Posts Tagged ‘crossfire’
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 ...
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.
Innovation is the name of the game; if you want to keep your product line relevant and interesting then you need to mix things up a bit and give people a reason to be genuinely excited about choosing a part from your repertoire. In the world of power supplies, this innovation is coming slowly but surely as manufacturers determine how to better serve their PC enthusiast community with products that make their jobs a little bit easier and their builds a little more awesome. BitFenix opted to take the road less traveled with this, their first-ever power supply. They took a solid, stable 80 Plus Gold certified platform using all Japanese top shelf capacitors, then sleeved every single cable for you right out of the box. The name is somehow ironic to us, as they call it the BitFenix Fury, yet this power supply is poised to be anything BUT infuriating. Having well sleeved cables with a myriad of connector options and varying wattage ratings for your individual computing needs, could this be part of your next build? No spoilers yet on what we think of it, so let's read on.
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 ...
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.
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.
Introduction In the world of custom PC Building, consumers and builders frequently ask what the best motherboards are for Gaming PC Builds. While these are always valid questions, some folks are looking to build a high end rendering or workstation PC. The Z87 series chipset has plenty of options from the budget friendly models to enthusiast gaming motherboards; however, workstation motherboards are not as readily available. That changes today. We are going to be looking at a motherboard from ASUS, one of the few manufacturers who created a Z87 chipset based WS (workstation) motherboard to meet this niche market. We have the ASUS Z87 WS on our test bench, and we are going to put this baby to through the ringer. As an interesting aside, one of the few features of this motherboard which immediately caught our attention is the available support of Quad SLI and Crossfire with 4 PCIe slots available. Not many Z87 motherboards offer this out of the box. There are also tons of other features that we typically don’t see with your “typical” Z87 chipset motherboard. Does this bode well for this unique new board? Read on to find out! Let’s get the review started by talking about the 8 Series chipset, but first here’s a quick word about 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, cre...
Introduction The popular demand of small form factor builds for the high end gaming/performance PCs has grown quite a bit over the last couple of years. However, their haven’t been many manufacturers providing high-end mATX boards to meet the demands of those seeking the performance systems. Today we are going to be looking at a manufacturer that has taken that step forward. On our test bench we have the brand new MSI Z87M Gaming Motherboard. At first glance, the aesthetics of this motherboard are impressive. It reminds us of the Z87A-GD65 Gaming ATX form factor motherboard that MSI already offers today. The question is, “has MSI managed to pack all those features in a nice little mATX package?” We can’t wait to put this board to the test and find out, so let’s dive in and check out the MSI Z87M Gaming Edition motherboard. Before we jump in, here’s a statement from MSI: “Founded in August 1986, MSI has continued to uphold a business philosophy that stresses “Award-winning product quality and outstanding customer service.” MSI specializes in the design and manufacture of motherboards, graphics card, add-on cards, servers/workstations, iPC, barebones, communication devices, CE products, Notebooks, car infotainment products, and All-in-One PC. “Quality Products Create Faithful Customers” is a motto that guides all that we do at MSI. For this reason, MSI goes all out to be the best of the best in research and development.” Now, l...
Introduction Intel’s 4th Generation Haswell release sparked a great deal of movement with motherboard manufacturers over the last few months. We have seen many new motherboards hit the consumer market with revamped aesthetics and updated on-board features. The web space today is flooded with media coverage of high-end motherboards, but we know that not everyone is always looking for the highest-end products. Sometimes, meeting that happy middle-ground of performance and price is what’s important. Today we are going to bring to the table a new Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD4H that fits that description. With the aesthetics of a top shelf motherboard but the price of a mid-range board, we will see if Gigabyte really hit the mark here to bring both of these combinations together on the Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD4H. The impressive red and black aesthetics make the board stand out in its price category, so now let’s get the Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD4H tested to see how well it performs. Before we do that, here’s a quick note from Gigabyte. GIGABYTE was founded in 1986, establishing our uncontested position in continuous technological innovation. By focusing on key technologies and achieving strict quality standards, GIGABYTE has been regarded as an innovative and trusted motherboard leader in the globe. To keep pace in a rapidly changing world, we have offered a comprehensive product line covering Motherboards, Graphics Cards, PC Components, PC Peripherals, Laptops, Slat...
The introduction of Intel's new "Haswell" line of processors also brought its new 8 series chipset. The introduction of Haswell and its socket and chipset change came as no surprise. We have seen this from Intel with its "Tick Tock" development strategy, including their change to its power delivery management. It makes sense and was crucial for Intel to make these changes. Today, we have a chance to look at one of MSI's flagship motherboards for the new Z87 architecture: the MSI Z87 MPower. MSI's previous products in the Z87 chipset MPower line were typically top performers, and include excellent overclocking and features. Today, as we move forward, we are going to see just how the MSI Z87 MPower measures up to that previous reputation while using the new Haswell 4770k. Before we move forward, let's talk a little about MSI.
The new AMD Richland processors were released just over a week ago. AMD first launched its A-series processors just over 2 years ago as the Fusion technology with the "Llano" series. During its first launch and introduction to this APU series chip, no one was really sure how well this platform was going to perform. Over the course of a few years, we have seen AMD improve on its one of a kind platform with its first revision "Trinity" and we now have the next release "Richland." During its first revision, Trinity, we saw a change in socket from FM1 to FM2 along with a revision to its chipset. However, with Richland, we are glad to see that AMD decided to stick to its FM2 based socket. Today, we have the AMD A10-6700 processor at hand to put to the test.
Adding a second card to boost gaming performance certainly has its positives, but a few potential downsides can exist. Does it make sense to add a second HIS card or upgrade to a 7970 instead? Let's find out as we look at the HIS iPower IceQ Turbo in single card and CrossFire configurations.
The HIS 7790 iCooler Turbo comes with a custom cooler cooler and a factory overclock that reaches over 1GHz. It also qualifies for an AMD promotional offer that tosses in a free copy of Bioshock Infinite worth $60 into the package. That sounds like an excellent deal, even if the performance isn't terribly groundshaking as a more budget-oriented card. But as an added bonus, we're also looking at a pair of these in a CrossFire configuration.
Roughly six months ago, Cooler Master introduced the new Cooler Master CM Storm Scout 2 to the world. This was a revision of its previous model, the Scout I. The Storm Scout 2 was well received and even earned a PureOC Good Hardware Award from us. Even though the initial release of the Scout 2 went well, Cooler Master still likes to listen to consumers and the PC modding community, just to improve things further. They took feedback from a number of online forums and from reviews like ours just to take the next iteration of the lineup to the next level. Today we have their newest revision - The Cooler Master CM Storm Scout 2 Advance. The new Scout 2 Advance series chassis now comes with several design enhancements, and even includes a new color called "Ghost White." Let's dive in to take a deeper look at these changes and see how they improved upon the previous chassis.
When it comes to looking for an AMD motherboard with the 990FX chipset, there are few new options right now. The 990FX chipset from AMD has been around for more then a few years now and we have recently only seen manufacturers doing revisions to the existing chipset boards. We are unsure on when the launch of a possible new chipset will be for AMD so for now it looks like it will remain at the top. Today we will take a look at one of the newest of these current top-tier motherboards, the ASRock 990FX Extreme 9. ASRock's previous top motherboard was the Fatal1ty 990FX Professional. How will this board stack up with today's new FX series processors and the piledriver architecture? We will put that to the test.