Saturday, 18 October 2014

NVIDIA gets smart with Maxwell

GTX 980

BENNETT RING inspects NVIDIA’s latest gadget.

Performance gamers, welcome at last to Maxwell. The successor to NVIDIA’s incredibly popular Kepler architecture, Maxwell first snuck its way into desktop gaming PCs by way of the GTX 750/Ti mainstream graphics card back in February of this year. It was a strange way to introduce the company’s latest 
desktop design, as the company tends to roll out new architectures at the upper echelons first. As a result it didn’t make much of a splash, but the good news is that NVIDIA has now introduced the next version of the Maxwell architecture to the speedy end of town. Welcome to the GeForce GTX 980 and its cutdown sibling, the GTX 970.

ASRock X99X Killer

ASRock X99X Killer

Lane splitter.

Landing around the middle ground of X99 pricing, the X99X Killer from ASRock doesn’t have any  agship features to set it apart from the rest. Instead it ticks off all the expected boxes while arriving with a rather attractive price point. Let’s see what’s in the box.

The biggest surprise is the number of full length PCIe lanes, with only three included on the board, limiting it to triple GPU setups. It’ll only impact a handful of users, but we were still a little surprised. Adding insult to injury is the fact that there are only two more PCIe x1 lanes, delivering a total of five – that’s quite limiting for such an expensive board. As well as the ten SATA 3 ports on the board, another Ultra M.2 port is included, connected to a PCIe 3.0 x4 lane. There’s no sign of SATA Express, though there is a port included to add ASRock’s proprietary Thunderbolt 2 card, which is sold separately.

Intel’s doc ock

intel core i7

Intel’s new high end platform lands and Bennett Ring opens up his wallet.

Got a wallet bulging with $100 notes just burning a hole in your pocket? Have we got the CPU for you! Intel has just released the latest version of its Extreme Edition processor, along with another two Haswell-E chips aimed at the jet-setting, high-falutin’, cashed-up crowd. Along with the new processors comes a new motherboard chipset, the X99, ensuring you have to spend even more to whack the new Extreme Edition sticker on the outside of your case. And just in case that didn’t destroy your bank account, it even comes with a new type of memory, DDR4. Yep, those who want the best are going to have to wipe the slate clean, upgrading most of their system. The question is whether the performance gains are worth the high upgrade cost. The answer depends entirely on what you use your system for.