Our Samsung 830 sample has some trick components, kind of like a race version of a street car. There aren't any titanium valves or exhaust, but the 830 does give us our first look at 20nm flash. The flash is of course made by Samsung and doesn't conform to traditional ONFi standards, but it is Toggle Mode and very fast. I suspect it won't be too much longer before we start to see other SSD manufactures taking a closer look at Samsung 20nm flash for their SSD products built on other SSD controllers. The last time we saw a SandForce SSD with Samsung flash was on the G.Skill Phoenix 100GB and that flash was left over from the Indilinx Barefoot era. Also new for us is the Samsung controller with three ARM cores. The controller connects to your system via SATA III (backwards compatible with SATA I and SATA II) so it's able to break the 285MB/s limits of SATA II when used with a native SATA III chipset. We've seen Samsung controllers in the past, some of the first SSD products we reviewed were based on Samsung controllers and they were very stable and very fast for their day. Since that time Samsung has played a large role in the OEM market providing whole products to all the major players.
The Thunderbolt Plus series comes in four different wattages ranging from 800W to 1200W, I will be taking a look at the smallest 800W unit. Looking at the power table, we can see that there is more difference between the Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt Plus units than features, every unit in the Plus series outputs all of it’s 12V power through a single rail which is fantastic news as it removes the pain of balancing rails, which may phase gamers a lot more than it would enthusiasts The unit outputs a total of 780W through its 12V rails which means that the unit is capable of providing almost all of it’s power to the all-important components such as graphics cards and CPUs when required. This unit can push 65A through a single rail which is a pretty hefty amount which requires a higher build quality to maintain stability- you can already see why this is the Plus version!
With AMDs' Llano and Bulldozer line releasing within 8 months of each other it was only a matter of time before we saw them merge. The main complaint about Llano was the inability to overclock anything. Well now we see 2 unlocked versions come into the market: the A8-3870k and the A6-3670k. With AMDs rich heritage in overclocking and GPUs what kind of performance can we expect out of these? Lets first take a look at the new line desktop Llano APUs.
ECS is letting Legit Reviews get a little hands on time with their Intel X79 motherboard offering. The ECS X79R-AX is part of the Black Extreme series of products from ECS. The ECS X79R-AX Intel X79 motherboard offers up a number of features all for a low price of $239.99. How will it stack up against our previous Intel X79 motherboards? Read on to find out! For the most part the ECS X79R-AX Intel X79 motherboard performed on par with our other Intel X79 systems. In most of our tests it was just below the performance level of the GIGABYTE GA-X79-UD7. In all fairness though, we are talking very small margins of maybe 1%-2% total, well within any margin of error in the benchmarks that we used today. The downside to that statement is that it was consistently on the bottom of the charts...
Asus has shown us another solid product with the DRW-24B3LT. This well-rounded drive can write to a recordable DVD at up to 24x and testing showed that it's not only fast, it can also produce consistently reliable discs. The inclusion of a white faceplate is a nice touch, and the software bundle is useful for many types of CD/DVD projects.
In this article Benchmark Reviews gets to evaluate a HTPC case from SilverStone's Grandia line; the GD06. With these smaller cases, space is always an issue. This is becoming increasingly critical as high definition content becomes ubiquitous. Not only do we want to view our new content in more pixels than our brain can even process, but we want to upscale the old content, or view it in 3D, and do it upside down, right side up and inside out. While you're at it give me dish, cable, recording, streaming, email, gaming and the kitchen sink. Oh...and it needs to fit in a single box on my entertainment system. Well, SilverStone is at least trying to provide the box, the rest is up to you. They've expanded on past models to fit even more powerful toys inside your HTPC. Read on to see how model SST-GD06B crams the performance you demand and puts it on your shelf.
The Prolimatech Panther is a CPU cooler with a tower heatsink, four heatpipes and a 120 mm fan with LEDs. It seems to be a smaller version of the Armageddon CPU cooler, which we already reviewed. Let's test it and see how well it performs.
In this review we will be looking at the Gigabyte X79 UD3 motherboard based on the Intel X79 chipset and supporting the new LGA2011 Sandy Bridge E processor. Gigabyte is offering three X79 motherboards in the Ultra Durable lineup starting with the UD3. The UD3 is the main level consumer motherboard designed to be a low cost entry level board with some teeth. UD5 is an enhanced level motherboard with similar specs but supporting twice as many memory slots and fancy blue heatsinks. UD7 is no longer the top level consumer motherboard but rather a board designed for the enthusiast overclocker and hardware zealot. All of these motherboards feature the core Gigabyte technologies including the 2oz copper PCB.
2011 has come to an end, but that doesn't mean technology is slowing down one bit. For the second year in a row the solid state drive market was dominated by SandForce. If you wanted to produce a drive that was capable of the highest performance possible, you needed to start with a SandForce SF-2200 Series controller and pair it with either ONFi 2.0 or Toggle Mode NAND flash. Looking out on the horizon we don't see SandForce trying to leap frog themselves early this year and we don't see why they would need to. Last month we looked at the latest from Indilinx (OCZ Octane) and Marvell (Corsair Performance Pro) and neither controller managed to muster the performance of the SF-2281. Sometime in the middle of 2012 we'll see Team SandForce manufactures move to 24nm Toggle Mode and maybe even 20nm IMFT flash, but neither of these technologies will bring a great deal to the table over the tried and true SF-2281 / synchronous flash combination we have today. The Patriot Pyro SE uses this magical combination to deliver amazing performance for general computing tasks and at an equally amazing price point.
A new chassis manufacturer brings a fresh new feel to the market with the AI-6B mid-tower chassis, but can it rival some of the bigger known brands?
The Overseer RX-I is the latest full-tower case from Thermaltake. However, its physical dimensions are similar to mid-tower products from other manufacturers. Unfortunately, there is no official standard to categorize a case as full-tower or mid-tower. According to Thermaltake, they are saying this case is a full-tower model because it has four 5.25" bays, eight expansion slots, and supports E-ATX motherboards, even though the typical full-tower case looks bigger.
AMD released recently its highest-end CPU with integrated video, the A8-3870K "Black Edition," which comes with its clock multiplier unlocked, giving you an extra overclocking option. In this review, we will compare it to the A8-3850 and to its main competitors from Intel: the Core i3-2105 and Core i3-2100.
On the review bench today PCSTATS tests the ECS H67H2-M Black Edition microATX motherboard, built on the Intel H67 B3-stepping chipset and supporting socket LGA1155 Intel 2nd Generation Core i3/i5/i7 2xxx-series 32nm Sandy Bridge processors. The Intel H67 chipset makes it possible to output HD video content via HDMI or Display Port to a big screen HDTV, or hook up dual LCD displays over Analog VGA and DVI monitor connections.
The soft touch finish and the clean mesh panel that goes from the font over the top is very stylish while allowing for excellent thermals. The top mounted 200mm fan port is a unique option and the bottom 120mm optional fan intake is a great touch. This case allows the mounting of up to five fans, with two being 200mm or four fans with three being 200mm variety. Quiet airflow should not be a problem in this case. We loved the USB 3.0 / USB 2.0 cables from the top I/O ports, what a ingenious design...
Although the company was established in 1989, G.SKILL is still not as familiar a name in the memory market as are Corsair, Mushkin, Kingston, and others. But in the past few years they've built their portfolio of memory (and memory is almost all they do) to encompass a broad selection of price/performance points ensuring that system builders and enthusiasts can find virtually anything they need. Today Benchmark Reviews tests G.SKILL's "mainstream" DDR3-1600 16GB quad-channel memory kit for Intel's X79 platform.
Yes, Silverstone has cases like the SG05 (SG06) but they can only support a GPU up to nine inches. And you also have the SG07, which can house much longer cards. But Silverstone isn’t one to leave customers without options. Their newest SFF casing is called the SG08. The SG08 can support a GPU up to 12.2 inches long which would include the Nvidia GTX 580. And there is no need to look for a power supply as the SG08 comes with a 600 watt power unit.
It's a fact that has proven itself over and again: technology shrinks. Even for performance oriented enthusiasts, it isn't always better to "go big or go home." In fact, the more technology shrinks, the more useful it becomes. Consider that the first commercially available computer's CPU and memory was 14' x 8' x 8' and weighed 29, 000 LBS (UNIVAC I)! Sixty years later and your smart phone occupies just 3/8" x 3" x 2" of space, weighs just over 4 ozs, and runs at 1500Mhz. Today, and in the spirit of shrinking technology, Benchmark Reviews investigates the SilverStone SST-PS07B mATX mini-tower computer case.
The powerful socket LGA1155 Sandy Bridge processor may have the integrated graphics core, but it's the Intel H67 chipset which makes it possible to output HD video content via HDMI and Display Port to a big screen HDTV. The TH67XE can also support a couple LCD monitors for a cost effective dual screen office PC. The only thing this board really cannot do... is overclock.
Featuring very good performance levels thanks to its dual 130mm PWM fans, universal CPU compatibility and a smaller size than other similar performance units the latest Frio Advanced CPU Cooler by Thermaltake has but a single drawback, quite high noise levels especially at load.
Today, we will not be taking a look at their clothing line-up but one of their newest cases. The RX-I aka Overseer is a full sized chassis that is aimed purely at the gamer in us. From the future-like front facial to the interior opening for large video cards says I want to be a gamer rig. But what Thermaltake has done with the full-sized case is make it pretty inexpensive for the consumer. So, check out the review to see what you will get for about $120.
Following up on our Thermal Compound Roundup – December 2011 review, we are adding five more thermal compounds to our roundup, for a total of 55 different models from Akasa, Antec, Arctic Cooling, Arctic Silver, Biostar, Coollaboratory, Cooler Master, Coolink, Deepcool, Dow Corning, Enermax, Evercool, EVGA, Gelid, Glacialstars, Innovation Cooling, Masscool, Nanoxia, Nexus, Noctua, Phobya, Prolimatech, Scythe, Shin-Etsu, Spire, StarTech, Revoltec, Rosewill, Thermalright, Thermaltake, TIM Consultants, Titan, Tuniq, Xigmatek, Zalman, and ZEROtherm. In this review, we will determine if certain products are superior to others. We will also try another alternative thermal compound to see if it works.
The massive capacity of the Seagate GoFlex Desk 4TB USB 3.0 hard drive could probably store your entire media collection with room to spare - and with the USB 3.0 interface it can transfer it with lightening speed. The included software is more of a basic solution; if you want something a bit more robust you'll have to pony up $50 or find another third-party solution.
In addition to being a low profile silent media PC ready card, the Sapphire Radeon HD6450 Flex Edition video card also boasts triple DVI monitor support right out of the box. This is impressive for a sub $100 card, But what kind of performance can a $70 card really provide? See why this super cheap card packs features and performance that may just surprise you.
There are a few different small external hard drive solutions that are perfect for notebook and netbook users. These drives should be small enough to fit inside a laptop bag, but have enough speed and capacity under the hood to not slow you down. Western Digital’s MyPassport 1TB hard drive could be the answer you’re looking for. Not only does it offer a ton of storage, but comes in a small form factor and is equipped with USB 3.0 technology.
Today we're moving over to a HIS HD 7970 video card and since it follows the reference design and MSI have just released a new version of Afterburner that allows voltage adjustment on the new HD 7970, we figured it was time to see how the overclocking capabilities of the new card is. Before we cover the overclocking ability, the first thing we need to do is take a closer look at the package HIS has going on before we move in closer to the card itself. Once that's done we'll check out the specifications and how we went with overclocking. Then as always we get into the testbed and of course check out the performance of the card.
By doubling the available onboard SLC NAND Flash memory and by adding 50% more storage space capacity compared to the 1st generation the 2nd generation Momentus XT by Seagate is now a powerful mix between a 750GB 2.5” 7200RPM hard disk drive and an 8GB solid state drive.
The new DataGuardian USB 3.0 Flash Drive from Super Talent gives us the possibility to protect the data stored on it by locking its entire filesystem with a password; the user interface that pops up when the drive is inserted is user friendly and we can re-enter the password two more times if we got it wrong the first time.
In this review PCSTATS will be testing out Seagate's 2TB, 6Gb/s SATA III Barracuda XT hard drive. This 3.5" desktop hard drive features an increased 64MB onboard cache where other 2TB drives only have 32MB and it supports Native Command Queing (NCQ). The Barracuda XT is the performance oriented drive in Seagate's stables, a spindle speed of 7200RPM gives it a healthy maximum sustained data rate of 138MB/s.
The Cooler Master Cosmos II is definitely a case for those who won't settle for the run-of-the-mill. It is an extremely well thought out case that combines great convenience features with appealing aesthetics, and low noise/high performance cooling. In the end I have to agree with Cooler Master's assessment that it was "inspired by luxurious supercars".
AMD might have trouble keeping up with the competition in the CPU arena, but their acquisition of ATI allowed them to become a major player in the graphics world. AMD and NVIDIA regularly trade places in the "fastest video card" rankings, and while NVIDIA's been good holding down the title with its current high-end, the Fermi-based GTX 580, it looks as if AMD's new Tahiti-based Radeon HD 7970 will snatch the crown away...especially if it's a hot-rod, factory-overclocked video card like today's test subject: the XFX R7970 Black Edition Double Dissipation.
Seagate's Momentus XT is a 2.5" notebook drive of a half-Terabyte in capacity that stands out from the crowd because it contains 4GB of SLC NAND flash. The NAND flash is used as sort of a 'fast access repository' to store commonly used data, though at 4GB, the SSD portion of this hybrid drive accounts for only 0.8% of its total storage capacity. The two platter, 7200RPM Seagate Momentus XT posts an average read latency of 11.0ms, write 13.0ms. Seagate's 3Gb/s SATA II ST95005620AS drive retails for round $156 USD / £90 GBP and requires no special drivers or software.
One of the most unique SSDs to come to market in 2011 was the Corsair Performance 3 Series. The Performance 3 used a modified version of the Marvell SATA III controller to deliver high-speed SATA III speeds, but with a twist. The drive couldn't be slowed down due to a very aggressive garbage collection algorithm. This held true throughout the drive even when the drive was nearly full of data. The down side was the drive wasn't as fast at peak performance when compared to other Marvell based SSDs like the Crucial m4 and Intel 510 Series, but for users who ran their drives with 50% or more capacity the Performance 3 proved to be faster than all competing Marvell products on the market. Corsair now has a follow up product in the Performance family, the Performance Series Pro. We've had this drive in house for quite a while now to try and determine exactly what it is. The early marketing on this product gave us the impression that it was a faster Performance 3, but our testing proved that wasn't exactly accurate since the Performance Pro does slow down as data is added, just like the m4 and 510 Series Marvell drives...
We're big fans of Asus here at eTeknix, and we don't shy away from the fact, and will shout it from the roof tops. Asus make top quality, solid built products that do what they are set out to do, but when we look at their ROG products, it's a completely different ball game, as they do what they are set out to do and more. You've probably noticed that our test machines consist of a Crosshair V for AM3+, a Rampage III Extreme for X58, a Rampage IV for X79 and a Maximus IV Extreme-Z for Z68 and that's because they are some of the best boards around. Now if we focus on the Maximus IV Extreme-Z, you'll find it's one of, if not the most popular Z68 board on the planet and is aimed at all types of users, whether you want a basic overclock, an extreme overclock or if you are just a hardcore gamer, or even a mixture of these types of consumers.
Today we're not looking at a product for aviation or gunships, but the build quality of the RunCore Pro V SATA III looks the part. The Pro V SATA III is controlled by a SandForce SF-2281 controller and uses asynchronous flash for data storage. In an era when other companies have moved to plastic housings, RunCore has kept an aluminum drive case for robust construction and added visual appeal in systems with windows or displayed drive bays. Even now, almost a year since the SF-2281 was released, it's still the fastest solid state drive controller on the consumer market. There are many of these drives on the market, some with and some without synchronous flash. Unfortunately RunCore chose to use asynchronous flash with their Pro V 2.5" SATA III SSD, a move that we don't really agree with since RunCore doesn't offer a synchronous flash drive in their consumer lineup.
Kingston recently announced the Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 Flash drive that is designed for enthusiasts and gamers, and we have been dying to see how fast this drive really is. Kingston has this drive rated up to 225MB/s read and 135MB/s write! Read on to see what we think of this drive and then see what the benchmark numbers reveal about the 64GB drive that we got for testing. We've literally benchmarked and used hundreds of USB Flash drives over the years and we can say without a doubt that the Kingston DataTraveler 3.0 Flash Drive is the fastest that we have ever used. This drive is blazing fast and is certainly worthy of being part of the HyperX brand. Our testing showed that the Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 64GB Flash Drive was able to run at 246MB/s read and 161MB/s write in ATTO, which is well beyond the 225MB/s read and 135MB/s write speed ratings given by Kingston...
But like any other product offered to the consumer it was discounted. And if you are a CM fan boy and wanted a large case your choice was the CM Stacker until the HAX series was released. But now it is back and better than ever. Cooler Master has announced the Cosmos II and if you thought the original was big you have to check this one out. The original Cosmos measure 23.5” and this new beauty measures just over 4” taller at 27.7”. Size isn’t the only feature that the new Cosmos II has over the original. We be damned if you think we are going to spill all the goodies in the introduction.
In computer cases, it's a constant battle between price, function, and style-- as the saying goes, "Pick any two". There are any number of very servicable cases available at $100 or less; if you have $150 in your case budget, you can choose from some excellent full tower cases; and if you have $250 to spend on a case, you can get almost any combination of function and style you could ever want. Beyond that are the super-premium cases, and Cooler Master's latest entry in this field is so special the company calls it an "ultra tower". Benchmark Reviews takes a look to see if the Cooler Master Cosmos II case deserves this designation.
Cooler Master is known for some edgy cases that hit the sweet spot for gamers looking to have aggressive styling in their rig. The Cosmos S was very popular but it was released back in 2007 which means: Time For an Upgrade. Meet the Cosmos II Ultra Tower. Legit Reviews gets an early sample to inspect to see if it lives up to its predecessors legacy. At first glance the COSMOS II looks very similar to the original case as it has the top and bottom rails still, but beyond that it is very different. For one thing it is bigger in all dimensions with the original Cosmos at 10.47"(W) x 23.54"(H) x 24.72" (D) but the new and improved Cosmos II Ultra Tower stands a whopping 13.5"(W) x 27.7"(H) x 26.1"(D). This is larger than most cases classified as a Full Tower which is why Cooler Master came up with the Ultra Tower category...
The X79-UD5 from GIGABYTE also marks the last of our X79 boards that we received at launch, bringing the total to 12 X79 motherboards since the launch of the new high end chipset from Intel. We've got more boards on the way, but they'll be slightly delayed. For now we'll be finishing our massive X79 motherboard run with the X79-UD5. There's not much more that really needs to be said; we should all be pretty comfortable when it comes to knowing the new chipset from Intel, so let's just get stuck into the package of the board. Once we've done that we'll move onto the motherboard itself, jump into the fancy new 3D BIOS that GIGABYTE are using before we cover the overclocking side of things alongside the performance of course.
The Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3-iSSD motherboard is a socket 1155 platform that can be installed with 2nd Generation Intel Core i3/i5/i7 2xxx-series 'SandyBridge' processors. Built around the Intel Z68 Express chipset, the board takes up to 32GB of dual channel DDR3-1066/1333/1600/1866/2133 memory (4GB for 32-bit OS's) in four DIMM slots. Extreme Memory Profiles (XMP) are supported.
With the introduction of Intel's X79 Express chipset, enthusiasts must now consider quad-channel memory kits, and vendors like Kingston are rushing to assert themselves in this new market. This 1600MHz, 16GB kit runs fairly relaxed timings of 9-9-9-27 and at under $100 represents the lower end of Kingston's "HyperX" line of enthusiast memory. Benchmark Reviews tests it against lower-latency 1600MHz kits as well as Kingston's own ultra-high performance 2133MHz kit in this review.
The E30200A DDR3 from Exceleram are some really affordable 8GB memory modules that we can use in case we are running lots of virtual machines, Ramdrives or other memory-consuming applications. These are not too overclockable, so the maximum stability we could obtain only at 11-11-11-30, 1600Mhz, by running with two out of four sticks.
The introduction of Intel's X79 chipset with its quad-channel memory controller coincides nicely with historic lows in memory prices. Corsair's recently introduced "Vengeance" line of peripherals includes products as diverse as headphones, mice, and even memory. Representing a lower-cost alternative to their "Dominator" memory line, Vengeance memory is offered with both high and low profile heat spreaders and several different speeds and timings. Benchmark Reviews tests the 1600MHz C8 16GB quad-channel low profile Vengeance kit against an assortment of other memory in this test.
The Hitachi Touro Mobile Pro USB 3.0 external drive provides portable storage for all your photos, movies, music and documents. Are you also looking for cloud storage for your most critical files? If you grab a new Touro Mobile Pro external drive from Hitachi you get 3GB of free cloud storage! Legit Reviews plugged in the 750GB sleek USB 3.0 drive into one of our test rigs to see how well it performs. Hitachi sent us the 750GB version of the updated Touro Mobile Pro external backup drive that provides both local storage and includes 3GB of free cloud storage just by installing their backup software that is pre-installed on the drive itself. The Pro model upgrades the drive speed from the Touro Mobile from 5400 RPM to 7200 RPM and is only offered with a USB 3.0 interface for maximum performance...
Danger Den's Q20 is all acrylic, except for the assembly hardware and a few components of the build. When assembled, the Q20 is 20.75" tall, 7.3" wide and 18.2" from front to back. Depending on the piece of acrylic in question, Danger Den uses a mix of thicknesses from a little over 4mm on the thinnest pieces and near 9mm on the structural components. The list from Danger Den also shows his chassis will accept an ATX PSU and motherboard, but the motherboard tray does have the mounting holes and pre-threaded acrylic to accept Micro-ATX boards as well. All of the cases ship in base form with room for four 3.5" hard drives and the mounting on the motherboard tray for three 2.5" drives. From here we start to add optional ways of purchasing the chassis.
In the more recent years and with the digital age now more mainstream than ever, personal computers are used more and more for home entertainment centres. This has in itself opened up a whole new new sector to the HTPC market, in the past a HTPC was typically a low power machine that played video content with out any real demand placed on the system. The modern HTPC however demands more with the streamlining of high definition content. No longer will a budget all in one board with onboard graphics cut the mustard. Discrete graphics are being called for and this poses a problem with a majority of HTPC designs that can only occupy low profile expansion cards. Today we get the chance to look at Silverstone's new Alpha male in their Grandia HTPC line up, the GD06. As with the majority of the Grandia range the design has been fine tuned and refined to give the best performance and design, improving what the consumer needs & likes and taking out what they don't - such as the small LCD panel on the front.
A great option for people with those massive coolers, the Vengeance LP kit is a great little series from Corsair and today we'll be checking out the PC3-12800 kit. If you've seen the Vengeance LP kit before in its Dual Channel form, you're not going to see anything too different here. We've got a fairly basic heatsink on offer and that's really to do with the fact that the kit is of course a Low Profile one. If you wanted a heatsink that looked a little fancier or larger, you've got the option with the typical non LP Vengeance RAM that we've looked at previously. Moving in closer, we get a better idea of what's going on with each side of the RAM. One side has our Vengeance LP logo while the other a sticker on it that gives us the model number along with the main specifications of the RAM we're dealing with. The timing side of things is probably one of the more impressive areas on the kit as we can see from the model number that we're dealing with a CL8 kit. The exact timings coming in at 8-8-8-24-1T @ 1.5v and these are very strong timings.
If you can't afford to jump onto the 80Plus Platinum wagon and purchase one of the few power supplies with that certification currently in the market then you should really consider taking a look at the Golden Green 1000W 80Plus Gold certified power supply by Super Flower since it really combines excellent performance at a very attractive price point.
That is when the new low profile Sapphire HD Radeon 6670 comes into play. This card is capable of playing back awesome video with the clearest of audio and at the same time can even game (well to a certain extent). But what most of you will like is what I mention in the first sentence of this paragraph, this card is a low profile single slot unit that can be placed in almost any rig.
The ST4 USB 3.0 Flash Drive product from Super Talent comes with an aluminum body and succeeds to deliver excellent read speeds; on the drive we will also find the Fnet TurboFlash USB application, which is meant to boost the transfer speeds even more.
The Fractal Design Arc Midi comes head first into the mid-tower PC case market. Some great things have been imported from Sweden over the last few years in pop culture. Fractal Design makes way to continue the trend in PC parts such as cases. Let's see how the Fractal Design Arc Midi holds up compared to others in the $100 USD price range. The Fractal Design Arc Midi easily does its job. It also is very much a good value of features in a minimalistic look of a mid-tower case. I do like how the case is aesthetically clean from the outside. This continued inside by just looking out how the internal wiring was routed through the case...
The Radeon 6950 is classed as one of the best bang for buck cards on the market, giving a good balance of performance while keeping a few pennies in the bank at the same time. Due to this, it instantly became a hit with consumers and they flocked out to buy them in abundance. Today we have a Radeon HD 6950 from our good friends at Club3D. It may look standard, but it is basically identical to their patented CoolStream card, but comes with Battlefield 3 included. CoolStream is the cooling technology behind Club3D's graphics cards, and as we've seen in other reviews of their cards, it really is a great cooling solution, so we're eager to see how this card performs.
We've absolutely powered through a bunch of ASRock motherboards recently. First we checked out the ASRock X79 Extreme4 which came in at an awesome price point. From there we checked out the mATX version, the ASRock X79 Extreme4-M. Today, though, it's all about the new high end board from the guys at ASRock, the X79 Extreme9. Everything about the X79 Extreme9 seems to be big and the big box is where we'll be starting today. Once we've done that we'll move inside the box to see what ASRock is offering us with the X79 Extreme9 before we move onto the motherboard. Once we've done that we'll get into the BIOS to see how that looks before we check out the testbed, cover overclocking potential and finally see the performance the X79 Extreme9 has to offer us.
Being part of the Redline series, we instantly know that this is aimed as a performance memory kit and we all know that nothing means more performance than a sexy red heatsink. This is the first time I've seen the Ridgeback heatsink that Mushkin are using here and I find myself thoroughly impressed with the quality of it. What I like the most is probably the fact that it's screwed together; these days most heatsinks are simply held in place via some thermal tape on the memory ICs. Instead we can see that Mushkin opt for a much more sturdy option with the screws which helps make for a great feeling kit. On the left hand side we can see that the kit is a PC3-17000 one which means it comes in at 2133MHz DDR. Next to that we have the timings which come in at 9-11-10-28-1T @ 1.65v. CL9 2133MHz DDR memory is fairly common and it seems to be that sweet spot for people who want performance RAM without jumping to 2400MHz DDR which carries with it quite a price hike.
With the recent attention shift to closed loop CPU water cooling, air coolers are starting to move out of the limelight. But, the fact is, good air coolers still offer features that water coolers are not able to. That is exactly what Cooler Master has done with their newest CPU air cooler, the GeminII S524. Rather then compete directly with the new behemoth coolers, the GeminII shifts its focus from simply cooling the CPU to also cooling nearby components. Read on to find out if that will be enough to keep the competition at bay.
Thanks to excellent build quality and an 80Plus Platinum Certification the latest Platimax 1200W power supply unit by Enermax is not only future-proof but it also produces rock solid rail stability, top of the line electrical efficiency and near inaudible noise levels.
AMD has officially launched the Radeon HD 7000 series of graphics cards with the introduction of the companies new flagship single GPU graphics card, the AMD Radeon HD 7970. We put the AMD Radeon HD 7970 to the test on with an Intel Core i7-3960X on the Intel X79 platform with PCI Express 3.0 enabled to see how this card performs. We also overclock it as far as we could to see what the Radeon HD 7970 can do! As good as the performance is with the stock clock speeds of 925 MHz core and 1375 MHz memory the true beauty of the Radeon HD 7970 was found when it was overclocked. We were able to push the card all the way up to 1165MHz core and 1625 MHz, which increased the performance of the card by over 20% in the benchmarks. With the Radeon HD 7970 overclocked to the max it was able to compete with the AMD Radeon HD 6990 OC and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590. It's nice to see the flagship single GPU card of the current generation flirting with the dual-GPU behemoths...
Last week we attended a conference call from AMD. Subject of the day was the new 7 series of the Radeon HD videocards. First one from the new 7900 Series is the flagship in single GPU configurations, the Radeon HD 7970. Please be aware this is only the presentation based on the official slides, the actual review will folllow soon here at Madshrimps. Let's see what the new high end AMD cards have to offer.