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Author Archives: Shawn Michaels

MSI X99S Gaming 9 – MSI brings gaming to a new level!

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Introduction – MSI X99 Gaming 9 AC Hot on the heels of the ASUS board our second X99 to arrive is what we see today and its MSIs flagship gaming model the X99S Gaming 9 which is the top of the gaming board spectrum. We have seen gaming boards from MSI a few times now so we kinda know what to expect and with the gaming 9 it looks to have even more tricks up its sleeve as it has the usual suspects such as the Killer gaming network, WiFi AC support, Gaming Peripheral ports and the such, but a new item here in the Streamning engine really peaks my interest.   The board comes in at a MSRP of $429, this places the gaming 9 in a pretty high rung as far as price point goes so lets see what its packing that makes it worth your buck for a ... Read More »

ASUS X99 Deluxe – A new look and features for ASUS X99!

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Introduction – ASUS X99 Deluxe When X99 started to become a reality we noticed that every manufacturer was running very late on boards and before you know it ASUS delivered with a board. This does not exactly surprise me since ASUS has a huge engineering and R&D team so getting boards out pretty quick may be a bit less of a chore than some competitors but on a new chipset/CPU launch like this sometimes the first one out of the gate can deal with the most issues. Now since ASUS was the first to deliver a board we did the launch article with it and X99 has some issues primarily based around software compatibility but overall it shows some serious brute force muscle, so now lets take a look less at the CPU/Platform and more at the features of the ASUS X99 Deluxe board. The X99-Deluxe has a MSRP of $399.99 ... Read More »

Core i7 5960X Haswell-E is here for the extreme enthusiasts

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The long-awaited update to the enthusiasts platform is here, meet the Core i7 5960X To say X79 is getting long in the tooth would be putting it extremely mildly. X79 has been around a very long time and all the while the 8 and 9 series mainstream chipsets have come along carrying many features including an array of super speed USB 3.0 native chipset ports and more SATA 6G ports coming directly from the PCH while the enthusiast platform via X79 has been without any of these advances for the past 4 years. The mainstream chipsets such as the H and Z series get many respins and upgrades because as I see it they simply sell a ton more than the high-end chipset so needless to say being an extreme user myself I am very happy to see the newest X series chipset and Haswell-E CPU come along via the new ... Read More »

MSI Z97 XPOWER AC – Extreme Overclocking for the new Haswell

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Introduction – MSI Z97 Xpower Oh Overclocking, it seems to be whats makes the world go round some days and something that many motherboard manufacturers have really started to embrace as easier ways were found to do it. It used to be back in the old days (not that long ago but it makes it feel more special to reference as so) that overclocking required a ton of work, modding and hacking away at things to make it happen. Now days overclocking is simple, they even have buttons to do overclocks for you. And with recent chipset and CPU revisions it has become a game of binning chips to find a good one rather than tuning all night  and days on end with a QX9650 because you know theres more in it, or getting a specific board because it tends to clock better. At least for now those days are gone ... Read More »

MSI Z97 Gaming 9 AC – MSI’s top tier gaming offering for the Haswell refresh

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Introduction – MSI Z97 Gaming 9 AC MSI looks to be hitting Z97 pretty hard with not just a gaming board but a full line along with OC series boards and even standard boards so now this begs the question. If offering so many SKU’s will it pay off in better customer satisfaction byhaving plenty of options of models to meet their needs or will it be a case of too many options and actually confuse the consumers? That is one of the risks board manufacturers take when they start to expand to multiple lines each with growing numbers of options and SKU’s. Now to the board we have today which is the MSI Z97 Gaming 9 AC which is the top end of the MSI gaming series models. The AC moniker denotes the addition of 802.11 AC WiFi to the mix ensuring absolute connectivity solutions.   The board comes in at ... Read More »

Gigabyte Z97MX-Gaming 5 – mATX Gaming Muscle from Gigabyte

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 Introduction – Gigabyte Z97MX-Gaming 5 Gigabyte is a well-known name in the component industry and for good reason as they have made motherboards and graphics cards for a very long time. Among them some great boards such as the X58 OC board, some great P45 boards and I’m sure many more I’m not thinking of. For Z97 they have a multitude of offerings from their entry-level, their gaming series and finally their OC based variants which have extreme OC features based around being able to push the limits. Today we have in hand the Z97MX-Gaming 5 which is a mATX model board from the Gaming line and with this includes some very cool gaming based features to help make for a better overall gaming PC build and experience. The board comes in at a price of $117.99 on Newegg, this is at the time of writing and after some rebate deals we have seen ... Read More »

Intel Core i7 4790K – Haswell gets a refresh

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Say Hello To Devils Canyon and the 4790K Devils Canyon is here, and well honestly has been here for a while but upon starting the writing for this article I struggled alot with how to start it as like we have seen many times recently with Intel, this is another refresh which too many raises the question of “Why bother” when we can just wait for the next-gen part for major changes. Well of any refresh in quite some time that I have seen this one promises to bring some real changes and even more so real proof that Intel does listen to its customer base and implements things to make that user base happy.. One way we had proof of this “listening to customers” can be seen some time ago when they announced the enthusiasts protection plan where you can pay a nominal fee and you are protected even ... Read More »

Sapphire R9 280X VaporX Graphics Card

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Sapphire Radeon R9-280X VaporX Sapphire as we all know is AMDs premier partner so we always see cool stuff coming from them, but honestly we had already seen a VaporX 280X so we have all simply been waiting for what would come next such as the much rumored 295X or another 290X iteration. To my surprise I got hands on with a newer VaporX 280X model card which is actually a whole new configuration and looks very much like the Toxic model we looked at some time ago now sporting the Tri-X cooler. However this card carries blue hints instead of the orange from the Toxic model which actually looks really good in my opinion. Add to this the fact that the Tri-X cooler now also employs Sapphires signature Vapor Chamber design which is what the VaporX naming is all about. The Vapor Chamber from previous testing always helps pull ... Read More »

Pivos MANA 2200 mAh Battery Pack

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Introduction Pivos has been known mostly for their media players so to see a new set of battery packs show up I was a bit surprised. The Company simply did not seem to be in that category but with so many tech  companies extending their reach into so many other facets to ensure they can offer so many more solutions this move by Pivos shoudl not really be a major surprise. One thing is that its obvious that Pivos took note of the rise in mobile gadgets and with that and the inclusion of now “Wearable” tech, the ability to charge on the go is quickly becoming majorly important. Pivos MANA 2200 mAh Battery Pack As we become more mobile as a society solutions like these have simply started to crop up everywhere even with the recently passed CES show we saw battery packs literally being handed out by companies ... Read More »

Sapphire R7 240 Dual HDMI Graphics Card

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Sapphire Radeon R7-240 Dual HDMI Sapphire being the premier partner for AMD its only natural that they offer every one of AMDs offerings and maybe even some special tweaks to the lower end or more mainstream models available. The card we are reviewing today happens to be one of those cards which is the R7-240 which is destined to be something like a stock replacement for an off the shelf PC. Sapphire did something pretty interesting here by equipping the card with dual HDMI connectors vs the standard connection array. Key Features Dual HDMI and Dual Audio Sapphire supports top end 7.1 audio via the HDMI outputs on the R7-240 card, but what is very cool is that during my testing due to running dual HDMI displays with speakers I could actually play two different audio sources or videos from the single card and each with its own audio stream. ... Read More »

Pivos Mana 5200mAh Battery Pack

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Introduction Pivos has been known mostly for their media players so when a new set of battery packs showed up I was a bit surprised. The Company simply did not seem to be in that category but with so many tech  companies extending their reach into so many other facets to ensure they can offer so many more solutions this move by Pivos should not really be a major surprise. One thing is that its obvious that Pivos took note of the rise in mobile gadgets and with that and the inclusion of now “Wearable” tech, the ability to charge on the go is quickly becoming majorly important. Pivos MANA 5200 mAh Battery Pack As we become more mobile as a society solutions like these have simply started to crop up everywhere even with the recently passed CES show we saw battery packs literally being handed out by companies by ... Read More »

Cyberpower Zeus Mini – Pushing the limits with huge power in a very small package!

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Introduction PC Gaming is here and here to stay but with the ease of use or easy plugging in and playability of consoles it really makes for a much easier to enter market for consumers. Sometimes we as enthusiasts lose sight of the fact that most users do not know how to build a PC and are not going to learn as they simply are not as into the hardware side as we are. This is not a bad thing they simply enjoy other hobbies and while the PC DIY market is strong there simply are a lot more users out there who do nto know how to build it and will pay to have a system built. Unfortunately a lot of times off the shelf systems from big box stores end up tin the playing field due to easy accessibility and cost, but not just that also lack of ... Read More »

MSI Radeon R9 290X Gaming

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MSI Radeon R9-290X Gaming We have seen many MSI custom PCB or fully custom PCB or even just custom cooled cards and they always impress with some very nice temps along with looking pretty awesome as well. The gaming series carries the Red/Black theme with a custom Twin Frozr model cooler and offers usually a nice overclock with some really good gaming performance to offer some amazing framerates for the end-user. The card we have today needs no introduction as the R9-290X from AMD made a big splash when it entered the market although not all of the noise was good as users quickly found that the reference cards were plagued with massive heat from a simply inadequate cooler design. Well that being the case we do know that the Twin Frozr cooler design does very well at removing heat so the 290X is naturally a perfect candidate for testing ... Read More »

Corsair Vengeance Gaming Gear From Digital Storm!

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  Corsair Gaming Gear From Digital Storm Corsair is a well-known brand at this point in the PC DIY sector and as a natural progression in an attempt to meet the total solution package for end users they have started to make a move into many extra markets beyond just DRAM where they first started. As a result they have moved into things such as core components (Case, Power and Cooler) along with now progressing into gaming peripherals. Today we have a chance to look at a full gaming gear set from the team at Digital storm which is now a partner with Corsair, so the gear you see here today are all available as accessories to the high-end systems offerings from the team at Digital Storm.   Corsair Vengeance M65 Gaming Mouse First up is the Corsair Vengeance M65 Gaming Mouse which is not their top model so to ... Read More »

ASUS X79 Deluxe Motherboard Review “Ground Up Redesign For Ivy-E”

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Introduction – ASUS X79 Deluxe We recently looked at the X79 refresh from the ROG line newly optimized for top tier performance with the new Ivy-E chips and well not everyone needs that level of extreme feature set and compatibility so ASUS stepped it down a notch in some of the more extreme LN2 and overclock areas to offer a more sensible board for enthusiasts users and arrives at our test bench today with the new X79 Deluxe. One thing to note is that while this is not an ROG board and may not have all of the LN2 bells and whistles straight on paper as you will see coming up this board is still very much packed to the gills with some pretty awesome features. One thing you will notice right off the bat is that ASUS basically now EOL the P9X79 Deluxe board in favor of ushering in ... Read More »

Sapphire R9-290X Tri-X “Sapphire Takes a Shot at Cooling the Monster”

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Sapphire Radeon R9-290X Tri-X When AMD launched the new Hawaii based GPU in the R9-290X it was to huge fan fare but it was not long until many enthusiasts and media alike called foul on the simple fact that the card would ramp up to 94C and sit there while throttling quite alot to maintain the astronomical 94C temp target. Well Enthusiasts have certain requirements when it comes to top end GPUs and one is performance and the other has to due with thermals and fan noise, and well AMD had included a dual BIOS which also allowed higher fan speed in an aptly called “Uber Mode” and with the higher allowed fan speed the card could stay at full clocks longer before the eventual throttling would occur allowing slightly longer sustained performance. The problem with this approach is that the card was now super loud. This made me come ... Read More »

Gigabyte GTX 780 Ti GHZ Edition Review, Super Overclock is now sleeker and cooler!

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Gigabyte GTX 780 Ti GHz Edition Gigabyte has made some definite noise in the graphics side over the past few years, and with the Super Overclock series being the top horse in the Gigabyte stable we always saw soem great performance from them, well it looks like Gigabyte has changed the Super Overclock to GHz edition in the 780 Ti model card and all I can say is WOW! The name GHz edition honestly does not make alot of sense due to the cards clockspeed being far above this, and lets not forget that also AMD had recently had GHz edition cards in its AMD lineup just further muddies the water a bit. Overall the uber top clock and top binned models for the 780 Ti version from Gigabyte are gonna be GHz edition models although with the level of clock afforded to them I think this is gonna be ... Read More »

MSI Goes Mini! Z87I Gaming and GTX 760 Mini ITX Gaming Review!

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Introduction – MSI Z87I Gaming and GTX 760 Gaming Mini MSI’s gaming line has now seen a few entries for board and GPU models and this set I have to say is extremely interesting as these models are made for the very popular mini PC builds which are becoming very popular. Mini ITX systems are growing greatly in popularity as smaller systems become much more powerful and solutions like this are very interesting as it specially builds specific targeted models based around a small sized build. starting with a Z87 board with gaming feature sets and also a GTX 760 card which is a great price/performance model built to a size to fit within a super compact Mini ITX chassis.   The board comes in at a MSRP of $200.00 whereas the GTX 760 ITX model comes in at $269.99 both of which are rather reasonable when you consider some ... Read More »

The Black is Back! ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Motherboard Review

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Introduction – ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Echoes of AC/DC ring in my head as I came up with this title, and it took everything in me not to have about a thousand different “Back in black” references but I think we can survive a few. ASUS seems to reserve its “Black Edition” moniker for very special models as im sure some of you saw back when we got a chance to check out the Rampage III Black edition board based on the X58 chipset. That thing was a flat out beast and from looking at the specs on paper the Rampage IV Black edition is no different. Well we can say that in a manner of speaking as it looks to be a flat out beast but it is in terms entirely different as the technology on this board is seemingly light years ahead of the previous generation Black ... Read More »

MSI GTX 780 Ti Gaming! Even more cooling power to push the Ti Limits!

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MSI GeForce GTX 780 Ti Gaming MSI has always entered the graphics game with some excellent twin Frozr based models and even a lightning here and there to really spice it up! If I had to sum up MSI’s specialty it would be making graphics models with a better cooling solution and also boosting the VRM a tick to ensure it can withstand loading if they find a weakness in the stock design. However in the case of the 780 Ti we know that the reference model was obscenely capable with massive overclocking potential with its stock components, well apparently MSI noticed that as well and with that they passed us one of their GTX 780 Ti Gaming model cards which is based on the reference PCB. The Card is not completely stock though as it employs a Twin Frozr IV cooler to ensure that the new GPU boost algorithm ... Read More »

Biostar Z87X 3D Motherboard Review

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Introduction – Biostar Z87X 3D Motherboard Biostar is one of those names you hear about but not as common as the “bigger” players in the component game but regardless of this they have a decent share in the more cost conscious market which is actually a very large segment to live in. Also on previous mainstream enthusiasts boards I have been rather impressed with the performance/price ratio the Biostar boards are able to pull in comparison to some of the higher priced competitors. Today we have Biostar’s top Z87 model which integrates their HiFi audio solution for a great audio experience should you use this for a multimedia or gaming board this one should be up for the task. The one thing that did surprise me is the lack of SLI support which means your talking single Nvidia card or crossfire depending upon your needs, but from what i have ... Read More »

MSI Z87M Gaming Micro ATX Motherboard Review

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Introduction – MSI Z87M Gaming MSI has already had a few entries of its gaming line for Z87 and now there is a third with the board we are looking at today the Z87M Gaming. This board is the mATX version for those looking for a smaller form factor gaming grade board. We have looked at the gaming series boards and they have proven quite capable while also offering a nice feature set at a great value.   The board comes in at a MSRP of $159.99, which is reasonably competitive but now lets take a look at the feature set and what this board has to offer which will making midsize gaming builders want to drop their dollars in this direction instead of any other option.   Features & Specifications Military Class Components When MSI puts military class components to the fire they are not joking as they come ... Read More »

Powercolor Radeon R9-290X

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Powercolor Radeon R9-290X OC Powercolor has been a long time AMD partner and like the Devil card we looked at recently they have made a name for themselves with many special edition including high end liquid cooled cards. Today I have their OC version of the 290X which has a small bump to the boost clock of the card which should net us some nice performance, but first things first. As you know the 290X launched a little while ago and unfortunately AMD had a very strict list of places they sent cards to, well this means that this is a bit behind what you may have already read on the card but since the card is already launched it also means I get to spend a bit more time with it rather than rushing to meet an NDA date. With that I would like to note that there will ... Read More »

Powercolor Radeon R9-270X Devil

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Powercolor Radeon R9-270X Devil Powercolor is one of the AMD partners that you see from time to time and they are really known for such designs as the Devil series cards which really shot them into the limelight for the AMD camp about a year or so back now. Well today we have in hand a newer “Devil” based model in the R9-270X Devil. The Devil edition is always known as the extreme performance variant and this is no exception with the telltale triple fan cooler, red/black cladding and full backplate carrying the design to the upper echelon in the looks department and the performance department is no slouch either. The R9-270X comes in at a retail price of $239.99 directly from Newegg at the time of this writing. this places it at the very top of the price stack for the 270X models which can range from around $199 ... Read More »

Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti – Nvidia takes GK110 to the Next Level

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Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti Nvidia launched the 700 series and really took the market by storm with the capability to offer exceptional power savings and super strong performance per watt, along with cool running cards which makes for a great gaming package. However nothing ever is safe for very long and with that AMD showed off their new R series of cards to compete. Unfortunately for AMD, almost all of the models in the R series were actually existing chips with a new name. The exception was the flagship product–the R9-290X. The R9-290X takes the TITAN head on, and the price point is a real killer for the gaming market, but this kind of value does not come without compromises. Unfortunately, these come in the form of 92-95C loaded temps and noise which can be akin to a vacuum cleaner inside your chassis. But even with these issues this ... Read More »

Patriot Viper 32GB Low Profile Memory Kit Review

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Introduction Patriot being in the memory game for some time always has some tricks up its sleeve so to see them join the “Low profile” game is really cool. Now to clarify obviously these are not the low profile spec in terms of PCB or sub 18mm sticks, these are simply low profile heatspreaders compared to the standard version viper series. This low profile cooler design does shave 11mm off the total height giving over 25% smaller module which should mean good things for those running larger air coolers as we all know what happens when 2 pieces of matter attempt to occupy the same space. Just like the Black Mamba kit I looked at recently these sticks are MFR modules as well so i will be putting this on my Haswell based rig to see exactly how far it can go. Being that its a 4 stick high density ... Read More »

MSI GTX 780 Lightning

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MSI GeForce GTX 780 Lightning MSI had shocked the market with the Gaming series but the ones for the extreme overclocker on the high end has always been the Lightning series. With that I knew it was only a matter of time till we got one of the new Nvidia 7 series lightning models and well with that we did in the GTX 780 Lightning and to say it is a nice card would really be a disservice to what I see in front of me. This is probably one of the more massive cards I have seen with a simply beastly look and two different sized fans in a triple fan setup. The Two outside fans are equal sized black fan models while the middle fan is a smaller model which is yellow in color. The MSI GTX 780 Lightning comes to market at $769.99 from Newegg at the ... Read More »

Sapphire Radeon R9-280X Toxic

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Sapphire Radeon R9-280X Toxic Sapphire Has been AMDs premier partner for a long time now so it was only natural that when the new AMD R Series cards launched that we would have one with Sapphires special touches in hand rather quickly. The model we have in hand is a R9-280X model which is a 7970 GHz model but its a Sapphire Toxic model which means it is their top clocked model. Being a 3GB model card we know that it is ready for high resolution and AA gaming and even crossfire up to 4 cards for maximum performance especially when pushing multiple high resolution displays. The Sapphire Radeon R9-280X Toxic model comes with a MSRP of $349 which places it about 50 dollars above some other models such as the MSI gaming series card we also received. However this Toxic series is highly clocked and is one heck of ... Read More »

MSI Radeon R9-280X 3GB Graphics Card

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MSI Radeon R9-280X Gaming MSI as always dresses to impress with its non reference designs and well with the Radeon R series of cards there is no mistaking a MSI card from the rest as they carry very distinctive cooler designs and honestly when first seeing this card I was at a loss to tell it apart from the Nvidia 770 version I had tested some time ago when looking at it from the fans side. However once you get past the fans and shroud designs that is where the similarities end. The Radeon R series cards for the most part are actually a relaunch of the previous gen cards for the most part with only the top end R9-290X actually being an entirely new Hawaii based GPU. This is not necessarily a bad thing though as with this refresh or relaunch so to speak AMD has dropped the price ... Read More »

Gigabyte GTX 780 Windforce OC

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Gigabyte GTX 780 Windforce OC When thinking graphics so many times names jump into out minds like EVGA, ASUS and whatnot but many times when you think about Gigabyte, graphics cards simply don’t jump to the forefront. Gigabyte is best known for their extensive motherboard offering while for some reason their graphics offerings have not always gotten all of the credit I think they deserve. The reason I say this as I have seen most of their models and while their products are sometimes less mentioned they do make some very good coolers and also some very nice custom PCB models. Here via the specs you can see that the Gigabyte model comes with a very high out of the box clock which gives it a definitive jump over the competition with over 1GHz boost clock where the ASUS we looked at recently only reached into the 941MHz in boost ... Read More »

ASUS Z87I-Deluxe Motherboard Review

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Introduction – ASUS Z87I-Deluxe ASUS while best known for the crazy features and designs on ROG boards they also do design some very impressive mainstream level boards much like the ITX offering we are looking at today. The Z87I-Deluxe is a highly featured ITX Z87 model that offers ASUS performance and features but at a much more modest price point than the higher end model Maximus VI Impact. The Mainstream line from ASUS tends to have very similar performance tuning but many times when it comes to the extreme tweaking options that is reserved for the ROG boards as that is their target market but anyone who has had experience with ASUS knows that ASUS offers similar overclocking capability from the top to bottom of the stack in relation to performance and general overclocking. And well to sum up what im trying to say I will just leave it as ... Read More »

ASUS Maximus VI Impact Mini ITX Motherboard Review

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Introduction – ASUS Maximus VI Impact The ASUS Z87 series is far from over as something we have today is something people have been asking for some time for ASUS to produce. Being as the PC world is going through a trend of smaller systems it started with lanBox style systems and mATX boards and now many are moving to even smaller mITX form factors. Today we have the Maximus VI Impact which is the first ROG mITX offering and I can honestly say just looking at the board and the features it offers if it all works as expected I could see this very much meeting or even exceeding the expectations of the groups of fans who have been asking for a ITX solution for high end gaming mini builds.   The Maximus VI Impact comes to market at $229.99 directly from Newegg at the time of writing which ... Read More »

ASUS Maximus VI Formula Motherboard Review

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Introduction – ASUS Maximus  VI Formula The Z87 lineup has moved along quickly and now we have had a few months to let things settle and the platform is still getting new boards trickling in like a few I got here just recently one of them being the one I have today. The new Maximus VI Formula which carries with it many cool toys and features among its bag of tricks which the formula always seems to carry. While the Extreme board in ROG line is always seen as the upper echelon of performance and features I think more real world features or should I say usable features always seem to be on the Formula things such as awesome audio solutions and the like which are more beneficial to the gamer while the Extreme has always had extreme overclocking centric feature sets which will still work as a gaming board ... Read More »

Patriot Viper III 2400MHz “Black Mamba” Memory Kit Review

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Introduction Patriot has been in the market for a long time but it is the lesser known little brother in the memory game. However this has not kept them from making some very cool memory models among other devices such as USB flash drives, mobile wireless storage and even a Android powered set top box and im sure many more things I cannot even think of right now. But without getting too crazy off topic what we are looking at today is their model from the Viper III series labeled “Black Mamba” which is very nice looking sticks with aggressive heatspreaders and a very aggressive speed/timing configuration. Being named Black Mamba I could only assume means to assert the aggressive and deadly power these sticks hold within.     Normally when you start getting above and beyond 2133 or so you start to really see the timings run away getting ... Read More »

Gskill F3-2666C11D-8GTXD 2666MHz Dual Channel 8GB Memory Review

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Introduction Gskill has been a popular memory provider for some time and their innovation along with work with high end overclockers helps push them to even more popularity as their memory can be seen at some tof the top benchmarks records in the world. Also the recent Computex show Gskill had a booth setup with overclocking pretty much the entire time with LN2 powered rigs all running Gskill memory just pushing for overclocking world records. The kit we have today is a TridentX model like we have seen before but this model is binned at 2666MHz at nice timings to make for a very capable kit for Z77 based platforms. However being that this kit will be tested on the new Haswell system we will see how it performs on this entirely new platform.     As we have seen before, when you start getting to the higher memory frequencies ... Read More »

ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II OC Mini

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ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II Mini Graphics Card After the 680 card launched there was the 670 and the line carried on, then we had heard word of a special “Mini” card and even a few sneak peeks here and there but I never honestly thought it would materialize. Now after the launch of the 700 series we finally saw it arrive in true for with the ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU Mini. Now I must say I was a bit surprised to see this card arrive after the 7 series launch but after seeing what this card is I think it could be a force to be reckoned with for some time. The GK104 Kepler Architecture The GTX 670 is based on the same GK104 architecture you saw on the 680, and even 770/760 we just recently looked at as well. Although the new 7 series has a bit more ... Read More »

Gigabyte Z87X-OC

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 Introduction – Gigabyte Z87X-OC Well we are now many boards deep into the Z87 line and now we got a new fun toy from the team over at Gigabyte. This is one of the OC Series boards, and yes I did say one of them as there are two different OC model boards the Z87X-OC and the Z87X-OC Force. The Z87X-OC Force is a full 4 Way sli and Crossfire model designed for overclocking and using a bridge chip to allow more PCIe lane availability to allow 4 Way SLI function. The board we have today is the Z87X-OC which omits the bridge chip and Liquid cooled VRM area in favor of a much more affordable cost. The tradeoff however does mean you give up the ability to run more than two way SLI or Quad SLI with two dual GPU cards, but since AMD does not limit crossfire to ... Read More »

ASUS GTX 780 DirectCU II OC

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ASUS GTX 780 DirectCU II OC ASUS with its top end DirectCU II cards always has its special spin and tweaks to the GPUs they create. and today we have the newest on the uber high end with the GTX 780 based model which comes packed with a full custom design, cooler and components to allow for top level performance. The GK110 Kepler Architecture When it comes to the GPU the GK110 was originally employed on powerhouse server based processing systems designed for huge calculations and other ops where a GPU can provide huge performance.  We first saw the GK110 as a consumer level part in the GTX TITAN, which was even still not the full GK110 you would see on a Tesla K20. The GTX 780 sports GK110 that is just a little less than a TITAN as well; the TITAN will be the top end flagship single GPU card for ... Read More »

Ivy Bridge-E is here! Intel Core i7-4960X Extreme Edition Processor Review

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Intel’s New Ivy Bridge-E Has Landed! Normally when Intel launches a new CPU it is brought along with a new chipset even if its the same socket. If you remember the launch a short while ago moving from Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge, it utilized the same 1155 socket but launched a new chipset Z77 along with the new CPU to support some new features even though it used the same socket. Today we are looking at the new Ivy Bridge-E CPU which is based on the LGA 2011 Socket type and with it we did not receive a board or any of that normal stuff we would get with an Intel launch. That is not a huge deal as we always found the Intel boards rather basic honestly but they did provide very good baseline and even OC based performance for which we could use to test all future ... Read More »

MSI GTX 760 HAWK

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MSI GeForce GTX 760 HAWK MSI with the introduction of the Gaming series set a whole new category for the MSI brand in the marketplace and a very necessary one at that. However there is still a gap to fill when it comes to extreme performance and that is where the GTX 760 HAWK that we are looking at today comes in. Must like the bigger brother “Lightning” model cards the hawk series is the mainstream performance equivalent for top end OC board offerings. Now with the GTX 760 is uses a GK104 GPU cut down to GTX 760 spec just like any other GTX760 you will find on that market but this is where the similarities end and the fun begins. Here as you can see the spec has a very respectable overclock to it right out of the box and you cant help but notice that the cooler ... Read More »

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