Daily hardware deals (Mar 4 2009)
Alright you guys, time for a new update on some nice hardware deals. This week I'd like to focuss on soundcards. Though integrated motherboard solutions are okay, very understimated are the dedicated soundcards for sure.
Let's browse through some nice deals:
- Creative SB X-Fi XtremeGamer - Decent value for money, it sells at $69.99
- Asus Xonar DX Sound Card - Asus makes excellent stuff, $54.99
High end soundcards:
OCZ Demos 1 TB RAID0 Solid-State Drive
Haha .. OCZ always has a good marketing gimmick on display at exhibitions. Incredibly fun none the less. Who would of guessed that exactly OCZ will be able to achieve the unachieveble. At CeBIT the famous overclocking memory and peripherals maker has demoed Z Drive, a PCI-Express x8 connection storage device that boasts four 256 GB (MLC-equipped) solid-state drives in RAID 0 setup. In total we get 1 TB space and 256 MB of data cache.
Put this into a system with a Core i7 965 EE CPU and an ASUS P6T motherboard, get some external power for the drives, and you
ASRock Enables CrossFire on nForce 740i SLI Motherboard
Other interesting news today. Apparantly Asrock opened up Crossfire compatibility with their nForce 740 motherboards. They are demonstrating this at CeBIT. As you know, ATI and NVIDIA are not exactly keen on each other. As such, NVIDIA always has prevented to allow Crossfire setups to run with their motherboards. Currently the only chipset platform that doesn't support CrossFire is the NVIDIA nForce series.
ASRock devised a BIOS for its nForce 740i based N7AD-SLI motherboard that enables support for CrossFire. AMD's Catalyst drivers were able to detect the motherboard as a qualified platform and enable CrossFire between two installed ATI Radeon accelerators. The setup was able to show performance increments during a 3DMark06 session. ASRock is reportedly working out similar BIOS firmware for several other motherboards made by it, and wants to enable CrossFire, CrossFireX for all its nForce motherboards.
I doubt that NVIDIA will allow this and surelly is going to prevent this from happening. Photo is courtesy of hardware-aktuell.com
Thermaltake 10th anniversary chassis
One of the exhibitors at the CeBIT in Hannover is Thermealtake. Apparantly it's their 10th anniverrsary and as such they have a 10th Anniversary chassis design. You'll either hate or love it though .. there's nothing in-between that.
The Level 10 case looks well .. weird but funky. The concept is to provide housing for each component individually. The case is formed out of four separate compartments - one for the optical drives, one for the six hard drives, one for the motherboard and one for the power supply.
From the pictures we can see a lot of plastic is used, but no fans are visible. There's only one standard 120 mm (if I'm right) case fan to exhaust hot air from the motherboard chamber and that's all. We can expect more details on Thermaltake's 10th anniversary case at this year's Computex, that starts in June. The case is said to be launched then, and sell in limited quantity [via inquirer].
BTW we'll heading to CeBIT ourselves later this week and will try and snap some decent photo's.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 200M & GTS 100M series GPUs
ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4860 & 4830: 40nm full HD
Hot on the heels of NVIDIA
WD 8TB ShareSpace network storage system
Responding to small-business customers
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. build 1935 released for free
GSC Game World has released a version of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow Of Chernobyl, dated October 18th, 2004. The old build contains everything that had been built to that date, which includes levels cut from the retail release, and also game features that THQ cut to help make the game more palatable to the mass market. Word is: "The build uses a completely different physics engine than the one used in the final retail version.
This build is fully playable and contains all of the original levels as well as those that were cut such as Dead City, Swamp and Generators."
Asus Introduces Motherboard With 7 PCIe 2.0 x16 Slots
Although the current CeBit 2009 reports 25 percent less exhibitors and an about 20 percent smaller floor space, there are some interesting things going on. Just have a look at the "P6T7 WS Supercomputer" motherboard from Asus, for example:
Besides supporting the new Core i7 processors from Intel, this X58 motherboard features seven PCIe 2.0 x16 slots. While three of these are "only" running at x8, the other four slots support full x16. Whether this makes sense or not is questionable, of course. Other specifications include: six Dimm slots for up to 24 GB of DDR3 RAM, six SATA 150/300 ports (supporting SATA RAID 0, 1, 10, 5), two SAS ports (supporting SAS RAID 0, 1, 10), two eSATA 150/300 ports (supporting SATA RAID 0, 1, 10, 5) and two Gigabit-Ethernet-Ports.
Nero Move adds NVIDIA CUDA Acceleration
Nero today previewed the newest version of Nero Move it which now features support for the NVIDIA CUDA architecture at the CeBIT trade fair.
Available as a free update to current Nero Move it customers in April, this new feature includes accelerated video encoding times and a decrease in CPU usage. By using CUDA technology to tap the massively parallel processing power of NVIDIA Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) Nero Move it makes tasks such as customizing a HD video for an iPod, go from hours to minutes. Even more time will be saved when creating full HD video content in the H.264 video compression standard.
Download: GeForce ForceWare 182.08 XP|Vista WHQL
New in Release 182.08:
- Added support for GeForce GTS 250.
- Added SLI profile support for some newly released games.
- Additional information on specific bug fixes can be found in the release documentation notes.
New in Release 182 Drivers:
- Recommended for the best experience in F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin.
- Boosts performance in several 3D applications. The following are examples of improvements measured with Release 182 WHQL drivers vs. Release 181.22 WHQL drivers (results will vary depending on your GPU, system configuration, and game settings):
- Up to 8% performance increase in Fallout 3 at high resolution and AA.
- Up to 10% performance increase in F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin
- Up to 9% performance increase in Half-Life 2 at high resolution with AA.
- Up to 11% performance increase in Left 4 Dead at high resolution with AA.
- Up to 10% performance increase in Race Driver: GRID at high resolution and AA.
- Includes full support for OpenGL 3.0 on GeForce 8-series, 9-series, and 200-series GPUs.
- Automatically installs the new PhysX System Software version 9.09.0203.
Radeon HD 4890 (RV790) & HD 4770 (RV740) Launch On Apr 6th
Radeon HD 4890 (RV790) is still 55nm based and is basically a higher clocked version of RV770. The RV790 card comes with 10 layers PCB and is 9.5" long with a new dual slot cooler. We told you previously, there are 2 versions; standard and OC edition. The OC edition will come later in April. The price for standard 512MB edition is US$199 while the price for 1GB OC edition is US$299.
Radeon HD 4750 and 4770 is 40nm based and we already have seen a preview of it. Price of HD 4750 is expected to be around US$99 while HD 4770 is priced at around US$119. Apparently, the yield is so good that AMD decided to pull in from May to early April release to give GeForce GTS 240 and 9600 GT a run for its money.
For an exclusive preview of RV740, read our preview.
Sony debuts new line of A/V receivers
Sony has introduced a new line of audio/video receivers that are geared for high-definition home theaters. The flagship STR-DN1000 features a piano-black gloss finish that matches the company's latest Blu-ray players. The receiver provides 7.1-channel audio playback, with 110 watts per channel at 8-Ohms, and support for codecs such as Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD High Resolution Audio, DTS-HD Master Audio and LCPM. The receiver can also route 1080p 60/24 HD video signals, while all incoming analog signals are upscaled.
The DN1000 also provides an icon-driven menu system for device management and content navigation. A Digital Media Port input can be used to connect an iPod or iPhone.
The STR-DH800 supports the same range of audio codecs and also provides 110 watts of power across 7 channels. The device is equipped for 1080p video signals, with four HDMI and three component inputs.
The 7.1-channel STR-DH700 offers slightly less amplification, at 105 watts per channel, but supports 1080p HD and LCPM audio through three HDMI and three component inputs. The device also offers BRAVIA Sync and Digital Cinema Auto Calibration.
The 5.1-channel STR-DH500 provides 100 watts of amplification per channel and integrates three HDMI inputs. The STR-DH100 stereo receiver features 100 watts of power across two channels, with five audio inputs and two outputs.
The DN1000 receiver will be available sometime in July, with a price around $500. The DH800 model will ship in June for approximately $400, while the DH700 should be available later this month for $300. The DH500 and DH100 receivers will also ship later this month, with prices of $200 and $150, respectively.
EVGA GeForce GTX 285 HydroCopper photo
EVGA has introduced its watercooled GeForce GTX 285 graphics card. This model has a 720MHz GPU, 1620MHz shaders and 1GB GDDR3 memory clocked at 2772MHz. Standard GTX 285s have a 648MHz core, 1476MHz shaders and 2484MHz memory.
EVGA is proud to announce the availability of the EVGA Hydro Copper Waterblock for the GTX 285 graphics card. With this product, EVGA continues to innovate and prove that they are the undisputed leader for water cooling solutions.
Featuring a sleek, full cover copper, design EVGA lives up to the Hydro Copper name by incorporating only the best attributes: an extreme high flow path design with a unique, integrated, pressure point allows the Hydro Copper Waterblock to keep your GTX 285 as cool as possible while under the heaviest of graphical loads.
Also included are 3/8in and 1/2in barbs which aid with the high flow interior of the Hydro Copper waterblock, all these features and more make the EVGA GTX 285 cooler than ever!
The EVGA GeForce GTX 285 HydroCopper is now available for preorder for $549.99, but you can also get just the GTX 285 Series Hydro Copper Waterblock for $129.99. More info at EVGA.
Top Selling PC Games week ending Feb 21
We have a new chart to show you, these are the best selling PC games in the USA for the week ending February 21. That week saw the debut of Dawn of War II, along with the surprise return of Crysis Warhead.
- Warhammer 40,000: Dawn Of War II - THQ - $49
- World Of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King - Vivendi - Activision Blizzard - $35
- The Sims 2 Double Deluxe - Electronic Arts - $19
- The Sims 2 Deluxe - Electronic Arts - $3
- Spore - Electronic Arts - $41
- World Of Warcraft: Battle Chest - Activision Blizzard - $34
- World Of Warcraft - Activision Blizzard - $16
- F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin - Warner Interactive - $49
- The Sims 2 Apartment Life Expansion Pack - Electronic Arts - $19
- Crysis: Warhead - Electronic Arts - $19
AMD Phenom II X4 955 in the works
Earlier in January there was already was a rumor about a new Phenom II processor clocked at 3.1 GHz for launch in April 2009. That processor woould be tagged as Phenom II X4 950.
While that SKU not even arrived in the market, a second rumor just popped up. AMD will be releasing a Phenom II X4 955.
The X4 955 would be launched with a clock frequency of 3.2GHz AMD's making it AMD's fastest quadcore, the processor would get 6MB L3-cache, 2MB L2-cache and of course would be seated on socket AM3. AMD might simply cancel that 950, as it turns out, AMDs yields are much better then expected. The X4 955 would get a maximum 125W TPD.
AMD to lower Radeon 4850 and 4870 prices
ATI is to fight off NVIDIA's rebranding (today's released GTS 250) with better pricing. Sources say that ATI, the graphics division of AMD, is working with its board partners and several major e-tailers to lower prices on some key products.
The ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB will drop $50 in price, from the $199 segment down to $149.
It will compete in this price point primarily against NVIDIA's GTS 250 1GB rebrand using the old G92 chip, variants of which were used in the 8800GT, 9800GT, 9800GTX, 9800GTX+, etc. However, the HD 4870 has been shown to surpass the performance of NVIDIA's GTX 260 line, and value seekers may choose to leave NVIDIA for a better price/performance point."
This is the outline: Radeon 4870 Gets $50 Price Cut to $149, Radeon 4850 Will Drop to $129
Palit GeForce GTS 250 2048MB review | test
Though in essence the GeForce GTS 250 could be seen as a GeForce 9800 GTX+, the card will be interesting, as the GeForce GTS 250 will launch with 512MB and 1GB models, at $129 and $149 respectively. And that's just a lot of value for money.
Click on this link to have a peek of Guru3Ds review at Palit's offering, armed with 2048MB memory and custom cooler.