: News
: Reviews
: Editorials

: Archives
: About
: Contact
: Advertising
: Privacy
: Links
: Forums

Please help out

this site!




Super Talent Vidego 24T Review


NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT Review
Interview: Joe James of Super Talent
AMD Athlon X2 5000+ Black Box Review



August 16, 2010

Checking In!

It has been some time since I last posted here, I thought I would bring things a bit up to date.  My fine advertising host sent me a nastygram about not having an adequate privacy policy, so that is getting a quick update.

I just am not sure what I want to do with this site, as I am quite happy working for Ryan at PCPer.com.  I will also start writing some sports stories about the University of Wyoming Football team on The MWC Connection.  Should be a bit of fun with that, but will see if I in fact have enough time.  I'm still working as a sysadmin as my regular day job.

Looking up at the "Latest Features" is certainly a bit of a laugh.  Super Talent no longer makes MP3/MP4 players.  The GeForce 8800 GT was reborn as several different cards over two process nodes, and ended up as the current GTS 250.  And AMD has gotten fully away from the older Athlon X2 architecture, and have a full lineup based on the Phenom II core with differing amounts of L2/L3 cache and cores.

Once I get a few thing settled in life (and with this provider of the site), I may post a few more blogtastic things now and then.  So keep in touch!

March 4, 2008

How Does This Work Again?

Well, it certainly has been a while since I have updated this page!  Just a quick rundown of what is going on around here.

The beginning of this year saw a few changes, but they were positive ones.  I am doing the majority of my writing for Ryan over at PC Perspective, but I am still going to be throwing up articles here now and then.  I have finished a good chunk of testing on the 2.3 GHz and 2.6 GHz Phenoms, and have done a nice comparison of those products against the 2.6 GHz Athlon X2.  The results are actually pretty interesting, in terms of both performance and power consumption.  Some of the results should really cast a spotlight on why AMD made the decisions they did about product placement.

I have also finished testing the VisionTek HD 3870 video card, and it is a very nice product from a company that does not always get a lot of attention.  I will be posting the full review on PC Perspective shortly.

In the past two months since I last updated this place, quite a few things have happened.  AMD has finally gotten their B3 revision done and are shipping samples to customers, Intel is actively shipping 45 nm dual core and quad core parts, prices on the HD 3800 series of cards have fallen pretty dramatically, and NVIDIA has created the true successor to the GF4 Ti 4200 with their outstanding 9600 GT.

Other areas are just as exciting.  AMD is about to release their 780G integrated chipset, which takes integrated performance to the next level.  They are also very close to shipping their Puma mobile platform which is comprised of a mobile focused Athlon X2 with a heavily revised memory controller as well as power distribution combined with a 780G based mobile chipset (with a wireless controller provided by several third party vendors).  Intel also just released their Silverthorne technology in the form of the Atom.

Things in this industry never slow down, and in fact I would expect things to start moving again a bit faster after the small Q4 "break" that we sorta/kinda had.  Upcoming are graphics refreshes from both AMD and NVIDIA, as well as new chipsets from NVIDIA for both AMD and Intel platforms.  It seems AMD's problems with the Phenom and the pesky TLB errata are over, and the Fab engineers are tweaking the design and process to produce faster clocked products which will pull less power and create less heat.  Intel seemingly has their 45 nm process down pat now, and we will see a greater variety of 45 nm parts in both dual and quad SKUs hit the market.

On tap for myself is the vid card review I talked about above, a couple of REALLY high end Intel and NVIDIA based motherboards, a budget 780G board from Biostar, and a couple of networking reviews featuring DLink products.

As always, exciting times ahead for people who love computer technology.  For your edification though, here is Ryan's preview of AMD's 780G chipset.

January 8, 2008

Details on NVIDIA's Hybrid SLI and 700 Series Chipsets

Up at PC Perspective I was able to post a fairly lengthy article talking about NVIDIA's latest announcements at CES.  It looks like the company is going to be pretty busy the first half of this year, and the 700 series chipsets are the first volley in the fight.  Some pretty neat tech involved, and hopefully it will turn out to be a polished product giving users a significant amount of value for their dollar.  Here's a quote:

    2007 was a year that NVIDIA saw very little competition from its primary adversary in the graphics field.  When we look back though, we see surprisingly few major releases from what has been a product powerhouse in the past.  There were essentially three major releases in 2007 for NVIDIA, and these were comprised of the GeForce 8600/8500/8400 release, the nForce 7 chipset series for Intel (both integrated and performance), and finally the very impressive G92 releases with the 8800 GT and GTS products.  When we consider that the 680i for Intel and the 500 series chipsets for AMD have been around a LONG time, not to mention the still dominant 8800 GTX, we have been wondering when NVIDIA would update some of its other offerings.

You can read my entire article here.

January 7, 2008

Heading into the New Year and NVIDIA's Hybrid SLI

The Holidays were amazingly busy around here, and I was helping Ryan out at PC Per pretty often.  Be sure to check out our AMD Phenom 9600 Black Edition review as well.  I am working on a full blown Phenom performance article for this site as we speak, and I hope to have that up shortly.  I am also working on a SLI/Vista 64 performance article using some of the hardware I received for an aborted Multi-GPU World Tour 2007 article.  That is actually pretty fascinating, especially in light of how NVIDIA looks to be pushing SLI in a variety of situations this year.  I am also working on getting an article out on PC Per about NVIDIA's Editor's Day that was held right before CES that Ryan attended.  NVIDIA is going the same route as AMD with their Hybrid CrossFire solution, except it is called Hybrid SLI (of course).

Now, this is not a knee-jerk "me too" move by NVIDIA, as the engineering and software work to make such a platform possible is pretty daunting itself.  Both AMD and NVIDIA share a lot of partners, and as such have a pretty good idea what the other is doing due to cross-talk with these partners.  So planning for Hybrid SLI has been going on for some time and and has been on the roadmaps.  It just so happens that AMD had their introduction first, but no shipping product as of yet.  It looks like NVIDIA may beat them to the punch, but not by much.  Both Hybrid products look to launch in Q1, but we shall see who gets out first.

NVIDIA does go one step further than AMD when it comes to Hybrid SLI.  It is not only limited to budget solutions, but also applies to higher end products.  A motherboard GPU can be used with two high end SLI cards, and power usage can be optimized.  This will be commonly referred to as "Hybrid Power".  The high end cards are turned off when not needed and the motherboard GPU takes over.  When it comes time for high performance, it turns on those discrete GPUs and the user gets full performance.  In this mode the motherboard GPU (henceforth referred to as mGPU) does not assist the discrete cards in any real way.

In the budget machines we will see Hybrid SLI just like AMD's Hybrid CrossFire.  This is when the mGPU will assist in rendering with the discrete GPU.  In this case it will be the 8400 and 8500 series of discrete cards combined with the AMD 780a/750a/730a and GeForce 8200 motherboard products.  This will be referred to as GeForce Boost.

Once I finish the article on PC Per, I will go ahead and post the link here.

Here's to hoping we have a great 2008!

December 20, 2007

Super Talent Vidego 24T Review

The past few months I had the chance to play with the new Vidego 24T touchscreen MP3/4 player from Super Talent.  I have not used a MP3 player in years, so it was a welcome break from the standard CPUs, video cards, and motherboards that I have been reviewing.  This little number did surprise me in a number of ways, and I think that it is a nice little product for the price that Super Talent is offering them for.

            Their first series of MP3 players were not exactly met with open arms.  They were priced competitively, but there were some big complaints about overall quality and functionality.  Super Talent apparently took a very good look at what people were saying, and put quite a bit of effort into designing their next batch of players.

You can read the entire review here.

AMD Releases the Black Box Edition Phenom 9600

Yesterday AMD officially announced availability of the new Black Box Edition Phenom 9600.  This is a totally unlocked Phenom running at a stock speed of 2.3 GHz.  The price of this product will be almost the same as its PIB brother, the standard Phenom 9600.  Of course, no heatsink and fan will be included in the box.

I have not had much of a chance to overclock the 2.6 GHz sample I have, and yesterday I received the 2.3 Black Box.  Tonight I will attempt to try out overclocking on both, and report on what I have found.  So far overclocking the Phenom has been a frustrating experience for many, as the new processors have several clock domains internally, and that can make for some sticky situations.  We must also consider that BIOS support so far for these new processors is not so hot, and some users have actually done some hex editing on their BIOS to adjust the northbridge multipliers (memory controller, L3 cache).  As you may or may not know, the northbridge portion of the Phenom runs significantly slower than the processor cores (2.0 vs. 2.3/2.6 core).

Still, for those looking forward to a little tweakable quad core action from AMD, this is a nice gesture by the company to enthusiasts.  These processors should be available at Newegg and other retailers today or tomorrow.

A Few Thoughts on the New 8800 GTS

Last night I did a podcast with Ryan Shrout at PC Perspective (which should be up today) and in it we quickly discussed his aftermarket 8800 GT cooling solutions, then the 8800 GTS (G92).  Throughout most of the reviews we have seen for the new card, nearly every one has commented on how disparate the value of this card is from the overall price/performance of the 8800 GT.  In other words, why pay more for the GTS when you can get nearly the same performance as the GT?

When we were looking at these aftermarket units, it suddenly dawned on me why exactly the 8800 GTS does hold quite a bit of value.  When you consider the price of the aftermarket solutions (ranging anywhere from $30 to $50+ US), and the higher stock speeds of the GTS plus the extra shader units, the value of the GTS starts to really come out.  The cooling on the GTS is far superior to what the GT offers, and it is just as quiet (if not a little more).  The stock speed of the core on the GTS is 650 MHz vs. 600 for the GT, and the GTS runs all 128 shader units at 1625 MHz vs. the GT's 112 units at 1500 MHz.

When you do consider these things, the GTS does hold as good of value as the GT, but a large portion of that value rests in the overall math ability and the cooling.  So, it is not nearly the dog that many reviewers have said it is, but it certainly does cater to a different consumer (one who can afford the higher premium and values a cooler and quieter card.... with a bit more performance).

Stocks of the new 8800 GTS have been great since its release, and obviously it is not under the same demand as the lower priced 8800 GT.  You can now purchase the new GTS for around $329 to $339 after rebate, and again many of these cards come with a free software title.

Copyright 1999-2008 PenStar Systems, LLC.