With Intel being the sole supplier of chipsets for their processors, all motherboards with the same CPU and supporting chipset will provide pretty much the same performance at stock settings. Vendors strive to distinguish their products with additional features, which can be as disparate as a clever new BIOS or entirely new hardware capabilities grafted on via custom or third-party silicon. From a performance perspective, ASUS has historically added value with enhancements to standard interfaces, such as their accelerated USB 3.0, and hardware and software features that make overclocking easier, even for the novice. With the Z97-DELUXE they’ve even added entirely new high speed interfaces: M.2 and SATA Express. If you’re looking for a future-proof board for your next rig, this could be it.
Category Archive: PC Hardware Reviews
Where ASUS really pulls away from their competition is with digital power control for memory and processor, utilizing up to 16 power phases to ensure absolute precision stability. All hardware points are controlled by Dual Intelligent Processors 5, which consists of DIGI+ Power Control, TPU, EPU, Turbo App, and Fan Xpert. ASUS Z97-DELUXE and Z97-PRO models feature dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac (a/b/g/n/ac) and BlueTooth 4.0 wireless functionality. In this article Benchmark Reviews showcases the ASUS Z97-DELUXE (NFC & WLC) motherboard, and reveals the many hardware features packed onto this mainstream channel desktop board.
Announced at CES 2014, Kingston has released their replacement of the Blu series of RAM modules. Named “Fury,” the new HyperX series of DDR3 RAM claim to make overclocking even easier by automatically detecting the appropriate speeds and timings for your motherboard, making these modules “Plug and Play” ready. Arriving in 4GB, 8GB single, 8GB dual or 16GB dual-channel kits, the Fury line will have frequencies of 1333 MHz (CL9), 1600MHz (CL9), or 1866 MHz(CL10). A new asymmetric heat-spreader design in red, blue, white or black colors covers a stylish black PCB, adding a distinct look to this newest memory kit from Kingston. Benchmark Reviews received one of the dual-channel 8GB kits for testing (model HX318C10FWK2/8), so let’s see how these modules compare.
Thermaltake has recently added another chassis to their Urban lineup. A modern update of the classic Lanbox Lite chassis (also by Thermaltake), the Urban SD1 is designed for builders that are building around the mATX/mITX form factors and still want room for large graphics cards, AIO liquid coolers and multiple drives. Utilizing modular internals in a chassis not much bigger than many ITX boxes, the Urban SD1 promises an easy building experience. Weighing in at 5.8 kg and with dimensions of 239 x 280 x 456mm (HWD), will this sophisticated relative of the Lanbox / Armor A30 deliver on its claims of high-performance in a micro-ATX form factor? Benchmark Reviews was given an opportunity to build a system in the Urban SD1 (model CA-1A9-00S1NN-00), so let’s see what changes have been incorporated in this new member of the Urban chassis family.
Although they’ve been around since 2001, Sentey Inc. isn’t on many enthusiast’s radars. Established in 2001 and based in Doral, Florida, Sentey manufactures a range of cases, keyboards, mice, power supplies, headphones, and other items that appeal to the enthusiast and gamer. Today we have the Sentey Crimson Pro mechanical gaming keyboard– part of their Professional Gamer Series– in house for some testing.
Thermaltake is no stranger to the computer chassis market. With Reddot design awards for their Chaser A71 and Level 10 enclosures, they aren’t afraid to try different approaches to chassis design. With their new Core V71 Full Tower chassis, Thermaltake is offering an E-ATX capable enclosure that is both versatile and adaptable. Focusing on performance with either air or liquid cooling, the Core V71 offers an unprecedented level of flexibility and customization.
Thermaltake has made some very high quality products in the past and continues to do so even today with their new Poseidon Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. This mechanical gaming keyboard is available in Cherry MX Blue and Brown switches. Unlike many other expensive LED mechanical keyboards, the Poseidon comes in at a very aggressive price and offers a few similar features and specifications that are only included in the more expensive alternatives. In this review, we will be looking specifically at the Thermaltake Poseidon Mechanical Gaming Keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches.
The Comrade Mid-Tower case is the latest case out of BitFenix, a manufacturer known for building high quality cases such as the Colossus Full-Tower and Prodigy Mini-ATX and ITX cases. The Comrade is BitFenix’s attempt to enter the budget case market, with a reasonably priced case that has many features that are normally expected in more pricey designs, such as removable dust filters. The Comrade accommodates both Mini-ITX / ATX and standard ATX boards, and has numerous features designed to make constructing a system a breeze for first-time builders, including tool-less 3.5″, and 5.25″ drive bays. The Comrade is available in either black or white colors.
Titanfall has been one of the most-anticipated games of 2014, and for a very good reason. Combining the best first-person shooter aspects of Call of Duty and Battlefield into a mech-themed FPS video game isn’t easy to pull off, but Respawn Entertainment and Electronic Arts do so with great success. Available for console and PC, gamers who want ultimate immersion and control will likely gravitate towards the desktop gaming platform. For good reason then, NVIDIA has focused a significant amount of its resources towards optimizing performance so that players can enable the best graphical quality settings possible.
With the new Kaveri APUs out in full force, the Mantle API being used for high-profile games like Battlefield 4, and HSA finally coming into its own, FM2+ motherboards are all over the place. The A88X chipset paired with an FM2+ APU is a solid platform all by itself, but manufacturers have to spice things up in order to sell motherboards. In this article, Benchmark Reviews takes a look at the ASUS A88X-Pro FM2+ Motherboard.
The Cooler Master Elite 110 Mini-ITX Computer Case is a compact, cube style case that can handle some full sized desktop components, while maintaining a relatively small footprint. With the ability to handle a ATX sized power supply, and desktop graphic cards up to 210mm (8.26 inches), the Elite 110 is aimed at more than just the niche market. Sporting the ability to hold 4 SSDs or 3 HDDs, storage options are not a problem.
I love it when a company innovates and brings a product to market that people really want. AVEXIR have done just that with their Blitz 1.1 series DDR3 PC memory range – with designs based on popular gaming motherboard brands. For this review AVEXIR have kindly sent Benchmark Reviews a wide range of samples for our testing pleasure. For performance testing, two of the seven memory modules were paired together to form the equivalent of an 8GB dual channel 1600MHz CL9 memory kit (model# AVD3U16000904G-2BZ1). This review will showcase the Blitz 1.1 series PC memory range available from AVEXIR as well as providing vital performance information.
Crucial’s C300 solid state drive introduced SSDs to the SATA-6Gb/s interface, followed by the Micron M500 SSD series which will continue in the mainstream value segment. With the Crucial M550 SSD, Micron introduces their brand’s first premium-level product series. Utilizing a new Marvell 88SS9189 controller on the Crucial M550 SSD, read speeds reach 550 MB/s while write speeds attain 500 MB/s. M550 promises 90,000 random IOPS reads, and up to 85,000 random IOPS writes. 20nm Micron 64GB and 128GB NAND flash components are used in M550, which improves overall performance and enables lower-capacity drives to perform nearly as well as the higher capacity counterparts.
PC Gaming is not dead, it’s just that there isn’t as much innovation happening to steal the headlines. Tablets, Laptops and Consoles are taking the limelight. Sure they’re great for intermittent gaming but can’t really compete with the ultimate solution – The humble PC. ROCCAT is making its debut into the thriving mechanical keyboard market with three variants of its Ryos MK Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. In this review, Benchmark Reviews will be testing the top of the line ROCCAT Ryos MK Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard (model# ROC-12-851-BN – US Layout) with Cherry MX Brown switches and individual backlit keys.
Optical and laser mice will work fine on just about any smooth surface they encounter. So what is the point of a mousepad? To answer that question we would need a science lesson so we will sum it up with one word: Friction. Everyone has their own preference and ROCCAT has many different gaming surfaces to cater to those needs. Today, Benchmark Reviews will be testing the ROCCAT Siru Pitch Black Desk Fitting Gaming Mousepad model# ROC-13-070. The Siru mousepad is unlike any mousepad I have seen before, it is a high speed wafer thin surface and is truly non-slip thanks to an innovative backing surface. Read on to find out more.
BitFenix, a company best known for their chassis development, has decided to venture into the peripherals market. The BitFenix Flo gaming headset, model BFH-FLO-KWSK1-RP, is their first attempt at the audio accessory market. The BitFenix Flo is a headset that is aimed at both PC gamers, and users on the go. With a removable microphone and interchangeable cables, the Flo can be used for that heavy gaming session at the PC or easily converted to be taken on the road.
The AZZA XT1 Full-Tower Gaming case has it all. With great features offered in only some of the highest-end products, the AZZA XT1 makes a great case for consumers on a larger budget and even some enthusiast who want to go with a full-fledged customized water cooling system. It also features a lot of expand abilities for multiple hard drives and solid state drive configurations. The AZZA XT1 will accommodate XL-ATX motherboards thanks to its full-tower design. With this accommodation, it has a total of eight expansion slots at the back of the case allowing flexible and unlimited expand abilities.
The PAPAGO! P3 Dashcam is the company’s top-of-the-line dashboard camera unit, with many extra features beyond just recording what it sees out the windshield. Its Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) includes Stop and Go, LDWS (Lane Departure Warning System) and FCWS (Front Collision Warning System), as well as a number of other capabilities.
With the release of AMD’s Kaveri APU and the realization of their heterogeneous compute vision, the A10-7850K has the potential to make a lot of changes in the way we use the processing power available to us. The A10-7850K can harness the full power of both its CPU and GPU cores equally, something that can benefit us, the end users, greatly. The problem is, that vision doesn’t fully come to life until developers start writing for it.
Roccat has recently introduced their sixth mouse in the Kone line up: the Kone Pure. Benchmark Review’s has had the opportunity to take the new Roccat Kone Pure for a spin and see what is so different from the previous iterations. This gaming mouse sports an all new laser sensor for the ultimate in sensitivity, perfect for ultra high monitor resolutions.
The Ducky Shine Series, arguably one of the best mechanical keyboards on the market, has released the Ducky Shine 3 DK9008S3. Often referred to as the YOTS or “Year of the Snake”, the 2013 Shine 3 is the offshoot descendant of the 2012 Year of the Dragon Shine 2 DK9087 (a tenkeyless version in the shine series). This model, like it’s predecessor, comes with a wide array of switch options including Cherry MX Black, Blue, Brown, and Red, and a wide array of LED color options including: Blue, Red, Green, White, Magenta, and Orange. With so many options, there is really no reason not to find the perfect fit for you in the Ducky Shine 3 DK9008S3-CUSALAAG1.
What’s the difference between a “regular” mouse and a “gaming” mouse? It’s a reasonable question, and one that Corsair hopes to answer with the Raptor M45 Gaming Mouse. Basically, the difference boils down to features and responsiveness. The Corsair Raptor M45 has both of these in spades.
OCZ Storage Solutions, formerly OCZ Technology and now a Toshiba Group Company, was quick to produce its first performance product under the new company banner: Vertex 460 solid state drive. The new OCZ Vertex 460 SSD features an Indilinx Barefoot 3 (BF3-M10) controller and Toshiba 19nm Multi-Level Cell (MLC) NAND flash components with secure AES-256 data encryption and Trim support. Vertex 460 is good for 540 MB/s read and 525 MB/s write speeds over a SATA 6-Gb/s connection, and replaces the Vertex 450 as the fastest solid state drive in the product series. In this article Benchmark Reviews tests the 240GB OCZ Vertex 460 SSD, model VTX460-25SAT3-240G, against the leading competition.
Mechanical keyboards such as Corsair’s Vengeance K70 keyboards have garnered praise from industry pundits and users alike. But there’s no escaping the fact that keyboards with individual mechanical key switches are expensive: the aforementioned K70 retails for $130.00. But as it turns out, you can get much of the style and functionality of Corsair’s high-end keyboards for a lot less money. Today Benchmark Reviews takes a look at Corsair’s Raptor K40 Gaming Keyboard.