, BIOS updates and full-system backups. Also, for the first time ever, OC profiles can also be exported to USB drives under UEFI, a very convenient feature for overclocking enthusiasts.
New Battlefield 3 Maps Revealed
Batman: Arkham City Launch Trailer
Prices AMD FX-8150 Black Edition already falling
Last weeks released AMD FX processors have gotten quite a bit of attention from the tech press and and end-users in the forums. I was just browsing some price watch engines and it seems that prices are already dropping, quite a bit.
The new 8-core AMD FX-8150 Black Edition can already be spotted for a price as low as 213 EUR. Considering this product launched at 245 EUR 5 days ago, that's quiite a difference.
NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 launched
NVIDIA introduced its second-generation 3D Vision:
The best 3D technology for the PC just got better with the introduction of new NVIDIA(R)3D Vision(TM) products, which deliver greater realism and immersion than ever for 3D games, movies and photos.
NVIDIA 3D Vision 2, the next generation of NVIDIA's award-winning 3D technology, features sleek, newly-redesigned, gamer-inspired glasses. It also introduces NVIDIA 3D LightBoost(TM) technology, a unique new display technology that dramatically improves the 3D experience by delivering images that are up to twice as bright and colors that are far richer than those provided by other 3D display technologies.
These features give gamers the ultimate 3D platform for this fall's hot new titles, including Batman: Arkham City, LA Noire and more. In addition, through the NVIDIA 3D Vision Ready ecosystem, NVIDIA is delivering the industry's broadest selection of high-quality 3D content and supported displays.
"Gorgeous, bright, crystal-clear 3D worlds are created by NVIDIA's 3D Vision 2 glasses with 3D LightBoost monitors and notebooks," said Phil Eisler, general manager of 3D Vision at NVIDIA. "NVIDIA's engineering team has made incredible enhancements in 3D on PCs, creating a breathtaking gaming experience that's better than the best Hollywood 3D movie."
NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 Glasses NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 glasses were designed specifically for gamers and 3D enthusiasts. They provide deeper immersion in games through lenses that are 20 percent larger than those in first-generation glasses, resulting in a wider viewing area and increased external light blocking. In addition, NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 glasses are made of soft composite materials for a more comfortable fit with gaming headphones.
The glasses, which feature NVIDIA's advanced active-shutter and IR wireless technologies, allow gamers and 3D enthusiasts to access the broadest selection of high-quality 3D content available today, including more than 550 full-HD 1080p 3D games, more than 100 Blu-ray 3D movies and thousands of 3D videos and photos from YouTube and 3DVisionLive.com. In addition, NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 glasses are fully backwards-compatible with all existing NVIDIA 3D Vision Ready content and supporting products, including more than 70 different 3D Vision monitors, notebooks and projectors, video applications, and cameras.
NVIDIA 3D LightBoost Technology NVIDIA 3D LightBoost is a new NVIDIA display technology that delivers up to 2X brighter 3D images than existing 3D solutions and improved color quality. It also dramatically increases environmental lighting, making gaming keyboards and mice more visible, and reducing 3D ghosting.
The first NVIDIA 3D LightBoost-certified desktop display is the ASUS VG278H, a 27-inch LED full HD (1920x1080) monitor, featuring a 3D HDMI 1.4 input, as well as a Dual-link DVI input for full HD 1080p 3D gaming. ASUS' exclusive Trace-Free II Technology features 120Hz refresh rates and 2ms response times, resulting in vivid, ultra-smooth visuals. Expected to be available by the end of October 2011, the ASUS VG278H includes NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 glasses and is priced at $699 (USD MSRP).
Additional NVIDIA 3D LightBoost-compatible displays from Acer and BenQ are expected to ship in the coming months. NVIDIA 3D LightBoost compatible notebooks include several Toshiba models -- Satellite P770/P775, Dynabook Satellite T572, Dynabook T572, and the Qosmio X770/X775 -- with others expected in the coming months.
3D Vision 2 Pricing and Availability The 3D Vision 2 glasses kit, which includes one pair of NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 glasses and a wireless USB IR emitter, will be available from the leading retailers/e-tailers worldwide in October for $149 (USD MSRP). It will also be available on the NVIDIA online store. Extra NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 glasses are available for $99 (USD MSRP).
Danger Den Q20 Black Series Case
Danger Den is pleased to announce it's latest enthusiast case, designed for the most extensive liquid cooling setups. The color cases options are back at Danger Den with the new Q20 Black Series Case! The Q20 has standard color options for the top and bottom panels as well as the front and back grills. Now you can easily match your case color to your planned modding theme!
The front grill allows the Q20 to have an air filter that can easily be removed and blown off, keeping the dust out of your case! The internal fan shroud can be configured to mount 120mm or 140mm fans. If you want to liquid cool you can match the radiator to the fans.
- Size: 20.75" Tall x 7.3" Wide x 18.2" Deep
- Several color options available
DRAM Market Starts to Stabilize, possibly
Consumers don't have any reason to feel bad about low memory prices, but the makers of DRAM do, though they might finally be able to risk a hope, albeit a small one softpedia reports:
The past year saw DRAM prices fall almost constantly, with the few episodes of rebound far between and just enough to torment memory makers with false hopes that were invariably crushed not much later.
Cumulatively, prices of memory have fallen by roughly 50% since the start of the ongoing year (2011).
This was a direct result of the poor demand on the part of consumers, as well as of overstocked inventories due to rapid advancement to better manufacturing processes.
The fourth and final quarter of the year has arrived, however, and with it some hope, though a very faint one, to put it mildly.
Apparently, during the first half of October, DRAM prices managed not to go any lower, though staying flat wasn't an overly large improvement either.
Still, at least there is one shred of evidence that memory chips could reach some price stability, though there is also every bit of possibility that this is just another temporary reprieve.
The world economy is not doing much better than at the start of the year after all, and even China's National Day holiday went by without any spike in PC shipments.
DRAM makers cut supply a while ago and will go on producing less for some time yet, unsurprisingly.
The one glimmer of hope that exists now is that ultrabooks will sell well, taking random access memory module sales levels (and, by extension, DRAM chip shipments) upward again.
For those who want numbers, 2 GB DDR3 modules slid down 2%, selling for about $10.50 (7.64 Euro) while 4 GB, the new mainstream now, stuck to $19-20 (13.83