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VisionTek CryoVenom R9 290 Review

It has been several months since AMD shook up the GPU market a bit with its R9 series of GPUs. Now that the dust has settled there has been time for AMD partners to design better cooling solutions for the Hawaii based GPUs at the top end of the R9 lineup. When the 290 and 290x first released there was a firestorm of complaints surrounding the massive amounts of heat generated and the lack of significant cooling solutions. Basically the reference design cooler was a major flop that actually caused performance loses. The 290 and 290x GPUs were known to throttle down to lower core speeds to stay within the thermal envelope. In some cases, this resulted in a 290 outperforming a 290x in benches or other counter intuitive results... OUCH! AMD partners proved to be up to the challenge though, releasing GPUs with their custom cooling solutions that offered better heat dissipation without adding to the noise penalty suffered by the reference cooler. This is all fine and dandy, but where does any of this leave the hardcore water cooling enthusiast? It leaves many researching to see which GPU from each manufacturer is and is not compatible with certain water blocks and adding additional cost to an already costly product. One of those OEMs, VisionTek, wanted to lend a hand in this process by taking away all guess work, and even the installation. They are now offering a GPU which comes ready to be incorporated into a custom waco system out of the box. I am happy to introduce the Cry...



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Enermax T.B. Vegas 120mm and T.B. Apollish 180/200mm Fan Review

When you look at most of the LED case fans out there, they're largely uninspired. Sure the lighting is solid on many of them, and some of them even offer up good cooling performance to match their look, but the lighting effect is ultimately the same: just a blob of light that looks like it could come from any manufacturer. While that may work for some system builders, Enermax has a solution for those of you looking for something a bit different than the rest. Enter the T.B. Vegas and T.B. Apollish fan lineup: coming in 120mm and 200mm sizes respectively, these fans feature not only some of the most unique case lighting you will ever see, but offer a degree of performance that you will be hard pressed to find in any other standalone LED fan. Let's see if these factors add up to be greater than the sum of their parts, shall we?



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Bitfenix Collosus Mini ITX Review

Lately it seems I have been covering the smaller side of things in reviews. If you read any of them, you will know that I am not a big fan of the diminutive size of Micro and Mini anything when it comes to computing. The bigger the better has been my motto. Huge cases that could fit every feature you might ever want, plus the remains of Jimmy Hoffa, have been my focus for the last few years. Despite this, not too long ago I had the chance to experiment with some of the newer small offerings from Bitfenix and MSI in the form of the Prodigy M and the Z87I Micro ATX Gaming board. I freely admit that I had a change of heart. To my surprise the performance differences between full size and snack size has been erased during this recent resurgence of the minuscule. Bitfenix is now giving me the chance to go even smaller with a Mini-ITX based Colossus M in an effort to fully rehabilitate my aversion to pint size PCs! If it is anything like the Prodigy M, they might just succeed. Let's dig in and find out!



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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...



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In Win 901 Aluminum Mini-ITX Case Review

In Win has been known to release some pretty unique PC chassis; their design team have some pretty creative ideas when it comes to its aesthetics and overall style. Of course, that's not always true. Sometimes we've seen some pretty questionable designs and wonder what they were thinking? This can be true of any manufacturer. Regardless, the are other times when we just get that WOW factor. Today, we are going to look at an In Win chassis that gave us that WOW factor at first glance. The In Win 901 mini-ITX chassis has a very sleek and elegant design. Its aluminum construction combined with tempered glass just screams sophistication. Lets break down the In Win 901 Aluminum mini-ITX Chassis and see if this classy design meets the build quality and functionality to match its initial WOW factor.



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SilverStone PS10 Case Review

Are you in the market for a budget priced chassis that looks like you spent more? Introducing the PS10 case from SilverStone, a mid tower case that offers a wide variety of hardware configurations and cooling support. SilverStone frequently leans toward a more budget build of case, yet their cases don't lack for interesting character which appeals to many builders. Can the new PS10 live up to both of these expectations? Read on to find out!



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Apacer launches SATA 3.0 slim SSDs

Apacer launches SATA3.0 slim SSDs to meet the need for industrial mobility devices   With the trend in terminal products toward mobility, the built-in storage devices have turned to compact design in specification and size, and stronger durability are required for the products. Aiming at industrial computers driven by the trend, Apacer launches two ultra slim SSDs:JEDEC MO-297-compliant SFD 18S6 and MO-300-compliant mSATA A1.The small size equipped with SATA 3.0 high-speed transmission interface, along with the products’ features of low power consumption, durability and high performance, will become the necessary storage solution for the rise of the new mobility devices.It can be speciallyapplied to medical tablet PCs, bedside healthcare, mobile on-board unit and data communication system devices. Adopting SATA 3.0 high-speed transmission interface and equipped with 1x nm Toggle DDR 2.0 NAND Flash chips, Apacer SFD 18S6 and mSATA A1 SSDs boast the maximum sequential read/write speed of 470/470 MB/sec and IOPs up to 70K, with excellent booting performance and highly-reliable SLC solution.They are surely capable of supporting the operation in stringent environment, like industry-level wide-temp (-40°C~85°C) operation.To balance performance with cost, the cost-effective MLC solutionis another option for application, with a maximum sequential read/write speed of 475/430 MB/sec and IOPs up to 65K, both of which are available in capacity up to 256GB, along with large capaci...



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Kingston 64GB SDXC Class 3 Memory Card & USB 3.0 MobileLite G3 Review

During our visit with Kingston at CES 2014 this year, we had a chance to sit down with them to talk about the new and up-coming flash memory cards that are designed for HD Media use. With the advancing and growing media recording industry, faster and more reliable flash memory cards are on high demand, especially those looking for high capacity to store everything on one card. With the standards of 1080p recording, Ultra HD 2160p and 3D/2K&4K resolutions on the horizon, the number of pixels on recording devices can no longer suffice with the slower and lower capacity memory cards. It has been a couple of months since the initial talk and today we finally got our hands on the Kingston 64GB SDXC Class 3 UHS-I U3 flash memory card. Kingston developed this particular card in three available sizes, 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. The last one will be the memory card we take a look at today. Kingston was also nice enough to send us the Kingston Mobile Lite G3 SD and Micro-SD card USB 3.0 reader as an extra bonus to be able to test the memory card today. With the speed advancements in the SDXC memory card, we wanted to make sure there are no bottlenecks.



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HyperX Releases ‘FURY’ Memory Line for Entry-Level Overclocking and Gaming Enthusiasts

HyperX Releases ‘FURY’ Memory Line for Entry-Level Overclocking and Gaming Enthusiasts   HyperX FURY Memory Offers Automatic Overclocking New Aggressive, Asymmetrical Heatspreader Design FURY Entry-Level Family to Include SSD   PAX East, Boston, MA and Fountain Valley, CA − April 9, 2014 − HyperX, a division of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, today announced the launch of HyperX FURY memory for entry-level gamers and enthusiasts. HyperX FURY replaces the HyperX blu memory line. The new, next-generation high-performance memory offers automatic overclocking with an asymmetric, aggressive heatspreader design for the ultimate cost-efficient enthusiast computer experience. HyperX FURY memory is fully Plug and Play (PnP) so it automatically overclocks within the system speed allowance without any manual BIOS tuning. The new heatspreader design comes in four colors (blue, black, red, and white) and features black PCB to enable gamers, modders and system builders to have color matched systems. HyperX FURY is available in 1333MHz, 1600MHz and 1866MHz frequencies. HyperX FURY system memory will soon be joined by HyperX FURY SSD, designed also for entry-level gamers and enthusiasts who want to get into the game quicker. HyperX FURY SSD allows PCs and applications to load faster and improve overall system responsiveness.  “We are excited to offer our newest addition to the HyperX DRAM family for entry-level enthusiasts w...



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Transcend Jetflash 380G Review

With technology growing, the size of storage has grown too. We constantly need more space for moving larger files from one system to another, but we don’t always have network accessibility. Whether it is movies, music or a system backup, we don't always have cables on hand when it comes to transferring files between computer and your mobile device. Transcend realized not everybody carries cables around, and introduced the Jetflash 380. The Jetflash 380 is available in 16 or 32GB sizes in either silver or gold. We have the opportunity to test the 380G 16GB version. Continue reading to find out how well these drives do in our testing.



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ECS KBN-I/5200 AMD A6-5200 Mini-ITX Motherboard Review

AMD's APU series market has really picked up pace over the last few years. The most recent updates to their current road map, included the new FM2+ socket A88X based chipset and the Kaveri Processor. This has really generated a great deal of interest with many of today's budget conscious consumers. However, with no updates to AMD's enthusiast FX series chip road map, AMD's APU series is really the only new technology we are seeing at the moment from its consumer line. With that said, we are excited to see that AMD is starting to put more budget friendly APU technology out in the market and we are going to shed some light on what to expect. Today we are looking at a very new low-budget APU inspired motherboard. It includes the Kabini SoC processor (which runs the Jaguar APU Cores) on a Radeon HD8000 series graphics base, and it does it all in a tight nit space. At the beginning of the year, ECS (Elitegroup Computer Systems) announced this Kabini SoC processing unit which houses an AMD A6-5200 CPU. It also includes a Radeon 8400 GPU all in a small mini-ITX form factor APU combo. Today we got our nitty gritty hands on this tiny power house to put it to the test. We are excited to see what this Quad Core A6-5200 APU can do. Before we jump into the details of the ECS KBN-I/5200 motherboard, lets take a look at ECS (Elitegroup Computer Systems).



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Nvidia GeForce Experience 2.0 and Performance Update

We recently had the opportunity to meet with Nvidia to hear some of the upcoming newly minted features of their popular GeForce Experience software, and Nvidia is promising even better features to reach a wider audience, and are now calling this their GFE 2.0, presumably the new and improved version. Notebooks are getting the love this time around, receiving the full treatment like the enthusiast desktop brethren, and mobile gaming is looking to get a boost as well with Nvidia's new Gamestream. As an added bonus, we've got some new drivers from Nvidia as well, version 337.50, which promises performance increases. Not ones to blindly believe the claims, we get a GTX 780 on the bench and see what these drivers can do.



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Biostar A88W Hi-Fi 3D ATX Motherboard Review

In the past several months, the push for Home Theater PC's (HTPC's for short) has started to grow wildly. The allure of a fully modular home theater machine that does more than just play your movies or music is simply too strong for many to resist, and rightfully so. Oftentimes the question we may ask is "What platform should I build a HTPC on?" The answers vary wildly based on individual hardware preferences. AMD seems to think that one of the best choices out there for the discerning HTPC enthusiast lies with their newest Kaveri APU. While there are many choices out there of associated hardware, with more on the way, Biostar has one now that appeals directly to the audiophile: the A88W Hi-Fi 3D. Designed with both a high-end isolated audio solution and potential for tuning an unlocked APU, this motherboard looks to be a very sensible choice for those who want a little bit from every buffet of tech; the question is, "does it deliver finely tuned notes for enthusiasts of all kinds, or does it fall flat?" We're here to find out just that.



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be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 CPU Cooler

Lately, one brand is making a real name for itself when it comes to superior air cooling performance, and that brand is be quiet!. The company be quiet! has entered the air cooling arena with high performance air coolers. Their Dark Rock series is a great example. The Dark Rock™ CPU coolers are now becoming category leaders, and the newly upgraded Dark Rock Pro 3 is being touted as even more powerful then its predecessors. The double-tower Dark Rock Pro 3 CPU cooler comes with two preinstalled quiet SilentWings fans that bring both high performance and quiet operation to your PC where it really counts. They are designed for both overclocked systems and demanding multi-graphics platforms. Read on to see if the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 with 250W TDP will offer the low temperatures and peak performance we are looking for in an air cooler.



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Raidmax Cobra Z Case Review

Are you in the market for a budget priced chassis that looks like you spent more? Introducing the Cobra Z from Raidmax, a mid tower case that offers a wide variety of hardware configurations and cooling support. Raidmax frequently leans toward a more budget build of case, yet they don't seem to be lacking the interesting character which appeals to many builders. Does the new Cobra Z live up to the expectations builders look for in a budget case? Read on to find out!






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