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CPU & Motherboards
Best of 2014

Best of 2014

Intro and Honorable Mentions With 2014 having come and gone, I’m sure all of us are greatly looking forward to amazing hardware coming in 2015. But one thing we get to see a lot of is the “Best of” everything that happened in 2014. So even though 2015 is looking very promising, we thought it would be great to look back through the year and do our very own “Best of 2014.” We decided on 5 news pieces, and 10 reviews that were considered to be the cream of the crop. Are you ready for the picks? Before we go into our official list, something always gets left out that just couldn’t be squeezed in with the leaders of the pack. Due to the overwhelming guilt we felt on a couple of really good articles that we just didn’t want to leave out, we decided to have some Honorable Mentions. Our first one comes from the news category, The Hardware Hound Presents: Windows 10, a Gamer’s Perspective. Honorable News http://www.pureoverclock.com/2014/10/the-hardware-hound-presents-windows-10-a-gamers-perspective/ Windows 10 made a big wave that increased the more that details about the upcoming OS were released. Windows 8 had become a pretty big disappointment and 10 was poised to fix many of those problems. Then Microsoft released the tech preview. The Hardware Hound took it upon himself to give Windows 10 a full blown try, and the results were surprisingly satisfying. Windows 10 made a good first impression and as such, Pure Overclock was ab...



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Phanteks Enthoo Mini XL

Introduction: Phanteks has moved to the top of our list as one of the premium manufacturers. Phanteks has been on the forefront as leader in the manufacturing of thermal solutions like high performance fans and air coolers. Phanteks this past year took the industry by surprise, when the company ventured into computer case manufacturing, by introducing for the very first time their award winning Phanteks Enthoo Primo full tower chassis. A chassis that was specifically designed for the computer enthusiast, and water-cooling aficionado. Today what better way than to start our New Year but to have the pleasure of reviewing the Phanteks Enthoo Mini XL and what looks to be a scaled down and smaller version of the acclaimed Enthoo Primo. The Phanteks Enthoo Mini XL sports many of its distinct features and designs, which includes multiple radiator support, modular HD cages, separate PSU area, and all aluminum look. The Phanteks Enthoo Mini XL is available in a satin black windowed version. Try imagining Primo, as it is anything but Mini, in a scaled down version, at a lower price. Without giving too much away the Phanteks Enthoo Mini XL features support for dual operating systems, and for its small size at 260 mm x 550 mm x 480 mm (W x H x D) 10.2in x 21.7in x 18.9in is anything but mini. In addition, these dimensions looks to be more of a mid-size form factor then a mini. The Phanteks Enthoo Mini XL sports a very spacious clean interior, making it very easy to build both air an...



BIOSTAR Introducing Built-In LAN Surge Protection For Motherboards

BIOSTAR Introducing Built-In LAN Surge Protection For Motherboards December 22nd, 2014, Taipei, Taiwan – BIOSTAR is introducing a new design for the boards, whereby they are adding an integrated chip to strengthen electrical stability and prevent damage from lightning strikes and electrical surges. BIOSTAR is the first Motherboard manufacturer to offer motherboards with these features and specifications so called “SUPER LAN Surge Protection”. Going forward, all BIOSTAR series products will incorporate this technology. PC systems can be damaged or destroyed by electrical surges. These are voltages which are much greater than the normal working voltage and which appear in a system for a short period of time. BIOSTAR “SUPER LAN Surge Protection” wants to insure that the motherboards have a high degree of protection from such surges by the use of hardware devices, directly built into the motherboard, which limit surge voltages reaching protected equipment to safe levels. Look for these new boards at: http://www.biostar.com.tw About BIOSTAR MICROTECH INT’L CORP. BIOSTAR, a manufacturer dedicates in motherboards, graphics cards and industrial computing systems. Since its establishment in 1986, the BIOSTAR GROUP has become a major motherboard supplier in the PC industry. In order to pursue continuous growth, BIOSTAR has invested heavily in acquiring the physical and human resources to excel at research and development. With a constant emphasis on quality, BIOSTAR ...



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ASUS X99 Rampage V Extreme Motherboard Review

Introduction   When it comes to the gods of ASUS ROG (Republic of Gamers) motherboards, we can only think of one right of the top of our heads. The Rampage Series takes the lead in many categories in terms of performance and stability, and with the newest X99 chipset from Intel, ASUS made no exception with the ASUS Rampage V Extreme motherboard this time around. Over the last decade, ASUS’ Rampage Extreme Series motherboards have taken popularity by storm and give you the reputation of great overclocking stability, and all the while being among the top performing motherboards in the industry. Today, we have a chance to put its newest edition to the test and see if ASUS can remain at the top of the list. While performance is one arena we look at, the aesthetics from the Rampage Series have always remained appealing and its red and black theme follows suit with its traditional colors. While this theme is well known in the industry, in our opinion it’s a little played out but we can’t argue that it’s pretty darn sexy at the same time.   So without going into too much detail, let’s dive in and take a look at a full in depth view of the ASUS Rampage V Extreme paired with our Intel 5930K. But before we do that, 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, ...



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MSI B85M ECO Board – Review

Those of us in a position to build PCs for businesses and everyday people should consider using a board like we will see today when the opportunity warrants it. The MSI B85M ECO is aimed at trimming power usage down to a minimum level without costing performance as a trade off.



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Your Chance to Win a New L337 Gaming Z97 Machine board!!!

It is getting to be that time of year where we all give thanks to those that mean a great deal to us. For PureOC, our sponsors, site visitors and forum members are what we hold dear. They help create an environment for others to learn, be comfortable asking for help, or to just hang out and have fun. For those that make PureOC what it is, we partnered with L337 Gaming to start the season off by giving away a big Thank you. You are the best community we could ask for. Wish everyone the best at winning the L337 Z97 Machine Board! This is open to almost everyone. Read the Terms and Conditions. A huge thanks goes out to our partners at L337 Gaming! They have always supported PureOC and we are looking forward to starting another year together. Also would like to thank DragonBlogger for helping with getting the word out for this giveaway. PureOC & ECS Z97 Machine  



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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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ASRock X99 WS Workstation Board – Review

Introduction With the release of Intel’s X99 platform there has been a groundswell of new boards from every manufacturer. Most of the emphasis has been placed on boards modeled for gaming, thereby leaving boards for professionals to the wayside. Workstation boards offer some unique features and additional GPU support that can be used for gaming or GPGPU functions. With X99 there are even more additions to what is usually an already stacked product line. Not to mention the ability to use the absolute best processors available in a desktop form factor. ASRock was ready to rock and roll on X99 launch day by dropping not one or two boards but instead a full lineup of seven X99 gaming and professional boards. Today we will be looking at the X99WS, a workstation board designed for those that require a bit more than any standard gaming board could provide. We are excited to see what ASRock has in mind for professionals and gamers that take their craft to the max.   About ASROCK 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 brand with headquarter in Taipei, Taiwan and...



MSI® Z97S SLI Krait Edition – Dare to be different

Dare to be different Get Inspired by the new MSI® Z97S SLI Krait Edition MSI, world leader in motherboard technology, is proud to announce its latest motherboard, the Z97S SLI Krait Edition. Inspired by and developed in cooperation with the world’s elite case modders, the new Z97S SLI Krait Edition is equipped with an arsenal of new features, improvements like NVIDIA® SLI™ certified for enthusiasts looking to pair up multiple graphics cards. On-board M.2 and SATA Express provides the latest storage technology with transfer speeds up to 10 Gb/s, with flexible solutions for using preferred devices. Military Class 4 provide all the stability you need through carefully selected and thoroughly tested components and materials. The Z97S SLI Krait Edition motherboard caters to those looking for a feature rich motherboard with a unique look & feel. Perfect for case modding Looking for that creative, one-off build? The new black & white design instantly adds a touch of class to a sophisticated build. The new MSI Z97S SLI Krait Edition has been purposely designed together with the most elite case modders to meet the demands of community who craved a pure black and white motherboard. Optimized for multiple graphics cards MSI motherboards feature one or more PCI Express 3.0 slots, perfectly aligned and with enough space for an optimal airflow when using multiple graphics cards. This enables continued maximum graphics performance while you are enjoying the best graphics ju...



BIOSTAR’s J1800NH2 – Feature-Filled Intel SOC Solution

BIOSTAR’s J1800NH2 – Feature-Filled Intel SOC Solution September 9th, 2014, Taipei, Taiwan – BIOSTAR has announced the J1800NH2, a mini ITX mainboard with CPU on board, (known as System on a Chip or SoC). These boards are small and efficient using a small form factor with a fan-less embedded CPU, and have low power consumption. It’s a small, quiet solution for all manner of industrial applications. The BIOSTAR J1800NH2 is the latest in all-in-one board that takes advantage of the optimized performance of Intel’s Bay Trail chipset by delivering a new generation of technology with value-added features and easy integration. The J1800NH2 board, being in the mini-ITX form factor, is backwards compatible with ATX and micro-ATX form factors. The ITX form factor allows you to build small and energy efficient solutions. The J1800NH2 is a simple, affordable and internet centric computer design in a compact 17x17cm size. It is the ideal solution for an ultra small form factor system and easily used with various chassis makes. For the Smart Office situation, the J1800NH2 ITX board will give you a budget saving dual core computing based on the Intel J1800 chips. This is a silent, fan-less design featuring low power consumption. It is perfect for office space saving and creating a neat and tidy office area, and ultra speed data transfers are no problem with the USB 3.0 interface. It also features USB Poly-switch which is BIOSTAR’s on board dedicated power fuse to help preven...



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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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AMD FX-8370 & FX-8370E Processor Review

  Introduction   We all know the woes AMD and their fans have been dealing with over the last few years so we will not be hashing that topic again. We will instead focus on the updated line for what they are, a place holder. They are designed to hold the interest of fans, budget shoppers and gamers until further notice. There have been no grand design changes that will suddenly put AMD on top of the performance heap. Instead, this is a product to cover those that have yet to make the switch from an older AM3 or AM3+ CPU or even a lesser CPU in the current AM3+ product stack. There is also a shift in how the FX series chips line up to the competition. We will move right into the overview and benchmarks that cover the new FX-8370 and FX-8370E 8 core CPUs.   Press Release   Introducing AMD FX Optimized for Power and Efficiency Multi-core processing is the future. Game engines are being designed to do more at a time; particle effects, physics calculations, light rays, and shadows are growing progressively more complex by the day. Large-scale computing now relies more on the overall throughput of parallelism than the singular speed of CPU cores. Today, AMD FX-Series CPUs return to push the boundaries of value to the high-performance desktop platform – introducing the speed-optimized 125W AMD FX-8370 and power-optimized 95W AMD FX-8370E and AMD FX-8320E processors. Featuring the “Piledriver” x86 core architecture, all of our new FX solutions feature...



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DirectX 12 a Big Deal for AMD CPUs?

Back in 2011, AMD made a bold statement with the release of the FX-8150. Their premise was that single core performance was holding the industry back and that it was time to start trading in single core performance for the more advanced multi-threading performamce. That totally blew up in their face. The end result was a CPU that only out performed the previous gen chip (the Phenom II X6 1100T) in multi-threading benchmarks while suffering a hit in the single-threaded arena. Meanwhile, gaming as well as a vast amount of common applications continued to predominantly use single threads and INTEL garnered the massive lead they have today. But what if AMD was right all along and only jumped the gun a few years too soon? PC & Tech Authority had an interview with Crytek, a major game developer, and the resulting discussion shed some very interesting details on what DirectX 12 could mean for the future of multi-threaded performance. The most interesting statement from Crytek was the fact that Microsoft has been “really keen on listening to developers.” The reason why is that developers are the ones who want to utilize more resources from the CPU by having more multi-threaded support. According to Crytek, the main concern not only to them, but also other developers, is improving throughput from the CPU. They explain that for many years now, the best way to move forward is to go massively parallel. There’s more to the picture than just this one piece, but it ...



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Inside the ECS Press Event

LIVE & LIVA ECS (EliteGroup Computer Systems) recently held what they titled the “LIVE, LIVA, LEAD, L337″ press event in San Jose to unveil some new products and to discuss the future of ECS. PureOverclock was one of the lucky few to be invited to attend this event. One of the main products ECS seemed to be most proud of and focused a large amount of their attention to was the LIVA mini PC Kit. LIVA is one of the smallest fully functional PCs capable of running Windows 8.1 I have seen. There are a few models available based on color (Black or White) and Drive space size(32GB or 64GB). The plan is to install the OS and a few other apps on the internal non upgradeable drive and use an external drive for storage, either a USB flash drive or an external Hard drive. I/O options starting from the left are a micro USB for power, Realtek RTL8111G 10/100/1000LAN, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, HDMI and VGA. The tiny passively cooled pc is powered by the 64bit Intel Bay Trail-M N2807 1.58GHz Celeron processor with 2GB DDR3L memory. LIVA is fully capable of pushing dual displays as well. Within the kit is a M.2 WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.0 card that needs to be installed during assembly. Hey look it is everyone’s favorite song! Let’s sing along! Just kidding please don’t! ECS setup the LIVA to support Karaoke with dual microphones and HD video playback. I will be experimenting with my own LIVA over the coming days to see what I can really do with it. Window...



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AMD Heading In the Right Direction, FX-8370E and Radeon R9 285

AMD doesn’t know how to do teasers right. They make a huge campaign to get people hyped up about an APU that isn’t even a flagship part, but when they release a new flagship FX CPU as well as new GPU architecture, they simply announce a straightforward live event. That’s alright because on the bright side, it looks like AMD is heading in the right direction when competing with Blue and Green. It’s time to get hyped up with the upcoming releases of the FX-8370E and the Radeon R9 285 featuring better power efficiency with better performance. Many of us have been biting our nails in anticipation for AMD to get back in the game with high end FX CPUs. Whether you’re an AMD fan, or just wanting Intel to be challenged to do greater things, the announcement of the FX-8370E is great news. While it’s possible the entire FX line will be getting refreshes over the next year or two, the 8 core chips are the only ones getting the attention for now. The FX-8300 and 8370 are pretty straightforward. There’s some adjustments to frequencies but both are rated at the usual 125w TDP. What is interesting is the new FX “E” chips. The FX-8320E will have the same 3.5 GHz base with a 4.0 GHz turbo, the FX-8370E will slightly boost clock speeds to 4.1 GHz with a 4.3 GHz turbo, but what’s impressive is that they managed to do this at a 95W TDP for both SKUs! Not to mention, the L2/L3 Caches stayed the same while using Piledriver architecture...






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