• G.Skill Ripjaws KM780 MX Keyboard Review

    G.Skill Ripjaws KM780 MX Keyboard Review

    Packed with features and a futuristic look, the KM780 shows that G.Skill has done the research on what gamers and enthusiasts are looking for in a keyboard.

  • G.Skill Ripjaws SR910 Real 7.1 Gaming Headset Review

    G.Skill Ripjaws SR910 Real 7.1 Gaming Headset Review

    The headphones sound great and really excel at providing crisp clear surround sound in games. The design is very comfortable although larger than most

  • Do I Need to Watercool my PC? Fact or Fiction

    Do I Need to Watercool my PC? Fact or Fiction

    In this article I discuss the many sides surrounding a watercooled PC. As a hardware enthusiast I feel watercooling is the ultimate mod, it will give you the best performance and looks great

  • Fun Times Playing Fallout 4 and Sapphire Nitro R9 Fury

    Fun Times Playing Fallout 4 and Sapphire Nitro R9 Fury

    In this episode Darren gives his impressions from playing Fallout 4 and Dennis treats us with some Sapphire Nitro R9 Fury speculation.

  • Sapphire Nitro Radeon R9 Fury Video Card Review

    Sapphire Nitro Radeon R9 Fury Video Card Review

    For those looking to take advantage everything the R9 Fury has to offer do you sell yourself short and pick a vanilla reference card with only the basic features or do you hold out and see what the AMD partners can improve on.

  • G.Skill Ripjaws MX780 Gaming Mouse Review

    G.Skill Ripjaws MX780 Gaming Mouse Review

    I spent a couple weeks on the Ripjaws MX780 gaming Mouse to really get the feel for the shape. Long sessions of Battlefield 4 provided the foundation for my review and I can say I am using the MX780 as I work on this review comfortably.

  • Highlights from CES 2016

    Highlights from CES 2016

    In this episode Dennis gives us a debrief of the items he saw at the Consumer Electronics Show 2016

  • Consumer Electronics Show 2016 Gigabyte

    Consumer Electronics Show 2016 Gigabyte

    Gigabyte had a really cool meeting room setup this year. As you walked in they had the normal meeting area setup with many of the new and existing products on display nearby. In the center of the room was a broadcast station hosted by Hicookie doing a live overclocking show, both for people in the meeting room and online via their live broadcast.

  • Consumer Electronics Show 2016 Cooler Master

    Consumer Electronics Show 2016 Cooler Master

    Cooler Master has been a driving force in case design for years and they are back with an interesting concept they call the makers.

  • Consumer Electronics Show 2016 CyberPowerPC

    Consumer Electronics Show 2016 CyberPowerPC

    I have met with CyberPowerPC in the past and have been really impressed with their system designs, this year is no exception.

Top Review Categories

Tech News

  • Intel shuts down the cheap overclocking party

    Published: Friday, February 12, 2016 | By: Dennis

    I have resisted commenting on the story about how Intel is closing the door when it comes to overclocking non-K series processors.  At first I didn't think it was a big deal.  There has always been politics between what Intel wants and what Motherboard makers deliver and that interaction is shady at best.

    Thing is, the more I think about it the more concerned I get. 

    As the article states a loophole exists in the UEFI (BIOS) code that allowed people to overclock Intel CPUs using the BCLK (or Base Clock).  Fact is: you have always been able to do that since the inception of BCLK.  Some processors would clock better than others and I also noticed that some motherboard makers would disable BCLK adjustments either by removing the option or by causing the system to crash when you make a change.

    Overclocking with the BCLK is an advanced feature and will alter the clock of EVERYTHING and anyone who tells you different doesn't understand how it works.  Some CPUs respond well to BCLK adjustments and certain motherboards are less sensitive to being ot of frequency.  In those instances you can really make a system fly, mostly due to the higher multipliers used on these non-K CPUs.

    That’s basically a kinder way of saying: You shouldn’t be overclocking these CPUs, so stop it.

    Why this matters: Since December, overclockers have been able to run lower-priced CPUs above their rated speeds by cranking up the bclock setting on a chip. Intel normally charges more for such capability, so budget-minded overclockers were overjoyed. That party, though, is about to end.

    Intel is in the right to block overclocking.  The way they see it they gave us unlocked processors and have their accounting department cook the books to show it was a good thing.  Sure, they are expensive and 90% of people using them either never touch the overclocking controls or send everything back broken because they shoved a PBnJ into the socket pins and blew it up.  (yes, I just called them idiots).

    The part of this that bothers me the most is the future.  Without "some" kind of overclocking beyond what the K SKU can provide there is virtually nothing to further the PC hobby with the casual enthusiast.  Sure you can spend the bucks and buy the good stuff (highly recommended btw, 10/10 would do again) but that leaves nothing for the budget people to experiment with and thus removes any desire to actually buy the good stuff.

    I'm sure there is a deep rooted reason and for all this and anyone who has done a support call with Intel will know where cost savings have gone. 

  • SoundCloud could be forced to close after losing $44 million

    Published: Thursday, February 11, 2016 | By: Dennis

    This makes me sad and happy at the same time.  SoundCloud had a great service and allowed users to tag certain parts of a song with comments.  In a way it was Social Media for audio files but lacked any incentive for others to do the same. 

    Later I found out that they would charge content providers a monthly fee to host their content with really no recourse for the provider to make any income from it.  Sadly, I prefer the YouTube method, it is ad supported and super annoying but, doesn't cost the content provider anything and they get a cut of the profits. (No wonder people are flocking to get a cut of that)

    In a statement given to FACT, SoundCloud said that the figures “reflect those of a company in a strong growth stage,” which still has “over 18 million creators are using the platform, sharing well over 110 million tracks, and reaching 175 million monthly active listeners.”

    With that kind of traffic it makes you wonder why they would have to close over a lost 44 million.  It will be interesting to see what happens.

  • Throwback Thursday: The Foxconn Bloodrage X58 Overclocking Motherboard

    Published: Thursday, February 11, 2016 | By: Dennis

    Enthusiast computer hardware sees an ongoing juxtaposition between style and performance and there comes a time when you simply cannot live without them both.  The Foxconn Bloodrage is the epitome of this and is one of the rarest of unicorn hardware made popular by Nehalem and Gullftown overclocking. 

    So what made this motherboard such a great overclocker?

    Good manufacturer support and premium BIOS tuning are key ingredients when it comes to overclocking and Foxconn continued support for this motherboard long after the launch.  It also helped that Shamino was working for Foxconn at the time and his popularity in the overclocking circles added some much needed street cred for an otherwise unknown segment of Foxconn.

    Needless to say it was popular because the enthusiast community trusted the hardware and there was a lot you could do with the LGA 1366 line of processors.

    In terms of hardware the Bloodrage was fitted with a rather large 14 phase VRM and was one of the few boards to come with only 3 memory slots.  This decision proved crucial to enhancing memory performance despite the market demands of providing two memory banks. 

    Another key feature was the inclusion of multiple Quantum Force branded North bridge cooling options that replace the large aircooled unit.  Also for those dabbling with LN2 a handy Quantum Force branded evaporator pot was included which was an industry first. 

    Sadly the Quantum Force division of Foxconn was on a decline after the launch of the Bloodrage.  They had a few successful motherboard launches but decreasing margins and intense competition forced Foxconn to close their retail lines.  Shamino also left soon after to help EVGA launch their Classified line of motherboards and video cards.  These are now being driven by another famous overclockinger, K|ngp|n and are quite good.

  • Micron sees strong yield, high speeds on GDDR5X @ Extreme Tech

    Published: Tuesday, February 09, 2016 | By: Dennis

    Normally the development of a new memory technology would be of great interest however, reading this article really puts into perspective the impact that HBM memory has on the industry.

    HBM and GDDR5X are sufficiently different that there’s probably no practical way for either company to support both standards on the same silicon. AMD and Nvidia typically design a high-end SKU that they sell into 1-2 lower market segments by disabling parts of the chip. In order to use GDDR5X in the target market, the GPU vendors would need to design separate parts with a different memory controller.

    We’re not going to declare the standard dead; Micron’s early yields and high bandwidths are impressive. Right now, however, the industry appears set to adopt HBM2 as the premiere interface, with GDDR5 filling in at the midrange and below.

    This really is a huge problem (mostly for Micron).  Right now GDDR5 is being used on all video cards except for the AMD Fury.  These are using onboard HBM and aside from lackluster overclocking they are good.  NVIDIA has shown they can use HBM on their next generation of GPUs which leaves no good reason as to why anyone to use GDDR5 in the future.

    In away it also marks the end of extreme overclocking using video cards since memory has never responded well to being cold.

  • Intel’s next-generation chips will sacrifice speed to reduce power @ Extreme Tech

    Published: Tuesday, February 09, 2016 | By: Dennis

    The title says it all and honestly I'm surprised that it took Intel so long to decide they no longer need to build the fastest and most awesome processors on the market.

    I Dub thee "The Curse of the Console"

    Over the past few generations Intel has concentrated on making fast processors that were also power efficient, NVIDIA has done with same with their Maxwell GPU line and this really makes sense.  At the same time Intel has been developing a line of Atom processors designed for mobile products, they are slow but work well if you need basic computing and good battery life. 

    Given that we have reached a peak in desktop performance with very little to be gained from a processor upgrade it makes sense to concentrate on making them more efficient.  eg; what AMD has been doing.

    It’s strange to hear Intel, which spent decades boosting computer performance, talk instead about how it will integrate new technologies to build lower-power circuits, but it’s hard to fault the firm’s reasoning. Fifteen years ago, the computer industry was focused on giving users more performance to perform more advanced tasks. Today, discussions of doing more focus on battery life, interconnected devices, the Internet of Things, and the cloud. The old paradigm was a computer that could render, retrieve, or calculate data more quickly — the new paradigm is a system that accurately retrieves your calendar, communicates with your workout sensors, or handles your scheduling.

    There is a dark side to this announcement. 

    Hardware vendors have already been struggling to sell motherboards and with very low margins they have turned to adding more features to their products in hopes of creating that perfect combo that leads to more sales.  Well, the one thing that sells better than anything else is more performance and if you remove that there is really very little reason to upgrade, at least in the desktop space. 

    Mobile will love it.

  • Scythe Ninja 4 SCNH-4000 Heatsink Review @ Frostytech

    Published: Monday, February 08, 2016 | By: Dennis

    I have always liked the "Ninja" brand of coolers from Scythe and honestly it was 99% all the name, big grin smile

    While Scythe doesn't overtly market its heatsinks as "silent", the company has typically produced CPU coolers which do meet the quiet esthetic. In this review Frostytech will be testing out the new Scythe Ninja 4 heatsink - a 156mm tall boxy looking thermal solution which is designed for lower noise cooling. The Scythe Ninja 4 CPU cooler weighs ~900grams and has a footprint of around 145x130mm.

    Interestingly enough this cooler really looks like a shuriken with some interesting placements for the vertical heatpipes.

  • Phanteks Eclipse P400 Computer Case Review @ APH Networks

    Published: Monday, February 08, 2016 | By: Dennis

    As far as cases go the Eclipse P400 is rather plain.  Square shell, square window and rather unassuming front bezel.  What it does have going for it is everything else.  Shaded side window. black interior and a rather good layout inside.

    Phanteks' Eclipse P400 is a budget case with an MSRP of $69.99 USD. But will it be budget in features and build quality?

    Given the cost I can see why they went this direction.

  • The New DOOM Launches in May

    Published: Thursday, February 04, 2016 | By: Dennis

    Fire up your spreadsheets you'll need a new PC to play this hellish title.

    Maybe,

    After years in development, the reboot of the Doom franchise finally has a release date: May 13th. Publisher Bethesda announced the news this morning with a slick new trailer showing off elements of the shooter's grisly campaign. As you'd imagine, the trailer features lots of demons, lots of shotguns, and lots of demons blown apart by shotguns.

    I remember reading the DOOM game developers were going to build into the game so it could be modified like the original.  Of course when Id Software created the game the whole intent was to sell the game engine and the easier it was to create content the better it would sell.

    Win Win for everyone.

    Let's hope the new Doom isn't Skyrim 3.0, that would just make me sad.

  • Netgear Nighthawk X8 R8500 AC5300 WiFi Router Review @ Legit Reviews

    Published: Monday, February 01, 2016 | By: Dennis

    Yay, wireless router review.  Not sure about "just in time for holiday gift buying season" unless you think a faster WiFi it would increase your chances of "snuggle time".

    Today, we take our first look at Netgear’s flagship router, the Nighthawk X8 R8500 AC5300 WiFi Router. This router has hit shelves just in time for the holiday gift buying season and is priced at around $343 shipped from most major retailers. This price certainly reflects the standing of the Nighthawk X8 as the leader in the Netgear series of routers but our expectations of what this router brings to the table are high as this is one of the most expensive home networking devices we have looked at

    There is a good chance at more reliable pr0n downloads so... ya maybe this will work.

    You know for the holiday(s) tongue smile

  • Modding Fallout 4 for Image Quality & Immersive Gameplay @ [H]

    Published: Monday, February 01, 2016 | By: Dennis

    Modding is a huge part of the Elder Scrolls series with Skyrim sporting a TON of different additions.  Its not suprising that many of the mods available for Skyrim have also been ported over to Fallout 4, with some minor modifications.

    Fallout 4 has been out for several months and it is possible that you might find the image quality lacking overall. We take some of the most popular and highly downloaded image quality mods and find out how we can improve the environment in Fallout 4. We modify for visual improvements to give you more immersive gameplay.

    I'm not sure how immersive Fallout 4 can be but, I'd give it a shot.

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