The workstation server market is one that has been neglected in the mainstream technical media. Yes there are a few “upper-end” sites that cover the workstation arena but they tend be a little snobby at times and almost always talk over the heads of the average consumer. So we are going to try and bring some of that talk to you in plain English. To kick things off we have a very nice product. This is the first Dual socket 1366 motherboard in a standard ATX package. It has been brought to you by the Asus Work Station team. These guys are a very talented bunch and have made some workstation products that can even compete head to head with some of the Republic of Games boards that Asus has. So let’s introduce to you the Asus Z8NA-D6C.
It is no secret that Intel pretty much owns the desktop market. This is not only in terms of performance per watt but in most cases performance Vs. Cost. Their chief rival AMD has had setback after setback which has hobbled their ability to compete. In fact is has gotten so bad that AMD has officially stated that they will no longer compete head to head with Intel in the desktop market (they will continue to make desktop CPUs but are moving more toward mobile CPUs). This is a shame and normally could mean that new products from Intel will slow down along with innovation (nothing makes you invent like real competition). However this has not stopped Intel from pushing out a new line up of Desktop CPUs that fall under the title of Ivy Bridge. Ivy Bridge is the Tick part of Intel’s Tick-Tock strategy where Sandy Bridge was the introduction of the microarchitecture and Ivy Bridge is the official die shrink from 32nm to 22nm. So let’s see what Ivy Bridge brings to the table in the form of the 3rd Generation Core i7 3770k.
The rise of the ARM architecture has been a meteoric one and came as something of a shock to many of the mainstream players in the mobile industry. The concept for the ARM based SoC (System on Chip) is pretty simple: build a small, energy efficient device that is able to use memory and processor cycles as efficiently as possible. This is what x86 CPU manufacturers are trying to do as well. So why are there more manufacturers of ARM based SoCs than there are x86? Well, the problem here is one of licensing. You see, it is much easier and less expensive to license the ARM architecture than it is x86. Right now there are very few players that even have an x86 license. This limits the competition down quite a bit and also (unfortunately) slows progress. However, the fight between Intel and ARM is just heating up. And despite the small number of players in the x86 market, things are far from certain in this area as we enter into a new round of combat between RISC and CISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing and Complete Instruction Set Computing).
AMD has been something of an unusual company ever since they first decided to dive into the x86 market with their purchase of NexGen. The would-be CPU maker had an interesting knack of building CPUs that performed well, but were always just a pace behind their rivals. That was the case until AMD pulled off a minor miracle in the form of the Athlon and Athlon64 CPUs. AMD seemed to have stolen the crown from Intel and looked likely to keep it for a long time.
The recently introduced AMD FX processors codenamed Vishera could remain on the market throughout the next year. Unofficial sources have said in part of the presentation that showed AMD's processor roadmap for the coming year, apparently FX chips for desktop computers will stagnate on Vishera solutions with the Piledriver core.
Last week we brought you a review of the Pallas low-profile CPU cooler from a new company called Raijintek. We put it through our torture test and we were actually surprised at how well the little cooler did. With plenty of clearance, a beautiful finish, a quiet fan and an affordable price, the Pallas passed with flying colors and earned itself the Editor’s Choice award. Today we have the next installment in our series Raijintek CPU cooler reviews: the Themis Evo.
According to the site VR-Zone, the most powerful version of the new generation of Intel processors, code-named Broadwell, will have 18 cores. Apparently, Intel has no plans to accelerate the core, but will simply put more of them in a single processor.
Yesterday there was a flurry of news posts with dire warnings that Intel would soon be removing the ability to upgrade your CPU. The news talked about the future of Intel CPUs and their associated sockets after Haswell. When we first saw some of these posts they read like the latest Facebook update rumors, but as with many rumors there is a nugget of truth somewhere in them (at least most of the time). We did reach out to Intel, but as expected they were not able to comment on unannounced products and had nothing more to say. So exactly what is going on with Intel and the future of the DIY market, let’s take a look and see if we can make some sense of the rumor that is going around.
Competition is one of the cornerstones of innovation, in the tech world and in many other areas. When we have several different companies marketing products to us that serve the same function, they will each strive to bring us, the consumer, something better than their competition. Price, performance, appearance - all of those are parts of the equation for value. Some companies offer what is perceived to be (and very often is) absolute top-of-the-line quality at a premium price. Others will present their product from the cost-to-performance ratio. Still others will rely on aesthetics to bring in the consumer. All are different and valid approaches to the marketplace, and if you’re in that market long enough you’ll likely eventually start to see a trend in certain brands, identifying which ones fit into which category.
It looks like AMD might be taking a leaf out of HP’s book. According to a report from ZDNet Asia AMD will begin to shift its focus away from the desktop to the server side where the margins are much higher per unit. This latest news plays into some additional rumblings that AMD is getting out of the x86 market (which is not true at all). We have already told you that AMD is planning to shift its consumer line up toward the mobile market where AMD feels they have an advantage over Intel and the Atom.