Today der8auer unveiled his newest device for overclocking, the Delid Die Guard. The device makes removing the lids of CPUs so easy that even my mother could do it. The preferred method of the past has been the vice method for removing lids and unfortunately with the new Skylake CPUs the PCB is so thin people are destroying their expensive CPUs attempting the method.
Because of this, it has become common practice to use a razorblade to remove the lid, though that has its own dangers to users and the CPU. der8auer is a pro overclocker himself and even has mangled a CPU from delidding, so he decided to make a tool that will simplify the process.
The tool is two blocks that clamp together with 6 screws with a CPU placed inside. The compatible CPUs are Skylake, Ivy Bridge, Haswell and Devils Canyon though Broadwell may also work, but he had nothing to test with. After the two parts are clamped together with the CPU inside, turn the screw on the back and it pushes the lid off and you are done. A device that takes headaches and fear of killing a chip out of delidding? Yes Please!
The standard way for delidding Skylake right now involves using a razorblade and can be very dangerous to your fingers and the fragile PCB of the CPU. This is the first 6700K that I delidded and it was pretty anxiety-inducing for sure.
While PC sales have been slower over the past few years, it looks like Intel had been planning for such an occurrence. According to market data, Intel withheld processor shipments for the first half of the year in order to prepare the channel for the Skylake chips that launched in the 2nd half. By draining the inventory of Haswell/Haswell-Refresh CPUs, Intel is hoping to push buyers onto Skylake quicker.
Usually, Intel oversupplies the market in the first half of the year. This allows builders ranging from small shops and larger OEMs to build up systems and stock, allowing for faster sales once the back to school and holiday season come along. However, this got switched up this year as Intel timed their Skylake launch to coincide with Microsoft’s release of Windows 10. By draining older stock earlier, Intel hoped that Skylake would have an easier time in the market and ride the Windows/holiday wave.
By reducing the number of Haswell systems still available, Intel is hoping consumers will turn to Skylake instead. Usually, Intel would over-ship the market demand by about 8 million units, but this year, they under-shipped by about 3 million, an 11 million difference overall. As builders are low on Haswell stock, they will have no choice but to turn to Skylake for the holiday demand. By moving users more quickly onto Skylake revenue for the chipmaker increases and customers are able to benefit from the newer architecture faster. Those looking for cheaper Haswell processors are going to be out of luck though.
Despite launching the i7 6700K and i5 6600K based off the Skylake μArch earlier this month, Intel has kept the wraps on the μArch till IDF [Intel Developer Forum] 2015 today. We finally know what improvement and tweaks Intel has done to make Skylake a tad bit faster than Haswell.
While Intel extracted more efficiency and added more execution units to Haswell, most of the information released from IDF so far points to improving efficiency rather than increasing the brute force power of the chip. First of all, the front end received a number of improvements, with the Out-of-order Window increased to 224 from 192, the In-flight Stores from 42 to 56, Scheduler Entries grew to 97 from 60, the Allocation Queue from 56 to 64 and the Integer Register File from 168 to 180. All of these small improvements should help feed the cores better and improve efficiency, leading to lower power consumption and better IPC. Specific instructions like AES-GCM and AES-CBC also improved by 17% and 33% respectively.
Improvements were also made to other sections, with an improved ring bus, Last Level Cache and Hyper-Threading. These changes should help drive better multi-core efficiency, something that we’ve seen strong improvement in for multi-threaded tasks. This has been helped along with a better branch predictor, improved cache and buffer latency and bandwidth to feed the cores. Of course, the IMC is improved with support for DDR4 and the chipset is connected by the faster and wider DMI 3.0. As expected, power consumption also improved with better power gating of units in the cores, which should help reduce load temps if not all execution units are being used.
While Intel already has a very wide core with Haswell, with 8 execution ports, Skylake reportedly increases that number as well. No information about that has yet been released though we will probably get more information as Skylake specific presentations roll out through the rest of IDF 2015. We’ll bring you more information about Skylake as they come. It’s interesting though that despite all these improvements, IPC has only increased by a few percent over Haswell. You can find the full set of day 1 Skylake slides here.
While AMD has released some details about Zen at their Financial Analyst Day earlier this year, details have still been a bit scant. What we already know is that Zen will have a 40% IPC increase compared to Excavator, bringing AMD’s IPC much closer to Intel’s in one jump. Zen will also support a version of Simultaneous Multithreading (SMT) to support 2 logical processors per core. This will all be bundled on the AM4 platform with DDR4 support and use a FinFET process. Most critically, the CMT or cluster-based threading will be gone and each core will have 2 256bit FPUs and a good number of Integer ALUs.
Today though, we have a rumour that suggests that Zen will bring AMD to instruction set parity with Intel’s Haswell/Broadwell CPUs. With Excavator that launched earlier this year, AMD already caught up partially with AVX 2 which brings 256bit support to integer work, BMI2 and RDRAND for pseudo-random number generation. If Zen is to catch up to Haswell, it will probably add hardware acceleration support to CRC, SHA-256 and RSA algorithms and RDSEED for more pseudo-random number generation. interestingly, there is also suggestions that AMD’s SMT implementation will be compatible with the Intel’s meaning OS’s may not need to be patched, like they did with Bulldozer, to fully support the extra logical processor.
AMD may also support some of the new Skylake instructions like AVX 512 though we will have to wait and see. Part of this is due to the fact that Intel is yet to fully reveal what Skylake supports till IDF later this month. With Intel slipping in a refresh with Kaby Lake in 2016, AMD really has a good chance at a comeback if Zen performs well.
Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with the information
More Skylake details have leaked out ahead of its August launch and this time around, we’re being treated to what appears to be official Intel slides. Once again, it seems like Intel is emphasizing the iGPU side of things though we do see that Intel expects some decent IPC gains for the CPU.
According to Intel, Skylake will bring IPC improvements of 10% to single threaded operations and 20% to multithreaded tasks. The single-threaded performance increase does seem to fall in the range we’ve seen from some leaked benchmarks which have put IPC improvements at about 8-11%. 10% is probably closer to a best case scenario all things being equal. The 20% on the multithreaded side of things also matches up with what we known, with leaked benchmarks showing strong improvements in multi-threaded efficiency and Hyper-Threading.
Real benefits from 14nm also show for the mobile side of things, with the increased power efficiency allowing much better CPU and iGPU performance for the low power Y SKUs. Intel is claiming about 30% improvement in battery life, which given that the CPU and iGPU only contribute a portion, is pretty amazing. A lot of value added features like better touch, audio, video and camera features are also being included. Overall, it looks like Intel is selling Skylake as an incremental improvement for desktops users but brings much more to mobile users.
Thank you FanlessTech for providing us with this information
The latest report on Intel’s roadmap shows an interesting turn of events. Intel is supposedly scrapping Cannon Lake, the 10nm chip series meant for 2017, in favour of Ice Lake. This chip will launch after Kaby Lake which itself, is set for 2016 as a replacement for the delayed 10nm architecture previously known as Cannon Lake. More interesting even is the suggestion that Intel will reintroduce FIVR, also known as Fully Integrated Voltage Regulator.
Intel first debuted the FIVR with their Haswell architecture, continuing to use it for the follow-up Broadwell. FIVR allow motherboards to be cheaper and simpler by reducing the number of different voltages that need to be supplied to the CPU package. The FVIR also allows Intel to better control voltages and in some cases, can improve overclocking. Skylake however, set to launch later this year, won’t have FVIR, opting to return to old systems. This change is due to the fact that the Skylake design team is different than the Haswell/Broadwell one.
If Intel does reintroduce the FIVR with Ice Lake, it being the direct successor to Skylake, it points to more changes than what a regular tock or die shrink would get. A return to FIVR would make some sense if we recall Kaby Lake. Kaby Lake is set to be a 14nm refresh of Skylake, meaning Ice Lake might actually be a combined Tick/Tock, meaning the Haswell team might also be working on Ice Lake, which given their past design practices, this makes sense.
At this point, this report hasn’t been confirmed yet so it might not be best to read too much into it. The constantly changing rumours coming out does seem to point to turmoil for Intel’s roadmap ahead. If Intel does slip up, it may be all that is needed for AMD to make a comeback with Zen.
Thank you HardwareLUXX for providing us with this information
Another batch of Skylake benchmarks have leaked out a little under a month before the expected launch. This time we have the Intel i7-6700K on an ECS Z170-Claymore paired with 16GB of 2133Mhz DRR4, 128GB SSD and a GTX970. For comparison an i7-4790K on an MSI Z97A Gaming 6 with 8GB of 1600Mhz DDR3 with the same GPU and SSD. Both systems used the stock Intel heatsink with the copper core.
PCMark 8, 3DMark, Cinebench R15, and Sandra 2015 were tested with the 6700K coming first in the images with the 4790K following. As you can see Skylake trades blows with Haswell in PCMark 8, only managing to pull ahead significantly in the Home test. In the two Firestrike tests, Haswell manages to pull ahead but Skylake manages wins in Cloud Gate and Sky Diver.
Cinebench R15 shows a win for Skylake with a notable improvement in multicore efficiency. OpenGL shows a big jump due to the improved iGPU on Skylake. For Sandra 2015, the red line is Haswell and blue for Skylake. The two trade blows in the arithmetic test, but Skylake pulls ahead in multimedia, cryptography and memory bandwidth. The final two are expected given additional instruction support for cryptography and DDR4 with Skylake.
As we pretty much expected, Skylake is a minor bump in terms of IPC gains, being able to pull ahead of Haswell despite being clocked lower. One can’t forget that the extra bandwidth offered by DDR4 might be giving a boost to Skylake so those with 2133Mhz DDR3 Haswell might see fewer gains. Drivers for the motherboard are still in beta, but not too much is likely to change in that field. These benchmarks serve to confirm the general trend shown by previousleaks and the hardware looks set for a much leakedAugustlaunch.
Thank you TechBang for providing us this information
Computex 2015 – Thecus makes some amazing NAS units and we’ve also stopped by their booth at Computex to check out what news they might have in the bags.
On display is everything from high-end enterprise rack-servers such as the N16850, W16000, and N8880U-G units as well as the newest bay-trail based Windows Storage NAS.
The N16850 packs quite the punch, starting with the Intel Haswell Xeon E-3 CPU running at 3.1GHZ. It also comes packed with 8GB ECC RAM and is upgradeable up to 32GB.
Redundant power supply with 80 Plus certification, plenty of network connections and PCIe expansion slots are all available in this amazing NAS unit.
Thecus also brought along the N7770-G and N880U-G units that differentiate between being tower and rack units. They are powered by an Intel Core i3 CPU, come with 43GB ECC memory and support Real-time remote replications as well as 7 modes of Link Aggregation. Thecus also added 10Gb Ethernet to these units as well as bundled them with Acronis True Image and Intel Security.
Last but not least, Thecus also showcased what on the first glance looks like N4310 that we reviewed not long ago. But it is in fact a brand new unit that just uses the same type of enclosure. The W4100 is a Bay-Trail based unit running Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials.
We’ve seen and heard a lot about Intel’s mobile and desktop processors lately, but we shouldn’t forget that Intel also creates some of the best server processors in the world. They have just released the latest version of these monsters that come with up to 18 cores and 36 threads, 45MB cache and support for up to 12TB RAM in an eight-socket system.
The new Xeon E7 v3 processors move from the Sandy Bridge architecture to the Haswell but maintains the 22nm manufacturing process for now. We’ll have to wait a little longer for the 14nm versions and while these new chips already impress us, the future process could help with the current power consumption and 165W TDP rating. They are still the best performance per dollar for any business that needs this kind of power.
The new processor family already set 20 new performance world records across a broad range of mission-critical applications where it achieves a 40 percent average performance improvement compared to the prior generation. The processors support configurations with up to 32 sockets and comes with the industry’s largest memory capacity per socket as well as support for both DDR3 and DDR4 memory technology.
New security and reliability capabilities include increased cryptographic performance via the latest Intel Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions (Intel AES-NI) and Intel Run Sure Technology that is a unique set of reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) features for the Intel Xeon processors.
The new Xeon family of processors contains 12 models for various segments including two high-frequency models that are designed for a subset of database applications requiring the fastest cores available. Starting today, the largest system manufacturers will begin announcing systems based on the new Intel Xeon E7 v3 family platform, including Dell, Cisco, HP, Bull, Lenovo, Oracle, Supermicro and many more.
Processors like these aren’t cheap at all and the prices you see below are when purchasing a quantity of 1000, so it’s unlikely that we’ll find many of these in homes around the world in the near future. They’re still some amazing chips and I wouldn’t mind having a couple myself.
Although Boston may at first not be familiar to many, rest assured with a presence in America, UK, Germany and India this is a truly global company. They supply one of the widest variety of business hardware available, from micro servers, blade servers, Quadro workstation and even green and cloud solutions. Today we will be looking at the Boston Venom 3401-7T, which is one of their flagship models of their Venom series, which has been designed for high-performance graphics, parallel processing and high-speed rendering. With this being one of our first enterprise workstation reviews we have a fresh selection of benchmarks which will help us push these high specification systems to their limits. We have a wide range including CPU, GPU, Memory and storage benchmarks which will help us collect some statistics which will help us find the cream of the crop of workstation rigs and at the same time provide our audience with informative concise results.
Although normally in reviews we don’t usually use descriptions that suppliers supply us with, with workstations often being targeted at a particular use or task and I feel that it makes sense for us to include a small description from Boston on what area the Venom is aimed at.
“The Boston Venom 3401-7T is designed to be the ultimate workstation for all design, VFX and digital content professionals. The Venom 3401-7T is a workstation designed by Boston that brings together the often disjointed design and simulation processes into one package; dramatically increasing productivity and allowing engineers, designers and content creators to do more, faster, and with better results.”
So on that note, we have some high expectations going into this review!
Name: Boston Venom 3401-7T
Case: Silverstone Fortress Series Case FT04 – Black
Motherboard: Supermicro X10DAX
Processor: Intel Xeon Processor E5-2687WV3 3.1GHz (Haswell) x 2 with 4% Overclock
MSI has just launched its MS-98G5 industrial motherboard with an embedded processing and graphics solution. The motherboard is based on the mini-ITX form factor and Intel 4th Gen QM87/HM86 architecture that comes with a BGA-type Haswell/Broadwell Mobile Core i7, i5, i3 or Celeron CPU, various displays, 1 PCIe x16, 8 USB 2.0 and 4 USB 3.0 ports, 5 COM ports, a SATA 3.0 connector, and 2 mini-PCIe slots.
The MS-98G5 is flexible in terms of system integrators, having the auto-switch DC 12/19V power inputs bring more possibilities of display deployment, I/O connection and extra expansion. The motherboard features HDMI, DP, DVI-I, and LVDS in terms of outputs and the HD Graphics as a graphical solution, giving it the high-performance Intel 4th Gen kernel the industrial sector needs for various industrial applications.
Here is a brief spec of the MSI MS-98G5:
Haswell/Broadwell Mobile Core i7/i5/i3/Celeron Processor
3 independent displays (HDMI/DP/DVI-I/LVDS)
Dual GbE LAN with iAMT (EIA+QM87)
2 x DDR3L 1333/1600 MHz up to 16GB memory
1 x PCIe(x16) w/ riser card to x8+x8 or x8+x4+x4
8 x USB 2.0; 4 x USB 3.0; 5 x COM; SATA 3.0
2 x mini-PCIe slots
Auto-switch DC power 12/19V
MSI has yet to give out a release date for the product at hand or a recommended retail price, but customers can go to its web page here for more information on the product.
Thank you Guru3D for providing us with this information
Asus has just launched its latest gaming notebook, the G501, featuring the latest solution in mobile GPU, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M. However, the graphics solution is not the only amazing thing to be noticed in this notebook.
The G501 features a completely new design compared to its predecessor. It measures in at just 0.81-inches thick and weighs in at 4.5 lbs, which is quite impressive since the notebook is a 15.6-inch display model.
The display equipped features a resolution of 3840 x 2160 4K IPS, similar to the GX500 model. In terms of specifications, the G501 comes with Intel’s 4th Gen Haswell Core i7 4720HQ and M2 PCIe SSD drives, claiming to deliver up to 1,400 MB/s speeds. Asus has also added a Thunderbolt port, similar to other ROG notebooks.
The Asus G501 is said to be available next month in the US at a starting price of $1,999 which will get you the notebook featuring the Intel Core i7 4720HQ CPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB M2 PCIe SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M and 4K resolution display specification.
Thank you VR-Zone for providing us with this information
With every incarnation of Next-Gen mobile GPU releases there is always a high-end selection from each major manufacturer vying for the title of “World’s Fastest Laptop”, “Ultimate Portable Gaming Notebook” or similar, and Asus is no stranger for aiming for this accolade. Their Republic Of Gamers (or “ROG” as more commonly known) series is specifically designed towards this area, and has put out regular revisions of its G-Series laptops since the launch of the G70 in 2008. Fast forward to 2014 and we have the G751 series, aimed the highest point in the market in terms of price and performance, using the latest Intel Haswell CPU and the Nvidia GTX 980m GPU based on the new Maxwell architecture.
There was a point in time where most manufacturers could get away with purchasing the latest Clevo OEM motherboard and cramming it with the latest hardware and then shipping it out – though Asus was one of the few at the time to take thermals into account and actually create a custom cooling solution that helped gamers get the most out of their the high-end hardware. Add some aggressive looking “Stealth Fighter” design choices and you have the ROG series in a nutshell.
As an owner of gaming laptops over the years including the Asus G73 back in the day, I have high hopes going into this review that Asus have delivered a monster of a machine capable of gaming till my eyes go square. After briefly looking over the hardware specifications I am looking forward to pushing the G751 to its limits, while hopefully being met with a tremendous gaming experience that will keep me glued to my seat over the New Year. As a laptop pushing the £2000 boundary, this represents a significant investment and therefore we have high expectations going into this review.
Name: Asus G751JY-T7051H
CPU: Intel Core i7-4860HQ @ 2.4GHz (up to 3.4GHz Turboboost)
RAM: 32GB 1600MHz DDR3 1.35w (8GB*4)
SSD: 512GB PCIE SSD
HDD: 1TB 7200RPM
GPU:NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M 4GB
LAN:10/100/1000/Gigabits Base T
WLAN: Integrated 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Built-in Bluetooth V4.0
Warranty: 2 year Global Warranty, can be extended to 3 for an extra £65
Price: £1999.99 Inc VAT
Packaging & Accessories
The notebook box provides a decent amount of protection to the laptop inside, and both the machine itself and accessories have an extra layer of protection in that they are inside in thin foam bags. Having said that though for a laptop of this value, it would have been nice if it had been shipped inside a padded box for extra protection, in the same way the PC Specialist Cosmos 2 was packed.
The box is well designed, with carry handle and angled sides reminiscent of the laptop’s aggressively edged design. Upon lifting the lid of the box you are greeted with the line “In Search of Incredible” on the inner lid, and the system itself wrapped inside its afore-mentioned sleeve. The power supply is located in a compartment to the right of the system, and the accessories are stored in a compartment that is revealed under the laptop once it has been lifted from the box.
Included is a power supply, UK 3 pin plug with kettle connection to the power supply, an Asus branded cable tidy wrap, manual, quick start guide, warranty card and cleaning cloth.
Where most manufacturers tend to go ever smaller and compact when it comes to portable devices, one company is daring to go in the other direction. The german newspaper Leipziger Volkszeitung is reporting that the notebook manufacturer Schenker is betting on desktop CPUs in their gaming laptops.
Just cause you want to have a mobile gaming system doesn’t mean you want to compromise on the power you have available. Schenker seems to know that and on top of the added performance potential from desktop CPUs, the use of them also allows for future upgrades with new or better processors.
Having a desktop processor in a laptop will increase the size and weight, that’s a given. A better and bigger battery is required and so is the amount of copper to cool the desktop processor. This results in a system that weighs about 3.4KG and has a height of 35mm. While this might be much today, it isn’t that long time since a normal laptop had those measurements.
The Ultimate Series of XMG gaming laptops with desktop processors is said to hit the market before the end of this year, so this might be just the right Christmas present for yourself.
Thanks to LVZ for providing us with this information
The exponential growth of the Insomnia gaming festival over the past few years is proof, if any was needed, that PC gaming has never been stronger. With LAN events like Insomnia becoming more popular so too are portable gaming rigs that can be easily moved around at the owners behest. Today we are taking a closer look at a pre-built system from CyberPower PC that targets that exact market. Their new FANG Battlebox-I 970 system crams an impressive amount of hardware into a portable gaming PC. Nvidia’s power efficient GTX 970 is what makes it possible to pack such a significant gaming punch in a small form factor as it eases the traditional heat and power problems associated with high-end graphics hardware. Intel’s Core i5 4690K provides the brains of the system offering up a strong balance between price and performance, assisted further by the 4.2GHz overclock it ships with. Straight away it has become clear that CyberPower PC have made smart decisions with their component selection: this system offers a solid mixture of hardware that is spot on for a portable gaming PC.
Name: CyberPower PC FANG Battlebox-I 970
Case: CyberPower FANG Battlebox case
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z97N-WiFi mini-ITX
Processor: Intel Core i7 4690K @ 4.2GHz
Processor Cooler: Cooler Master Seidon 120M All-In-One liquid CPU cooler
System Memory: 2 x 4GB Kingston HyperX Fury 1866MHz Dual Channel
Main Boot Drive: Kingston V300 240GB SATA III SSD
Additional Storage Drive(s): Western Digital Blue 1TB 7200RPM Hard Drive
Graphics card: MSI GTX 970 4GB Gaming
Power Supply: Cooler Master B600
Optical Drive: Not included
Wireless: Intel 2T2R AC 7260 2.4/5GHz
Monitor: Not included
Peripherals: Not included
OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Warranty: 3 Year Labour, 2 Year Parts and 1 Month Collect & Return (upgrades available)
This compact system comes with a compact shipping box. CyberPower PC ship the FANG Battlebox-I 970 with a durable soft cell foam to prevent shipping damage.
The accessory package includes all of the accessories and adapters for the motherboard, graphics card and power supply. CyberPower PC cram these accessories into the motherboard box and also provide a Windows installation DVD and troubleshooting guide if your system doesn’t work straight away.
A Closer Look
Did someone call Bob the Builder? Okay, a little harsh, but in all fairness this case does appear to resemble a toolbox. You could say it’s an acquired taste, but based on my observations of trends in PC cases over the past 5 years I don’t think that this case will be popular. PC cases have tended towards more classy and understated designs, even for gaming cases, whereas this case has that cheap and plasticky theme to it that I’d associate with budget case brands like Cougar and HEC.
The top is fitted with a carry handle, which doesn’t feel as sturdy as I’d hoped, and a latch to lock the front of the case in place. Dual USB 3.0 ports, a power button, reset button and indicator LEDs make up the usual I/O area. Note how there’s no front panel audio headers for headsets and the like – a strange omission for a gaming PC.
From the front we see a lock is present which a useful feature if you’ll be using this at LAN events. You can also observe the finger print marks everywhere: this case is a finger print magnet and once they are on they are very difficult to get off. That’s not exactly ideal for a case that’s designed to be handled a lot. CyberPower PC’s logo at the front is fairly modest and we see lots of ventilation for the internal components.
The right side offers more ventilation with an aggressive inlet design.
The left side reveals the I/O to the motherboard, graphics card and power supply. The power supply input is a passthrough to the front mounted power supply.
The FANG Battlebox-I 970 has feet on the bottom so you mount it in a way where the handle doesn’t face the top of the case. It really does look quite strange with that orientation.
You can still mount it handle facing upwards, like how CyberPower PC picture this system, but there are no dedicated feet for that.
Internally the CyberPower PC is space constrained as you would expect. As a result cable management was always going to be a challenge and the choice of a non-modular power supply didn’t help either. My concern with the cable management is that when I mounted the system with the handle facing upwards the cables at the bottom of the system were getting chewed up in the graphics card fan. That is not acceptable: cables should always be tied back to prevent conflict with moving parts like fans. Given this is meant to be a portable PC for LAN that will frequently get moved around I am even more shocked that this blunder gets through quality control: there should be extra attention paid to cable management and system durability.
The front of the case has no significant dust filtering which is bad news for maintenance. It also appears that those RED LEDs that CyberPower PC advertise on their website are nowhere to be seen.
Here’s a few more angles of what’s going on inside the case. We didn’t disassemble anything because we didn’t want to significantly alter the system from its shipped state, that would be changing the fairness of the review.
With the system powered on it becomes obvious that the advertised front LEDs are nowhere to be seen, only the logo gets lit up.
Just to confirm here’s a shot of the system in a dark room: definitely no LED strips here.
Flagship, extreme performance and overclocking motherboards steal a lot of the spotlight, which is understandable, but the reality is that we often purchase our consumer based products from further down the range. The new Gigabyte’s Z97-HD3P is their latest entry-level socket LGA1150 motherboard for the Intel Z97 Express chipset and if you’re just after a reliable board for a day-to-day gaming and work PC, this could be a great option for you.
Priced at around $100 the board is certainly affordable, but it still comes packed full of features that make it a tempting option for any system builder; a 4-phase VRM for clean power delivery, four DDR3 DIMM slots, a single PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, PCI 2.0 x16 (electrical x4), two PCIe 2.0 x1 and two legacy PCI.
There are six SATA 6Gb/s ports, one SATA Express port which draws from two 6 Gb/s ports, and an M.2 10 Gb/s slot; which overall may not be that impressive, but it’s more than enough for the majority of people. Other connectivity options include D-Sub, DVI, HDMI, 4 USB 3.0 ports on the back and two more from the header. There’s 8-channel Realtek ALC887 audio on-board; it’s also worth mentioning that the board features audio-grade electrolytic capacitors and PCB ground-layer isolation which should help improve the sound quality and reduce electrical noise.
This is a solid mid range board and if the performance is up to scratch, which I suspect it will be, this could be a very popular board for Gigabyte.
Thank you Gigabyte for providing us with this information.
The Intel Core i7 5960X, codename Haswell-E, is probably 2014’s worst kept secret. As I am writing this review the full specifications, pricing and pictures of just about every X99 board in existence have already been made public and the NDA is still a few days off. Product launches like this make me wonder what purpose NDAs even serve when they appear to not be worth the paper they are written on. Anyway, politics aside, today we can present your our Intel Core i7 5960X review – at least pretend to be surprised! Intel’s High End Desktop Platform is about to get its first core upgrade since the transition from X48 to X58 when Intel made the leap from 4 to 6 cores, that occurred in 2010. Nearly 4 years later and Intel’s HEDT is making the shift from 6 cores to 8 cores with Haswell-E.
What’s special about Haswell-E apart from the increased core count? Well the X99 platform Haswell-E brings support for DDR4, SATA Express and M.2 (just like Z97 offers), up to 40 PCIe 3.0 lanes and of course 8 core CPUs. If you’re in the market for an upgrade this certainly isn’t going to be cheap, new memory, new storage drives, a new CPU, probably a new power supply…..but I digress. Let’s dive straight into the goodness of the Core i7 5960X. Today we are chucking it on a brand new test system, powered by Gigabyte’s X99 Gaming 5 X99 motherboard and 32GB of Crucial’s fresh-off-the-production line DDR4-2133.
Comparing Intel’s Core i7 5960X to the Core i7 4960X and Core i7 3960X shows some striking similarities. They obviously all share the LGA 2011 package but there are subtle differences. Notably the Core i7 5960X uses a different integrated heat spreader design to the other two.
Moving on over to the rear of the CPU and we actually see a steady decline in the number of built in components. The transition to each newer CPU decreases the number of transistors and other components but we also see an increase in the number of pins. You can see this by comparing the size of the green spacing on the 3960X to the 5960X.
Being a new CPU with a new memory controller this is not compatible with X79 despite still being a LGA 2011 package. Haswell-E takes the LGA 2011-3 package while Sandy Bridge-E and Ivy Bridge-E takes the LGA 2011 package. To prevent people putting the wrong CPUs in the wrong boards Intel has changed the locking points on the CPUs as you can see below.
Intel’s Core i7 5960X comes with a 3GHz base frequency and up to 3.5 GHz with turbo. There’s also native DDR4 support for 2133MHz memory but we are hearing 3000MHz and more is possible with a little bit of tweaking. The other notable thing is a beefy 20MB of shared L3 cache, the most we’ve ever seen on a consumer Intel processor.
Looking at the processor die we can see that it is very different to Haswell for two main reasons: there are 4 more cores and there are no integrated graphics. The new memory controller offers support for only DDR4, there’s no DDR4 and DDR3 combo support like some of our readers may remember on the AMD AM2+ platform.
Intel’s main audience for the Core i7 5XXX series are existing HEDT customers, whether they be X79 or X58. Comparing to X79 Haswell-E and the new X99 chipset brings more cache, more cores, more PCIe lanes, a higher TDP, a different socket, more SATA ports, Thunderbolt support and BCLK overclocking support from the chipset, a feature we also saw moving from Ivy Bridge to Haswell on the mainstream platform.
Like Intel’s previous Extreme Edition CPUs the Core i7 5960X has that $1000 price tag while the Core i7 5930K and 5820K come in for much cheaper. Unlike with Sandy Bridge-E and Ivy Bridge-E going for the 5930K no longer gives you all the performance of the 5960X for less money, the Core i7 5930K has two less cores. The Core i7 5820K also offers less PCIe lanes than the 5930K so each CPU has its own functional purpose: the model separation is better.
There were reports circulating that the upcoming Intel core i7 Haswell-E HEDT processors would feature more PCI-E express lanes, but it looks like the opposite is true. It was hoped that the chip would feature a slimmer PCI-Express root complex, but the new manual for the Gigabyte Socket LGA 2011-3 motherboard let slip the real specifications.
The manual stated that while Intel’s $500-$750 Core i7-5930K and $1,000+ Core i7-4960X offer up 40-lane PCI-Express Gen 3.0 root complexes; the Core i7-5820K features a narrower 28-lane one.
So what does this mean? Put simply, your options for multi-GPU configurations on systems with this chip won’t be any different than those running on the LGA1150 Haswell platforms. You’ll be able to run a full 16x slot on the 1st card, but the second slot will be capped at 8x and the third at 4x, a fourth one would simply run out of bandwidth. So why would you choose this setup? The trade off is that you get six Haswell cores, with twelve logical CPUs enabled, 12MB of L3 cach, quad-channel DDR4, making this an attractive setup for those only using one or two high-end GPUs.
Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.
There are just two weeks left until Haswell-E and the Intel X99 chipset becomes available and already there is a nice selection of motherboard products creeping up ready for launch day. One of the latest is this new ASRock board, which is obviously built around the upcoming X99 chipset and designed for workstation level X99 systems.
The board features the LGA2011 socket, Super Alloy technology for massive aluminium alloy heatsinks, premium alloy chokes, dual-stack MOSFET and 12k platinum capacitors. There are eight DDR4 slots to allow up to 128GB of RAM, ten SATA 6.0 Gbps ports, an Ultra M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 connector and six PCIe x16 slots with SLI and CrossFire support.
Not content with all that, the board also features dual Intel Gigabit Ethernet, Purity Sound 2 7.1 channel audio, one eSATA port, four USB 3.0 connectors and a debut LED.
Unfortunately there are no details on price just yet, but you can bet that with flagship levels of specifications like this, it isn’t going to be cheap.
Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.
MSI are one of the top motherboard manufacturers around, so imagine my excitement when they decided to show off a teaser for their next-gen motherboard. The new board comes with support for the flagship socket LGA 2011-2, bringing support for the latest and greatest upcoming Intel CPUs such as the Core i7 HAswell-E processors. Not only will new processors be added to the mix, but also support for DDR4 memory interfaces.
The new board goes by the name X99S Gaming 9 AC, and of course that suggests that it will be running on the new Intel X99 Express chipset.
Their are eight DDR4 DIMM slots, allowing for quad-channel DDR 4 memory setups, five PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots with the ability to drive up to 4-way SLI and CrossFireX.
Storage is taken care of by at least one M.2 slots and SATA Express ports, eight SATA 6GB/s ports, more than enough for any high end system.
Connectivity features 802.11 ac WLAN, Killer E2200 Gigabit Ethernet, eight or more USB 3.0 ports and more.
Obviously expect this board to feature a massive array of overclocking features, this is a flagship motherboard after all and while its performance details remain a mystery, expect great thing and an equally grand price tag.
We expect more details will appear over the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more information.
Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.
Intel’s Pentium G3258 Anniversary Edition CPU release has been very exciting for the PC market, the main reason is that you can now get high-end desktop performance for the price of an entry level system. This is because the bulk of applications and games are still largely dependent on the performance of 1-2 CPU cores, so with the potential to get around 4.5-4.8GHz on both its cores the Pentium G3258 can offer Core i7 4790K-like performance in one to two threaded applications. Today we are testing PC Specialist’s Vanquish 270X system which they have configured and built especially for us! This system features a Pentium G3258 CPU overclocked to a whopping 4.7GHz and that’s paired up with a Powercolor R9 270X 2GB graphics card and 8GB of RAM. All in all this means there is more than enough grunt in this system to drive all the latest gaming titles maxed out at full 1080p or even as high as 1440p depending on the game, as well as to do a wide variety of other productivity and home tasks. What’s even more impressive is that the components used are really cost effective, so this build comes in at just £579! PC Specialist have made very sensible component choices to keep the pricing in that sweet spot zone: they’ve opted for the unlocked Pentium, AMD’s R9 270X, an SSHD, Gigabyte’s entry level Z97 gaming series motherboard and Corsair’s affordable 230T chassis houses it all. Below you can see the full specifications of this build:
Name: PC Specialist Vanquish 270X
Case: Corsair 230T with Red LEDs and Side Window
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 3
Processor: Intel Pentium G3258 “Anniversary Edition” Dual Core at up to 4.7GHz w/ OC
Processor Cooler: Titan Universal CPU Cooler with Arctic MX4 thermal paste
System Memory: 1 x 8GB DDR3 Kingston HyperX Beast 2133MHz
Main Boot Drive: Seagate 1TB Hybrid Solid State Hard Drive with 8GB SSD Cache
Additional Storage Drive(s): Not included
Graphics card: Powercolor AMD R9 270X 2GB
Power Supply: Corsair VS 450W
Optical Drive: Super WriteMaster DVD RW
Wireless: Not included
Monitor: Not included
Peripherals: Not included
OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Warranty: 3 Year Warranty (1 month collect & return, 1 year parts, 3 year labour)
PC Specialist’s Vanquish 270X system comes very well packaged with soft cell foam to absorb shock and vibration in transit as well as some protective plastic to prevent dust and scratches.
In terms of accessories you get PC Specialist’s welcome pack which has all the additional manuals and documentation that came with all the components in your system. There’s also a welcome guide written by PC Specialist that they advise you to read before using your new PC.
Jumping into CPU-Z and we can see that as promised our Pentium G3258 (which CPU-Z is mistakenly reading as the Pentium G3420) is clocked at 4.7GHz using 1.35 volts. This core voltage is a little high for 24/7 operation, I maybe would have preferred to see 1.3 volts and a slightly lower clock speed.
The memory is just a single DIMM so we have to use single channel mode, that memory is clocked at 2133MHz.
On the GPU side we have Powercolor’s R9 270X which comes clocked fairly high and has bags of overclocking headroom if you want to push things further.
When it comes to premium motherboards bursting at the seams with features MSI’s MPower and XPower motherboards are certainly well recognised. Although tailored specifically for overclocking, and themed to join the ranks of other MSI Lightning hardware, the M and XPower motherboards still offer all the high-end features we’d expect from a good motherboard. Today we have a motherboard with us that epitomises that from MSI, the Z97 MPower Max AC. Not only is it geared towards overclockers with its advanced BIOS, voltage read-off points, assortment of onboard tweaking buttons and even integrated liquid cooling but it is also geared towards the power user with Gigabit Intel LAN, AC WiFi, Bluetooth, M.2, SATA III, high quality audio and a shed-load of USB connectivity. There isn’t really a lot else to say about the Z97 MPower Max AC other than it has just about everything you could possibly want in a motherboard, and better still it certainly won’t make your wallet cry with a very reasonable price of £170 or $260. The full specifications are as follows:
Packaging and Accessories
The packaging proudly displays the yellow and black colour scheme of MSI’s Lightning series, you can also see that AC WiFi takes pride of place: this is a feature MSI are really pushing so we are excited to test it.
The accessory pack is absolutely jammed packed. For documentation we get an overclocking guide, quick installation guide, software guide, user manual, some driver and utility CDs and a MSI LN2 themed door-hanger.
You also get front panel MConnectors, stickers to label your cables with, voltage checkpoint cables, the WiFi AC module, a rear I/O and a screw and user manual for the WiFi module.
You also get 8 SATA cables, that’s a SATA cable for every port – something vendors rarely do, you get the WiFi antennae, an SLI bridge, an eSATA rear I/O bracket and a molex to dual SATA power adapter.
Biostar are back with their latest motherboard based around the Intel B85 single-chip architecture. The new Hi-Fi B85S2G motherboard supports Intel’s latest 4th generation Core i7 and Core i5 processors (LGA 1150).
The new board is aimed at the professional market, ideally for businesses and small firms who need business rich features and a very competitive price to keep their budgets in line. Although the new board is still consumer friendly, and may even prove popular with those who still mine virtual currency thanks to its plentiful selection of PCI-E slots.
All the popular features are here too, including dual gigabit LAN, including load balancing to allow much better networking capabilities. 100% solid capacitors, Intel RST, and most importantly Intel Small Business Advantage for added security.
The Hi-Fi B85S2G comes with support for Direct3D 11.1, HDMI, Blu-ray audio DRM and provides the higher audio output of 24 bit/ 192KHz rather than the 16 bit/ 48KHz from typical motherboards. They’re also Windows 8 ready and have BIOSTAR’s BIO-Remote2 and BIOS Online Update feature for easy management of the system BIOS as well as BIOSTAR’s Charger Booster function.
More details and prices will likely follow soon, but given their target market we expect them to be very competitive.
Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.
Intel has deployed several new entry-level socket LGS1150 dual-core processors. Sure they’re hardly going to excite the enthusiast gaming market, but despite the fact most of us love the high-end, overclocking friendly Core i7 K-series processors, most consumers and business customers tend to purchase for a lot further down the range.
The six new processors are based on the Haswell micro-architecture, four of them carry the Pentium and Core i3 branding. These are made op of the Pentium G3250 which runs at 3.20 Ghz, with a 1.10 GHz iGPU, 3MB L3 and a TDP of 53W; The Pentium G3250T which runs at 2.8 GHz, with a 1.10 GHz iGPU, 3MB L3 and a TDP of just 35W; Pentium G3450T 2.90 GHz with 1.10 GHz iGPU, 3MB L3 and a TDP of 35W; finally the Pentium G2360 which runs at 3.5 GHz, 1.10 GHz iGPU, 3MB L3 and a 53W TDP.
Further up the range are the HyperThreading enabled Core i3 chips, which includes the Core i3-4160 which features a 3.60 GHz clock, 1.15GHz iGPU, 3MB L3, 54W TDP; Core i3-4160T with 3.10 GHz clock, 1.15GHz iGPU, 3MB L3, 35W TDP; Core i3-4360T with 3.20 GHz clock, 1.15 GHz iGPU, 4MB L3, 34W TDP; and finally the Core i3-4370 which features a 3.8 GHz clock, 1.15 GHz iGPU, 4MB L3 and a 53W TDP.
The last one, the Core i3-4370 is easily to most exciting of the last, as these specifications make it the fastest dual-core CPU on the market, and it’ll certainly be interesting to see how it performs given its affordable $149 price tag.
Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.
The new ASUS RoG Maximus VII Formula and Maximus VII Formula/Watch_Dogs motherboard series has been revealed. Featuring the new Intel Z97 chipset the boards are based around the latest 4th and 5th generation Intel Core processors. That includes Haswell, Haswell Refresh, Haswell Refresh K-Series and Broadwell.
The Maximus VII Formula series supports dual-channel up to DDR 3300+ (OC) memory, and quad-GPU SLI and 3-way CrossFireX for gaming rigs with multiple graphics cards. The new motherboard series also includes two SATA Express and ten SATA 3.0 connectors, as well as eight USB 3.0 and six USB 2.0 ports – connectivity is certainly not going to be an issues here!
All the premium bells and whistles we’ve come to expect from the ASUS RoG series are here, as well as a few new additions. Hybrid cooling thanks to the CrossChill copper, high-end audio performance from the SupremeFX hardware, Intel Gigabit Ethernet, GameFirst II, LANGuard, Extreme Engine DIGI+ III, TrueVolt 5V, ROG Armor, as well as a multitude of ultra high quality components.
The standard VII Formula will come with the motherboard and usual accessories, while the Watch_Dogs bundle will also see a copy of Ubisofts latest title bundled along with it.
More details on release date and price are expected follow soon. Just keep in mind that this is a flagship board, so expect an eye-watering price tag to match its expectedly high-end performance.
Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.
Supercomputer manufacturer, Cray, is said to help the US guard its arsenal of nukes after winning a $174 million contract to provide a new supercomputer to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
The current supercomputer, a Cray XE6 called “Cielo”, is said to have 107,152 cores and a theoretical peak performance of a little over 1028 TFlops. The new supercomputer, which is a Cray XC super model going by the name of “Trinity”, is said to be connected to the company’s Sonexion storage at Los Alamos and is expected to provide 8x the power of the current XE6. The new supercomputer is said to be a joint project between “the New Mexico Alliance for Computing at Extreme Scale (ACES) at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories as part of the NNSA Advanced Simulation and Computing Program (ASC)”.
Trinity is said to be based on Intel’s Xeon Haswell processors and the upcoming “Knights Landing” Xeon Phi processors, boasting a 82 PB capacity and a design throughput of 1.7 TB per second. Its main purpose is to test the nuke arsenal’s safety, security, reliability and performance, in addition to conducting simulations of the US nuke stockpile in order to understand the weapons’ integrity as they age, while avoiding the need for underground detonations of devices.
Thank you The Register for providing us with this information
A month ago we brought you the news that Intel had been subsidising the use of its Haswell Celeron CPUs inside Chromebooks from major vendors like Acer, Samsung, and so on. We also revealed that this was to end in the near future: Intel had immediate plans to stop selling cut-price Haswell Celerons to vendors. In place of the subsidy program Intel was rumoured to start offering Bay Trail CPUs instead, it now appears that transition is happening. Acer’s latest Chromebook 11 is going to be offered with Intel’s Bay Trail Celeron N2830 CPU. This will be paired up with an 11.6 inch 1366 x 768 display, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of SSD storage, a USB 2.0 port, a USB 3.0 port, HDMI output and 3220 mAh battery. This Bay Trail powered Chromebook is retailing for €220 which is about $235 when you scrub out the 20% VAT Germans pay that Americans won’t. Chromebook buyers will now be faced with a fairly important choice: do they opt for the Bay Trail platform that is likely to give better battery life but less performance, or do they grab subsidised Haswell Celeron stock while it lasts which has worse battery life but dramatically better performance? One thing is for certain though, Acer’s Chromebooks will continue selling like hotcakes as long as the price is right!