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Archive for Richard Swinburne

Intel's Computex 2010 Keynote: Atom Everywhere

Posted on 10th Jun 2010 at 16:21 by Richard Swinburne with 13 comments

Richard Swinburne
In the middle of Computex 2010, Intel unleashed four hours of keynotes and briefing meetings - it covered a lot of ground. While some of it was padding, there were quite a few highlights, including talk about Sandy Bridge, wireless displays and of course, Atom.

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STALKER: Call of Pripyat, I Forgive You

Posted on 10th Jun 2010 at 11:25 by Richard Swinburne with 63 comments

Richard Swinburne
I've had a rocky relationship with STALKER. I loved the original, broken though it was. I even managed to tolerate Clear Sky, mainly by distracting myself with the chance to upgrade weapons and equipment - a feature which, cynically, should have been in the first game. In short, I loved both of the first two games, even though neither had the polish I had hoped for.

Call of Pripyat and I got off on the wrong foot though. Tantrums ensued. I especially didn't like that it started you off in the middle of nowhere, with no clear objective or gear - it made the already formidable difficulty curve even more of a problem. Also, I'd like to be told how to manage basic functions when I start a game - GSC still has to buy the book entitled "101 of game design", it seems.

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Gigabyte talks up its X58A-UD9, justifies the $699 price tag

Posted on 2nd Jun 2010 at 06:59 by Richard Swinburne with 35 comments

Richard Swinburne
Gigabyte's X58A-UD9 is one of the most expensive motherboards ever sold: that's fact. At $699 it costs as much or more than most whole computers or laptops sell for.

Straight up in our meeting pre-Computex we asked Gigabyte the obvious question: why should anyone ever pay that much for a motherboard?

Gigabyte stated that it was seeing "very good sales" from its UD9s already, but the answer was a bit more than "because we can" though.

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Mini-ITX Hi-Fi case anyone?

Posted on 31st May 2010 at 02:49 by Richard Swinburne with 18 comments

While we've had our concerns about the Mini-ITX bandwagon, it's still a trend that we're broadly in favour of. After all, small, potent PCs can be great.

One of the nicest - and smallest mini-ITX cases we've seen comes from Taiwanese company Lutec's retail brand, SEED.

SEED is a shoehorned acronym of "Saving Energy Efficiency Directly" - the brand promotes mini-ITX and low power chassis, as well as a few 80Plus ATX PSUs and some laptop accessories too.

Mini-ITX Hi-Fi case anyone? Checking out SEED's latest mini-ITX chassis
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Our interest was perked with the MU-380: a gently rounded and elegant aluminium mini-ITX case. It measures a very tiny 315 x 215 x 63mm, which also limits its compatibility to Atom-esq products under 6cm tall.

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Will mini-ITX lead to disappointment?

Posted on 27th May 2010 at 11:37 by Richard Swinburne with 32 comments

Richard Swinburne
If you've been reading the site recently, you've probably noticed the real resurgence of mini-ITX mortherboards. We've got Intel to thank for that since it's pushing the form factor hard this year - all these new mini-ITX boards are made for its Core i3 and i5 CPus with integrated graphics.

However, mini-ITX has been a real backwater until now, which means that many of the companies are exploring unknown territory.

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Titan Fenrir Evo Hands-on

Posted on 17th May 2010 at 11:40 by Richard Swinburne with 72 comments

Titan will be presenting its brand new Fenrir Evo HSF at Computex in just a few weeks, but as it's an update to our favourite air cooler, we couldn't wait that long to take a look, so we took a trip to Titan's offices here in Taiwan.

Titan Fenrir Evo Hands-on *Titan Fenrir Evo - Hands on preview
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With a new coat of anodizing, the Fenrir has gone from white to red to black and gold now, but the core heatsink underneath remains the same. As Titan put it, why change what works?

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Is it a monitor, or is it a TV?

Posted on 10th May 2010 at 10:46 by Richard Swinburne with 34 comments

Since moving out to Taiwan I needed a monitor, so I gave the lovely people at Asus a buzz and asked if they could hook me up with something spare. Anything. I'm not fussy, just cheap poor like all journalists (where's my violin?). All it had to do was display an image - I didn't even care if the green and reds looked like they were made within a nuclear reactor.

Is it a monitor, or is it a TV? Asus MT276HE 27
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However Asus being Asus, dropped off a box the size of Wales with 27in LCD inside. Part of me went giddy with excitement on discovering it, then the rest of me when hnnrrrghhh as I hauled it into the lift and then dragged it out and into my apartment.

Is it a monitor, or is it a TV? Asus MT276HE 27
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After finding that construction was something more akin with an Ikea purchase - screwdriver with no instructions - I plonked it on the desk and admired.

Yes, it's still just as massive. Behold: The MT276HE!

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Does anyone really need a 1Kw PSU?

Posted on 7th May 2010 at 09:44 by Richard Swinburne with 114 comments

Richard Swinburne
Having dropped into Antec recently (not literally, I used the lift), I noticed the company was preparing a thought-provoking demo PC - it was to show that even its TruePower 550W 80Plus Bronze rated PSU can power a system that includes a GeForce GTX 480 and Intel Core i7-980X CPU!

At idle the system used a not inconsiderate 172W of power, but under load that raised to 507W - still within the power rating of the PSU, although pushing it to 92 per cent use.

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Roundup: Asus' latest AMD 8-series motherboards

Posted on 3rd May 2010 at 09:37 by Richard Swinburne with 13 comments

Asus invited us to a launch event for its latest AMD 8-series motherboards, and as you'd expect from a single motherboard range based on similar chipsets; it's all very much the same, but if you're in the market for something new AMD and Asus, but don't know what you want, here's a run down of all the latest kit for you to have a gander:

Roundup: Asus' latest AMD 8-series motherboards Asus' latest AMD 8-series motherboards Roundup: Asus' latest AMD 8-series motherboards Asus' latest AMD 8-series motherboards
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Above is the new AMD 870 chipset on the M4A87TD and its EVO'd brother. Both feature the SB850 southbridge with SATA 6Gbps, which might not be uniform across the 870 market - some companies are tempted to go back to the SB750 or 710 to save a few pennies. The EVO is upgraded with "8+2" (still 4+1 but with 2x components) and a second x16 slot (although it's electrically still x4). USB 3 also makes the cut, despite the name not expressly stating so.

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Tags 870x, 880g, 890fx

AMD 890FX overclocking and memory performance

Posted on 27th Apr 2010 at 12:26 by Richard Swinburne with 3 comments

Today sees the launch of a new six-core consumer CPU from AMD, the Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition, and new high-end motherboard chipset, the 890FX.

As you'd expect from a big launch, there's been a lot of jostling for position behind the scenes, especially here in Taipei, Taiwan. As it's a high-end launch, the various motherboard and memory companies involved have been checking out how the new chip and chipset fare with overclocking, and I dropped by G.Skill's offices a couple of weeks ago to get their impressions of AMD's new kit.

At the time, I filed a story about G.Skill's latest 2,500MHz DDR3 but I also had the chance to see the Asus M4A89GTO Pro (890FX/SB850) running four sticks of DDR3 at 1,800MHz, with timings of 6-8-6-24-40-2T.

The overclocked test system used the latest Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition C3, however we also saw it achieve similar memory speeds using a Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition too. The higher frequency is easier to hit with the latest C3 stepping CPUs thanks to AMD’s refinement of its CPU-NB link, but if you have a “good” C2 it can hits these speeds too.

G.Skill were keen to point out that the CAS 6 isn't achievable with every 890FX board at launch, although when as I visited a couple of weeks before the launch, the company's reps told me the FAE teams at each motherboard company still had time to tweak and tune their BIOSes.

4GB memory kits will be available soon and should have either Perfect Storm or Trident heatsinks attached, but the company is as yet undecided about upcoming ranges. As for buying an Asus M4A89GTO Pro - well, when AMD launches its 890FX soon, then you can get one! Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

AMD 890FX overclocking and memory performance
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AMD 890FX overclocking and memory performance
Click to enlarge
AMD 890FX overclocking and memory performance
Click to enlarge

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