Vanity Free Compute, No Way!

You won’t find it at S|A…

Flaming WaferThe usual companies have been making the rounds with their new products this week. We’ve got new firmware, driver updates, and even a server review floating around the web.

OCZ logoTech Report’s Geoff Gasior tested OCZ’s Vertex, and Agility, 3 with the newly released 2.15 firmware this week. He found no sign of the BSOD issues that this firmware update is purported to alleviate. He also found that was while performance did regress slightly in write bandwidth tests, it increased in tests that focused on read operations like TR’s Windows 7 boot time benchmark. It looks like OCZ’s new firmware is a step forward for reliability and user experience. Let’s just hope prices keep dropping on these SSDs.

AMD - logoOver at Tom’s Hardware Patrick Schimd and Achim Roos did some testing to try and rate the power efficiency of AMD’s new FX CPUs. They found that at the same clock speed AMD’s FX offered better power efficiency than AMD’s older products, but since AMD’s FX chips are normally clocked a bit higher than the chips they replace, efficiency tends to be either a wash or a slight loss. It seems that AMD’s “Bulldozer” just can’t get a break.

Nvidia world iconYaroslav Lyssenko over at Xbitlabs took a look at GPU performance in DICE’s newly released Battlefield 3. He found that Nvidia’s GTX 580 and 570 are the sweet spot when it comes to performance per dollar. It will be interesting to see if AMD can change that equation at all with driver updates. He also found Battlefield 3’s single player story to be too similar to Call of Duty: Black Ops, but apparently the multiplayer is exactly what was expected. So Battlefield 3 is good work on the part of DICE, now if only EA could rid itself of Origin…

AMD and Nvidia have been deeply engaged in a driver war throughout this month. With both releasing multiple driver betas with the aim of improving performance and stability in Battlefield 3. You can find AMD’s official driver released at the very end of the month here. You can also hear the big “meh” that these drivers got from the crew over at TweakTown. Nvidia on the other hand released its new driver set to a slightly better reception. In any case it looks like the driver teams are just treading water and waiting for the new 28nm GPUs to start rolling out of TSMC. Let’s hope that all is going well on that front.

seagateOver at Hardware Canucks they got a chance to review one of Seagate’s new 3 Terabyte Barracuda drives. Apparently these new hard drives are in a class of their own with performance significantly above other high-end drives like Western Digital’s 10,000 RPM Raptors. It seems that the new 40nm dual core controller is to thank for the improvements in performance. I don’t think many people expect conventional hard disks to keep working their way up the performance charts in any meaningful way. But it’s nice to see that Seagate is still trying to give us a reason to upgrade our old hard drives.

Facebook logoJohan De Gelas of Anandtech received a pair of servers from Facebook this week. Both servers were based on Facebook’s Open Compute project and billed as “vanity free”. Facebook is claiming that they are 38 percent more power efficient and 24 percent less expensive to build than comparable servers. Unsurprisingly, Johan did see very good power consumption numbers from these special servers. The engineers at Facebook look to have achieved their goal of improving performance per watt. It will be interesting to see how far Facebook is able to develop its Open Compute project as we move into the future; APUs anyone?S|A

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Thomas Ryan is a freelance technology writer and photographer from Seattle, living in Austin. You can also find his work on SemiAccurate and PCWorld. He has a BA in Geography from the University of Washington with a minor in Urban Design and Planning and specializes in geospatial data science. If you have a hardware performance question or an interesting data set Thomas has you covered.