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Christmas Special: The PC Technology of 2011

Welcome to the TechPowerUp 2011 PC technology Christmas special. We hope that you will enjoy reading it while tucking into your turkey, Christmas presents and a little too much wine... In this article, we go through the technology of 2011 that has had the most significance, the most impact and was generally the most talked about. It's not necessarily the best tech of 2011 which is the most significant though, since lemons can be just as significant as the ground-breakers in how they fail to deliver - and the backlash that goes with it.

January: Intel Sandy Bridge i5 & i7

Released on January 9th, the new Intel Core i5 & i7 processors were based on Intel's second generation Core architecture built on a 32 nm production process (HEXUS review). They included an IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor) physically on the same piece of silicon along with HyperThreading. These new dual and quad core processors soundly beat all previous generations of Intel processors in terms of processing performance, heat, power use, features and left AMD in the dust. Therefore, Intel badly needed some competition from AMD and unless you have been living under a rock, you will know how that turned out in October with the launch of Bulldozer. Sandy Bridge was a sound win and is generally considered to be the only architecture worth considering at this point. The i5-2500K is currently at the sweet spot of price/performance. It comes at a stock speed of 3.3 GHz, but typically overclocks to an amazing 4.5 - 5 GHz with a decent air cooler and without too much difficulty in getting there. Models in the budget i3 range were released at various times later. See this Wikipedia article for details.

Battlefield 3: Massive PC Only Update Released

It looks like developer DICE has been doing a lot of listening to its customers, as the large number of complaints over in-game glitches has produced an almighty patch, fixing just about everything, including the kitchen sink, while making lots of little tweaks to improve gameplay and the user interface. On top of that, the patch is PC only for now as the console versions are taking "a bit longer due to [the] console certification process".

Bugfixes include such goodies as a "Black Screen" fix for an issue occurring on some PC Configurations; spawn protection improvements; increasing the damage from the 44 Magnum slightly; sharing your profile and stats with new Battlelog functionality; profile integration with Facebook, Google+ and Twitter and lots more. The full list appears below.

Sandy Bridge-E Benchmarks Leaked: Disappointing Gaming Performance?

Just a handful of days ahead of Sandy Bridge-E's launch, a Chinese tech website, (Google translation) has done what Chinese tech websites do best and that's leak benchmarks and slides, Intel's NDA be damned. They pit the current i7-2600K quad core CPU against the upcoming i7-3960X hexa core CPU and compare them in several ways. The take home message appears to be that gaming performance on BF3 & Crysis 2 is identical, while the i7-3960X uses considerably more power, as one might expect from an extra two cores. The only advantage appears to come from the x264 & Cinebench tests. If these benchmarks prove accurate, then gamers might as well stick with the current generation Sandy Bridge CPUs, especially as they will drop in price, before being end of life'd. While this is all rather disappointing, it's best to take leaked benchmarks like this with a (big) grain of salt and wait for the usual gang of reputable websites to publish their reviews on launch day, November 14th. Softpedia reckons that these results are the real deal, however. There's more benchmarks and pictures after the jump.

BF3 Cheaters Enjoy A Bantastic Time!

Just like any good design implementing security by obscurity, hackers and cheaters will find a way to exploit the system in no time flat. In this instance, DICE said via Twitter that cheaters have "found a glitch that allows them to use the Engineer repair tool or the EOD Bot to garner tens of thousands of points in a match." A beautiful and satisfying cheat if ever there was one, really letting you get on the wrong side of your fellow player! However, there's this small problem, since developer DICE has now cottoned on to underhand tactics and is banning these sporting gamers en-masse. Isn't retribution wonderful?

Via Twitter, DICE reported, "This week we've banned hundreds of offending accounts and have stats-wiped accounts for exploiting (such as boosting)..." and they also ask for honest gamer's help in nailing the culprits, "To report players cheating or boosting send us a direct message to this Twitter with a screen shot of the Battle Log Report." There is also a problem with the Sony PS3 version of the game, which will be addressed with a patch, soon. This suggests that the bug is in the core program code, rather than a platform-specific implementation. Finally, one should always strive to behave honestly and ethically in life and it looks like in this instance it really pays off. Here's wishing all honest players an enjoyable time playing BF3, free from cheaters.

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