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  • Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4 2400MHz @ PureOverclock

    Published: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 | By: Dennis

    Darren and I talked about these modules in the latest podcast episode [Orange and Black Attack Stack, Custom Watercooling and The Beast].  Of course the modules in the podcast were the Elite's and the review is looking at the Sport, however the underlying chips are likely the same.

    The Ballistix performance series memory has proven popular for their stock performance, overclock-ability, quality and the ever changing style employed by Crucial.  We are looking at the latest addition to the Ballistix family, the Ballistix Sport LT. These should land right between the Sport models and the higher end Elite kits, hopefully netting us the best of both worlds, tighter timings and high clocks.

    These modules are the taller "tactical" style with grey metal heatspreaders and ridge vents.  A bit dated given that nobody is doing military theme motherboards anymore but, the specs look good for a 2400Mhz module kit.

  • AMD’s FX-8320E: The Right Answer For The Gamer On A Budget? @ Techgage

    Published: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 | By: Dennis

    A bit of an older article but Techgage brings up an interesting question.  Can you really game on an AMD FX processor?  I already know the FM2+ based boards make good low in gaming rigs but for the cost it always seems like Intel is the better choice.

    Released this past fall, AMD’s FX-8320E processor promises to deliver a lot of processing power for those on a budget. It sports eight cores, and as a Black Edition, its overclocking capabilities are unrestricted. But is that enough to make this the best go-to budget processor, especially for gamers?

    AMD based systems have several things against them, the first being the aging motherboard supply.  Sure you can find a AM3+ motherboard but for a long while nobody had them stocked and what is available aren't all that special.  The second is that even though the proc has 8-cores they are generally slower than Intel cores and thus have slower performance in DX9 based games. 

    Of course, DX11 is a different story. happy smile

  • Gigabyte X99-UD4 Motherboard Review @ ThinkComputers

    Published: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 | By: Dennis

    I actually like how you can get many of the top-end features on a mid-range motherboard.  Of course things like that really eat in to the profit margins but that is what people want these days.

    When it comes to X99 motherboards we have taken a look at boards from ASUS, MSI, ASRock and EVGA. The company not on that list is Gigabyte and today we are getting our first look at one of their X99 motherboards. The X99-UD4 is set to be a more affordable motherboard in their X99 stack and is not really aimed towards gamers or overclockers, but offers a great set of features any user will appreciate. The board is part of the companies Ultra Durable line and features an all digital power design, 4-way graphics support, dual M.2 slot, SATA Express support, Intel Gigabit LAN, and the companies AMP-UP audio solution. Did I mention the board lights up too? Let’s get the board on the test bench and see if Gigabyte has a winner on their hands.

    I'm hoping to get more X99 motherboards in for review, they really are an untapped market.

  • MAINGEAR Ships World’s First X99 Small Form Factor Gaming Systems

    Published: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 | By: Dennis

    Blazing fast, 8 core processor performance now available in compact PCs, including Potenza, DRIFT and TORQ Super Stock editions

    Kenilworth, New Jersey – April 10, 2015 – MAINGEAR, an award-winning PC system integrator of custom gaming desktops, notebooks, and workstations, unveils the world’s first lineup of high-performance compact mini ITX based gaming systems with Intel’s X99 chipset Intel Core i7 extreme edition processors.

    Designed to deliver unmatched performance in full-sized desktops, Intel’s X99 chipset is now available in Super Stock editions of the compact POTENZA with VRTX cooling, the console-sized and STEAM ready DRIFT, and the fully custom liquid-cooled ultra-compact TORQ.  Each desktop is fully customizable, comes standard with liquid cooling, and is available in MAINGEAR’s true automotive paint finishes.

    “Our selection of compact gaming beasts with the X99 and extreme edition processors are roadsters with the power and performance of V8 engines,” states Wallace Santos, CEO and Founder of MAINGEAR.  “Our goal is to provide the best in computer gaming and our selection of world’s first small form factor X99 desktops proves that MAINGEAR is still the leader.”

    The X99 chipset delivers massive gaming output in a small form factor by supporting up to the Intel i7 5960X 8 core hyper threaded processor and ultra-fast DDR4 memory.  It is compatible with all Haswell-E Intel Core i7 processors with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, enables overclocking for even faster speeds, and features an array of speed boosting features designed to maximize performance.

    MAINGEAR’s compact line of gaming systems with Intel’s X99 platform is now available at www.maingear.com/sffx99.  For more information about MAINGEAR’s lineup of high performance gaming units, visit www.maingear.com.

    ###

    About MAINGEAR
    MAINGEAR is a high performance PC system integrator that offers custom desktops, notebooks and workstations.  Each system is hand crafted for precision performance and uncompromised quality, and has won multiple Editors' Choice awards from publications such as PC Gamer, Hot Hardware, PC World, Maximum PC, Computer Shopper and more. With a passion to build the best and most innovative high performance computers, MAINGEAR sets the standard among system integrators.

  • Scythe Ashura SCASR-1000 Heatsink Review @ Frostytech

    Published: Thursday, April 09, 2015 | By: Dennis

    Love the logo on Scythe products, hate their fans.

    On the review bench today we have Scythe's Ashura heatsink; this is a fairly standard tower cooler equipped with a 140mm fan. The Ashura cooler stands 162mm tall, making it suitable for full tower cases where AIO liquid coolers are often too bulky.

    This is actually a rather large tower cooler when compared to other more standard towers.  I find that this is done for one of three reasons.  1) everyone else is making big coolers, 2) need more heat capacity, 3) looking to make their coolers quiet

    Which one do you think they decided on. wink smile

  • Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4-3400 Review @ Hardware Canucks

    Published: Thursday, April 09, 2015 | By: Dennis

    Have you found yourself with a Gigabyte X99 SOC Champion and can't decide on what memory would go best with the motherboard?  Do you like limited edition products and don't mind paying for them?  Is there a grand burning a hole in your pocket?

    If so this memory kit from Corsair might be exactly what you are looking for.

    Corsair's $1000 Dominator Platinum DDR4-3400 Orange kit is the fastest currently on the market and it's meant exclusively for Gigabyte's X99 SOC Champion motherboard.

    Most enthusiasts would pick up this kit simply to color match their motherboard and ignore the 3400Mhz memory speed.  Overclockers on the other hand might actually find the super speed an easy way to buy some extra speed in their benchmarks.

    Dunno, either way a grand for memory is a little steep esp after spending a grand on a processor.

  • XSPC X20 420 Single Bayres/Pump Combo @ PureOverclock

    Published: Thursday, April 09, 2015 | By: Dennis

    I have been looking at building a custom watercooler again and am really amazed at how much things have changed.  In a way it seems like the innovation has been drained from the niche leaving only a few select brands to choose from.

    That isn’t likely to be a bad thing, just a bit of a change.  Kind of like this combo unit reviewed at PureOC

    With advances in pump, radiator, reservoir and fitting designs, things have gotten to the point where almost anyone can create and install a custom cooling solution specific to their system. XSPC is one of the handful of pioneering companies that made custom liquid cooling so commonplace today. The new X20 420 Single and Twin pump BayRes may save on space and and your hard earned money.

    I'm not sure I would ever go combo unless it was a bayres design.  They are compact and really are the best of both worlds.  Sad thing is, very few cases have 5.25" drive bays anymore.

  • Why The National Consumer Electronics Superstore Model Is Obsolete @ Forbes

    Published: Monday, April 06, 2015 | By: Dennis

    I noticed this story flipping through my google news feed, (Something that Hardware Asylum has been barred from contributing to, thanks again Google) and found this story at Forbes.

    The article takes a stab at why brick and mortar electronics stores are closing.  Case in point, Circit City and CompUSA both sold consumer electronics and they were forced to close.  Most would say that online shopping took away their consumers and they were forced to go out of business.  While I agree with that statement you can also add a lackluster selection of components and poorly trained staff.  Of course, with that being said, what about Best Buy, Frys and Microcenter? don't these places sell consumer electronics?

    And while online shopping (translation, Amazon,) has no doubt voraciously siphoned market share from physical stores on everything from computers to TVs, e-commerce isn’t the only reason consumer electronics no longer appears to work as a single product category at a national big box chain.

    Over the past 15 years, “There’s been a proliferation of competition, from mass retailers to highly specialized retailers, as more and more retailers are carrying electronics since it’s more important to consumers,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis, consumer technology, for market research firm The NPD Group, listing chains as diverse as Wal-Mart, Staples, Kohl’s, Big Lots and Costco, which have dramatically expanded their electronics assortments both in store and online.

    According to the article the solution is diversity.  Diversity to the extent of removing EVERY computer part from their stores OR stocking only cheap mainstream hardware.  The idea here is that consumers who actually want good stuff know where to get it leaving the computer illiterate and shoppers with no budget to buy whatever is cheapest item on the shelf.

    I was once asked the following questions
    - "Why there are no Overclockers in Boise Idaho?"
    - "Why doesn't anyone care about Overclocking in the US?

    I think this article answers the question and sadly having the US consumer electronics market is being driven by the Apple/Samsung hardware market model "Buy it, Break it then Buy Another" doesn't help.

    As hardware enthusiasts it is difficult to draw attention to the hobby in a market situation like this.  First of all without a common place to go (like a computer shop) it is difficult to know who in your area is interested in this stuff.  Furthermore since the target demographic is buying online there is no incentive for them to even bother going out or anyone pushing them to actually buy higher end hardware.  (I shudder to think there are kids out there who are proud of their Dell black boxes).

    The one positive is the role of the professional hardware reviewer.  Given that you cannot go down to the local computer shop to inspect a product in person you are left reading looking for reviews.  Most of these are written by "idiots" complaining about something they didn't understand and a few are the results of doing extensive searches to find the answers.  Either way, review sites will play a key role in this ecosystem and with any luck there are a few out there getting it right.

    I'll save my opinions on that topic for another rant. happy smile

  • Springtime is Boring for the Hardware Enthusiast

    Published: Thursday, April 02, 2015 | By: Dennis

    Springtime is one of the worse for PC hardware. Sure there might be a random awesome speed SSD released, "big whoop"   There might even be a video card out there so powerful it has been dubbed the GPU of Power, "meh, needs more VRM" and yes there is always LN2 but after you figure delivery and kneaded eraser invoices you have blown your wad and have nothing left for beer.

    I guess it might be time for something new, something totally fresh and new.  Something I haven't done in awhile.

    Watercooling.

    Seems I have one of those "S-Frame" cases and a closet full of hardware but nothing exotic enough in the cooling department to really make the case stand out.

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