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  • 10 Years of

    Published: Sunday, March 01, 2015 | By: Dennis

    I prolly shouldn't promote other hardware review sites this way but Rob Williams is a good friend of mine and I'm happy to see that he, and his website, is still alive and kicking after 10 long years.

    To help celebrate the occasion it seems the familar yellow/orange site color has been replaced with a nice blended shate of blue and they may have some hardware promotions in the near future.

    Rob, hats off buddy!  May there be 10 more!

  • Five GeForce GTX 960 cards overclocked @ The Tech Report

    Published: Sunday, March 01, 2015 | By: Dennis

    I had this article in the news inbox for about a month now wondering if I should post it with some comments or hit the /dev/null button and be done with it.  As you can see I decided to give it some love and see what some people thought of the conclusions.

    What I'm saying is that I should have the basics of this gig down pretty well by now. One would think.

    Yet my attempt to cover a bunch of GeForce GTX 960 cards has left me flummoxed. I can't seem to get my head around how to approach it. Part of the problem is that I already looked at these five different flavors of the GeForce GTX 960 in my initial review of the GPU. I tested their power draw and noise levels, and I compared their performance. I then resolved to do a follow-up article to look at the individual cards in more detail, along with some overclocking attempts.

    Seems simple, right? Yet as I sit here and attempt to pull together this article, I'm struggling to make it work.

    Basically the article was about Scott's quest to figure out what GTX 960 was the best and figured that overclocking would be the best way.  As many of you know low end GPUs often are sold factory overclocked and you'll be hard pressed to find a "reference" design anywhere.  That being said there is very little to compare against and given that each card is tuned for its factory overclock pushing the cards "further" isn't going to get you much.  

    Read: they are already maxed out.

    I'm not surprised that Scott came up with nothing for his conclusion and basically said buy what you like.  Now, as an overclocker I know that GPU and Memory quality a HUGE factors in pushing factory overclocked cards because they are already maxed out.  Likewise PCB design helps the tuning process and can benefit if you wish to void your warranty and really see what they are capable of.  

    Bottom line: Most people looking to buy a GTX 960 are doing so because they cannot afford a GTX 970 and likely won't do anything to the card aside from installing it and maybe blowing out the dust.  This begs the question of "Why?" and it comes down to competition on the shelf.  EVGA has the highest core clock, lets buy that one, oh ASUS is the smallest, lets buy that one, wow MSI has a light up dragon, omg I need that.

    These companies are giving you good performance on the dollar and the lack of performance gain from overclocking is actually a good thing, it means they actually did their job and delivered.

  • GIGABYTE GA-X99M-Gaming 5 Review @ Vortez

    Published: Friday, February 27, 2015 | By: Dennis

    I do like me some Gigabyte motherboards and I'm not just saying that cause I review them but, rather that they are pretty good.

    (Wait I guess I literally just said that) doh!

    Today, we get to look at the latest LGA2011-3 Socket X99 motherboard from GIGABYTE only this time it is far from the monolithic SOC Force we reviewed upon release. This time the motherboard is much smaller but still encompasses the Gaming-G1 branding so it will be interesting to see if this mATX motherboard still has what it takes to house Intel's finest range of processors or it is simply a diminutive but basic motherboard hoping to draw in consumers on the back of previous success and clever marketing.

    Best thing about this motherboard is that it is tiny, MicroATX tiny and supports the new LGA2011v3 processors and single banks of quad channel DDR4 memory.  The board also comes with Gaming G1 features assuming you buy into the marketing suggesting you need them for some reason. wink smile

  • ASUS X99-DELUXE Motherboard Review @ Techgage

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

    Typically the Deluxe motherboards are feature packed and often quite stable.  There is no reason why the X99 variant should be any different.

    The name “DELUXE” is often used on products that don’t quite deserve it, but when it comes to ASUS’ motherboards, the company makes sure that isn’t the case. Given that, it’s little suprise that the X99-DELUXE does in fact deserve its name, as it doesn’t just offer a slew of features and capabilities, it packs in extras we wouldn’t ever expect.

    This review reminds me that it has been almost 3 years since I reviewed an ASUS product, (assuming you don't count the ASRock back in 2013), and it might be time to get back on that gravy train of awesome UEFI implementations and excessive design.

  • Thermalright Silver Arrow ITX @ techPowerUp

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

    Thermalright, now that is a name I haven't heard in a really long time.  They are often credited with the introduction of the high performance heatpipe coolers back when most of us were scrambling to acquire an Alpha cooler backed with a 6000rpm Delta.

    TechPowerUp has a review posted of the "Silver Arrow ITX" which will neither kill you in the event of a miss-fire nor fit in a MiniITX case.  What it will do is make you wonder why we can't buy them in the states.

    Thermalright is shaking things up with the Silver Arrow ITX. It features a tweaked design that offers better compatibility with Mini-ITX motherboards, especially the ASUS ROG line. With solid performance, exceptional style, and near-silent operation, the Silver Arrow ITX manages to hold its own against the competition.

    One of the best heatsinks I have ever used is the Thermalright Venomous X.  I reviewed this cooler back in 2010 and still use it today on my EVGA X79 Dark rocking the Core i7 4930K. 

    How did I do this? Well, I found a way and it isn't all that difficult to figure out. happy smile

  • BIOSTAR Promotes Family of Gaming Hardware

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

    February 24th, 2015, Taipei, Taiwan – BIOSTAR is promoting the gaming motherboard, the Gaming Z97X along with the VGA cards that are powered by nVidia’s GeForce GTX750Ti chipset as a compelling gaming hardware combo set. The motherboard comes with the new Gaming Commander Box accessory as well as cutting-edge features like USB 3.1 on-board and innovative durability enhancements. This gaming family of hardware from BIOSTAR gives you a gaming combination comprised of the best motherboard and value priced GPU for a superlative gaming experience.

    BIOSTAR’s GeForce GTX750Ti series of cards brings the visual horsepower needed for high-end gaming. With 2GB GDDR5, on a full size PCB with a unique dual fan cooling design, this card in combination with the Gaming Z97X motherboard is all you need. It has Dual DVI/miniHDMI output support and supports NVIDIA PuroVideo HD Technology as well as DirectX 11. It also supports NVIDIA PhyX and CUDA Technology. You will need a motherboard that has a PCI Express 3.0 x 16 bus interfaces to stick this card in. For that BIOSTAR has the Gaming Z97X.

    The basis for this super combo is of course, the motherboard. BIOSTAR’s Gaming Z97X mainboard ushers in the first complete gaming motherboard designed by BIOSTAR. This is something new from BIOSTAR, because it's not just a regular gaming motherboard that satisfies a typical gamers' needs by just merely offering top of the line hardware, rather it is designed from the ground up to be cool looking and high performing. Let's talk about what makes the BIOSTAR Gaming Z97X so special.

    The Gaming Z97X comes with key features such as USB 3.1, three PCI Express 3.0x16 slots, PCIe M.2 support, Dual GbE LAN and BIOSTAR exclusive Hi-Fi 3D Audio technology. Two on-board HDMI supports 4K / 2K HD resolutions. There is also the introduction of the SATA Express Connector which supports both SATA and PCIe storage solutions giving maximum data transfer speed of up to 10Gb/s.

    This board also heralds the launch of the BIOSTAR external Gaming Commander box. It fits in a standard 5.5" (CD-ROM) area; it is also comprised of software with voice control utility exclusively designed by BIOSTAR.

    The Gaming Z97X is the first motherboard that comes with an onboard USB 3.1 connector, a new standard known as SuperSpeed +. The new standard doubles data transfer rate from 5Gbps to 10Gbps, and it's backward compatible with current USB3.0 and USB 2.0 devices.

    Most of the features we’ve just talked about are related to system performance, how about. The Gaming Z97X adopts BIOSTAR’s exclusive Hi-Fi 3D technology and an additional amplifier, it enables high definition multidimensional sound to reach extreme high quality sound. With the Gaming Commander BOX, you can freely use either the sound chips from the motherboard or the BOX in different scenarios to get the maximum sound performance.

    One thing no gamer can stand is a sudden internet disconnection; therefore, BIOSTAR prepared two LAN connectors, with the most popular Killer LAN and Intel LAN chips. With Dual LAN technology, the primary advantage is doubling bandwidth from 1G to 2G, and two high-speed gigabit networks can provide super high data transmission efficiency. Another major advantage is "Load Balancing", it allows a gamer to attach both network adapters into one single network. It will therefore support the aggregation "teaming" function by merging two connections to support multiple aggregation modes. In addition, Ethernet lightning protection circuits reduce the probability of damage from lightning or other power surge, so if one connection is disabled the other will automatically kick in.

    We've covered its hardware specs, high quality sound and high speed LAN, what about product stability? BIOSTAR has it all covered. Around the CPU area, there is a 12 phase power design to prevent the CPU from overheating; BIOSTAR’s exclusive super-durable ferrite chokes and solid capacitors also enhance energy efficiency and extend the motherboard’s lifespan. An Anti-Surge and ESD protection provide the best protection to reduce the shocks caused by ESD as well as other damages arising from overvoltage transients thus enhancing system stability and durability.

    Super durable box headers provide solid, secure and durable connections between the motherboard and peripheral cables. When running such high-end machinery sometimes such tight tolerances call for some expert debugging of overclocked or highly stressed systems. For that, there will be Super Rapid Debug 3 which gives out critical POST code information on a vivid digital LED display. This greatly helps trouble-shooting of a system.

    And of course, it all looks cool and sharp with the silk black “Armor design”; there are a lot more great features such as LN2 switch, T-Overclocking utility and XMP button for easy CPU and memory overclocking, and dual HDMI ports support true 4k/2k HD video.

    In short, to achieve a usable gaming rig, you really need to focus on two key pieces of hardware, the motherboard, as the basis of the system, and VGA card which powers the graphics. For both of these key items BIOSTAR has gamers covered with the Gaming Z97X motherboard and nVidia GTX750Ti series cards.

    For more on the Gaming Z97X go to:
    For more on the GTX 750Ti Graphic Card, go to:

    BIOSTAR, is a manufacturer dedicated to the production of motherboards, graphics cards and industrial computing systems. Since its establishment in 1986, the BIOSTAR GROUP has become a major motherboard supplier in the PC industry. In order to pursue continuous growth, BIOSTAR has invested heavily in acquiring the physical and human resources to excel at research and development. With a constant emphasis on quality, BIOSTAR always seeks to offer products with the highest price-performance ratio.

  • Nvidia Class Action Lawsuit over GTX 970 performance

    Published: Sunday, February 22, 2015 | By: Dennis

    I cannot say I am surprised.  People like to sue over just about anything these days.  Of course just because there is a class action lawsuit has been filed doesn’t mean it will go to court and many times these things are settled out of court.  

    Question is, are people upset because they got duped into buying a substandard GPU or that they actually used the card and had performance issues. 

    My money is on the first.

     Nvidia markets the chip as having 4GB of performance-boosting video RAM, but some users have complained the chip falters after using 3.5GB of that allocation.

    The lawsuit says the remaining half gigabyte runs 80 percent slower than it's supposed to. That can cause images to stutter on a high resolution screen and some games to perform poorly, the suit says.

    It was filed in the U.S. District Court for Northern California and names as defendants Nvidia and Giga-Byte Technology, which sells the GTX 970 in graphics cards.

    The interesting thing about the PC World article is that not only does it name Nvidia (which is obvious) but also Gigabyte who is only a mfg partner reselling the GPU.  If the performance issues were related to Gigabyte boards using Nvidia chips I can understand but, the way I understand it, all of the GTX 970's are at fault.

    Stuff like that is what gets lawsuits kicked out of court so this might simply be a "lets run their name thru the mud right before the new AMD chip comes out." sort of thing.  If that is the case I'll cooking up a fresh batch of popcorn for the countersuit.

  • Sapphire Vapor-X R9 290x 8GB Tri-X Video Card Review at Modders-Inc

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

    Ever wonder what AMD based video card makers are doing during the Radeon recession?

    Sapphire has long been AMD's leading partner in the GPU arena. With the growing popularity of 1440, 2K and 4K gaming, manufacturers have been taking "liberties" with the GPUs such as factory overclocks, higher power delivery, and more memory (VRAM). The Sapphire Vapor-X 290x is slightly different from other 290x's as it houses 8 gigabytes of RAM vs. 4 Gigabytes …

    Seems they are still making Radeon 290X cards, just now with better cooling. happy smile

  • GIGABYTE GTX 980 G1 GAMING Video Card Review @ [H]

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

    Gigabyte might not be your first choice in gaming video cards but, in the realm of high performance cards with a custom PCB the 980 G1 Gaming is a good one to look at.

    Today we have the GIGABYTE GTX 980 G1 GAMING, which features the WINDFORCE 600W cooling system and a high factory overclock. We will make comparisons to the competition, find out how fast it is compared to a GTX 980, and you won't believe the overclocok we achieved! We will make both performance and price comparisons.

    I got to see this card at CES and can stay it isn't as impressive as the EVGA GTX 980 Classified but is right up there in terms of build quality and doesn't break the expansion card height standards.

  • IP Address Configuration with Hyper-V: Pro Tip

    Published: Sunday, February 15, 2015 | By: Dennis

    I recently resurrected my old Slackware based email server project and decided that instead of handling all of my email the server would act as a spam proxy and forward all the good email to my commercial server.  My hosting situation only allows me one physical machine and for this to work I needed to run Slackware virtually and route the messages internally.

    As some of you may be aware when dealing with a co-located server you are given a block of IP addresses that are then bound to the NIC so you can assign them to IIS, Email, FTP etc..  For this project I wanted to bind my new VM to an unused IP address and then route email between the machines using DNS. 

    Sounds simple enough, I prepared my new Slackware VM offline and then uploaded it to the server.  From there I created the virtual machine and attached the new VHD (virtual hard drive) and all appeared to be good.  The problem was I could ping and access external websites however, I was unable to ping the host machine.  The host machine could ping the guest however it couldn’t access any resources on the guest.  I tried pulling up a web application on the guest machine and got the "server cannot be contacted" message.  I then tried accessing a SAMBA share and was prompted for a login and password.

    It was almost like the machine was there but it wasn’t on the same network.

    I checked ifconfig on the Slackware VM and it was hard coded to the address I wanted and DNS was setup correctly and would resolve external sites such as but wouldn’t resolve which was hosted on the host machine.

    It was around this time that I started hitting Google looking for a solution and could not find anything related to my particular situation.  In fact most people were complaining they could ping the guest machine but the guest couldn’t get out.  Of course the solution for that is to setup your virtual network to use a physical NIC and that will allow you to access more than just the local machine.  My system was setup that way and I checked and rechecked it many times.

    I was about to give up until I tried one final thing.

    In the situation where you are running a Hyper-V VM and the guest (VM) can access external sites but cannot contact the host and when the host machine cannot access the guest machine.

    Unbind the Guest (VM) IP address from the physical NIC on the Host machine. 

    As it turns out there was an IP conflict but, it wasn’t getting recorded in the event logs or preventing the guest machine from accessing the Internet.  When the host machine tried to access the guest it was getting confused as to what IP address to use and I suspect was using the instance that was bound to the physical NIC and not the one running internally on the Guest VM.

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