Intel

DirectX 12's new rendering features are coming to DirectX 11.3 too

Dave James at

At this year’s Intel Developer Conference and Nvidia’s Maxwell Editor’s Day, Microsoft were busy banging the DirectX 12 drum. They were demonstrating its CPU efficiency boosts as well as talking up the new rendering features they’re implementing to show off the latest GPU hardware around.

Microsoft also announced the new rendering features are also going to be part of the DirectX 11.3 API, which is being shipped at the same time as DirectX 12. That sounds great, but it also fills me with fear. Back in 2007, DirectX 10 was exclusive to Vista, leaving popular Windows XP in the dust. The same thing could happen with Windows 7 and DirectX 12.


"There are 711 million PC gamers in the world today" says Intel

Dave James at

This is the first time I can remember that PC gaming was mentioned at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) without me having to remind an exec that we existed. Unprompted, Intel's Kirk Skaugen took to the stage in the main keynote proclaiming “desktop is alive and well. It's innovating, whether it's small form factors, all-in-ones, portable all-in-ones or extreme gaming.”

"There are 711 million PC gamers in the world today, that's one in ten people on the planet,” he enthused.


MSI demonstrates their GS30 2-in-1 desktop gaming PC/laptop

Dave James at

Is it a bird, is it a laptop, is it a desktop? No, it's MSI's GS30...er...entertainment system? At the moment it's just a pre-production sample but the bundled laptop and dock ought to allow bona fide desktop performance via a laptop. On the road, you've got a thin and light notebook and plugged in, at home you've effectively got a full desktop running from the same system.


Intel's affordable hex-core chip could future-proof your PC

Dave James at

Intel’s eight-core i7 5960X super chip may have grabbed a lot of headlines for its unprecedented multi-threading capabilities, but as a $1,000 CPU it was effectively irrelevant for most PC gamers. Their significantly cheaper Core i7 5820K, though, is a serious step up in performance from the Devil’s Canyon quad-core, and I’ve just got my hands on it for the first time.


Intel shows off 4K gaming laptops at its PAX Prime 2014 booth

PC Gamer at

Evan stopped by the Intel booth at PAX to talk about the 3K and 4K laptops on display, and what kind of gamer might want one. He also picked up an ASUS ROG GL551 laptop, which we're getting signed by everyone we interview at PAX (Chris Roberts and Tim Schafer among them so far)—we'll be giving it away to a reader next week!


Intel Core i7 5960X review

Dave James at

Hot damn this is some quick, expensive silicon. But even though this brand new, $1,000 eight-core, sixteen thread, Core i7 5960X processing monster is capable of some serious number-crunching, it’s probably not the CPU you’re really looking for.

The i7 5960X is the first, and the most powerful, of the new Haswell E range of Intel CPUs. They represent the processors of a whole new PC platform, comprising new motherboards and the next generation of system memory, namely X99 and DDR4 respectively. But all this is designed to power servers, rather than drive gaming performance.


Intel introduces affordable six-core CPU behind its $1,000 behemoth

Dave James at

If you’ve been eyeing up the eight-core, sixteen-thread Intel Core i7 5960X with jealous peepers, but lack the big wallet of the CEO of the ALS Association, there is still a way to top the four cores of a Devil’s Canyon i7.

There’s a six-core, twelve-thread, unlocked Intel Haswell E processor on its way that doesn’t cost a lot more than the Core i7 4790K.


Intel show off DirectX 12 performance advantage

Dave James at

Gamescom isn’t the only big conference going on at the moment, though, if you’re into Witcher 3 footage, Tomb Raider exclusivity rage and Snake slithering onto the PC, it’s probably the most important. Still, this week has seen SIGGRAPH 2014 taking place in Vancouver, the 41st international conference on computer graphics. Intel has been there showing off how good DirectX 12 is going to be for its processors.

Using one of Microsoft’s new Surface Pro 3 tablets, rocking an Intel Core i5 CPU, they have been showing a neat little graphics demo that could have been ripped directly out of Elite: Dangerous.


Octo-core Intel chips incoming this Autumn, priced at $999

Dave James at

Intel is widely expected to be dropping the octo-core Haswell-E bomb in September. The smart money places launch sometime around their Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, but only the most committed enthusiasts will want to put down $999 for Intel's new tech.


Intel Pentium Anniversary Edition G3258 review

Dave James at

Ah, now this takes me back. A budget-priced, low-end Intel Pentium chip with serious overclocking headroom. This is what overclocking PC hardware used to be about—not pushing the latest $1,000 CPU to see what extra few numbers you could squeeze out of a synthetic benchmark, but cooking the clocks on a cheapo chip to get your games to actually run faster. It is a bit of a shame that it’s taken the celebration of 20 years of Pentiums to get Intel to relax it’s iron grip on the clockspeeds of any CPU outside the K-series.

The fact you can’t actually buy a K-series i3 is still a bit of a disappointment to me. But forget the politics and the marketing shenanigans, this is an awesome little budget gaming CPU that’s got a really good chance of wresting the budget market away from AMD’s bargain FX range.


Broadwell to complete a year of chip launches for Intel

Dave James at

Intel are set to release a slew of new processors in the second half of this year, culminating in the release of the next-generation 14nm Broadwell chips. Intel CEO, Brian Krzanich, spoke at the Maker Faire in California to guarantee that after last year's delay (due to a "defect density issue"), Broadwell CPUs would be released in time for the holidays, “and not the last second of holiday” either.


Asus Republic of Gamers Maximus VII Hero motherboard review

Dave James at

Surely it follows that with a new chipset should come new chips, right? And with Intel’s latest motherboard chipset, the Z97, having just launched promising support for both the Devil’s Canyon Haswell update and the next-gen Broadwell die-shrink, it’s hugely disappointing not to be sat here extolling the virtues of some fine new processors too.

But what can the new Z97 chipset offer in this first Republic of Gamers board from Asus? Well, to be fair to them quite a lot, but very little of it is actually related to Intel’s latest chipset. Right now these Z97 boards are going to live or die by their feature sets, and in typical RoG fashion Asus has thrown not just the kitchen sink, but an entire Magnet showroom at the Hero.


First look at Asus' new Z97-A motherboard

Dave James at

Asus have blinked first on the new 9-series motherboard launch, and their Z97-A is the first of the new boards to arrive in the labs. These new mobos are appearing in preparation for the launch of a slew of updated Intel processors, offering some key new features. The Asus Z97-A is one of their mid-range offerings, and should offer decent price/performance numbers.


Palicomp Intel Haswell Hydro-780 review

Dave James at

In the fast-paced world of the gaming PC, you might think that a PC with a spec that’s almost a year old would be starting to show some serious signs of age. You may expect the demands of modern game engines would make the ol’ processor creak and complain while the ageing graphics card wheezily rants about the youth-of-today, their terrible grammar and their oddly tight-fitting clothes.

But no, here I am testing out this here machine from Palicomp, with effectively a year-old spec, and it’s right up there with the best gaming PCs around.


Intel talks up new processor releases and celebrates an anniversary

Dave James at

After having tried to make me care about all-in-one PCs at GDC (sorry guys, I just can’t), Intel have announced a bunch of new processor toys that are on their way either this year or next. From Haswell, to Broadwell, to Haswell-E, we’re looking at a raft of new chips for our machines.

First up we’ll be seeing a bunch of new Haswell parts, code-named Devil’s Canyon. They’ll be slightly higher-clocked versions of the parts we’ve already got - so expect maybe an extra 100MHz on top of the K-series chips.


The first SSDs of 2014 have been announced

Dave James at

Crucial have unveiled their new M550 series of SSDs, hot on the heels of Intel’s SSD 730 drives. These are the first new SSDs of the year, and represent two of the big boys in SSD manufacturing.

Crucial’s M550 is an update to their incredibly successful M500 series, and as such still retains the same commitment to performance and pricing. The M550 drives are competitive with the top SSDs on both of these fronts.

Crucial are using a slightly revised Marvell memory controller in their new drive, along with parent-company Micron’s 20nm NAND Flash to provide the storage. The M550 range comes with a little more space than their M500 counterparts, shifting from 480GB to 512GB, and from 960GB to a full 1TB for the relevant drives.


Intel's defective production process will delay the release of Broadwell

Dave James at

Last month I sat in front of new Intel CEO, Brian Krzanich, as he held up ‘working’ Broadwell silicon on stage at the Intel Developer Forum. I even saw one running in a test system, zipping through CPU benchmarker’s friend, Cinebench. Yesterday, though, he announced during a briefing call about Intel's latest financial results that they would be delaying the production of Broadwell chips until the first quarter of next year. We were then expecting to see Broadwell products knocking around next Spring, but with this slip in production it’s likely to be the Summer of 2014 at the earliest.


Valve says commercial Steam Machines will support AMD, Intel, and Nvidia graphics hardware

Patrick Carlson at

Even as Valve is trying to ease access to PC gaming in the living room, its plans for the Steam Machine won't be held up by an adherence to a single manufacturer of graphics hardware. The proposed SteamOS-based systems will support a variety of graphics builds with GPUs from AMD, Intel, and Nvidia when they launch next year, according to a report at Maximum PC.


Solid state overclocking is still "in the experimental stage"

Dave James at

Intel showed off the performance gains you can get with SSD overclocking at this year’s IDF in San Francisco, but then admitted it was still very much a work in progress.

A few weeks back it was revealed they would be showing it off in an overclocking session and some enterprising chaps went digging around in Intel’s Extreme Tweaking Utility and uncovered code relating to it. Unfortunately in the end we were only given a very quick demonstration of the possibilities of SSD overclocking, but I had the chance to chat with Dan Ragland, one of Intel’s Senior Systems Engineers, afterwards.


Intel on GTA 5 PC release: "I don't think it will be console exclusive very long"

Dave James at

So I’m a bad PC gamer, I bought GTA 5 on an inferior platform. But all I’ve been able to think as I play through this mammoth slice of open-world gaming is just how amazing it’s going to look when we get it on the PC. The folk at Intel seem pretty positive about GTA 5’s chances coming our way. At the Intel Developer Forum, I sat down with Chris R. Silva, the Director of Marketing for Intel’s Premium Notebooks and inevitably our chat ended up on the subject of how damaging it could be for this former PC IP not to hit our gaming rigs.

“I think it hurt Halo overall,” he said in reference to Microsoft’s failed attempts to at first keep it console-exclusive and then poorly porting to the PC. “At least with Grand Theft Auto I don’t think it’ll be console exclusive very long. But that’s what happens when you have a brand new launch with two companies that have lots of money trying to make sure they have content.”