Posts Tagged ‘review’
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.
Today we're focusing on two cards from HIS, a company we're very familiar with, having seen many of their products in the past couple of generations in AMD cards. HIS typically produces cards with custom coolers and aggressive factory overclocks, but these two are a bit different. The R7 260X and R7 250X are budget-oriented cards for those with modest budgets and looking for some affordable gaming, and perhaps even something suitable for an HTPC setup.
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.
Today we're looking at the HIS R9 280 IceQ X2, a mid-range performance graphics card that retails for around $260. We've been impressed with cards from HIS in the past, particularly those with the vaunted IceQ cooler, which has proven to be very impressive with low temperatures and noise levels. Can this card continue the trend? Lt's take a closer look at the HIS R9 280 IceQ X2 to find out.
As any system builder can tell you, the proper way to tune your system involves balance. Part of that balance which often goes overlooked by many novice builders is configuring your system fans; without proper airflow, your system might not be performing to its peak potential or might just be making a bit more noise than it needs to. Let us not forget that often times we find ourselves wondering how we are going to supply power to our fans without having to use motherboard headers and having all those unseemly cables running all over the place like so many cob webs. NZXT's Sentry line of fan speed controllers has been a staple for many system builders for several years, ranging in style from simple, mesh-style rheostat dials (varying resistor to control fan speed), to dual bay touch screen units. Here to serve another segment, as well as to update their lineup, is the Sentry 3. Offering 15 watts/three fans per channel, an increased size single bay touch screen, temperature probe, five total channels and an alarm monitor, can these features really create a more balanced build for you, or does this amount to nothing more than a bit of case bling? Before we find out, here's a bit about NZXT:
Introduction Mechanical keyboards are practically everywhere now. If a manufacturer makes enthusiast-grade peripherals, chances are there’s a mechanical keyboard somewhere in their product stack. The tactile feedback and resilience of mechanical keys has always been a draw for gamers and enthusiasts the world over, and as time progresses these keyboards get more and more bells and whistles added to them: RGB back lighting, integrated ARM processors for advanced macros and saving specific data, braided cables, and the list goes on. The one thing that has remained the same until late last year was the switches: every single switch out there was a Cherry. Flash forward to today and we have a patent that Cherry had which has expired, allowing other manufacturers to start producing their own brand of mechanical switches. Thermaltake was among the first companies to pick up some of these new switches from Kailh (pronounced like the plant: KALE) and use them on their newest variant of the Poseidon Z keyboard. By using these switches, they have shaved off quite a bit of the premium normally seen for mechanical keyboards, but has it shaved off quality as well? Let’s learn a bit about Thermaltake eSports and find out. www.ttesports.com “Challenge is the Game” highlights the philosophy to bring out healthy addictions in gaming and the ambition of reaching the pinnacle of success. Tt eSPORTS, a gaming obsessed division from Thermaltake, is uniting gamers ...
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 ...
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.
Things have been getting a thorough rustling in the case market in recent history. Every form factor from ITX on up to XL-ATX, has been getting some new life breathed into their respective segments with cases replete with features and styling that no one thought possible. NZXT, not being one to rest on their laurels for very long, have introduced a little something new to the ATX mid tower segment. It's something they like to call the Phantom 240. Boasting some pretty impressive specs for an ATX mid tower, yet not requiring you to take out a second mortgage on your house to buy it, this case stands to provide system builders on a budget with a truly impressive space for your hardware to be admired in. On top of this, it still offers the niceties that modern system builders come to expect. We've said it before, and it bears repeating: just because you're "ballin' on a budget," that doesn't have to mean that your system looks mediocre in the process. The question is... can this case provide its intended audience with enough features that make them feel like they aren't really missing too much? History tells us "yes," but like any good review site, we will turn our fair yet analytic eye toward the details for you to make sure that this product doesn't trim too much fat away for the sake of cost and form factor.
Today we're looking at the Samsung microSD PRO 32GB and EVO 16GB cards. They promise very different speeds for consumers and professionals alike, and we'll discuss those differences as we take a closer look at what Samsung has to offer with their big splash back into the retail market.
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.
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.
Mionix has been on a roll lately with the expansion of their lineup of gaming peripherals, incorporating smart revisions and improvements into new revisions and subsequent designs that create top notch winners. Continuing their foray into the gaming peripheral market, Mionix has launched their latest set of headphones, the NASH 20. The NASH 20 headset looks decidedly sleek and lightweight. But what about performance? Indeed, this is where headsets make their reputations, so let's take a closer look and see just how well the Mionix NASH 20 performs.
A few manufacturers have opted to cater to the growing overclocking market by offering specialty memory, Avexir is one of those companies. Avexir isn't the first name that comes to mind for most of you but most enthusiast are well aware of what the this small company has been able to produce in its short existence, like the Core and Standard series. Avexir has released the new Blitz 1.1 series of memory for use in enthusiast class machines, the extreme overclocker and those that just want some good looking memory to add that extra touch.
Mobile computing is very much a part of everyone's day-to-day life, whether or not we choose to admit it or even realize it. From your cell phone to your tablets and notebooks, everything we use is becoming increasingly travel-friendly. Even our gaming desktop computers are becoming extremely small, as is evidenced by systems built in cases like the Bitfenix Colossus Mini ITX. It should only follow that mobile storage solutions should follow this trend. For those of you who are on-the-go and want a bit more insurance for your mobile storage devices, Adata has a rage of external hard drives that should suit your needs nicely. The DashDrive Durable HD650 comes in storage densities of 500 GB and 1 TB, and comes with an impact resistant shell. Let's take a closer look to see just how solid these drives are.