ATI held their european Xpress 32000 launch event at Seville, Spain. While the marketing people were showing off presentations and gave out technical info, Finnish overclockers Macci and Sampsa set out to break the 3DMark05 world record using the new chipset, a pair of X1900XTX and dry ice. We bring you exclusive coverage of the nightly overclocking session.
ATI, the company that is most known of their powerful and quality graphic card solutions, released their first Crossfire mainboard chipset with the RD480. Today they present the new Xpress 3200 chipset. The most important feature is support for x16/x16 PCI-Express when running in Crossfire mode. There are also a lot of other interesting changes.
German video card specialist Mad Moxx has released a special edition of the Sapphire X800 GTO². The Mad Moxx X800 GTO² Burstfire comes premodded with 16 pipelines out of the box. To improve cooling an Arctic Cooling ATI Silencer has been installed on the card. For paying a small premium over the regular Sapphire card you can stay away from BIOS modding, aftermarket cooler installation and voiding your warranty.
G.SKILL is well known in the community for making high-quality memory products which perform good and are not too expensive. The F1-32000PHU2-2GBNS 2GB DDR-400 kit is going for around $160 - one of the best prices for a 2 GB kit right now. For such a bargain price you would usually expect slow CL3 timings on memory. However, G.SKILL specifies this memory as 2.5-3-3-6 at only 2.6V.
AOpen is offering a wide range of products, many of them geared toward living room multimedia. The dual-core capable AOpen i945Ga-PHS is a motherboard designed to be used for building a Media PC. Its outstanding feature is integrated VGA with analog, TV and HDTV output without the need of any addon card. This gives you everything to build a very low profile Media PC.
After ATI's launch of the X1900 Series the people at NVIDIA sat down and took a close look at where the weak points are and where NVIDIA's lineup is superior. This presentation compares X1900 performance against the 7800GTX and in the second part of the presentation tells us why SLI is superior to Crossfire.
Swiftech has always been known for their innovative cooling solutions. Today we will take a look at their 100% copper chipset cooler: the MCX159-CU. Its creative design allows for greater heat dissipation in even the tightest spaces, and on almost all motherboards. Not only does it cool well but the included 40mm fan is also remarkably quiet.
Thermaltake is making a variety of products for computer enthusiasts: cases, coolers, power supplies, water cooling and other accessories. The Thermaltake Eureka is their latest full-tower case. It has a solid front door and is made from all aluminum with a brushed metal look. Sliding drive rails and tool free drive cages make installation easy. A removable motherboard tray completes the feature set of this high-end case.
Japanese heatsink manufacturer Scythe has engineered a nice heatsink with the Samurai Z. It includes mounting accessories for Socket 478, 775, 754, 939 and 940. On all these platforms installation is very easy and can be performed without any tools. While the cooler can not offer the cooling performance of behemoth coolers, it can keep up well with the heat load of our test setup. In addition to that it is remarkably quiet.
ABIT is one of the most popular motherboard manufacturers for enthusiasts and gamers. Their products are full of innovations like UGuru or SilentOTES. The AT8 is the latest Crossfire capable board from ABIT and uses ATI's RD480 chipset. As southbridge the ULI M1575 is used. What makes this board even more interesting is its competitive price which will lie in the USD 120 range.
Diamond Multimedia expands its offerings and adds the Stealth X550 to their lineup. This card is aimed at casual users surfing the web or building a HTPC system. The Stealth X550 is a cut above the onboard graphics solution and can overclock to X600 speeds. This entry-level card is good news for those on a low budget, so with card in hand let's take a look at the Diamond Stealth X550.
From a feature perspective ECS offers a very well rounded board with the PF5 Extreme. Having one Gigabit and one Fast Ethernet port is exactly the combination which I think is a good compromise between speed and price. Getting six SATA ports and two PCI-E x16 ports for around $120 is also very nice. However, if you are looking into overclocking more than just a little bit this board might not for you. It has quite a few issues when it comes to overclocking.
OCZ is one of the most well known manufacturer of enthusiast memory. Recently they have introduced their XTC line of heatspreaders which are engineered to keep temperatures of the memory down, even when overclocking. The PC2-4200 Gold XTC offer superb overclocking, even at stock voltage. We found that the default timings of 4-4-4-12 can be tightened a good deal without losing much overclocking headroom.
The chinese manufacturer Sansun isn't too well known yet, because they are a rather new company. If they continue delivering such solid products, I'm sure that this will change in no time.
For a price for which you often get only a plain and unsleeved power supply, Sansun is giving you dual 12V rails and a modularity feature which is usually found only on much more expensive PSUs. All cables are sleeved as well which helps keep your case look clean. Also the important qualities of a PSU like voltage stability and fan noise look good.
The Thermaltake ToughPower offers 550 watts to satisfy all your power needs. Two 6-pin PCI-Express connectors are available for SLI or Crossfire. On top of that you have four SATA and eight 5.25" connector. Two independent 12V rails can supply a total of 38A. During our testing we saw impressive voltage stability and very small ripple.
If you are an enthusiast who is always playing with hardware, constantly swapping components, the HighSpeedPC Tech Station might be for you. We test the large version which offers plenty of space to add serious watercooling or even more exotic stuff. During our review we check if it's easy enough to put together and we also put a system inside the Tech Station to see if it can live up to the expectations.
The "Silencer" series from Arctic Cooling has been famous for delivering top notch performance while still being quiet. The Arctic Cooling Accelero X2 is the first aftermarket cooler engineered for the ATI Radeon X1800 and X1900 series. It features a completely revamped design and continues the tradition of powerful and silent.
The Corsair FlashVoyager USB Sticks are well known for their ruggedness. During our testing we boil and freeze the USB stick, put it into the dish washer and run over it with a car, more testing happens in the toaster and in the washing machine, and we finally managed to break it. Not only can the stick take a lot of beating but the transfer speeds are also among the fastest.
Thermaltake introduces its new Big Water 745 kit with single and dual radiators. Adding an improved water block and a move to 3/8" tubing Thermaltake takes the Big Water to a new level. Also included is a beefed up pump with larger reservoir. We'll check the new parts inside and out while testing it against its predecessor.
The ECS PF88 Extreme is a unique motherboard. Its SIS 656 chipset offers users the possibility to purchase CPU add-in cards, called SIMA cards which allow to run a completely different CPU architecture on the motherboard. At the moment SIMA cards are available for Intel Pentium M Socket 479, AMD Socket 754 and AMD Socket 939. Together with the on-board Socket LGA 775 this means that you can run any mainstream CPU available today. However, there are a few BIOS bugs, one allowed us to get a POST screenshot at 6750 MHz.
Artic Cooling is famous for their video card coolers, but they offer more. The Freezer 64 Pro is the latest addition to their CPU coolers. Clever routing of airflow cools the motherboard voltage circuitry. Another good idea is that the fan is mounted on rubber posts which absorb any vibration caused by the fan. During our testing we learn that the Freezer 64 Pro can not only deliver solid cooling performance but does so without creating a lot of noise.
The Mambo is another competitively priced case from Thermaltake. It weighs only 6.2kg but still offers all the comfort of a full tower case. Its elegant black design makes it pleasing for the eyes of the more mature computer users.
NVIDIA is successfully filling all the gaps on today's market, offering solutions for both the masses as well as the few "exclusive" people. The 6800GS is NVIDIA's latest product and is aimed at people looking for a compromise between performance and money. Unlike the 6800 Ultra, which is no longer manufactured, the card has only 12 pipelines, but the GPU clock has been bumped up by 25 MHz.
G.SKILL is known for their well performing memory, which doesn't cost an arm and a leg. We have their latest 2GB kit on the testbench and were surprised by the good results. For $200 you get a 2 GB kit which performs very close to Samsung TCCD. Our best result was 272 MHz at only 2.8V. Impressive for a 2GB kit.
ATI video card specialist Sapphire has built this Crossfire-ready motherboard with enthusiasts and gamers in mind. Special care has been given to providing the whole range of needed BIOS options to properly tweak the motherboard. Its unique white design will make the board stand out of the crowd.