Computing

Under The Hood: This Week In PC, Component And Software News

Thinking of building a new gaming PC? Struggling with whatever random error your desktop is throwing up this week? Under The Hood gives you a quick and concise run-down of the most important things that happened to the PC master race in the last seven days.

Intel’s Unlocked Skylake Processors for Desktops Are Getting More Affordable
Due to unprecedented demand, Intel’s latest Skylake processors with unlocked multiplier were significantly overpriced late last year. However, it would seem that more units are coming into retail as the popular Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K CPUs are becoming more readily available from multiple stores. As a result, actual retail prices of the chips have dropped in recent weeks. Nonetheless, the most powerful Skylake-S is still listed above its suggested retail price.

Intel’s top-of-the-range processor for mainstream enthusiasts, the Core i7-6700K (four cores with Hyper-Threading, 4.0 GHz/4.20 GHz, 8 MB cache, Intel HD Graphics 530 core, unlocked multiplier), has an MSRP of US$350 according to Intel’s ARK. About six weeks ago, this processor in the US cost more than $420 at some stores, and was frequently in and out of stock of the biggest retailers.

Crucial’s New Ballistix Sport LT White DDR4 Is For Winter Camo Gaming

Crucial’s Ballistix RAM has a great reputation for quality, both in stock clocks and for gaming. I’ve been using its Elite DDR4 in my current build for a couple of months now, and it holds some extremely tight timings without complaint. But if the inside of your PC case is equally as important as how your system runs, you’ll be pleased to know that Crucial has just released winter camo Ballistix Sport LT DDR4, with a white PCB and heatspreader and a digital camo sticker on top of that.

In Australia, you can buy Crucial’s newest, shiniest DDR4 via RamCity, Upgradeable and Leader Systems — although you might also be able to shop around and find it for a better price elsewhere. It’ll ship in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB sticks and kits of up to 64GB are available. Make sure your shiny new motherboard fits four sticks before you drop $300-plus on a new set of RAM, though!

Intel Shuts Down The Skylake Overclocking Loophole
The cheap overclocking party is over. An upcoming microcode update from Intel will close the door on a loophole that let users goose Skylake CPUs that weren’t meant to be overclocked. The company confirmed to PCWorld on Monday that an update would “align” the CPUs in question.

”Intel regularly issues updates for our processors which our partners voluntarily incorporate into their BIOS,” an Intel spokesman said. “The latest update provided to partners includes, among other things, code that aligns with the position that we do not recommend overclocking processors that have not been designed to do so. Additionally, Intel does not warranty the operation of the processor beyond its specifications.”

No, We’re Not All Being Bathed In Deadly Radiation From Wi-Fi
With last night’s ABC Catalyst episode examining the safety of electromagnetic radiation from smartphones and Wi-Fi, we thought it would be relevant to re-publish this May 2015 scientific response to sceptics.

Since we all sit so close to massive monitors and Wi-Fi equipped gaming rigs and high-powered routers, I thought this was worth sharing. Tell your friends — there is no evidence to suggest that Wi-Fi will give you cancer. Of course, it won’t stop a lot of people complaining or worrying, but you can’t really stop that happening anyway.

This Aussie Far Cry Primal Case Mod Is Just Insane
Case mods can be pretty cool even when they’re quite basic — you know, some nicely routed cables and a custom water-cooling reservoir. But when you go all out, you can make something amazing — and that’s exactly what this Aussie case mod, built to promote the new Far Cry game, is all about. On the outside it’s little more than a bit of spray paint and stenciling, but take off the side and it hardly resembles a PC at all.

Stephen Hoad of Oz Modz is one of Asus Australia’s five pro modders — this kind of thing is basically his day job. He’s also a big fan of previous Far Cry games, and with Primal about to come out, he put together this crazy build in a little over a fortnight. It’s a machine that has a massive amount of power under the hood, but that also showcases the gritty, dirty, go-hunt-some-animals idea of Far Cry Primal as well.


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