Sapphire Technologies through Ubertech has recently launched its line of AMD 7000 series of video cards by inviting bloggers over for lunch at Yaki-Mix yesterday.
Sapphire has released 8 (yes that’s a lot, and it covers just about the mid to high end range of video cards for the 7000 series) models of video cards. The following are:
- Sapphire HD7970 OC
- Sapphire HD7950 OC
- Sapphire HD7950 (using the reference design)
- Sapphire HD7870 OC
- Sapphire HD7850 OC
- Sapphire HD7770 OC
- Sapphire HD7750 OC
- Sapphire HD7750 Ultimate (fanless)
All of these sport the latest 28nm GCN Architecture chips, along with App Acceleration/Eyefinity/Crossfire/PowerPlay/PowerTune features from previous cards.
One of the newest feature is the ZeroCore Power Technology that promises a very low power consumption as the card is turned off if the monitor is powered down. Eyefinity gets an upgrade for improved hd and hd3d gaming, as well as a new display mode with universal bezel compensation.
But wait, there’s more. There was a short presentation on Roccat (pronounced as Rocket) gaming peripherals. Some of the products demoed were the Roccat Kone and Savu gaming mice, the Roccat Isku keyboard,the Kulo 7.1 USB headset and the Apuri USB docking station.
Crysis 2 was the demo game showcasing all of the products during the event.
If the P280 enclosure isn’t your cup of tea and wanted grilles and transparent windows to see your machine’s innards and your masterful art of cable management, then the new Antec Eleven Hundred Gaming case would be your cup of tea.
Breaking the design habit found in the Nine Hundred case and the more economical One Hundred Enclosure (the prime numbered series have the same look, the even numbered series have a more skeletal design if you look at them).
The Eleven Hundred, being a top tier enclosure, features the size and girth to allow up to XL-ATX sized boards. It supports 11 drive bays (seven of them 3.5” and four of them 5.5”) supporting 2.5” drives as well by installing dedicated 2.5” drive bays onto them. Also worth mentioning is the use of screw less tension clips (less issues with screwing/unscrewing the drives from their case (or losing screws in the process).
The Cooling System design for this enclosure is well thought of. Sporting a 200mm fan w/ blue LED with a switch. The usual 120mm fan mount at the rear of the board is there and it fits the Kuhler 920 snuggly without any problems. The front panel allows up to four 120mm fans to cool the drives inside the case. Another nice touch is having a 120mm fan behind the motherboard to cool its bottom side. However the package only includes the 200mm fan and the rear fan. To aid in keeping the entire system clean, dust filters are located in the front and PSU intake sides of the Eleven Hundred. It helps in staving off heat conductive dust from gathering.
The nice thing about large cases is that cable management is relatively easy, having multiple grommetted (rubber edges) holes surrounding the motherboard.
Compared to other casings out there, it has a total of 4 USB ports in front (2 of them USB 3.0 ports), up to XL-ATX board size, a cooling fan can be installed behind the motherboard tray, and surprisingly, it costs Php 5,750 everything for it, compared to other more expensive casings in the market.
Palit has once again, lent me one of their video cards for review, and this time it’s one of their their latest (but as of this month, not the latest and greatest card since the 690GTX was recently announced), NVIDIA 680 GTX “JETSREAM” video card with 2GB of DDR5 RAM.
Inside the box contains the bare essentials (in keeping the price as low as possible):
- The 680GTX JETSREAM video card
- A DVI to VGA adapter
- A HDMI to DVI adapter
- Power Cable
- Manual and CD Drive
Palit uses a non reference cooler for the card. It utilizes 3 fans configuration of 80mm – 90mm – 80mm to cool the unit while playing.
As the JETSTREAM is not a reference card, Palit has gone ahead and performed some slight alterations in some of the cards features and settings aside from the standard. They are:
NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround
Triple Fan configuration
6 Phase PWM to stabilize voltage and reduce the maximum current load (a boon for Power supply owners)
DrMOS – enables reduction of heat, lower noise, higher current circuits
Adaptive Sync – automatically enables V-Sync to smoothen gameplay
PCIe 3.0 – improved PCI Express bus for higher data transfer speeds
GPU Boost – dynamically maximizes the clock speed of the GPU based on the workload of a game played.
HDMI – for high definition video
DirectX11 – enables the use of the new graphical enhancements (improved tessellation performance)
Here’s Palit’s Spec Sheet for the 680GTX JETSTREAM video card:
|Memory Amount||2048 MB/ 2GB GDDR5|
|Graphics Clock (MHz)||Base Clock 1084MHz/Boost Clock 1150MHz|
|Memory Clock (MHz)||3150 MHz (DDR 6300 MHz)|
|Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec)||201.6|
|Bus Support||PCIe 3.0|
|Maximum Digital Resolution||2560×1600 (using HDMI)|
|Maximum VGA Resolution||2048×1536|
|Dual-Link DVI||Yes x2|
|Height||2.5 slots (casing/enclosure)|
|PCB dimensions||254mm x 112mm (roughly 10 inches x 4 inches)|
|Graphics Card Power||215 W|
|Minimum Recommended System Power||550 W|
|Supplementary Power Connectors||6-pin x1, 8-pin x1|
Here’s the result from GPU-Z, note that the actual GPU Clock speed is faster by 1MHz vs the written rating. And the memory clock speed is only at 1575MHz, which can mean that the video card is managing its utilization.
Note: If you’re using an HDMI cable to connect to your screen, better use a compatible cable. My HDMI cable used on the 9800GT is no longer compatible with the 680GTX. This causes screen flickering and would hinder gameplay very much.
The next section would deal on the aspect of running games with the video card.
It’s been years in the making and Nokia has finally released its Windows Phone in the Philippines last week. Globe Telecom is the official carrier for the Lumia 800 (to much of my dismay, as I’m a Smart Telecom user and they’re only offering the Lumia 710.)
The Nokia Lumia is Nokia’s first Windows Phone 7. It was formerly known as Project Sea Ray a while back and being shot by cameras around the world as the next thing Nokia’s building for their partnership with Microsoft. People say that it’s a blatant copy of the N9 (the Meego phone), it’s only skin deep. While the body has been designed off from the Nokia N9, its internal parts consisted of stuff that would conform to Microsoft’s requirements.
(the photo on the left is taken with the Lumia 800)
The requirements included the following:
- Capacitive, 4-point multi-touch screen with WVGA (480×800) resolution
- ARM v7 "Cortex/Scorpion" – Snapdragon QSD8X50, MSM7X30, and MSM8X55
- DirectX9 rendering-capable GPU
- 256MB of RAM with at least 4GB of Flash memory
- Accelerometer, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor and Assisted GPS
- FM radio tuner
- Six (6) dedicated hardware buttons – back, Start, search, 2-stage camera, power/sleep and volume buttons
- Optional hardware: Front-facing camera, compass and gyroscope
- (Sure, it doesn’t seem impressive versus the iPhone 4s’ and Androids in the world, but something’s not right if WP7 is able to smoke those devices. My old Omnia obviously got smoked at the start, tried it with a Galaxy SII at home and my Lumia 800 run rings around it.)
- Unlike other reviews this is MY personal copy and I’ve customized it to my needs (software wise).
Dell has some mighty fine weapon to go up against the Macbook Air 11” and 13” and it came in the form of the slim XPS 13.
Last April 12, 2012 Dell Philippines invited people from the Media and Bloggers to the launch party / fashion show at the Mind Museum in Bonifacio Global City. Why a fashion show? It’s because the XPS 13 shows both technology and design sense into one thin and neat package. Afterwards, the guests were treated at a night inside The Mind Museum.
In my opinion, it makes a nice travel laptop and the mobile i5 or i7 coupled with an SSD would work well with Lightroom for photo edits. Just pack it with a 2TB WD Passport and I’m good! (Also I’m curious if the CF shell’s good enough to stop plastic BB’s from airsoft, making it a makeshift plate ) Now if it’d be released with an Ivy Bridge configuration I’d sure want one for Christmas though (calling out to Santa)
Here’s more what Dell can tell about the XPS13’s fashion:
Fusing Function with Fashion
“Dell unveiled today its ultra-portable XPS 13 laptop, the most compact 13.3-inch Ultrabook featuring an edge-to-edge glass, near “frameless” display, all-day battery life, and the latest innovative technology for a superb overall user experience.
Dubbed “The Best of Technology and Fashion,” designer Pablo Cabahug unveiled a trunk collection that echoed the almost monochromatic hues of the XPS 13 Ultrabook. The creations came in the same shades as the ultra-savvy gadget: the high-gloss elegance of silver; the sleekness of ebony; and the immaculate seduction of white. Cabahug wove unto his designs not just Dell’s delicious colors but also his own brand of fashion genius that even the most jaded spectators were amazed.
Dell XPS 13 delivers superb craftsmanship, durability and mobility.Its thoughtful design goes beyond beauty. With bonded Corning® Gorilla® glass, machined aluminum and carbon fiber, all these are incorporated to enhance the performance of theUltrabook™.
Strikingly thin, with more room to view, the XPS 13 Ultrabook™ is a slim 6 mm (0.24”) at its thinnest point and only 18 mm (0.71”) at its thickest point; featuring a 13.3" HD display cleverly fit into a footprint that’s similar to an 11" laptop.
It delivers powerful performance with 2nd Gen Intel® Core™ processors, giving Ultrabook™ the speed and performance you’ve come to expect from the XPS family.“The XPS 13 is the culmination of an extensive design and development process focused on creating the best Ultrabook on the planet,” enthused Christopher Papa, Country Manager of Dell Philippines. “It is specifically engineered to help both our consumer and commercial customers become more productive and connected in every way possible. From the edge-to-edge frameless display that packs more screen space into a compact body, to the innovative carbon fiber base that is lightweight and cool to the touch, the XPS 13 exemplifies our commitment to offering industry-leading mobile solutions that deliver durability and performance without compromise.”
Always up to date, itsIntel® Smart Connect Technology keeps your email, contacts, calendar and social networks up to date, even when your XPS 13 Ultrabook™ is in sleep mode. “When Dell began the conversation of what an Ultrabook could be, we carefully considered how to provide customers not only incredible mobility, but also the kind of performance experience you would expect from something much larger,” added Christopher. “A ‘good-enough’ Ultrabook wasn’t good enough for us. We were committed to developing what an Ultrabook can and should be with the XPS 13 and providing a superior user experience.”
What’s more, the unit turns on instantly and boots in as little as 8 seconds; resuming from sleep mode in just 1 second (4 seconds from deep sleep). A solid-state drive and Intel® Rapid Start Technology makes this possible.“The XPS 13 represents the most balanced of the Ultrabook class of notebooks to hit the market so far”, said Alvin Go, product manager of Dell Philippines. “Ultrabooks started by forcing people to make a choice between beauty and practicality and Dell took the time to make sure their offering would not only be very attractive, but address the critical needs of business and education buyers as well. Perhaps the best way to describe the XPS 13 is ‘beautifully uncompromised’.”
The refined features truly feel as good as it looks, due to a comfort-designed keyboard and a sleek, gesture-enabled glass touchpad. Together with Dell, Cabahug proved that, indeed, fashion and technology are not far apart but closely interwoven. And in instances like this event, are linked like peas in a pod.”
The XPS 13 comes standard with our Premier Service Package which includes In-Home Service after Remote Diagnosis[iii] and one year of priority user support,[iv] and one year of Complete Cover warranty.
Additional business-friendly features for the XPS 13 include:
- Dell ProSupport™ [vi] is available for Dell business customers and provides end users and IT professionals with various remote and on-site technical support for complex hardware and software needs that include access to ProSupport specialists.
- Trusted Platform Module (TPM) offers user and machine security with BitLocker Data Encryption for network-based client computing.
- Coming later this year: Configuration Services include customizing BIOS settings, loading an image, and applying asset tags prior to shipping, streamlining the process of deploying XPS 13 systems to employees wherever they may be located while ensuring consistency throughout the IT environment.
· Ultrathin laptop (0.24-0.71-inch/6-18mm) and light starting at 2.99lbs[ii]
· 13.3-inch HD WLED, 300-nit (1366×768) 720p; edge-to-edge hardened Gorilla® Glass
· Precision crafted machined aluminum with a carbon fiber base
· 128 GB SSD or 256 GB SSD drive options[viii] with Intel Rapid Start Technology
· Intel Core i5 2467M and i7 2637M processor choices
· Intel HD 3000 video graphics
· 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333Mhz memory[ix]
· Full size, backlit chiclet keyboard
· Glass integrated button touchpad with multi-gesture support
· 47WHr 6-cell battery offering up to eight hours, 53 minutes of battery life[v]; 45W AC adaptor
· Dell ProSupport[vi] for business customers, Windows Trusted Platform Module options for commercial models, and coming later this year, Dell Configuration Services
· Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6230 802.11 A/G/N and Bluetooth 3.0 wireless connectivity
· USB 3.0 (1) + USB 2.0 with PowerShare (1), mini DisplayPort, and headset jack (1)
· Built-in 1.3MP webcam (H.264 enabled via Skype) with dual array digital microphones
· High definition audio with Waves MaxxAudio 4
· Microsoft Genuine Windows 7 Professional
There are three pricing options for the XPS 13 and each varies with their installed Processor and Solid State Drive:
|Model||XPS L321X||XPS L321X||XPS L321X|
|SRP||Php 59,950.00||Php 71,990.00||Php 79,990.00|
|CPU||Intel Core i5-2467M processor (1.60 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 2.30 GHz (TPM))||Intel Core i5-2467M processor (1.60 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 2.30 GHz (TPM))||Intel Core i7-2637M processor (1.70 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 2.80 GHz (TPM))|
|HDD||128GB Solid State Drive||256GB Solid State Drive||256GB Solid State Drive|
[iii] In-Home Service after Remote Diagnosis enables you to have a technician and/or part dispatched to your home following remote diagnosis for issues covered by the Limited Hardware Warranty. Premium Phone support provides access to advanced technicians for hardware and software support.
[iv] Priority User Support includes 24×7 phone support and regional support within APJ.
[v] Battery life: Tested system equipped with 6-cell battery, 4GB memory, Intel HD 3000 graphics, Intel Core i5-2467M, and 128GB solid state drive. Based on testing using the Mobile Mark 2007 battery life benchmark test. For more information about this benchmark test, visit http://www.bapco.com. Test results should only be used to compare one product with another and are not a guarantee you will experience the same battery life. Battery life may be significantly less than the test results and varies depending on your product’s configuration, software, usage, operating conditions, power management settings and other factors. Maximum battery life will decrease with time and use.
[vi] Availability and terms of Dell Services vary by region. For more information, visit http://www.dell.com/servicedescriptions.
Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services that give them the power to do more. For more information, visit www.dell.com.
Okay, so I went and reinstalled Battlefield 2 on my Machine now on SP1. The methods have changed since after I first posted it. DICE has released its last update called 1.5 and has generally fixed everything making it run:
1. Install Battlefield 2 – What I did was to install it on my Games HDD (WD Raptor) as with all my games in my computer. (Run install as Admin to be safer)
2. Install Updates (up to 1.5) – just search for Battlefield 2 update 1.5.
3. New step: No more need to set compatibility
4. Running the game now loads the game, then exit to perform the manual resolution change (if resolution is stuck at 800×600, I got mine running at 1600×1200 fine)
5. Install the 64 Player mod and play BF2.
If you’re trying to save the DVD by using the no-CD patch (It’s hard to find a Battlefield 2 DVD in Datablitz these days), just make sure that the version of the update (ex. 1.4.1) is the same as the no-CD patch you’re adding to the install directory. With version 1.5, they’ve removed the CD checker.
FYI: Reload time (guns) in BF2 is horrendous vs BF3, and flying jets is harder too. (That’s the challenge). I’m just playing solo vs the bots for old time’s sake and pretty much BF3’s got hackers around these days as well.
BTW: All of the links are still working the last I checked today.
update: read through patch 1.5’s notes, validation of CD is no more. it’s as good as having a no-cd patch.
The Ivy Bridge Processor and Panther Point gloves are off and so we’re now allowed to Gigabyte sent me over their latest line of G1.Sniper boards, the G1.Sniper M3. What’s so different about this board is that aside from being a Panther Point board (Ivy Bridge is a next generation Core series of processors by Intel, succeeding Sandy Bridge, Panther Point chipset supports both Processor types).
Here are photos of my unboxing of the motherboard along with something extra. Last time I did the G1.Sniper 2, I got my Mk18 CQBR (aka M4 CQBR) side by side. This time however, I got myself another weapon that fits the bill perfectly, the Sig P226 combat pistol (used by the Navy Seals and other government agencies).
The board comes in a small square box. It contains the necessary labels denoting the features found on the board. Intel Logos specify compatibility with Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge processors. NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire Badges are seen. Important to note is that small board as it is, it uses Creative’s newest Recon3D chipset (replacing X-Fi). Another new technology is the Virtu MVP GPU virtualization, which is said to drastically improve the performance of an older GPU to catch up to GPU that is one generation higher and provide switchable graphics, saving power.
It also features an optimized Gigabit Ethernet from Intel called CFOS, for accelerating Internet Bandwidth. Other accelerated features Gigabyte 333 that pushes the speed of USB3, SATA3 and increase the power distributed to USB x3 for those power hungry devices
Also like the full size G1.Sniper 3, the M3 uses a dual bios system for those who are into over clocking their own machines.
Another feature not mentioned in the box is that included in the motherboard is the Gigabyte On/Off charge while allows charging of devices even if they are turned off. I find that useful as my Lumia 800 doesn’t charge if my Foxconn board is turned off.
There is an inner sturdy box (a standard for high end motherboards these days) from the outer box with the labels. It contains all of the pieces for building the motherboard. It contains the large G1 Killer Poster and sticker sheet (similar to what I’ve taken almost a year ago). There’s also a metallic Gigabyte Sticker, driver CD, manuals, 6 SATA3 cables (2 in each pack). An SLI cable, and back panel.
(notice the hidden G) The pictures show the entirety of the board, the smaller heatsink covering the dual BIOS chips, the power management chips, solid capacitors are now a norm for Gigabyte, 3x PCIE x16 (16x, 8x, 4x modes take in effect as more cards are attached, though only up to 2-way SLI/Crossfire can be made). Not too visible is the Creative Recon3D chip, but seen are the x2 SATA 2 ports and x2 SATA 3 ports, and 4x DDRIII RAM slots.
The ports behind the motherboard are (left to right, top to bottom): 2x USB 2.0 for keyboard and mouse along with the PS/2 port, DVI and VGA slot for graphics as well as a HDMI and Display Port (making it very capable for various video cables out now), there’s 2 more USB2.0 ports and below is the e-SATA port, there’s only one 1Gb Ethernet port, and 2 USB3.0 ports and last are the sockets for S/PDIF and audio jacks.
and yeah, board with my current GBB pistol, the P226 from WE
Pulling out the spec sheet for the M3, reveals the following:
1. Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors/Intel® Core™ i5 processors/ Intel® Core™ i3 processors/Intel® Pentium® processors/Intel® Celeron® processors in the LGA1155 package
2. L3 cache varies with CPU
(Some Intel® Core™ processors require a graphic card, refer to http://ark.intel.com for more information)
|Intel® Z77 Express Chipset|
1. 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory
2. Dual channel memory architecture
3. Support for DDR3 2400(OC)/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules
4. Support for non-ECC memory modules
5. Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
|1. Intel GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)|
Multi Graphics Technology
Support for 2-Way AMD CrossFireX™/NVIDIA SLI technology (PCIEX16 and PCIEX8)
Internal I/O Connectors
1. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
Back Panel Connectors
1. 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
|Micro ATX Form Factor; 24.4cm x 24.4cm|
The only things that are lacking from the ATX version are a few USB ports, SATA connectors, and one PCIE x16. Not that bad considering the space constraints on a smaller casing like the Fractal Mini 3000 I am planning to get for this board.
Once I get myself an Ivy Bridge Processor I’ll work on getting the numbers versus my current build Core i7 (1st Gen) Machine.