The next step in overclocking: the SSD

Dave James at

Yes, you read that right, our solid state drives are set to be the next battleground in the world of overclocking. It has been announced that, as part of an overclocking seminar at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) today, that Intel will go into detail, and demonstrate, overclocking SSD technology. Intel are trying to woo back the enthusiast crowd with new extreme CPUs running on the existing X79 platform - stay tuned for that one, folks - now they’re also looking at other areas they can use to inspire serial tweakers.

Intel's Iris Pro integrated graphics tech hands-on: solid gaming performance on the go

Dave James at

Integrated GPUs, processor GPUs, call them what you will, generally those relatively weak graphics components are ignored by PC gamers concerned with high performance, but in the world of laptops, that could be about to change. Last week saw me briefly ensconced inside Intel UK’s Swindon HQ, with a couple of Iris Pro-based laptops for company. They represent the top of Intel’s processor graphics tree and deliver practically current-gen console performance in an Ultrabook-esque form factor.

Inside the surprisingly svelte new Clevo chassis lies the 4th Gen Core i7-4750HQ, running at 2GHz, with the ability to hit 3.2GHz on power-hungry Turbo mode. The important thing though is that this chip is housing the new Iris Pro Intel graphics, so that’s the full 40 execution unit set-up with an added 128MB eDRAM.

Gigabyte G1.Sniper M5 motherboard review

Dave James at

Good lord, that’s a striking mobo. It’s also a pretty impressively performing board too, built for the new generation of processor from Intel, the 4th Generation Core architecture, previously code-named Haswell. It’s also one of the first boards I’ve looked at outside of the expensive Intel own brand mobo that was shipped me with the inaugural i7 Haswell review CPU.

The most obvious thing about this board is its micro ATX form factor, but don’t for one second think that has an impact on the performance you can get out of this mean, grean motherboard. It may be small, but don’t let that fool you - it was able to keep pace with a similarly impressive, full-size Asus Z87-Pro board.

How AMD's hardware in next-gen consoles will affect PC gamers

Dave James at

We’ve known AMD are the go-to guys for next-gen console silicon for a good while now. The tech press has been speculating since the consoles’ specs were first announced as to how the PC could benefit from Sony and Microsoft opting for the x86, and specifically AMD, architecture. After all the Xbox 360 was running AMD graphics hardware and, from my perspective, the benefits to the PC from that relationship are pretty intangible at best. There are signs that things may be different this time around.

"The consoles are really the target for a lot of the game developers, if it’s a Radeon heart powering that console, like the PS4 or Xbox 360, that means these games devs are going to be designing their games, designing their features and really optimising for that Radeon heart" said AMD's Devon Nekechuk around the launch of the Radeon HD 7990. But why, specifically, will that be the case? I asked AMD's worldwide manager of ISV gaming engineering, Nicolas Thibieroz for the nitty gritty.

AMD say "PC ports of next-generation console titles are likely to struggle" on Intel tech

Dave James at

Intel are heralding their new Haswell processor architecture as a game-changer for gaming ultrabooks and small form factor gaming machines. Their competitors AMD predictably have serious doubts about Intel’s ability to compete when it comes to PC gaming.

I spoke with Intel’s Richard Huddy
a few months back about the graphical technology behind their push for Haswell in the gaming market and he was very excited about the progress they were making for PC gamers, but I also put some questions to AMD’s Nicholas Thiebierroz, Senior Manager of its Gaming Engineering division. I’m sure it’s no coincidence I’ve only just heard back as Haswell is launched. Here's what he said about Intel's latest foray into the world of gaming hardware and what the next generation of consoles, which run on AMD architecture, will mean for PC gamers.

Haswell CPUs are a poor choice for desktop gamers. Here's why.

Dave James at

So yeah, Intel’s 4th Generation Core architecture, known to you and I as Haswell, has finally landed and with it the new processor for your next gaming PC has surely arrived. Hasn’t it? Well, if your next gaming PC is going to be a laptop then that’s probably a rather effusive yes.

If you’re a desktop gamer looking for more processing grunt and some hefty overclocking prowess from this stellar new architecture, however, you’re probably going to be rather disappointed.

Intel Iris Pro integrated graphics chips promise great gaming performance for notebooks

Dave James at

With the launch of the 4th Generation Core architecture set to take off at the beginning of June - around the time of the Computex show in Taiwan - Intel are starting to make more noise about their upcoming processors.

The architecture, codenamed "Haswell," is primarily designed as a mobile CPU, so Intel want the new processors to deliver improved graphics performance at reduced power demand. They've made some bold claims about the effectiveness of their 4th Generation Core architecture which, could prove especially useful for notebook owners that like to play games on the move.

With PixelSync and InstantAccess, are Intel well-armed for a three-way graphics war?

Dave James at

Processor giant Intel is living it up in San Francisco at GDC, speaking to games developers, announcing new graphics technologies and convincing top dev houses to use their proprietary gaming advances. They're acting just like AMD or Nvidia.

I hope they know what they're doing...

Asus tease Gryphon and Z87-deluxe motherboards, will support Intel Haswell CPUs

Dave James at

Asus have dropped a few teaser images of their upcoming Gryphon and Z87-Deluxe motherboards on the Republic of Gamers minisite. The Z87 motherboards will house Intel’s 4th Generation Haswell Core processor architecture with the new LGA 1150 socket design. It's a few pins short of the LGA 1155, so we'll definitely need new motherboards if we want to take advantage of Intel's Haswell tech.

Intel's Haswell processors set to touch down in June, should you upgrade?

Dave James at

Rumours have surfaced from Taipei and DigiTimes that Intel will be launching it’s brand new processors, with their funky new architecture, on June 2nd this year. That’s a couple days before the start of Computex in Taiwan, one of the biggest tech trade shows in the world. That means you can bet there’ll be a host of Haswell motherboards littering the show following the launch.

Intel's Haswell i5 and i7 line-ups leaked

Dave James at

I’m actually rather excited about the next CPU to come from the Intel labs, especially after being bombarded with info at this year's Intel Developer Forum. And now Chinese site, VR-Zone, has posted up a leaked datasheet purporting to display the full details of the upcoming Haswell i5 and i7 lineups.

The new chips will still be running on the same 22nm production process, but with a new architecture that should see the graphics performance of the HD 4600 graphics components doubling.

Don't Panic: Intel pledges to continue support of socketed CPUs

T.J. Hafer at

Amidst rumors that the 2012 apocalypse would be caused by Intel discontinuing production of socketed CPUs, causing thousands of system builders and overclockers to cry out in anguish, our friends over at Maximum PC have given the all clear. Intel has no plans to begin welding their processors inseparably to motherboards to the exclusion of producing the removable kind we've all come to know and love. Life as we know it, so it seems, will go on.

Is Intel killing the upgradable PC?

Dave James at

There have been rumours floating around for the last couple days that Intel is going to end the traditional socketed CPU once the Haswell chip is out of the door. Based upon a supposedly leaked processor roadmap, Japanese site, PC Watch, is claiming to show that Intel will be calling time on the CPU upgrade market.

What they are saying is that the Broadwell CPU, the next-generation chip to follow Haswell, will be sold soldered into the motherboard, doing away with the LGA socket altogether. As the Broadwell lineup will represent the die-shrink down to 14nm from the 22nm Haswell variant, it's possible there may be an architectural need for these CPUs to be permanently attached to the motherboard.

Intel halves SSD power demands

Dave James at

Semiconductor giant Intel is rolling out solid-state drives featuring the very latest of their 20nm NAND flash modules - good news for owners of gaming laptops, which will benefit hugely from the improved power efficiency, allowing longer sessions away from the plug socket.

Intel have been in the consumer SSD game since the very beginning, and despite ditching their own memory controllers, the 330 Series have already carved out a pretty decent niche thanks to some recent price drops and Intel’s reputation for longevity.

PC Gaming Alliance contest carries Intel Ultrabook grand prize

Omri Petitte at

The PC Gaming Alliance, a non-profit group composed of influential hardware and software developers such as Intel and Epic, revealed today its Game United Contest and asked for entrants to record a video or write a wiki entry on the value and future of PC gaming for an Intel Ultrabook grand prize.

WiFi Alliance updates wireless display spec

Adam Oxford at

Hands up if you've ever bought a DisplayPort connector? Thought not, because while the monitor adaptor of tomorrow (still) is clearly a very elegantly designed piece of kit, everyone knows the future of everything is wireless.

Hence a bit of excitement about today's announcement from industry steering group WiFi Alliance. It's launched a new standard, known as Miracast, which should theoretically make it simple to get moving pictures from one PC, laptop or phone to any screen on your house using nothing but the power of 802.11x.

Intel's Haswell CPU, successor to Ivy Bridge: details from the Intel Developer Forum

Adam Oxford at

I wasn't at Intel's Developer Forum (IDF) this year, so forgive the tardiness of this round up of the announcements from said conference. The big news is, of course, more details on its next CPU, codenamed Haswell. This chip will be the fourth in the 'Core' line-up, replacing current Ivy Bridge processors some time early next year.

The good news, for PC gamers at least, is that you can probably upgrade your CPU now (if you need to) safe in the knowledge that Haswell isn't likely to make any current desktop quad core obsolete within a year or so.

It's laptops and tablets that Intel has its eye on for the future (doesn't everyone?)

Intel launches dual core Ivy Bridge

Adam Oxford at

Did you read about the details of Intel's Ivy Bridge launch a few weeks ago and wonder what happened to the dual core and ultra mobile chips that have proved so popular in Sandy Bridge variants? Don't worry, they haven't been retired – just held back until today, that's all.

There are 14 new processors launched today, nine of which are duallies. They join the quad core Core i5 3xxx and Core i7 3xxx CPUs we've already seen and reviewed in PCG 241, and with them promises of ultra cheap or ultra thin gaming systems, and touch screen Ultrabooks too.

Thunderbolt motherboards on their way

Adam Oxford at

Just 15 months after the technology first appeared in a commercial form, ASUS and MSI have finally announced the first PC motherboards that will ship with built in Thunderbolt ports.

Thunderbolt, if you're aware of it all, may sound like a tedious hard drive technology, but it's got an enormous amount of potential for PC gaming. With these two boards, we may finally be in the era of the modular PC – which doesn't have to be opened up for upgrades.

It means, potentially, external hard drives that are as quick as internal SSDs and plug in graphics cards that really work. Much as I like to tinker inside my PC's case, this is big.

Intel releases Ivy Bridge CPUs. We review the i7 3770K

Adam Oxford at

Chin up CPU fans, Intel has launched its latest batch of processors out into the world today. On this fine anniversary of Shakespeare's birthday an infinite number of monkeys has been hard at work producing a replacement for the entire Core i7 and Core i5 range - not that they needed it - and Intel have crossed over Sandy Bridge and are onto a new Ivy Bridge design.

And we've had one of these new chips in the office to play with for a couple of weeks. Want to know what we think? Read on.