Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Press Release: OCZ Technology Launches 4GB Dual Channel Memory Kits and Complete Memory Lineup for Vista Systems

OCZ* released a hefty amount of memory, targetted for those transitioning from Windows* XP* to Windows* Vista*. It makes perfect sense, since Windows* XP* can not fully optimized 4GB because of its 32bit architecture. However, there's also a 32bit version of Vista but that's not the topic of this post ;). Hooray for such a nifty kit, I'd love to have one for my system. Expand to read the full press release.

Sunnyvale, CA—January 30, 2007—OCZ Technology Group, a worldwide leader in innovative, ultra-high performance and high reliability memory, today announced their Vista Value Upgrade series which includes the highly anticipated 4GB (2x2048MB) dual channel kit. The new lineup of memory is optimized for perfect compatibility for those transitioning from Microsoft Windows® XP to Vista™.

OCZ is dedicated to providing memory solutions for the latest industry milestones, and the Vista launch is the ideal platform for OCZ to provide a necessary system component for all Vista advocates. The OCZ Vista Upgrade series was developed to convert a sluggish recently upgraded system into a superior computing experience ensuring the best possible gaming and productivity on Vista systems.

The OCZ Vista Upgrade series will be available in both DDR2-667 and DDR2-800. For gamers shifting to Vista and who prefer the performance of high speed memory, the PC2-6400 Vista Upgrade 2GB kit is the ultimate upgrade from 1GB of RAM. As a Vista up-grader, the PC2-5400 4GB dual channel kit will provide maximum memory bandwidth and deliver the most efficient operation possible.

“With the arrival of Vista consumers will now be able to take advantage of a new level of multimedia, gaming, and productivity when paired with the right hardware,” commented Jacky Huang, VP of Product Management, OCZ Technology. “For the optimal experience, OCZ is excited to release our new Vista Upgrade series of modules which have gone through the strictest testing with the full spectrum of Vista versions to deliver a perfect balance of memory performance and stability across the full range of applications.”

Each memory module features a proprietary OCZ XTC (Xtreme Thermal Convection) heatspreader for the most effective heat dissipation. Furthermore, each OCZ Vista Upgrade module is 100% hand-tested for quality assurance and compatibility and is backed by an industry leading OCZ Lifetime Warranty and technical support for unparalleled peace of mind.

For more information on the OCZ PC2-5400 Vista Upgrade 4GB Kit, please visit our product page here.

For more information on the OCZ PC2-6400 Vista Upgrade 2GB Kit, please visit our product page here.

Source:OCZ Technology Launches 4GB Dual Channel Memory Kits and Complete Memory Lineup for Vista Systems

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Brag: Mobile Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme Edition?

The naughty folks at HKEPC posted some cool stuff about Intel roadmap. It would seem that Intel is planning to release an uber processor for mobile use! Woah, that's crazy stuff. While I know some would think "why would a laptop user buy that", it is important to note that while the processor is "mobile", it can actually be used as a desktop processor on specialized platform.

If anyone hasn't heard of MoDT (Mobile on Desktop), this is one platform where I see such processor being offered. Of course, mobile warriors who love to game on their laptop anytime rather than stucked on their bulky desktop will also benefit.

This processor is also good for custom-made high-end computing, such as a multimedia enconding device portable and small enough not to clutter a table. I am so excited about this new prouduct. Check out the specs and price below (click image for full picture).

Source:Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme Edition for laptop?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Tech Link (Cooler): Thermalright HR-07 Memory Cooler Review

Insane Crustaceans have posted a short review of Thermalright*'s memory cooler which I posted sometime ago. I think these are just for looks rather than performance, so I agree with the award that they extended to the device. Read up to check out what reward it is.

Conclusive Thoughts
All in all the results of the Thermalright HR-07 are extremely good, this cooler really makes an additional fan to blow over your memory unnecessary, or alternatively, can make you cool your ram to new extends, for even higher overclock results.

The only real drawback of the cooler is the fact that the standard heat spreaders of your memory have to be removed before you can possibly install the HR-07. This not only voids the warranty of your memory, but is a hassle to do as well, and you seriously risk damaging your memory sticks when you're not careful.

Therefore I applaud Thermalright's efforts to bring the coolers to the memory manufacturers as an OEM part, as I think these coolers can certainly help to bring your memory to the next level. But then again, if you're into memory overclocking, or if you're a modding enthusiast and got some older ram without heat spreaders lying around, or if you don't mind taking them off, you should really have a look at the new Thermalright offering.

Price wise the new HR-07 can be had for around $25 (froogle), which is not very cheap as you'll need to buy two for dual channel operation. On the other hand, after market, simple heat spreaders used to cost $10-$15 as well, and a fan would set you back another $10.

In the end, here's my take on the Thermaltake HR-07 memory cooler:

+ Excellent passive cooling performance compared to standard solutions
+ Brings active cooling performance to the next level
+ An "extreme" look that should appeal to case modders
+ Easy installation (once you get the old HSP's off)
+ Excellent quality and finish
- Not very cheap (around $50 for dual channel kit)
- Possible clearance issues with large CPU coolers
- Risk of damaging and voiding warranty of your memory when removing the stock HSP

Source:Thermalright HR-07 Memory Cooler Review

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Press Release: Intel's Transistor Technology Breakthrough Represents Biggest Change to Computer Chips In 40 Years

I posted yesterday the on-slaught of Penryn-related articles and links, and now that I have official word from Intel, I am posting the full press release and other relevant information.

You'll see that Intel actually made more and more announcements publicly and officially since last year of November (though they have been mentioning it way earlier than that). And just this month, prior to this current announcement, they've made one earlier announcement making the computing world really excited of what Intel can do and what Intel can offer now and in the future. So enough of my blabbering, expand for more.

Intel's Transistor Technology Breakthrough Represents Biggest Change to Computer Chips In 40 Years
Intel Producing First Processor Prototypes With New, Tiny 45 Nanometer Transistors, Accelerating Era of Multi-Core Computing
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 27, 2007 – In one of the biggest advancements in fundamental transistor design, Intel Corporation today revealed that it is using two dramatically new materials to build the insulating walls and switching gates of its 45 nanometer (nm) transistors. Hundreds of millions of these microscopic transistors – or switches – will be inside the next generation Intel® Core™ 2 Duo, Intel Core 2 Quad and Xeon® families of multi-core processors. The company also said it has five early-version products up and running -- the first of fifteen 45nm processor products planned from Intel.

The transistor feat allows the company to continue delivering record-breaking PC, laptop and server processor speeds, while reducing the amount of electrical leakage from transistors that can hamper chip and PC design, size, power consumption, noise and costs. It also ensures Moore's Law, a high-tech industry axiom that transistor counts double about every two years, thrives well into the next decade.

Intel believes it has extended its lead of more than a year over the rest of the semiconductor industry with the first working 45nm processors of its next-generation 45nm family of products – codenamed "Penryn." The early versions, which will be targeted at five different computer market segments, are running Windows* Vista*, Mac OS X*, Windows* XP and Linux operating systems, as well as various applications. The company remains on track for 45nm production in the second half of this year.

Intel's Transistors Get a "High-k and Metal Gate" Make-Over at 45nm
Intel is the first to implement an innovative combination of new materials that drastically reduces transistor leakage and increases performance in its 45nm process technology. The company will use a new material with a property called high-k, for the transistor gate dielectric, and a new combination of metal materials for the transistor gate electrode.

"The implementation of high-k and metal materials marks the biggest change in transistor technology since the introduction of polysilicon gate MOS transistors in the late 1960s," said Intel Co-Founder Gordon Moore.

Transistors are tiny switches that process the ones and zeroes of the digital world. The gate turns the transistor on and off and the gate dielectric is an insulator underneath it that separates it from the channel where current flows. The combination of the metal gates and the high-k gate dielectric leads to transistors with very low current leakage and record high performance.

"As more and more transistors are packed onto a single piece of silicon, the industry continues to research current leakage reduction solutions," said Mark Bohr, Intel senior fellow. "Meanwhile our engineers and designers have achieved a remarkable accomplishment that ensures the leadership of Intel products and innovation. Our implementation of novel high-k and metal gate transistors for our 45nm process technology will help Intel deliver even faster, more energy efficient multi-core products that build upon our successful Intel Core 2 and Xeon family of processors, and extend Moore's Law well into the next decade."

For comparison, approximately 400 of Intel's 45nm transistors could fit on the surface of a single human red blood cell. Just a decade ago, the state-of-the-art process technology was 250nm, meaning transistor dimensions were approximately 5.5 times the size and 30 times the area of the technology announced today by Intel.

As the number of transistors on a chip roughly doubles every two years in accordance with Moore's Law, Intel is able to innovate and integrate, adding more features and computing processing cores, increasing performance, and decreasing manufacturing costs and cost per transistor. To maintain this pace of innovation, transistors must continue to shrink to ever-smaller sizes. However, using current materials, the ability to shrink transistors is reaching fundamental limits because of increased power and heat issues that develop as feature sizes reach atomic levels. As a result, implementing new materials is imperative to the future of Moore's Law and the economics of the information age.

Intel's High-k, Metal Gate Recipe for 45nm Process Technology
Silicon dioxide has been used to make the transistor gate dielectric for more than 40 years because of its manufacturability and ability to deliver continued transistor performance improvements as it has been made ever thinner. Intel has successfully shrunk the silicon dioxide gate dielectric to as little as 1.2nm thick – equal to five atomic layers – on our previous 65nm process technology, but the continued shrinking has led to increased current leakage through the gate dielectric, resulting in wasted electric current and unnecessary heat.

Transistor gate leakage associated with the ever-thinning silicon dioxide gate dielectric is recognized by the industry as one of the most formidable technical challenges facing Moore's Law. To solve this critical issue, Intel replaced the silicon dioxide with a thicker hafnium-based high-k material in the gate dielectric, reducing leakage by more than 10 times compared to the silicon dioxide used for more than four decades.

Because the high-k gate dielectric is not compatible with today's silicon gate electrode, the second part of Intel's 45nm transistor material recipe is the development of new metal gate materials. While the specific metals that Intel uses remains secret, the company will use a combination of different metal materials for the transistor gate electrodes.

The combination of the high-k gate dielectric with the metal gate for Intel's 45nm process technology provides more than a 20 percent increase in drive current, or higher transistor performance. Conversely it reduces source-drain leakage by more than five times, thus improving the energy efficiency of the transistor.

Intel's 45nm process technology also improves transistor density by approximately two times that of the previous generation, allowing the company to either increase the overall transistor count or to make processors smaller. Because the 45nm transistors are smaller than the previous generation, they take less energy to switch on and off, reducing active switching power by approximately 30 percent. Intel will use copper wires with a low-k dielectric for its 45nm interconnects for increased performance and lower power consumption. It will also use innovative design rules and advanced mask techniques to extend the use of 193nm dry lithography to manufacture its 45nm processors because of the cost advantages and high manufacturability it affords.

Penryn Family Will Bring More Energy Efficient Performance
The Penryn family of processors is a derivative of the Intel Core microarchitecture and marks the next step in Intel's rapid cadence of delivering a new process technology and new microarchitecture every other year. The combination of Intel's leading 45nm process technology, high-volume manufacturing capabilities, and leading microarchitecture design enabled the company to already develop its first working 45nm Penryn processors.

The company has more than 15 products based on 45nm in development across desktop, mobile, workstation and enterprise segments. With more than 400 million transistors for dual-core processors and more than 800 million for quad-core, the Penryn family of 45nm processors includes new microarchitecture features for greater performance and power management capabilities, as well as higher core speeds and up to 12 megabytes of cache. The Penryn family designs also bring approximately 50 new Intel SSE4 instructions that expand capabilities and performance for media and high-performance computing applications.

Click here to go to Intel's 45nm Transistor Technology Virtual Press Kit

Source:Intel's Transistor Technology Breakthrough Represents Biggest Change to Computer Chips In 40 Years

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tech Link (Industry): Penryn, technology, rumors, and preview

I have a bunch of links, all of them came from a fellow forumer, ame, about this new technology process for the upcoming processor. Aside from the process shrink, new technology used for such process such as high-k, the more mundane but very attractive to the enthusiasts is the rebirth of HT (hyper threading).

While I'll list all the other links, I'd really like you to go visit bit-tech for their nice article, which I'll quote here. Expand to read more and check out other resources.

On top of the new instructions, there are also new power management features, higher clock speeds and larger cache sizes. The dual-core Penryn processors will have up to 6MB of L2 cache, while the quad-core Penryn processors will come with up to 12MB of L2 cache – that’s a 50% increase over the Conroe and Kentsfield cores that come with 4MB and 8MB of L2 cache respectively.

Source:Intel 45nm technology overview

::Other Resources::
AMDTech: Intel Demonstrates new 45nm Transistors and Conroe's Successor
PCPer: Intel Demos 45nm Up an Running

Friday, January 26, 2007

Misc: Here's k|ngp|n, on his commercial!

For those who sent me email asking if I have the video of the overclock breaking 100k in 3DMark01, well I honestly don't know where to get it or if there's even one. However, I do have his commercial, that actually shows Intel's processor! Here's the video, YouTube way! Enjoy!

Tech Link (GPU): Real-World Gaming CPU Comparison with 8800 GTX SLI

[H] has some hot article posted about gaming experience. I never liked their reviews anymore, but I guess I like Intel processor winning so I am posting this tech news. Expand if you like to read their analysis...

Gameplay Analysis
From our experiences playing at 2560x1600 on the Dell 3007WFP 30” LCD with two BFGTech GeForce 8800 GTXs in SLI we can definitely see a trend. Quite simply the AMD Athlon 64 FX-62 is bottlenecking the 8800 GTX SLI to varying degrees. In Flight Simulator X and Medieval II: Total War we find it bottlenecking SLI to a very high degree. The Intel Core 2 Duo X6800 allowed us to obtain “free” 8X AA on the BFGTech GeForce 8800 GTX SLI in Flight Simulator X and also run at the “Medium High” scenery setting. With the AMD Athlon 64 FX-62 we had to lower the AA setting to 2X AA and reduce the scenery settings.

In Medieval II: Total War we experienced a smoother gameplay experience with the Intel Core 2 Duo X6800, especially with thousands of characters onscreen at the same time. With the AMD Athlon 64 FX-62 we had to reduce the character detail as well as the antialiasing setting. These two games were by far the largest differences we saw between both platforms. They greatly demonstrate how SLI needs a fast CPU to feed it at high resolutions.

We also saw a distinct performance difference in Oblivion. However, it was not enough to impact our visual quality settings. The gameplay experience was “smoother” on the Intel Core 2 Duo X6800 and the framerates did not drop down as low, but the game was still playable on the AMD Athlon 64 FX-62. It is very impressive to see Oblivion at 2560x1600 with 2X AA and HDR with maximum in-game settings; this really shows the power that 8800 GTX SLI can provide in games.

Battlefield 2142 also showed us a distinct performance difference, but the framerates were so high that it didn’t matter. We were consistently experiencing framerates above 60 FPS with the AMD Athlon 64 FX-62 at 2048x1536 with 16X TR SSAA. That is quite incredible; 16X TR SSAA at 2048x1536 and above 60 FPS! F.E.A.R. Extraction Point, Need for Speed Carbon and World of Warcraft showed us smaller differences that simply translated to no true differences in-game.

Do we need more graphics memory?

In this evaluation, especially under Oblivion and some other games, we talked about some odd performance experiences. We said that at certain very high settings we experienced a “choppy” or “laggy” feeling in the game even though the framerate indicated playable framerates. It may be that the games are able to render fast enough with 8800 GTX SLI but it may not be able to dump that information to video card memory fast enough, or, it may be running out of framebuffer space on the video card. Could it be that 768 MB of RAM on the video card is simply not enough for certain settings like 2560x1600 4X AA in Oblivion or motion blur being enabled in Need for Speed Carbon?

It may very well not be enough considering how much demand is on the memory at those settings. Perhaps 1 GB or more of graphics memory on video cards doesn’t sound so unorthodox now. Certainly it may not benefit single-GPU video cards as much right now, but with two 8800 GTXs in SLI running at 2560x1600 1 GB or more of graphics card RAM per video card, with more memory bandwidth may just be the ticket for letting the 8800 GTX GPU in SLI really shine. We saw the framerates it can render, but we just can’t play at those levels yet with the current bottlenecks, whatever they may be.

Source:Real-World Gaming CPU Comparison with 8800 GTX SLI

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tech Link (Motherboard): MSI P965 Platinum Motherboard – Great OC without huge price

I took a look at TweakTown and notice their nice review. It's a mouthful, so ready your favorite snacks before reading the article. They are mighty impressed with the board, if price/performance is the factor. Check it out, it might also be the board you are looking to partner with your processor.

Final Thoughts
Intel’s P965 chipset has really shown us lately there is really no great point in getting a more expensive 975X chipset based motherboard but why? P965 has native DDR-2 800 memory support, its FSB overclocking potential is usually higher and it supports more peripherals on the ICH8 Southbridge. With Crossfire reorganisation from ATI, it has all the features of the 975X and more.

MSI’s second P965 motherboard they have sent us left a much sweeter taste in our mouths. The cheaper P965 Neo that was originally sent to us really should not have been considered, however, we can say that the P965 Platinum has some major pull here and it’s quite a capable product. And it’s really not that much more expensive than the Neo version.

One of the major benefits of the MSI P965 Platinum (around $195 AUD) over the Gigabyte DQ6 is its price. It’s pretty well close to half the price of the feature-packed and overclocking monster DQ6 (around $335 AUD) but with a couple PCI Express x16 slots to support Crossfire and some very decent FSB overclocking, this motherboard from MSI is definitely a very good motherboard for the price.

It lacks some of the kicks and thrills of the more expensive motherboards on the market at the moment but if you’re looking for a no fuss motherboard for your Core 2 processor that will provide very good overclocking and most of the features you will need without the huge price tag, MSI have answered your prayers.

- Pros
Price is very good – 40% cheaper than DQ6
Crossfire Ready
Good overclocking results
Quad Core support
Silent passive cooling
Plenty of room around the CPU for large heatsinks

- Cons
Placement of the onboard power connectors could reduce airflow

Source:MSI P965 Platinum Motherboard – Great OC without huge price

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Tech Link (Cooler): Thermaltake Spirit RS

It would have been a Press Release kind of posting, but it seems that Thermalright* has nothing to "announce" about their newly released product.

The new product is a memory cooler, with heatpipe and fins. It reminds me of the newly released Thermalright HR-07 RAM Cooler. Anyway, both of them looked cool, but I prefer the Thermalright one because of the all-silver (or nickel?) themed cooler.

This will render some of those over-the-ram-fan coolers somehow, well, obsolete. The question is, is it really needed on typical memory overclock. I guess if you're the type who likes putting more than 2.4v on your DDR2 or has a knack for anything heatpipe with fins, this one will satisfy that hunger.

Source:Thermaltake Spirit RS

Tech Link (Gadget): Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-500 MCE Review

I normally am not interested with TV card, since I rarely watch TV using my HTPC but if you are looking for one, VH has a good article posted.

There is no doubt that this Christmas, a lot of the readers out there got some nice, high end computer gear. But what about some of the extra gear we have that is still very useful, along with the new stuff we have? How about creating a HTPC or a PVR? Most of us have the hardware and power requirements to do such a thing, but may be missing one key component, like a way to get a TV signal into the computer. Well, this is where the Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-500 MCE from Directron comes into play. The WinTV-PVR-500 is a Plug and Play TV tuner support for Windows XP Media Center Edition. Live TV is accessible from the built-in 125 channel cable ready TV tuner, plus composite/S-Video and audio inputs to connect to a cable TV-set top box or satellite receiver. It lets you pause Live TV with instant replay, fast forward and rewind, and has built-in dual hardware MPEG-2 encoders. Records up to two TV channels at the same time to disk, using from 1-2 Gigabytes of disk space per hour of recorded video. While recording, the WinTV-PVRs' hardware MPEG encoder does all the work, so your PC continues to run at full speed. It also includes a Microsoft-certified Media Center remote control to control all Media Center functions, plus includes an IR transmitter to control the channels on a cable TV set top box or satellite receiver. The WinTV-PVR-500 is also Windows Vista supported.

Source:Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-500 MCE Review

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Brag: P4 631@8000mhz (8GHz)

An overclocker group named Thugs has taken the world record overclock of an Intel processor in terms of pure clock frequency, highest overclock for that processor, and highest FSB for the same processor. I honestly don't know these boyz, but hey, they have a CPU-Z validation so who am I to complain :). Click on the CPU-Z image to be taken to the validation link. Expand to read more...

Hi men,
yesterday we and our dear friend qballe tested again our golden p4 631, with a fullmod P5B; the results are simply awesome!here the setup

-p4 631 alien
-Asus p5b dlx full mod
-2 x1Gbyte Cellshock (1 giga Adata for max screen)
-Ali PC P&C 1kw

wr taken

Source:ThuG strikes again!p4 631@8000mhz

Tech Link (Motherboard): Intel P965: abit AB9 QuadGT

AMDTech got busy and gave their first impression experience with the new motherboard from Abit*. While the board seems to perform, AMDTech are still torn between giving it an uber board or just typical board. Check out their review...

First Impressions

abit has done a wonderful job in the design and inclusion of high quality components on the AB9 QuadGT when compared to the AB9 Pro. The layout, feature set, performance, and BIOS options obviously place this board at or near the top of the Intel P965 product offerings. We really like the board and were impressed with its overall performance. In fact, the board just seems to be light years ahead of the AB9 Pro, but an otherwise excellent design is ruined by an immature BIOS. The issues we discovered during testing make us wonder if the light is on at abit's quality assurance department. We have briefly described some of the problems we faced during testing but there are more.

In our USB testing we found if the BIOS was changed from USB Keyboard or Mouse support via OS to BIOS then Windows XP would refuse to load if it was installed or if we tried a new installation from the CD drive. Additional USB testing revealed that any USB drive attached that is not a bootable device will result in the same behavior with XP not loading.

During storage drive testing we noticed the board would not run our Optical drives in DMA mode and defaulted to PIO mode regardless of how the JMicron controller was setup when utilizing the latest firmware and driver updates on our test image. We had to complete a new XP SP2 install with the JMicron controller setup as a RAID device in the BIOS and load the driver set via the F6 command in order to get DMA support for the Optical drives.

We also noticed IDE support from the JMicron controller was not available if we were using a RAID setup on the Intel ICH8R controller. We have noticed this before on other motherboards utilizing the JMicron chipset. However, this issue has generally been solved so we expect abit to have a solution shortly. For now, we recommend purchasing a SATA DVD drive and turning off the JMicron controller altogether unless you need the e-SATA support.

The JMicron fiascoes have hit every board manufacturer at one time or another and if you want to blame somebody then start at the doorstep of Intel for shipping a chipset without native IDE support before the market was ready for it. Of course, the motherboard suppliers could have opted for the VIA IDE controller that Biostar uses without issue, but then e-SATA or additional SATA port availability would not be on the option list. Considering most people would rather have at least one solid IDE controller rather than a couple more SATA ports that they often won't use, Biostar's decision seems to make the most sense, even if it doesn't look as good on the feature table comparisons.

Our retail sample was also delivered with the incorrect I/O panel shield so it appears to us that somebody was sleeping or watching Oprah during the packaging operation. Besides the issues listed above and the ones mentioned during the article we have to say the worst offense committed by abit is the memory voltage setting issue with the µGuru utility. The inability of the current µGuru application to correctly read and display the memory voltages set in the BIOS could directly lead to product failure as in our example.

Normally, we test each option and software switch and then reboot to ensure the BIOS setting matches the application in use. Unfortunately, after using version three of this application for the past few weeks we trusted it would work correctly. Instead of checking each setting before starting our benchmarks we assumed our memory voltage settings were correct after increasing our voltage slightly during the overclocking stability tests. We will no longer assume that µGuru and the abit BIOS are working in tandem before we start our test sessions. Needless to say, frying memory that costs over twice as much as the motherboard being reviewed was not a pleasant experience.

Overall, our initial experiences with the AB9 QuadGT have led us into a love and hate relationship with the board. We love the layout, performance, stability, and overall quality of the motherboard. This motherboard has tremendous potential and is a board we want to own for a long time. We hate the obviously early release of the product and the issues encountered to date as they should not be occurring. Several of the issues discovered in our initial testing can be blamed on an immature BIOS release and should be solved quickly, but we have to wonder why these issues even exist. It seems as if part of abit did not learn from the AB9 Pro launch while others took those same issues to heart and solved them. This situation reminds us of an old saying, "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." After spending a few days with this product we can attest this saying has never been truer.

Source:Intel P965: abit AB9 QuadGT

Monday, January 22, 2007

Tech Link (Overlock): Overclocking Guide Part 3: How To Gain 81% For $27

THG posted the third part of their overclocking guide. They did use a catchy title this time, so if you're interested and "caught", check it out...

We did a risk to benefit analysis, considered some of the best values in overclockable platforms, and now we're ready to "do the deed": pushing a low-cost Core 2 Duo system to its maximum performance level. As we detail each step, we'll avoid those that would lead to early system failure, staying away from excessive voltage or heat levels.

Source:Overclocking Guide Part 3: How To Gain 81% For $27

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Press Release: Get Ready for i-Chill !

One of my favorite brand because it is available locally, Inno3D, is releasing a nice new video card based on their “i-Chill” series. This means they will employ custom made cooling (versus reference), improve system acoustics and thermal dissipation, better packaging, more stable components such as solid capacitors and gold-plated DVI connector, and superb overclockability. Now, that's something to look forward to! Expand to read more...

Hong Kong 19th January 2007 – InnoVISION™ Multimedia Limited introduces a prestige new range in 2007 – the Inno3D® “i-Chill” series for state-of-the-art top quality performance to target the thirsty gamers who are always craving for more. The strong demand for high performance graphics is becoming extremely fierce in the market and to target these gamers “i-Chill” is the only solution.

“i-Chill” offers an amazing 3 years warranty that consists of top quality solid capacitor for stable power voltage and advanced durability. We have gathered a team of experts to manufacturer a never before seen top quality graphics range and included a unique Gold plated DVI connector that allows better signal quality and less oxidization.

The “i-Chill” range is built with enhanced overclocking, systematic noise reduction and custom made cooling solutions. We have joined forces with industry’s top thermal cooling leaders and created innovating new designs.

Our creative team has designed a new brand logo and packaging in order to target the enthusiast market to our innovating new range. The eye catching image will build stronger brand awareness and lead us to achieve a prestige differentiation from our competitors.

So make sure your geared up to play all the latest games in 2007 with the extraordinary “i-Chill” series that is ready for DX10 and Microsoft Windows Vista. With more speed and advance cooling, gaming will never be the same once you have tried the “i-Chill” series. For more information please visit our website or

Source:Get Ready for i-Chill !

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Brag: XUG 2007 @ Intel (Pooling the world's greatest enthusiasts and overclockers in one room)

If you're an unbeliever that Intel doesn't hear gamer inputs, nor do they really care about what the enthusiasts wants (and needs), better check out a thread posted over at XtremeSystems. As posted, Intel invited the top enthusiasts around the world to discuss alot of things, focusing on understanding the needs of such community.

Among the big names, they invited the uber Intel FanBoy FUGGER (XS owner), BigToe (Tony of OCZ), The Stilt (world reknown 3D, CPU and mobo bencher and modder), Chilly1 (uber cascade specialist), and FreeCableGuy (world reknown 3D, CPU and mobo bencher and modder). They did invite Hipro5 (electronics engineer genius, uber motherboard modder) but he wasn't able to attend.

The two-day meeting had a face-to-face with Intel staff and discussed so many things, from BIOS options, to motherboard design, to chipset timing and the coveted GTL reference mod, check FCG's info about this mod here. Expand to read the full scoop.

Xtreme User Group meeting 2007 was a sucess , Intel invited several of the top guys from around the world, They were flown in and had their brain picked for two days to give Intel feedback to improve the desktop platform and give the enthusiasts the features we love.

First up and most exciting is the GTL reference mod, it will allow the needed adjustments to Intel 975x chipsets to run the Kentsfield to much high FSB speeds, this is fairly simple and gives more control of each cores FSB ability. To best describe the mods; when you clock up the Kentsfield FSB, the window of operation climbs out of reach, with the mod in place it will allow us to adjust that window. One could locate the correct pins on the CPU to locate the mod point on the motherboard.

Much of day one covered chipset and bios, we went over what features we would like to see and why. Everything from reporting MCH timing in bios to addition of an application like memtest to be enabled from bios.

One of the biggest problem is bios reset and we played with the watchdog timer to see it fails to meet the demands of its use. The board will re-post given the bios functions corectly. There was a new XBX2 bios posted two days ago on Intel. We wanted an option to hold the insert, home or end key on the keyboard to boot at default settings to recover a failed OC much quicker, we also request the BIOS config jumper to be moved to the PS2 stack at the back of the board.

We covered voltages, timing and latencies in what we would like to see. We suggested an option for xtreme overclockers to access even higher votlages and advanced settings, no soldering would be needed and it would require you to void your warranty to access these potentially dangerous settings. We went over FSB strap selection for both 975x and 965x chipsets, we went over the differences of both chipsets and undocumented features we would like access to. Such as 1T selecton that is present on 965x and left unused.

We were given a window tour of fab 20 were the chipsets are made, it was very cool to see the massive hardware needed to manufacture the silicon wafers and each step explained in detail from the engineers who manage that fab.

Day 2 started with chip lapping with the thermals engineer as well as IHS removal, we went into detail the poor surface level of the Intel IHS and the variation in core temps if left un-lapped.

I sent one of my cascade to Intel but it did not arrive intact, it was very low on gas and we elected to skip that portion with just a brief fire up of the units, it did reach -80c but it had no capacity.

We had a tour of the validation labs and met with many of the engineers in Hawthorne Farms Campus.

XS was allowed to invite six people to attend but Hipro5 was not able to make the meeting. Tony, The Stilt, Chilly1 Freecableguy, and myself were in attendance. It was good to meet Roger, a quiet guy and I am sure he had a blast.

I wish I had pictures but we were not allowed cameras in the buildings. We did take a group photo with the engineers that may be forwarded to us at a future date,

Many thanks to Intel for inviting us to your facilities for VIP treatment.

Source:XUG 2007 @ Intel

Friday, January 19, 2007

Brag: XTreview has me on the news...

Ok, not really me, rather, my overclocking spree is posted on their news. Teheee, click here.

Tech Link (Operating System): Microsoft Reveals Downloadable Vista, Office

DailyTech posted that Microsoft* Vista will also be available as a "download" purchase. It actually makes sense, now that high speed broadband seems more affordable, relatively speaking of course. For dial up users, well, I don't think it's a viable option ;). Check it out...

Microsoft will be selling its latest operating system and office suite online for customers to download

Microsoft today detailed three new distribution methods for customers looking to buy, upgrade or license multiple copies of Windows Vista. One such method involves Microsoft selling a copy of its operating system via the Internet for the user to download onto his or her system, marking a first for the software giant.

Microsoft will make Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 available for direct download via Windows Marketplace starting January 30 at suggested retail prices (but without the discs, packaging and manuals of the retail version). Windows Vista editions offered through Windows Marketplace will be available in English only, in either 32-bit or 64-bit versions. Windows Marketplace visitors also can find a wide variety of Windows-compatible hardware and software, including products carrying the Certified for Windows Vista logo.

Microsoft also detailed its Windows Anytime Upgrade program, a new option that allows customers to upgrade their existing edition of Windows Vista to a higher-grade edition by way of an online transaction. For example, if a Windows Vista Home Premium or Windows Vista Business user decides he or she wants more capability — perhaps to join his home PCs to secure domains at the office, or to experience the multimedia capabilities of Windows Vista on his work laptop — the user can click on the Windows Anytime Upgrade option in the Start menu, select the desired upgrade edition, purchase it online to secure a new digital key, and then follow the on-screen instructions to complete the upgrade. It was previously revealed that Microsoft would be shipping all versions of Vista on a single DVD, meaning that those who purchase the operating system on DVD will not have to download additional parts of the operating system for the upgrade.

The manufacturer's suggested retail prices to upgrade to more premium editions of Windows Vista are as follows: Home Basic to Home Premium $79, Home Basic to Ultimate $199, Home Premium to Ultimate $159 and Business to Ultimate $139.

The third part of Microsoft’s announcement today reveals a limited-time offer for customers who buy retail copies of Windows Vista Ultimate. From January 30 through June 30, the Windows Vista Family Discount will allow North American customers to license two additional copies of Windows Vista Home Premium for use on other PCs in the home at the reduced price of $49.99 each. Before completing the order online, customers will need to enter one valid full or upgrade Windows Vista Ultimate key from their retail boxed product. After eligibility is verified online, the customer can purchase licenses to install Windows Vista Home Premium on one or two additional Windows-based computers.

"With the consumer launch of Windows Vista so close, we're excited to announce three new ways to make the purchase and upgrade experience easier than ever," said Brad Brooks, general manager of Windows Client Marketing at Microsoft. "These new programs give our customers more flexibility and choice to ensure they get the edition that's right for them."

Source:Microsoft Reveals Downloadable Vista, Office

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Tech Link (Industry): PCI Express turns 2.0

A faster, and better, PCIe specifications has been released, making PCIe v2.0! While it will definitely take some time before consumers reap the rewards of this specification, it's an exciting times for us nerds, geeks, and fanboys. The new specifications promises a lot of cool capabilities such as better support for virtualization, and 5Gbps of raw speed compared to 2.5Gbps of current PCIe specs. Kudos to ZDNet Australia for the news!

PCI Express turns 2.0
By Stephen Shankland, CNET
18 January 2007 10:21 AM

An industry group has formally christened a faster second-generation version of the PCI technology that's used to plug everything from video cards to InfiniBand adapters into computers.

As expected, PCI Express turned 2.0 by fiat of the PCI Special Interest Group, the industry cooperative that governs the specification and announced the new version on Monday.

PCI Express -- a modernised sequel to the original PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) that spread to essentially every server and PC since it was introduced in the 1990s -- can transfer 2.5 gigabits per second on each wire, pin or other electrical connection called "lanes" between a computer and a plug-in device. PCI Express 2.0 doubles that rate to 5Gbps, and as with the existing PCIe, multiple lanes can be ganged together.

PCI Express (PCIe) 2.0 probably will first arrive about a year from now, said Al Yanes, chairman of the PCI SIG.

"As with PCIe 1.0, we expect the graphics guys to be the first adopters of PCIe 2.0," Yanes said. The technology also will be used in cards for high-speed networks including InfiniBand, Ethernet and Fibre Channel, he said.

The PCI Express 2.0 speed isn't fixed, though. For one thing, the new version is backward compatible, meaning that older, slower devices can plug in. For another, an extension to the specification permits hardware to control the speed at which a PCI connection runs.

Because management software will be able to control the link speed, computer makers will be able to lower power when the full PCI transfer speed isn't needed, Yanes said. The move is one example of the computing industry's attempt to moderate excessive power consumption and resulting waste heat problems.

Anther improvement under development is the ability to support power-hungry graphics cards. And a feature called Input-Output Virtualization is designed to make it easier for multiple virtual machines, each with its own operating system, to share PCI devices such as network cards.

Another option: The PCI Express Cable specification will let PCI devices be connected not just with plug-in slots but also with standardised copper cables as long as 10 meters with data transfer speeds of 2.5Gbps per line. The technology is suited for tasks such as adding an input-output expansion module housing numerous network cards to a higher-end server.

The cable specification should be done this month, Yanes said. Different components of the virtualisation work will trickle out as 2007 progresses, and Yanes said, adding, "I expect to see the IOV spec go live later this year."

Finally, a longer-term effort, code-named Geneseo, will let coprocessor cards such as graphics or encryption accelerators be tightly connected to central processors.

Regarding Geneseo, "We have only taken the first step to begin looking into the future possibilities with the technology," Yanes said, with the PCI SIG's protocol and software group examining the idea and scheduled to deliver a status update at a PCI conference in the second quarter of the year.

Source:PCI Express turns 2.0

Rant: Removing Meebo

I decided that I will remove Meebo since I will not be having enough time to have a chat with my visitors. I can't believe my Meebo would get so busy, that, I never had time to answer them. It seems that the Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E4300 has reached many crooks and crannies on the web and I just got swarmed with Meebo IMs.

At first, it was manageable, I can answer a few chats here and there. However, reality sets in and I just can't give each visitor a nice warm interaction that I hope I could maintain and muster. I stopped logging in since I feel that I can't really give any good interaction. In the end, I feel I am cheating my visitors if I don't log in to meebo, so now, I'll remove it.

I'll try and find other ways and means to have interaction aside from the "comments" section. I receive emails that Blog post comments isn't really "nice" because once the Blog has dropped down further into the archive, it's not easily seen even when the Blog is "commented" again. Well, the work around is just bookmark a specific Blog but that's a crude workaround. Anyway, since I really don't expect any huge interaction (nor can I provide much time for that), let's just stick with Blog comments, and email.

And yes, Tag Board is not coming up agan because of the annoying pop up. Laterz....

Tech Link (Graphics): The Silent XFX Fatal1ty GeForce 7600GT

If you are looking for a nice video card that will not break the bank, then HardwareUpgrade might just have what you are looking for. It is passively cooled (aka silent) and comes factory overclocked so it's a plus. The video card looks really cool, but only because of the passive cooler and color and not necessarily because of the Fatal1ty logo. Check it out...

Thanks to the faster operating frequencies of the XFX Fatal1ty 7600 GT, it is able to outperform the reference NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT along with all three Radeon X1650XT contenders. Through Newegg, the video card is currently available for $179.99. Most Radeon X1650XT cards run for around $20 less, but the passive cooling solution of the XFX Fatal1ty 7600 GT makes it worth the 20 bucks more.

The video card is factory overclocked and is the most factory overclocked and guaranteed video card currently available. Even though it is already overclocked, we tried to increase its operating frequencies even further, but didn’t get very far compared to the factory overclock. The maximum we reached was 670 MHz for the core and 1635 MHz for memory.

The video card is a definite plus for use in HTPCs. Completely silent, it comes with NVIDIA PureVideo support and also support High Defintion videos. As we said before, it would fit perfectly into a home theater environment. The only limitation of this product, however, is that it doesn’t have any HDCP support and therefore cannot play protected high definition content at full resolution and instead only at standard definition.

Source:The Silent XFX Fatal1ty GeForce 7600GT

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


My favorite game developer, Blizzard*, has just announced today that the first expansion to their world-reknowned game WoW, Burning Crusade, is now available at your nearest favorite store. I always love Blizzard* titles, except that time is not something I always have nowadays, at least, time for myself. In any case, if you are not in the situation as I am, you may want to get addicted more and more by diving in with the expansion.

First expansion for Blizzard Entertainment®'s massively multiplayer online role-playing game launches in multiple regions
IRVINE, Calif. – January 16, 2007 – Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. announced today that World of Warcraft®: The Burning Crusade™, the first expansion set for the world's leading subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game, World of Warcraft, is now on sale throughout North America and Europe. The expansion will be available in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Thailand on January 17, with availability in mainland China and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau to be announced at a later date. World of Warcraft is played by more than 8 million gamers around the world.

"The Burning Crusade is the single largest expansion we've ever created, and we're grateful for the support shown by our beta testers and the millions of World of Warcraft players worldwide during its development," said Mike Morhaime, president and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment®. "We're excited to share all of the new content with players, and we're certain that they'll enjoy the quality and breadth of new experiences that The Burning Crusade offers."

World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade adds a tremendous amount of new features and content to World of Warcraft, including Outland, a massive new continent for players to explore, as well as flying mounts, which will allow players to reach locations in Outland that would be otherwise inaccessible. Over the course of their new adventures, players will be able to take their characters up to level 70, gaining powerful new abilities along the way. Hundreds of new quests and monsters and several unexplored dungeons will offer exciting new challenges, while the new Blood Elf and Draenei races, each with capital cities and starting zones, promise a fresh start to current and new players alike. The jewelcrafting profession, socketed items, and expansive new player-vs.-player features round out the offering in World of Warcraft's first expansion. World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade is now available at retailers nationwide for Windows® 2000/XP and Macintosh® at a suggested retail price of $39.99. A special Collector's Edition of the expansion is also available, at a suggested retail price of $69.99. This limited-edition package includes the expansion on both CD-ROM and DVD, the Art of The Burning Crusade coffee table book, an exclusive in-game pet, a behind-the-scenes DVD, two World of Warcraft Trading Card Game card packs and three exclusive cards, a map of Outland mouse pad, and the official soundtrack CD. The World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade expansion requires the original World of Warcraft game, which is now selling for a suggested retail price of $19.99. World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade has received a Teen rating from the ESRB.

For more information on World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, please visit the official website for the expansion at


Rant: Removing Tag Board for good...

I have just installed Tag-Board about two days ago and I thought it was great. I mean, I waited for it to come back online after several months of it not working. I never had complaints, I mean, it was free anyway so what's to complain if it goes down.

So when I did check that it was up and running, and my account was still valid, I never hesitated to bring it back up. It all went spiffy, no issue whatsoever, and the installation of the Javascript is plain and straightforward with the new Blogger 2.0 template.

However, what I didn't know is that this Tag-Board now comes with an excess baggage. I haven't really investigated it beyond what few reports I got, but all signs point to TagBoard. As soon as I installed, pop-up is now happening whenever I visit my site.

I am now removing the darn tag board, I have gotten used to living without it so I guess it's all for the better. FanBoy out!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Tech Link (Motherboard): Four Mainstream Core 2 Motherboards

ExtremeTech reviewed four motherboard that supports Conroe. They aren't targetted necessarily for overclockers, so if you're such type, then you'll skip this one. However, those boards are really nice and if you're not interested about overclocking, then give this one a look. They have an Abit AB9 Pro, Asus P5B-VM, Foxconn P9657AA-8KSH2, and a Gigabyte GA965P-DQ6 on the test bed.

Final Thoughts: Consider What You Need
About the only board in our roundup we'd be hard pressed to recommend is the ABIT AB9 Pro, but that's only because of its weird layout. All of these boards offer solid performance and stability at default settings. The Gigabyte GA-965-DQ6 is a dream power-user board, while the Foxconn P9657AA-8KS2H is easy on the wallet. If you're hankering for a compact but full-featured microATX board, then the ASUS P5B-VM is an excellent choice.

Motherboards have come a long way. Buying a name-brand board these days usually means you get a stable, reliable system. If you want to go beyond that, however, you'll have to pay a bit more.

Source:Four Mainstream Core 2 Motherboards

Monday, January 15, 2007

Tech Link (Gadget): USB Digital Thermo Clock With Air Purifier from Brando WorkShop

I don't know about you, but I sure love this new USB gadget reviewed by DragonSteelMods. The gadget works as a digital clock, a digital thermometer, and take this, air purifier! Check it out...

Depending on your work environment, the air might not be as clean as you think, you could get one of those large expensive air purifiers, but they take up lots of space, or you could get a USB powered one from Brando WorkShop that is also a clock and thermometer as well. So today for review I have the USB powered Digital Thermometer Clock with built in Air Purifier from our friends at Brando WorkShop. This thing is tiny, and can purify the air in up to a 100 square foot room or office so you can breathe easier with some nice clean fresh air. So let's jump right on into this review to look at this nifty little device a bit further...

Source:USB Digital Thermo Clock With Air Purifier from Brando WorkShop

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Tech Link (Motherboard): ASUS P5N-E SLI nForce 650i SLI

I know that I have just posted a similar review of this motherboard yesterday, but I can't pass up posting a review of our fellow Asian reviewers from VR-Zone. The review has been done by world-reknown overclocker shamino. So check it out...

The ASUS P5N-E SLI definitely answers the call for a cost-effective solution for SLI + Intel Core 2 Duo. The NVIDIA NForce 650i SLI solution has it's place in the market, catering to the budget-conscious who would rather channel the savings towards other components, such as a better graphics card. The performance of this board is great, edging out many of the top boards slightly, especially when it comes to graphics performance. The penalty for running x8 x8 SLI on this board is not huge in most scenarios currently, and a 3-5% can be shrugged off easily. However, I suspect this margin to widen with upcoming games, some of which we have already seen in our tests. The overclockability of this board, in terms of FSB, is comparable to any 680i SLI boards out there - since it is running the C55 chipset like the 680i boards. This makes it all the more attractive for overclockers looking for SLI on the cheap, they with their capped Multipliers on their Core 2 Duo processors will appreciate the close to 500MHz FSB tolerance on this board. Going for USD$150 / SGD$240, this is one of the most value for money motherboards out there, and I was glad I took the time to try her out.

Source:ASUS P5N-E SLI nForce 650i SLI

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Tech Link (Motherboard): Asus P5N-E SLI Motherboard Review - The 680i Killer

LegitReviews has reviewed a not-so-expensive motherboard that has native support for SLI. LR seems impressed with this board, so fill yourselves with details and head on at LR for the full scoop. Expand to read the conclusion...

Final Thought and Conclusion
So, what do we think about the Asus P5N-E SLI? It was just fantastic to work with! The layout was basically fine and easy to work with. The bundle is a little weak, but with the price tag attatched to this board, there was not much to be expected. At the time of this writing, you can find the board for as little as $149.99 plus shipping over at Newegg.

One thing that should not be overlooked as we finish this review is the fact that this board, though not directly compared to a 680i board in this review, has performance capabilities that we have seen in the 680i, but at a fraction of the cost. Why would you go and spend nearly twice the price on a board that will not perform much better, if any better at all? Our answer: you shouldn't. Grant it, there are a few features that you can find on the 680i boards, that are not available in the 650i, at least not natively. Time will tell if more boards with the 650i chipset will include any added features that make it even more comparable to the 680i. We will be looking at a 680i motherboard here in the near future and will be sure to include it in the charts to compare performance across the board

Legit Bottom Line:
Asus has produced a fantastic board in the Asus P5N-E SLI. it is a board that performs as good as anything else out their in our testing, but goes way beyond anything we have seen yet in the area of overclocking. If you are looking for a great enthusiast board, with very little headaches to setup and overclock well, and you do not want to mortgage the house for the 680i series, this board is it. It is a 680i killer! This board is certainly worthy of receiving our Editor's Choice award!

Source:Asus P5N-E SLI Motherboard Review - The 680i Killer

Friday, January 12, 2007

Brag: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E4400 is here, and they overclock well too!

I have posted the first CPU-Z validation and overclock of Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E4300 on the web, now I am posting the first Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E4400 CPU-Z validation. This is a great processor for high clockage. You can click on the image to view the CPU-Z validation, and my specs i.e. what RAM, and motherboard is used. Aside from the multi of 10x, it's similar in every aspect with the younger brother Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E4300.

I quickly put this to a crash overclock test, and whipped out the first board I laid my eyes on. It is the Bad Axe 2, and I believe, is a great choice. After a brief testing, I manage to get it stable at 3.5GHz which is a hefty 75% overclock.

Hmmm, another great processor from Chipzilla! For high FSB, just lower the multi like its younger brother, but for high clockage, just stick to the default multi and pump up that FSB. Woot!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Tech Link (Processor): Intel Core 2 Duo E4300: Affordable and Highly Overclockable

I posted yesterday that XbitLabs has reviewed this really nice processor, now AMDTech posted their own review. Both agree on one thing, it is highly overclockable as I have trumpeted earlier last year. Check out AMDTech's take on the the processor...

Final Words
Every generation a ridiculously overclockable bargain chip is born, and the Core 2 Duo E4300 is just that chip. Although it's not yet launched, Intel has a true winner on its hands with the E4300. Last year we saw overall desktop performance redefined by the Core 2 lineup, and in 2007 it looks like Intel will begin changing what we've come to expect in the sub-$200 CPU market. What's even more impressive is that in another quarter, the E4300 will drop even further to $133. At these prices you can build a second or third system with some very strong performance, at a very reasonable price tag.

The best part of it all is that the E4300 is a no-compromise core; you end up losing VT support, but all of the performance elements are there. The 800MHz FSB isn't crippling enough to really hinder performance, and the smaller cache is more than acceptable for the vast majority of applications. The Core 2 Duo E4300 is no Celeron; if anything it's a spiritual successor to a long line of attractive, highly overclockable Intel CPUs. It's everything Intel's Pentium D 820 was, but with much higher performance and a much lower power envelope.

At default speeds, the E4300 isn't all that impressive in the grand scheme of things; it's effectively a slightly cheaper, slightly slower E6300. But much like the E6300, much of the appeal of the E4300 comes from overclocking - and overclock it does. Compared to other Core 2 CPUs, the E4300 doesn't set any new overclocking records but at the price it's a true bargain.

The change in base FSB speed also has advantages in overclocking, making it possible to use a linked (1:1 ratio) memory speed and still get extremely high overclocks without resorting to anything more than DDR2-800 memory. The E6300 has a 7x multiplier and a 266 MHz base bus speed, so without dropping to a 4:5 ratio and sticking with DDR2-800, the E6300 tops out at 7x400 or 2.8 GHz. With a 9x multiplier the E4300 can potentially reach as high as 9x400 or 3.6 GHz while keeping memory at or below DDR2-800. While it is possible to get bus speeds of P965 motherboards above 500 MHz, it is far more difficult and often requires more expensive component choices, making the E4300 the new king of budget overclocking. Throw in a more powerful CPU cooling setup, and we have no doubt it will be very easy to exceed our 3.37GHz overclock by a large margin.

At stock speeds, the E4300 ends up offering similar performance to the Athlon 64 X2 4200+. In SYSMark 2004SE, DivX and some games it's faster, and in other situations it's basically the same speed. The Athlon 64 X2 3800+ ends up being slower in every benchmark, but with a lower price it's still a reasonable choice. Obviously the Core 2 upgrade path is a bit more desirable these days than AMD's Socket-AM2 platform, so the E4300 gets the nod there, but you can't really go wrong with either chip at default settings. When overclocked things get a little more complicated, but the E4300 gets the recommendation as a 2.8 - 3.0GHz Athlon 64 still ends up being slower than a 3.38GHz Core 2.

Compared to Intel's other value offerings, mainly the existing Pentium D lineup, the decision is clear. With the E4300 at $163 and moving down to $133 by Q2, cheap no longer means NetBurst. Intel is planning on significantly ramping its dual core presence this year, and with the E4300 available as a part of the lineup we can see exactly how. If you're building a Vista system early this year and want to do it efficiently, Intel is going to make it even cheaper to do.

Source:Intel Core 2 Duo E4300: Affordable and Highly Overclockable

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Tech Link (Industry): Eat this, Quad FX: Here's an 8-core desktop!

THG, or TGDaily has posted a coverage of Intel's Clovertown eight(8)-core monster. I have posted my own Eight-core monster here, and even posted my own early benchmark, unfortunately, that's the only benchmark I am able to post due to work and other tasks (from trivial to weird stuff). They posted a score of 3DMark06 CPU score with a whoopin 61% lead over the competitor's QuadFX (and you'd still think Intel doesn't know how to benchmark?). Expand to read more from THG...
Image owned by THG

Las Vegas (NV) - You didn't think that Intel would leave all that dual-socket fame for itself, did you? At CES, Intel showed off an 8-core desktop system build on a 2P workstation board with two quad-core processors. Intel claims that the system trumps AMD's fastest Quad-FX by 61% in one key benchmark. And yes, we do have pictures of this beast.

Technically, Intel's dual-socket prototype PC isn't that unusual and there are may be many enthusiasts who have built systems using a similar approach in the past. However, this specific PC takes the multi-core theme to the edge and shows what is possible today.

The PC uses a 2-processor workstation board with an Intel 5000-series (Blackford) and chipset supporting FSB1333. The board carries two Xeon 5300 series (Clovertown) processors. Intel also built four 120 mm side panel-mounted fans, which we heard were just for drama and not really necessary to cool the system. 4 GB of FB memory and an Nvidia GeForce 8800 card complement the computer.

The system was the brainchild of Francois Piednoel, an engineer with Intel's benchmarking team. He wanted to show how simple it was to make an 8-core workstation with regular parts. "We're not marketing it, but if you want it and need it, it's available."

Piednoel added that the parts weren't "crazy expensive" and could easily be purchased through online retailers like Newegg or

Before we mention the performance, let us drop a word on power consumption. AMD's Quad FX system was heavily criticized for its shameless hunger for power. While we did not hear anything from Intel about the power consumption of this 8-core monster, we do know that the two Clovertown processors are rated at a maximum power consumption of just 80 watts - compared to the 125 watts of each FX processor in the dual socket AMD system.

Performance-wise, Intel ran the 3DMark 2006, along with some other tests, on its system and the CPU portion of the benchmark was said to have achieved 6089 points in a test run and came in at 6065 when we pushed the button. The 3.0 GHz dual-socket dual-core system from AMD (FX-74) came in at 3764 points in Tom's Hardware's benchmarks, which gives the Intel system at least theoretically a lead of 61%.

Theoretically, because we can't compare those two system due to the different environments and different setups. In any case, this Intel prototype hints to exciting enthusiast computers that may be in our future. Not just at Intel, but AMD as well: The AgenaFX quad-core is due in mid-2007 and will be available as a drop-in upgrade for current QuadFX computers.

Source:Eat this, Quad FX: Here's an 8-core desktop!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Tech Link (Processor): Cheaper Core Micro-Architecture: Core 2 Duo E4300 CPU Review

XBitLabs has finally gotten their hands with the coveted E4300 series of processor which I overclocked at more than 100% (which was 95% overclocked before) and posted early last year even before the world have seen any CPU-Z validation. Check out the review and get ready for the wave of the uber overclockable processor from Chipzilla. Expand for more..

The Core 2 Duo E4300 processor has left a positive impression on us. It can become a bestseller thanks to its rather low price - after all, it is the cheapest CPU in the highly appealing Core 2 Duo series.

Performance of the Core 2 Duo E4300 isn't that impressive as that of the senior models of the series. Although it differs by only 3-5% from the Core 2 Duo E6300, the new CPU is slower than the Pentium D 945 and Athlon 64 X2 4200+, which cost about the same money, in some benchmarks. But there are few such benchmarks and the new CPU is far more economical than any of its opponents.

The Core 2 Duo E4300 is also a gift for overclockers since it doesn't require special overclocker-friendly components and has an affordable price. But to all appearances, Allendale-based CPUs won't reach as high frequencies at overclocking as Conroe-based CPUs do.

Source:Cheaper Core Micro-Architecture: Core 2 Duo E4300 CPU Review

Press Release: New Intel Processors Expand Quad-Core PC, Server Line-Ups

It is now official, Intel finally unleashed new mainstream quad core processor targetted for high end computing at a mainstream price, relatively speaking. Don't get any impression that this lower-clocked quadcore is cheap, while the word expensive might come to mind, it is important to remember that this isn't targetted for everyone, only for those who have a need for quad core computing, whether business or benchmarking or plain pimping. Expand to read the full press release...

Intel® Core™ 2 Quad Processor Jump Starts Digital Applications, Software and Devices; Two More Server Quad-Core Products Introduced
INTERNATIONAL 2007 CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW, Las Vegas, Jan. 8, 2007 –Intel Corporation formally introduced three more quad-core processors, including the first to carry the Intel® Core™2 Quad processor brand name that begins the expansion of quad-core PC sales to mainstream buyers. Intel now offers a total of nine quad-core processor versions in the desktop and enterprise market segments.

The Intel Core 2 Quad processor packs four brains in every PC and delivers the immense speed and responsiveness that is increasingly required to process today's most demanding media-intensive applications. This processor is available in PCs and in the reseller channel immediately. Intel also announced two quad-core processors for single-socket servers. Today's announcement builds on the company's revolutionary Intel Core 2 Duo and quad-core microprocessor families, with 29 dual and quad-core processors for sale in the desktop PC, laptop and server market segments.

"Today Intel delivers another breakthrough—quad-core technology for anyone's PC," said Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini. "The performance once requiring a supercomputer is now on the desktop, allowing you to do new and amazing things."

Intel's multi-core processors are designed to enhance the computer user's experience from start to finish. These microprocessors, which are based on the Intel® Core™ microarchitecture, target performance desktop and gaming PCs and will benefit from highly threaded software applications that target these market segments. Intel is actively working with software developers on threading applications and next-generation games that will be able to take advantage of quad-core microprocessors. The four cores make quad-core based computers the ideal choice for processor intensive, highly threaded applications such as Adobe After Effects*, Premiere Pro 2.0*, Windows Media Encoder*, Snapstream* and Win DVD*. Combined with the availability of Microsoft Windows Vista*, this launch marks a rare occurrence in which new processors and a new operating system hit the market about the same time.

In addition to new levels of performance, these products bring consumers multitasking capabilities that enhance the way they create, experience and enjoy digital entertainment. Computers with the Intel Core 2 Quad processor are excellent for high-definition video entertainment and are multimedia powerhouses for demanding software applications run simultaneously. With four compute cores, the processor is uniquely designed for running multiple digital streams throughout the home – making it the ultimate entertainment engine for Intel® Viiv™ technology-based PCs.

New Quad-Core Server Processors
Intel also introduced today the Quad-Core Intel® Xeon® Processor 3200 series for single-socket servers. Built on the Intel Core microarchitecture, these products will bring new levels of energy-efficient performance to entry server applications such as e-mail, Web, file and print. Two new processors are available today with clock speeds of 2.4 and 2.13 GHz with a 1066 front side bus and 8 MB of L2 cache.

Intel has made this next step in the computer's ongoing evolution as fast and easy as possible through continued investment in silicon process and manufacturing technology. Intel's advanced processes can help reduce the amount of energy required to run computers and "shrink" a processor's make-up to place multiple cores inside one product at more affordable prices.

Pricing and Availability
The new Intel Core 2 Quad processor Q6600 (2.4GHz) has been announced and is currently being demonstrated at CES. It is available now at $851 in 1KU quantities. Quad-Core Intel® Xeon® processor pricing includes the X3220 (2.4GHz) at $851 and the Quad-Core Intel® Xeon® Processor X3210 (2.13GHz) at $690.

Source:New Intel Processors Expand Quad-Core PC, Server Line-Ups

Monday, January 08, 2007

Tech Link (Industry): Intel Invests into Multi-GPU Technology Firm

XbitLabs has a news posted claiming that Intel has invested lots of money for developing Multi-GPU supporting technology, ala NVIDIA* SLI or ATi* Crossfire. However, unlike SLI* or Crossfire* which requires properietary drivers (i.e. you can't use Crossfire or SLI if two GPUs belong to the different GPU manufacturer), the technology being developed is actually more like a concentrator or multiplexer, or an intelligent load-balancer across multiple discrete GPUs. While this is just my own guess, it does makes sense if this becomes a reality and becomes mainstream. Here is Lucid's own take of their technology:

LUCID is developing the first PC Scalable Graphics Hub (SGH).

LUCID's SGH technology consists of a high-performance chipset and
architecture that enable traditional graphic processing cores,
graphic processing chips and graphic cards to turn into an
unmatched, scalable and powerful visualization and gaming

* The first solution intended for PCs.
* The first and only technology to achieve a linear increase in performance among multi graphics processors.
* Best performance/cost ration.
* Technology is seamless for application and graphics h/w vendors.

According to EE times, Lucid is expecting to support up to four(4) GPUs, and is expecting to release the product by end of 2007, and already working with major motherboard manufacturers like Asus*, Gigabyte*, and Leadtek, as well as system builders such as Dell*, HP*, and Alienware*. Expand to read XBitLab's News posting...

Intel Capital, a venture capital arm of Intel Corp., the world’s largest maker of x86 microprocessors, has reportedly invested millions of dollars into a company that is developing a technology that is expected to enable “seamless” multi-GPU arrays which will deliver great performance scalability without the need of special driver tailoring.

Startup company Lucid Information Technology has raised a $12 million round of funding from Intel Capital, Giza Venture Capital and Genesis Partners, a report from EETimes web-site claims. The company raised $4.5 million in its first round in 2005, having started up in August 2003 with $500 thousand from Maayan Ventures.

Intel Corp., which is already the largest supplier of graphics components with its chipsets that contain graphics cores, has been rumoured to re-enter the market of discrete graphics processing units (GPUs) for several quarters now and as market leaders ATI (now a division of Intel’s arch-rival Advanced Micro Devices) and Nvidia actively promote multi-GPU technologies, it is crucial for Intel to have one in its possession too.

Herzlyia, Israel-based Lucid Information Technology aims to develop high-performance system-on-a-chip (SoC) and parallel architecture that turns off-the-shelve graphic cards, graphic processor units (GPU) and graphics cores into powerful and scalable visualization solutions, transparently to the applications. While the exact details of the technology are unclear, it is known that Tensilica Inc. has provided Lucid a license to use its Diamond Standard 212GP general-purpose processor core for a scalable multi-GPU chip design project.

Modern multi graphics processor (multi-GPU) solutions, such as ATI CrossFire or Nvidia SLI rely on in-house developed hardware and software technologies to make graphics processors work in parallel. Even though both technologies have been around for quite some time now, their scalability sometimes deserve to be better, whereas scalability of Nvidia’s 4-way SLI (quad SLI) turned out to be rather disappointing. Lucid Information Technology is going to change that and two and four graphics chips to deliver 200% and 400% performance improvements over single-processor designs.

Lucid is looking at the personal computer (PC) market as the primary target for its technology and claims that it would be seamless to applications and graphics hardware vendors. The technology, however, would still include both hardware and software components.

Both ATI/AMD and Nvidia yet have to comment whether it is possible to improve performance of their products using third-party hardware and software.

Source:Intel Invests into Multi-GPU Technology Firm

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Press Release: ASUS XG Station Empowers Upgradeable Graphics Power for Notebook Computers

This is a very nice innovation from Asus*. I remember I used to have add-on graphics card with my Toshiba Portege 660CDT laptop docking station. It was great, even adding capability for add-on PCI devices. This new device looks like to be a hit for laptop lovers like me, but prefers better graphics and gaming capabilities.

It accepts standard PCIe x16 Video Card, so it'll be flexible enough to accept current and future graphics card. It is externally powered, which will be reasonable enough for such application, and dedicated power is good anyway, specially with high end video cards. User can also monitor FPS, temperature, and can even overclock the GPU via round knob controller.

Pretty neat idea, I just hope this will become available locally! Expand to read the full Asus scoop!

Enjoy up to 10-times faster graphics power boost with cinematic audio performance

Taipei, Taiwan, January 6, 2007 –ASUSTeK Computer Inc. (ASUS), the leading provider of high-performance graphics solutions, today launched the XG Station as the industry’s first public demonstration of the world’s first external graphics card station for notebook computers. Equipped with Express Card interface, USB 2.0 and Dolby headphones, the XG station seamlessly integrates notebook computing with PC graphics power.

Engage Mobility with Powerful Graphics Processing
As technology advances to accommodate all aspects of modern life styles, digital devices are often merged or connected for a combined maximum benefit. As with the case of mobile notebook computing and high powered 3D gaming or multimedia experience, a balance is established with the exclusive ASUS XG Station.

When on the go, compact notebook makes work efficient without adding extra pounds, while at home, large LCD monitor is preferred for enhanced visual enjoyment. ASUS XG Station brings the power of a dedicated 3D graphics engine, providing users with the best of both worlds. Simply plug in the XG Station to the LCD monitor and connect the notebook via an Express Card connector and get ready to game!

Fast and Upgradeable Graphics Power
The XG Station is the world’s first docking station to provide a standard PCI Express slot for additional graphics computing power on notebook computers with Express Card slot, delivering VISTA Premium performance. The device also conveniently accommodates future graphics technology such as, HDCP and HDMI upgrades possibility. Lab experiments on a notebook based on Intel 945GM graphics connected to the XG station with a ASUS EN7900GS graphics card showed an astounding 9 times faster acceleration.

Sensational AV Enjoyment
XG Station also features enhanced audio and video functions. With Dolby® Headphone technology any headphone is capable to delivers cinematic 5.1-channel surround sound for a dynamic true-to-life quality during PC game play and music or video playback. Real-time Overclocking is easily controlled with the ergonomic knob design for simple GPU clock speed adjustments.

Large Information Display and Easy Control
XG Station is designed with ease of use in mind. A large LED screen is adopted to provide clear display of critical system status statistics including the following:

System master volume
GPU clock speed
Current GPU temperature
Dolby® Headphone feature status
Current actual Frames Per Second (FPS) information
GPU fan speed Indicator
The XG Station also has a dedicated control panel to let users control the settings through the GUI based interface and easily switch modes between the notebook screen and the external LCD monitor.

The XG Station is currently scheduled to be released at the beginning of Q2 2007. A full package will include the XG Station graphics docking station, one ASUS EN7900GS graphics card and assorted accessories.

Source:ASUS XG Station Empowers Upgradeable Graphics Power for Notebook Computers

Article: Yesterday's Greatest versus Today's Lowest (Intel® Pentium® 4 3.4GHz Extreme Edition and Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6300)

I almost forgot posting this article, due to the issues I've encountered with the site lately. I have completed labeling all my posts, from yesterday to the very first day. I can't believe I've gone thru all of it, but it's far from complete, I'll have to recheck the labels just to make sure it's accurate.

Anyway, during the holiday season, I manage to get spare time to play with an old and new CPU. I pit the once latest and greatest to the current entry level mainstream processor. Check it out if you're feeling nostalgic...

It is now year 2007, and we already know that Intel has been killing pretty much all benchmarks available to enthusiasts in the desk top world. Enthusiasts are now looking forward to an affordable quad core, which is currently available only to the cream of the crop users. In 2006, much has changed in the Chipzilla line of products. This year saw the launching of so many products from Intel. This year is when Chipzilla migrated from being a CPU company, into a platform company. They have launched many great products, and in this year, they have launched a new uA that shook the world, and changed the computing landscape forever. Quad Core is now the buzzword in the enthusiast segment, even before Dual Core computing became the universal mantra. Eight way computing is already a reality on the high-end server segment, and this can be achieved at an amazingly lower priced, relatively speaking, compared to a couple years back. And this octa-core computing with just two physical sockets, which is an achievement itself.

Source:Article: Yesterday's Greatest versus Today's Lowest (Intel® Pentium® 4 3.4GHz Extreme Edition and Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6300)