When AMD unveiled their latest series of graphics cards, MSI was ready to improve upon their design by adding military-grade components cooled by Twin Frozr dual 10cm propeller fans. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests the MSI Radeon R9 270X GAMING 2GB video card. For $199 gamers get a 1120 MHz factory-overclocked UltraHD 4K resolution-ready graphics card with 1280 Stream processors capable of fast frame rates, and support for the upcoming DirectX 11.2 API.
Category Archive: PC Hardware Reviews
It’s been years since I’ve bought a pre-built desktop computer, so I was interested in the opportunity to check out the Erazer X700 Gaming System that Lenovo offered to us to review. The Erazer occupies a space between the sub-$500 generic boxes most people are satisfied with and the expensive boutique systems at the other end of the scale.
Back in May the announcement of the Leap Motion Controller had me with the first sentence on the home page: “With a wave of a hand or lift of a finger, you’re about to use your computer in a whole new way.” However I had to wait until the product launch in July before Benchmark Reviews was able to obtain one for me to conduct a review. Of course, once the review item arrived it was out of the box and on my computer in no time at all. I was really keen to begin testing so that I could share my exploits in discovering how effective this “amazing device” really is. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests and evaluates the Leap Motion Controller (model LM-010) for functionality and innovation.
To get the most out of the CrossFade M-100 Headphones you will be wise to also invest in a headphone amplifier. The sound output from today’s smartphones might be enough to crap out your average best buy $10 headphones, but it just isn’t enough to get a truly satisfactory experience on a higher quality set of headphones let alone the CrossFade M100′s. A lot of attention has quite rightly been given to sound quality and performance with equal attention also given to build quality and style. Don’t get me wrong, the experience is not disappointing by any means, I just need to point out that the dual-diaphragm 50mm drivers inside the CrossFade M-100 Headphones are so much more capable than you may think.
Thermaltake’s eSPORTS division has updated their MEKA line of mechanical keyboards with the Thermaltake MEKA G-Unit Illuminated Edition gaming keyboard, complete with full red LED illumination on every key and Cherry MX Black linear mechanical switches throughout. Including features comparable to many other premium keyboards, will Thermaltake Technology Co., Ltd.’s eSPORTS offering distance itself from the pack? As always, that’s what Benchmark Reviews intends to find out.
The BoomPro Microphone (model# C-BP-Black) from V-MODA is creative yet simple. It’s one of those products that begs the question: Why hasn’t this been invented already? A 200 cm headphone extension cable with a built in boom microphone – It’s ingenious. The BoomPro Microphone converts your regular or studio headphones (with 3.5mm jack input) into a headset for gaming, communication and recording. Benchmark Reviews has seen many novel accessories and quite a lot of gimmicks in the technology news stream, but this one caught our eye. For $30 you can’t really do much wrong.
The Tartarus is a new dedicated game pad from Razer that boasts an improved form factor to deliver longer-lasting comfort and minimum fatigue during gameplay. In this article, Benchmark Reviews will look at the Razer Tartarus Membrane Gaming Keypad to evaluate its comfort and efficiency in gameplay as well as determining if the expense of a dedicated gamepad translates into an improved game experience.
I’ve never been a big fan of headsets. Instead, I’ve always tried to use a speaker system whenever possible. After my fourth kid was born a few months ago, however, my home office was converted into a nursery. That meant that my trusty 5.1 surround speaker system that had traveled to Iraq and back with me, was now a set of paperweights. Since then, I’ve become somewhat of an audiophile, seeking the most comfortable headset that produces the highest quality sound for the best price. Recently, Benchmark Reviews received the CM Storm Pulse-R Aluminum Gaming Headset SGH-4330-KATA1 for testing. In this article, I will outline my experience with the CM Storm Pulse-R and show you where it fits in the gaming headset niche.
It seems full-sized ATX systems are becoming less relevant every day. Increasing GPU horsepower diminishes the need for expensive multi-GPU setups; onboard sound has become good enough for all but serious audiophiles, and inexpensive 8GB DIMMs mean that two DIMM slots is plenty. The ASUS Z87I-Deluxe LGA1150 mini-ITX motherboard is the latest in ASUS’ new line of enthusiast mini-ITX motherboards. If you haven’t considered a mini-ITX build, maybe it’s time you should.
Zalman has always had a unique approach to CPU cooling. Focusing on quiet performance, they’ve once again returned with their distinctive circular design to…wait, what’s this? An all-in-one water cooler with a round radiator?? Well…from a company known for “Cool Innovations,” I guess we shouldn’t be surprised to see such a unique contribution to the All-In-One CPU cooler market. When you first see it in person, it isn’t difficult to see why the Zalman Reserator 3 MAX AIO liquid CPU cooler was given the Innovation award from the Consumer Electronics Show at the beginning of 2013. Complete with an infusion of nanofluids and a claimed 400W of cooling power, does the Reserator 3 MAX have the performance to back up the looks? Benchmark Reviews is ready to place this unique AIO nanofluid cooler on an overclocked FX processor to see what the Reserator 3 MAX is capable of.
How many new features can you cram onto a motherboard that are both useful and innovative? ASUS is the expert at doing this, and their history of innovations is long: the custom EPU and TPU processors; intelligent fan control, the ability to update your BIOS on a board with no CPU and RAM installed, and so forth. The Z87-Deluxe/Dual LGA1150 motherboard shows that ASUS is not content to rest on its laurels. With new features like Near Field Communications and 802.11ac support, this motherboard has it all.
Cooler Master brings their decades of experience in retail and OEM cooling solutions to the CPU cooling market with the newly released V8 GTS heatsink, model RR-V8VC-16PR-R1. Sporting a horizontal vapor chamber and enhanced-life “POM” polyoxymethylene bearing 140mm fans and a car-engine motif similar to the previous generation V10, V8 and V6/GTS coolers, the V8 GTS promises to pack a lot of performance under the hood. Benchmark Reviews has a chance to see how the first retail horizontal vapor chamber heatsink will affect CPU cooling performance in testing the Cooler Master V8 GTS 140mm CPU cooler.
The ASUS PCE-AC66 802.11ac wireless PCIe adapter is currently the only wireless adapter I know of, that allows you to experience the wonders of 3-Stream IEEE 802.11ac Wi-Fi. It won’t be the last, for sure, because the gains in wireless throughput are too good to pass up. There are several significant changes in the new 802.11ac standard, and upping the maximum allowable number of spatial streams is one of them. Theoretically, eight individual streams are supported by 802.11ac, but the new chips from Broadcom top out at three streams on a single IC. That’s enough to push 1.3Gbps across the airwaves on the 5GHz Wi-Fi band, which is probably where the consumer devices will stay. There are several wireless adapters on the market that are capable of handling two streams, but right now the PCE-AC66 is alone at the top of the 802.11ac heap, with three streams and the data rates to match.
Some of the most difficult to answer questions in the enthusiast and high-end gaming PC world have to do with RAM, and more specifically with RAM clock speeds, latency, and timings. What differences do all of these make when it comes to better performance and higher frame rates in games? Typically, the answer is that they do very little when it comes to games. AMD has sought to change that answer with the release of their Richland series APUs, which are designed to take even more advantage of RAM speeds and support up to 2133MHz clock speeds. Intel’s Haswell now supports speeds of up to 1600MHz. Now that more is being done to increase the performance gain from higher RAM speeds, let’s take a look at the results. Here at Benchmark Reviews, we have a couple of new high-speed RAM kits to review. In this article, we will be taking a look at the Kingston HyperX 8GBx2 DDR3-2133 KHX21C11T3K2/16X kit.
Mechanical gaming keyboards continue to pour into the market, and it is blatantly obvious that this is more than merely a passing fad. More and more companies continue to throw their hats into the ring in order to capitalize on the popularity of this gaming peripheral. One of the latest entries is the Gamdias Hermes GBK2010 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. I know what you’re thinking… “who?” Gamdias was recently established (2012) and has a singular focus, which is to “redefine the Electronic Sports (eSports) landscape for gamers worldwide.”
Since this is my first venture into building a system inside an M-ITX PC case I didn’t know exactly what to expect when I started out. I had certain expectations of the Lian Li PC-Q28; I knew it would take a full size ATX PSU (up to 17cm) and double slot video cards (up to 29cm long). The Lian Li PC-Q28 PC case, while small, has a large internal volume and will make for an excellent enthusiast M-ITX case with a few tweaks and mods. In this article Benchmark Reviews will hopefully provide answers to all of the questions you may have regarding the capabilities of the Lian-Li PC-Q28 Aluminum Mini-ITX Tower PC Case (model PC-Q28B), and more that you may have not considered.
The LSI 9300-4i4e is a PCI-Express to Serial Attached SCSI (PCIe-to-SAS) host bus adapter (HBA) card fits server and high-performance workstation computers to deliver internal and external storage connectivity. Also called the LSI 12GB/s SAS HBA card, the 9300-4i4e model provides eight lanes of 12Gb/s SAS connectivity and is matched with eight lanes of PCIe 3.0 8Gb/s performance. LSI’s 9300-4i4e 12GB/s SAS HBA is based on the proprietary Fusion-MPT architected LSI SAS3008 / Fusion MPT 2.5 controller that fuses 8Gb/s PCIe 3.0 technology to 12Gb/s SAS technology. In this article, Benchmark Reviews inspects the features and functionality for the LSI SAS 9300-4i4e PCIe 12Gbps HBA Card.
Well here’s something a little different. SilverStone Technology has released their first line of all-in-one liquid coolers, part of the Tundra series. Sporting a patented fin design with claims of 40% higher cooling efficiency, new 120mm fans in a push/pull arrangement on a 45mm thick radiator and a custom water block, the SilverStone Tundra SST-TD03 All-In-One Liquid CPU Cooler that Benchmark Reviews has received for testing is a refreshingly unique addition to the growing and popular all-in-one water-cooling segment.
Cooler Master has a full range of keyboards with various prices and configurations, ranging from the fully backlit, full sized Trigger, to the minimalist ten keyless QuickFire Stealth. Adding yet another keyboard into the fray, Cooler Master has introduced the QuickFire XT, a full size companion to Cooler Master’s very popular QuickFire Rapid. The Quickfire XT is a no frills, full-sized mechanical keyboard available with variety of switches depending on a user’s needs. In this review Benchmark Reviews will be evaluating the Cooler Master CM Storm Quickfire XT (model SGK-4030-GKCL1-US) against its rivals in the very competitive mechanical keyboard market.
SilverStone may be known for their cooling, but not necessarily their CPU coolers. As a company, they’ve brought forward many innovations and unique, successful approaches to the ATX case standard with their AP series fans and rotated motherboard enclosures. It’s not that SilverStone is a stranger to CPU cooling – there were the Nitrogen special-application series before the new Argon series, as well as the Heligon high-performance line of heat-sinks. The Argon AR01, AR02, and AR03 are all designed to be more accessible alternatives for enthusiasts, with each model fulfilling a specific purpose. Sporting six 6mm direct-contact heatpipes and a 140mm wide tower-style heatsink assembly, the AR03 is the top option available in the Argon family with the most cooling capacity. Benchmark Reviews will have a chance to find out if the AR03 belongs at the top of the Argon family.
Some of the most difficult to answer questions in the enthusiast and high-end gaming PC world have to do with RAM, and more specifically with RAM clock speeds, latency, and timings. What differences do all of these make when it comes to better performance and higher frame rates in games? Typically, the answer is that they do very little when it comes to games. AMD has sought to change that answer with the release of their Richland series APUs, which are designed to take even more advantage of RAM speeds and support up to 2133MHz clock speeds. Intel’s Haswell now supports speeds of up to 1600MHz. Now that more is being done to increase the performance gain from higher RAM speeds, let’s take a look at the results. Here at Benchmark Reviews, we have a couple of new high-speed RAM kits to review. In this article, we will be taking a look at the ADATA XPG V2 4GBx2 DDR3-2400 PC19200 AX3U2400W4G11 DRAM Kit.
SilverStone may be known for their cooling, but not necessarily their CPU coolers. As a company, they’ve brought forward many innovations and unique, successful approaches to the ATX case standard with their AP series fans and rotated motherboard enclosures. It’s not that SilverStone is a stranger to CPU cooling – there were the Nitrogen special-application series before the new Argon series, as well as the Heligon high-performance line of heat-sinks. The Argon AR01, AR02, and AR03 are all designed to be more accessible alternatives for enthusiasts, with each model fulfilling a specific purpose. The SilverStone SST-AR01 is designed to be a price/performance leader in the market, and is the cooler that Benchmark Reviews will be taking a look at today.
The SilverStone SST-ARM11SC seems to recognize this trend with the naming of their product. This is not just a flexible monitor stand, SilverStone describes it as “the Arm One Single LCD Interactive Arm”. It promises to liberate your view and significantly increase the value and usability of your monitor. In this article, Benchmark Reviews looks at this new monitor stand to see if there is real value behind the marketing claims.
When Intel sends out press samples of their new CPUs, they generally provide the top-end desktop products like the Core i7-4470K. And it’s fun to have the latest new super-fast processor to play with. But most people don’t need this level of power, and indeed in many cases even enthusiasts won’t make full use of the capabilities of a high-end part. Given that, might a less expensive, mid-range CPU be a better choice? Benchmark Reviews tests the mid-range Intel Core i5-4430 CPU, desktop processor model BX80646I54430, to find out.
I have been using a docking station at work for many years, so this was not new to me. All my previous experience was with proprietary docking stations that had cost quite a lot to procure and we tied to a single product. Until now I had not been able to find a docking station for my personal computer that has a reasonable price, simple connectivity, and the promise to increase the effectiveness of my computer. And so that is why I was so excited to receive and be able to test the Diamond DS3900 docking station for Benchmark Reviews.