The Roccat Kave XTD 5.1 Digital Surround Sound gaming headset is the latest headset offering from the innovative people at Roccat. The Kave XTD 5.1 promises to make huge advancements over its predecessor, the Roccat Kave 5.1 analog. The Kave XTD 5.1 Digital brings a USB interface, a speaker pass-through function, cellular Bluetooth connectivity, and a revamped in-line remote. In this article, Benchmark Reviews investigates.
Category Archive: PC Hardware Reviews
A few months ago Phanteks released the Enthoo Pro, a case that Benchmark Reviews concluded as being a game changer in the case market. Prior to the Enthoo Pro, Phanteks had already released a case that was praised by many enthusiasts as the most water cooler friendly case released in 2013, the Enthoo Primo.. With the release of the Enthoo Pro, Phanteks had a price gap to fill in it’s Enthoo line-up, leading to the release of the Enthoo Luxe, the case which I will be reviewing today.
ROCCAT is certainly not a newcomer to providing peripherals to gamers; they’ve produced many models of gaming mice, keyboards, headsets, and even gaming laptops. It is the innovators, like the people at ROCCAT, that continue to keep PC gaming more than merely relevant, and Benchmark reviews is proud to bring you this review of ROCCAT’s first mechanical keyboard; the ROCCAT Ryos MK Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. Considering the quality of the entire line of peripherals that ROCCAT has to offer, there is no reason to think that the Ryos MK Pro will be anything but impressive.
Sporting a configurable TDP and all of the Kaveri features (GCN graphics cores, Steamroller CPU cores, HSA, etc.), the A10-7800 which Benchmark Reviews will be looking at today sits right in between the A10-7850K and A10-7700K. What type of performance was AMD able to extract from this 65W APU? Read on to find out.
ROCCAT is a German company that produces gaming peripherals including gaming mice and keyboards, mouse pads, and sound systems. The ISKU FX is ROCCAT’s mid-range gaming keyboard, clocking in at $79.99. The ISKU FX features multicolor illumination, 8 configurable media and hotkeys, ROCCAT TALK, macro recording, dedicated profile switches, 36 macro keys, and an extra large wrist rest for comfort during long gaming sessions. The features and illumination options make the ISKU FX an attractive option, but can it compete with the many other gaming keyboards in the market? In this Benchmark Reviews article I will discuss the many features of the ROCCAT ISKU FX, the accompanying driver software, and how this keyboard compares to others options on the market.
If you have ever been to a LAN party there is a pretty high chance you have seen one of the most popular cases from BitFenix, the Prodigy, a huge success among the gaming community due to its innovative design and style. Since then, BitFenix has started to shift it’s attention into different markets as we have seen with the Fury line of power supplies, but this time they have released a new set of cases, including the BitFenix Neos. Since it’s debut back in May, it was announced that the case would offer tremendous value and style, which was definitely showcased in early models of the case, immediately bringing attention from Benchmark Reviews. But in such a crowded market will the Neos manage not to drown in the sea of budget cases?
If you are in the look for a mouse pad or desk mat you have probably heard of XTracPads. Unlike other big companies like Razer and SteelSeries, XTracPads’ focus is directed only to making the best mouse pad gear and accessories. Lately, the twelve year old company has made some changes such as updating their name to XTracGear and updating many of their lines of products. Luckily, they have sent Benchmark Reviews some samples to test. This time we will be testing their biggest product, the Ripper XXL.
XTracGear (formerly XTracPads) is a company dedicated solemnly to manufacture the best mousing surfaces and accessories for gamers and professionals. Since 2002, they have brought along many successful products including their Ripper model, which has been a very strong contender among the big mouse pad market. This year XTracPads decided to refine many things including their name as well as many of their products. They have gladly sent Benchmark Reviews a sample of their new XTracGear Ripper mouse pad which we will evaluate to see if upholds to it’s predecessor.
One can easily say that Cooler Master is a household name among PC enthusiasts. With an absolute plethora of cooling products and chassis to choose from, Cooler Master boasts one of the largest product lines in the industry. With products such as the immensely popular Hyper 212 EVO CPU cooler and the HAF 932 chassis, one can generally expect good things to come from Cooler Master. Last year Cooler Master released the N-series cases, which includes the N200, N400, and N600 models. The N600 is the premier model in the series, designed to bring enthusiast features at a more affordable price point.
The GAMDIAS Hephaestus Multi-Sensorial Gaming Headset (GHS2000) is a feature packed headset promising big sound in a big package. The Hephaestus sports virtual 7.1 surround, built-in cooling, and a unique feature called the blast source identifier. The headset also sports leather ear pads and headband, allowing for a very comfortable gaming experience during long sessions.
XTracGear (formerly XTracPads) is a company dedicated solemnly to manufacture the best mousing surfaces and accessories for gamers and professionals. This year XTracGear has decided to update some of their products, as well as introducing new ones. Please read along as Benchmark Reviews takes a look at one of their newest products, the XTracGear Carbonic Surface Mouse Pad, a low cost mouse pad which features a carbon fiber print that XTracGear claims to enhance mouse cursor accuracy.
Now, SilverStone has just released the latest chassis in the Raven series, the RV05. Drawing it’s design straight from the RV01, the Raven RV05 continues a trend started by the NZXT H440 with the removal of all 5.25″ drive bays. Without the bays, the RV05 is smaller than many mid-towers while still retaining compatibility for a full range of standard features such as ATX motherboards and power supplies, bays for dual 3.5″ drives and 2.5″ drives, and even water cooling support.
Whether it’s in the automotive, clothing, or furniture industry, European companies have always brought innovative ideas that make big part of the most elegant and simple designs. One clear example is Fractal Design, a Scandinavian company that has showed Benchmark Reviews what stylish and efficient designs look like. This year Fractal Design is updating many of their product lines, including their Core series, to which we reacted in a very excited manner as we could never get tired of their simple minimalist approach. Today we are going to be taking a look at the Fractal Design Core 3500 Mid Tower Case.
Superlux is a Taiwanese manufacturer of audio components that targets the “affordable market”. Their headphones have slowly entered the market during the past years and they have made quiet a hype in various enthusiast forums and gaming communities. At first, we were quite skeptical about the relatively unknown company as it is the first time we ever heard from them, and at such a low price, the Superlux HD 668B Headphones are the most affordable set of headphones that Benchmark Reviews has ever taken a close look at.
Gamdias Technology Co., Ltd. is a Taiwan based company that was recently formed in 2012. As a result, their offerings are quite small, with four keyboards, a few mice, a couple of gaming headsets and some accessories such as gaming gloves. The Gamdias HERMES is their premier gaming keyboard series, with Cherry MX switches, 512KB of memory, 32-bit ARM processor, 13 customizable macro keys, and USB / audio ports. With many already existing gaming keyboards such as the Logitech G510 and Corsair Vengeance, can the HERMES Essential make inroads in an already congested market? In this Benchmark Reviews article, I’ll discuss the design and features of the HERMES GKB2000 as well as Gamdias’s peripheral software, the Gamdias HERA.
If you haven’t heard, desktop computing is losing serious ground to other, increasingly affordable computing solutions, including notebooks, chromebooks, and tablets. Desktops are still around. You probably have one at home and you probably use one at work. With mobile gaming on the rise and so many productivity features being streamlined for mobile platforms, the need for a powerful desktop computer because your other devices can’t handle the load is declining. According to AMD, entry level computing options make up the majority of the market. In this review, Benchmark Reviews takes a look at the AMD Athlon 5350 Kabini desktop processor paired with the Gigabyte GA-AM1M-S2H mATX motherboard and 4GB of DDR3 1600MHz AMD Radeon Series RAM.
FM2+ Motherboards sporting the A88X chipset started appearing in October 2013, but the improved functionality over the latest FM2 motherboards only became truly apparent with the release of the Kaveri line of APUs in January 2014. Add to that the recent release of AMD drivers supporting the Mantle API, and the FM2+ motherboards start to make sense. Benchmark Reviews has the AMD A10-7850K APU and a couple of FM2+ motherboards on hand. This article is dedicated to reviewing the ASRock FM2A88X Extreme6+ Motherboard to discover what sets it apart from the rest of the FM2+ crowd.
Solid State Drive technology has been revolutionary in that it delivers a very noticeable performance boost that surpasses upgrades to other components. As a result, companies who offer SSDs typically spend small fortunes marketing them to the consumer public. Samsung goes a different route, and relies on proven performance to sale units. This was especially true for the Samsung SSD 840 PRO, which generated its own interest by producing impressive transfer speeds. Powered by their own 32-layer 3D V-NAND technology, the Samsung SSD 850 PRO replaces the 840 PRO solid state drive and delivers up to twice the density and write speed of traditional 20nm planar NAND flash components. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests the 256GB Samsung SSD 850 PRO against the fastest solid state drives available.
Since AMD announced their GPU 14 R9 series video cards, AIB partners have been tweaking and tuning their own aftermarket designs. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests the HIS Radeon R9 290 iPower IceQ X2 OC 4GB video card (Model# H290QMC4GD). As the name suggests, this particular model features the high end IceQ X2 cooler from the HIS labs and slightly faster Core and Memory speeds. I have seen the evolution of this cooler first hand and I know it to be fully capable. Two 89mm dual axial fans and five heatpipes ensure that your temperatures will stay well within safe limits with the minimum amount of noise, even during overclocking.
In this next installment of AMD’s GPU 14 R9 line-up, Benchmark Reviews will be testing the HIS Radeon R9 280 IceQ X² OC 3GB Video Card (Model# H280QMC3G2M). As the name suggests, this particular model features the high end IceQ X2 cooler from the HIS labs and faster Core and Memory speeds. I have seen the evolution of this cooler first hand and I know it to be fully capable. Two 89mm dual axial fans and five heatpipes ensure that your temperatures will stay well within safe limits.
Rosewill’s Legacy series of cases brought a new image with them to the Newegg in-house brand’s typically budget-oriented lineup. That’s not to say there weren’t splendid offerings available previously – I still maintain that Rosewill’s Thor V2 chassis is one of the best “price for performance” cases produced in recent memory. Even excluding the stand-out cases, there was a chassis at almost every price point that usually offered just as much as the competition at a lower price (even though they may have sacrificed a feature or a little build quality – usually negligible – to do so). Still, Rosewill’s penchant for penny-pinching produced (alliteration!) a few compromises along the way. Looking to provide some premium offerings and possibly shed their “budget” image of the past, Rosewill may just end up revamping their legacy with the new Legacy W1 Mini-ITX computer case. Available in black or silver with or without a window, this aluminum-clad mini-ITX case appears to be a premium answer to enclosures like the BitFenix Prodigy.
The P100 is an entry level computer case in the Antec Performance series of computer cases. Within the Performance series, Antec positions the P100 as a combination of sophistication, silence, and overall coolness. This translates into a relatively sleek looking ATX enclosure with a minimal amounts of visible ventilation, and a brushed metal front door to further reduce any noise from escaping the interior. In this article, we will be dismantling an i7 P79 content creation computer housed in an older E-ATX enclosure and re-packing the system into the Antec P100. Benchmark Reviews will look at the Antec P100 and determine if the case delivers on its promise of silence and cool performance with an attractive price point.
August 2010. A new company releases a massive enclosure aptly named the Colossus. The original Colossus was BitFenix’s first product as a company, and it captured the attention of the enthusiast crowd at the time with its various added features and performance capabilities. While Benchmark Reviews has taken a look at the Colossus before, the recent release of the micro-ATX (and mini-ITX) Colossus M got us thinking: how much performance was retained in the Colossus’ spiritual successor? The SofTouch finishes, LiteTrak systems and bold styling are all there, but how do the two compare when filled with similar hardware? Is the monolithic Colossus ancient history by now, or can BitFenix’s first product still hold its own? Courtesy of BitFenix, let’s see how the latest BitFenix Colossus stacks up against the original version.
If you want to give your podcasts a professional appearance, you need a good quality microphone. Forget about the tiny hole on your portable smart-whatever device, there’s a world of difference between consumer and professional-grade microphones, and the signal processing circuits that go along with them. Once you have a good microphone and preamp, you then need to digitize the signal using an Analog-to-Digital (A/D) convertor, and get that digital signal into your PC. The Spark Digital from Blue Microphones is an all-in-one solution for high quality digital audio production. All the signal processing is done inside the body of the microphone, and the interface to your computer is through one of several available serial connections. The Spark Digital supports USB 1.1/2.0, the relatively new Lightning connection, or the older Apple 30-pin interface, through the use of separate cables for each connection type. Benchmark Reviews has an audio side to it, but we’ve mostly concentrated on the output side of the equation – headphones and speakers. Some of our readers are content creators though, so it’s high time we paid some attention to the beginning of the signal chain.
For going on two years now, Samsung has been a major player in the SSD market. Before that, Samsung SSDs just didn’t compete. That has all changed with the Samsung 800 series of SSDs and even more recently with the release of Samsung’s RAPID technology for use with Samsung 840 SSDs. Samsung now competes at the top of the market and their SSDs are forces to be reckoned with. In this article, Benchmark Reviews looks at the Samsung 840 Pro SSD’s performance, with and without RAPID mode enabled.