If you're mulling over upgrading your system with one of Intel's new Core i5/7 CPUs and a P55 chipset-based motherboard when these parts launch just a few days from now, and you live in the UK, then you might want to consider a fantastic offer coming your way courtesy of MSI.
Come launch day, MSI will be knocking a massive 55 per cent off the asking price of its two range-topping boards. Consequently, the P55-GD65, with a suggested retail price of £139.99, will be made available for as little as £63! The top-end P55-GD80, meanwhile, would normally fetch £189 and could be yours during the promotion for just £85.50.
Sounds like a cracking deal, and MSI tells us it will offer the promotional prices on a limited quantity of stock - meaning the offer could last only hours. The promotion will run at SCAN*, Ebuyer, CCL and Overclockers, and we're told purchases will be limited to one board per customer.
Another day means another serving of speculation about AMD's DirectX 11 graphics boards - This time around, the subject of speculation is pricing.
We managed to learn some interesting details about the top-end, Radeon 5800 series. Unlike some inaccurate publications that toyed with the name "Radeon 7", the Radeon 5000 series is a natural continuation of trend started with X1K series.
The top dog carries the name Radeon HD 5870X2, and we are talking about single-PCB, dual-GPU card that will retail for cool $599. This is still $50 cheaper than GTX280 at the time of its debut [do you remember the outrageous $649?], but bear in mind that this is a top dog part.
For some odd reason, the $499 bracket will remain without a card. We expect that slot will be filled with a water-cooled edition of 5870, or more likely - 5870X2 once that nVidia launches their competing products. Afore mentioned Radeon HD 5870 is set to go on sale for $379-399, while the cheapest entry into the 5800 series, the Radeon HD 5850 is priced in the $279-299 bracket.
While much of the positive talk this generation may have surrounded AMD's Radeon HD 4800 series of graphics boards, NVIDIA's competing GeForce GTX 200 parts still have a lot to offer in their own right, particularly when matched up with some smart thinking on the part of AIB partners. Today, we take a look (for the first time on this site) at a graphics board from Sparkle, who have looked to add their own particular spin to the GeForce GTX 260 in terms of both clock speeds and cooling solution. Have they succeeded in creating a compelling offering? We check it out.
We spoke earlier about the slightly different way that the Calibre X265 handles its factory overclocks compared to a lot of similar graphics boards, and the image above is the reason why, for Sparkle's offering here ships with a very small, lightweight application named SPATune.
This little bit of software (which sets itself to run at start-up by default) allows you to choose between three clock speed profiles for your card - Standard Mode, which utilises NVIDIA's reference clocks, Overclock Mode, which uses the factory overclocked speeds we mentioned earlier, and Green Mode, which attempts to save power by reducing clock speeds below NVIDIA's reference clocks (to a core clock of 400MHz, shader clock of 800MHz and memory clock of 300MHz on this occasion). The application can also monitor GPU temperatures and fan speeds as well as reporting on clock speeds, and switching between performance profiles is as simple as clicking the option you require and confirming the selection.
If you haven't seen what NVIDIA's PhysX API has to offer in the soon to be released Batman: Arkham Asylum on the PC, either because you haven't checked out the demo or don't have an NVIDIA graphics board, then the graphics giant have now released a trailer showcasing the game's PhysX effects for your delectation. The question is - Is it enough to make you want to buy an NVIDIA GPU?
We're going to have to wait until next week to see Intel's Core i5 processors in action properly, but it appears that some system builders are already keen to give boxes based around these new CPUs some prominence.
One of the first out of the gate here in the UK is Novatech, who are now advertising their own Elite Pro system on their web site. This particular configuration features an as-yet unidentified Core i5 processor (to avoid NDA-related wrist-slaps I assume), 4GB of DDR3 memory and a GeForce GTX 260 amongst other things.
For more details, you can find Novatech's Elite PC range displayed on their web site here.
We've already heard and seen traces of Intel's plans to bring a six-core iteration of their Nehalem CPU architecture to desktop PCs at some point, but what of AMD? The latest speculation tends to suggest that we may be seeing a six-core Phenom II part at some point next year.
Several tech sites are referring to inside sources as confirming the presence on AMD's desktop processor roadmap of a six-core one, codenamed ‘Thuban', probably to be launched in the third quarter of next year.
Xbit labs reckons it will be socket AM3 compatible, will be branded Phenom II and be based around the Istanbul six core server processor design. It points out that Thuban is the name of a star in the Draco constellation and thus speculates whether AMD is indulging in a Dan Brown level of cryptic clues and intends Thuban for its Dragon platform.
I'm sure many of us have fond (and by fond, I mean terrifying) memories of the original Alien versus Predator game, and perhaps less slightly fond memories of its sequel (and let us never speak of the movies again). Is the time ripe for this game franchise to make a comeback? Rebellion think so, and the company's Tim Jones has been cornered and quizzed about his work on the title.
BT: You mentioned some of your other games, like Sniper Elite (which we’re big fans of, by the way), were you very anxious to get back to AvP or were those games part of an attempt to distance yourselves?
Tim: No, absolutely the former. We’ve been doing a lot of stuff in the mean time, but for me personally AvP has been a bit of an obsession of mine and I think that’s true for a lot of the people I work with. Especially my bosses, who’ve been working on reacquiring the rights to work on AvP for many years. It’s been a long-road coming, but it’s been a thrill getting there and, in the mean time, we love all our games and all other things geeky. Especially with 2000AD being part of our studio, which means we’ve got lots of cool stuff going on.
We've seen sound cards (or rather a sound card, from ASUS) promising to support bitstream audio from Blu-Ray discs over HDMI before, but now Auzentech have joined the fray with a part of their own, in the form of the HomeTheater HD.
These audio tracks are stored using one of two lossless compression algorithms: Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio. The content owners however were very nervous about putting these audio tracks on BDs, specifically allowing PC users access to them. After all, if you had unencrypted access to one of these tracks you could potentially...uh...idunno, turn them into MP3s? Stop going to the movies? I have no idea. Regardless, the studios were nervous and the result was a ridiculous requirement for security.
In order to play one of these tracks you have to properly implement what’s called a Protected Audio Path (PAP). I go into much greater detail about the encryption/decryption requirements for a PAP but you need OS, software, driver and hardware support for it. Windows Vista gave us OS support, ArcSoft and Cyberlink gave us software support and the GPU vendors gave us driver support - all we were lacking was the hardware.
The GPU vendors didn’t include support in their designs for a number of reasons, so no integrated or discrete graphics currently support sending these compressed audio streams over HDMI. Next year that will change, but for now it is what it is.
You can check out the full preview (and the mixed success that using this card brings) over at Anandtech.
AMD's been cooking up some very cool stuff ... if you were at QuakeCon you might have already seen a sneak peek.
Not sure if this is the best place to post this, but here goes ...
On the evening of September 10th in San Francisco, AMD would like to invite fans to join us for the unveiling of a new visual PC experience. Basically, I can't say exactly what you're going to see there, but I can tell you that we’ll be holding a big party with food, drink and tunes, very cool demos of unreleased games, incredible hardware set-ups you have to see to believe and a lot more.
Interested in joining us?? Send me an e-mail at MonicaAMD@gmail.com with the following details:
Name: Forum name: Age: City: Blog/website (if you have one):
I didn't know if anyone else was interested, but they are handing out invites if you're lucky enough to get one. You'll need to have a print-out of your invite to get in, so send in for one now if you're interested.
Oh yeah, I'm going. Hope to see a few people there I know.