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CPU Articles

AMD FX 8370 & FX 8370E Review
AMD has tweaked these new 8-core CPUs for both higher performance and lower power consumption.

Intel Core i7 5960X Review
Intel unleashes the the fastest consumer desktop processor yet; enter the Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition.

AMD A10-7800 Kaveri APU Review
AMD continues to push for low power yet powerful APUs with the A10-7800, one of its latest Kaveri processors.

AMD A10-7850K, MSI R7 250 OC, MSI A88XM Gaming Review
Neoseeker's review of the AMD A10-7850K APU featuring the MSI R7 250 OC graphics card and MSI A88XM Gaming motherboard.

AMD Athlon 5350 & ASUS AM1I-A Review
AMD's Athlon CPU goes APU with the new Kabini-based Athlon 5350, designed to bring competitive computing for a low price.

CPU News

The rat plague spreads as Dishonored sales exceed expectations, Bethesda sees a franchise

8 comments Rory Young - 10:40am (PST) Like Share

... and somewhere, the Outsider smiles

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The dark and doomed city of Dunwall's plague-ridden streets was apparently not enough to keep gamers from immigrating in large numbers. Talking with Destructoid, Bethesda PR chief Pete Hines passed along the news that Dishonored is selling above expectations, though declined to provide any numbers. Obviously gamers love stabbing dudes, or having the option of maybe not stabbing those dudes, so it should make everyone happy when Bethesda says, "We clearly have a new franchise."

Here's Mr. Hines' full statement, discussing in part how well Dishonored has done over Black Friday weekend and topped the charts on Steam:

"I can tell you that Dishonored is far exceeding our sales expectations, which is especially cool considering it’s new IP facing a host of well-established franchises this quarter. We did terrific numbers again this past weekend, both in stores and on Steam, where Dishonored was listed as the #1 selling title over the holiday weekend. And Dishonored has really sold well overseas. 

So, we’re very pleased and appreciate all the fans that have supported Dishonored and Arkane. We clearly have a new franchise."

For some perspective, early sales numbers for Dishonored reported over 450,000 units sold during the month of October, Dishonored being released on October 9. While the stealth action game may not have sold more than titans like NBA 2K13, Resident Evil 6 or Pokemon, for a new IP the sales numbers are very impressive. It's Mr. Hines' comment that Dishonored topped the Black Friday Steam sales that really makes my jaw drop, as the holiday events are always extremely profitable.

Our own Dishonored review from Lydia was very complimentary, she even scored it on par with (gasp) Halo 4. I'd be far from surprised to hear Dishonored's name pop up quickly and often during our Game of the Year award discussions. Here's looking forward to Arkane's Dishonored 2, though some DLC will have to do in the mean time.

 
 

Intel's overclocking protection plan revealed

2 comments Chris Ledenican - 8:08am (PST) Like Share

Get out of jail for $20 to $35

Intel’s “K” and “X” series processors are designed for overclocking, but even while they are equipped with an unlocked multiplier, there is no guarantee they can withstand high voltages and frequencies on a 24/7 basis. This can potently be problematic because once a processor is overclocked the warranty is void and it can no longer simply be sent in for repair, leaving only one option: shell out for a new processor.

As of today though, Intel is changing this with their new “Performance Tuning Protection Plan”. Essentially this plan gives consumers the option to purchase an overclocking warranty for their “K”, “X”, and LGA2011-socketed boxed processors. The cost of the plans range from $20 to $35 USD depending on the processor, and lasts up to three years, covering one replacement.

This is a bold move by Intel and one that should increase their street cred with the overclocking community. We would also like to see AMD follow suit and offer an overclocking warranty of their own.

Categories: CPU
 
 

Intel caught faking Ivy Bridge DX11 perfomance

8 comments Chris Ledenican - 9:08am (PST) Like Share

F1 2011 running smooth in VLC

While it’s not quite as disastrous as the infamous fake GTX 480 incident, Intel was caught faking their results during a live CES demo of what was supposed to be an Ivy Bridge based ultrabook running F1 2011.

The event took place yesterday afternoon in a crowded room where the media had been gathered to see Intel’s 2012 roadmap. During the event, Intel vice president and PC group general manager Mooly Eden ran a demo of Codemaster’s F1 2011 on an Ivy Bridge based ultrabook. The problem is Mooly Eden clearly acts as if he is behind the wheel and the game is running in real time. However, videos of the event clearly show a VLC media bar at the bottom of the screen on multiple occasions, showing the game was actually a recording and not a live demo.

Below is just one of many videos circulating around the net showing the faked demo; skip ahead to 16 seconds to see the beginning of the F1 2011 failure.

Strangely enough, Ivy Bridge is capable of playing F1 2011, and there is a real demo showing this to be the case. This raises the question of why Intel decided to fake the demo in the first place, as it would have been just as easy (and less controversial) to run the game in real time instead of playing a video clip.

Categories: CPU Portable Computing
 
 

Estimating Battlefield 3's system requirements

32 comments Sean Ridgeley - 11:26am (PST) Like (2) Share

Now's the time to plan

If you didn't know already, you do now: DICE's shooter Battlefield 3 is expected to hugely drive new hardware and OS adoption when it hits this fall, given the highly advanced nature of the engine and what it's produced so far, and of course the company's stellar reputation for quality community-driven titles. If you're in that camp, now is about the time to plan a new system build if you haven't already, so we've done some research which serves as guidelines for what to look out for and when.

Disclaimer: the game is still in the pre-alpha development stage -- more precise estimations will be able to be made as the release date nears.

Operating system & RAM

Firstly, BF3 will not support DirectX 9 at all, so forget the ancient, aging terribly XP and that dusty old DX9 card. DICE says Windows 7 64-bit and a DirectX 11 card are ideal, though you can also use Vista and/or a DX10 card. With a 64-bit OS, you'll need 4GB DDR3 RAM or more to take full advantage of it; lesser is acceptable but not exactly advisable on 64-bit. Thankfully, RAM prices finally dropped drastically recently -- you can pick up a 4GB or 8GB set for $40-100.

Before you start groaning, know there are numerous benefits to these new architectures including improved GPU and CPU performance, improved stability and security, more realistically rendered textures, and tons more, so you get your money's worth and then some.

GPU

It's been confirmed the excellent debut gameplay trailer was shown to the press recently (seen above) was running on a GTX 580 video card. This of course is the really high end stuff which should allow you to max out the game fully. If you're in this camp, you may also be happy to know DICE plans to "efficiently support" both Crossfire and SLI setups.

For those who don't have deep pockets or the desire to empty them on a single piece of hardware, note you should be able to max it out excepting some minor tweaking on cards a tier or two down; essentially you can save a bundle and only have to turn off or down a few more or less insignificant settings like AA and shadows. Not to worry -- your card, if you purchase wisely, will still stand the test of time, it's simply that certain settings are almost always very taxing. The good news for budget gamers is a 1GB card won't be required, but if you do have the juice, BF3 should take full advantage of it thanks to the Frostbite 2 engine's superb scaling abilities.

At this stage we'd recommend AMD's 6950, or NVIDIA's 560, both of which are good value for money in the short and long term; note price on the 6950 is expected to drop around June. As always, it's down to you to research what's coming up and what's best for your needs, of course. AMD's new lineup is expected to hit late this year or early next, and if rumors are to be believed, everything excepting the high-end will be a reworking of the 6xxx series, so with any luck, there will be no good reason to hesitate come summer if you're an AMD fan.

3D

3D fans: the game will support "explicit" 3D stereo rendering, which will work with both NVIDIA's 3D Vision and AMD's new open-ended HD3D technology. Using this method, unique frames are rendered for each eye, plus deferred shading (more advanced and efficient) is covered, as well as all surfaces. The downside is performance requirements are higher than usual (two times the number of draw calls), so you may want a 580 or 6970 or Crossfire/SLI setup if that's your bag.

CPU

It can be assumed the requirement in this department will be at least what we saw with Bad Company 2 -- a Pentium D 3.0GHz, Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz, or Athlon 64 X2. DICE have been doing performance testing on a more than two years-old quadcore Intel Core i7 2.66ghz (likely a 920), but given over half of all ~30 million Steam users currently host dual core processors, this may be the minimum, with a quadcore or possibly even higher serving as the recommended.

PSU

Let us not forget the ever-important power supply unit. If you're reaching into the high-end department with your other components, generally we'd advise a minimum 800W unit, though amperage must be observed closely as well -- be sure to cross-reference. A formidable, quality unit with significant overhead will ensure maximum stability and long-lasting components, which should be top priority in any build.

Summary

Minimum system requirements (estimated):

  • Windows Vista 32-bit
  • 512mb video card (DirectX 10)
  • 2GB RAM
  • Dual-core processor 2.0ghz

Recommend system requirements (estimated):

  • Windows 7 64-bit
  • GTX 580, 5970 (DirectX 11)
  • 4-8GB DDR3 RAM
  • Quad or hexacore processor

Note considerably lower may be on the box, though this gear would likely offer significant improvements over the official requirements regardless.

 
 

1,000 core processor possible, says Intel

15 comments Steve S. - 3:00pm (PST) Like (2) Share

Kilo-core processor is theoretical

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An experimental chip from Intel shows building a kilo-core processor may be possible. During the Supercomputer 2010 conference held in New Orleans last week, Intel researcher Timothy Mattson said the technology in the Intel 48-core Single Chip Cloud Computer is "arbitrarily scalable" and could support 1,000 cores on a single processor.

1,000 cores seems to be the limit for now; after 1,000 cores the on-chip network connecting all the cores will grow so much it would negatively impact the performance of the chip. The chip is still only theoretical and in the experimental stages, and Intel doesnt have a processor of this size on their roadmap, so dont expect to get your hands on one anytime soon.

Intel has been adamant that the future of processors will depend more on the number of cores rather than the overall speed.

If only the software could keep up with the technology -- despite the technology for dual and quad core processors being around for years, games and other programs have only recently added support for multi-core processors.

Categories: CPU
 
 

Intel cuts i7 950 price in half

10 comments Chris Ledenican - 3:44pm (PST) Like (1) Share

$300 3.06GHz i7 processor

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Intel is on the verge of a major price drop, which will effectively replace the Core i7 930 with the 950 model. The i7 950 is a 3.06GHz quad-core processor, which is a full 206MHz faster than the 930. The 950 currently retails for $599 USD, but will be reduced to $294 on August 30. This cuts the processor’s price in half, increasing the price to performance ratio of Intel’s lowest priced i7 processor. However, the price is per 1000 units, so the actual price may vary between retailers.

The i7 950 was the most notable price drop, but it is not the only chip seeing a reduction in cost. Intel also has plans to reduce the prices of the Core i5 760 and Core i3 560 processors. Additionally, some of Intel’s lower end processors such as the E5700 and E6800 will also see a reduction in prices as the cuts continue through the upcoming months.

The drops in the price of i3, i5 and i7 lines should continue as we are getting ever close to being introduced to the upcoming Sandy Bridge processors.

Categories: CPU
 
 

Intel releases new dual-core Atom N550 processor

5 comments Chris Ledenican - 3:04pm (PST) Like Share

Improving netbook multi-tasking

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Intel has just launched a new dual-core Atom processor, the N550. This new processor is geared toward enhancing the processing power of highly portable devices. This means the new dual-core CPU will be found in netbooks, and possibly even some tablet PC’s. To add to this, there are some big names such as Acer, ASUS, Fujitsu, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, MSI, and Toshiba already shipping netbooks using the new core.

Along with the additional core, the N550 supports DDR3 memory, comes clocked in at 1.5GHz and has a TDP 8.5W. With these specifications the Intel Atom N550 will have improved multi-tasking capabilities, but still only create minimal heat. Additionally, the low TDP will also prolong the battery life of netbooks, which is due to the N550 having a similar power requirement as the single core, N450.

The netbook market has grown in leaps and bounds over the last few years, so it makes sense Intel is aggressively pushing its Atom processor line.

"In their short history, the netbook category has experienced impressive growth," said Erik Reid, director of marketing for mobile platforms at Intel. "Having shipped about 70 million Intel Atom chips for netbooks since our launch of the category in 2008, there is obviously a great market for these devices around the world."

These new netbooks should be highly power efficient, but still pack quite the punch. This could make them a perfect option for anyone heading back to school.

Categories: CPU Portable Computing
 
 

CryEngine 3 can use up to 8 CPU cores

6 comments Chris Ledenican - 2:20pm (PST) Like (2) Share

More cores = more performance

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Intel and AMD have been producing multi-core processors for years now, but even with the hardware being available, game developers have been slow to implement multi-core support. This has been the case since AMD’s Athlon X2 first hit the market, and continues to reign true today. This has essentially left a bad taste in the mouth of PC gamers, as many have found their expensive high-end processor will achieve the same frame rate as a lesser model.

The slow progression on the software side is not surprising though, as it takes time and a lot of effort to properly write a program to utilize all available cores. So, as of now there has really not been a game, or game engine properly optimized to support anything above a quad-core processor.

The dreaded lack of optimization will no doubt continue, but a report surfacing regarding the new CryEngine 3 shows Crytek is one company thinking beyond just four cores. The new engine is stated to support processors with up to eight cores, which will increase the gaming quality by yielding additional frames-per-second. This will benefit anyone using an Intel i7 system, or AMD hexa-core offering as well.

Still, even with the optimization for eight cores, the CryEngine 3 is going to be a very graphics intensive engine, and will require a good, if not great discrete graphics card. The CPU optimization, however, will improve the performance and could make it easier to run than games using the previous Crytek engine.

Categories: PC Games CPU
 
 

Intel roadmap shows nineteen possible Sandy Bridge processors in 2011

1 comments Chris Ledenican - 2:36pm (PST) Like Share

Bridging all the gaps

Unconfirmed rumors have started to surface of Intel releasing nineteen processors in 2011, based on the Sandy Bridge architecture. Of the new processors, 13 are said to be for the desktop market, with the remaining six being designed for laptops. As for frequencies, the new processors are said to range from 2.3GHZ to 3.8GHz in Turbo mode, but all still come with a TDP not exceeding 95W.

The majority of the new Sandy Bridge processors will be quad-core models, but out of the nineteen, seven will utilize a dual-core design. The highest-end model to be released is the Intel Core i7-2600k. This chip will be a quad-core processor with 8MB L3 Cache, a 95W TDP and be clocked at 3.8GHz in Turbo Mode. The other chips will have equally impressive specifications, which is indicated in road-map below.

None of these chips are confirmed, so take the information with a grain of salt. But, if Intel really does release nineteen processors to the market it 2011, it could be yet another great year for the chip making giant.

Categories: CPU
 
 

AMD releases new 3.0GHz Thuban processor

0 comments Chris Ledenican - 2:32pm (PST) Like Share

Welcome the 1075T

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For anyone waiting for another AMD hexa-core other than the current 1090T and 1055T, there is hope. A new CPU has been spotted on European e-tailers called the Phenom II X6 1075T. This new processor comes clocked at 3.0GHz, which places it right between the two current models. Other than clock speed, the 1075T uses the same Thuban specifications, but it does come as part of the unlocked BE series.

So far, this new hexa-core processor has yet to make its way into U.S. or Canadian markets, but with it being available in Europe, other markets should soon follow. The 1075T is retailing for €230-€240, but when it hits our retailers the price is stated to be around $265 USD.

The 1075T fills an empty gap in AMD’s current lineup, but with the 1035T still only being sold at the OEM level, a sub $200 hexa-core in the consumer market doesn’t seem likely anytime soon.

Categories: CPU
 
 
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