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Posts Tagged ‘Intel’

MSI Gaming series logo 600x

As the world gears up for a refresh on Intel’s Haswell processors (the majority of which don’t look that interesting) motherboard manufacturers are lining up their new products in preparation. While Haswell refresh brings nothing new to the table processor-wise, these new motherboards will pack in better hardware along with options to add in a M.2 solid state drive. Unlike m-SATA drives, M.2 uses the PCI-Express bus to speed up things considerably, going way beyond the current capabilities of SATA 3.

Plus, these new motherboards from MSI are dead sexy. I don’t know who’s designing them, but they are taking the “Gaming” range pretty seriously. Geek out on some extremely detailed hardware porn after the jump!

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intel-logo

Intel is almost at the ready for a slew of new processors to be fed into the consumer market, but they aren’t the ones you were probably hoping for – instead these processors are still based on the Haswell architecture. They still use regular thermal paste under the heatspreader. Clock speeds are still mostly the same. There won’t even be any new features on the CPUs themselves, although the new 9-series motherboard chipsets will pack in some interesting storage options. Intel should be shipping the “refreshed” processors this week with availability in mid-May 2014.

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According to sources close to Japanese retailer Hermitage Akibara, retailers and distributors across the world will be gearing up for a 10 May 2014 launch for the Haswell refresh processors and LGA1150 motherboards packing the 9-series chipset. Intel has not officially announced any launch dates for their new family of processors, however they are planning to launch them at a later date this year, with the X99 socket LGA2011-3 platform launching in 2H 2014, packing DDR4 support for the first time for consumer applications. The 9-series chipsets will add support for M.2 solid state drives, Intel Boot Guard for UEFI and full SATA 6GB/s support on most motherboards.

Source: Hermitage Akibara (via Techpowerup)

System-builders-600-x-272

The System Builder’s Guide has been around for roughly two years. I started writing this bi-monthly column in March of 2012 and before that I contributed to the System Builder’s thread on the NAG Forums together with JP “Chevron” Dormehl since its inception in 2009. I’ve been writing and compiling these guides ever since and it’s mostly been unchanged in the presentation – a wall of text, some options in green highlights that were linked and a little total at the bottom. Starting from this month to coincide with the April issue of NAG Magazine’s 2014 revamp, I’m switching the look a little bit to something that’s easier to understand and nicer to look at. I can’t promise there won’t be walls of text but I can promise it will be prettier. Follow me after the jump!

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intel-logo

Intel is gearing up for the release of a refresh of the Haswell family as well as the introduction of socket LGA 2011-3 and a bunch of new chipsets. These chipsets belong to the 9-series family and will start with the Z97 high-end chipset, the H97 mid-range chipset and the holy-hell-expensive X99 platform, which will be the first ever consumer product to support DDR4 memory. Its going to be a busy year for big blue and this is only the beginning of a very rapid series of changes to the way things are currently being done. Hit the jump to find out more about the hearts of the new 9-series motherboards due out in 2H 2014.

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85a

The dearth of motherboards available for Intel’s Haswell CPU family is pretty incredible – from all vendors and board partners there are several choices for the H81, H87, B85, Q85, Q87 and Z87 chipsets that it becomes a mini-game to sort out which one you need and what features you want or can do without. Sometimes it feels like having a 21-sided die would be useful to narrow things down a bit. Well, we’re going to need a bigger die because ASUS has just sent in their “Gamer” offering to fight off one of the most competitive segments for Haswell motherboards – midrange “gaming motherboards” – with the B85-Pro Gamer.

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ram-modules

Despite the fact the DDR4 memory is already available for the server market and Intel’s Haswell-E platform will have support for it, DDR3 is still alive and kicking, as well as going up in price ever other week. Still, the issue remains that for many professionals and gamers they just can’t possibly cram in enough memory into their tiny ITX-sixed rigs with two tiny DIMM slots and crevices which only a child’s hands can reach. The JEDEC Solid State Technology Association has come up with an answer for this in the form of newer, bigger, far more expensive modules. 

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AMD-Mantle-header-grey

AMD’s Mantle might be the only API currently fighting the good fight for gamers to get more performance out of their hardware but it appears that AMD has done what it originally set out to do and at a much quicker pace as well – it’s woken up the slumbering DirectX and OpenGL giants to start looking at how to optimise performance for modern hardware, particularly now that Mantle shows that it’s possible to run a Radeon R9 290X on a lowly Intel Core i3 processor and not bottleneck it hugely.

At the upcoming Game Developer’s Conference taking place in San Francisco in March 2014, AMD, Microsoft, Intel and Nvidia will all be sitting down for a chat about driver overhead and unlocking higher performance.

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System-builders-600-x-272

Its a little overdue because things are piling up on me now (a write-up about the GTX Titan Black, a mouse review and a few other planned columns) but here it is, the final episode of the System Builder’s Guide for February. We’re looking at the high-end market again and it’s getting into eye-watering levels now. Unfortunately, it looks like the weaker Rand has affected things even more in the higher-end markets and everything this month sees a big price hike. Some of the price hikes are scary while other components don’t see a lot of change. Ultimately, it means that you’ll have to spend more time debating on which hardware you need and which you’ll actually use and compromise on things a lot more in order to stay under budget.

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System-builders-600-x-272

Eish! Another System Builder’s Guide! Man, I don’t know about you guys but the drool is beginning to pile up on my keyboard, mostly because I cannot upgrade my rig for at least another year. This week we’re into the mid-range segment where we enter into a price/performance war. Ultimately, R13,000 is still the sweet-spot for most buyers but prices have shifted dramatically in the last two months. Just yesterday I was helping out a fellow NAGling on the forums with a build for R13k and the end result where I’d tried to squeeze out as much as I could resulted in a very compromised build.

That being said, at least the price increases are manageable and I don’t have to raise or go over the budget too much to fit things in properly. Let’s see what we ended up with this week.

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