WHAT DO YOU get if you supply 1500W to a CPU, encrypt everything with removable keys, and control the whole thing with your phone? That is easy, the new Gigabyte motherboards.
We showed you some pictures of the boards a few days ago, but Gigabyte kept some of the more interesting features under wraps until their press conference today. The best bits about the boards are not easily captured in pictures, they are firmware and software based.
First up is the 24 phase power we told you about. Being true 24 phase rather than 12 + 12 like some in the past means that they can supply an awful lot of wattage to the CPU. How much? About 1500W or so, and no, we are not joking. If you are a mad overclocker that can’t wake up in the morning without a steaming cup of LN2, these are your boards.
That said, some of the Intel P55 and X58 boards literally burned the pins off the sockets with much less voltage, so we can’t see how anyone will reach those numbers in the real world. At far fewer amps, those little CPU fingers become more like fuses than connectors. That said, if you are OCing with the new 24 phase Gigabyte boards, power delivery will not be the bottleneck in your efforts.
Next up is something Gigabyte calls SmartTPM, basically a way to simplify TPM (Trusted Platform Module) setup, management, and use. TPMs are notorious for being a pain in the butt to set up, so Gigabyte supplies software to make it a much simpler process. It also allows you to store the keys on a memory stick or phone using bluetooth to transfer.
The idea is that you set up the TPM, encrypt a partition on your hard drive, say /home, and save the keys off machine. When you log on, the encrypted partition is not just unreadable, but also invisible at the hardware level. If you pull it out and put it in another machine, it is still fully encrypted unless you have the keys. During normal use, you just plug in your memory stick with the keys and your por^h^h^hwholesome content pops up. Pull the key and it is gone.
Even better, if you save the keys to your bluetooth phone, all you need to do is walk up to your PC and it is decrypted before you even touch the keyboard. Walk away, and it locks. The only down side to this is that the drivers and software are only for Windows, an OS that is unsecurable. Until Gigabyte comes out with Linux drivers, there won’t be much point to using that much security, you can just break Windows in any of 17,963 ways (as of 6:52am GMT on June 2, 2010, many more by now), and take your data that way. Then again, Windows being laughably insecure is not Gigabyte’s fault, they are only doing the right thing with the hardware they have control over.
Next we have the coolest feature, something Gigabyte calls CloudOC. This is not quite cloud based, but it is internet based overclocking. Several Gigabyte boards have a rudimentary web server built in, and it allows you to set an IP for the PC, log in remotely, and control many of the OCing functions from an HTML based interface.
If you have a tablet or a smartphone you can just log in to your PC and away you go. The features won’t be as comprehensive as the desktop software, but since the CloudOC software is OS agnostic, it is a fair trade. You can tweak parameters on the fly regardless of what you are running on the PC or the client.
Better yet, you can do all of this wirelessly and that opens up all sorts of possibilities. First and most important on that list is pranks. If you set up a co-worker’s machine to have CloudOC capabilities, you can just log in and knock their PC down to a fraction of it’s rated speed, or simply shut it down. The possibilities are almost endless, but the laughs are not.
If you are really insane, one of the biggest problems with OCing a PC immersed in oil is those nasty cables some people need to connect to them. CloudOC removes a few more of those, specifically keyboard and mouse. I can see some really silly videos of PCs in fishtanks being subjected to all sorts of abuse being enabled by this technology.
Last up is something Gigabyte calls HotKeyOC. If you can’t tell by the name, it is a set of four hotkeys that allow you to program in profiles for OCing, and change them on the fly. If your rig will run at 4.2GHz on Vantage’s physics test, but is stable at 4.4 in the graphics test, you can set one profile for 4.2, another for 4.4, and yet another to be really slow to ‘cool’ down between runs. Just press Ctrl-Alt-F1 to F4, and away you go. Several overclockers say that HotKeyOC will buy you a few points in most benchmarks if used correctly, and that can be the difference between world records and second place.S|A