Sandy Bridge

Mar 07 2012

News - Not All H67 Motherboards Will Support Ivy Bridge

Intel H67 IVB Upgrade

A few weeks ago Intel released a BIOS update for their H67 Media Series motherboards that provided support for next generation 22nm CPUs, better known as Ivy Bridge. Shortly their after the file was pulled because of issues with bricked boards. Well today an updated BIOS dropped offering this, and a few other features. As I was working my way through the release notes I was surprised to find this page; which documents, in a somewhat unclear way, that some boards won't be making the cut. Disappointing given the information previously available; have to wonder if other OEMs will be publishing their own decision trees in the next couple months...

Jan 10 2012

News - Intel Booth - CES 2012

Intel DIY AIOKyle and I got the chance to check out Intel's booth early this morning and while Ivy Bridge didn't make the trip, we did get to see some cool all-in-one (AIO) PCs both from OEMs and [more interestingly] found out that Intel will be enabling DIY builders to assemble their own AIO systems. There will be a wide variety of monitors (many are touch enabled) which are compatible with thin ITX motherboards (including the DH61AG), although the current set max out at 24". Of course normal HSF won't work in this application, so Intel has already introduced and a low profile cooling solution that fits nicely inside the AIO chassis.

We also got a chance to check out a couple Medfield tablets running Android; one had Ice Cream Sandwich and the other was sporting Honeycomb (I think). Check out the AIO and tablet pictures on the next page.

Sep 13 2011

News - AnandTech Reviews ASRock CoreHT 252B

ASRock CoreHTI love reading Ganesh's work because he's one of the few reviewers (not on Missing Remote of course) that really gets HTPC.  They are always incredibly detailed and this look at ASRock's CoreHT 252B is no exception.  You'll have to read it through to get his thoughts, but I am pleased to see that this generation of CoreHT's is much less PC (although still a bit too much for my taste) than the previous.

The DIY HTPC crowd has a marked preference for mini-ITX motherboards and cases. However, the excessive TDP of desktop CPUs resulted in complicated thermal designs and noisy results. Thermal designs for systems with mobile CPUs with 35W TDPs are fairly straightforward and not very noisy. In fact, it is even possible to create systems which are fully passively cooled.

ASRock has three HTPC families catering to the entry level, mid-range and high-end markets. While the ION based HTPCs form the entry level, the Core series serves the mid-range and the Vision series caters to the high-end. Today, we will be looking in detail at the CoreHT 252B, the second generation Core series HTPC from ASRock. First off, let us take a look at the configuration of the review unit sent to us by ASRock


Sep 13 2011

News - Aleutia Fanless and Silent HTPC Reviewed

For those who like their Home Theater PC's completely silent, Aleutia has recently released a PC that might just be for you. Aleutia started out making low cost PCs for Internet cafes in Africa but then has branched out to create computers for a wide variety of situations with a focus on low power consumption and noise.

The H3-R comes in two different hardware configurations featuring either a Core i3-2100T or the more powerful Core i5-2390T. The folks over at Silent PC Review put the Alutia H3-R through its paces and found that it lived up to the company's stated goals as it was almost completely silent and drew just 15W AC when idling and 22W when playing high definition video. However, these numbers came with a significant drawback as the systems equipped with a Core i5 experienced significant CPU throttling due to overheating during testing.

It seems that the system worked fine during standard operation and media playback; however, when performing more advanced tasks such as media encoding, the system was forced to throttle the CPU in order to avoid overheating. Thus, the system was never able to take advantage of the extra power available with the Core i5.

Head over to Silent PC Review for the full review.

Sep 07 2011

News - Asrock Vision 3D Preparing to Cross Sandy Bridge

Asrock has demonstrated a marked interest in the HTPC market over the last few years and has assembled a solid lineup of SFF barebones kits specifically aimed at HTPC enthusiasts. We even reviewed one of the early models, the ASRock ION-330 Nettop. The current cream of the crop Asrock SFFs are the Vision 3D line that combine an Intel Arrandale mobile processor with an Nvidia GeForce GT425M Graphics.

Evidently Asrock hasn't kept quite as tight a lid on their upcoming products as they would like as information regarding the second generation of Vision 3D SFFs has leaked out.

A tipster was doing a little Google-fu when he came across a listing for the unannounced Vision 3D 2nd Gen Series. The specs are certainly a worthy upgrade to last year's Computex standout, including a switchable 1GB GeForce GT540M card, 1333MHz RAM and an HMDI 1.4a port.


While Asrock has not made anything official yet, the Vision 3D line getting bumped up to Sandy Bridge would hardly come as a surprise as the one step down Core HT line recently went through the same transition. Moving from an Arrandale mobile porcessor to a Sandy Bridge mobile processor is not going to make a huge difference in performance, but it sounds like the whole package is getting a nice refresh.

Aug 25 2011

News - Core i5-2500T, Core i5-2390T, Core i3-2100T and Pentium G620T Comparison

In the Sandy Bridge generation, Intel has brought to market numerous CPUs that cover a wide range of thermal and performance envelopes. The T-variant parts having TDP values as little as 35W are an intriguing choice for small form factor (SFF) enclosures because their cooling and peak power consumption requirements are much less.

What happens when we compare the T-variant parts to their siblings in the Pentium, Core i3 and Core i5 series? Xbit Labs has done just that and found some interesting results. The 45W Core i5-2500T and 2390T offer a wide spread of operational frequencies with Turbo Boost technology which allows them to excel in single-core applications offering a compelling mix of performance and lower TDP than the standard Core i5 and i3 brethren.

Sandy Bridge processors have earned their right to be called revolutionary development of Core microarchitecture not only due to their very high performance. They have also offered users better performance-per-watt. This immediately bumped up the battery life in contemporary mobile computers, making the dreams of a notebook that won’t need to be recharged for the entire day much more realistic. Moreover, it is Sandy Bridge microarchitecture that should create an entire new class of portable devices called ultra-books, which will combine the major advantages of tablets with those of classical notebooks. In other words, contemporary processor microarchitecture had a tremendous effect on the development of the mobile market.

Jul 26 2011

News - 24p Works on Intel Sandy Bridge With UAC Enabled

Last week we posted an update on the need to disable User Account Control (UAC) on Intel's second generation HD Graphics IPG (Sandy Bridge) systems, but we still weren't sure how to reliably reproduce the results.  Well a new DH67BL showed up today along with instructions on how to enable the feature on existing hardware which explains why we couldn't nail it down before.

Jul 22 2011

News - Eight New Intel Sandy Bridge Parts to be Released Soon

Core and Pentium Retail BoxesAt the end of May, Intel introduced new Sandy Bridge architecture Pentium-branded chips that offer great performance for HTPCs on a budget. Things are about to get even cheaper with three new 35W T-branded parts (Pentium G530T, Pentium G630T and Core i3-2120T) . The rest of the non-T parts coming are Pentium G630, Pentium G860, Core i3-2125 (with HD3000 graphics), Core i3-2130 and Core i5-2310.

The Pentium G530T is not only a 35W TDP part, but the dual-core 2GHz Pentium will be the lowest priced Sandy Bridge yet at $47 besting the current Pentium G620 priced at $64. Another interesting part is the Core i3-2125 which will be the first i3-branded part to offer HD3000 graphics bringing a little bit more gaming prowess as the main benefit. The other parts coming are mostly slight bumps in performance to current offerings for the same price.

Intel is going to be a busy company between now and the end of September, as beyond the entry level CPUs that we revealed the pricing of yesterday, Intel has a total of eight new desktop Pentiums and Core i processors launching. Three of the new models are low-power 35W models, with the remaining models being standard desktop parts.


Jul 17 2011

News - Intel SandyBridge UAC Update

In the last podcast I mentioned that I'd heard some talk that Intel was working on a fix for the UAC work around requirement for better refresh rate precision with Sandy Bridge GPUs, but hadn't figured out how to reproduce it yet...  Well I found a semi-public driver that might just be the key.

Jun 30 2011

News - AMD Llano vs Intel Sandy Bridge HTPC Analysis Review

This is a fairly high level comparison of the two, but given the recent surge in reviews of the new AMD platform I thought it was beneficial. Looks like we have a nice competition brewing!

The Lynx system (A3850 + Gigabyte A75 motherboard) performs well and matches the Core i3-2100T system. The first Fusion APU, the E350N, manages even lower power consumption, but that is a 19W TDP chip and it’s CPU is weak compared to the A3850, so it is like comparing an Intel Atom to a Core i series CPU.


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