Star Wars: Battlefront Beta Graphics card VGA performance benchmark review
We showcase the Star Wars: Battlefront Beta with a graphics card VGA performance and benchmarks review. The game is to be released later this year, yet there starting at with an open beta. In this beta we have a first impression of the game, as well as the ability to have a quick peek at its performance. (article update October 9th: GTX 980 SLI results/FCAT added). You can read the article here.
AMD: 40nm yields have stablized
AMD's 40nm yields at TSMC have stabilized, and that supply of Radeon HD 5800 series should improve from here. The company now explains that 40-nm yields at TSMC have stabilized, and supply of 5800-series cards should ramp up from here.
TSMC, the Taiwanese foundry that produces GPUs for both AMD and Nvidia, has been the main cause of the shortages. The firm owned up to poor yields
Enermax expands Revolution85+ Warranty
With immediate effect, Enermax extends the manufacturer warranty for the PSU series Revolution85+ to five years
TRIM Available for OCZ Summit Series SSDs
According to the company, the new firmware helps restore performance on Summit drives back to
Intel has 600GB SSD on it's roadmap
A leaked Intel roadmap shows that the company is planning to launch the 2xnm MLC based SSDs with a larger capacity in Q4 next year.
The current 34nm MLC based X25-M and X18-M using 50nm process technology will be phased out in Q3 next year, and in the following quarter we can expect something called Postville Refresh
NZXT Hades chassis with build-in fan controller
NZXT introduced Hades, a new 9-bay black midtower case for gamers. The Hades supports up to five fans (four are included), it features a built-in dual fan 8W per channel controller and has enough room for graphics cards as large as 300mm. Other special features include holes in the motherboard tray for cable routing and easy removal of a CPU heatsink, a bracket for two solid state disks, pre-drilled watercooling holes, mounting holes for a dual radiator at the top, and a removable filter at the bottom PSU. Here's the full features list:
Expansion galore: Nine 5.25" bay setup or Five 5.25" and Four 3.5"
- Latest Hardware Support: VGA clearance room for 300mm cards like the ATI 5970
- Dual 200mm intake Large air system: 200mm front fan, dual top 140mm fan, Side 200mm fan, rear 120mm exhaust. NZXT includes the chassis with all fans except for one top 140mm fan
- Control the flow: Gaming, overclocking, or office work the dual 8W per channel fan control allows control over the dual 200mm fans that spin up to 150 CFM each
- Monitor your system: A three C/F temperature display at front panel allows the user to see temperatures inside the chassis even with the door closed. A slant on the door allows for easier viewing from above.
- Punched side panel: Besides aesthetics, the side mesh and extrusion allows for even greater and ease of wire management on the right side panel
- Meshed front: 5.25" meshed bays, meshed door, and meshed bottom panel allows for air to flow into the system with ease.
- Wire Routing: Motherboard punched holes allows for quick CPU bracket removable and optimal wire routing.
- NZXT Solid State bracket allows for two SSD drives to be installed
- Pre-drilled water cooling holes on the backplate
- Front mounted 2 USB, Audio, and E-SATA ports
- Mounting holes for dual radiator at the top
- Removable filter at the bottom PSU
The NZXT Hades will soon be available in retails tores for $89.99 (69.99EUR).
Cooler Master USP 100 ships with PSU
Cooler Master released the USP 100, a new case for gamers that ships with the Extreme Power Plus 550W power supply. The steel case features a flashy red front bezel and a black case body, it supports micro-ATX and ATX motherboards and features seven expansion slots, four 5.25" drive bays, a floppy bay and six 3.5" HDD bays. Cooling is provided by a 120mm red LED front fan, 80/90/120mm bottom, rear and side fans are all optional.
Special features include a cutout in the motherboard plate to make it easier to swap your CPU cooler, a top I/O panel, a red power-on LED indicator bar, Cooler Master logo as power-on button, PSU at the bottom for better cooling, tool-free design for the 5.25" and 3.5" devices and thumbscrews for add-on cards. The case measures 214mm x 483mm x 508mm (W x H x D) and weighs 7.2kg.
The included Cooler Master eXtreme Power Plus 550W features a 120mm fan and has two PCI-E 6+2-pin connectors. Unfortunately, the specifications reveal this power supply has a typical efficiency of only 70 percent. That's very poor performance considering we're now seeing the first power supplies with an efficiency of over 90 percent. The Cooler Master USP 100 will start shipping in Q1 2010 for $99.
Wide Body Design
USP 100 offers a no compromise interior including many popular innovations from Cooler Master high end chassis. The wide body design includes over 11 inches for VGA card length and over 6.5 inches in CPU cooler clearance height for class leading support of the mainstream CPU coolers and graphics cards. A chassis width of over 8.4 inches makes cable management easy, allowing system cables to be hidden in spacious .5 inch clearance behind the motherboard tray. USP 100 includes a CPU retention hole for easy CPU cooler installation, hassle free tool-free drive bays, and an easy to clean front filter air intake.
Powered by 550W Extreme Power Plus
Answering increasing requests for more value, USP 100 combines a spacious, high airflow chassis with a quality 550W power supply. The Extreme Power Plus 550W has been field tested for both durability and performance with major graphics cards and CPUs. The combination of a power supply and chassis provides a stable, all-in-one solution perfect for mainstream system building. The USP 100 is exclusively available as a complete chassis and power supply solution.
Air Cooling Aesthetics
Taking cues from enthusiasts, the USP 100 is factory painted in crimson. Using proven all mesh front panel design, the USP 100 provides enhanced airflow to keep internal temperatures minimal. Front air filters increase dust management while reducing system maintenance. A hidden power button, red themed LED front fan, and crimson LEDs add a bold and edgy flair to any system.
Auzentech X-Fi Home Theater HD 7.1 Soundcard review
Auzentech X-Fi Home Theater HD 7.1 Soundcard review
Auzentech has been developing an HDMI soundcard for quite a while and this new card is said to be loaded with features for any audio tasks. Today in the Guru3D audio lab, we have a brand spanking new Auzentech Home Theater HD 7.1. This ongoing one-upmanship between existing companies is what drives the soundcard market and ensures new products are higher quality and offers new and innovative features to the audio community. The HDMI standard is still considered new in the PC landscape, and while many GFX cards offer HDMI options for graphics the audio side of the standard has been ignored and is lacking.
We are going to run this card through our extensive testing and measuring regimen to let our readers know exactly what you will be getting for your hard earned audio dollars.
Read the Guru3D review right here.
ECS Environment-Friendly Atom Motherboard
Elitegroup Computer Systems is pleased to introduce a brand new small and powerful motherboard, ECS TIGT-I, embedded the latest Intel dual core Atom processor D510 integrated memory controller and Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3150(GMA3150) to deliver up to 20% higher performance than ever for home users.
The ECS TIGT-I motherboard features fast Ethernet, high definition audio for various internet applications and leverages integrated GMA3150 graphics core supporting DirectX 9 for popular graphics requirements. In addition, the ultra low voltage and Mini-ITX(170x170mm) form factor, make the ECS TIGT-I motherboard become an ideal solution for fan-less systems, small form factor PCs or portable devices.
The ECS TIGT-I motherboard is based on Intel NM10 Express chipsets and integrated with Intel dual core Atom 45nm processor at 1.66 GHz. With the brand new 2-chip solution, the ECS TIGT-I saves 50% power but increases up to 20% performance than previous generation. Besides, ECS TIGT-1's fan-less design come with the low-power processor also targets at portable battery-operated applications like mobile internet devices and low-cost laptop PCs.
The ECS TIGT-I is well equipped to a complete system with Fast Ethernet port, high definition audio, 2 x SATA3.0 Gb/s, 1 x PATA, 4 x USB 2.0, 2 x DDR2 800, 1 x PCIe x1 expansion slot.
Hynix 2Gb GDDR5 Chip 40nm Process
Hynix has some new graphics memory prototype, 2Gb GDDR5 memory chip based on the 40nm manufacturing process.
The new memory chip from Hynix operates on 1.35V and can reach 7Gbps when used with a 32 bit I/O. This translates into an impressive memory clock of 7000 MHZ. Not only that but the actual power consumption of the chip is 20 percent lower than that of similar chips based on the 50nm manufacturing process.
The DRAM module is a prototype right now and mass production is not set to start before the second half of 2010.
PT Boats: Knights of the Sea Goes Gold
Corsair releases SSD firmware with TRIM support
Corsair has released firmware with TRIM support and a firmware update tool for its Performance Series P64, P128 and P256 solid-state drives.
The firmware (revisionVBM19C1Q) and update tool were both developed by Samsung, and have been rigorously qualified by both Samsung and Corsair using a large number of test platforms, in conjunction with a controlled end-user BETA test of the new firmware.
"This new firmware release for Corsair's Performance Series SSDs adds support for the TRIM performance-maintenance command in Microsoft Windows 7, further enhancing what are already some of the fastest and most respected SSDs on the market," said Jim Carlton, VP of Marketing for Corsair. "While other SSD manufacturers have rushed out bug-ridden firmware and update tools, sometimes with disastrous consequences for end-users, Corsair refused to jump on the bandwagon. We took the time to rigorously test and quality our tools, ensuring that our users will have the best experience possible."
The new firmware and firmware update tool are available immediately from Corsair's Product Forum. The new firmware has been specifically designed to add support for the TRIM command in Windows 7, which enables the operating system to progressively 'clean' previously deleted or 'invalid' data from the drive's memory cells, automatically maintaining optimal performance over time. In addition to the end-user firmware update tool for existing owners, all new Corsair Performance Series solid-state drives currently have firmware VBM19C1Q pre-loaded by default.
Intel launches updated Atom
The newest Intel Atom platform for netbooks consists of a new Intel Atom processor, the N450, and a new low-power Intel NM10 Express Chipset. For entry level desktop PCs, it consists of either the Intel Atom processor D410 or the dual core D510, also paired with the Intel NM10 Express Chipset. The Intel Atom processor was designed from the ground up for small devices and low power, and remains Intel's smallest chip, built on the company's 45nm high-k metal gate manufacturing process. The overall package, including chipset, just got smaller due to the increasing integration and 45nm manufacturing, which means smaller, more compact system designs, lower costs for OEMs and improved performance.
Broad Industry Momentum
Intel continues to see broad industry support for the Atom platform as netbooks in particular have been hot sellers during a recessionary year due to their affordability, function and small size (7-10.2" screens). Additionally, Intel is expecting to see broad channel adoption for Atom in a variety of small form factor entry-level desktop PCs at low price points, including ultra-small designs (less than 1-litre chassis), fanless designs, and low-cost all-in-one designs.
Since Intel announced the first Atom processors for netbooks and entry-level desktop PCs in June 2008, the market has expanded rapidly. Since introduction, Intel has shipped over 40 million Atom chips for netbooks to every major OEM around the world. In the same timeframe, netbooks ramped faster and sold more units than Apple's iPhone or the Nintendo Wii.* According to ABI Research, total Atom shipments for all segments are expected to continue to grow into the 100s of millions by 2011.* Intel is not letting up, offering the next-generation platform for OEMs to continue to innovate around.
Worldwide netbook shipments by telecommunications companies such as T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange and others are also growing and expected to fuel another round of expansion. Intel has been working closely with mobile operators and modem vendors to advance 3G capabilities in netbooks in established and emerging markets. To-date approximately a dozen service providers offer netbooks in various markets, and the numbers are expected to grow with the newest platform.
Improved processor and graphics performance
One of the most significant features of the new platform is the integration of memory controller and graphics into the CPU, a first in the industry on x-86 chips. That means two chips (CPU+chipset) instead of the previous three (CPU, chipset, I/O controller hub), a lower TDP, and substantial reductions in cost, overall footprint and power. The netbook platform features a 20 percent improvement in average power and a smaller package size over the previous Atom platform. This translates into smaller and more compact system designs and longer battery life. Because of the integration, the total footprint for the netbook platform has decreased by approximately 60 percent. For entry level desktop PCs, it's a nearly 70 percent reduction in footprint and about 50 percent lower TDP than the previous generation.
About the platform
The N450 is a single core Atom processor with 512k of L2 cache and a 7 watt total kit TDP including chipset. The D410 for entry-level desktop PCs is a single-core Atom processor with 512k of L2 cache and a 12-watt total kit TDP including chipset, and the D510 for entry-level desktop PCs is a dual core Atom processor with 1meg L2 cache and a 15-watt total kit TDP including chipset. The new chips all run at 1.66GHz. Pricing and availability will be announced in January as systems become available from OEMs.
- Higher level of integration plus 45nm manufacturing enables significant power reduction, performance improvements and smaller package size
- Average power consumption down 20 percent over previous generation, enabling longer battery life in netbooks
- Over 80 netbook design wins from major OEMs including ASUS, Acer, Dell, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Lenovo, Samsung and MSI
- Next-generation Intel Atom systems available Jan. 4
WD and NEC Electronics Collaborate on USB 3.0
WD, the world's leader in external storage solutions, and NEC Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723), a leading provider of semiconductor solutions, today announced that the companies have collaborated to promote the new SuperSpeed Universal Serial Bus (USB) 3.0 standard, a next-generation interface to be used in a wide range of electronic devices including PCs, PC peripherals, and digital appliances.
USB 3.0 is capable of supporting data transfer rates of up to 5 gigabits per second (Gbps), which is 10 times faster than the previous high-speed USB 2.0 transfer speeds. With its higher speeds and enhanced power efficiency, external hard disk drives are the first SuperSpeed USB 3.0 devices to appear on the market.
As the first step toward WD's and NEC Electronics' goal to promote the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 standard, the companies plan to develop a USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP) driver to deliver hard drives with very high performance, mass-storage capacity. UASP is a new industry-standard, high-performance mass-storage protocol being developed for SuperSpeed USB 3.0 to overcome the performance boundaries of the Bulk Only Transfer (BOT) protocol, which has been used for traditional USB 2.0 speeds. The new UASP driver will be used with NEC Electronics' USB 3.0 xHCI (eXtensible Host Controller Interface) host controller (part number
Pump and Radiator Integration Introduced by Swiftech
The lads over at Swiftech released their the MCR Drive, a fully integarted pump and radiator. The product allows higher system flow rates and even enables the easy installment of a dedicated VGA loop or of a second unit for extreme users.
"The implications of this new invention are fairly far reaching, because there finally is a truly high performance cooling solution that is safe, easy to integrate in a PC, and future proof," said Gabriel Rouchon, Swiftech's chairman and CTA. "This solution solves many of the issues faced not only by consumers, but OEMs and system builders in search for a reliable and effective system-wide cooling system."
The radiator used by the MCR Drive may be either twice or three times the size of a normal 120mm radiator and is available with or without the MCP350 pump, which has a maximum noise output of 26dBA and 50,000 hours of mean time before failure (MTBF). This pump enables system flow rates higher than those found in entry-level kits and the loop can even combine multiple water blocks. The radiator features 1/2-inch and 3/8-inch fittings.
The product is capable of a maximum pressure of 22 PSI (1.5 BAR), and uses an electronically commutated, brushless DC, spherical motor which works on a nominal voltage of 12 V DC. The product is RoHS compliant and uses a Molex 4 pin electrical connector and 8.3 to 12 W of power.
The MCR Drive may cost between $134.95 and $209.95 depending on whether the double or triple radiator is selected and whether or not the option includes the pump. Full information may be found here. Check the thumbnail.
Bad Company 2 Squad Deathmatch Dev Walkthrough
The mode, as I said, is called Squad Deathmatch and it plays as simply as it sounds. You and your squad have to be the first to get 50 kills (kill limits can be changed in the settings) by eradicating the opposition which consists of three other teams of four players (at its max). Aiding you -- or perhaps the other teams if they capitalize first -- is a vehicle specifically designed to eradicate soldiers on foot. It's the sole vehicle in this mode so capturing it is of the utmost importance. The maps that you'll find in Squad Deathmatch are specifically tailored to the mode, with certain areas designed to provide a strategic advantage to the vehicle while the opposite is true elsewhere. It's also cool that, depending on what multiplayer mode you select, you could get an entirely different portion of the map than you would in another game type. A map's total area can be up to 64 square kilometers and every piece will surely be used by one mode or another.
The map we were playing on, known as Laguna Presa, is home to gobs of lush greenery that seemed to pop off the screen a bit more than any of the colors in the first Bad Company. There are large shipping crates situated around the level that act as protective cover from the marauding tank that chops down soldiers. Laguna Presa also changes elevations quite often -- with both high ground and low ground -- and includes plenty of shrubbery which makes for an easy hiding place for snipers. Unlike other games, the camouflage in Bad Company 2 actually works pretty damn well. Just ask the knife in my character's back.
G.Skill DDR3 2200 MHz C7 PI memory
Some Memory vendors felt the need to go really extreme, and GSkill did exactly that. 2200 MHZ at CAS 7 at low voltage (1.65v). Now if you don't know what these number mean, then surely this memory and review is not catered for you. Seriously, it's one of the few memory kits we have seen we consider to be extremely uber cool. Powered by Elpida Hyper ICs G.Skill certainly tries to make a difference.
So today we'll test this kit with 2x 2GB memory, and that is quite a challenge as we'll need to make a really good effort to get the processor at a high base clock and a motherboard that allows it.
You can finf the Guru3D review right here.
CPU-Z 1.53 Released
CPU-Z is a freeware that gathers information on some of the main devices of your system.
CPU-Z is a diagnostic tool that provides information on your CPU, including: processor name and vendor, core stepping and process, processor package, internal and external clocks, clock multiplier, partial overclock detection, processor features, supported instructions sets, L1 and L2 cache information, location, size, speed, and technology.
Changes in version 1.53 :
Intel Core i7 930 & 950, Core i7 980X "Gulftown", Xeon W3565.
Intel Mobile Core i7/i5/i3 "Arrendale" (LV and ULV).
Intel "Clarkdale" platform improved support.
AMD Phenom FX-5000, Athlon II X2/X3/X4, Athlon L110.
AMD AM3 socket detection improved.
VIA VX800 and VX855 chipsets support.
ATI Radeon 2100 and Radeon X1250 support.
DirectX 11 detection fix.
Hardware virtualization support now reported as instructions set.
New HTML report with less information
AMD and Intel Shipments Still Strong in Q4
Even though 2009 has been a rather unfavorable year for the IT market in general, and especially for semiconductor manufacturing, the fourth quarter still seems to be going strong, with system builders still placing hefty amounts of orders with both Intel and Advanced Micro Devices. FBR Capital Markets is quite optimistic about the closing quarter of the current year.
"Potential 2010 catalysts include some corporate refresh benefits from Windows 7 (consumer sell-through seems reasonably robust so far); additional netbook, nettop, and consumer ultra-low-voltage (CULV) units; and increased touch-panel applications," analyst Craig Berger wrote in a research note.
Notebook builds are expected to grow by 10 percent compared to the previous quarter (quarter-over-quarter/QoQ) and desktop shipments are rather strong as well, even though the actual QoQ percentage is down by 16%. This implies that the total fourth quarter builds are no longer expected to drop by 2%, with estimates suggesting a total decline of only a 1%. AMD showed somewhat less growth, specifically about 3-4%, due to it being more focused on the desktop segment instead of the more popular mobile market.
On the other hand, AMD revenues are expected to fall seasonally to around $1.4 billion in Q1 2010, implying that the actual decline would be of four to eight percent. The way this market decline can coexist with actual company growth shown by AMD and Intel is explained by the possibility of OEMs and ODMs using existing inventories in building systems.
"Oftentimes Intel's CPUs are put into PCs at the last possible moment, so some PC builds in 3Q end up as Intel CPU shipments in 4Q