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Newsletter 1-12-2008


Morning all,

For today, I want to let you all know about yet another brand new processor. AMD has released the “Phenom II”, which I will be adding to Total Vision and MAS shortly. There are 2 variants available, the Phenom II X4 920 & 940, both in the mid $xxx range. The Intel equivalent would be in between a Q6600 and Q9550, although the Intel chip would cost more. Given the price to performance ratio, this is AMD´s first competitive chip in quite some time. Performance-wise, it will be plenty fine and I would use it myself (as a gamer). Compatibiltiy? It will work in ANY AM2 socket. This new chip is technically an AM2+ socket, although the tech media is throwing around the AM3 term. This version of Phenom II is still DDR2 support only, a DDR3 version will be coming out in a couple months (which will be socket AM3).

AMD has also released some platform thingy called “Dragon”. In reality, it´s just marketing-speak. For a system to qualify for the “dragon” label, it must have a Phenom II processor, motherboard with an AMD 790GX chipset, and Radeon 4XXX series video card. I added a board to Total Vision to cover the chipset requirement - the Asus M3A78-T weighing in at $xxx. Good gaming board, it will do what it´s supposed to do. I will also be adding SKUs to Tiger (of course), and I will send out V133 #´s once they are available.

Another thing I´ve noticed lately is that I keep seeing floppy drives in Supermicro 1U and 2U cases. For most situations, these require the non-existent Panasonic floppies - and true to my word, I´ve been subbing out for external floppy drives. There is still no way to get a floppy drive in a Supermicro 1U or 2U unless it´s a slim floppy (and the case supports it of course). Please stop doing this.

For motherboard compatibility issues I´ve been seeing - these revolve around the Asus DSBV-DX motherboard. We all love the low cost, but it will only work in a tower chassis. For anything else, there are either major cabling issues, I/O plate issues, or mounting issues. Given the extra labor needed to ghetto rig it, it´s cheaper to go with the Supermicro X7DVL-E in rackmount situations. Please use the Asus DSBV-DX in towers only. I am aware there is a Tiger SKU that has it in a 1U, and that has been resolved (or should be).

Lastly, I´m not sure if I´ve mentioned this or not - but the GeForce GTX 295 video card is now available. It is a dual-GPU video card all slapped onto one board, for $xxx. For “just in case” situations, please use this only on a motherboard that supports SLI. It will probably work in single PCI-express slot boards, but I don´t want to chance it until I´ve seen more tests. Given the release of this card, the previously top of the line GTX 280 has fallen in price, all the way down to $xxx. 9800GTX+ video cards are down to $xxx. This is incredibly cheap, please sell lots. Given all this, ATI should be slashing pricing any day now.