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Latest News & Reviews

Sharkoon – Strange Name, a Bit Budgety, Nice PC Case Idea

If a tornado hits a Sharkoon warehouse, would the result be a Sharkoon-ado? I digress! Sharkoon isn’t exactly the company you look too when you want a super professional, brushed aluminum finish chassis. Wait, they do have some of those… Hmmm……. Needless to say, they’re an interesting company that isn’t easy to judge by the cover. What is easy to judge is that their Skiller SGC1 Window Chassis (oh my gosh these names!) is doing a small thing that’s really great for the PC market. At first glance, you have a typically underwhelming budget PC case. I like the outer aesthetic since I’m a sucker for rugged angles and a bit of a gaming flair, but other design choices are easy to nitpick. For starters, the side window is acrylic instead of glass, the PCIe slot covers look to be spot welded instead of screwed in, and I’m almost positive those fans are going to have gaudy molex connectors on them. After that though, we get into surprisingly good features here. For starters, look at how much room is in the top of the case for a rad install! They planned around users installing CLC units ABOVE the motherboard heatsinks and RAM which is something budget cases rarely do. The real big feature though is the painted inside of the chassis. There’s options for blue, green and red painted interiors on the (*cringe) Skiller SGC1 Window. This is something we should definitely see more often on the market. Poorly attempted shark puns ...


AMD Radeon Hires a Guy Who Looks like He Means Business

Alright guys. It’s time to just admit it. Vega was a huge disappointment. Don’t get me wrong! It clearly has a very strong place in the crypto currency business, but many of us were hoping for something that would at least be close-ish competition to the 1080 Ti and instead we got something that only barely makes a case against the 1080. Add to that the somewhat duplicitous way that Raja ended tenure with Radeon before landing at Intel and you have all the makings of serious concern for the future of AMD graphics. On the other hand, AMD just announced two additions to the Radeon team and the vice president of engineering has a face that says he came to compete and chew bubble gum, and he’s all out of bubble gum! David Wang is the aforementioned vice president of engineering and he has more than 25 years of graphics experience. He’s actually returning to AMD from having worked for Synaptics. The other hire to RTG is Mike Rayfield. Admittedly, Mike looks to be a lot more friendlier, but as a senior vice president, I’m sure he’ll have more to do with the big picture of the RTG direction while handling a big portion of the public interaction. He has over 30 years of tech industry experience and is rejoining AMD as well, coming back to the company from Micron. The experience sounds great for the future of RTG, but as always we’ll only know how well the changes work when one of their products are released. Just to clarify, I understand t...


This is How you Up the Ante! Deepcool Introduces Ark 90 Full Tower PC Case

The world of custom PCs is getting rather intriguing. Not too long ago, certain companies dictated what the new releases were going to be and innovation was a bit of a slow process. Today, there are dozens of companies trying to jump into the gaming PC market, but the problem with a lot of it is that so many of them are turning into carbon copies of the bigger companies. If you’re going to release a new product, make it worth while and if you need a good example, look at Deepcool. They just announced the release of the Ark 90 Full Tower case and this is how you shake up the market with a new design. For starters, I’m loving this aesthetic! It’s a perfect balance of clean, sharp angles with a splash of RGB color. It’s bound to have a broad appeal to all kinds of builders across gaming and professional spectrum. The Ark 90 also builds on the tradition of including a pre-installed CLC cooler that the Genome series started. In this case, we have a 280mm radiator attached to the Captain style pump block. If you’re looking for a perfect balance of fan noise and cooling, 280mm seems to be great for just CPU overclocking. Not only are the fans on the cooler RGB, but Deepcool has included an extra two fans to help with the cooling. These are features that really stand out to me, but I’m not saying it’s the perfect case either. I still have issues with the lack of a hinge/latch system with the glass panel and even though there’s severa...


Did You Know the SSD is a Mini-Computer? Samsung Introduces 860 Pro and Evo SATA Drives

Did you know that your SSD is pretty much a mini-computer in your computer? I sure as heck didn’t! You might be ahead of the curve on this one, but for those who aren’t (or just like to make fun of an ignorant tech geek), bear with me on this. Samsung just announced their new line of SATA SSDs and this was the first time I noticed a spec for Cache Memory in the listings. Needless to say, LPDDR4 sounds like a nice upgrade for performance and if that’s not enough, well the Samsung 860 Pro and Evo have capacities up to 4 TB. FOUR TERABYTES!!! Seeing DDR4 immediately got my attention. I honestly didn’t know that SSDs had a small amount of memory in them and as I researched into why that would be, I was impressed at how similar it was to a full desktop computer. The Controller is essentially the CPU of the SSD, which in this case is the Samsung MJX. It sort of acts as the liaison between the rest of the PC and the NAND modules. However, when it comes to processes like writes or prefetch, the DRAM helps balance those loads out for the controller, similar to the CPU and RAM in the desktop. This is a basic understanding I gleaned from forums and while the concept seems to make sense, don’t completely take my word for it. The LPDDR4 being used as the Cache Memory in the new 860 drives sounds like it could help with loading performance though, maybe in gaming scenarios where there’s lots of zones to load. Even if the RAM upgrade doesn’t amou...


Aigo Icy K4 RGB CPU Cooler Review


Introduction Aigo is most well known as the company I knew nothing about. While Asian consumer electronics companies are a little known passion of mine, I had my eye out for a particular aesthetic niche to fulfill. You know the one I’m talking about: RGB! I don’t have a lot of information about Aigo, so but I do know my lights. What’s interesting is how hard it is to find the CPU cooler that does it all. Some have RGB on the tower, but lacks lighting on the fan. Some have great RGB effects on the fan, but opt for the plain copper and aluminum finish tower. Aigo may be a name that none of us have heard, maybe even a bit too much of an off brand, yet they may be the only one who took RGB to the next level on CPU coolers. We’ll get into the review shortly, but you can also check out the video review below if video is your kind of thing.


 

This is the BEST Wireless Adapter you can Get for $26! Oh, it’s a Router Too

Am I the only one around here that’s thought, “I wonder if they make a wireless adapter that goes to ethernet, instead of USB or PCI?” I’ve attempted to search out wireless ethernet adapter before, but the wild goose chase that ensued was not very encouraging. In fact, I couldn’t even tell you how I finally found the solution I use for my wireless needs in my home today. What I can tell you though, is if I ever have to choose between gaming over wireless or trying to run a long ethernet cable through tight spaces, I’ll always go with a wireless router to use as my adapter. We’ve all probably experienced the crappy USB wireless adapter that keeps dropping our connection. That option only seems to work in the best of circumstances, which leads to many builders upgrading to a PCIe adapter. Those tend to work more consistently, but if the room is far from the router, the placement of antennas toward the back, bottom of the case isn’t ideal. Range extenders can be extremely finicky to set up and if a gamer has tried all three options without success, that’s when the ethernet cable gets run through the attic or the crawl space. (Or down the hall!) You might try the mesh network, but my experience with that was it added a lot of latency to the connection. The simple fact is that routers are typically made to run off of quite a bit more power than any adapter, which usually means your adapter is the weak link in your wireless c...


The Drop-in Rad Bracket on NZXT H700i isn’t Quite what I Want

I want to apologize for being a bit harsh, but NZXT’s been getting me excited about something that ends up not being what I was originally expecting for a while. This has mostly been a moot issue since releases, like their new motherboard, are still pretty awesome. On the other hand, the new cases of late have left me just wishing that we could get a new full tower design of the Phantom series, combined with some tempered glass. News just came out about the H700i and while it does have some epic features, the drop-in radiator bracket could use some improvement. I don’t want to completely harsh on the case because it has some good things going for it. The big one is the cable routing trays for management. The way those are designed and laid out is about as perfect as I could imagine, which is not a surprise coming from NZXT. As always, we have a very nicely laid design that also looks professional, yet still gives the builder a clear tempered glass side panel that shows off the build nicely. After that though, it starts getting cliche. NZXT still hasn’t put a tool-less hinge and latch system on the side panels, the case mostly looks like an H440, and it’s yet another mid-tower release. While cases like the S340 and H440 are nearly perfect case, amazing to build in, who doesn’t like to see huge steps in the direction of innovative design? That said, the drop-in radiator bracket ended up being a huge disappointment for me. When I first saw the cl...


Adata Shows Off “Liquid Cooled” RAM at CES, Project Jellyfish

We’re getting into the realm of very intricate ideas in cooling components and that’s saying a lot. Your widely accepted air coolers almost always use heatpipes, which are actually engineered with a substance that phase changes inside, helping move the heat through to the fins. As good as that gets, crazy people found out that using water in a loop with a radiator was even more effective, deciding the risk of frying a system was worth the benefit. Now, Adata is taking things to a new level that, while already existing in other capacities, is bound to be a first for RAM cooling. First, let’s talk about the concept of these modules being liquid cooled. While generally speaking, this is correct, it’s technically somewhat inaccurate. Liquid cooling generally correlates to transferring heat out of the component by means of, say water, as the vehicle to carry it away. It ends up being a simple transfer of heat from the source to the air. The liquid that’s in these modules is called Fluorinert, which is using a process of cooling called “phase change.” This particular chemical, developed by 3M, can boil at temperatures as low as 34c depending on the variant. As liquid boils, it actually consumes a large portion of the heat being generated, as opposed to transferring it to a less heat saturated area. Thus you have the concept Adata is introducing, but while this looks pretty new for RAM, it’s been implemented in the server environmen...





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