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ASRock FaTal1ty Z97 Killer Series Motherboard Review

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 ...



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Exciting Speculation, Awesome Teaser, Huge Disappointment

A couple weeks ago, I started speculating that something new was going to happen with the AM3+ socket. When I saw the tweet with a picture of an FX series box, my excitement went through the roof because I felt AMD actually was doing something new. When I found out they were relaunching the FX-9590, my excitement plummeted. While a relaunch isn’t a terrible idea, there are two main problems with this that makes it a failure for hardware enthusiasts in my eyes. The first problem with this relaunch is the choice of cooler. The massive 220w thermal rating is one of the largest in the CPU market, but AMD chose to use a 120mm AIO (presumably one of the Cooler Master Seidons) instead of a more suited 240mm AIO. Don’t get me wrong, the Cooler Master Seidons are decent units, but if AMD wanted to be serious about low temperatures and ANY overclocking possibility at all, the 240mm system would be a bare minimum and I would have preferred to see the Cooler Master Glacer thrown in at a slightly higher price. The other problem on choosing Cooler Master is that while their units have shown good cooling performance, they leave a bit to be desired in the noise department. If this release was designed to excite enthusiasts, most of them will see the noise and heat thresh holds as too much of a gamble to go for this unit. Maybe I’m just being paranoid about the 120mm AIO, but the second thing that bugged me the most was the teaser. I want to say something to EVERY company...



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Gigabyte Z97X-SLI Motherboard Review

Gigabyte as a motherboard manufacturer has been very successful over the last decade, and the last few years have only served to solidify that. In fact, Gigabyte has taken things a step further with their more recent motherboard releases. Their design team has revamped the styling and improved the lineup with feature-rich variations. Giagbyte's popular UDX series motherboards are frequently one of the first considered motherboards on the market since the Z77 release. With Gigabyte's Haswell refresh, the Z97 chipset, they aim to continue that tradition. Today we are going to be looking at the Z97X-SLI motherboard. By the name, it appears Gigabyte has geared this motherboard towards SLI as its defining feature. However, there is more than meets the eye. At a glance, this board looks a little more simplified when compared to the UDX series board. Will it pack the same punch? We are going to put the Z97X-SLI to the test to see how it stacks up to Gigabyte's reputation.



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AMD FX CPUs Plus a New 990FX Board Equals Exciting Speculation

AMD continuously makes the future look better. Their GPU architecture is taking a turn towards power efficiency, their APUs keep pulling out impressive performance for modern games, and HSA still looks like it has a ton of potential for the future of computing. The problem is when the future becomes today, the excitement can turn to disappointment. I’m at a point of no return with the expectations I have for AMD. So far, with the release of new FX series mobile APUs and an interesting new 990FX motherboard, I’m hoping for the possible release of a new AM3+ CPU. At this point, if AMD doesn’t deliver some high end by 2016, there is going to be disappointment. On the other hand, I think some good things are going to happen very soon. First, let’s look at the new release of an FX series APU. AMD hasn’t released these for full review yet, but quite few people got their hands on a few hour preview. Considering that these were being compared to mobile i7s, in most cases the results were impressive. These APUs aren’t blowing away any performance numbers, but let’s take in all considerations. First off, the FX-7600P is only a 35w chip, but the single thread performance is almost to the level of the the previous A10-5800k. That may not sound all that impressive, but the A10 is a massive 100w chip, and has a 4.2Ghz turbo compared to the measly 3.6Ghz turbo of the FX chip! Also, the graphics performance is the best yet with this APU being able...



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Enermax Liqtech 240 & Liqmax 120 CPU Cooler Review

All in one liquid cooling units are among the popular cooling solutions recently. With AIO units gaining popularity due to their cost to performance ratio, it doesn't come as a surprise. If we look back a mere 2 years ago, liquid AIO cooling units were few and far between, and only a hand of manufacturers offered this type cooling solution. However, today we find AIO units flooding the market, and selecting the right one can be a hard choice with so many readily available. Today are going to be looking at 2 units from Enermax that recently joined in on this market. We have the Enermax Liqtech 240 and Liqmax 120S AIO cooling units on the test bench. While choosing AIO units should be based on cooling performance, sometimes we find that aesthetics and software can be a deciding factor as well. Let's put both these units on our bench for testing today, but before we do that, let's talk about Enermax for just a moment.



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SilverStone Strider Essential ST60F-ESG 600w PSU Review

One of the most common questions we ask when working on a new computer build is “what power supply (PSU) should I get?” Often times it can be a tricky decision, as many manufacturers make the same claims as one another. What can compound this decision-making process is the amount of space you have to work with in your rig. If you are building a smaller form-factor PC, the size of your PSU can limit the total wattage you can get in your PSU as well, which can confound you even more. SilverStone is here to tell you that size doesn’t mean everything. Enter their Strider Essential series power supply. For today’s review, we have their ST60F-ESG 600W unit on hand. It is rated with an 80 Plus Gold certification, is non-modular, and provides 600W of total power output. We’ll see if this PSU lives up to Silverstone’s legendary quality.



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Intel does Something Amazing!

The reality is, being on top can get pretty boring. Nothing proves this more than Intel’s CPU market. Lately, all we’ve seen from them is minor improvements using existing architecture trying to give consumers a reason to spend money that hardly anybody has. Instead, people are pretty much buying the Intel latest if they were planning a major upgrade anyway or they have pretty deep pockets. Unfortunately, much of what I was hearing about the Haswell refresh, the Haswell-E, was much of the same, but then I saw one release that absolutely blew my mind. Many of you would be surprised to hear me say say that the eight core i7-5960X chip isn’t all that exciting but before you hack my IP and fry my computer, hear me out. While it’s true this is Intel’s first 8-core consumer chip, the specs are a little bit of a give and take. Eight cores and an L3 cache boost force the sacrifice of a pretty significant amount of frequency. This means we can expect some significant multi-threaded performance, but the single core performance probably won’t be blowing away the charts. At what looks to be around a $1000 price tag, this doesn’t seem to be a worthy investment for the average user/gamer in consumer computing. (Then again, when is it ever at $1000!) The next chip, the i7-5930K, is more of a minor factory boost from the i7-4930K. Since both CPUs have six cores, the trade off is getting a slightly higher frequency and L3 cache, but I wouldn’...



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MSI Z97 Gaming 5 Motherboard Review

With the new Intel Processors on the horizon, motherboard manufacturers have gone into full force with the new updated chipsets. Today we are going to be looking at the MSI Z97 Gaming 5 Motherboard. MSI really took the market strong since its release of the Z77 Gaming addition motherboards and has since grown its gamer series design into multiple platforms. With the Z87 chipset, MSI really made some great improvements not only in their design and aesthetics, but they also really stepped it up with an intuitive software system and improved GUI interface across the board. Today, we are going to put their newly developed MSI Z97 Gaming 5 motherboard to the test. While the Gaming 5 is not the flagship motherboard, we are still very excited to see what updates this will bring to the future. Let's dive right in!



BIOSTAR has introduced Hi-Fi Z97WE, the Intel’s next generation Haswell based motherboard

  BIOSTAR Brings Out Hi-Fi Z97WE Mainboard, With Intel Smart Technologies May 9th, 2014, Taipei, Taiwan – BIOSTAR, maker of embedded/IPC solutions, graphics cards, and motherboards has introduced Intel’s next generation Haswell based motherboard, the Hi-Fi Z97WE. It comes with many BIOSTAR in-house features such as “Hi-Fi” audio technology. The Hi-Fi Z97WE is an ATX form factor board that features Intel socket 1150 support. It has 4 memory slots for up to 32GB of RAM. The on-board LAN controller also supports 10/100/1000/2000 with “Teaming” mode. The on-board HDMI supports 4K and 2K resolutions. It includes the usual high-end motherboard features like USB 3.0, HDMI and PCI-E slots, as well as the newest PCIe development, the “M.2” form factor. The M.2 standard is the newest and smallest form factor implementation of the SATA Express interface (which provides support for PCI Express 3.0 and Serial ATA 3.0), with the addition of an internal USB 3.0 interface. It supports multiple functions for add-in cards, including the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, satellite navigation, near field communication (NFC), digital radio, Wireless Gigabit Alliance (WiGig), wireless WAN (WWAN), and solid-state drives (SSDs). But being a BIOSTAR board, there is a premium set of features including the company’s unique “Hi-Fi” technology. All the BIOSTAR Hi-Fi series motherboards are equipped with isolate circuit design and high quality components to ensure the best possible audio qua...



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X2 Eclipse IV CPU Cooler Review

The running trend today in top-of-the-line CPU cooling performance seems to be water cooling. If it’s not under water then most seem to think you’re doing it wrong and will never achieve properly high performance. However, there are those enthusiasts who would rather have peace of mind, knowing that they will never have to worry about one of the lines in a water cooling loop springing a leak or their pump failing on them, destroying their high performance rig. How do you gain maximum performance while minimizing the risk? Spire, a well known company for cooling products has released another member of their CPU air cooling line. It's called the X2 Spire Eclipse IV, and we are going to review it for you today.



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Kingston HyperX Fury 8GB 1866MHz CL10 Memory (HX318C10FWK2/8) Review

Kingston Technologies have been in the memory business over two decades and are known for their reliable and fast memory. Today we are going to be looking at Kingston's new HyperX line called "Fury". This new Fury line from Kingston will position itself against its current mainstream HyperX Genesis and high-end HyperX Predator lines. The HyperX Fury pretty much lines up with its competitor from Corsair the Vengeance line. This will give consumers more options and widens that market share. The Fury line was not designed to be the best of the best, but is meant to meet that middle line between your beginning users and the higher-end clients. We have speeds ranging from 1333MHz to 1866Mhz which will be available in 8GB single sticks or 8GB to 16GB kits. Let's put the Kingston HyperX Furry DDR3 1866MHz kit we got for review to the test and see how well it performs.



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Nvidia Charity Auction Announcement

NVIDIA and Falcon Northwest have partnered together to build a one-of-a-kind gaming PC. Nvidia is now auctioning this amazing system to raise funds for the Philip Scholz Memorial Foundation, honoring an NVIDIA brother who was tragically killed earlier this year when he heroically removed an individual from train tracks and was hit. The Foundation bearing Phil’s name provides scholarships to needs-based youth and promotes outdoor physical activities involving his favorite pastime, baseball. This amazing PC uses all the latest technology to deliver absolutely raging performance in a cool, quiet platform. It starts with the award-winning GeForce GTX Titan Black – the world’s fastest single GPU. And it includes Intel’s latest Core i7 CPU, the 4770K, running on an ASUS z87 Maximus motherboard loaded with 16GB of GSKILL DDR3 memory. The storage system is based on two 1TB M50 SSDs from Crucial. And it’s all wrapped up in the most impressive chassis available today – the Tiki — custom designed in NVIDIA green, with a laser cutout window so everyone can see the beast that lives within. This entire system is fully warranted by Falcon Northwest. To learn more about Phil and the way he changed those around him, see this story from San Jose Mercury News. The direct auction link is here: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=151292393844 A video has also been posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ug3QFKKyV0



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MSI Raises the Bar with Next Gen Motherboards

When it comes to Motherboards, Asus is a name that really stands out. I’m not saying that they’re the perfect manufacturer, but they are known for products that perform admirably while being rich with features. As far as overclocking is concerned, Asus boards are some of the best on the market for reaching stable and high clocks. This leaves other manufacturers with a great deal to live up to when they try and release a board that can compete with the current market. Fortunately, MSI is looking to not only compete, but win in the high end motherboard market with their new Gaming Series and OC Motherboards. While I’m sure everyone is dying to know about Intel’s next chipset, those features are going to be far from what is going to set MSI apart. To begin with, the overclocking potential looks like it’s going to raise the bar quite a bit. The DigitAll Power feature provides digital control for increased stability. While that is becoming a more standard feature for overclocking boards, there’s more details sweetening the pot here. First, there’s water cooling connectors added to the heatsink and an optional OC Fan Stand the sits securely to the motherboard for better air flow control. Next, the board comes with a host of buttons for things like going straight to the bios and even being able to completely clear the cmos without removing the battery. The most revoltionary feature though, is the ram overclocking utility in the Bios. The...



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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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ASRock Fatal1ty B85 Killer Board Review

Far too often we pay attention to the biggest and best boards on the market and overlook the ones that actually make up a large portion of the sales. Entry to mid range components are used by the majority system builders to do a specific function and to keep costs down. Today we will be looking at a board from ASRock that falls right into the Mid-Range market but does so without skimping on features. The Fatal1ty B85 Killer is directed right at system builders that are also hardcore gamers. The Fatal1ty series of products are made to address the desires of all gamers: quality audio, network lag and FPS. The B85 Killer is one of four new boards from ASRock to carry the Fatal1ty name.






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