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News of the day

  • The Core i7-920 on its last legs
  • A50 and A70 coolers from Corsair
  • Voyager GTR from Corsair
  • NVIDIA launches the ION 2
  • AMD launches its 890 GX
  • The Phenom II X6 official
  • CeBIT: 3 Radeon HD 5800 Twin Frozr IIs
  • CeBIT: demos of the Asus ARES and Matrix
  • CeBIT: an outing for the GF100
  • Archives

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     The Core i7-920 on its last legs
      Posted on 02/03/2010 at 14:18 by Marc
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    Following the launch of the Core i7-930 yesterday, Intel has announced that it will begin winding down production of the i7-920, on sale at $10 less. Intel’s clients will however be able to place orders for this processor up to September 24th 2010, for deliveries up to December 31st 2010 in box version and March 25th 2011 in OEM version.

     A50 and A70 coolers from Corsair
      Posted on 02/03/2010 at 10:45 by Marc
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    After more or less successfully moving into the “easy” watercooling sector with the Hydrocool in 2003, Corsair have announced two new fan coolers, the A50 and A70.

    The A50 has 3 heatpipes and measures 159.5 x 124.6 x 81.2mm, while the A70 and its 3 heatpipes has a width of 129mm. The first comes with one 120mm fan and the second with two. They function at either 1600 or 1200 RPM with an airflow of 50 or 61 CFM and noise levels of 26 or 31.5 dBA. The A50 and A70 are compatible with sockets LGA775, LGA1366, LGA1156, AM2 and AM3. While it all seems of good quality, we don’t see how Corsair will stand out from the numerous good products already on the market.

     Voyager GTR from Corsair
      Posted on 02/03/2010 at 10:34 by Marc
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    Referenced for several weeks now, the new range of Corsair Voyager GTR 32/64/128 GB keys is now official. Announced as very high performance, they give reads of up to 34 MB/s and writes of 28 MB/s. In practice, according to Corsair’s tests they’re 1.8x more rapid than a standard key for large files and up to 5.5x faster for small files. These speeds come at a price of course: around €300 for the 128 GB version.

     NVIDIA launches the ION 2
      Posted on 02/03/2010 at 10:17 by Marc
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    NVIDIA is making the most of CeBIT to launch its 2nd generation Ion, designed for the "Pine Trail" platform. Given that Intel has this time introduced the IGP into the processor, it was impossible for NVIDIA to adapt its chipset to the platform, as was the case with the GeForce 9400M and the first Atoms for the Ion "1". This new generation therefore takes the form of a GPU.

    It is this time neither more nor less than a GT218, a DX10.1 chip engraved at 40nm and already used in desktops in the GeForce 210 (16 CUDA cores at 1402 MHz, 512 MB of 500 MHz DDR2 64-bit) and 205 (8 CUDA cores) and netbooks in the GeForce 210M (16 CUDA cores at 1500 MHz, up to 1 GB of 500 MHz DDR2 / 800 MHz DDR3 64 bits), GeForce 305M (16 CUDA cores at 1150 MHz, up to 512 MB of 700 MHz DDR3) and GeForce 310M (16 CUDA cores at 1530 MHz, up to 512 MB of 800 MHz DDR3).

    With the new Ion, video memory can go up to 512 MB and be either DDR2 or DDR3. There will be two versions, one with 16 CUDA cores designed for 12" laptops and desktop PCs, the other with 8 for 10" laptops, but we don’t yet know the clocks. NVIDIA has announced that the fastest version will be from 50 to 100% faster than the previous generation.

    In its netbook version, it will be built in so as to make the most of the Optimus technology announced recently, that allows you to switch between the IGP and GPU on the fly. In practice it has to be remembered that it’s still the IGP that handles the display and that the images to be displayed are transmitted from the GPU via the PCI-Express. Unfortunately, the Intel NM10 southbridge only has 4 PCI-Express x1 lanes or 1 GB/s, and manufacturers will probably choose to use just one lane, or 250 MB/s, for the Ion. With this overload linked to the Optimus, PCI-Express bandwidth risks being saturated, which may have a negative impact on performance. Moreover, as Optimus is limited to Windows 7, the GPU may well not be usable at all with other operating systems.

    With this new version of the Ion, NVIDIA is therefore continuing to try to improve the Intel Atom platform, which you have to say is fairly limited in its standard version. Things have been made harder this time due to the architecture of the Pine Trail platform itself and it remains to be seen in practice if these constraints won’t overly limit the advantage offered by the Ion 2 on paper. Note also that, amusingly, NVIDIA will be offering additional cards at PCI-E x1 under the Ion label for Atom desktop platforms.

     AMD launches its 890 GX
      Posted on 02/03/2010 at 09:18 by Marc
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    Today AMD has launched its new chipset, the 890GX. The Northbridge 890 GX brings few innovations on the previous generation with its 16 PCI-Express 2.0 lanes configurable as 1x16 or 2x8, 6 additional PCI-E 2.0 lanes as well as a HyperTransport 3 link to the processor.

    In terms of graphics, what ATI is calling a Radeon 4290 is in fact a slightly faster version of the 4200 that is found in the 785G announced last August. No advance on the DirectX 10.1 chip then with the UVD 2.0, which allows it to accelerate several video flows at the same time and therefore picture-in-picture modes. Nor is there any increase on the 8 vec 5 processing units that are however clocked at 700 MHz here instead of 500 MHz. This GPU supports a Hybrid CrossFire mode with the Radeon 5450 increasing overall performance by around 25%, though it’s more of a gadget than anything else as performance will be a long way off what you need for gaming. Of course, in this case you’ll drop from DX11 functionality down to DX10.1.

    The most significant changes come in terms of the southbridge, where we go from the SB750 to the SB850. The bus linking it to the northbridge is now an ALink Express II, version III: still PCI-Express x4 type connectivity but with a 5 GT/s throughput per link here which doubles total bandwidth to 2 GB/s. The number of USB 2s goes from 12 to 14 and this time it includes a MAC Ethernet Gigabit. The SB850 supports 2 additonal PCI-Express 2.0 lanes and the main innovation comes in terms of the Serial ATA as it supports 6 SATA 6 Gbit/s ports, a first! Of course, for now, few components are compatible with this interface but one that is is the Crucial C300.

    With the 890 GX, AMD are giving us a much more balanced chipset than the Intel P55 as it isn’t limited by PCI-Express connectivity or that between the NB and SB. The only regret is the limited performance increase of the IGP, even if one should never expect miracles, and the lack of USB 3 which will necessitate an additional chip. The first motherboards should be in the shops in the days to come at under €150.

     The Phenom II X6 official
      Posted on 02/03/2010 at 08:50 by Marc
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    On the occasion of the launch of its new 890GX chipset that we’re going to tell you about shortly, AMD has just officially confirmed that its forthcoming 6-core processors will be called Phenom II X6.

    To recap, these processors should arrive in the month of May, two months after the launch of their Intel equivalents. Three versions will be out according to the latest rumours: 1075T, 1055T and 1035T, the clocks for which we unfortunately don’t yet have. TDP varies from 95 to 125.

    Note that on announcement of the 890 GX AMD said that the motherboards based on this chipset will be PHII X6 compatible: this doesn’t mean that the others won’t be, but indicates that compatibility won’t be systematic.

     CeBIT: 3 Radeon HD 5800 Twin Frozr IIs
      Posted on 02/03/2010 at 00:10 by Damien
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    MSI is showing a complete range of Radeon HD 5800 Twin Frozr IIs, from the Radeon HD 5870 to the Radeon HD 5830, including of course the Radeon HD 5850. All these cards are based on the same MSI specific PCB that is made using military class components to improve reliability, something which however still has to be proved, the “military class” argument obviously being an easy one to use.

    These 3 cards also use the same 5Gbps Samsung GDDR5 memory. While on the one hand using the same PCB simplifies things for MSI, you have to say that its cost is completely out of kilter with the Radeon HD 5830. The HD 5830 version is really only wothwhile if it comes in a very cheap version, which implies the use of a simpler PCB and cooling system.

     CeBIT: demos of the Asus ARES and Matrix
      Posted on 02/03/2010 at 00:01 by Damien
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    Asus is showing the ARES on its stand. We’ve already mentioned it here. This new high-end graphics card, which will only be produced in limited quantities, will succeed the MARS and will be, to recap, a Radeon HD 5870 X2, namely a Radeon HD 5970 at the same clocks as a Radeon HD 5870. Moreover, each GPU has 2 GB of memory. You need two 8-pin connectors and one 6-pin to power the beast (450 watts!)!

    In terms of connectivity, you have to make do with a DVI port, an HDMI and a DisplayPort. It looks as if there will be an HDMI to DVI adaptor in the bundle but we can only hope that Asus’ pricing won’t be too high and that it’ll also come with a DisplayPort to active DVI adaptor.

    The manufacturer is also showing the Radeon HD 5870 Matrix, which should soon be on sale. Asus seems however to have had difficulties in pushing the clocks on the Cypress GPU, in spite of the two 8-pin connectors, and has had to make do with 894 MHz, up from 850 MHz. For fans of high resolutions, it will come with 2 GB of GDDR5. In terms of connectivity, it’s identical to the ARES and we also hope that Asus will include an active adaptor to facilitate putting an Eyefinity system into place – something for the supplementary memory!

     CeBIT: an outing for the GF100
      Posted on 02/03/2010 at 00:00 by Damien
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    Before the show was even officially open, we spotted, on the Zotac stand, a system equipped with the GF100, NVIDIA’s forthcoming high-end GPU. The system allows a bit of gaming with the new NVIDIA tech demo, highlighting the capacities of the beast. It’s difficult to say however which card it was equipped with. A GeForce GTX 480? A GeForce GTX 470? Or a prototype that doesn’t especially match up with either of these? We reckon this is probably the case as a quick look at the inside of the system showed an “A3” label, which means the GPU is in principle an A3 version. According to our sources, this is the revision that will be commercialised and has been running in NVIDIA’s labs since the end of December.

    In terms of connectivity, the card was equipped with 2 DVI outs and a mini-HDMI out that will probably be accompanied by an adaptor to the standard format which is too wide for the DVI connectors.

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