Monday News, May 30th 2011

MSI has upgraded their GTX 580 Lightning and calls it “Xtreme Edition” now. The biggest change is certainly the inclusion of 3 GB of GDDR5 memory. Other new features are a dust removal system and a fan that indicates overheating by color change.

The ASUS Crosshair V Formula is an AM3+ motherboard from the Republic of Gamers lineup. The Crosshair V Formula is designed for hardcore gamers and overclockers who want the best and latest AM3+ motherboard. The ASUS Crosshair V Formula ROG motherboard is equipped with the 990FX/SB950 chipset, featuring native SATA 6Gb/s support and full compatibility with upcoming Bulldozer based 32nm AMD processors. For additional high-speed connectivity, the ASUS Crosshair V Formula is also equipped with an Asmedia USB 3.0 controller, boasting superior performance over the NEC USB 3.0 controller prevalent among the latest motherboards in the market. As with all the recent ROG-series boards, the ASUS Crosshair V Formula is powered by the Extreme Engine DIGI+ design, providing highly efficient and superior power delivery on the AM3+ platform.

Although Intel SSDs are far from being omnipresent on the market, those who have had the chance to use them are certainly convinced that these are top-notch devices. When Intel’s first SSDs were presented back in
2008, namely X25-M, it was clear from the get-go that Intel knew what they were doing, as these MLC SSDs used their 10-channel architecture to score much better than any competing solutions based on SLC NAND flash memory. Their SSDs were made in order to squeeze out the best possible performance out of Nehalem microarchitecture. Intel has always been an innovator, after all, and the SSD field is no exception; Intel’s
controllers have always been the best money could buy, forcing other manufacturers to advance quickly in order to remain competitive. The model we’ve received for testing this time is the first generation of
Intel’s SSDs to include SATA 6 Gb/s support.

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Powercolor have been one of the more active AMD partners in recent months, releasing many modified cards with custom cooling solutions for all sectors of the market. Today we are looking at their latest HD6870 PCS++ which is supplied with a proprietary cooler and substantial ‘out of the box’ overclocks.

We’ve been a little short on motherboard content lately, so to kick things back into action we’re taking a look at four P67-based motherboards at once – all benchmarked using our newly revised test suite. The boards we’re looking at are the ASUS P8P67 Deluxe, GIGABYTE P67A-UD4, Intel DP67BG and MSI P67A-GD65.

Our review today is going to concentrate on OCZs latest release of the OCZ Agility 3 SATA 3 240GB SSD and do somewhat of a comparison between this and other drives to include OCZs own Vertex 3 and Vertex 3 IOPS. The question fresh on everyone’s mind right now is definitely that of why would OCZ market another SSD with the same SandForce 2281 processor and similar configurations after just releasing the Vertex 3 MaxIOPS which was already very similar to the Vertex 3.

AMD is going to launch a new platform later this year, but until the Bulldozer becomes reality, we’re still keeping an eye on the current AM3-range of Phenom processors. AMD has been steadily creeping up the clock speeds of the Phenoms, and now the pinnacle of the quad core family is the new Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition. Let us see how it performs.

We take a look at the Asus Crossfire IV Formula, which has the reputation of being one of the best motherboards you can buy for a high end AMD system. It is certainly one of the most expensive, so we have put it to the test to see if it has earned its reputation, and whether it is worthy of the high price.

The card we’re going to put through its paces arrived to our test from Gainward and it’s the GTX 560 Ti 2048 MB Phantom. Phantom is a Gainward’s range of cards with enhanced coolers, which should help quietly keep the core cool.

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