MSI Explains Their “Propeller Blade” Technology

On paper they claim that it allows 20% more airflow and wider ventilation angles in contrast to traditional designs, and it can reduce temperatures of up to 21 degrees. This means longer hardware life, more overclocking potential, and of course an overall cooler PC. So one might ask how all this works? For starters, there’s the curved angle and arched edges intended to enlarge the angle of airflow direction. There are also rounded edges that lowers noise. MSI says that grooves in the specially designed propellers increase airflow range, while small arcs generate more airflow. Lastly there’s a gloss coating which serves the purpose of reducing “wind” resistance.

So how do all these tweaks and enhancements stack up? The company said their very own R6870 Hawk with Twin Frozr III ran 21 degrees cooler and 7dB quieter than a reference version. Look for MSI’s Propeller Blade technology on new Twin Frozr III and Cyclone II video cards. Hit up the clip below.

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AMD’s Dual-Core Llano Desktop APU Spotted

AMD recently launched two desktop (Llano) APUs which are available for purchase if you so desire, and there are four more different processors slated for the remaining of this year. According to some MSI marketing material, we got some idea of what kind of parts they’re brewing up. Our attention should be focused on the E2-3200 and is supposedly clocked at 2.4GHz bearing 1MB of L2 cache and has a TDP of 65W. It’s also to sport an integrated Radeon HD 6370D graphics solution clocked at 443MHz with 160 stream processors all on the same die. There is no Turbo Core and will be based on the FM1 package.

MSI Shows Off New Innovations at Computex 2011 (Weekend Bonus)

First off, we’re all aware of MSI’s popular overclocking utility Afterburner right? It usually comes bundled free with every one of their video card purchases and allows the user to easily adjust clock speeds, voltages by simply dragging the slider or keying in the values. What if you aren’t at the computer to even do this? Well there’s an app for that.

Right now they only have it for Android with an iOS version in the works, but the company emphasizes that the app is something that provides access to all of Afterburner’s features without having to be tied up to the computer. So what’s the point? Say you’re in the middle of running an intensive benchmark and you start seeing artifacts, rather than stopping or quitting the run, you can simply start the app and adjust settings there. Much more efficient.

Applications for this neat mobile app are countless including monitoring while away from the PC, and MSI says it works with video cards by other vendors as well. Above all it’s absolutely free!

Next is something we’re quite fond of, and it’s a PC enthusiast’s nightmare. DUST. This is most evident in the graphics card as a lot can get built up in the heatsinks, and even if you were to go all out water cooling you’ll still find yourself using fans in some parts of your setup.

They company is rolling out a new feature dubbed “Dust Removal Tech” for all their new cards and what it is essentially having the video card have its fans spin in reverse for about 30 seconds when you start the computer. This allows dust to be drawn out of the part rather than to be accumulated by continually having the fans blow onto it.

Sadly there are some caveats to this system, as the dust will still be blown back into your PC and most people have the tendency to leave their desktops on 24/7.

Roundup: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560

It felt like ages since we did our last roundup, but on another note you might have been aware that NVIDIA introduced a new GTX 560 (non Ti) to their lineup earlier this week. Not surprisingly, this new part performs a bit better than the former GTX 460 and falls shy of the GTX 560 Ti – it also fills a small price gap (about the $199 mark) in terms of what they have to offer. This new card does also takes the performance crown when compared to AMD counterparts which are priced at a similar price point.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 (non-Ti) to Hit Shelves Tomorrow

We yawn, but with jesting put aside the new GeForce GTX 560 by NVIDIA may be the modern counterpart compared to the 9800 GT back when it was released in 2008. This new card is probably going to perform a lot better though right? Based on surfaced detail of this card, we’re looking at a $199 MSRP – it’ll also feature 336 CUDA Cores (same as the GTX 460), 56 texture units, 256-bit memory interface, and 1GB of GDDR5 memory to top things off.

Take a look below if you haven’t seen this sneak peek clip from NVIDIA already.

UPDATE: Looks like Newegg was already listing GTX 560 cards by Palit and MSI, both having custom cooling solutions. When we rushed over there, the items seemed to have been pulled from the site already. Perhaps we’ll see them stocked later today or tomorrow (actual official release date). In terms of pricing, realistically expect to pay $200-225 as that was the range of what the two mentioned manufacturers listed their cards at.

Demystifying AMD’s AM3 Platform and Bulldozer Compatibility

More recently we had manufacturers like ASUS and MSI claiming that some of their products in their existing line-up will in fact work with Bulldozer (AM3+ CPUs), but that may be a case of unofficial support. In the past, there were also talks and rumours of specific support – in the meantime let’s take a look at the key points of how we see the whole fiasco.

  • AMD Won’t be Officially Supporting Bulldozer on the AM3 Platform
  • Major Differences of Official and Unofficial Support
  • No New Details Coming from AMD and Manufacturers like ASUS
  • Conclusion – Few AM3 Boards will Support Bulldozer, but Performance Impact is Unknown

Word straight from AMD is that they won’t be officially supporting Bulldozer on the current AM3 platform and even though they originally had plans not to. Reason is that Bulldozer ships with certain features which includes advanced power management and clock gating capabilities and will in turn require the AM3+ socket.

For those of you wondering about “official and unofficial” support, one thing to point out is that unofficial support may hint voiding your warranty if anything were to go wrong. While on the other hand, official support is still kind of still in the grey area despite the AM2+ boards officially supported AM3 processors in the past. Ultimately it’s up to the motherboard makers to map all this out since the fix isn’t simply a BIOS update. The 780G was a good example, it was capable of supporting virtually all of AMD’s processors, but when it came to the mATX form factor boards – they didn’t have the capacity to take the 125W Phenom CPUs.

As mentioned earlier, AMD only made it clear that Bulldozer won’t be supported on AM3 and while ASUS had made previous announcements – they will cease discussing this matter publicly as per AMD’s request.

Wrapping up, some AM3 boards will inevitably support the upcoming Bulldozer processors and while the extent and overall affected performance, power consumption, and temperatures are all left unknown. Without a doubt, many companies will update their latest and greatest offerings rather than older models if they were to provide this backward compatibility. What we would suggest is that it would be better to wait on an AM3+ ready board rather than buying one that “supposedly” has support and grabbing an AM3+ CPU later on.

Roundup: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti

Looking back at our regular weekly roundups shows how AMD was on top of those frequent releases, and they stole most of the spotlight. That’s about to change with this new card aimed at mainstream, budget concious gamers and the much anticipated GTX 590 flagship coming soon.

The GTX 550 Ti is considered an update and replacement for the younger sibling, GTS 450 – fairly attracting too when the cost ticks in at $149 (US). Quick run through specs points only 192 CUDA cores (same as previous gen GTS 450, no surprise given price), but to make up for that NVIDIA aggressively pushes the core to 900MHz and the shader to 1800MHz. They also bundle 1GB of memory for good measure too, running at 4GHz – it may have a performance hit due the 192-bit interface compare to how well the GTX 560 Ti fares (256-bit). As usual with these roundups, we’ll let the reviewers help you decide whether this is the card for you.

Quick note, this may be the last of our roundups that we do on a weekly basis and this is much to do with our availability (sorry!). With major product releases, however, we’ll continue to strive and make an effort to bring the news for everyone. Have a great weekend!

MSI’s “Military Class” Components Isn’t Just Marketing

If you’ve seen their video cards and motherboards then you should know what we’re talking about. For the rest of you, this particular hardware manufacturer advertises their parts to all have “Military Class” components, including Hi-c CAPs (highly-conductive polymerized capacitors), SFCs (Super Ferrite Chokes), and other intricate lingo. Talk about hot air? Definitely not, according to MSI at least.

MSI actually hired a 3rd-party professional laboratory (Integrated Service Technology Inc.) to carry out temperature, stress, and humidity tests in accordance to U.S.’s Department of Defence components standards. They also say that Hi-c CAPs are commonly found on aerospace and military products and according to results, their parts passed MIL STD 810G tests for low pressure, high/low temperature, vibration, and shock. This includes the SFC and aluminium cored solid capacitors as well.

Your guess is good as ours whether there’s any endorsements involved just to obtain an honorary plaque for meeting standards since MSI did hire the lab coats, but on the other hand it’s worth noting that IST Inc. is in fact an accredited lab in business since 1994.

MSI’s New N580GTX HydroGen

For the water cooling fans, MSI dropped the reference air cooling on a stock GTX 580 and replaced it with their proprietary HydroGen, full-copper waterblock. They claim that users can see a temperature drop of up to 24 degrees Celsius, and the block itself spans across a large area of the card covering both the GPU and memory as well. MSI also devised their own “Micro-Channel” technology of having small 0.45mm wide water channels over the GPU area, as this is to increase water flow resulting in better heat transfer. Of course, as with almost every MSI video card, they encourage the use of their Afterburner overclocking suite. At the time of writing, there was no word on pricing or when this will ship. FYI: An EVGA GTX 580 FTW Hydro Copper 2 (similar to this) costs about $700, so hopefully we can see MSI’s offering for the same or maybe less.

MSI and Bigfoot Technology to Bring NIC Integrated Motherboard

Remember that VisionTek Killer HD 5770 video/NIC combo card? Now imagine a motherboard in place of the graphics unit. Alright, there may not be much to visualize – this can, however, be an interesting announcement slated for CES nonetheless. Here’s a quote from Michael Howse, CEO of Bigfoot Networks:

“We are pleased to be working with MSI. The Killer 2100 gaming network card is a perfect complement to the MSI Big Bang family of mainboard solutions that will give gamers a competitive edge in online play.”

Is a motherboard with a integrated Killer NIC in stored for us? Maybe. Or just another MSI Big Bang board that has another separate PCIe card bundled (like the sound card they include)? Hope not.