After a look into the design and features of the Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H we are now diving into how well it performs. Unlike the MSI Z68A-GD80 we do not have any indications that we will run out of PCIe lanes, however we are still a little concerned about how well the Z68X will perform when we drop in the HD5870. We are also more than a little curious to see how the touchBIOS will work on the real world. So, let’s dive in and get to testing the Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H.
Intel has been enjoying a rather successful few years. After the launch of their first generation Core processors Intel managed to slide neatly by AMD who had been running rings around the Pentium 4 CPU. Things did not stop there though, Intel continued to build on their success working to improve their caching model and the when they were finally ready they dropped the Second Generation of the Core Processor on the Market; this time with an Internal Memory Controller to go with their improved caching. This extended the gap between Intel and AMD a few more feet and lead on to other new products including Lynnfield and then Sandy Bridge with its own GPU built right into the processor die. With the success of these new processors Intel could have just sat back and waited until AMD caught up. Instead they are continuing to move forward and are now brining a new Flagship CPU to the Core i7 lineup. The official name will be the Core i7 3960X and also comes with a new chipset, memory standard, and socket. So let’s take a look at this new chuck of silicone and see if it deserves its place at the top of the heap.
As 2011 comes to a close the big name in desktop CPUs is Intel. AMD’s Bulldozer failed to impress the market and while it is not a terrible product it does not have what it takes to grab the CPU performance crown from Intel. The top product for Intel is its new Sandy Bridge E CPUs and the X79 chipset. We have taken a look at Intel’s X79 Desktop board and Gigabyte’s G1.Assassin2. Both of these products let the Sandy Bridge E stretch its legs and run. Now we have our third X79 board in the lab. This one is from Asus and is the upper end of their consumer line. The board in question is the Asus P9X79 Deluxe. This board features the standard Intel LAN (you get dual LAN but only one is Intel in this case) as well as Asus’ BTGO (Bluetooth Go) 3.0. This is a continuation of the Bluetooth that Asus has been putting on their boards since the beginning of the year (we saw this at CES 2011). Now they are also dropping in Wireless (just like most other X79 boards), but wireless and Bluetooth are not all that Asus has packed into this board. So let’s take a look at exactly what you get with the Asus P9X79 Deluxe.
So the X79 is out along with the fastest CPU family on the planet (consumer CPU that is). This means that all of the P67, H67, H61 and Z68 boards are history right? Well you would be wrong. There are still a large number of motherboards out there from the P67 lineup that will not only turn your head, but also perform well enough to satisfy 99% of the enthusiast and gaming community. We have one of these in the house from Asus and are getting ready to see what it can do with our Core i5 2600k (you know the one that can hit 5.1GHz). So let’s dive into the $300 Asus Maximum IV Extreme and see if it can drag your eyes away from the sexy new thing on the market.
At the request of some of our readers we are going to start splitting up the way we do our reviews. However, instead of the normal “unboxings” that we find out on the Internet we are going to break up our normal review into two distinct parts. There will be the first part that will cover design choices, board layout, and features. This will be followed up with our normal performance section. We feel that this will give everyone the pieces and parts they are looking for. You can still read both (they will be crosslinked) and also discuss them on our new forum, but this way we can cover things quicker and in a more complete fashion without making each review too long. For our first dive into this new style we have the MSI Z68A-GD80B3 up on the test bench and behind the camera lens. This board follows the same trend as most of MIS’s recent product, but now they are into their second generation; you get Military Class II and OC Genie II. So let’s dive into the more theoretical part of our review and take a look at the packaging, board layout and the features for the MSI Z68A-GD80B3.
Intel has released less expensive Ivy Bridge processors while lowering the price on older Sandy Bridge CPU’s. When the first Ivy Bridge processors came out prices were in mid and high end segment. Now Intel has finally released their budget editions. These are represented by the Core i3 and Pentium CPUs based on the 22nm architecture. They will fill the gaps that currently exist in the low end market. The cheapest is the Pentium G2100T with an OEM price of just $75 (in 1,000 unit lots). It will run at 2.6GHz with only 35Watts of power consumption. The G2100T is followed by the G2120 model that offers two cores running at 3.1GHz and an OEM price of $75.
When the X79 motherboards hit the scene many people were not interested because they were looking forward to Ivy Bridge. As I wandered around the internet I saw multiple comments telling people not to bother with the new Sandy Bridge E CPUs because of this very thing. How much impact these comments had I really do not know, but what I do know is that a general consensus on the internet can be disastrous for sales. If you do not believe this just take a look back at Windows Vista.
Intel has kicked a new contest into high gear to go along with the launch of their latest CPU lineup. To get a chance at the grand prize all you have to do it submit a video explaining why you should get a chance to build the ultimate Sandy Bridge Unlocked system... The catch is that you only have 32 seconds to do it in...
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At Computex in Taipei AMD is showing off a prototype Windows 8 tablet. This is something that we predicted they would do right after they announced their shift to low power CPUs (well really APUs). It was a move that we predicted was not only logical, but one that was necessary for AMD with the shift to tablets and ultrabooks that many companies are making in anticipation of Windows 8 and its very touch oriented design.
Intel intends to introduce three lower-end processors for the lower segment of the market very soon which will be based on existing architectures. In the plan are the Celeron G470 chipset, Core i3-3245 and Core i3-3250, with the Celeron model based on the Sandy Bridge architecture, and the remaining two have Ivy Bridge processor design.