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Posts Tagged ‘review’
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VisionTek CryoVenom R9 290 Review

It has been several months since AMD shook up the GPU market a bit with its R9 series of GPUs. Now that the dust has settled there has been time for AMD partners to design better cooling solutions for the Hawaii based GPUs at the top end of the R9 lineup. When the 290 and 290x first released there was a firestorm of complaints surrounding the massive amounts of heat generated and the lack of significant cooling solutions. Basically the reference design cooler was a major flop that actually caused performance loses. The 290 and 290x GPUs were known to throttle down to lower core speeds to stay within the thermal envelope. In some cases, this resulted in a 290 outperforming a 290x in benches or other counter intuitive results... OUCH! AMD partners proved to be up to the challenge though, releasing GPUs with their custom cooling solutions that offered better heat dissipation without adding to the noise penalty suffered by the reference cooler. This is all fine and dandy, but where does any of this leave the hardcore water cooling enthusiast? It leaves many researching to see which GPU from each manufacturer is and is not compatible with certain water blocks and adding additional cost to an already costly product. One of those OEMs, VisionTek, wanted to lend a hand in this process by taking away all guess work, and even the installation. They are now offering a GPU which comes ready to be incorporated into a custom waco system out of the box. I am happy to introduce the Cry...



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Enermax T.B. Vegas 120mm and T.B. Apollish 180/200mm Fan Review

When you look at most of the LED case fans out there, they're largely uninspired. Sure the lighting is solid on many of them, and some of them even offer up good cooling performance to match their look, but the lighting effect is ultimately the same: just a blob of light that looks like it could come from any manufacturer. While that may work for some system builders, Enermax has a solution for those of you looking for something a bit different than the rest. Enter the T.B. Vegas and T.B. Apollish fan lineup: coming in 120mm and 200mm sizes respectively, these fans feature not only some of the most unique case lighting you will ever see, but offer a degree of performance that you will be hard pressed to find in any other standalone LED fan. Let's see if these factors add up to be greater than the sum of their parts, shall we?



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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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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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Kingston 64GB SDXC Class 3 Memory Card & USB 3.0 MobileLite G3 Review

During our visit with Kingston at CES 2014 this year, we had a chance to sit down with them to talk about the new and up-coming flash memory cards that are designed for HD Media use. With the advancing and growing media recording industry, faster and more reliable flash memory cards are on high demand, especially those looking for high capacity to store everything on one card. With the standards of 1080p recording, Ultra HD 2160p and 3D/2K&4K resolutions on the horizon, the number of pixels on recording devices can no longer suffice with the slower and lower capacity memory cards. It has been a couple of months since the initial talk and today we finally got our hands on the Kingston 64GB SDXC Class 3 UHS-I U3 flash memory card. Kingston developed this particular card in three available sizes, 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. The last one will be the memory card we take a look at today. Kingston was also nice enough to send us the Kingston Mobile Lite G3 SD and Micro-SD card USB 3.0 reader as an extra bonus to be able to test the memory card today. With the speed advancements in the SDXC memory card, we wanted to make sure there are no bottlenecks.



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ECS KBN-I/5200 AMD A6-5200 Mini-ITX Motherboard Review

AMD's APU series market has really picked up pace over the last few years. The most recent updates to their current road map, included the new FM2+ socket A88X based chipset and the Kaveri Processor. This has really generated a great deal of interest with many of today's budget conscious consumers. However, with no updates to AMD's enthusiast FX series chip road map, AMD's APU series is really the only new technology we are seeing at the moment from its consumer line. With that said, we are excited to see that AMD is starting to put more budget friendly APU technology out in the market and we are going to shed some light on what to expect. Today we are looking at a very new low-budget APU inspired motherboard. It includes the Kabini SoC processor (which runs the Jaguar APU Cores) on a Radeon HD8000 series graphics base, and it does it all in a tight nit space. At the beginning of the year, ECS (Elitegroup Computer Systems) announced this Kabini SoC processing unit which houses an AMD A6-5200 CPU. It also includes a Radeon 8400 GPU all in a small mini-ITX form factor APU combo. Today we got our nitty gritty hands on this tiny power house to put it to the test. We are excited to see what this Quad Core A6-5200 APU can do. Before we jump into the details of the ECS KBN-I/5200 motherboard, lets take a look at ECS (Elitegroup Computer Systems).



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Nvidia GeForce Experience 2.0 and Performance Update

We recently had the opportunity to meet with Nvidia to hear some of the upcoming newly minted features of their popular GeForce Experience software, and Nvidia is promising even better features to reach a wider audience, and are now calling this their GFE 2.0, presumably the new and improved version. Notebooks are getting the love this time around, receiving the full treatment like the enthusiast desktop brethren, and mobile gaming is looking to get a boost as well with Nvidia's new Gamestream. As an added bonus, we've got some new drivers from Nvidia as well, version 337.50, which promises performance increases. Not ones to blindly believe the claims, we get a GTX 780 on the bench and see what these drivers can do.



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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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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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Func MS-3 Revision 2 Gaming Mouse Review

We heard rumblings of a newer version of the original Func MS-3 gaming mouse, with the latest set to promise gamers a more advanced laser engine, higher DPI, and better quality internals. So we had to get one to study more closely for ourselves. Func now has the MS-3 Revision 2, a refresh of a winning formula that captures the same outstanding ergonomics while bringing new guts to a smartly designed body. And as an added bonus, we'll also be examining the Func Surface 1030² L, an update of a double-sided gaming mouse pad that now comes with a few new and interesting features. Can the MS-3 Revision 2 and Surface 1030² L improve upon the predecessors without losing its original appeal? Let's find out.



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Gigabyte GTX 750 Ti Windforce Review

Today we're specifically looking at the Gigabyte GTX 750 Ti Windforce, a budget-oriented card that comes with a factory overclock out of the box and a cooler design that promises very low temperatures, while looking to trounce AMD's R7 260X not only in performance, but also power efficiency. Let's take a closer look and get it on the bench to see if real world tests can fulfill Nvidia's aspirations.



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Nanoxia Deep Silence 5 Mid-Tower Case Review

Nanoxia Deep Silence cases are well known in Europe and designed for both cool and quiet performance. Today will be looking at the Deep Silence 5 Mid-Tower chassis. This innovative case is part of a new line of future products, whose objective is to offer the perfect symbiosis of ideal system cooling and sensationally low noise levels in one package. The focus was always on two requirements: minimize noise and minimize system temperatures. It is also designed especially for the use in high-end PC- and gaming systems. The side panels and roof are fitted with specially designed, noise reducing insulation materials to help minimize and absorb any noises. The solid front doors also use sound absorbing materials that contribute significantly to the most effective noise reduction achieved by Nanoxia. Also responsible for the quietness of the case are the three pre-installed Nanoxia fans of the brand new DS-Series. This most recent Nanoxia fan-series features a new impeller design, optimized for the best possible mix of silence and cooling capacity. Read on to see what else the Nanoxia Deep Silence 5 may have to offer.



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Raidmax RX-1000AE Power Supply Review

Power supplies in the 1000W still offer plenty of power to those who will predominantly run multiple graphics cards in their systems, but that doesn't mean these units need to cost a fortune. Indeed, there is a considerable market for those enthusiasts who are of more modest means, and still want plenty of power. This is where the Raidmax 1000AE 1000W might offer a solution. It's a kilowatt unit that's very reasonably priced at only $150. Frankly, that's a steal of a deal, and if you want a power supply that's partly modular, sleekly styled, and won't break the bank, you might want to have a closer look at this Raidmax unit.



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Biostar Hi-Fi B85N-3D Motherboard Review

Biostar has been in the motherboard business since the early 80's. While they were not always the preferred brand that enthusiasts turn to, they have definitely improved in this arena in the last few years. We saw a big improvement in their motherboard sector with the Z77 chipset launch. Now that Biostar has had this chance to improve today's newer chipset, we are going to be looking at a budget friendly chipset on the B85N-3D motherboard. This motherboard was developed on the mini-ITX platform, and, while this isn't Biostar's flagship motherboard, we are here today to put this Small Form Factor (SFF) motherboard to the test. The popularity of Small Form Factor motherboards has been on the rise, and Biostar's B85N-3D has been developed for customers looking for an HTPC or Media platform with a focus around 3D audio support. Will this motherboard be able to keep up with some of the high-end mainstream motherboards? Let's dive in and find out.



Newegg Hybrid Center Launch Party with AORUS

Sometimes being located in Southern California can have its benefits, and we’re not talking about the weather here. California being one of the larger states in the US houses most of today’s PC hardware and software companies. One of these companies is Newegg, and if you haven’t heard of Newegg; we have to say… you need to stop hiding under that rock. Newegg is one of the largest electronics e-tailers in the nation today. If you have ever thought about building a PC or looking for some of today’s latest gadgets, the one place you have probably searched is Newegg.com. Newegg houses some of the largest range of products available today in stock in their inventory and its where most of us PC enthusiasts turn to for some of the geek shopping. Today, at spur of the moment I was notified by a good friend of mine from NZXT (thanks Eric!) that Newegg was hosting a launch party at their new hybrid center. Newegg’s “will call” is located in City of Industry and has housed a space for many local consumers to be able to pick up their online orders; this allowed some of us locals to pick up the items and save some shipping costs if the item isn’t shipped for free. However, the space here was previously pretty empty and houses some chairs and seating in the waiting area and a counter to pick up your packages. But that wasn’t good enough for Newegg and now they have opened the “Hybrid Center,” which has some of today’s latest ...






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