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NZXT Gives Less Colors than Expected

Over the past week, NZXT had a teaser page up with the quote, “Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing?” While I don’t understand art nearly as well as others, the color changing graphic had me quite excited about a plethora of color options, preferably by color changing LEDs, that consumers could do with their case. Unfortunately, the color choices aren’t as elaborate as I hoped for and even the case designs are merely others that have already been released. The first teaser to release was the H440 Special Edition Colors. The H440 was an exceptional case, so the option to give it more color trims isn’t a bad idea. Now, instead of white or red/black, you can choose a blue/black, green/black or orange/black scheme. While that extra feature is a nice option for consumers wanting variety, what’s unusual is the way they chose to release it. They gave a different color to three different vendors! It’s true that this is fairly unique, but it doesn’t really serve a practical purpose. If you’re the type of consumer who typically shops from one vendor, or has special accounts with them, then you may not be able to get the color scheme of choice without extra hassle and finagling. So while the choices are nice, it seems like NZXT should have given the color options to all vendors. At least the first teaser however, seemed like an appropriate build up, but the second was more of a let down. The next case revealed was th...



Check Out What PureOC has “Dug” Up!

As a stray, I used to wander around finding whatever hardware scraps I could find, but now that PureOC has given me a home, I get to feast on some of the best news and reviews on the web! Turned out that I had a pretty decent nose and while I’m pretty new to suburban life, I’m learning all kinds of new tricks. I’m the Hardware Hound! I’ll do my best to bring you great hardware news and opinions, as well as a smile on your face along the way. So sit back, enjoy the show, and get to know me a little better, but keep your eyes peeled because I’ll be highlighting some of my favorite recent hardware releases soon! The Hardware Hound Intro  



MSI Raises the Bar with Next Gen Motherboards

When it comes to Motherboards, Asus is a name that really stands out. I’m not saying that they’re the perfect manufacturer, but they are known for products that perform admirably while being rich with features. As far as overclocking is concerned, Asus boards are some of the best on the market for reaching stable and high clocks. This leaves other manufacturers with a great deal to live up to when they try and release a board that can compete with the current market. Fortunately, MSI is looking to not only compete, but win in the high end motherboard market with their new Gaming Series and OC Motherboards. While I’m sure everyone is dying to know about Intel’s next chipset, those features are going to be far from what is going to set MSI apart. To begin with, the overclocking potential looks like it’s going to raise the bar quite a bit. The DigitAll Power feature provides digital control for increased stability. While that is becoming a more standard feature for overclocking boards, there’s more details sweetening the pot here. First, there’s water cooling connectors added to the heatsink and an optional OC Fan Stand the sits securely to the motherboard for better air flow control. Next, the board comes with a host of buttons for things like going straight to the bios and even being able to completely clear the cmos without removing the battery. The most revoltionary feature though, is the ram overclocking utility in the Bios. The...



Why We Need a $3000 GPU

I can’t help but say that I’m really excited about the new Godzilla movie coming out next month. As a kid, I grew up on the old Godzilla films, had a decent number of action figures, and shared in the disappointment that was the 1998 remake. What I’m seeing now looks like a great homage to the old 1954 monster. This long lead-in would no doubt beg the question of what any of this has to with NVIDIA’s Titan Z. While $3000 sounds like a lot to average PC users, this card is a huge release for the movie industry. Pixar may be a name you have already heard of, but just in case you haven’t, they really are the “undisputed king” of animation. The reason why they’ve turned out so many good movies is their attention to detail. Ever since the movie Brave, Pixar has been using their own animation system called Presto. This system allows their animators to animate in real time. The included demo video above is worth a watch, and showcases some interesting details. While working on Sully from Monsters University, the animators from Pixar had to render 900,000 hairs in real time. Each hair has 4 points! That’s a total of 3.6 million points the system is running and all of these hairs run entirely on the GPU, not to mention all of the other objects going on in the scene. What was the secret weapon behind all this power? Why none other than NVIDIA’s Quadro K6000. The K6000 is an impressive card. It has 12 GB of on-board memory a...



Noctua Revolutionizes Air Cooling with the NH-D15

Let’s face it. Even extreme liquid cooling enthusiasts occasionally appreciate good air coolers for their simplicity and noise levels. Sometimes, a person just doesn’t have time or cash to maintain liquid loops on every system they own. While the competition can be steep in the air cooling market, Noctua looks like they may have pulled a secret weapon to dominate the field for a while. I’m pleased to introduce the NH-D15 elite-class dual tower CPU cooler. There are two reasons to be excited about this release. The first reason, as expected, is the increase in performance. I was particularly impressed by Noctua’s policy that they don’t release anything that they aren’t 100% satisfied with. They widened the fin-stack and spaced the heatpipes to improve efficiency. Reviews will be the final judge, but it looks like there will be a new king in the air cooling market. Some people still like to complain about the colors of Noctua fans, but that’s usually before owning one. The performance and low noise levels of the NF-A15 can make any person forget they ever hated beige and brown after seeing it in action. Performance is always a good reason to look forward to new hardware, but functionality is what changes landscapes forever. Noctua has certainly changed the landscape with a simple, yet brilliant design feature. They recessed the lower fins on both towers so that RAM clearance issues will be a thing of the past (for the most part). Th...



NVIDIA Delaying Maxwell?

NVIDIA’s GTX 750 Ti stirred the pot when it released a bit ago. Naturally, everyone became excited about new, high end GPUs releasing with Maxwell architecture because if a low power chip could perform so well, how much better would the high power chips perform? Unfortunately, what seemed to be just around the corner has been delayed until the end of this year, or possibly the beginning of next year. NVIDIA has their reasons, but what if there is something not being told in why Maxwell is being delayed? Syed Muhammad Usman Pirzada writes, “Basically 20nm has already begun at TSMC, but apparently the process is not yet ready for full fledged GPU core production.” What this sounds like is that production is ready, but isn’t ready and that doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s true that technicalities can stop full scale production, but nevertheless, this statement needed some further investigation. The problem with power efficiency is in the term itself. High end GPUs need to be powerful, then power efficient. A quick glance at PassMark’s video card chart shows that while Maxwell GPUs (GTX 750 Ti and GeForce 880M) are better than their predecessors (GTX 650 Ti Boost and GeForce 780M), they aren’t necessarily blowing the doors off the previous gen either. Performance gains could be lower than expected, needing more designing before a relase. The fact that NVIDIA has invested in more Kepler technology for their latest Titan Z releas...



NVIDIA Unveils First Mobile Supercomputer

Supercomputers for everyone! That may be a huge overstatement, but NVIDIA is definitely making the possibility closer to a reality with the release of their Jetson TK1. The tiny board sports the same architecture found in the Titan supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratories even though it runs at a much slower pace than it’s gargantuan brother. NVIDIA said that the board was designed for advanced robotics (autonomous cars) but also mentioned the idea of the board showing up in quirky projects. At first glance, this seems like a huge thing for the DIY (do it yourself) community, but there is a lot of competition for NVIDIA to find a place for this board. DIY enthusiasts love boards like the Arduino and the Raspberry Pi for their projects. The boards are inexpensive, compact in size and fairly easy to program since they use Linux and simple program languages like Python. While a $192 might sound like a great deal for a supercomputer, that price is a little steep when compared to the $40 cost of a Raspberry Pi. The size of the NVIDIA board is also about double the size of other boards, making it harder to fit in smaller projects. Not to mention, the Jetson TK1 uses the NVIDIA VisionWorks toolkit which could be more complicated than the programming languages used elsewhere. This doesn’t mean the board is incapable, or doesn’t have the ability to do impressive things, but it does mean that unless consumers are very experienced programmers, it’s l...



Dual GPU Cards Fighting for Dominance Once More

Back in January, NVIDIA leaked specs for their GTX 790, a new dual GPU card. Now, AMD is doing the same. The last time AMD and NVIDIA went rounds in this market, it was a one sided fight with NVIDIA getting the first release, and AMD getting in the ring so late that everyone had already gone home. This time around, AMD has announced a new dual GPU chip, only shortly after NVIDIA, called the R9 295 X2. As expected, the specs on both of these cards look pretty monstrous. Some frequencies have been tuned back a tad to compensate for the two chips, but what’s really interesting is the architecture choices. In spite of everyone’s excitement about Maxwell, NVIDIA chose to keep to the GK110 GPUs in the 790. While it’s obvious that Maxwell still needs some time in development, it also seems like the perfect choice with the heat and power efficiency performance seen in a dual GPU card. While it might be worth the wait, AMD has Hawaii architecture coming to their dual GPU card now. And if bitcoin miners loved the performance of the R9 290X, there is no doubt the R9 295 X2 will be an instant success. As it is, Hawaii architecture has already made great strides in the gaming market and if it wasn’t for mining inflating the prices, AMD would be the top pick for many gamers. If everyone comes to see the fight, it’s good to know both competitors showed up this time around. Another exciting thing about these releases is the future of dual GPU card...



The Story of Steamroller, CPU Benchmark, and FX

A terrible cry of despair could be heard around the world when AMD announced they would not be developing their steamroller cores into the FX CPU line up. If that wasn’t bad enough, leaked road maps showed us no future for the flagship series making it very hard to believe that AMD cares about high end at all. This is a dark time in the CPU world in that AMD fans have lost all hope and Intel can have a monopoly on the high end. But maybe there’s a glimmer of hope which might bring vibrant competition in the future. If you haven’t heard of cpubenchmark.net, go there, and let’s take a stab at what the future might hold for hardware enthusiasts. If you ever plan to purchase a new processor and know you have a limited budget, CPU Benchmark should be the first place you go to. They have performance graphs of almost every chip on the market showing overall performance, overclocking, single thread performance and even power to performance ratio. While the website does its own testing, they also pull their benchmarks from thousands of users who buy the software to bench their own systems giving a convenient average score to help users decide on a chip. This will help you find a good range of chips to sort through, then you can look at more specific reviews to make the best decision. It was from these charts that something interesting appeared about the new Steamroller chips, specifically the A10-7850K. When compared to the previous flagship APU, (the A10-68...



Zalman Reveals Mouse that could be Deceptacon in Disguise

If I had to give an award to a company with the coolest looking hardware, I’d definitely give it to Zalman. Obviously this is purely subjective, but Zalman’s designs are full of pure techno awesomeness (Thank you Po for that word!). It will come as no surprise that Zalman is still living up to that reputation with the new arrival of the Knossos ZM-GM4 Gaming Mouse. Looks aren’t everything though. Many hardware enthusiasts will overlook some performance and functionality if the aesthetics are just right, but this mouse doesn’t seem like it’s sacrificing either. As expected, it has numerous programmable buttons, an adjustable weight tuning system, durable Omron switches and a few more typical features; however, it’s the Transformer type feature that really grabbed my attention. The grip can be adjusted from three places to perfectly fit any hand! If the picture wasn’t enough to make this look like it belonged in a Michael Bay film, the video definitely tops it off showing full rotational views and the mechanical movements. I’m not totally sure whether this is just a new mouse release, or a Deceptacon plot to invade the homes of the world populous, but I can’t help wanting one. The style obviously won’t be for everyone. Also, without any pricing, it’s hard to determine a value. On the other hand, if you like everything on and around your computer desk to have that pure techno awesomeness flare, I’m s...



MSI Unleashes Domination with the Help of NVIDIA

Geronimo was one of fiercest Native American Warriors known today. He led numerous successful raids, eluded capture many times, and became one of the greatest pillars in trying to preserve the Native American way of life. It seems fitting then that MSI has named one of it’s newest gaming notebooks after the tribe Geronimo came from. These deadly new instruments are powerful, while remaining super efficient, and much like the Warrior in battle, these devices plan on taking no prisoners. Please welcome the MSI GT Dominator and the GE Apache Gaming Notebooks! The phrase “Gaming laptops” almost seems like an oxymoron. Gaming brings in the sense of power draining, but laptops need battery efficiency. This leaves a delicate balance for a manufacturer to straddle because if the device is powerful, it has to stay plugged in lest it die in an hour. On the other hand, if there isn’t any useful hardware, the gaming experience suffers. This is where the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 800M series GPUs come in. If you haven’t already guessed, this is Maxwell architecture. The GTX 750 Ti already showed some impressive performance for remarkable power consumption. These mobile GPUs are primed to follow that lead so that, combined with Intel Haswell technology, a gaming experience can still have a decent battery life. If that was the only exciting thing about these laptops though, it would only be a matter of time before that became the mainstay of every gaming noteboo...



Microsoft Responds to Mantle with DirectX 12

DirectX hasn’t seen an update for a very long time. PC gaming on the other hand, has seen some very interesting changes over the past years, but more significantly in recent times would be the Steam Machine and AMD’s Mantle technology. These two offer a direct competition to Microsoft so it’s no surprise that they’ve had to find a way to respond and quickly. Without going into too much of the speculation that’s already out, it seems that DirectX 12 may well be a direct response to Mantle technology. The Steam Machine obviously offers competition, but it also requires that games be designed to run for a Linux based OS and is less likely to fill the niche for work at home procedures. Mantle could be much scarier for Microsoft, because if game developers design to it, there could be very little need to upgrade to a new version of Windows while still enjoying peak performance from the latest AMD graphics cards. To modestly explain why this works, Mantle allows more graphics processing to go straight to the GPU rather than having to use the CPU as the middle man. Still run Windows 7? No big deal because you have the latest AMD drivers with Mantle software. DirectX 12 hasn’t revealed details yet, but if it tries to garner the same kind of performance that Mantle does, it will be easier for Microsoft to pin it to newer versions of Windows, forcing consumers to upgrade in order to keep peak performance out of their hardware. While this all ma...



Razer Designs New Mechanical Keyboard Switches

Razer is all about gaming hype. They proudly boast that their products are “For Gamers, by Gamers.” The problem with hype though, is that it’s usually designed to make people spend more money than they need to. Take phones for example. A new phone every two years can get pricey but cellular companies are trying to diminish that wait so consumers can have a new phone every year! When I heard Razer designed a new keyboard, I smirked a little, and when I saw the video spots, I even laughed. All I can say now is, “I have to have one!’ While the exploding key in the video might have been a little over the top, the features of this keyboard are quite mouth-watering. The actuation point distance of the keys was trimmed, making it faster to press the key, but that’s only the first juicy bit. The really interesting feature is the reset distance. The standard mechanical distance to reset a key is 0.7mm, but the Razer switch is only 0.4mm. Key spam away because this keyboard is going to know the difference between fast clicking and actually holding down the key. The other nice feature is the lifespan, showing around three times the number of keystrokes standard mechanical switches can take before breaking down. To say that I want to own one of these keyboards is an understatement. It’s true that this amount of precision is probably overkill for the standard gamer while e-sport “athletes” will get the most out these features. ...



AMD Announces AM1 Platform, Still No Word for High End

AMD is very proud of their budget lineups. Their APUs make great affordable entertainment or gaming systems, so why not add more range to the budget end? The new AM1 platform will support quad and dual-core APUs. There was some mentions of “Kabini” and “Jaguar” as well as proclamations of these chipsets supporting all the latest and greatest in the Windows world. If these statements seem like they lack enthusiasm, it’s because they do. While there is most likely room for more budget end components, the real problem is AMD still isn’t giving anyone the slightest bone on what they plan for the high end CPU market. In case you didn’t remember, AMD said that their FX series of chips would not get a steamroller update at the end of last year. This is bad news for anyone who builds higher end systems. The FX-8350 was a great chip, especially if you were in the market for an overclocking system, but didn’t want to spend over $1500. The FX-8350 combined with an Asus Crosshair V Formula-Z Motherboard would cost just over $400, but gives you tons of overclocking potential so you could spend your dollars on more high end cooling systems. True, this only applies to those enthusiasts who live for overclocking, but then again, this is an overclocking website and we here at PureOverclock believe in overclocking. Another disappointment is Intel has consistently owned the high end CPU market for some time, which has given them complete cont...



Antec Announces New Availability of HCP 1300 PSU

Antec just announced that it’s highest end PSU, the HCP 1300 Platinum, is being released to new markets. What makes this interesting is they released this unit in India first, but now it looks like it’s hitting the American and European markets and possibly others that were harder to find mentions of. While the question may still remain of why a California based company would release a unit in India first, what makes this PSU more interesting is some new features that might be telling of the future of motherboards. The first feature of interest is the OC Link Technology. This actually came out a bit ago and allows two PSUs to be connected simultaneously to reach the power demands of a super high end system. With 1300 watts of power, it seems hard to imagine needing more than one unit, however, dual GPU cards can easily max out power demands once 2 or 3 of them are set up in one system. This could mean that there is a future for more dual GPU GFX Cards in the development pipes for the system builder. The more realistic reason though, is that with bit coin miners buying up power intensive AMD cards and running them 24/7, they need PSUs to have more than enough headroom over the power requirements of their systems so there’s less chances of burn outs. The other interesting feature to note is the inclusion of a 28-pin motherboard connector. The idea behind this is to future proof the PSU, but with new tech being more power efficient, it’s hard to im...






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