• EVGA X99 Classified Motherboard Review

    EVGA X99 Classified Motherboard Review

    In this review we will be looking at the new EVGA X99 Classified. As with other products in the EVGA lineup the Classified name this is the flagship model designed for the hardware enthusiast.

  • bequiet! Power Zone 850W CM Power Supply Review

    bequiet! Power Zone 850W CM Power Supply Review

    The Power Zone 850w sits right in the enthusiast "sweet spot" of power delivery. It has plenty of power to drive a high-end gaming rig while support two mid-range graphic cards or one monster card like the GTX 780Ti Classified or 290X Lightning.

  • MOA Qualifier Results and the EVGA X99 Classified

    MOA Qualifier Results and the EVGA X99 Classified

    In this episode we bring you our Computex 2014 wrap up and talk about the MSI MOA Americas Qualifier.

  • EVGA TORQ X10 Carbon Gaming Mouse Review

    EVGA TORQ X10 Carbon Gaming Mouse Review

    There is no doubt that EVGA built the Torq X10 Carbon gaming mouse with the highest quality materials and given that this is their first mouse that is quite surprising.

  • BitFenix Neos Chassis Review

    BitFenix Neos Chassis Review

    The Neos gives you a wide variety of options, and an affordable price point, coupled with some style and color options to make for a good all-around mainstream enthusiast chassis.

  • bequiet! Shadow Rock Slim Heatsink Review

    bequiet! Shadow Rock Slim Heatsink Review

    The interesting thing about the Shadow Rock Slim is that despite the decision to leave the metal raw and untreated they did spent some time making the cooler look good.

  • Wireless Headphones and High End Motorcycles

    Wireless Headphones and High End Motorcycles

    In this episode Darren talks about a new wireless headphone purchase and Dennis rambles on over his new motorcycle.

  • Raijintek Pallas Low Profile Heatsink Review

    Raijintek Pallas Low Profile Heatsink Review

    What was most surprising is that this low profile cooler with a single fan is actually better than most of the low-end dual fan tower designs we have reviewed

  • Computex 2014 Wrap Up and MSI MOA Americas Qualifier

    Computex 2014 Wrap Up and MSI MOA Americas Qualifier

    In this episode we bring you our Computex 2014 coverage wrap up and talk about the MSI MOA Americas Qualifier.

  • Gigabyte Z97X Gaming G1 Motherboard Review

    Gigabyte Z97X Gaming G1 Motherboard Review

    Those of you familiar with the Gigabyte G1 series will recognize the subtle change in naming scheme which corresponds to a major change in the product line. Gone are the military names and Green and Black color scheme in favor of the popular Red and Black and a familiar icon.

Top Review Categories

Tech News

  • Palit GTX 970 JetStream 4 GB @ techPowerUp

    Published: Friday, September 26, 2014 | By: Dennis

    I suspect there will be 9 Series card reviews coming out for the next couple months and we will see just about everything from heavily modified monsters designed for LN2 power usage down to reference cards with custom coolers.

    By the looks of it this design from Palit is reference based but comes with two large fans to help with the cooling efforts.

    Palit's GTX 970 JetStream is one of the highest clocked, custom design GTX 970s out there. It features a triple slot, dual fan cooler that will completely stop the fans in idle and light gaming. Palit's card is also the most affordable custom design, with just a $15 price premium.

    It will be interesting to see how the new 970 and 980 stack up to the competition and if the performance gains and power efficiency will be enough to get GTX 780 owners to trade up.  Sure benchmarks say a lot but it comes down to scale and right now these guys are damn spendy.

  • PSU Torture Tuning with the Thermaltake DPS App

    Published: Wednesday, September 24, 2014 | By: Dennis

    I was doing some testing for a review the other night and decided to test a theory.  The theory is that you need a 1000w PSU to run dual GTX 780Ti cards in SLI.  If you ask anyone in the industry they will say the PSU requirements for running a single GTX 780 Ti is 600w and that the card will pull around 250w.  Adding a second card would put the total around 850w.. 

    When sizing for a PSU (and there are some "bad" calculators out there to help you with this) your goal is to find your power target (max power) and then take 80% of that.  The result is used to find a PSU in that range with the idea that by staying below 80% of the total power draw you will get the most efficient PSU operation   (The basis for 80Plus Certification)

    As some of you know Thermaltake offers a fully digital PSU, the Toughpower DPS.  These are 90Plus Gold rated power supplies and range in wattages between 650 and 1200w.  I was testing the 850w version and decided to mess around with the Smart DPS App Software and see if I could overload the PSU.

    The System as it was Tested
    The system is an EVGA X99 Classified running a Core i7 5960X @ 4.0Ghz with 16GB of DDR4 ram.  128GB Micron SSD and HP DVD Burner.  The processor is being cooled by a dual fan AIO watercooler and I have Two GTX 780Ti graphics cards running in SLI.  One is a reference design while the other is the famed GTX 780 Ti Classified.  My power supply is the Thermaltake Toughpower DSP G 850w.

    After playing Borderlands 2 at 2560x1600 with high settings I discovered the following.

    Yes you are reading that correctly, the whole system was only pulling 600w?!?  Efficiency during this run was 91% and the PSU topped out at 39c using the silent fan profile.  Needless to say I’m rather impressed since 600w is just below 80% of 850w. 

    Stay tuned for more torture tuning using the Thermaltake DPS App

  • Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming Review @ PureOverclock

    Published: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 | By: Dennis

    Per the usual the "step down" version in the GTX lineup is usually the sweet spot when it comes to price and performance.  By the looks of it the GTX 970 is no exception.

    With the launch of Nvidia’s newest generation of graphics cards, the Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming is the specific model we’re looking at today.  It’s latest in the company’s popular model series, coming with an updated version of its namesake cooler. We’ve been impressed in the past with Windforce graphics cards, and we suspect this new one will be no different. It’s not an entirely fresh look, constructed in metal rather than plastic, but does come with an aggressive factory overclock and a few new surprises in store.

    The triple fan Windforce cooler Gigabyte uses has always been a little "weird" but it gets the job done and I really like the new backplate. 

  • BIOSTAR Launches Newest Z97 Hi-Fi Mainboard, the Hi-Fi Z97Z7

    Published: Monday, September 22, 2014 | By: Dennis

    Some interesting news out of the Biostar camp.

    September 22nd , 2014 Taipei, Taiwan – BIOSTAR has launched the first development of what might become a possible series of high-end gaming boards, the Hi-Fi Z97Z7 motherboard, a board with cutting-edge features and innovative durability enhancements. The Hi-Fi Z97Z7, based on the Intel Z97 chipset, comes with key features such as a PCI Express 3.0x16 slot, PCIe M.2 support, and BIOSTAR exclusive Super Hi-Fi Audio technology.

    The Hi-Fi Z97Z7 is an ATX form factor board that features Intel socket 1150 support. It has 4 memory slots for up to 32GB of 2800(OC) RAM. The on-board HDMI supports 4K and 2K 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.

    BIOSTAR’s in-house technology is evident here with featuressuch as Super Hi-Fi Audio and power regulation upgrades like Hi-Fi Power and Hi-Fi AMP. The video outputs include HDMI with HDCP which allows full video & Hi-Fi 7.1ch Blu-Ray audio support via standard DVI output. All the BIOSTAR Hi-Fi series motherboards are equipped with special components to ensure the best possible audio quality consistency.

    The Hi-Fi Z97Z7 will feature new BIOSTAR innovations that improve durability and stability even further. One of those features is Super Durable Solid Caps. These are the best quality solid state capacitors with ultra low ESR design, which doubles the lifespan. Another feature is 8-phase power design which gives unparalleled overclocking ability and the lowest temperature to reach maximum performance levels. There is also Super Hi-Fi Audio Connectors which are 30uF “Golden” plated audio connectors providing superb signal conductivity, less oxidation, and the best possible studio-grade headgear.

    The Hi-Fi Z97Z7 will feature the new Super Durable Ferrite Choke which brings the benefits of higher current capacity, lower energy loss and better power stability to the electric current running on the board. In addition to that is the Super Conductive Heatsink Design which is a massive heatsink which provides super fast heat dissipation, high stability and reliability for extreme performance.

    The Hi-Fi Z97Z7 will come with super durable box headers providing solid, secure and durable connections between the motherboard and peripheral cables. When running such high-end machinery sometime 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.

    The MSRP is estimated USD $119.

  • EVGA Greets GeForce GTX 980 & 970 Launch With Brand-new ACX 2.0 Cooler @ HotHardware

    Published: Sunday, September 21, 2014 | By: Warren

    So in the last review block, we looked at the new Nvidia 900-series video cards, specifically, the new 970 and 980.  In recent news, EVGA has just laid their cards on the table (pun not intended), revealing an update to their Active Cooling Xtreme system that we spoke highly about on a EVGA GTX 770 reviewed last year.  EVGA has said their new ACX 2.0 cooling system boasts temperatures that are 26% lower, 36% quieter, with a reduction in power draw of 250% over the reference cooler.  

    The company is really touting this as being something special, and giving a friendly jab to the competition at the same time. "Most graphics card manufacturers only focus on one aspect when designing their cooling solution and neglect all other aspects of the fan design and heatsink."

  • Asylum: Review Block - Video Card Bundle

    Published: Thursday, September 18, 2014 | By: Warren

    Seems that the motherboards aren't the only things getting a facelift these days.  Hot on the heels of the X99 re3lease, and built on the new Maxwell architecture, Nvidia has launched a new pair of reference cards.  Dubbed the 900 series, they have currently released the 970, and the 980, and there are already a few companies that have added their own variants to the mix.

    The GeForce GTX 970's:
    - MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G GPU Review @ Modders-Inc
    - Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 G1 Gaming review @ Guru3D
    - ASUS Strix GTX 970 OC 4 GB @ techPowerUp

    The GeForce GTX 980:
    - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Maxwell Video Card Review @ Vortez
    - GeForce GTX 980 Review at HardwareHeaven

    And, as an added bonus - a review of the 980 set up in a multi-GPU configuration and tested as well.

    - The Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 SLI / 3-way SLI / 4-way SLI review @ Hardware.Info

  • Intel's Xeon E5-2687W v3 processor reviewed @ TR

    Published: Friday, September 12, 2014 | By: Dennis

    This seems good.

    If you thought Haswell-E was something, wait til you get a load of the EP variant. This server-grade monster has up to 18 cores and 45MB of L3 cache, plus quad DDR4 memory channels and loads of high-speed I/O. We've taken a closer look at the new Xeon family and tested a dual-socket workstation loaded with the 10-core E5-2687W v3 derivative.

    I have just started messing with the Core i7 5960X and so far I am really impressed.  Not sure I could handle an 18 core processor, of it that would even be viable in the real world outside a datacenter.

  • Intel Core i7 4790K Devils Canyon CPU Review @ TechwareLabs

    Published: Friday, September 12, 2014 | By: Dennis

    I did a processor review once, kinda.  It had some performance numbers some pretty graphs (that some people complained about) and generally some good data related to how fast this new processor was over another.

    Of course, what it didn't have was some hardcore data describing the fancy transistors, or a screen capture from the Intel website or even the name of the new TIM used to keep the processor cool.

    Nope, instead I just focused on performance.  Sadly, the numbers weren't much different from those found in "our" motherboard reviews but that is beside the point.

    A little over a year ago, Intel introduced their new line of CPU's under the Haswell codename. As the successor to the Ivy-Bridge architecture Intel's new chip design looks to optimize power savings and performance benefits, taking advantage of the 22nm node instead of focusing on overall performance. With the release of the i5-4670K and i7-4770K, enthusiasts seemed to be disappointed over the lack of raw power the CPU's had to offer, and the small amount of headroom for overclocking. To much concern, it seems as though this is becoming a trend. Over the last few generations, there seems to be less of an increase in overall power and performance with each new release that comes out. Haswell was no exception to the trend, offering only a...

    To continue reading, please click on the link above and we will take you to the full page at TechwareLabs.com

    I think if I ever decide to do processor reviews it will have to be something super cool like performance under 0c, or maybe focus on how to double performance and explore what it takes to make it run efficiently.

  • DeepCool Steam Castle @ techPowerUp

    Published: Friday, September 12, 2014 | By: Dennis

    This is a very interesting case and I have to admit my trade show photos do it no justice.  Most of it is crappy trade show lighting but the other is all the crazy details scattered about the chassis.

    The DeepCool Steam Castle aims to take steampunk to the main stream. Available in four different colors with elaborate looks, will it manage to deliver hip looks right out of the box while remaining functional at a competitive price point, or is it a hip shell with a boring interior?

    The case comes in a variety of colors and looks to be pretty good on cooling.  In terms of styling it will be a matter of "Love it / Hate it" which is the norm for custom chassis designs that stray from the crowd.

    Check out the TPU review for more details.

  • ASUS ROG R9 290X MATRIX Platinum Video Card Review @ [H]

    Published: Tuesday, September 09, 2014 | By: Dennis

    There are several risks when it comes to cooling with LN2 and the most prevalent is condensation.  This is when water in the air cools down and forms ice on your expensive electronics.  Normally if the ice stays frozen there is little risk however you are foolish to think the entire PCB will be frozen.

    So, why bring this up?  Well many of the new Matrix video cards from ASUS come with a memory defroster feature.  The feature basically dumps excess voltage into the memory chips to keep them warmer and thus run more efficient.  The downside is that while you may be breaking world records you'll also run the risk of excess water pooling in the PCI Express slot.

    Today we have the highest-end R9 290X from ASUS, the ASUS ROG R9 290X MATRIX Platinum video card. This video card is dual-purposed for fan or LN2 cooling, and has vast power capabilities. We're putting it up against the ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DirectCU II OC to see which delivers the best bang for your buck.

    Hate to admit it but, I still want one. happy smile

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