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Sapphire R7 250 Ultimate Review

  Introduction: With the release of a new generation of graphics cards there can be so much fan-fare and attention paid to the higher end offerings that lower end models get overlooked. System enthusiasts and hardcore gamers rarely even think of the models that can’t crank out maximum FPS or look awesome in a huge water cooled system. Some may be surprised to know there are GPUs for everyday people and entry level gaming. Shocking isn’t it? The vast majority of GPUs are of the integrated type, sold within the CPU/APU. Research has shown 50% of these IGP (Integrated Graphics Processors) go unused in favor of more robust discrete solutions. That is what we will be looking into today, a discrete solution that can offer more graphical prowess than any integrated solution. Its other defining characteristic is that it can do this in total silence. We are referring to the Sapphire R7 250 Ultimate silent GPU. Specs: Display Support 3 x Maximum Display Monitor(s) support Output 1 x HDMI (with 3D) 1 x DisplayPort 1.2 1 x Dual-Link DVI-I GPU 800 MHz Core Clock 28 nm Chip 512 x Stream Processors Video Memory 1024 MB Size 128 -bit GDDR5 4.5 MHz Effective Dimension 185(L)X120(W)X50(H) mm Size. 2 x slot Software Driver CD   Innovation, performance and value for money have always made SAPPHIRE the supplier of choice for enthusiast graphics. SAPPHIRE was the first company to introduce fanless silent cooling solutions based on heatpipe technology and continues to offer...



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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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Cooler Master V550 PSU Review

Introduction With power consumption getting smaller and smaller, even in our high performance computers, sometimes we just don’t need or want that massive 1500 Watt power supply. We want something that is relatively tiny in comparison to the standard power supply, yet will also offer clean power and only the fewest cables we will absolutely need. This automatically points us towards semi-modular units. Cooler Master thinks that their newest V-Semi-Modular Series lineup might just be the thing you are looking for.   Boasting all Japanese capacitors, a slightly smaller form factor, 450-750 Watt capacities, and an 80+ Gold rating, could this be the power supply to go into your next small form factor machine? Before we go on to find out, let’s get to know Cooler Master a little bit better. www.coolermaster.com Cooler Master was founded with the mission of providing the industry’s best thermal solutions. Since its establishment two decades ago, the company has remained faithful to this mission, emerging as a world leader in products and services for companies dealing with devices where heat issues must be resolved. In pursuing this mission, Cooler Master is absolutely committed to delivering solutions that precisely meet customer requirements for features, performance, and quality. Moreover, we strive to be a reliable long-term partner for our customers that they can truly depend on. It aims to be the first and foremost name that comes to mind for compani...



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SilverStone Raven RVZ 01 Small Form Factor Case Review

Since the original RAVEN RV01 debuted in 2008, the RAVEN team at SilverStone has demonstrated many times how it can truly define or defy computer enthusiasts’ expectations of what a performance PC is capable of in both form and function. For 2014, the Silverstone team had a new target, which was to exceed and reshape the small form factor landscape with yet another breakthrough case design. The result of this effort is a new line of case products from SilverStone called RAVEN Z. As the first model, this Raven RVZ01 is unlike any SilverStone small form factor cases before it. Utilizing a PCI-E riser and custom designed fans, this slim, 14-liter case is capable of housing some of the biggest consumer graphics cards on the market with superb air cooling performance and the ability to also support liquid cooling. Read on and let’s see if the Silverstone Raven RVZ01 is what we have all been waiting for.



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SilverStone ML06 HTPC Case Review

With more households "cutting the cord" to make the move to an all internet streaming solution, having access to a full fledged PC can be key to entertainment bliss. Some home smart theater equipment has YouTube, Amazon Prime, Netflix or Hulu interfaces built right in. However, none of these boxes will have access to all of the named options, or a full fledged browser. They are also not capable of playing the latest PC games. This is why having a real PC connected to your television remains the best option. There are many choices when it comes to cases for your Home Theater PC. These will range from a full tower to the really small Intel NUC sized systems. Towards the smaller side of cases you will find the SilverStone MILO series of HTPC cases. The MILO series cases are designed to blend in with existing home theater equipment with simple styling and smaller profiles. Silverstone recently added the ML06 to the MILO lineup to add another layer of options for HTPC builders using Mini ITX boards. You were able to use the ML03 and ML04 cases but the ML06 is a whopping 50% smaller than the ML03! At a reported 7 liters, let's see if the ML06 stands up to the style and smart designs of the previous MILO HTPC cases.



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Diamond R7 250 Boost Review

In this ever-blossoming technology industry there are smaller companies that are often overshadowed by their behemoth competitors. There are many reasons why this occurs but one of the most common assumptions is that the smaller company is lower quality. The thinking has been that the smaller guy can’t make a product as well as the bigger guy. Diamond has been striving to prove that assumption to be false. They believe they can be a smaller company yet still offer quality and value. Diamond sent us an AMD based GPU: their R7 250 with Boost. Let's see how well their promise holds up.



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Enermax Revolution XT 630W 80+ Gold Modular PSU Review

Lately the push for smaller and quieter systems leaves many enthusiasts and the D.I.Y. crowd needing smaller and smaller power supplies (PSU's). It's not entirely uncommon to see systems being built with powerful hardware like the 780Ti, but with PSUs no larger than 550-600 watts. It therefore makes more sense than ever to go for a PSU that is as efficient as possible to make sure you have as few problems as possible while still being able to do what we all love to do: tune our systems and squeeze the most performance out of them as possible. Enermax has seen fit to produce what they feel is a worthy solution to your small system building needs. The Revolution XT PSU lineup ranges from 430 to 730 watt capabilities; all carry the 80+ Gold certification for power efficiency, have flat cables and are semi-modular. Could this be the next PSU you select for your system builder needs? Let's delve deeper and find out as we review the Enermax Revolution XT 630W 80+ Gold Modular PSU.



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MSI GTX 760 Gaming MINI-ITX Review

We recently had the opportunity to have some hands on time with the feature packed MSI Z87i Gaming AC board. It had a small size but a large feature set and gaming potential. Today we wanted to look at the partner tech for the Z87i Gaming AC. That is the GTX 760 OC Gaming ITX GPU. We have seen the GTX 760 from various manufacturers with different cooling solutions but MSI claims to have made one which will fit perfectly inside a cramped HTPC or LAN PC case. This will leave the MSI GTX 760 Gaming Mini-ITX in a tight space to battle temps and fan noise, all while keeping FPS up. That is a tall order for any GPU, so lets not waste anymore time, and jump right into the review.



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MSI Z87i Gaming AC Mini ITX Review

PC gaming has been on a recent incline as more people learn to build their own systems. There is a feeling of pride and accomplishment you will never get being a console only gamer. You picked the parts and assembled them to make a working gaming rig. Since there are more gamers building their own systems, there is now more of a need for variety of size, shape, color, power and gaming capabilities. MSI has been at the forefront of this expansion of variety with industry leading boards, GPUs and peripherals covering every type from Quad GPU systems to tiny HTPC or LAN PCs. In this review we will be covering MSI's latest offering in the tiny system segment, The Z87I Gaming AC Mini ITX main board. MSI Z87I AC Stock Pic Mini ITX has seen an explosion in popularity over the last few years. When the form factor was first introduced, it was limited to BGA CPUs and passive cooling which slowed its adaptation outside of specialty usage. With the introduction of mini ITX 2.0 which included a PCI-e 16x, gamers saw a new form factor to expand their creativity. HTPC could double as a game system or a really small LAN PC, because they now packed the same GPU power as a full sized system. Some board manufacturers like MSI saw an opportunity to fill in a gap by offering features usually reserved for larger boards in the smaller form factor. We have a chance to look into the newest member of the Gaming series, the MSI Z87i Gaming AC mini ITX board. MSI looks to bring serious Gaming a...



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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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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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BitFenix Prodigy M

The desktop PC has evolved into a platform for enthusiasts and modders to cram as much gear into a case as they can. Sometimes it is just not practical for taking to a LAN or using as an HTPC due to the size and weight of a custom PC. There has been a concerted effort by some case manufacturers to reduce the footprint of the desktop without leaving the features of a larger chassis behind. We all have grown spoiled to the conveniences of cable routing, drive bays and countless cooling options. This is where the ingenuity and innovation of BitFenix comes into play. BitFenfix, the creator of the popular mini ITX Prodigy case is looking to fill a gap in the small form factor market. Many complained the original Prodigy did not support the larger micro ATX board and felt left out. The Prodigy M with full support for micro ATX and mini ITX boards is said to offer the same flexibility and style of the original Prodigy case with the same small footprint. Let's take a look into how BitFenix pulled this off.



 
 
 
 
 
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Cambridge Audio Minx Go

Introduction We just received the Minx Go for review recently. Developed by Cambridge Audio, the Minx Go is a Bluetooth speaker that is designed for indoor or backyard barbecue activities. While the Minx Go isn’t something that you would want to take on an outdoor adventure, you shouldn’t need to settle for a boombox style stereo for entertaining the guests. The five speaker array is designed to deliver crisp and precise audio streamed from your Bluetooth enabled device. While the Minx Go doesn’t have your normal features like a speakerphone, the audio quality and looks make up for lacking a speakerphone. Will the Minx Go earn the recognition of gamers? Continue reading to see how it stands up…   First, here’s a bit about Cambridge Audio Music is also at the heart of everything we do and we believe that every musical experience should be a magical one. Although it’s an incredible treat which we urge everyone to experience, most people simply don’t have time to listen to a dedicated hi-fi every time they want to hear great music.



 
 
 
 
 
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Roccat Tusko

Intro Here’s the situation: your friends just invited you to a LAN gaming session nearby, and you really want to go. Your favorite games are being played and you’ve been wanting to show off your rig for a while. You start making plans to go when it hits you: you have far too many accessories to cart around with you, not to mention you just shelled out 300+ dollars on that sweet 24″ monitor you use. Also, you certainly don’t want to be moving that around too much for fear of damaging it. *sigh* What’s a gamer to do? Roccat has been known to make rock solid accessories that cater specifically to the PC gaming enthusiast. From mice and mouse pads to headsets and keyboards, Roccat has your enthusiast needs covered. For the LAN gamer, they also offer the item we will be placing under the magnifying glass today: the Roccat Tusko. It’s a portfolio-style case for carting around your monitor and accessories all in one safe and easy-to-use package. Let’s dive right in and see if it’s got what it takes.   Here’s a word about Roccat: Founded in 2007, ROCCAT™ develops high quality and innovative accessories in Germany for ambitious computer gamers. In close collaboration with the gaming community, outstanding input devices and headsets, which excel through their first-class precision, high level of ease-of-use and unique design, are designed at ROCCAT™ Studios in Hamburg. The ROCCAT™ Kone Gaming Mouse was the first produc...



 
 
 
 
 
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NZXT H230 Silent Mid-Tower

Introduction: Today I was given the opportunity to look at and review yet another offering from NZXT. Among the many different cases they manufacture, their H series in particular has become one that has truly sparked my interest. Over the past several years, NZXT has become one of the premier manufacturers. They have been ahead of the pack with innovative designs and features while targeting both the gaming and enthusiasts’ arena. Today we will be looking at a new budget oriented Mid-Tower chassis, the H230 which is also part of their H or silent series of cases. If you’re not familiar with the NZXT H series line of cases, the NZXT H230 brings some of the same sound deadening abilities as its two predecessors, only this time it’s in a more affordable package. The new NZXT H230, a Mid Tower Chassis fits right in alongside NZXT’s award winning H2 and H630 silent series of cases. The NZXT H230 comes complete with a tool-free 5.25” latch design, removable HDD cage, seven expansion slots and USB 3.0 connectivity. Read on to see if it brings all of the essentials together for a silent, cool, hassle-free computing experience.   Our Thanks goes out to NZXT for providing us with the review sample. “NZXT, a company built upon gamer’s dreams, hopes to create products that put consumers first. With the objective of designing unique products catered for hardware enthusiasts and gamers, NZXT has grown into a globally renowned brand recognized for dedicati...






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