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  • The end of games consoles according to Twitch Boss

    Published: Tuesday, March 24, 2015 | By: Dennis

    When it comes to gaming hardware there are two ways you can look at it. 

    The first perspective is from the game developer who sets out to build a game for the latest hardware and spends two years in development.  At launch the game runs great on the intended system and even better on a modern PC.  From this perspective do you need to upgrade your PC, No. 

    On the flip side looking at it from content consumers, aka gamers and companies building the hardware they are often annoyed at the development lag in games.  To them upgrading isn't because you need to but rather because something broke and the hardware maker no longer has parts to support it.  From this standpoint do you need to upgrade your PC to play modern games?  Again, No.

    The twitch co-founder claims that because of the long 7 year lifecycle of a game console that it will ultimlatly lead to the end of the gaming console completely.  Thing is, gaming isn't always about the hardware but rather the game itsself,  if the game is good and plays well on a console people will play it.  Likewise, if a game plays better on a PC then people will swing to that camp.  In fact, the only way to get games off a console is for game developers start building games that won't play on a modern console and is something they will never do.

    “The problem is, the seven-year upgrade lifecycle doesn’t work in the face of the two-year upgrade cycles for every other hardware platform,” he said. “It’s so intrinsically built into how consoles get manufactured and made and the full business model, that I’d be surprised to see another generation.”

    Shear, who co-founded the live video game broadcasting platform that now has more than 100m monthly users, suggests that future consoles will be more like set-top boxes: designed for a multitude of uses, and with a much shorter life cycle.

    The above quote (mispellings courtesy of The Guardian)  is pure speculation and is basically saying that eventually someone will create an affordable steambox or steam machine style computer that will eventually replace the console. (read: Syber Gaming style or BRIX style)  Chances are these game machines will be branded Xbox or Playstation however, the one thing that makes game consoles successful is the guarantee that when you buy a game for Xbox 360 or Xbox One it will be playable on those machines.  When you start changing the hardware around you lose that assurance.

  • The New Single GPU King Of The Hill: A Look At NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX TITAN X @ Techgage

    Published: Tuesday, March 24, 2015 | By: Dennis

    Seems I missed the Titan X train but, by the looks of it, the sampling of this new GPU was rather limited.  Despite this you can find plenty of preformance based reviews including this one at Techgage.

    Continuing its TITAN legacy, NVIDIA's GeForce GTX TITAN X gives the gaming world its latest drool-worthy top-end offering. With sights on 4K gaming, TITAN X gives us a sleek black card that boasts 3,072 CUDA cores and an absurd 12GB framebuffer on a 384-bit bus. Words are not needed - let's dive in.

    What is really amazing about the Titan X is that from a board design stanpoint it is basically a GTX 980 with super huge GPU.  It won't be long before we see ePower and gPower boards attached to them followed by reports of burned up Titans as they attempt for global world record overclocks with a chance that some hardware maker will offer them a job. happy smile

  • Bitspower THOR EIX99 Full Cover Water Block for EVGA X99 Classified/FTW at Modders-Inc

    Published: Tuesday, March 24, 2015 | By: Dennis

    I do hate email tracking links but the title of this review was good enough for me to get "captured" for marketing purposes.

    Water cooling is a great way to remove heat from PC components. There are various types of water or liquid cooling solutions available such as the popular All-in-One (AIO or Closed loop) units, DIY liquid cooling kits, as well as fully customizable water cooling loops. As the name implies, a custom loop option is highly configurable and allows users to

    In trying to find a good photo of this block combo I discovered that they make a good number of full coverage motherboard blocks, mostly for Asus and at least one for Gigabyte.  Sadly, I couldn't find one for the EVGA block so check out the review for more details.

  • ASUS STRIX GTX 960 DirectCU II OC Video Card Review @ [H]

    Published: Tuesday, March 24, 2015 | By: Dennis

    The GTX 960 is a great little chip for us mainstream gamers who might not need or can afford something "good".  The chip can deliver some amazing performance at the cost of a few visual effects and screen resolution,  HardOCP has posted their review of the Strix 960 DirectCU II OC version of the GTX 960. 

    Does the long name warrent any attention?

    For our GPU review today we have the ASUS STRIX GTX 960 DirectCU II OC, one of the highest factory overclocked GeForce GTX 960 that money can buy. We will compare it to the fastest overclocked Radeon R9 285 that we have at the Underground Bunker to see which reigns supreme at the $200 price point.

    I'm curious only because of the DirectCU cooler and promise of street cred.  Of course a custom PCB and enhanced VRM would be helpful however, none of that is photo documented in this review and as they say.

    Pics or it didn't happen.

  • Hardware Asylum Podcast now on Stitcher

    Published: Wednesday, March 18, 2015 | By: Dennis

    In a valiant attempt to get the Hardware Asylum Podcast out to as many enthusiast ears as possible I have been working to get the Podcast into syndication for easy consumption by the masses.  Of course the first step was to get a feed started with iTunes but, the iTunes directory is a fickle thing full of promise and heartache.

    The next step in syndication is discovery.  Over the past 50 episodes the podcast has enjoyed its fair share of listeners and I would like there to be more for the next 50.  With that, it is time to branch out and move up.

    Stitcher is a relatively new service that is similar to iTunes and covers a larger spectrum of shows and podcasts.  Unlike iTunes you can also discover shows naturally by browsing their online directory.

    Browse Stitcher's library of more than 25,000+ podcasts and radio shows. We'll help you discover shows you'll love. And you can listen to Stitcher on your iPhone, iPad, or Android.

    Of course the best part is that they have mobile apps available giving you an easy way to follow the Hardware Asylum Podcast and know exactly when a new show goes live.

    Check out the Hardware Asylum Podcast on Stitcher and let me know what you think!

  • 4Ghz Uncore on Gigabyte X99 Champion

    Published: Tuesday, March 17, 2015 | By: Dennis

    For those of you unfamilar with Haswell and Haswell-E there are three basic frequencies you need to deal with when attempting to overclock.

    • Core Frequency = which is Multiplier x Base Clock (BCLK)
    • Base Clock = This is the speed of everything and defaults to 100Mhz (eg the PCI Express frequency)
    • Uncore = This is the speed of the memory controller or you can call it the Northbridge frequency.

    Question is, why are these important?  Let's start with Base Clock as this is the speed of everything.  Basically changing the BCLK will increase core frequency, memory frequency, Unicore and even PCI Express.  Depending on motherboard quality you can sometimes get a decent overclock from this or it can spell disaster.

    For instance 30 x 105 = 3150Mhz (core) and 2133Mhz x 105 = 2239Mhz (mem).  Not bad for 5 extra mhz.

    If you are running a non K edition processor adjusting the BLCK is your ONLY overclocking option.  However, K and X edition processors offer a multiplier adjustment which opens up a whole new world and is how you reach 4.5Ghz on air.

    I have been messing around with the latest Gigabyte X99 SOC Champion motherboard and decided to do some memory overclocking to test out the new "OC" socket and was able to run my Core i7 5960X at 4Ghz Uncore by doing nothing more than locking some frequencies and adding some voltage.

    Now before you say "that aint no big deal" on most X99 motherboards they come with a traditional LGA 2011v3 socket that doesn't allow voltage adjustments for Unicore.  Without voltage your memory overclocking options rather limited and often stop with setting XMP and rebooting.  With the X99 Champion you can enable the extra CPU pins and get some rather substantial gains in memory overclocking, like this simple 4Ghz run I have posted here.

    Right now the system is running 4.5Ghz core with the memory clock set to 2200Mhz at 100Mhz BLCK.  I manually increased Uncore to 4Ghz and did some quick stability tests.  The Sandra results are shown above at 50GB/s and I got over 600fps in the Call of Duty benchmark.

    I'm sure 4Ghz isn't the limit and with any luck I can match Uncore with CPU Core or at least get somewhere close.  Unfortunately, I have noticed that I cannot enable XMP with this method or run my memory modules anywhere near their rated speed.  This could be an issue of temperature or a sub voltage I have yet to discover so I'll have to keep testing.

  • Noctua launches NH-L9x65 low-profile CPU cooler and NF-A6x25 PWM fan

    Published: Saturday, March 14, 2015 | By: Dennis

    Vienna, March 11th 2015 - Continuing its recent focus on premium grade cooling components for compact systems such as ITX based gaming or Home Theater PCs, Noctua today released its new NH-L9x65 low-profile cooler and a 4-pin PWM version of its popular NF-A6x25 60mm fan. While the latter adds PWM support for automatic speed control to the proven NF-A6x25 design, the NH-L9x65 is a taller, performance-enhanced version of Noctua's award-winning NH-L9 low-profile coolers.

    "Our NH-L9 coolers have become a default choice for customers seeking premium grade quiet coolers in the sub-40mm class, but with a height of only 37mm, their performance is inevitably limited", explains Mag. Roland Mossig (Noctua CEO), "The new NH-L9x65 provides the increased performance necessary to cool high end CPUs quietly while still offering excellent case and component compatibility."

    Due to its compact heatsink and the renowned 14mm thin NF-A9x14 PWM fan, the NH-L9x65 stands only 65mm tall (the same height as low-profile expansion cards), which makes it ideal for use in compact HTPCs or Small Form Factor cases that offer limited clearance for CPU coolers. With 65 instead of 37mm height and four instead of two heatpipes, the NH-L9x65 is more powerful than its smaller siblings yet retains their 95x95mm footprint, which guarantees 100% RAM and PCIe compatibility on Intel based ITX mainboards and makes the cooler more convenient to work with as it doesn't overhang near-socket connectors.

    Topped off with the professional SecuFirm2™ multi-socket mounting system for Intel and AMD, Noctua's renowned NT-H1 thermal compound and 6 years manufacturer's warranty, the NH-L9x65 fuses everything users have come to expect from Noctua's larger coolers into a compact premium package for space restricted systems.

    "With the trend towards highly compact, ITX based builds, 60mm fans are in demand again", says Mag. Roland Mossig (Noctua CEO), "Since more and more ITX mainboards offer PWM speed control on the case fan header or even multiple PWM headers, we're now providing a 4-pin PWM version of our popular, award-winning NF-A6x25 model."

    The new PWM version of the NF-A6x25 sports Noctua's custom designed NE-FD1 IC for fully automatic speed control via 4-pin fan headers and comes with a Low-Noise-Adaptor to reduce the maximum speed during PWM control from 3000 to 2300rpm. Its superb running smoothness, SSO2 bearing and Noctua's trusted premium quality make it an elite 60mm choice for the highest demands.

    Prices and availability
    The new models are currently shipping and will be available shortly. The manufacturer suggested retail prices are as follows:
    NH-L9x65: EUR 44.90 / USD 52.90
    NF-A6x25 PWM: EUR 14.90 / USD 17.90

    About Noctua
    Designed in Austria, Noctua's premium cooling components are internationally renowned for their superb quietness, exceptional performance and thoroughgoing quality. Having received more than 3000 awards and recommendations from leading hardware websites and magazines, Noctua's fans and heatsinks are chosen by more than a hundred thousand satisfied customers around the globe.

  • GIGABYTE Launches New X99 Champion Series Motherboards

    Published: Thursday, March 12, 2015 | By: Dennis

    Of course a day after I launch the Hardware Asylum Podcast about the Big XTU Challenge where I rag on the X99 SOC Force EOL I get this.. big grin smile

    City of Industry, California, March 6th, 2015 – GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards is proud to announce today the addition of 4 new high performance motherboards to their comprehensive Intel® X99 chipsets offering with the X99 Champion series. The new motherboards consist of the X99-Gaming 5P, X99-UD4P, X99-UD3P and the already famous X99-SOC Champion.

    “Since its launch in January, the GIGABYTE X99-SOC Champion motherboard has become the undisputed performance leader for X99 motherboards with over 30 top overclocking scores under its belt including 10 World Records, commented Henry Kao, Vice President of GIGABYTE Motherboard Business Unit. “With the launch of our latest X99 Champion series of motherboards, we wanted to extend the same levels of performance leadership including support for the world’s fastest DDR4 memory to our X99 G1™ Gaming and Ultra Durable series motherboards.”

    DDR4 memory modules are available at a stock frequency of 2133MHz, but memory vendors encode XMP profiles which can automatically modify the frequency and timings of the supported memory modules to work in par with your CPU. With the X99 Champion Series, GIGABYTE is offering a tested and proven platform that ensures proper compatibility with profiles up to 3200MHz, and exclusively 3400Mhz for the X99-SOC Champion.

    Paired with DDR4 memory such as the Corsair® Limited Edition Orange Dominator® Platinum kit, which was custom designed for the GIGABYTE X99-SOC Champion motherboard, users can take advantage of better responsiveness during gaming and faster operation execution in memory demanding works applications.

    GIGABYTE X99 Champion series motherboards also provide support for RDIMM memory which allows users to use greater density memory sticks up to 16GB per stick. This paired with a range of exciting features such as the GIGABYTE’s Amp-Up Audio, Killer™ E2200 or Intel® gigabit Ethernet controller and unique GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ features means that users can truly build a PC that brings them exceptional performance and durability.

    Genuine All Digital Power Design
    GIGABYTE X99 Champion series motherboards use an all-digital CPU power design from International Rectifier® which includes both digital 4th Generation digital PWM Controller and industry-leading 3rd Generation PowIRstage™ controllers. These 100% digital controllers offer incredible precision in delivering power to the motherboard’s most power-hungry and energy-sensitive components, allowing enthusiasts to get the absolute maximum performance from their next generation Intel® Core™ processors.

    IR Digital PWN and IR PowIRstage® ICs
    This new generation of IR® digital power controllers and PowIRstage® ICs feature Isense technology, which provides more precise current sensing accuracy. This helps evenly distribute the thermal loading between the PowerIRstage® ICs, preventing the overheating of each individual PowIRstage®, resulting in longer lifespan and better reliability.

    Server Level Chokes
    GIGABYTE X99 Champion series motherboards features Server Level Chokes.

    • Server level reliability
    • High current capacity
    • New design reduces heat created by power loss and provides efficient power delivery to CPU VRM area.

    Long Lifespan Durable Black™ Solid Caps
    GIGABYTE X99 Champion series motherboards integrate the absolute best quality solid state capacitors that are rated to perform at the maximum efficiency for extended periods, even in extreme performance configurations. This provides peace of mind for end users who want to push their system hard, yet demand absolute stability.
    6x (30?) Gold Plating
    GIGABYTE X99 Champion series motherboards come equipped with a 30 micron thick gold plating, 4 PCIe slots and over the DIMM slots, which means that enthusiasts can enjoy better connectivity, absolute reliability and longevity for the diverse connectors overtime, without having any concerns about corroded pins and bad contacts.

    Creative® Sound Core3D™ Quad-Core Audio Processor Plus Creative SBX Pro Studio Audio Suite
    Exclusive to the gaming motherboard of the X99 Champion series, the X99-Gaming 5P features the world’s first Quad-Core Creative Sound Core3D Audio Processor plus Advanced Creative SBX PRO STUDIO Audio Suite. SBX Pro Studio™ suite of audio playback technologies delivers a new level of audio immersion. Realistic surround sound, the ability to clearly hear specific sounds in a gaming environment are just a few elements of SBX Pro Studio that enhances the overall experience, be it movies, games or music.

    Realtek ALC 1150 115dB SNR HD Audio with Built-In Reat Audio Amplifier
    Featured across the other Champion motherboards is the Realtek ALC1150, a high-performance multi-channel High Definition Audio Codec that delivers an exceptional audio listening experience with up to 115dB SNR, ensuring users get the best possible audio quality from their PC.

    The ALC1150 provides ten DAC channels that simultaneously support 7.1-channel sound playback, plus 2 channels of independent stereo sound output (multiple streaming) through the front panel stereo outputs. Two stereo ADCs are integrated and can support a microphone array with Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC), Beam Forming (BF), and Noise Suppression (NS) technologies. The ALC1150 incorporates Realtek proprietary converter technology to achieve Front differential output 115dB Signal-to-Noise ratio (SNR) playback (DAC) quality and 104dB SNR recording (ADC) quality.

    Killer Networking
    The GIGABYTE X99-Gaming 5P motherboard features the Killer™ E2200, a high-performance, adaptive gigabit Ethernet controller that offers better online gaming and online media performance compared to standard solutions. The Killer™ E2200 features Advanced Stream Detect technology, which identifies and prioritizes all network traffic to ensure important applications that require high-speed connectivity are prioritized over less important traffic.

    Intel® GbE LAN with cFos Internet Accelerator Software
    Additional GIGABYTE X99 Champion series motherboards feature cFos Speed, a network traffic management application which helps to improve network latency, maintaining low ping times to deliver better responsiveness in a crowded LAN environment. cFos Speed works in a similar way to an OS driver, monitoring network traffic packets at the application layer, allowing optimization and improved network performance for specific applications.

    GIGABYTE X99 Series Motherboard Models*

  • Thrustmaster Hotas Warthog Review @ ocInside

    Published: Wednesday, March 11, 2015 | By: Dennis

    I'm posting this because. reasons. wink smile

    Some older gamer might still remember it ... one of the most famous joystick in the world was the Atari CX-40 - an orange button with a black handle.  Nearly 30 years later, the technology has made great progress so that we can proudly present the latest generation of joysticks today - the Thrustmaster Hotas Warthog.  In fact, it is a set of two devices.  As the name implies, HOTAS means Hands On Throttle And Stick.  So take your seat, bring your seat in an upright position, fasten your seat belt, stop drinking and smoking.  We are now taking off !

    Last time I played a game without a mouse and keyboard was back in the Mechwarrior 2 days and when I was done with that title all of the gear went into a box never to be seen again.  Not sure I would be in the market for a "Thrustmaster" but, I can't speak for everyone. happy smile

  • ZOTAC ZBOX EN760 Plus Review @ Vortez

    Published: Wednesday, March 11, 2015 | By: Dennis

    Zbox might be the future, still doesn't have the raw horsepower of a desktop but can rival any portable computer out there.

    EN760 Plus is a mini-PC which features a dual-core Intel processor, 8GB DDR3 and NVIDIA’s GTX 860M. Along with these components there are also many features which gamers and enthusiasts are likely to find useful. On paper EN760 Plus appears to be quite a capable machine, but will it be able to handle everything we throw at it?

    I have seen demos of these machines playing high-end triple A titles but never bothered to check the specs.  Seems like an important thing to do, maybe next time.

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