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Category: Technology

Intel Devils Canyon header_edit

So Intel’s Haswell-E launch is just around the corner and there’s been some price indications for the first batches of DDR4 memory, but nothing on the processors. Well, that is until now. Some pre-launch prices for the Core i7-5820K and Core i7-5930K have popped up on the local market thanks to Wootware. Haswell-E also comes with the X99 platform which will be just as expensive as these puppies. Hit the jump to see the screenshots.

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System-builders-600-x-272

It’s the mid-range System Builders Guide for this week and we’re now seeing something rather strange, namely hiked-up GPU prices on the AMD Radeon camp. That presents a few problems with the smaller budgets and it’s a real headache when it comes to the high-end GPUs. Is something on the way? Is it Tonga? Is AMD preparing price drops? Who knows. All that I know is the price movements have forced another readjustment on my R11,000 build (which never stays in one piece) and on the higher budget which needs to stretch your wallet a bit. Hop in and see what your money could get you this week.

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DirectX 12 header

 While AMD carries on their work with Mantle, Microsoft’s engineers are toiling behind the scenes to complete work on DirectX 12, the company’s first attempt at a low-level API for the desktop market. DirectX 12 may be the biggest shift for Microsoft since DirectX 10 forced everyone to install Vista and they’re being very careful of how they handle this launch to ensure that more customers don’t shy away to other platforms.

In the past Intel has approached AMD about the Mantle specification in order to optimise their chips for it because it brings a big boost to battery life and performance in thermally constrained environments. Today, we get to look at some of the benefits that Intel is hoping to bring to the Windows platform with DirectX 12-compatible hardware.

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System-builders-600-x-272

Hello and welcome, gamers, to the bi-monthly System Builder’s guide, this time for the month of August. I’m publishing this half an hour out from Microsoft’s conference at Gamescom 2014, so it was a bit of a rush to get this done on time. Little has changed in the market since our last version of this guide back in June, although price drops and stock levels have changed the recommendations in some of the builds, most notably the death of the Radeon HD7950 as stock finally filters out from the retail channel. I’m actually thoroughly depressed at that – we won’t see the same kind of face-smashing GPU horsepower for under R3000 for a long time.

I also promise this month to not mope about the prices of AMD’s APUs which SHOULD be a hell of a lot cheaper than they are currently. Anyway, on with the builds!

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AMD Catalyst driver

It’s been a long time coming and AMD is pretty much ready to step away from the first generation graphics architecture that set them on their current course. Graphics Core Next debuted with the launch of the Radeon HD7970 on 9 January 2012.  It morphed into the HD7970 GHz edition before being cut down slightly and re-sold as the Radeon R9 280X. This is the first time that a GPU from AMD has lasted this long and it’s high time that a fresh set of hardware is launched. The next step on the way to GCN 2.0 is the R9 285 belonging to the Tonga GPU family and according to recent rumors and leaks, it’s going to be quite unlike the Tahiti-based R9 280/280X we’re normally used to.

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AMD-Radeon-R7-SSD

AMD seems to be working really hard to maintain a positive public image and one of the things it’s been doing recently is touting the advantages of an all-AMD system (yes, there are a few). But for the brand-obsessed, particularly if you like matching up hardware from the same vendor that’s supposed to gel well together, AMD has another piece of the PC puzzle under the Radeon brand – solid state drives made by OCZ.

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Apacer_Combo_SDIMM_01

Desktop memory hasn’t seen a big change in the last couple of years due to platform stagnation. There’s nothing very exciting about DDR3 these days and DDR4 is coming up in the next two months thanks to Intel’s Haswell-E launch. But it seems that Apacer has something that could change all that and they’ve gone out and done something really wacky – repurpose memory DIMM slots for flash and SSD storage! Hit the jump to find out more.

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Intel Haswell-E cooler stock (1)

Intel’s Haswell-E processors have a launch literally around the corner (September 2014, according to some reports on the internet) and things are shaping up to what is expected to be a big launch for the enthusiast market – it’ll be the first major change for Intel’s HEDT platform in three years following the launch of Sandy Bridge-E and the first real chance for anyone still running a Core i7-930 or higher to really see a big jump in performance.

Haswell-E dies are humongous, however. I fully expect that it’ll have a lot of cooling challenges to deal with and even Intel had to plan better for the extra heat these chips will produce. Their updated stock cooler for the LGA2011-3 socket gives us some idea of what we can reasonably expect from the new processors.

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AMD Kaveri analysis header 800x450

Although AMD’s Kaveri family has been available to the public for some time now, that’s only been in the form of the A10-7850K and the A10-7700K, two unlocked quad-core chips that pack a lot of processing power, but locally don’t have the kind of price-competitiveness that is required to make any inroads against Intel. Internationally it’s a different story, as AMD’s APUs with or without discrete graphics do very well in the budget markets, with the FX CPU lineup doing particularly well as budget workhorses and tweakable rigs. Today AMD finally announced the launch of the A10-7800, A8-7600 and the A6-7400K. Hit the jump to see what the fuss is about.

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ASRock X99 Killer

Intel’s Haswell-E platform is almost ready to launch and a lot of manufacturers and component producers are gearing up for the biggest switch in the PC landscape since the launch of DDR3 back in 2007. Haswell-E will launch with the brand new X99 chipset and the reworked LGA2011-3 socket, designed to house the massive six, eight and eventually twelve-core chips that Intel will be peddling to enthusiasts, gamers and professionals looking for the ultimate in speed and power. Although most board manufacturers have managed to not have their final designs leak, ASRock forgot all about their need to keep secrets and revealed their boards a little early during a special conference in Taiwan.

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