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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 237 declined, 79 accepted (316 total, 25.00% accepted)

+ - Micron SSDs with MLC/SLC Conversion Technology Tested

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "Earlier this month Micron announced a technology called Dynamic Write Acceleration in the new M600 SSD models that is able to swap NAND flash from MLC and to SLC (multi- and single-level cell) on the fly in order to improve performance in low cost solid state drive implementations. In short, a new and empty M600 SSD will have its dies in SLC mode. While the SSD will appear to the user at its rated capacity, the actual flash capacity in SLC mode is half of what it would be if all dies were in MLC mode. As the SSD is filled past 50% capacity, the controller intelligently switches dies from SLC to MLC, shuffling data around as necessary in the background to briefly empty a given die before switching its mode. In PC Perspective's testing though, the hardware was very inconsistent in write speeds, even at the same capacity fill levels, and would often run at a much lower throughput level than expected. Read speeds are not affected by the DWA feature. While interesting in theory it appears the dynamic flipping technology needs a bit more work."

+ - GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 Bring Unseen Power Efficiency->

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "Launching today is a new GPU from NVIDIA along with two new graphics card that utilize it. GM204, the second chip released based on the Maxwell architecture, brings an incredibly high level of power efficiency to high-end enthusiast level graphics cards. The GeForce GTX 980, reviewed by PC Perspective, with 2048 CUDA cores, a 256-bit memory bus, 4GB of GDDR5 running at 7.0 GHz and a base clock over 1100 MHz, is able to outperform cards like the GeForce GTX 780 Ti and the AMD Radeon R9 290X and will sell for $549. Maybe most impressive is the power draw difference — the GTX 980 uses 130 watts LESS POWER than the R9 290X under a full load. The GTX 970, with 1664 CUDA cores, the same memory configuration and a base clock of 1050 MHz runs at even lower power, outperforming the Radeon R9 290 and using 80 watts less power and has an MSRP of just $329. Faster GPUs using less power — it's pretty impressive. New features of the GTX 900 series include MFAA (multi-frame AA), Dynamic Super Resolution and full DX12 feature set support. And the fact that we were able to overclock the GTX 980 to nearly 1500 MHz doesn't hurt either."
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+ - AMD Releases new Tonga GPU, Lowers 8-core CPU to $229

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "AMD looks to continue addressing the mainstream PC enthusiast and gamer with a set of releases into two different component categories. First, today marks the launch of the Radeon R9 285 graphics card, a $250 option based on a brand new piece of silicon dubbed Tonga. This GPU has nearly identical performance to the R9 280 that came before it, but includes support for XDMA PCIe CrossFire, TrueAudio DSP technology and is FreeSync capable (AMD's response to NVIDIA G-Sync). On the CPU side AMD has refreshed its FX product line with three new models (FX-8370, FX-8370e and FX-8320e) with lower TDPs and supposedly better efficiency. The problem of course is that while Intel is already sampling 14nm parts these Vishera-based CPUs continue to be manufactured on GlobalFoundries' 32nm process. The result is less than expected performance boosts and efficiency gains."

+ - Intel Core i7-5960X Brings 8 Haswell Cores to Enthusiasts->

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "Today Intel released its updated E-class, enthusiast platform based on Haswell, known previously as just Haswell-E. The Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition CPU is an 8-core processor (addressing 16 threads with HyperThreading) that doubles core count over mainstream Haswell parts and jumps from the 6-core parts in previous E-class platforms. That not only turns into dramatic performance increases in highly threaded applications like rendering and encoding, but Haswell-E is also the first consumer platform to integrate a quad-channel DDR4 memory controller, with frequencies starting at 2133 MHz. The top two tiers of Haswell-E processors also include 40 lanes of PCI Express 3.0 while the lower cost Core i7-5820K will be limited to 6-cores and 28 lanes of PCIe. New motherboards based on the new X99 chipset are required as well and include additional storage options like 14 USB ports and 10 SATA 6.0 Gbps channels. Clearly this is the fastest consumer platform tested but as with all E-class releases, the cost is higher. The Core i7-5960X will set you back $999 and expect to pay at least $500 for a motherboard and 4 DIMMs of the new DDR4 as well."
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+ - Intel Core M Processor: Broadwell Architecture and 14nm Process Reveal

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "Intel continues to plug along with new processor architectures and new process technologies in an effort to stay ahead in the consumer and enterprise markets (against AMD) as well as gain ground in the mobile space against the likes of Qualcomm and Samsung. The new 14nm process technology being detailed for the first time results in a 0.65x area scaling rate, an improvement over other generational shifts. Yield appears to be slightly behind where 22nm was at this point in its life cycle but Intel sees it catching up rather quickly before products ship late this winter. Also detailed was information on Broadwell-Y, the lower power version of the Broadwell microarchitecture. With a die size of just 80 mm^2 (compared to the 130 mm^2 of Haswell-Y) and some changes to the packing of the dies themselves, Intel is enabling much smaller form factors (as low as 7mm) with fanless designs. A feature called Duty Cycle Control enables lower "effective" clock speeds than would be possible with current voltage minimums on the process to enable lower power consumption for low performance requirement tasks. PC Perspective covered the released information on both the 14nm process technology as well as the Broadwell CPU/GPU changes and it looks like Intel could be dramatically reinventing itself once again."

+ - First Retail Ready Variable Refresh Rate Monitor Released

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "NVIDIA G-Sync, though announced back in October of 2013, is finally getting its first wave of releases in the consumer market. The ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q combines a 144 Hz refresh rate on a 2560x1440 resolution 27-in TN panel with NVIDIA G-Sync support. PC Perspective tested out the variable refresh technology which sends data to the monitor at rate set by the GPU rather than by the display, allowing games to be played without the stutter often seen with V-Sync enabled and without the horizontal tearing seen with V-Sync disabled. The monitor's TN panel limits viewing angles somewhat but less thant traditional TN panel users might anticipate, providing one of the fastest response time monitors with a 2560x1440 resolution. Unfortunately connectivity is limited only to DisplayPort on the PG278Q as it is a requirement of G-Sync, but other features like an integrated USB 3.0 hub and Ultra Low Motion Blur / LightBoost support help justify the rather high $799 price tag."

+ - SHIELD Tablet $299 Android Gaming Tablet Reviewed->

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "Last week NVIDIA announced the SHIELD Tablet and SHIELD Controller but reviews are finally hitting of the devices this morning. Based on the high performance Tegra K1 SoC that integrates 192 Kepler architecture CUDA cores, benchmarks reveal that that the SHIELD Tablet is basically unmatched by any other mobile device on the market when it comes to graphics performance — it is more than 2.5x the performance of the Apple A7 in some instances. With that power NVIDIA is able to showcase full OpenGL versions of games like Portal and Half-Life 2 running at 1080p locally on the 19x12 display or output to a TV in a "console mode." PC Perspective has impressions of that experience as well as using the NVIDIA Game Stream technology to play your PC games on the SHIELD Tablet and controller. To go even further down the rabbit hole, you can stream your PC games from your desktop to your tablet, output them to the TV in console mode, stream your game play to Twitch from the tablet while overlaying your image through the front facing camera AND record your sessions locally via ShadowPlay and using the Wi-Fi Direct powered controller to send and receive audio. It is incredibly impressive hardware but the question remains as to whether or not there is, or will be, a market for Android based gaming devices, even those with the power and performance that NVIDIA has built."
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+ - Samsung release first SSD with 3D NAND->

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "As SSD controllers continue to evolve, so does the world of flash memory. With the release of the Samsung 850 Pro SSD announced today, Samsung is the first company to introduce 3D NAND technology to the consumer. By using 30nm process technology that might seem dated in some applications, Samsung has been reliably able to stack lithography and essentially "tunnel holes" in the silicon while coating the inside with the material necessary to hold a charge. The VNAND being used with the Samsung 850 Pro is now 32 layers deep, and though it lowers the total capacity per die, it allows Samsung to lower manufacturer costs with more usable die per wafer. This results in more sustainable and reliable performance as well as a longer life span, allowing Samsung to offer a 10 year warranty on the new drives. PC Perspective has a full review with performance results and usage over time that shows Samsung's innovation is leading the pack."
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+ - $3000 GeForce GTX TITAN Z Tested, Less Perf than $1500 R9 295X2->

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "NVIDIA announced its latest dual-GPU flagship card, the GeForce GTX Titan Z, at the GPU Technology Conference in late March with a staggering price point of $2999. Since that time, AMD announced and released the Radeon R9 295X2, its own dual-GPU card with a price tag of $1499. PC Perspective finally put the GTX Titan Z to the test and found that from a PC gamers view, the card is way overpriced for the performance it offers. At both 2560x1440 and 3840x2160 (4K) the R9 295X2 offered higher and more consistent frame rates sometimes by as much as 30%. The AMD card also only takes up two slots (though it does have a water cooling radiator to worry about) while the NVIDIA GTX Titan Z is a three-slot design. The Titan Z is quieter and uses much less power, but gamers considering a $1500 or $3000 graphics card selection are likely not overly concerned with power efficiency."
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+ - Intel Core i7-4790K Devil's Canyon Increases Clocks by 500 MHz, Lowers Temps->

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "Since the introduction of Intel's Ivy Bridge processors there was a subset of users that complained about the company's change of thermal interface material between the die and the heat spreader. With the release of the Core i7-4790K, Intel is moving to a polymer thermal interface material that claims to improve cooling on the Haswell architecture, along with the help of some added capacitors on the back of the CPU. Code named Devil's Canyon, this processor boosts stock clocks by 500 MHz over the i7-4770K all for the same price ($339) and lowers load temperatures as well. Unfortunately, in this first review at PC Perspective, overclocking doesn't appear to be improved much."
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+ - New Intel SSD 730 Is Overclocked. Yes, Overclocked.->

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "When Intel jumped on to the scene of the SSD market with the X25 series, they made a lot of waves with a custom built controller and performance levels not seen previously. In recent years, Intel has turned away from custom controllers and used third party ones from SandForce. This permitted easy product line management but took away the differentiation of the Intel SSD line. Today's release of the Intel SSD 730 returns Intel to the role of controller designer for consumer hardware. Taking the same 6 Gbps controller found on the Intel DC S3500 and overclocking it, running the bus at 100 MHz rather than 83 MHz, results in improved performance but not faster transfer speeds than many other, less expensive SSDs on the market. Intel's controller shows its strength in IOps testing. The overclocked state of this SSD also means more power and heat — PC Perspective read surface temperatures of 122F on their test unit."
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+ - NVIDIA Launches GTX 750 Ti with New Maxwell Architecture->

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "NVIDIA is launching the GeForce GTX 750 Ti today which would normally just be a passing mention for a new $150 mainstream graphics card. But the fact that the company is using this as the starting point for its Maxwell architecture is actually pretty interesting. With a new GPU design that reorganizes the compute structure into smaller blocks, Maxwell is able to provide 66% more CUDA cores with a die size that is just 25% bigger than the previous generation all while continuing to use the same 28nm process technology we have today. Power and area efficiency were the target design points for Maxwell as it will eventually be integrated into NVIDIA's Tegra line too. As a result the GeForce GTX 750 Ti is able to outperform AMD's Radeon R7 260X by 5-10% while using 35 watts less power at the same time."
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+ - New WD Black2 Dual Drive Combines Full SSD and HDD in Same 2.5-in Package->

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "Hybrid drives are not new to the computing world as the benefits of a hard drive with a large(-ish) NAND cache are well known. But desktop users will likely agree that having a full capacity SSD as a primary drive with a secondary, spindle based hard drive for mass storage is the most popular solution. For many notebook users that simply isn't an option as space is limited in most laptop chassis but today's brand new Dual Drive, the Black2 from Western Digital, mixes things up. In a single 2.5-in hard drive form factor, WD has packed a 120GB SSD in addition to a 1TB hard drive that share a single SATA connection and that can be installed in systems with a single drive bay. This isn't a hybrid, Windows sees two different partitions. There are some interesting software quirks and the SSD performance is middle of the road based on PC Perspective's testing, but the Black2 performs well enough in both SSD and HDD testing to get their full recommendation."
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+ - NVIDIA Brings Own Tablet to Market, Tegra Note 7->

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "What do you do when you can't find many partners willing to put the work into your product that you think it deserves? Well if you are NVIDIA, you build your own and sell it. The first product that is part of NVIDIA's Tegra Note platform is being released, a 7-in form factor stock Android tablet called the Tegra Note 7. Based on the Tegra 4 SoC with its 4+1 Cortex-A15 CPU and 72-core GPU design, the Note 7 is among the fastest small tablets on the market and also includes features like DirectStylus support, front facing speakers and a $199 price tag. It does lag behind the Nexus 7 in battery life and screen resolution, but otherwise in PC Perspective's testing the Tegra Note 7 is able to compete in a crowded market quite strongly."
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+ - NVIDIA Releases Full GK110 GPU, GTX 780 Ti for $699->

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "The battle over the discrete graphics card space continues to stay heated. AMD started releasing its new set of graphics cards, culminated with the R9 290X Hawaii flagship just before Halloween. That left a large performance and pricing gap between the $499 GeForce GTX 780 and the $999 GTX TITAN (that was clearly overpriced for gaming). Today's release of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti starts with a $699 price tag and offers performance that is 10-15% higher than the AMD 290X at 2560x1440 and 4K resolutions. This also marks the first consumer part to enable the entire GK110 Kepler GPU which now includes 2,880 cores (25% more than the original GTX 780) running at an 875 MHz base clock, 240 texture units, 48 ROPs and 3GB of GDDR5 running at 7.0 Gbps."
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