Intel to launch X79 chipset end this year with reduced functionalities
Judging by the information we've seen, Intel is having several issues with the new platform, ranging from storage, to PCI Express and apparently even CPU revisions. It's pretty much bad news all around. But let's take a step back and look at things with a view from Intel's Xeon roadmap. The picture below is from a partner presentation and although it's been seen before, we're going to leave that partner un-named as we don't want to get them in any trouble. As you can see, it details four different chipset SKUs for Patsburg,- A, -B, -D and -T. The X79 chipset is known as Patsburg-X and was meant to be similar in terms of features to the Patsburg-D SKU.
As you can see, there are a few feature differences between the various SKUs with Patsburg-A only featuring four additional SATA 6Gbps ports via the SCU and Patsburg-B gains SAS 6Gbps support. However, where things get interesting is Patsburg-D, the performance option, as this gains not only an additional four SATA/SAS 6Gbps via the SCU, but also a PCI Express 3.0 uplink to the CPU. Patsburg-T just gains an extra RAID level, but is otherwise identical to Patsburg-D.
So why are we mentioning all of this? Well, because as we mentioned, Patsburg-X or X79 if you like, was meant to come with the same features as Patsburg-D, more or less, albeit with some additional consumer tweaks. However, due to whatever issues Intel is having, the company has now decided to downgrade the feature set and we're now looking at a chipset that is similar to Patsburg-B instead. This means no PCI Express 3.0 storage uplink to the CPU and the loss of four SATA/SAS 6Gbps ports. Even for the most performance demanding users this isn't likely to be a huge issue though, but it's still disappointing, especially after having seen so many boards on display at Computex with 14 SATA ports on them.
On a more positive note, Intel is apparently looking into some kind of solution that will add the storage uplink and the missing SATA/SAS 6Gbps ports after launch, but it's not likely that this is a feature that can be added via a software/BIOS patch simply because the PCI Express 3.0 interface wouldn't be present on the motherboard. Presumably it'd mean a second revision of the X79 chipset, but this is purely speculation on our side.
Sandy Bridge-E was also meant to be Intel's first native PCI Express 3.0 enabled CPU, but alas once again Intel has run into a snag. Due to lack of hardware to test PCI Express 3.0 compliance with, Intel has decided not to include PCI Express 3.0 at launch and once again we're looking at some kind of solution to add this after the platform has launched. Once again this is an issue that is unlikely to have any impact whatsoever; simply because there are no PCI Express 3.0 add-on cards available. That said, the LGA-2011 platform is meant to last until at least the second half of 2013, so this is a feature that will future proof it.
On top of all the chipset issues, Intel also seems to have run into a snag with the CPUs, as the C-0 stepping is meant to start shipping to its partners for qualification testing within the next two to four weeks. Intel is apparently waiting for revision C-1 until it feels confident with Sandy Bridge-E. The good news is that despite all of this, Intel's board design guidelines have proven to be reliable enough so that Intel's board partners won't have to do any board re-designs despite all of the changes that have taken place. Well, that is of course not taking into account things like empty space for missing SATA/SAS ports.
We're not out of the woods yet, but we might actually get to see a Sandy Bridge-E launch this time of Christmas, although it really depends on how quickly Intel can solve all of the issues. Then again, it might be better to hold off and wait and see what Intel will do with regards to the missing feature than take the plunge early on and miss out on the full platform.
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Steam Download System Upgraded
Valve announced it has implemented a new content system for Steam that should enable you to 'download better, stronger, faster.'
Over the years, Steam has delivered a lot of bits to a lot of people. Delivering content is really at the core of Steam, and we have been working on improving that core. As of today, you can download some of the content on Steam using all-new server and client code to get the job done.
The new content system is designed to do two things: deliver better download rates in more places around the world, and also to simply streamline the publishing process on Steam, ultimately making it possible to ship more games than we would have been able to with the old system.
The maximum aggregate bandwidth of the system will be greater than the current system; this will help us satisfy spikes in demand when there
Prototype 2 'The Power of Tendrils' Teaser
Guru3D Rig of the Month - July 2011
Each month here at Guru3D.com we feature one of you guys, your PC, your DIY project. It is quite honestly amazing how much detail and dedication you put into an PC, and every now and then it really shows. This months entry oozes in style, money spent and flamboyance. For 2011 we upped the prize that you can win a little.
The rig of the Month July 2011 is absurd. A Dutch guy pretty much transformed one room and a desk into a big PC. Everything you are about to see us customized, he built a table, he places radiators under the housing of the floor and has gotten everything liquid cooled with only the best gear. And then when you look at the finished product .. all you can say is WOW -- that's a guarantee.
A good chunk of money was spend on this setup, luckily he got sponsored a little as otherwise this project would have been unaffordable. Guys, meet Peter Brands from The Netherlands and his
Intel 7-Series Ivy Bridge Motherboard Chipsets to Arrive in Q2 2012
AMD Bulldozer FX-Series Processor Lineup Detailed
According to the latest rumors Bulldozer FX series processors are now being launched in October, a new processor lineup map has just surfaced on what to expect though. There seems to be a good seven processors launched.
Of them you'll see three eight-core chip models and two six-core and two quad-core processors with TDP's ranging from 95W to 125W.
The fastest of these upcoming chips is called the FX-8150 and it sports a base frequency of 3.6GHz, a maximum Turbo frequency of 4.2GHz, 8MB of Level 2 cache memory, and a TDP of 125W.
Right bellow this chip stands the FX-8120 that also packs eight processing cores and other similar features, but comes clocked at 3.1GHz (4GHz in Turbo mode). The FX-8120 will also be the only AMD FX-Series processor to be available in two different versions, one featuring a 125W TDP while the other is a 95W part.
From this point onwards, all the FX-Series CPUs to be detailed in this article will sport a 95W TDP.
This includes the only remaining eight-core chip, the FX-8100, which has a base frequency of 2.8GHz and a Maximum Turbo frequency of 3.7GHz. Moving to AMD's six-core parts, the FX-8120 and FX-8100, we find that only the latter CPU was detailed. According to the leaked document this operates at 3.3GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) and includes just 6MB of L2 cache.
The amount of Level 2 cache memory is yet again reduced when we get to the quad-core FX-Series parts, the FX-4120 and the FX-4100. The second one of these is clocked at 3.6GHz and can reach 3.8GHz when Turbo Core is active.
All the processors that were detailed are based on AMD's Zambezi 32nm core, carry 8MB of shared L3 cache, an integrated DDR3 1866MHz dual-channel memory controller, sport an unlocked multiplier and are compatible with AM3+ motherboards.
Ivy Bridge with Radeon HD 6990 and GeForce GTX 580
The processor benchmarked is the same one that was used in a previous comparison against Sandy Bridge (link here) and it has a stock clock of 1.8GHz, 4MB of Level 3 cache and it supports Intel's Hyper-Threading technology.
Judging by the results obtained in the benchmark, the Ivy Bridge chip seems to be a bottleneck for both of the graphics cards, but being an engineering sample these kinds of results are to be expected.
The final version of Ivy Bridge will most definitely receive a series of tweaks and performance improvements before it reaches retail in March or April of 2012.
Ivy Bridge is the code name used for the 22nm die shrink of the current Sandy Bridge architecture and features basically the same design, but with a few minor tweaks and improvements.
DRAM prices drop even further
Early July contract prices for 2GB and 4GB DDR3 memory modules declined another 7% following about 6% decreases in late June, according to data collected by DRAMeXchange. Prices have come near the low levels reached during the previous industry downturn, the price tracker observed.
As chip producers are under growing pressure to clear out their inventories, PC OEMs have gained more bargaining power when negotiating prices, DRAMeXchange pointed out.
In addition, DRAM inventory at PC OEMs had piled up earlier in the second quarter, which thus discouraged them to place orders starting June, DRAMeXchange indicated. But the average inventory level at PC OEMs has slid to 4-6 weeks after recent corrections, DRAMeXchange added.
Contract prices for late July may continue to fall as OEM clients remain reluctant to place orders, DRAMeXchange said.
Early July contract prices for 2GB and 4GB DDR3 modules averaged US$16 and US$31, respectively, down 7.25% and 7.46%, according to DRAMeXchange. Prices for corresponding 1Gb and 2Gb chips were US$0.84 and US$1.78, respectively.
Hard Reset Announced
Flying Wild Hog has announced via PC Gamer their game called Hard Reset. This cyberpunk FPS is PC exclusive and will be out in September.
Metro: Last Light E3 Gameplay Demo
HIS relased HIS 6970 IceQ Mix
HIS just launched HIS 6970 IceQ Mix, providing an easier way for gamers to run both AMD & NVIDIA GPU and enable Eyefinity via HDMI output.
Mach Xtreme 2.5'' SATA 6G MX-DS FUSION Series SSD
Mach Xtreme Technology Inc., a worldwide leader in top performance, high reliability and user friendly designed PC components, today announced the 2.5
ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z review
ASUS took the Z68 chipset and plastered it into a cute tiny motherboard. Then the ROG team did their magic on it and badabing-badaboom the Maximus IV Gene-Z we test today was born. Armed with the latest gadgets, some ROG lovin' and that Z68 chipset will most definitely surprise you.
Check out the article right here.
ASRock going for PCI-Express 3.0 as well
Today, ASRock may not be the only motherboard vendor with products featuring PCI-Express 3.0, but it looks like the company is of the idea to make the new interconnect a major selling point, of the kind USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gb/s became a couple of years ago. The company is planning an entire series of socket LGA1155 motherboards targeting mid-thru-high end price-points, featuring PCI-Express 3.0 graphics slots.
PCI-E 3.0 finds itself in the same spot USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gb/s found themselves when they made an entry into client motherboards. There are close to no products that use it. So while it might look gimmicky, PCI-E 3.0 could add a thin layer of future-proofing to the offer, if you're in the market for a new socket LGA1155 motherboard. ASRock is readying no less than five motherboards, four based on the Z68 Express chipset, and one on the P67 Express (B3). All model names are tagged with "Gen3" to convey that it features PCI-E 3.0. The series includes the Z68 Extreme Extreme7 Gen3 at the very top of the pile, with its swanky-looking heatsinks, followed by the Fatal1ty-branded Z68 Profess1onal Gen3, Z68 Extreme4 Gen3, Z58 Extreme3 Gen3, and the P67 Extreme4 Gen3.
The Z68 Extreme7 Gen3 is filled to the brim with connectivity options. It looks to be featuring a unique PCI-Express arrangement, probably thanks to a new PCI-E bridge chip. A single Gen 3 x16 link comes from the CPU, this link can be set to either run a single x16 slot at x16 Gen 3.0, or a bridge chip that gives out two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 links. The two x16 Gen 2.0 links can then drive up to three slots, either in x16/NC/x16, or x16/x8/x8. The rest of the physical x16 slots are probably x4. This aside, the Extreme7 Gen3 features six USB 3.0 and six SATA 6 Gb/s ports.
The Z68 Fatal1ty Gen3 features three PCI-E x16 slots, of which two are PCI-E 3.0, and the third is PCI-E 2.0. Again a vague electrical configuration is given out that leaves us with a lot to speculate, but the board ends up with support for 3-way SLI and CrossFireX. Most of the unique features of previous ASRock Fatal1ty motherboards such as the Fatal1ty Mouse Port (a pair of low-latency/high-polling USB ports), are available. The Z68 Extreme4 Gen3 trails it with two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (electrical x8/x8); followed by Z68 Extreme3, which has a similar feature-set, except that it features just two each of SATA 6 Gb/s and USB 3.0 ports. Lastly, there's the P67 Extreme4 Gen3, which has an identical number of USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gb/s ports as the Z68 Extreme4 Gen3, but lacks Flexible Display Interface and Smart Response Technology, making it probably the cheapest of the lot.
PCI-Express Gen 3.0 is the latest device interconnect technology, it features 1 GB/s of bandwidth per lane, per direction.
Zotac Intel Z68 Motherboard with 26-Phase PWM
Okay, the word, well you know what, envy comes to mind here -- 26-power phases ? That's overcompensating for something alright. Zotac is announcing the LGA 1155 Crown Edition-ZT-Z68 U1DU3, yup a Z68 motherboard.
This EATX-sized motherboard thus has a 26-phase PWM design, uses DrMOS and SuperML high-density decoupling capacitors to provide LGA 1155 CPUs with plenty of clean power for even the most demanding overclocking attempts.
The board comes with four PCI Express x16 slots, which are driven by an Nvidia NF200 chipset to provide full x16 bandwidth when multiple graphics cards are being used. You will also spot a PCIe x1, a 32-bit legacy PCI slot, and two mini-PCIe slots.
The first one of this is designed to be used in conjunction with an mSATA SSD in order to enable Intel's Smart Response technology present in the Z68 chipset, while the second one is occupied by a Wi-Fi 802.11n wireless card.
Plenty of HDD/SSDs can be connected as well as there are eight SATA 6Gbps ports placed on the motherboard plus an extra SATA interface has been routed to the back of the board as an eSATA connector.
On the back I/O panel, users will find two USB 3.0 ports, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort video outputs, 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF out and a Gigabit Ethernet port. Four additional USB 3.0 ports are available through a pair of on-board pin-headers, that are located right near the left edge of the motherboard.
The Zotac Crown Edition-ZT-Z68 U1DU3 is expected to be released soon, pricing has not yet been disclosed.
Intel Confirms Firmware Bug in 320-Series SSDs
Intel has now confirmed that it is aware of the firmware issue that affects their 320-series solid state drives and promised to release an update regarding this problem once more information is available.
A couple of weeks ago some 320-series SSD end users reported that power failures caused their drives to drop in capacity to just 8MB and lose all the data that was stored on them. These problems appear to be triggered by the fact that, after a power loss, the SSD tries to reconnect with the SATA port instead of starting a proper shutdown.
After a fair number of customers complained about this issue on Intel's official support forums, a company employee, that works for the Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group, responded in a post:
AMD Bulldozer FX-8130P and FX-8110 CPUs for Sale
That means the operating clocks may be lower than those of the final CPUs that AMD is expected to start retailing in August/September 2011, as these will use the newer B2 stepping.
The final version of the AMD FX-8130P is expected to feature eight processing cores with a base frequency of 3.8GHz, that can be increased up to 4.2GHz when Turbo Core kicks in. This is going to be AMD's only Zambezi FX processor to have a 125W TDP.
The second chip to be listed, the FX-8110, is expected to also feature eight computing core, but these will carry a base clock of 3.6GHz, a maximum Turbo frequency of 4GHz and will have a TDP of just 95W. Apart from the four Bulldozer modules, the FX-8130P and FX-8110 also pack 8MB of Level 3 cache memory and an integrated dual-channel 1866MHz memory controller.
Both Zambezi processors will come as Black Edition parts, meaning they feature an unlocked multiplier for higher overclocking headroom.
Pricing for the AMD FX-8130P engineering sample CPU has been set at 600$, while the FX-8110 is sold for 500$.
The prices are higher than the ones uncovered by us a few months ago ($320 FX-8130P and 290$ FX-8110), but this is expected since the processors sold are engineering samples of two yet-unreleased products.
NewerTech Guardian MAXimus portable RAID
Newer Technology announced today that it has added a new model - featuring dual 2.5" 1.0TB SATA drives for up to 2.0TB of storage - to its bus powered (no AC adapter needed) ultra portable Guardian MAXimus