Tag: Gigabyte

Intel pushing new all-in-one PC concept

Intel is reportedly pushing a new all-in-one PC concept in an effort to boost sales and finally make AIOs mainstream. 

So what’s new about Intel’s adaptive all-in-ones? According to Digitimes they feature an integrated battery, so users will be able to carry them around from one room to another. They also sport touch panels, which are still pretty uncommon in the AIO world. Intel’s suggested screen size for adaptive AIOs is between 18.4 and 27 inches, which doesn’t tell us much since it covers practically every desktop size out there. 

One rather odd feature outlined by Intel is a flat industrial design, which should allow the new adaptive AIOs to lay completely flat on a desk. This feature probably explains the decision to integrate a battery and it could lead to new uses for the ancient desktop, which hasn’t evolved much in years. 

Intel also suggests the use of magnesium-aluminium alloy for the chassis, which points to robust designs that won’t come apart if users really choose to carry them around the office. However, it also means that the new crop of AIOs will probably end up quite pricey. PMMA touch panels and lithium polymer batteries are also on Intel’s wish list and they don’t come cheap either. By the end of the year the reference spec will be changed to include higher resolution displays. 

Under the bonnet, Intel is pushing thin Mini-ITX motherboards and some vendors such as ASRock, Gigabyte and ECS already have some designs ready to go. Using an off the shelf form factor should speed up development and cut costs. 

Gigabyte plots mother of motherboards

Gigabyte has released a new motherboard which it is calling the “ultimate” beastie for Intel Core i-series Haswell microprocessors.

While we get that sort of claim across our desk all the time, it appears that Gigabyte has taken some steps with the spec to make it more meaningful than the normal spin.

The new Gigabyte GZ-Z87X-OC platform has been designed for the pure function of breaking performance records by professional overclockers who usually would never break any records unless they accidently sat on their dad’s 45 collection in their mum’s basement.

This is the first time that Gigabyte has created a platform for professional overclockers, which features heavy-duty components, advanced power circuitry, special design for liquid nitrogen cooling as well as EATX form-factor for maximum expandability.

According to Lab501.ro which found leaked slides of the board,  the Gigabyte GA-Z87Z-OC has more onboard buttons and switches than you can poke a stick at. This gives you control not only of the CPU multiplier, but also BCLK of microprocessors, and the controls for unlocked Core i7 and Core i5 Haswell products.

The mainboard will continue to use the IR3550 PowIRstage ICs from International Rectifier, 2x copper printed-circuit boards and high current ferrite core chokes which can deliver up to 60°C cooler temperatures than traditional motherboards.

The Gigabyte GA-Z87X-OC comes with four PCI Express x16 slots, one PCI Express x1 slot, two PCI slots, six Serial ATA-600 ports, four DDR3 memory slots.

As a sidenote the mainboard features a USB connector as well as a PCIe auxiliary power connector near SATA ports for maximum convenience of overclockers.

Apparently the board will hit the shops in the middle of the year when the new chips are delivered. While there is now word on pricing yet, don’t expect this one to be in the bargain bin of your computer store for a couple of decades. 

Micron's ReaSSD plays it safe, too safe

Legit Reviews has the Micron RealSSD P400e 200GB Enterprise SATA III SSD on the test bench. SSDs have become more and more reliable and durable, but in this case it costs you 52GB out of 256GB the drive carries in total. It’s a steep price to pay for provisioning, we think, but you can never cut corners on data security, now can you?

Tom’s Hardware has updated its regular System Builder Marathon feature, for March 2012. It now includes all the updated components for the $650 “budget” and $1250 “enthusiast” categories, with the inclusion of AMD’s Radeon HD 7970 and some affordable SSD boot drives.

OC Workbench has a go at Kingston’s HyperX 4x2GB DDR3-2400 CL11 DIMMs. These carry dual XMP profiles for that kick in the backside, but are programmed for JEDEC’s DDR3-1333 standard. Tested on an X79 motherboard (Biostar TPower X79) to take advantage of the quad-channel insanity,

Madshrimps.be has a review of Mad Catz’ Cyborg MMO 7 gaming mouse. Of course it targets MMO players, and with a lot of customisation going on through the software side of things, you can really turn this mouse into your best in-game friend.

Hardware Canucks has a Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5 motherboard for Sandy Bridge-E processors. It’s reasonably priced, says HC, at $300 and it does a decent job at overclocking. In fact, the motherboard is all ‘decent enough’, without a particular outstanding feature.

Xbit Labs has an MSI Big Bang Xpower II motherboard in the lab. Big Bang motherboards pack a ton of features, and in this case it takes up quite a lot of real-estate. It targets the extreme overclocker and does so quite well, but the size of it all makes it a really difficult item to pick up without starting a whole box over.

iPad 2012, as it’ll surely get labelled by Apple Care, gets the Techspot eye and better yet a direct comparison to the iPad 2. The Retina Display and overall performance is impressive, says Shawn, but those who were expecting a top to bottom reinventing of the device will be disappointed.

Hardware Secrets takes a look at 3R System’s AK6-600M power supply. 3R is a Korean speciality case manufacturer that has moved into power supplies. The AK6 is a modular power supply with a peak wattage of 700W. Despite the cheap price it does carry some decent features.

Gigabyte fixes BIOS on Intel X79 boards

Gigabyte has released a change on the BIOS of its Intel X79 motherboards after it appears some users had problems overclocking them.

Some tech sites claimed that the boards were to be recalled because of component problems, however Legit Reviews  spoke to Gigabyte USA who said that the problem was more to do with overclocks and was being fixed with a BIOS change.

Apparently if you overclock the Gigabyte some of the Intel X79 motherboard series and throw more voltage at the CPU the power phase design on the board overheats and fails.

Gigabyte Taiwan released new BIOS versions for the GA-X79-UD3, GA-X79-UD and G1.Assassin 2 motherboards. These will help keep the boards from getting too hot and blowing up.

Gigabyte is offering to flash the BIOS for users if they are not comfortable doing it themselves and that is hardly a product recall.

However, if you want to see what happens if you do not apply the patch then you might want to see this footage of a Youtube user Japan0827’s Gigabyte X79-UD3 motherboard blowing up when running Prime95. 

X79 motherboards badly hit by Thai floods

The flooding in Thailand isn’t just having an effect on hard drive supply – top name manufacturers are also struggling with motherboard production.

Intel X79 boards are in short supply. Companies like Asus and MSI have roughly five percent of their production base in Thailand, but Gigabyte, for example, isn’t too badly affected, as you can read here. (Updated from original story).

As a result, there’s a real lack of X79 boards doing the rounds and manufacturers are struggling to match orders.

Companies with a motherboard production process in Thailand are more than a little bit worried.

The floods are severely affecting plenty of companies in the technology markets, with firms like Western Digital finding their factories literally underwater.

Here's another TweakTown hardware round-up

Hello TechEye viewers, this is TweakTown’s Content Editor reporting back once again with another weekly update of the highlights over at TweakTown recently.

Heading into the week we wrapped up our look at the remastered Star Wars blu-rays and checked out the final of the six episodes, Return of the Jedi which was arguably the fan favorite in the series despite the guiding hand of Gary Kurtz gone and George Lucas recruiting several yes men who failed to challenge Lucas to create a better product.

The teddy bear Ewok creatures coupled with a move away from the darker elements of The Empire Strikes Back ensured the film would appeal to the wider masses and generate more merchandising revenue, which at this point had taken on a life of its own.

Many of you may have noticed sky rocketing prices on mechanical HDDs recently and no doubt some of you are already well aware of the reasons why. It’s because of this terrible tragedy occuring over in Thailand at the moment.

Thailand is one of the world’s leading manufacturing countries and many products and components of products are built there. In a recent article from our storage guru, Chris Ramseyer, the main produc being talked about is of course hard drives and their associated components. Nearly all of the major HDD manufacturers have manufacturing factories in Thailand and all of these factories are either directly or indirectly seeing shutdowns due to the flood or shutdowns due to component shortage.

All of these critical component shortages will lead to the largest HDD drought the industry has seen and at a time when supply lines are typically tested, going into the holiday season.

Getting into some hardware goodies, we played with a really nice looking motherboard from GIGABYTE earlier this week catering to the AMD FX (Bulldozer) platform.

The GA-990FXA-UD5 from GIGABYTE sports that very schmick looking black color scheme GIGABYTE is opting for more often these days and gives a fantastic array of features considering the price it can be had for. We were also really impressed with its overclocking capabilities, clocking out FX-8150 sample up to 4.73GHz using just 1.45v.

We also checked out another 990FX based offering a little later in the week from ASRock that’s aimed more toward the gaming crowd with its Fatal1ty branding.

The Fatal1ty 990FX Professional is another fantastic option for loyal AMD fans wishing to do down the cheaper Bulldozer path and in our testing showed no real shortcomings at all with a strong feature set, good stability, good overclocking and a terrific looking red and black color scheme going on.

Have you ever tinkered with Apple’s Magic Mouse on a running Mac and wished they had something like that for Windows PCs? – Wait no longer, for Microsoft delivers in spades with the Touch Mouse.

The top of it is a capacitive, multitouch sensor. It is hands-down the best touch experience on Windows yet. This is mainly thanks to Microsoft as they designed the Touch Mouse’s drivers and software. Gesture wise, it works just like the Apple Magic Mouse, having multiple touch-based and finger-based gestures such as one finger scrolling. Our peripherals reviewer Anthony Garreffa was super impressed with it overall, stating :-

I found this to be quite amazing. I’m used to it on my Mac and having it on my Windows PC allowed me to sit back and swipe through news, RSS feeds or websites/forums like a boss. It was just bliss.

How does it feel? Much better than the Magic Mouse, that’s for sure. Ergonomics on the Touch Mouse are nearly perfect. It has a much fatter back so the palm of your hand really sits comfortably on it, without feeling like you’re hand is either too high, or too low.

In closing, if you’re confined to a strict budget with your next build we checked out a fantastic budget mid tower toward the end of the week that gives a ton of useful features and clever design cues throughout.

While not looking like anything special upon first glance, BitFenix packs a real lot into the sub-$50 Outlaw mid tower chassis and does it all in the subtlest ways. Our reviewer Chad had this to say about it in conclusion :-

BitFenix is the first to deliver us this sort of sleek and elegant look outside, with an inverted layout that will make a standard ATX chassis pale in comparison at this price point. Even with a couple of limitations, the final product is the best concept and aesthetic appeal combination for the price!

That wraps up the major happenings from our neck of the woods over this past week. Until next, adios folks!

Top picks from TweakTown

Hello TechEye viewers, this is TweakTown’s Content Editor reporting back once again with another weekly update of the highlights over at TweakTown recently. It’s been a particularly solid week for us over at TT due to the noise AMD has made with the launch of its new FX (Bulldozer) series AM3+ processors. Just in time for the launch, we got hold of a FX-8150 Bulldozer CPU for a full going over in a wide array of benchmarks up against Intel’s mighty i7-2600K and also compared to the old Phenom II X6 1100T to help you see if its worth upgrading to.

After gathering our final thoughts on the FX-8150 and struggling to be impressed, we quickly followed that up with an editorial that we feel sums up the Bulldozer launch perfectly. Although sadly, it’s not all very positive which seems to be the general consensus from the launch web wide.

Nonetheless, we powered on from there and tried to give the FX-8150 another chance; this time putting more of the focus on the VGA side of things to see if it can still deliver in spades when it comes to solid, high peformance/resolution gaming from a value conscious perspective vs. going down the more assured, but often more expensive Intel road.

From there we took things a notch higher and in a separate article we once again pitted the FX-8150 with Intel’s i7-2600K using a hefty CrossfireX HD 6970 x 3 VGA setup to see if the extra PCIe lanes on offer from the 990FX chipset help give its performance a bit of a kick north.

While the week was mostly consumed by Bulldozer activity, we did manage to step away for a bit with a re-visit of Crucial’s m4 series SSD in chunky 512GB form; but this time using the latest 0009 firmware that promised increased sequential performance by up to 20%, lower latency and lower system boot up time by negotiating with host controllers faster.

In other storage related coverage, we also checked out a new 8-Bay Rack mount NAS Server from Thecus in the N8200XXX. The N8200XXX sits in the lower end of the midrange, but you would hardly know it after using one. The outside design was taken directly from the N8800PRO we reviewed last year, so even though the XXX model sits in a lower position on the scale, Thecus didn’t cut corners in the quality department.

Looking for a new rodent to pair up with your lappy when on the go? We checked out a couple this week which both managed to impress in their own unique ways. We first checked out GIGABYTE’s ECO600 which the company claims will provide pro-longed battery life of up to 12 months. For the $24.99 price point it comes in at we were highly impressed with its overall feel, quality and additional touches such as the buttons for DPI switching (800/1200/1600 DPI) and fancy blue LED indicators.

We then followed that up with a look at what Nexus has on offer these days in the way of compact, wireless mice for on the go use. Nexus says its SM-9000 series mouse has one primary unique attribute – it’s *dead* silent. We did our best to try and get that typical ‘click’ sound to occur from the mouse. We thought a bit of rage pressing in a hectic multiplayer game or during a quick-clicking game like Deus Ex. Again, nothing – Siiiilence. How have they created such magic? Is it trickery? Their patented silent switch technology has truly unleashed a beast!

That wraps up the major happenings from our neck of the woods over this past week. Until next, adios folks!

TweakTown top picks

Hello TechEye viewers, this is TweakTown’s Content Editor reporting back with another weekly update of all the highlights over at TweakTown recently. This past week has seen another good dose of activity that covers multiple market segments.

The week started off with a look at one of Dell’s latest entries into its UltraSharp family of LCDs. Despite the model name being indicative as a replacement to the popular U2410, the new U2412M is a lower priced offering with its E-IPS (Economy) versus the more expensive S-IPS used in the former. It still proves to be a fantastic quality monitor, though, and could be a great alternative to help make Eyefinity (3+ screens) a possibility without breaking the bank.

If you frequently carry around a fair amount of precious data with you, but find yourself often getting paranoid with your choice of portable storage against the elements and want the ultimate peace of mind, we looked at one of the best options on the market this week from ruggedized specialists, ioSafe in the Rugged Portable. The primary purpose of the ioSafe Rugged Portable is to keep your data safe and secure no matter where you are. At CES we shot one with a shotgun, threw it on the concrete floor as hard as we could and the unit kept on running perfectly.

Do you find yourself using your notebook around the house more than your desktop? Or perhaps it’s even your desktop replacement of choice; you would be one of a very large group of users that do if so. I think you would also have found that heat buildup from most laptops that have been on for prolonged periods of time can get a little discomforting after a while, especially when simply resting on your lap.

We separately looked at two NotePal series solutions from Cooler Master this week to help combat that; the multi-tilt capable NotePal U Stand and the more nimble NotePal X-Slim, both of which faired quite well in our tests when it comes to helping keep those temps at bay.

Thinking of building a nice compact mini-ITX based rig? Motherboard manufacturers are really nailing it these days with multiple options on the market that pack a wealth of features and power, also using some of the latest desktop chipsets on the market. We looked at one such model from ASRock this week, the A75M-ITX which uses an ideal chipset for mITX, the new Fusion based A75. It could be that perfect candidate for your next HTPC or workhorse build.

Aside from the motherboard above, another of the primary decisions to make when planning your mITX build is of course the case you’re going to house it in. Lian Li graced us this week with one such unit in its Mini-Q series, the PC-Q25; a clean looking small form factor chassis which thanks to its compact box like stature and conservative, quiet design cues, should do rather well to blend into most any environment.

This week we also took a closer, more detailed look at Intel’s new Smart Response Technology found on their latest consumer level chipset, Z68. If you aren’t too sure what that’s all about, the basic idea is that you can use a smaller SSD drive, say 20GB, and combine that with a larger traditional mechanical drive whereby the SSD would act as a super fast cache, thus increasing the overall storage performance without having to invest in a high speed, high capacity SSD.

With GIGABYTE’s new 20GB mSATA SLC SSD equipped Z68XP-UD3-iSSD motherboard in hand, we covered the board in two separate articles this week – this first one looking at how effective Intel’s SRT is and another that gives a more detailed look at the overall board itself.

And that wraps up the major happenings from our neck of the woods over this past week. Until next, adios folks!

A TweakTown Week in Review: Top Picks

Hello TechEye viewers, this is TweakTown’s content editor reporting with our second weekly update on all the technological happenings over at TweakTown. This past week has seen a wave of diversity that will peek interest for all comers. 

First up, another Mercury Extreme Pro 6G 240GB SSD from OWC entered our labs last week, but this isn’t to be mistaken for the first model with the same name that OWC released about a year prior. The latest revision uses the SF-2282 controller with 32nm Toshiba Toggle flash and as you will see in our full review, it takes significant leaps and bounds ahead to become one of the quickest SSDs to have passed through the TT labs to date.

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding GIGABYTE’s new Z68 weapon that nestles its way neatly into the G1.Killer arsenal. We got our hands on the G1.Sniper2 for a full going over and were quick to see why it’s been received by the PC enthusiast and gamer communities so well.

With dedicated Creative X-Fi audio, Killer E2100 networking and a kaboodle of other gamer and overclocker friendly features on the dominating Z68/LGA1155 platform, for gamers in particular, finding something not to like about the board will be the most difficult, aside from perhaps the understandbly higher price tag compared to some of its competitors offerings.

If you’re sold on the Sniper2 and now setting your target on a suitable kit of RAM, we looked at one of Corsair’s latest Dominator GT series dual channel memory kits earlier this week; an 8GB, 2133MHz kit which particularly stands out due to the lower required 1.5v spec versus other 2133MHz kits that more commonly need 1.6v or above.

With timings of 9-11-9-27, an upperscale default speed of 2133MHz and the beefier 8GB capacity versus your more typical 4GB, there are little to no tradeoffs from the lowly 1.5v requirement to get these modules humming along and as expected, our testing revealed there’s a bit of tinkering room for some timings and speed adjustments to squeeze even more out of the modules.

Our storage Chris guru was grinning like a cheshire cat upon receiving a certain package from OCZ recently, knowing that what was lurking inside was one of the fastest SSD solutions known to man, the mighty RevoDrive 3 X2 PCI-E SSD in 480GB capacity form.

With well over 1500MB/sec read and 1350MB/sec write speeds on tap in ideal situations (confirmed by our ATTO testing), despite the choice of asynchronous versus synchronous flash used, the RevoDrive 3 X2 certainly won’t let you down in the performance ranks, but being a top-tier, workstation oriented product, the price probably will at well over $1600 USD. But if the large 480GB capacity is way overkill, you can always opt for the entry level 120GB model that brings pricing back down to Earth at a respectable $399.99 over at NewEgg at the time of writing.

If you’re a big fan of Rugby, you’d be excited about the 2011 World Cup kicking into action come September 9, beginning with New Zealand v Tonga at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand. In coincidence, Developer HB Studios has just launched a new rugby gaming title for the PS3 and Xbox 360, Rugby World Cup 2011 – The Game, the first rugby title out for quite some time, since 2007 actually.

HB Studios were the team that built the EA rugby games over the years, but with EA not releasing a rugby game for the World Cup, it was up to a lesser known publisher, 505 Games to run with it. However, those who played HB Studios’ previous games and loved the way they played will be happy to know that the formula is pretty much the same this time around. You can read our full review on the game here folks.

If you’ve been watching the news lately, you already know that the East Coast of the US was ravaged by a hurricane. In the hurricane’s wake thousands of homes were flooded, entire cities underwater and billions of family pictures, digital and print are now destroyed. For the last couple of years we’ve been urging readers to plan ahead, prepare for the worst and to get your data secure.

When it comes to natural disaster protection, no one does it better than ioSafe. ioSafe has been selling the Solo, a well-built external hard drive enclosure that is able to resist fire, water and pressure for years now. The newest version, the SoloPRO takes the original Solo design and enhances it with faster interfaces to your PC or MAC. Several months ago we looked at the USB 2.0 / eSATA model, but this week we looked at the USB 3.0 model.

And that about wraps up the major happenings from our neck of the woods for this past week. Until next, adios folks!

Foxconn denies it's buying ECS

Further consolidation in the mobo business is inevitable, but for right now ECS (Elite) is not up for sale.

And not only is ECS not up for being bought by Foxconn – as Digitimes reports today – but Hon Hai (Foxconn) has denied it wants to buy it.

Specifically, Digitimes speculated – it is Orbitt that Foxconn is eying up. Orbitt sells  kit in China.

Over the last five years, the number of independent motherboard makers has dwindled as commoditisation has overwhelmed the PC industry. ECS itself is largely owned by Taiwanese giant Tatung.

Next, someone will be suggesting that Asustek wants to buy Gigabyte. Oh, someone has already suggested that.