Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist is a Unreal Engine 2.5 video game that has been modernized to include DirectX 11 special effects thanks to direct support by NVIDIA. Single-player ‘Solo’ missions also enable a second player to join for ‘Co-op’ mode, while online multiplayer ‘Spies vs. Mercs’ mode expands the action for up to eight gamers. In this article Benchmark Reviews explores DirectX 11 Tessellation and NVIDIA TXAA features that help bring this game to life.
Category Archive: Reviews
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.
The Antec SP1 features all the common goodies needed in a mobile speakers. Bluetooth wireless connection allows stable connections up to 30ft away. The SP1 can also be used as a speakerphone and has a built-in mic for you to easily switch between calls and music. To top that off, the Antec SP1 comes in a variety of colors to match your needs. Benchmark Reviews takes a look at the beautifully colored Antec Bluetooth wireless speakers and see show it performs against the competition.
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.
As I am sure you are all well aware, the Thermaltake Chaser A71 is not the first chassis in the Chaser Series. Its direct predecessor, the A41, was a mid-tower addition to the Chaser Series that boasted some of the same features that are prevalent in the A71, such as great cooling, tool-less drive bays, and great cable management. And, it is not the first full-tower design in the Chaser Series. That distinction goes to the Chaser MK-1, which shares the same dimensions and has very similar features to the A71, including a top-mounted HDD hot-swap bay. Now, let’s move forward and take a closer look at the Thermaltake Chaser A71.
Have you ever felt that data stored on your external hard drives is unsafe due to the risk of dropping it, or getting it wet? Fear no more, ADATA has provided a solution in the form of their waterproof, shockproof HD710 portable HDD. Although it won’t protect your data if dropped from a rooftop or into a lake, you can rest assured that your data will be safe after minor drops and coffee spills. Following suit, ADATA has used an USB 3 interface to ensure speedy transfers with compatible machines. The HD710 is a little more expensive than other portable hard drives of the same storage capacity, it is therefore up to the consumer to decide whether or not the extra protection is worth the added cost. There are many demonstrations of the rigidity of this product on the web, in this article, Benchmark reviews will taker a closer look at the construction of this device as well as evaluate it’s performance.
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.
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.
In this article we field test the Target Impact Signal System III, model DK8-001-III, at ranges beyond 1500 yards. Firing a bullet out to extreme distances with precision accuracy has been the primary goal for sharpshooters since the rifle was first introduced. Modern military training produces lethal snipers skilled with deadly aim that can hit key targets located so far away the shot goes unheard. Long-range shooting requires sharp skills and a high degree of understand to be proficient, but it requires repetitive target practice to ever become effective. To become well practiced it’s necessary to know if a shot hits its target, at distances where sight and sound of bullet impact fail to register. This is where the Target Impact Signal System aids shooters by flashing a strobe signal back to the shooter whenever a bullet hits its mark.
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.
For many people carrying a book around to read has become a thing of the past, replaced by a phone, tablet, or e-Reader. Kobo’s e-Reader line has been one of the primary competitors for Amazon’s Kindle, that is until Amazon brought out their Kindle Fire. The Kindle Fire helped bring an Android tablet to the masses, and allowed Amazon to distribute its music and movies directly to their device. Kobo is fighting back and Benchmark Reviews tests their new 16GB Kobo Arc 7″ Android Tablet eReader (model K107-KBO-16W), which features a 1.5GHz dual core TI OMAP 4470 CPU and a POWERVR SGX 544 GPU.