Category Archive: Reviews

Product Review Tests

Corsair Obsidian 250D Mini-ITX Computer Case Review

Corsair introduced their new Obsidian line of cases with the full-tower 800D; they’ve since expanded into the super-tower market with the 900D, added the 750D to the full-tower lineup, addressed the mid-tower market with the 550D and 650D, and the micro-ATX market with the 350D. Their latest case, the Corsair Obsidian 250D, brings the design and versatility of the Obsidian line to the mini-ITX field.

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NZXT H440 Mid-Tower Computer Case Review

You might think, upon initial inspection, that the NZXT H440 Mid Tower computer case is just another well-crafted and attractive case from NZXT; and you’d be right, in the sense that it’s both attractive and well-crafted. But the H440 hides several innovations under its painted steel skin, one of which will be controversial.

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XFX Radeon R9 290 Double Dissipation Review

When the AMD Radeon R9 290X video card debuted, it first appeared to be a solid competitor to NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 780 series… until heat and noise were taken into consideration. The Curacao XT-based video card offered plenty of graphics power, but the cooling system was forced to work hard and loud. When the Radeon R9 290 series arrived, this game brands such as XFX the opportunity to further improve upon the AMD reference design by incorporating a much better cooling solution paired with long-life capacitors. In this article Benchmark Reviews tests the XFX Radeon R9 290 Double D, model R9-290A-EDFD, which sells online for $499.99 (Amazon). This Black Edition Double Dissipation Radeon R9 290 features a 947 MHz UltraHD 4K resolution-ready graphics card with 2560 Stream processors and support for the upcoming DirectX 11.2 API.

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Func HS-260 Gaming Headset Review

On January 27th 2014 Func will start shipping their HS-260 gaming headset, completing a first run of peripherals that started with the MS-3 gaming mouse in February of last year (and the KB-460 mechanical keyboard this past November). Sporting tuned 50mm drivers, detachable audio cables and removable microphone which can switch sides at will, Func brings their focus on functionality to the gaming headset category with their new headset, model FUNC-HS-260-1ST. Benchmark Reviews has a sample on hand, and in this review I’ll do my best to explain my experience with the Func HS-260 gaming headset.

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Shogun Bros. Ballista MK-1 Gaming Mouse Review

A brand that needs more recognition in the PC gaming peripheral market is Shogun Bros. They make high quality products worthy of the highest praise, and the Ballista MK-1 Gaming Mouse is proof of that. The market in the ~$50 price bracket is very high, so it is hard to wade through all the different brands and mice. In this article Benchmark Reviews hopes to shed some light on why the Shogun Bros. Ballista MK-1 is quite possibly the best-in-class must have gaming mouse.

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Raidmax Cobra Mid-Tower Case Review

The Raidmax Cobra comes in a variety of different colors: Black, Red, Blue, White, and Titanium. We will be looking at the black one for this review. The Raidmax Cobra Black Steel Mid-Tower ATX Case will fit the bill of many consumers on a tight budget. Without spending a whole lot of money, the Raidmax Cobra offers many features that only some of the bigger and more expensive cases have. It provides tool-less drive bays, adequate space for cable management thanks to its wide body design, and four internal 2.5″ drive bays for laptop hard drives and even SSD’s, which is crazy for a case in this price range. The Raidmax Cobra also provides great airflow for high performance air cooling along with the option for a custom water cooling system. Thanks to two water cooling retention holes at the back of the case, a custom water cooling system can be installed into this case. With so many high-end features, this makes the Raidmax Cobra a very competitive case due to its aggressive pricing.

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AMD Kaveri APU Architecture Overview

Today marks the release of the latest in a long line of AMD Accelerated Processing Units. Benchmark Reviews has been there for each one of the previous APU releases, and we would be remiss if we didn’t provide you with the latest news regarding this release. It has been a long road since Llano, the very first generation of AMD APUs, was announced just three short years ago at CES 2011. That processor brought together AMD’s long held vision of putting a discrete level GPU on the same die as the CPU; a vision that started back with the Fusion project and AMD’s acquisition of ATI.

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Func KB-460 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

The best way to test peripherals is to use them, so over the course of two weeks the Func KB-460 became my “daily driver.” I used it to type this (and other) reviews, as well as for any games or applications I used during that time (there were more than a few rounds of Battlefield 4 played on the KB-460, as well as some Mechwarrior: Online, ARMA III and X3: Albion Prelude to try a few different keyboard-heavy games). Along with my impressions, I’ll also include a few tests using some online keyboard testing suites to help illustrate the capabilities of this keyboard.

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XFX Radeon R9 280X Black Edition Video Card Review

AMD released their new lineup of GCN-based video cards back in October and the industry manufacturers have since been adding their own special tweaks and improvements to the initial designs. XFX has recently released their latest version of the Radeon R9 280X card in the form of the XFX Black Edition Double Dissipation Radeon R9 280X. The XFX R9 280X TDBD sports upgraded features like a factory overclock to 1080MHz, high quality DURATEC components, a dual-fan design, and the second generation of XFX proprietary Ghost Thermal technology.

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SilverStone ML05 HTPC Case Review

The deceptively small ML05 HTPC case from SilverStone sits in a class of its own. Part of the Milo series of entry-level HTPC cases (designed to incorporate features from the Grandia series in a slim form factor), the ML05 is one of the most inexpensive home theater enclosures on the market. Essentially half the size of the previously reviewed micro-ATX ML04, the smaller Milo ML05 still checks a lot of the home-theater specific boxes: short depth, available optical drive, room for additional storage, and enough airflow to keep things quiet. Benchmark Reviews has a chance to evaluate the SilverStone ML05 Mini-ITX HTPC case (model SST-ML05B) to see what building a different kind of computer in a different kind of case is like.

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Antec SPZero Bluetooth Wireless Speaker Review

Antec Mobile Products (A.M.P.) is a division of Antec, a market leader in PC hardware. A.M.P. designs devices that not only change the way people experience life through their mobile devices, but do it in a style that it is attractive and durable. Benchmark Reviews has recently had the opportunity to examine one of A.M.P.’s latest products, the SPZero: a Bluetooth portable speaker with it’s own proprietary speaker driver.

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SilverStone ML04 Milo HTPC mATX Case Review

Benchmark Reviews was recently given the chance to sample the Milo ML04 HTPC micro-ATX case from SilverStone. Possibly an under-appreciated corner of the PC case market, a good home theater case can provide a subtle home for some powerful components. With computers making a gradual shift from the office to the living room and form factors steadily decreasing in size, HTPC cases can offer a home for an older, re-purposed office machine or a sophisticated enclosure for a dedicated media box. Part of the entry-level Milo series designed to offer the full size features of the Grandia series in a smaller size, will SilverStone’s SST-ML04B fulfill the special requirements of an HTPC platform? Why not just use any old computer case and set it in the living room? Let’s take a look and find out if the ML04 is a better option.

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CM Storm MECH Mechanical Keyboard Review

If you haven’t heard, yet, mechanical keyboards are making a comeback in a big way. Nearly every peripheral manufacturer out there has line of them. But why are we going back to mechanical keyboards, which were popular in the early days of computing and then fell out of style? Should you consider investing a mechanical keyboard? They are typically more expensive than what we might consider a normal, or common keyboard. In this article, Benchmark Reviews takes a look at one of Cooler Master’s CHERRY MX Brown Switch mechanical keyboards, the CM Storm MECH.

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SilverStone Raven RV04 Case Review

Today Benchmark Reviews will be looking at the lastest Raven enclosure from SilverStone, the Raven SST-RV04B-W. Since the RV01, the Raven series served as the “experimental” arm of the SilverStone chassis lineup; testing out unique ideas like a 90-degree rotated motherboard orientation and exotic applications of materials in a line of enclosures that had the extreme looks (and performance) to match. The RV04 forgoes the vertical orientation of the motherboard in previous Ravens and instead rotates it yet another 90 degrees. Utilizing a cooling design inspired by the impressive micro-ATX TJ-08E, the ATX Raven RV04 uses two 180mm AP fans in a slightly more traditional format – well, as traditional as a Raven case can be…

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Thecus N2310 NAS Server Network Storage Review

The Thecus N2310 Network Attached Storage Server is a product that is breaking new ground for the NAS market. Power to the people, NASes for the masses, whatever you want to call it, the N2310 is about driving the cost of NAS ownership down. Thankfully, Thecus recognizes that no one wants a NAS that runs slow, or one that doesn’t have modern features like mobile access. So, the N2310 is all about providing the lowest-cost, technically-acceptable solution. That’s a fine line to tread, and many companies have tripped over themselves trying to do that. Benchmark Reviews has tested quite a few NAS products in the last few years, and we’re in a good position to evaluate how well the Thecus N2310 meets its mission statement.

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SteelSeries Siberia Elite Gaming Headset Review

SteelSeries peripherals and headsets are well known for their sleek design, high quality and excellent functionality among enthusiasts and gamers alike. Today Benchmark Reviews will be taking a look at the newest line from SteelSeries; The Siberia Elite Gaming Headset (model# 51151). We will put them through their paces in a variety of scenarios including watching films, listening to music, and of course – gaming.

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ADATA DashDrive Air AE800 Wireless HDD Review

The ADATA DashDrive Air AE800 Wireless HDD and Power Bank, which Benchmark Reviews recently had a chance to look at in detail, is a very interesting device indeed. It is clear that the goal here was to develop a piece of hardware that could fill a number of different voids for people constantly on the go. One of the ADATA AE800′s features is to serve as a power bank, ensuring that you can continue remain productive and stay in communication when unable to find an outlet to charge your devices. Considering that the AE800 has 5200 mAh on-board capacity, it should have no problem keeping you up and running. Also, it comes with 500GB of storage, so you have plenty of space for movies, music, and other files. Finally, the ADATA AE800 can serve as a wireless hotspot. Sound interesting? Read on to find out more.

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QNAP TS-470 NAS Server Review

The QNAP TS-470 Turbo NAS is part of a new model line that brings a higher level of performance to the small tower-based format. The TS-x70U rack mount series which launched earlier this year served up the basic technology package that’s been slimmed down here, in order to fit into the smaller form factor. The new TS-x70 towers are being promoted as business-class NAS servers, based on their high performance and networking package, but QNAP includes an HDMI port and IR receiver for good measure. Also included in the base package is a 2-port GbE NIC, installed in the PCIe expansion slot. Most business users will be able to increase the network throughput of this NAS with Port Trunking, thereby making effective use of all four GbE ports on the rear panel. Those who need more bandwidth can just replace the 2-port NIC with a 10GbE model.

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Corsair Raptor HS30 Gaming Headset Review

The Corsair Raptor HS30 Gaming Headset provides a solid performance at a budget price. Benchmark Reviews has tested this headset and the results will allow you decide if the Raptor HS30 Gaming Headset is for you. The headset will undergo player evaluations and technical tests.

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Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Video Game Review

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is powered by a wide range of NVIDIA technologies that allow it to deliver striking graphics and an exhilarating gaming experience. In addition to using long-standing NVIDIA technologies like FXAA and TXAA to improve image quality, it also leverages newer technologies like NVIDIA HBAO+, God Rays, and Percentage-Closer Soft Shadows (PCSS) to enhance the game’s overall atmosphere. Combined with rich object detail and being the first game to ever launch with 4K textures, Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag takes advantage of the best graphics technologies and architectural features available in GeForce GTX 700-series graphics cards.

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Noctua NH-U12S CPU Cooler Review

The Noctua NH-U12S is one the newest versions from Noctua’s NH-U series of CPU coolers that were first introduced in 2005. For years, Noctua has been synonymous with premium performance cooling and the new NH-U12S model looks to continue the tradition. Designed to be an affordable option for the NH-U series the 120mm NH-U12S and its 45mm wide heatsink promise quiet performance while still clearing RAM modules, even on sockets like LGA2011. Combined with the new NF-F12 PWM 120mm fan and an entire host of cutting-edge trademark technologies from Noctua, can this cooler compete with popular offerings like the Hyper212 EVO? Benchmark Reviews has a chance to review the NH-U12S and see what Noctua has done with the 120mm tower CPU cooler formula.

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Cooler Master Elite 130 Review

I’ve reviewed a lot of Cooler Master cases over the years for Benchmark Reviews, and one thing that impresses me about the company is that they never stop innovating or refining. One has only to track the evolution of the Cosmos series of cases to see this writ large (very large, in the case of the Cosmos II), but what keeps my attention is the way they’ll roll smaller, incremental improvements into an existing case line. Today’s example: the Cooler Master Elite 130 mini-ITX computer case.

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Noctua NH-U14S 140mm Tower CPU Cooler Review

It’s entirely possible the next product needs no introduction – the Noctua NH-U14S is the newest version in Noctua’s NH-U series of CPU coolers that were first introduced in 2005. For years, Noctua has been synonymous with premium performance cooling and the new NH-U14S model looks to continue the tradition. Designed to be the premier option for the NH-U series the 140mm NH-U14S and its 52mm wide heatsink promise quiet performance while still clearing RAM modules, even on sockets like LGA2011. Combined with the NF-A15 140mm fan and an entire host of cutting-edge trademark technologies from Noctua, will this cooler be worthy of the Noctua name? Benchmark Reviews has a chance to see where the NH-U14S ranks among the competition.

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Sharkoon DarkGlider Mouse Review

Sharkoon technologies have been manufacturing pc peripherals since 2003 encompassing unique designs and convincing performance. Their philosophy states that “premium quality and affordable prices do not have to contradict each other.” Keep in mind that this statement is going to be put to the test. The DarkGlider has recently become available worldwide offering a plethora of features (common and unique to gaming mice). Benchmark Reviews is going to run this mouse through the gamut and expose what makes this product stand out from the pack (and if the Sharkoon philosophy stays true).

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Fractal Design Arc Mini R2 Review

The second revision of the Arc Mini micro ATX chassis brings a few revisions while keeping the essential styling that differentiates Fractal Design from other PC case manufacturers. The original Arc Mini PC case was well received by PC enthusiasts and system builders alike, and now Benchmark Reviews has the Arc Mini R2 for testing and we will detail what sets it apart from the crowd.

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