Want to build a gaming system on a budget? Then you have to know where to spend your money to get the best bang for the buck. It’s always tempting to go for the flashy, high end motherboards with tons of extra features, but you may find that those extra features don’t buy you much in the way of extra performance. Micro Star International has sent Benchmark Reviews their MSI 970 Gaming motherboard, claiming they’ve gone beyond the specifications of the AMD 970 chipset. What kind of basis does this make for a gaming rig? Let’s find out.
Tag Archive: David Ramsey
AMD released a slew of new FX-series CPUs in September, 2014, including the FX-8370, FX-8370E, and the subject of our review, the FX-8320E. This is the low end of AMD’s eight-core FX series of enthusiast CPUs, and the “E” suffix marks it as a low-power variant; nonetheless, AMD touts it as a viable CPU for a gaming system. Benchmark Reviews will run this CPU through our gauntlet of tests to see how true this is.
If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary for your mITX build, the Taiwanese company IN WIN has some products you’ll want to check out. They offer a variety of uniquely-designed computer cases ranging from the weird to the…well, OK, actually, they’re all pretty weird, from the all-glass Tóu to today’s subject, the IN WIN D-FRAME MINI. Benchmark Reviews builds a high-end gaming system in this expensive open-air mITX case to see what it’s got.
If you’re looking at building an X99-based system, you already know they’re expensive. But if you can live without features like a second Ethernet port and onboard WiFi, you can get great performance and save some money too. In this article, Benchmark Reviews takes a look at ASUS’ new X99-A LGA2011-v3 mainstream motherboard for Haswell-E systems.
The desktop computer is changing, acquiring hardware and software features first seen on mobile devices. As Microsoft works to unify the Windows experience across everything from phones to desktops, vendors work to make their desktops work more like phones, with integrated all-in-one designs, touch screens, and new user interfaces. Today Benchmark Reviews looks at Lenovo’s latest entry in this evolving category, the Horizon 2 All-In-One PC.
Premium mechanical keyboards have surged in popularity in the last few years as gamers and even casual users rediscover the joys of using a keyboard with the precision and feel afforded by mechanical key switches. The Cooler Master NovaTouch TKL uses a new type of mechanical switch based on capacitance detection rather than metal contacts. Benchmark Reviews checks out this minimalist typing machine to see how it compares to other mechanical keyboards.
Since Intel no longer manufacturers desktop motherboards, it works closely with its partners to ensure products are ready when new CPUs and chipsets are introduced. The X99 Express chipset, part of the LGA2011-V3 system that replaces the aging X79/LGA2011 system, is Intel’s newest foray into very high end desktop systems, and today Benchmark Reviews looks at the bundled software, features, utilities, and performance of the ASUS X99-DELUXE motherboard.
Intel has upped the ante for LGA2011 systems with the new LGA2011-V3 specification, comprising the new X99 chipset and Haswell-E CPUs. The top-end Core i7-5960X is Intel’s first consumer 8-core CPU and boasts an amazing 20 megabytes of on-chip cache and a new quad-channel DDR4 memory controller. As with the original “Sandy Bridge Extreme” Core i7-3960X CPU, the new Haswell-E systems will be very expensive. Benchmark Reviews does the work so you can see if they make sense for you.
Intel’s LGA2011 and its aging X79 chipset have soldiered along for that segment of the market that prized core count and memory bandwidth above all. But now there’s a new LGA2011 in town: LGA2011-V3, complete with the new X99 chipset, and Benchmark Reviews has ASUS’ latest X99-based motherboard to test. Replete with features like 5-way optimization, Crystal Sound audio, on-board 802.11ac wireless, m.2 SSD support, extensive overclocking options, and unique additions like a fan extension card and multiple ways to mount m.2 SSDs, the ASUS X99-DELUXE is aimed squarely at the enthusiast for whom only the very best will do.
Last fall Benchmark Reviews examined the predecessor to the Lenovo Yoga 10 HD+ tablet, and found that it represented an excellent value for the money. This time around, Lenovo ups the ante with a dramatically improved screen, faster quad-core Snapdragon processor, and double the memory of the earlier model. Add its unique design and construction and the Lenovo Yoga tablet becomes on of the more intriguing Android devices available.
If you have’t heard of GAMDIAS Technology, that’s understandable, since they were only founded in Taiwan in 2012. With a motto of Gaming Art in Motion, GAMDIAS seeks to “Re-define the electronic sports landscape for gamers worldwide.” The GAMDIAS HERMES Ultimate Black Mechanical Gaming keyboard is their bid to do so for gaming keyboards, and fitted with Cherry MX Black switches, a 32-bit ARM processor, 512KB of memory, 13 macro keys, external USB and audio pass-through ports, adjustable keyboard lighting, and the most complex macro software I’ve ever seen, it may live up to their boast. Benchmark Reviews takes a look at one of the most powerful and capable keyboards you can buy: GAMDIAS HERMES GKB2010.
BitFenix made their reputation in 2010 with their first product, the massive Colossus full tower case. The BitFenix Shadow brings some of the Colossus features, like the signature soft-touch coating and external LED lighting, to a lower price point in a mid-tower ATX case. Sporting room for three 5.25″ devices and seven hard drives, the Shadow tries to balance price with features to distinguish it from its competition. Join us as Benchmark Reviews checks out the BitFenix Shadow BFC-SDO-150-KKXBR-RP mid-tower computer case to see if it’s a worthy contender for your next build.
Gamers drive high-end computing: if you don’t think so, consider the renaissance of (expensive) mechanical keyboards in the last couple of years. Of course gaming mice have been common for a while, and EVGA has just thrown their hat into this very competitive ring with the EVGA Torq X10 mouse. Boasting a fully ambidextrous design, 9 programmable buttons, an 8200-DPI laser sensor, solid metal base, and a dramatic style, the Torq X10 mouse also comes in at a very competitive price, especially if you pre-order it. Benchmark Reviews connects this new mouse to our gaming machine to investigate how well it works in this article.
ASUS tries to cover all the bases in the enthusiast market, and their TUF series motherboards are aimed at those who prize toughness and stability. Built with military-spec capacitors, chokes, and MOSFETs, and features such as extra ESD (electrostatic discharge) resistance, the Sabertooth Z97 Mark 1 motherboard also includes ASUS’ unique Thermal Armor system and a custom processor to monitor the board’s voltages and temperatures, which is part of the Thermal Radar 2 system. Of course it also includes features common to their other motherboards such as the Digi+ fully digital power system and their best-in-class UEFI BIOS to control it all. A five-year warranty tops it all off.
ASUS really pulls away from their competition 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 while showing off overclocking performance.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Android-based tablet market is exploding, with new entries almost every day. We’re even seeing what once were dedicated e-readers, like the Nook and Kindle, re-marketed as general purpose tablets. Lenovo’s been in this market for a while, and thus it’s no surprise to see them introduce another entry, the Lenovo Yoga tablet computers.
Cooler Master’s HAF Stacker 935 modular case system is an innovative new entry in the computer case market. Enthusiasts can configure the multiple, stackable “modules” of this system to build the ideal enclosure for their system (or systems). Whether it’s providing storage for water cooling or extra drives, or just housing multiple systems in a compact space, the HAF Stacker system is versatile enough to handle pretty much anything you can throw at it. Cooler Master calls these new cases a mod tower expandable system and says they’re a better case ecosystem.