NZXT has dabbled in quiet cases before (Hush, H2). While I don’t personally have experience with those particular chassis, I’ve gathered the attempts in the past have left consumers wanting. It appears a revived Phantom line has also provided another opportunity for NZXT Technologies to tackle the “silent” segment once again – can NZXT bring the H series of chassis to new levels with the H630 Silent Ultra Tower Computer Case? Benchmark Reviews has a chance to answer this question.
Category Archive: PC Hardware Reviews
Very recently Lenovo loaned us their 30-inch ThinkVision LT3053p IPS LED-Backlit LCD Monitor for review. While the AH-IPS display panel was impressive, its size really made us wonder about how much impact it would have on PC video games. Before this behemoth display went back to Lenovo, I decided to test it on some of the most recent graphics cards from NVIDIA and AMD. In this article Benchmark Reviews tests frame rate performance at 2560×1600 for the Radeon HD 7950 against GeForce GTX 770, and Radeon HD 7970 against GeForce GTX 780.
Over the past several years I’ve amassed a collection of SD (Secure Digital) cards beyond count, likely the result of various devices that depended on this media for recording files to flash storage. As the technology improved, more and more devices began using the microSD format. Eventually the microSD card surpassed the competition to become the standard with its faster speeds, higher capacity, and compact lightweight profile. In this article Benchmark Reviews will test transfer speeds and performance of the extended capacity 64GB SanDisk Extreme UHS-I microSDXC card, model SDSDQX-064G-U46A.
The K70 is the third attempt by Corsair at making mechanical keyboards, and I think that they have finally nailed it this time. Their initial release featured a mix of mechanical keys and rubber dome keys that many users didn’t approve of. Their second release featured backlit keys and macro keys but still had a mix of mechanical and rubber dome keys. Now we meet in the middle – we have a full set of illuminated mechanical keys with per-key illumination, and there is a choice between red, blue and brown Cherry MX switches to boot. Available in Black/Red or Silver/Blue color combinations, the Vengeance K70 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is arguably one of the best looking mechanical keyboards available today. In this article Benchmark Reviews will be testing the Black/Red model CH-9000011-UK variant with Cherry MX Red switches, in a variety of scenarios including gaming and general productivity applications.
AMD have been working to extend their graphics reach into emerging markets, primarily through the use of integrated GPUs. This hasn’t slowed their pursuit in the discrete graphics market, where the AMD Radeon series continues to battle for supremacy in some of the most demanding DirectX 11 video games available on PC. The AMD Radeon HD 7950 is an example of this effort, employing 28 Compute Units (1792 Stream Processors) with 3GB GDDR5 memory. In this article Benchmark Reviews tests the custom-designed XFX Radeon HD 7950 Double-Dissipation Black Edition video card, model FX-795A-TDFC, using several highly-demanding DX11 video games such as Metro: Last Light, Batman: Arkham City, and Battlefield 3.
Small form factor PC’s have been gaining a lot of momentum and favor with hardware enthusiasts and hardcore gamers these past couple of years. Since more features are integrated into the CPU in recent releases, it means more real estate has been made on ITX form factor motherboards for extras that may well have not fit previously. With the release of Intel Haswell CPU’s and Z87 chipset, motherboard vendors are now more than ever able to condense the features of a full size ATX motherboard into the ITX form factor without much (if any) sacrifice. See for yourself, take a look at an average Z68 or Z77 ATX motherboard and you will start to notice just how much space isn’t occupied. In this article Benchmark Reviews takes an in-depth look at the ASRock Z87E-ITX motherboard, reporting back on special features and performance as well as giving a visual commentary on the aesthetics of this tiny beast.
Starting with the Obsidian series, Corsair has systematically released a chassis to tackle almost every segment. With most of the segments covered, Corsair has rethought the ATX case and has released something a little… different. Launching at the top of the Carbide series (designed to be focused on performance and high-end features, while still being accessible to every builder), the Carbide Air 540 cube-style computer case brings a unique option to the series. Benchmark Reviews tests to see if it’s worth the $139.99 price of admission.
In the past year or so flat panel monitor prices have entered free-fall, with massive 27″ displays widely available for under $300. Given that, why would anyone even consider spending over $1,500 on a somewhat larger 30″ display? Lenovo has lent Benchmark Reviews one of their ThinkVision LT3053p units to review, so let’s see what all that extra money buys you.
Mechanical Keyboards have been a popular item lately for its tactile response and long lasting quality. Numerous manufacturers, including the likes of Corsair and Mad Catz, have all been jumping onto the bandwagon. MSI does as well, bringing us a new mechanical gaming keyboard, the GK-601. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests performance for the MSI GK-601 macro-enabled mechanical gaming keyboard.
Wireless networking has leaped from niche application to mainstream installations in a short matter of years, allowing homes and businesses to implement features like Wi-Fi Internet access and wireless multimedia file storage. The latest 300 Mb/s 802.11n (wireless-N) networks have been a big part of this transition, enabling transfer speeds similar to the cabled Gigabit Ethernet connections. This has made life more convenient, but for many installations range is still a problem. In this article Benchmark Reviews investigates the Diamond Multimedia WR300NSI Wireless Wi-Fi Range Extender. The purpose of this portable device is self-explanatory, and networking can be complicated, which is why we’ll test how well Diamond has kept it simple for the novice consumer in this article.
The ASUS RT-AC66U 802.11ac wireless router builds on the success of the RT-N66U model that Benchmark Reviews also tested recently. ASUS has been busy looking to the future, and the new IEEE 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard. While it’s not officially approved, it does appear to be stable, and there are products on the market already from all the serious players in wireless networking. While 802.11n was a step forward, and many of us have been appreciative of the additional legroom that the 5GHz band allows, there is still plenty of room for improvement in Wi-Fi performance. The ASUS RT-AC66U looks great sitting on the shelf, better than the majority of routers on offer today, but it’s the higher throughput and expanded signal coverage that’s going to win over most consumers.
In this article Benchmark Reviews tests the 240GB SanDisk Extreme II SSD, model SDSSDXP-240G-G25, against the leading competition. This slim 7mm solid state drive is advertised to reach 550 MB/s reads and 510 MB/s writes with its Marvell 88SS9187 SSD processor, while also reaching 95,000 IOPS for random reads. SanDisk then goes beyond simple transfer speeds and TRIM garbage collection by including proprietary nCache non-volatile write cache technology for its 19nm Toggle NAND Flash.
Until a few years ago, Intel motherboards were, well, boring: reliable, sure, and well-made, but without any really interesting features that would appeal to enthusiasts. That started changing around the time of the Z68 chipset, and although Intel has announced they’ll stop manufacturing desktop motherboards in the near future, the Z87-based DZ78KLT-75K makes a good swan song.
The latest member of the GeForce GTX 700 series lineup to hit the market is the GTX 760. This GPU is built off the GK104 GPU like quite a few GPUs in the GTX 600 and 700 series. The GTX 760 is built to replace the GTX 660Ti and fill an important price position between about $250 and $300. At Benchmark Reviews, we have MSI N760 TF 2GD5/OC video card on hand and have tested it with some of the most popular and graphically intensive titles currently available. The MSI N760 TF 2GD5/OC takes the stock features of the GTX 760 and adds to them by overclocking the GPU, adding a proven cooling solution, and including a bunch of other extras that you won’t find on the other GTX 760s. So without further ado, let’s get into the details of the MSI N760 TF 2GD5/OC video card.
NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 760 video card is built from the 28nm Kepler GK104 graphics processor, featuring 1152 CUDA cores that are clocked to reach 980 MHz and reach 1033 using NVIDIA Boost 2.0 technology. GeForce GTX 760 also comes with 2GB of GDDR5 video memory, clocked to provide a 1502 MHz graphics frame buffer. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests and compares the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 graphics card using several highly-demanding DX11 video games, such as Metro: Last Light, Batman: Arkham City, and Battlefield 3.
Cooler Master has been building mechanical keyboards under its CM Storm line for the last couple of years. They started with the small Quickfire Rapid, and moved over time to larger designs, but Cooler Master’s newest design harkens back to the original Quickfire Rapid, bring improvements on its design and giving it sleek exterior with no markings on the tops of its keys. The question that Benchmark Reviews aims to answer though is whether Cooler Master improved enough to justify the extra cost or are users better off going with the original Quickfire Rapid.
ASUS’ newest TUF motherboards are built on Intel’s new Z87 chipset, for the new Haswell-based LGA 1150 CPUs. The TUF line emphasizes reliability and durability rather than a cornucopia of consumer features or the ability to reach heroic overclocking levels. Can an enthusiast love the SABERTOOTH Z87? Benchmark Reviews checks this board out to see what makes it special enough to include in your next rig.
The last time we tested the OCZ Vertex 4, it was powered by a dual-core Marvell controller that combined technology from separate sources. This time, the OCZ Vertex 450 solid state drive is made of in-house components. Featuring an Indilinx BF3-M10 Barefoot 3 controller that supports 20nm Synchronous Multi-Level Cell (MLC) NAND flash components with AES-256 encryption and Trim support, Vertex 450 is good for 540 MB/s read speeds over a SATA 6-Gb/s connection. In this article Benchmark Reviews tests the 240GB OCZ Vertex 450 SSD, model VTX450-25SAT3-256G, against the leading competition.
It’s new Intel CPU time, and with the switch to the LGA1150 socket comes a slew of new motherboards. Today we have an interesting item: the ASUS Z87 GRYPHON mATX motherboard. What makes the GRYPHON interesting is that it’s the first micro-ATX member of ASUS’ TUF family of motherboards. Let’s see if this tiny motherboard can hold up the TUF banner.
Security cameras come in all shapes and sizes, with wired and wireless connections, and occasionally come with features such as pan, tilt, zoom, or infrared night vision. Consequently, security cameras also span the gamut in terms of pricing, with models costing anywhere from twenty dollars to several thousands. Featuring an IP66 hardened outdoor waterproof enclosure, the Rosewill RSCM-12003 IR Outdoor Bullet Camera kit is ideal for general-purpose outdoor or indoor wired security systems, and perfectly compliments Rosewill’s own RSVA-11001 or RSVA-12001 all-in-one DVR kits. Comprised of Sony’s 1/3″ CCD sensor inside, the RCMR-13CCDIR camera unit produces 540 lines of resolution. In this article Benchmark Reviews inspects the Rosewill RSCM-12003 outdoor security camera kit, and weighs in on its features.
AMD has a pattern when it comes to processor releases. They release a new processor, run it through its paces for a while, then they release more of the same die with higher clock speeds. Generally, though, the new processors release at something closer to the release price of the first series of processors. That is the one part of the equation missing from this summer’s AMD APU releases. The AMD A10-6700 is the second processor coming out in June 2013 with an MSRP of $142. In this article, Benchmark Reviews is taking a detailed look at the A10-6700, especially its differences from the unlocked A10-6800K.
So far, it seems that the early summer of 2013 is destined to be full of Intel Haswell coverage. Rather than consigning themselves to the shadows, AMD is quietly releasing two new members of their APU family. The next generation of APUs is being represented at the top by the A10-6800K and the A10-6700 Accelerated Processing Units, codenamed Richland. It has been about eight months since AMD released the last generation, Trinity APUs. When that happened, AMD took back the performance lead from Ivy Bridge in the sub-$150 CPU price range. This has been AMD’s bread and butter for a while now, especially with their ability to pair discrete level graphics with their CPUs that totally decimate the onboard capabilities of their opponent. Haswell may change things, but for now, we’ll see where AMD is setting the bar for entry-level performance. In this article, Benchmark Reviews takes a hard look at the third generation of AMD APUs with the top end AMD A10-6800K Richland Processor.
There’s a new Ethernet in town called 10GbE, and its blazing fast. Benchmark Reviews recently gave you the inside scoop on the newest 10GbE networking hardware, and I mentioned that the first thing I did was to hook up a 10GbE NAS. Plain old Gigabit Ethernet has been holding back mid-range NAS servers for a while now. With 10GbE starting to enter the mainstream, QNAP is now making their 10GbE-capable storage products more affordable. The QNAP TS-870U-RP Turbo NAS is part of a new model line that trades off some CPU power and a couple of build features in order to lower the cost of entry. With eight 3.5″ drive bays available there is a potential for 32TB of drive space, and the Intel Celeron CPU, with 32nm Sandy Bridge architecture, has enough horsepower to make file transfers fly by. It also has two x8 PCIe slots for 10GbE NICs and these make a huge difference in real-world performance. Take a closer look with us, at the current value leader in NAS speed demons.
Intel’s new Haswell CPUs bring with them a new socket, LGA1150, and a new supporting chipset, the Z87. MSI’s new Z87 MPower MAX motherboard is the first of third-party Intel Z87-Express desktop motherboard we’ve had the opportunity to test. As a member of MSI’s “MPOWER” motherboards, the full-sized ATX motherboard is a high-end product stuffed with features aimed at enthusiasts and gamers. Let’s take a look at it!
After months of rumors and speculation, Intel’s 4th generation Core CPUs, code-named Haswell, are here. Haswell CPUs are a “tock”– that is, a new microarchitecture– in Intel’s “tick-tock” annual release cycle. Based on the same 22nm fabrication process and 3-D transistors introduced with last year’s Ivy Bridge CPUs, Haswell brings with it a new socket 1150, which means that you can’t just drop it in to replace an Ivy Bridge or Sandy Bridge CPU, since you’ll need a new motherboard. But what new features and performance does Intel’s Haswell processor bring with it? Let’s find out.