Leica’s new M9-P digital rangefinder taps the till at $7,995 — the same price the original M9 commanded when it was released in 2009 — but you don’t stay in the business of making pricey cameras for nearly a century without doing something right. The new version adds a virtually unbreakable sapphire crystal covering on the LCD, produced using diamond cutting tools, and an anti-reflective coating. The body includes a vulcanite leatherette body finish, for a more secure grip, but curiously lacks the familiar red Leica logo and M9 lettering on the front, in line with the camera’s elegant “minimalist styling.” Beyond that, the P includes the same full-frame 18 megapixel sensor featured on the M9, an “almost silent” shutter, and is compatible with Leica’s full range of astronomically expensive M lenses. The M9-P will be available in black or chrome for $7,995 beginning next month, or $15,990 for two — since we know you’re planning to buy both.
Someone deep down in Intel’s development dungeons must be laughing a haughty laugh of disdain at us mere mortals getting excited about dual-cores in smartphones. The old Chipzilla has just turned out its 10-core Xeon E7 processor family, which can work on 20 simultaneous computational threads courtesy of the company’s Hyper-Threading knowhow. Needless to say, there aren’t that many casual workloads that will ever properly harness such extremely parallelized prowess, but then Intel isn’t really gunning for the Facebook crowd here anyhow. The new E7s are for those dealing with truly data-intensive tasks, meaning that Facebook itself would be a good candidate to buy up a few, provided it’s tempted by such things as 40 percent performance improvements over the Xeon 7500 tied to dynamic power adjustment for increased energy efficiency. Pricing for the Xeon E7s starts at $774 and climbs up to $4,616 per 32nm chip, with the usual proviso that Intel won’t sell them in batches of less than 1,000. More details follow in the press release and video after the break.
1,024 total CUDA cores, 94 ROPs, and 3GB of GDDR5 RAM on board. Yup, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 is indeed a pair of GTX 580 chips spliced together, however power constraints have meant that each of those chips is running at a tamer pace that their single-card variant. The core clock speed is down to 607MHz, shaders are only doing 1.2GHz, and the memory clocks in at 3.4GHz. Still, there’s a ton of grunt under that oversized shroud and reviewers have put it to the test against AMD’s incumbent single-card performance leader, the Radeon HD 6990. Just like the GTX 590, it sports a pair of AMD’s finest GPUs and costs a wallet-eviscerating $699. Alas, after much benchmarking, testing, and staring at extremely beautiful graphics, the conclusion was that AMD retains its title. But only just. And, as Tech Report points out, the GTX 590 has a remarkably quiet cooler for a heavy duty pixel pusher of its kind. Dive into the reviews below to learn more, or check the new card out on video after the break.
If you’re scoring at home, NVIDIA currently holds the lead in single-GPU graphics cards with its GeForce GTX 580, but ATI’s dual-chip Radeon HD 5970 has been holding down the absolute speed crown for a good long while. Now, bearing the name of AMD Radeon HD 6990, its successor sidles up to the throne and demands attention as the fastest single expansion board you can plug into your shiny new motherboard. The 6990 boasts a massive 4GB of GDDR5, 3,072 Stream Processors, 64 ROPs, and an 830MHz core clock speed. A dual-BIOS switch will let you crank that clock up to 880MHz with a corresponding increase in voltage, but don’t expect to see much overclocking headroom above that.
Reviewers note, alongside their fawning assessment of the world’s best performance, that the HD 6990 is a massively power-hungry card (375W TDP) and one that makes quite a bit of noise while going through its herculean tasks. That’s in spite of a new vapor chamber cooling system that allegedly supports up to 450W of thermal output. If all this strikes you as a somewhat flawed execution, maybe you’ll join us in hoping NVIDIA’s imminently upcoming response, dubbed the GTX 590, will be able to offer a neater, more efficient assault on the extreme peaks of graphical performance.
As T-Pain once so wisely proclaimed, “it ain’t hardcore unless it’s hexacore.” Intel should have no worries with its Core i7-990X, which has enough processing units to satisfy even the most demanding of hip hop moguls, but it pads out its extreme credentials anyway with an audacious 3.46GHz default speed. That can be Turbo Boosted to 3.73GHz (yes, we are talking about a CPU that can run at 3,730MHz right out of the box) and there’s 12MB of L3 cache and three channels for DDR3 memory to justify the $999 price tag. Well, to partially justify it, anyhow. Tech Report and Tom’s Hardware both ran this new chip through their benchmarking suites and both concluded it’s the fastest consumer processor around, but neither was willing to recommend it as a terribly astute purchase decision. Then again, when has an Extreme Edition of anything ever been a good value proposition?
Multiple cores are old hat, particularly in the GPU world where you can have hundreds of simultaneous processing units working in concert, but multiple GPUs on the same PCB, that’s still exciting territory (not least because of the crazy thermal and power requirements that go with it). AMD and NVIDIA are set to clash horns on this field of battle once again, fishing for mindshare as much as they are for high premium sales, with the Radeon HD 6990 and GeForce GTX 590, respectively. The former has already slipped out of the shadows of mystery to reveal a size slightly longer than an A4 sheet of paper, while the latter is being rumored for an unveiling at the PAX East 2011 gamer gathering. Expected GTX 590 specs include 1024 total CUDA cores, 3GB of onboard RAM with dual 384-bit memory controllers, and three DVI outputs for some single-card 3D Vision Surround gaming. This year’s PAX East is kicking off on March 11th and AMD is also looking very close to launching its part, so you should need no more than a couple of weeks’ worth of patience before everything about the latest and greatest from both camps is known.
Even in its “standard” magnesium alloy body, the Leica M9 is an exclusive piece of kit that prices out all but the most fervent and deep-pocketed rangefinder lovers. Nonetheless, Leica has a habit of putting together even more limited editions of its shooters, one of which has recently been subjected to a thorough unboxing and video overview. Only 500 special edition Titanium M9s cameras have been produced, each one individually numbered and costing nearly £20,000 (or about $32,000) in a set with a Summilux-M 35mm F1.4 lens, also made from titanium. With a full frame 18 megapixel CCD sensor and dual image processors inside, it’s a fully fleshed-out beast of a portable shooter, but you’d probably expect nothing less given the fact it costs more than most cars. Go past the break to ogle this special M9.