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Get Your Game On!


Nehalem Jumps Off the Bus, Takes a Quick Path Instead

The Core i7 processor from Intel is a really unique thing in Many ways. Like AMD, the i7 now has the memory controller right on the die. But to a great degree, that's where the similarity ends. The front side bus is no more, but the replacement, called Quick Path Interface (QPI, for short), is arguably the most elegant solution for a nagging problem Intel has come up with in many years. This new architecture is a departure from everything Intel once believed was good about their processors. Though the x86 instruction set lives on, the vehicle for delivery gives it a ride it never had in FSB Land. Comparing Nehalem to Conroe is like comparing a 64 Corvair to a 2009 Corvette. Both run on gasoline and have rubber tires, but thats where the similarities begin to break. Break they do! The i7 currently leverages four cores in a single package, with three versions to choose from. The i7 920 clicks along at 2.66 GHz, slightly behing the i7 940 at 2.93 GHz. The i7 965 runs a brisk 3.2 GHz, and all of these processors have at least a little headroom for over-clocking. By the end of 2009 or early in 2010, we may be looking at i7 processors with 8 or more core, each with Hyperthreading enabled, for a total of 16 simulataneous threads possible. And with speeds expected to be at least as high as the i7 965, these processors are going to outrun anything that has ever existed in the world of personal computers. THough its true that the economy may slow things down to the point that the newer chips arrive later than expected, they will be here. I for one, can't wait to see how the competition responds.

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Intel's Core2Duo line of processors has been criticized for "cheating" because it is actually 2 dual-core cores wrapped into a single LGA package, rather than 4 discrete cores. While it is true that communicating across the FSB slows the cores a bit, there are architectural differences that supplant that bottle-neck. This processor rocks! AMD has a quad-core solution now that is not nearly as sleek, if you can even call it "quad-core". What they have done is to install two dual-core processors in a motherboard that supports two processors. Though SMP has worked well with single core units, it can't be called "quad-core" when there is not a chip with four cores in one package. At least, it can't be called that by anyone other than AMD! I have been a fan of AMD for many years, and I agree that until Intel came up with the Core Duo line, AMD had no competition. But Intel has once again regained the performance crown, and AMD is going to have to work harder than usual to get it back. The grapevine tells me that better things are coming for AMD, but I'll believe it when I see it.

ig things are happening in the world of computing today. For those of us who require the ultimate in speed and function, desktop processors are pushing far beyond what we had even a couple of years ago. Laptops are now keeping up with desktops, and gaming on high-end laptops is a very satisfying experience. But the real noise makers today are getting smaller and smaller. I'm talking about Netbooks, the miniature caousins of laptop (or notebook) computers. With 1.6 GHz Atom processors from Intel, these little things won't win any speed contest, but with a gigabyte of RAM and 160 GB harddisks, and even an occassional SSD, they are excellent tools for the Road Warrior seeking a cool, quiet way to handle basic computing tasks. And the prices - most are around $300.00 - make them affordable for power users and college students alike! Its worth giving them a steady second look. Watch for the new Thermolith III line of gaming systems. These systems will feature hand-crafted aluminum cases packed with the latest hardware available. Choices of conventional cooling or exotic water or thermoelectric solutions will also be offered, so no matter how you want your system configured, we can keep it cool. These systems will also feature nVidia's new line of GeForce 8800 graphics processors running in either single or SLI configurations. The time to play is NOW! Zalman has another new high-performance HSF on the market. The CNPS9700-LED is an excellent cooler with a look that gets attention from any modder. Testing shows a reduction of 3 to 5 degrees on the new Core2Duo procs from Intel. This HSF will work on any Intel processor in a LGA-775 socket, as well as most AMD Socket AM2, Socket 939, Socket 940 and Socket 754 procs. The LED array on the highly polished copper gives this device a really nice glow, and the three heat pipes seem to do their job very efficiently! If you need better cooling and you can't afford to water-cool, this has to be my first recommendation.
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