Hardware Roundup

DirectX11 is more than just a pretty face

WHEN DIRECTX10 came along it wowed gamers with its features, but underwhelmed with the performance hit you took. So now, Windows 7 is just around the corner and Vista is pretty much toast. Now DirectX11 is stepping and some major gaming titles are about to get upgraded to benefit from the new API. Here’s a preview.

Driver Heaven thought it was high time for a DirectX10 vs. DirectX11 comparison. Forget it’s based on ATI silicon, but look at the fact that a correct use of Compute Shader will actually result in serious performance gains as well as better overall image quality. Unlike DirectX9 and DirectX10.

PureOC has some very serious DDR3-2000 memory for the Lynnfield platform. It’s called the Viper II Sector 5 and it’s XMP ready, so you shouldn’t have any trouble putting it to the limit. Flexible timings and voltage make it a great dual channel memory for any platform, really. Not too expensive, either. You can pick some up for $170. Give it a look.

Lucid’s Hydra 200 chip is the talk of the town and Extremetech has a preview on this fancy new multi-GPU interface. It’s supposed to be seamless, as we’ve been told by Lucid in the past, but we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime you can read about it here.

Hot Hardware has a group of very non-reference graphics cards from ATI and MSI. Non-reference is good, it means freedom to tweak to your heart’s content usually with some fancy tools and gizmos that make you feel oh-so-much the wisest consumer on earth. Well, it’s always fun to see them full-on chewing away at games.

Test Freaks plugs in a Dynatron G950 Genius CPU cooler – no relation to the mice, we hope. OK, so maybe Dynatron isn’t the best known cooler brand but according to Test Freaks it’s probably the best damn thing Jeff’s tested, and for just $40.

Not all P55 motherboard sockets are made equal, it seems. That’s what Anandtech has discovered with a fresh batch of Lynnfield mobos. If you’re an extreme overclocker you’ll definitely want to know about the hazards of taking the boards over the edge and how your socket will burn your CPU. Check it out.

A bit of a misnomer, the LANParty BI G41-T33 motherboard from DFI is a micro-ATX board that – despite its many virtues – doesn’t really cut it as a LANParty-branded board. It’s cheap, it’s good, but it’s really un-tweakable, if such a word exists. Go here for a cheap thrill.

Xbit Labs has thrown some SSDs together, the best and brightest at Intel and OCZ. The OCZ ones use the new Samsung and Indilinx Barefoot controllers that have undone JMicron’s stuttering ASICs. Intel… well, it’s Intel, isn’t it? Performance is on the up.

Sapphire, known for being one of ATI’s biggest AIB partners, is now in the business of PSUs too. XS Reviews tests the Pure 950W, a PSU that targets both consumer systems and workstations – Xeon and Opteron – and multi-GPU setups. Sounds awesome.

Corsair, another company who’s branching out into other businesses, is testing out its Obsidian 800D case at Driverheaven. Very little to fault about it, except maybe lack of eSATA ports (but then again, stick it on a bracket. Pricey, too.

Seagate has gone the way of Western Digital and released its low-power version HDDs. Seagate has opted to optimize it for desktop work, rather than server workloads. On the other hand it’s quieter and cheaper than a Caviar Green.  You choose.

Asus broke out a new motherboard branding, the TUF series (The Ultimate Force), just a couple of weeks ago. The Sabertooth 55i is the first and, yes, it looks very hi-tech and military-like, no doubt, but we doubt the alleged ‘ruggedness’ will suffice to sell such a thing. S|A

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