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NZXT S340 Case Review

Introduction Weather you are an extreme PC builder or just the average budget-minded consumer, NZXT has develop quite a few well rounded PC Chassis. Just a few years ago the NZXT Switch 810 caught the attention of many water cooling builders. Today, we are going to be looking at another chassis with NZXT’s famous attention to detail; we have the NZXT S340 Chassis on our test bench today. The NZXT S340 chassis has been classified as a mid-range tower, but it offers several features and benefits of a full tower. The S340 includes a full steel frame along with its steel panel construction. Let’s move forward and give you the full review of the NZXT S340 Chassis, but before we do, let’s talk a little bit about NZXT for those who haven’t yet heard of them.     Our People React, adapt and be fearless – we’re a group of young people who aspire to be better tomorrow than we are today. We are driven by the yearning to explore, create, change, and push boundaries. Our culture revolves around having a passion to walk off the well-beaten path, and turn away from the status quo. Our Company Avant-garde and unconventional – NZXT as created because we aspire to make a positive difference for people. We believe that there are companies that ship product, and then there are companies that ship innovation. We routinely re-invest in ourselves, and hope that we can drive a positive influence in the industry. Our Products Think like a beginner &...



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Gigabyte GA-X99-UD4 Motherboard Review

Introduction When it comes to Intel’s Extreme or “Enthusiast” series of motherboards and processors, like the X79 and its Ivy-Bridge-E combo, we seem to get a bit more time between updates. Intel initially launched its X79 Chipset with Sandy-Bridge-E, then 18 months later Ivy-Bridge-E hit store shelves without a major Chipset change. Unlike its mainstream Z series Chipset, which has seen updates almost every 12 months or so (give or take a few months), the X79 chipset is roughly 3 years old now. Today we have the new X99 Chipset which promises a large improvement over its predecessor X79. With the rise of DDR4 memory and demand for faster and larger bandwidth capabilities, it was only a matter of time. As we dig a little deeper today, we will talk a little more about this Chipset later. Along with the new Chipset comes a newly released processor refresh. The X99 Chipset has made some other improvements which now allow users to sport the new Intel Haswell-E Processor. This CPU starts with a 6core for the HT 5820K, 6core for the HT 5930K, and lastly an 8core for the HT 5960X with a Socket 2011-3. Of course with these changes, it has pre-empted the design of new motherboards, so we now have the chance to put the Gigabyte X99-UD4 motherboard to the test and see if the improvements are going to be worth the upgrade.   In recent years, Gigabyte has grown to be one of the most recommended brands. The reputation of great performance to value has put them on ...



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Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate 360mm LCS Review

Introduction In the last few years, the CLC (Closed Loop Cooler) market has taken a big jump in market share… but we have only seen a few unique designs due to a patent set by Asetek on its pump/block design. This has limited a number of manufacturers from producing similar designs without running into this patent issue. This leaves us with companies that are re-branding their coolers and all while, Asetek hasn’t developed anything new or really exciting recently. We have seen CLC coolers with the same designs ranging with 120mm, 240mm and even 280mm rads with thickness ranging from 25-50mm. While each maker has attempted to add there own flare to each of these designs, these units are all essentially the same or very similar. While the patent still has not changed, we are excited to see that Thermaltake took a leap forward in making a change in this arena and we have the Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate CLC cooler. The first and most notable performance change here is the larger radiator with support of 3x 120mm fans essentially making this the largest radiator of 360mm with a first triple 120mm CLC system. As we continue forward, we are going to give you the full details and we we are excited to see a change and can’t wait to see how it does. But, before we do that… Let’s talk a little about Thermaltake: Our Mission – Delivering the perfect user experience Every myth starts out as a dream, and at the beginning of every legend is a desire. T...



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Kingston HyperX Cloud Headset Review

Introduction Headsets are practically a dime a dozen in today’s market. With the large variety available on the net, it makes it tough for us to filter out the good ones from the bad ones. As PC enthusiasts we love our games and our music. We want to blast our ears without waking up the neighbors or maybe our significant other sitting next to us. Today we will be adding more choices to the mix by introducing a new headset from Kingston, called the HyperX Cloud. Kingston has been a name we have come to know in the PC industry, especially with system memory products. However, with the growing number of PC peripherals and accessories, it was only a matter of time before Kingston started to tap their brand cache and jump into this arena too. With the e-sports crowd growing in popularity, Kingston saw an opportunity. They created a division called “HyperX.” Under the HyperX branding, Kingston is now developing accessories and peripherals to feed this growing group. This new HyperX Cloud Headset is one of those products. Let’s put it to the test and see how well it holds up against the competition. Before we move forward, let’s read a bit about Kingston: “Founded in 1987 with a single product offering, Kingston Technology now offers more than 2,000 memory products that support nearly every device that uses memory, from computers, servers and printers to MP3 players, digital cameras and cell phones. In 2007, the company’s sales exceeded $4.5 billion....



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ASUS ROG Maximus VII Formula Motherboard Review

Introduction A few months back we took a look at the ASUS Maximus VII Hero Motherboard (HERE) . The Maximus VII Hero, which is part of ASUS’ mid range Republic of Gamer’s line, took home the Editors Choice award for its great performance and outstanding aesthetics. However, that was only the tip of the iceberg for the ROG line up. Today… we have the chance to take a look at ASUS’ flagship motherboard the ASUS Maximus VII Formula. We are really excited to start putting this motherboard to the test. Its aesthetics alone really stand out, especially its Armor Shield. If you are an water cooling enthusiast, the hybrid CrossChill Cooling VRM block is also a great feature. Can the ASUS ROG Maximus VII Formula live up to its little brother the Hero and earn another Editor’s Choice Award? Let’s dive in and take a look.   But before we do, let’s here a word from ASUS. Origin of the Name “Asus” ASUS comes from the last four letters of Pegasus, the winged horse in Greek mythology that represents the inspiration of art and learning. ASUS embodies the strength, creative spirit and purity symbolized by this regal and agile mythical creature, soaring to new heights of quality and innovation with each product it introduces to the market.



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NZXT S340 Chassis Teaser

A few days ago, NZXT teased us with their latest release of the NZXT S340 Chassis. Our first impressions with its latest addition is WOW! Talk about “value” with a retail price of right around $69.99 USD. With most Press Release we only get a glimpse of what to expect, but this time around, it is bit different. To make a long story short, I had been looking for a replacement panel for my NZXT Phantom P630 that I had managed to damage. So I took to NZXT’s website to purchase the replacement panel. After short chat with customer service rep Lauren Kim regarding my matter, she was able to help me by warrantying my existing panel and offered a replacement for FREE, talk about outstanding customer service! Since I was local to the NZXT headquarters, I had offered to come pick up the panel to save on shipping cost. During my visit, I managed to catch Eric Henry, a NZXT Community Rep at the office since it was still during business hours. Eric was nice enough to give me a short tour and I was able to meet with the Mitch from PR and the NZXT Staff. Great people by the way! While I was here, we were able to get first hand look at the NZXT S340 Chassis up close and personal. While the one they had on display was still a prototype, it was nice to see first hand what to expect before we receive our review sample. Here are some pictures of the NZXT S340 during our visit (sorry about the quality, I only had my cell phone with me at the time since the visit really was u...



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Streacom FC8 EVO Fanless Chassis Review

Introduction With the growing industry of digital media and streaming devices, the world of compact designed media players and HTPCs have grown quite a bit over the last few years. While some can suffice with a simple media device like the Roku, Western Digital Media Box and even the Chrome TV, these devices can sometimes only satisfy the basic general consumers’ needs. What about those in need of a little more power and flexibility? This is where the growing SFF (small form factor) HTPC market comes into play. Some will say you can build an HTPC with some basic PC components and drop them into a computer case and call it a day, but who wants a junky or bulky PC tower sitting in their entertainment center looking out of place. For users like us, we like our media center to be the center of attention… so you probably want something a little more aesthetically pleasing. Today, we have chance to look at a uniquely designed SFF PC chassis that can operate in complete silence. We have on our test table today the Streacom FC8 Evo Fanless Chassis. Also, when we refer to it being silent, we really mean it, because the Streacom FC8 Evo case features a completely fanless design. Perhaps its sleek aesthetics will prove to be a talking point of your entertainment center. Let’s review it and find out…   Before we move forward with the exciting features, let’s first talk about who Streacom is: History Streacom was founded in 2010 by a small but experi...



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Biostar HiFi Z97WE Motherboard Review

Introduction The Z97 chipset motherboards have now gone into full swing, and with the Haswell refresh we saw a lot of new flavor in motherboard choices this time around. Today, we are going to be looking at the Biostar HiFi Z97WE Motherboard. At first glance, we have to be honest here… we didn’t really like the color combination Biostar used with the HiFi Z97WE Motherboard. The gold heatsinks with its yellow and black accents really don’t go well together aesthetically speaking. However, putting the aesthetics aside we are going to put the Biostar HiFi Z97WE to the test in terms of performance and see how well it stacks up with other Z97 Motherboards we have already tested. So before we dive in for a closer look, let’s talk about who Biostar is: In 1980,the IT industry was growing at a phenomenal rate. With wide experience in buying and selling electronic parts as well as researching on future demands for mainboards and add-on cards , the founder of BIOSTAR GROUP,established BIOSTAR MICROTECH INTERNATIONAL CORP in 1986. In the early years, BIOSTAR concentrated on the manufacture of mainboards built for XT form factor. To maintain steady business growth, BIOSTAR managed to keep a large portion of its capital and manpower invested on the design and development of new products, which at the same time has enabled it to stay competitive in the rapid evolution of the computer industry. BIOSTAR has enriched its competence in the design and manufacture of p...



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MSI Z97 Gaming 9 AC Motherboard Review

A few months ago we had the honor of reviewing the new MSI Z97 Gaming 5 motherboards during the launch of the Z97 chipset. Today, we are here again to look at another MSI motherboard. We have MSI's flagship Gaming Motherboard the MSI Z97 Gaming 9 AC. At first glance the MSI Z97 Gaming 9 AC motherboard looks rather close aesthetically to the Gaming 5 we reviewed. While the looks are similiar, the Gaming 9 has some additional features and aesthetic improvements that make it stand out on its own. The first obvious improvement on the Gaming 9 motherboard is the shield that covers the rear I/O port section and the isolated PCB for its sound card. During the Z97 chipset many manufacturers started to switch over to using higher quality Japanese capacitors and while the caps were much better in quality they looked rather ugly on many of the new boards. It was nice to see that MSI designed the Gaming 9 series motherboard with the shield to cover up that section making the motherboard look much sexier. Let's dive in and put the MSI Z97 Gaming 9 AC Motherboard to the test and see how it performed against its little brother the Gaming 5. But before we do that, let's talk a little about who MSI is.



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ASRock FaTal1ty Z97 Killer Series Motherboard Review

Introduction Over the last few years we have seen ASRock gain movement in the motherboard arena. They have developed and revamped some rock solid motherboards at a very affordable price. In the past, we have seen many flagship motherboards from ASRock that have been top performers when it comes to overclocking and stability. Not only has ASRock performed well in the past, they have great aesthetic appeal too. Today, we have a chance to look at their newest variation from their already popular Fatal1ty series. This is the ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer Series Motherboard. With Haswell’s refresh chipset in full swing, we have tested a number of great performing motherboards. But today, the ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer Series has another advantage in this arena due to its aggressive pricing. So let’s move forward and put this motherboard to the test and see what it can do with our Intel 4770K Haswell Processor.       Just in case you are unfamiliar with ASRock, let’s take a look at who they are first: ASRock Inc. is established in 2002, specialized in the field of motherboards. ASRock strives to build up its own brand. With the 3C design concept, “Creativity, Consideration, Cost-effectiveness”, the company explores the limit of motherboards manufacturing while paying attention on the eco issue at the same time, developing products with the consideration of eco-friendly concept. ASRock has been growing fast and become world third largest motherboard ...



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Gigabyte Z97X-SLI Motherboard Review

Gigabyte as a motherboard manufacturer has been very successful over the last decade, and the last few years have only served to solidify that. In fact, Gigabyte has taken things a step further with their more recent motherboard releases. Their design team has revamped the styling and improved the lineup with feature-rich variations. Giagbyte's popular UDX series motherboards are frequently one of the first considered motherboards on the market since the Z77 release. With Gigabyte's Haswell refresh, the Z97 chipset, they aim to continue that tradition. Today we are going to be looking at the Z97X-SLI motherboard. By the name, it appears Gigabyte has geared this motherboard towards SLI as its defining feature. However, there is more than meets the eye. At a glance, this board looks a little more simplified when compared to the UDX series board. Will it pack the same punch? We are going to put the Z97X-SLI to the test to see how it stacks up to Gigabyte's reputation.



Enermax ETS-N30 TAA CPU Cooler Review

Introduction Aftermarket CPU Air Coolers flood the market with many options and styles today. With the vast number of options, we know that competition is fierce. Today, we are going to be looking at the Enermax ETS-N30 CPU cooler that was designed for the mid-range users who aren’t looking to spend a great deal of money. The Enermax ETS-N30 CPU Air Cooler sports a 92mm blue LED fan with a copper based heatsink that not only looks good, but also fits the bill for those in a budget crunch. Let’s take a look at the Enermax ETS-N30 CPU Cooler and what is has to offer. Before we do that, let’s talk little about who Enermax is: Enermax Technology Corporation is a world-renowned PC Power Supply Unit manufacturer. Since our establishment in 1990, we provide power supply products and peripherals like chassis, cooler, fan and keyboard with excellent quality and have won recognitions of consumers around the world. ENERMAX products are recommended by worldwide reviewers, and certain were granted by iF, Red Dot, Good Design and Taiwan Excellence Awards. Those are proven evidence of our top-notch quality and design competency recognized by the professionals. To develop an intensive sales network and better service customers around the world, Enermax has set up branch offices in Germany, France, U.S.A., Japan and China. We also have service offices and distributors in countries across Europe, America, Asia and Oceania. Our farsighted R & D capability is our key str...



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Enermax Liqtech 240 & Liqmax 120 CPU Cooler Review

All in one liquid cooling units are among the popular cooling solutions recently. With AIO units gaining popularity due to their cost to performance ratio, it doesn't come as a surprise. If we look back a mere 2 years ago, liquid AIO cooling units were few and far between, and only a hand of manufacturers offered this type cooling solution. However, today we find AIO units flooding the market, and selecting the right one can be a hard choice with so many readily available. Today are going to be looking at 2 units from Enermax that recently joined in on this market. We have the Enermax Liqtech 240 and Liqmax 120S AIO cooling units on the test bench. While choosing AIO units should be based on cooling performance, sometimes we find that aesthetics and software can be a deciding factor as well. Let's put both these units on our bench for testing today, but before we do that, let's talk about Enermax for just a moment.



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ASUS Z97 Maximus VII Hero Motherboard Review

ROG is the popular abbreviation for Asus' Republic of Gamers line of PC enthusiast products. The ROG series motherboards started out as the flagship line of the ASUS series motherboards as far back as the X58 chipset. Since then, it has featured the signature red and black aesthetic theme, which has carried on over the last few years, and has continued due to its popularity and success. Since that time, Asus has made several variations of their ROG line for multiple price points. Today, we are going to be looking at the ASUS Z97 Maximus VII Hero. This motherboard is the evolution of the previous Maximus Hero line, which was originally developed for the more budget conscious consumer during the Z87 chipset launch. With on-going success, ASUS continues to bring the Maximus Hero line, which is now feature packed and is available for any board within its price point. Let's put the ASUS Z97 Maximus VII Hero to the test to see if it can meet the great performance that ASUS is known for.



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MSI Z97 Gaming 5 Motherboard Review

With the new Intel Processors on the horizon, motherboard manufacturers have gone into full force with the new updated chipsets. Today we are going to be looking at the MSI Z97 Gaming 5 Motherboard. MSI really took the market strong since its release of the Z77 Gaming addition motherboards and has since grown its gamer series design into multiple platforms. With the Z87 chipset, MSI really made some great improvements not only in their design and aesthetics, but they also really stepped it up with an intuitive software system and improved GUI interface across the board. Today, we are going to put their newly developed MSI Z97 Gaming 5 motherboard to the test. While the Gaming 5 is not the flagship motherboard, we are still very excited to see what updates this will bring to the future. Let's dive right in!






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