AMD Core Logo
Hardware

AMD has just posted their “Core is Back” teaser over at their Facebook page which hints at an imminent CPU announcement. Now this may sound crazy but this actually coming from AMD’s official Facebook and Youtube pages makes this so much more interesting that we couldn’t wait to find out what this announcement is about actually.AMD Core is Back

AMD CORE IS BACK Teaser Video

AMD Teases “Core Is Back” Teaser and Core Evolution Video

AMD is teasing their upcoming CPU announcement with a picture on their Facebook page and a CGI Video on their YouTube channel. The Facebook page and Youtube Video lists down the following statements:

The war continues to rage and battles may be lost but heroes will evolve.#AMDEvolved via AMD Facebook

“In your PC, applications battle for resources. While powerful CORE hardware fights to maintain the balance. But the war never ends. And the applications only get stronger. Battles may be lost. But heroes will EVOLVE. CORE IS BACK!” via AMD YouTube

When I first saw this picture, I thought it was some fan prompting AMD to release a new CPU but after looking at the teaser video, I become quite excited myself. As you can note, the “Core is Back” title is a conformation that a new CPU announcement is coming and some might even say that core can also be used for GPU but if you take a look at the video, you will notice that applications and CPU have a mutual relationship and makes it the only device to do such a teaser announcement for. The video itself is called “Core Evolution” which hints that the new core technology is an evolution of an existing architecture. So this could be a new FX launch, an updated Kaveri APU or a FX APU based on Steamroller architecture with the iGPU disabled for faster core clock speeds.

WCCFTech Z97 Motherboard Round-Up OC Top
Hardware

Intel launched their Z97 platform earlier this year which brought new motherboards in the performance platform, aiming support for Haswell, Haswell Refresh, Devil’s Canyon and the upcoming Broadwell CPUs. Intel’s Z97 platform is filled with a variety of boards and each board is targeted towards key segments.WCCFTech Z97 Motherboard Round-Up OC Top

Round-Up of The Best and Top-Tier Overclocking Z97 Motherboards

With such a large list of products that are currently offered in the Z97 chipset based product portfolio, it gets quite frustrating for consumers to find a board that suits their demands. To make it easier for consumers, the board manufacturing companies have separated their products into three categories; Gaming, Overclocking and Mainstream.  Although this helps a bit but even then, the products themselves offer similar specifications, naming schemes and priced equally.  For instance, the MSI Z97 Gaming 3 and Gigabyte GA-Z97X Gaming 3 are both gaming branded motherboards priced at $137.99 US and with “Gaming 3″ in the title, it would more or less confuse the buyer into deciding which product should be bought. While reviews do give a better insight at the products comparing the little details, features and components of products, we couldn’t find a good article which compares these boards against their similar priced counterparts from other manufacturers.

To address this issue and to help ease the process for buyers to get the right product, today we will be doing a round-up of the Z97 “Overclocking” motherboards. We will obviously not be comparing performance based on benchmarks but design schemes, feature set and the components used on these Z97 motherboards which will tell us why they are better than the other similar priced option or why does a $399 US overclocking board is a better option for enthusiasts then a $249 US overclocking board. The products we will be comparing are strictly the flagship overclocking boards from each separate manufacturer so you might see us talk about a XPOWER board and not the MPOWER board so please excuse me but that doesn’t mean that I won’t ever do a similar comparison on the other segment based boards, so stay tuned for that. Regardless, let’s start off these round – up with the beastly, Z97 XPOWER AC from MSI:

AMD Kaveri APU
Hardware

Evidence regarding stacked DRAM on next generation AMD APUs has surfaced once again which gives hints that the upcoming Carrizo APU or its successor will be the first APUs to enable high-bandwidth stacked DRAM design on-chip.AMD APUs Carrizo APU Stacked Memory

Evidence Regarding AMD APUs Featuring High-Bandwidth Stacked Memory Surfaces

It has been known for a while that AMD is sampling their first generation HBM (High Bandwidth Memory) and we can find official specifications in slides dating back to December 2013. While there was no mention of what product or application may make use of HBM back then, the latest slides from AMD’s official Fast Forward presentation talks regarding stacked DRAM specifically on APUs. The Fast Forward project’s objectives are to enhance the high volume APU architecture and investigate in next generation processor and memory tech for exascale and consume scale systems.

Within the presentation, you can find several references of stacked memory and new APU technologies such as HSA+, PIM (Processing In Memory) and Two Level memory. Some of these are already part of the current AMD APU family such as Kaveri which introduced several new features such as HSA on software and steamroller, gcn or hardware side.

NVIDIA SHield logo
Hardware

NVIDIA has posted a new teaser on their official site which hints at the announcement of an upcoming product which sources have confirmed to be the Tegra K1 powered Shield Tablet. But while we wait to see a glimpse of the new tablet, Videocardz has managed to reveal the official presentation of the upcoming tablet which will be launching on 29th July in the US market.NVIDIA Shield Tablet

Image Credits: Videocardz!

NVIDIA’s Tegra K1 Powered Shield Tablet Launches on 29th July

While the announcement takes place on 22nd July, the Tegra K1 powered Shield tablet won’t hit the market until 29th July in the US/Canada market followed by Europe launch in August 14th and availability will be expanded to more regions in Fall 2014. The Shield tablet will be available in two variants, a 16 GB WiFi model which will retail at $299 US and a 32 GB LTE model which will retail at $399 US. The Shield tablet will also come with additional accessories such as a wireless shield controller and a shield cover which will retail for $59 and $39 respectively.

Coming to the specifications, the Shield tablet is impressive considering it features the Tegra K1 SOC which was unveiled by NVIDIA at CES 2014. From a technical perspective, the NVIDIA Shield Tablet boasts the Tegra K1 SOC with 192 Kepler GPU cores and a 2.2 GHz Quad Core Cortex A15 CPU. This along with 2 GB memory offers better performance than the competitors in the same price range. For connectivity, NVIDIA Shield Tablet offers Wi-FI + LTE on the 32 GB variant which is priced at $399 US while the $299 variant will only feature Wi-Fi connectivity.

AMD logo
Hardware

During the Q2 financial conference call, AMD’s SVP and COO, Lisa Su, assured that their company will out 20nm products next year followed by 16nm FinFET later on. While there have been rumors that AMD might introduce 20nm products in late 2014, I believe that this statement is an end to all those reports since AMD’s entire lineup is to stick with the current 28nm process node this year.AMD 20nm

AMD Assures 20nm Products in 2015 – 16nm FinFET Later On

In Q1 2014, AMD forwarded the same statement that their graphics and semi-custom business products will both stick with 28nm. We have seen several 28nm products across AMD graphics and processors designs which include the Radeon R9 and Radeon R7 series for graphics while Steamroller, Jaguar powering AMD’s processors and accelerated processing units were also based on 28nm.

“We (AMD) will be shipping products in 20 nanometre next year and as we move forward obviously a FinFET is also important,” Lisa Su (Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at AMD) via Fudzilla

This news is interesting for the moment since AMD is on the verge to introduce new graphics processing units for the consumer industry. These include the Tonga, Iceland and Maui which are reportedly launching in Q3 and Q4 2014. So we can more or less confirm that all three of these chips will feature the existing 28nm process design while their replacements which are now believed to arrive 2015 will be based on 20nm. The same goes for AMD’s upcoming semi-custom APUs which are part of AMD’s Skybridge initiative which allows pin-to-pin compatibility for x86 and ARM based processors. The Cambridge APU will feature this technology leveraging the efficiency while the K12 ARM core which is a 64-bit ARM custom designed core will use 16nm FinFET technology. It should be noted that AMD also has a true x86 architecture in development to feed high-performance needs which should not be expected prior to 2016-2017 so we may see it based on a smaller node.

Battlefield Hardline
Games

At this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, Electronic Arts revealed Battlefield Hardline as the next upcoming installment in its most applauded first-person shooter video game series. Currently being developed by Visceral Games in collaboration with DICE, the game went through its beta testing phase last month and just recently, Visceral revealed a check list of ten changes that has been made to the game according to the feedback submitted by beta testers.

Battlefield Hardline

Visceral Reveals 10 Fan Requested Battlefield Hardline Fixes and Improvements

Unlike previous titles in the series, the upcoming Battlefield Hardline is not a game about world warfare or uprooting terrorist organizations, instead the game breaks away from the military background of the series and introduces a new form of gameplay, keeping the main focus on police and state crimes. The game takes place in urban areas and features Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto type cops and robbers gameplay, where players either play as cops or as robbers.

EA has already announced that Battlefield Hardline will be available in the local markets in October, and so currently, the game is going through its testing phases. The first Beta of the game was launched last month and was played by many beta testers, who also submitted their feedback recommending the changes that the developer should consider to make the multiplayer gameplay better. Recently, Visceral Games published a check list of ten changes on Battlefield Blog, revealing the changes that were suggested by the beta testers, and are now being implemented in the game.

355088-new-microsoft-logo
Industry

Microsoft has today split up Kinect and the Xbox. Kinect, the company’s motion tracking device for it’s Xbox gaming consoles was launched a couple of years back. This separation between the Xbox and Kinect brings with it great development potential. Developers will now be able to experiment with the device on Windows and PCs. This will enable them to make further exciting developments and software particularly related to 3D imaging.

Kinect for Windows

Kinect v2 Starts Shipping Today – Kinect Preview for Windows SDK 2.0 Also Launched

AMD APU
Hardware

AMD’s Carrizo APU “Mobile” platform specifications and details have been unveiled in a slide posted by VR-Zone. The slide confirms pretty much everything we have known about Carrizo and will end much of the confusion that has been build around the information regarding AMD’s 5th generation of accelerated processing units for their mobile platforms.AMD Carrizo APU Platform Details

AMD Carrizo APU “Mobile” Platform Details Unveiled

The platform details regarding AMD Carrizo APU have been unveiled for the Mobile platform rather the desktop platform but we will believe that the desktop platform will be similar in terms of architecture and design as was with Kaveri generation of processors, earlier this year. If you look at the picture of the slide posted by VR-Zone, you will note that it is very similar to the SteamrollerB powered Kaveri 2.0 platform slide which was leaked almost 8 months ago and turned out to be true at the time of Kaveri’s launch since most of the details reported were accurate.

AMD’s Carrizo APU would become the fifth installment in the Accelerated Processing Units family which will feature the latest Excavator core architecture. From previous leaks, we have come to know that Excavator is based on a 28nm process probably based on GlobalFoundaries since AMD chose it the node for Kaveri too. Powering the CPU side, these new x86 Excavator modular cores will leverage the IPC for greater performance compared to Steamroller. The mobile platform will feature both Quad Core and Dual Core variants but right now, we are looking at a glimpse of the top-end variant which shares 2 MB L2 cache.

console logo
Hardware

With the release of the latest PlayStation 4 and Xbox One video game consoles, the gaming industry has become brighter than ever, but it is not only the consoles that are contributing towards the growth of the industry. PC gaming might not be something that is all over the internet right now like the latest consoles, but it surely is one of the pillars that are keeping the gaming industry in place. According to a latest Jon Peddie Research report, PC gaming hardware market now stands at more than $21.5 billion worth.

Slide 1

PC Gaming Hardware Market is Double the Value of Console Market – More than 21.5 Billion Dollars

In everything that is currently going on in the gaming industry concerning the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, it looks like PC gaming is somewhat fading away from the media front, but despite the gradual decline in demand for home PC hardware, the market for gaming specific PC hardware is actually doing really well. As a new Jon Peddie Research report (via MCV) claims, the total value of PC gaming hardware market worldwide is more than $21.5 billion, that is twice the worth of console gaming market, and it is predicted that the figures will grow significantly over the next three years.

Intel-Logo
Hardware

Details of Intel’s next generation Skylake-S platform have been revealed by VR-Zone, unveiling that the new processors will be available in 2H of 2015 and a new motherboard series featuring the latest 100-Series chip. Configurations of various Skylake series processors were unveiled not long ago which mentioned that the time span between the launch of Broadwell and Skylake generation would be small and both platforms would be available to consumers by 2015.Intel Skylake-S Desktop Z170 Chipset

Image Courtesy of VR-Zone!

Intel Skylake-S Desktop Platform Detailed – Z170 Chipset Replaces Z97 in 2H 2015

While the current Z97 series motherboards do add support for Broadwell processors, Intel won’t have the chips ready for consumers till at least Q2 of 2015. The first iteration of Broadwell processors which will launch for PCs will be in the form of Intel Core-M and Broadwell Y-Series which will arrive in holiday 2014 and are aimed toward the tablet and laptop market. The actual desktop processors won’t be available till 2015 which is a bit surprising since at the time Intel launches Broadwell-K series, they will be shipping Skylake-S to consumers in the exact same quarter or a bit late (moving in early 2H 2015). This was showcased in the latest Intel Desktop roadmap leak for consumers.

The transition to Z170 chipset will not be a massive upgrade and would be similar to what the Z97 was to Z87 with a little added features such as more PCI-e lanes, Super Speed USB and up to 10 USB ports compared to 6 standard ones found on the current iteration of motherboards. There will be a total of six 100-series chipset SKUs which will include the Z170 (Performance) replacing the Z97, H170 (Mainstream) replacing the H97, H110 (Value) replacing the H81, B150 (Small and medium Business) replacing the B85 and the Q170 plus Q150 chips with Intel vPro / SIPP which will replace the Q87 and Q85. So as you can note, Intel has the entire replacement plan ready which will update the current desktop chipset stack in 2015. Intel is already phasing out their Ivy Bridge-E and Z77/H77/H75/Q75 chipsets in early 2015. This transition won’t eliminate support for Z97 or Z87 in 2015 since there would be a majority of consumers who will still be running Broadwell and Haswell processors since these platforms have spanned a longer shelve-time in the market and will cease to exist along side each other for a couple of years.

BIOSTAR-Hi-Fi-Z97WE-Render-_1
Hardware

Introduction

Founded in 1986, Biostar is one of the prominent hardware manufacturers of the tech industry focusing in the Asian market. What started as a motherboard manufacturing corporation has now expanded into new markets such as add-on-cards and multimedia solutions along with graphics cards (popular in mainland China).

Coming to multimedia, the motherboard we are going to test today has a large focus on the audio system that it features on-board. The Biostar Hi-Fi Z97WE comes with an isolated PCB on the motherboard that houses the on-board audio system which other manufacturers have started to offer starting with Haswell generation platform however it should be noted that Biostar was the first to implement this technology back in 2012 prior to Haswell as a part of their Puro Hi-Fi design scheme. So credits for this design scheme have to be given to Biostar in setting a new industry standard.

In addition to the feature, the Biostar Hi-Fi Z97WE is also special due to its pricing. The board comes at a very reasonable and budget friendly $124.99 US which is lower than what a motherboard with similar feature set may cost. Whether or not these features are as impressive as the higher quality parts remains to be seen in this review.

nvidia-geforce-gtx-logo
Hardware

It looks like Zauba.com has become a pretty good source to spot graphics processing units as the shipping site has revealed several NVIDIA GPUs over the last few months. This has happened once again as 3DCenter was able to find a shipping manifest of NVIDIA’s upcoming flagship GeForce Maxwell GM200 GPU which will hit the consumer market next year.GeForce Maxwell GM200 GPU

NVIDIA’s Flagship GeForce Maxwell GM200 GPU Spotted

So what makes this spotting so special? There are no images, no specifications, no assurance or whatsoever that this might be true but recent leaks such as the GM204 PCB reveal and the codenames matched earlier listings on the site which makes these listings somewhat believable if not entirely true. The GM200 chip mentioned in the shipping list originated from Taiwan where it was manufactured and will be discharged in Banglore, India. The sample was dispatched on 8th July 2014 which means that the GM200 GPU is already in-works but will take some time to reach mass production before it begins shipment to market. The GM200 GPU is codenamed as GM200-INT0-A1 which means this is the first revision of the core and we may see newer revisions (B1) in the future but for now the A1 revisions is what will be featured on graphics cards for servers and consumers.

While the GM204 chip which was revealed a while back is bigger than its GK104 predecessor, it’s still a bit small compared to GK110. Its hard to tell if the GM200 GPU will be larger or equivalent in size as compared to GK110, its last generation Kepler equivalent but from what we have seen, it will be a huge die returning to the legacy of the big die sizes which NVIDIA has been known for but will be extremely power efficient and house several more cores. The chip is planned for launch in 2015 which would give ample time for 20nm production through TSMC but previous reports show that NVIDIA might ditch 20nm in favor of 16nm FinFET so that could be a possibility but will result in a longer delay period. From what little details we can gather, TSMC will commence volume production of 16nm FinFET+ nodes in Q1 2015 which would mean a Q2/Q3 2015 time for GM200 GPUs to appear on the new process or they could move the launch a bit earlier by sticking with 20nm which is already under production since Q1 2014 but prioritized for Apple till Q2 2014 which is over now.

Watch Dogs Logo
Games

Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs is being enjoyed by gamers on all platforms, but PC gamers are more happy with the game than ever. Just like Grand Theft Auto V, PC modders are giving Watch Dogs some really impressive visual therapies. Until now, several mods have been created that give a boost to the visuals of Ubisoft’s open world action-adventure game and improve the overall gameplay experience, one of these mods is known as TheWorse Mod, and here is a long list of what its recently released latest version packs.

Watch Dogs

Watch Dogs TheWorse Mod 0.97 Version Released – Several New

Soon after Ubisoft released its most highly anticipated hacker-themed video game, PC modders started to work on some visuals mods for the game. One of the Guru3D members known as TheWorse discovered some graphics files that were hidden within the game’s PC directory. After unpacking the files, TheWorse made a mod that improved the overall performance of the game and boosted the visuals, making the in-game environments and characters look completely stunning.

Razer-Adaro-Wirelress-Headphones_6
Gadgets

Introduction

Razer is one of the world’s leading gaming gear and peripheral maker with a focus on three fundamental aspects - technology, ergonomics, and validation. The company Razer has aimed to deliver on the promise of their motto, “For the gamers, by the gamers” with products that are geared for the gaming audience.

But that has changed with the launch of the latest Adaro audio series which are aimed to please the general music loving crowd which includes audiophiles, DJs and casual users. The Razer Adaro Audio series lets Razer enter a new market audience which isn’t restricted to gamers but open to everyone who loves music popping up inside the ears.

Today, we will be testing out the latest Razer Adaro Wireless Bluetooth headphones which aim to deliver a light-weight and comfortable on-the-go experience to users at a price of $149.99 US. Let’s see whether the new line of audio products from Razer live up to the expectations.

Gigabyte-Z97X-Gaming-3-Motherboard_Official_1
Hardware

Introduction

With over 20 million motherboard shipments over the last year, we are talking about the one and only, Gigabyte. Founded in 1986, Gigabyte has become the pioneer of the motherboard industry with a large lineup of products that not only include boards but All-In-Ones, Laptops, Tablets and Gaming Peripherals. As of 2013, the company matches ASUS as the vendor with most shipments of boards giving an idea of the company’s growth in the current year.

With the launch of Intel’s Haswell platform, Gigabyte launched four tiers of lineups for their motherboards -Gaming/Overclocking/Ultra Durable/Black Edition (BK). Each lineup is built for a specific range of consumers. With the 9-Series chipset, Gigabyte is expanding their motherboard line with new products, one of which will be detailed in this review.

Today, we will be taking a look at the entry level Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 3 motherboard which is part of the G1 Gaming lineup which is aimed towards the gaming and mainstream audience. You will find some useful features like Killer LAN and Audio chipsets on this board due to its line positioning but comes at a low cost of $132.99 US which is the affordable range for any budget user. But before we talk about the board itself, let’s take a look at the new chipset and socket which support the latest Haswell processors.



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