CPU cooling has been one of the most viable topics and discussions for PC enthusiasts. The ability to squeeze out more juice of the processor and keeping it cool with third party CPU coolers has been the trend for overclockers and enthusiasts alike. In most conditions, liquid cooling has been regarded as the optimized solution for bringing temps down and boosting clocks up.
Just recently, Enermax, a brand known for PSUs and Cases, has entered into the CPU liquid cooling department. Enermax has released the ELC series which includes ELC120-TA, ELC120-TB and the much more high-end ELC240 models. And with the patent issues going about, Enermax also managed to keep their patent on their own thermal conductivity technology.
One of the features introduced and emphasized by Enermax which makes it different from the other conventional and current liquid coolers is that they seem to feature a simplified close-loop system which prevents any hassle brought about by liquid cooling technology. Enermax claims that there won't be any need to replace the coolant for their systems and maintenance-free.
Enermax ELC series conforms with both AMD and Intel platforms that will make it easier and flexible for the PC market. ELC120-TB and the ELC240 are armed with Silence Fans while the ELC120-TA slightly differs with a LED fan but retains the same functionality with the TB. Prices for the Philippine market has not yet been announced but in the US market, the ELC series costs at $89.99 (ELC120 TB and TA) and $119.99 (for the ELC240).
There has been a trend on getting low profile video cards more into the market especially with HTPC (Home Theatre PC) rigs getting about. But usually these graphics processors are more on the value side models and would not definitely reach the mid-range cards.
This time around, however, Sapphire has launched its own low profile HD7750 video card. Like all other low profile GPUs, the Sapphire HD7750 was built for HTPC systems and small form factor computers, which would require more graphics capability but with minimal space requirements.
The Sapphire HD7750 has 1GB of memory and core clocks at 800 MHz, it comes in 128-bit memory interface also and features DVI-I, displayport video outputs and HDMI. No pricing has been released on the said videocard but hopefully in a few weeks time it should reach the local markets.
The green team, Nvidia, has been doing a lot of renaming of their video cards for a long time now. This time around Nvidia has dwelt on renaming the old Geforce GT 520 to the more recent Geforce GT 620. There are however slight changes on the 6 series model. One of the most distinct change is that the GT 620 memory has been reduced considerably by half making it 512/1024mb instead of the previous 1024/2048mb. Though, this won't really matter on some applications. But beneath these setbacks, the newer version GT 620 supports Open GL 4.2 from the 4.1 of the older 5 series counterpart.
The 510 videocard will also be replaced with the latest Geforce 605. On the downside of this, the graphics clockspeed is reduced from 810 to 523 MHz; processor clockspeed has been decreased also making it to only 1026 MHz from the older 1620 MHz. The bright side on this is that the newer models now consume lesser power and are now based on the Kepler architecture, which is the same design from the GTX 680 class.
The good news is that the Geforce GT 620 and 605 won't make it to retail and would only be limited to OEM production.
Rebranded as usual
ASRock, the sister company of ASUS, has announced their new AMD motherboard that comes with the latest Lucid Virtu Universal MVP technology support. This technology features the unification of the discrete video card (GPU) and the AMD CPU with integrated GPU capabilities to perform hand-in-hand to obtain performance gains.
The pioneer motherboard with this technology is the ASRock A75 Pro4/MVP. It will be released in the local market sometime soon. No pricing details have been announced as of now but it should be within decent price range for enthusiasts.
ASRock A75 Pro4/MVP
With the lineup of Bulldozer being staggered into different markets, AMD recently announced the addition of their Bulldozer lineup - the FX-6200 and FX-4170.
Both new processors still feature the 32nm technology in which the current Bulldozer chips are using. However, the FX-6200 and FX-4170 are 125W TDP, unlike the previous FX-6100 and FX-4100, which are only at 95W. Both new CPUs carry 8mb of L3 cache and are still AM3+ sockets based.
The hexa core FX-6200 has a starting clock speed of 3.8 GHz and reaches 4.1 GHz on Turbo. While the quad core FX-4170 has a base clock of 4.2 GHz and accelerates to 4.3 GHz on Turbo. And additional good news for AMD users, with this new processors comes price cuts on older Bulldozer chips. AMD announced that it will reduce prices on its other 32nm models.
With these newer chips coming along, let's hope this will be priced competitively in our local market. For those waiting for prices to go down for CPU upgrades, this might be the starting point that you're looking for.
There has been much speculation on when the upcoming Trinity, Brazos 2.0 and Vishera AMD CPUs for desktops will reach the market. Detailed schedules on the release of these chips were leaked on the internet today.
The 2nd quarter of this year (2012) will be the scheduled release date for Trinity, the successors of the Llano processors. This will feature the release of the new A10 and A8 Fusion CPUs. A10-5800 and A10-5700 will have the built-in AMD Radeon HD 7660D while the A8 counterparts (A8-5500 and A8-5600) will carry a cut-down GPU, HD 7560D. GPU performance for the Trinity CPUs will just be slightly below the HD 7670, which is a known rebrand of the current HD 6670.
Brazos 2.0 will also be released in the second quarter of 2012. This will introduce essential APUs such as the AMD E2-1800 and E1-1200, which also comes with a AMD Radeon HD 7340 and HD 7310 on-board GPUs respectively. These APUs would replace the existing E-450 and E-300. The E2-1800 and E1-1200 will still come in dual-core models 18W TDP, but it would feature Turbo Core technology, USB 3.0 and improvements on the chipset end. Q2 2012 would also be the time for additions of the current FX lineup with FX-6200 and FX-4120.
Q3 2012, however, will be the scheduled release for the FX successor - the Vishera. These would include the 8-core FX-8350 and FX-8320, 6-core FX-6300, and the 4-core FX-4320. Astounding attributes of the Vishera would include 4 Piledriver modules with different core count models. In the meantime, Q3 will also key in the addition of the other Trinity low-end lineup such as the A6-5400 and A4-5300.
More things are coming up for AMD this year. Let's hope that AMD can stick with their schedule and give end-users the needed boost in performance.
For most enthusiasts, overclocking capability (pushing a component through its limits, increasing performance and temps at the same time) is one of the deciding factor when purchasing processors. In the recent years, aside from some Intel CPUs, such as the K editions, AMD has been the preferred by most enthusiasts with a wide variety of its unlocked editions and cheaper cost. However, the downside of overclocking is that it will void any warranty in your component. Just recently, Intel announced a protection plan for Overclockers on their CPUs.
Performance Tuning Protection Plan, Intel's new replacement plan, entitles an Intel user with an out-of-warranty service offers in the event of component damage caused by putting too much voltage by the user or simply during overclocking. The plan user is entitled to an immediate single replacement for the damaged CPU, and, in no terms, overrides the standard 3-year warranty offered on most Intel products. The only sad thing about this new feature is that it comes with an extra price tag and is only limited on certain unlocked models.
Unfortunately, I doubt that this will ever be implemented in the Philippines. Do note that this additional price plan models are designed for North American users, as of the moment.
Even with the recent announcement of AMD to defer from focusing on high-end desktop CPUs, the long time Intel-rival company has announced its next in line of the Llano processors.
Unlocked versions of the Llano CPU will soon be available in the market - A8-3870K and A6-3670K. There has been information that these CPUs will be placed on higher tiers of the current A8 and A6 Llano regiment. The new A8-3870K and A6-3670K will be marked at 100W and are to have 3.0 GHz and 2.7 GHz of clockspeed. Since it is unlocked versions, overclocking should be a breeze in these new CPUs.
Sometime soon, this will hit the local stores and probably would make current AMD FM1 socket CPUs to slightly decrease in prices. Though this may not be as powerful as Intel CPUs, let's hope that this will still be an astounding contender as its predecessors have gained.
With all the hyped phenomenon over the past month of Bulldozer release (which was a bit disappointing), Intel finally released their own chip to broaden the leading gap passed its competitor. A few days ago, Intel released the Core i7-3000 series, codename "Sandybridge-E".
Intel started off by releasing two new models which follow the LGA 2011 platform. These are the Corei7-3960X Extreme Edition and the Core i7-3960K. Apart from these models, a Corei7-3820 is also for release early next year. The newer chip features the amazing quad-channel memory architecture, which is able to run up to 1,600 MHz of DDR3 memory modules officially. The recent memory controller development is what makes it apart from its predecessor, Sandybridge architecture, which only has a limited triple-channel memory supporting up to 1,066 MHz. Adding to its features, the new Sandybridge-E chip also allows a total of 40 PCI-Express lanes in the video card configuration.
Although it may only be a matter of time before these new technology reaches our shore, this may bring about a whole new gaming and computing experience for the end-users. Hopefully, low-end CPUs based on this new architecture will be introduced the following year.
By now, everyone should be wondering why hard disk prices are packing up as much as 50% in a matter of days. It's been said that majority of the hard disk are made and manufactured in Thailand, and this has caused a domino effect on the hardware market - and pretty strong too!
Most of the major hard disk companies such as Western Digital and Seagate has commented that their factories have been flooded and some equipment may require some drying. Western Digital has announced that it might fall short of its goal of producing the planned 58 million units. Instead, WD projected that it will only reach as much as 22 to 26 million in production counts by the end of the year.
Most of the computer hardware consumers why there are some local distributors (such as Gaisano Interpace) who have halted individual purchases on components and prioritized more on bulk purchasers. The Thai flooding seriously affected the computer hardware industry, and with the last quarter coming up - prices are expected to rise much higher than expected this time around. Let's hope our beloved hard drive companies can recover from this loss soon and the market can enjoy lower prices on components again.