I have had poor results with early generation smart locks – the kind you control from a Bluetooth-enabled phone – so when U-Tec offered Benchmark Reviews the opportunity to review their new Ultraloq UL3 Smart Lock, I jumped at the chance. Rather than using your phone, the Ultraloq UL3 offers access through an electronic keypad and an integrated fingerprint reader. In this article, I test the features of this lock and put it to work on a real door.
Tag Archive: David Ramsey
MyDigitalSSD specializes in solid state drives that compete on price-performance, and they say that their new MyDigitalSSD BP5e 240GB SSD, equipped with the latest PHISON PS3110 controller and Toshiba triple-level NAND, will redefine performance in the value area of the consumer SSD market. Benchmark Reviews runs this drive through our suite of benchmarks to see if this is true.
The glut of mechanical keyboards with per-key RGB lighting continues with the release of Corsair’s Strafe RGB Cherry MX Silent series. In addition to features such as extremely versatile programmable lighting, a pass-through USB port, optional textured key caps, and a detachable wrist rest, Corsair adds a unique to them (for now) “silent” version of the Cherry MX Red key switch.
The advent of Intel’s Skylake 6th-generation Core processors and their supporting Z170 chipset marks the biggest change in Intel’s consumer line since the original X68. While the Skylake CPU holds few surprises other than its support for DDR4 memory, the Z170 chipset finally brings to the mainstream market what it’s so desperately needed: more PCI-E lanes, and of the 3.0 variety at that! Of course MSI adds their own unique touches to this system and today Benchmark Reviews checks out the MSI Z170A Gaming M7 LGA1151 motherboard.
The m.2 form factor is becoming popular for SSDs due to its small size, and, in PCI-E guise, superior performance. As our recent test of the Samsung 950 Pro m.2 SSD has shown, PCI-E m.2 SSDs offer performance many times that of the very best SATA SSDs, so if you’re looking for a storage upgrade, m.2 is definitely the way to go. While m.2 slots are only available on the latest motherboards, SilverStone Technology’s ECM20 m.2 adapter card offers an inexpensive way for older systems to enjoy the performance and space savings of modern m.2 SSDs. Benchmark Reviews tests the ECM20 and compares the performance of a modern m.2 PCI-E SSD on this adapter card with its performance on a native m.2 port.
Just a few months ago, full RGB mechanical keyboards were rare beasts, and the inclusion of full per-key RGB lighting commanded a very high price, with some keyboards selling for almost $200.00. Now, prices are coming down rapidly and vendors are starting to compete on features, but how many more features are there left to add? Today Benchmark Reviews looks at the latest entry in the “full color per-key RGB keyboard” market, Thermaltake’s Poseidon Z RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard.
Benchmark Reviews has looked at a number of gaming keyboards of late, and most are stuffed with features: extra keys, elaborate macro definition software, dual-core CPUs and megabytes of RAM to hold all the key definitions and macros. And there’s also the elaborate RGB lighting that has become de rigueur in this market segment. So it’s almost a relief to see that the Cooler Master Quickfire Rapid-i is a compact, minimalist TKL (ten-keyless) version of their Quickfire Rapid series of gaming keyboards. Benchmark Reviews will check out this new minimalist entry to see if less really is more.
Centon isn’t a name many enthusiasts will know. I’d never heard of the company myself until this review sample; apparently, they’ve been in business for over 35 years manufacturing DRAM and flash memory products, and have only recently entered the consumer marketplace. The Centon C-380 480GB SSD SATA-III Solid State Drive, part of the “Enthusiast Solutions” series, is the focus of what Benchmark Reviews will be putting through our test suite.
Founded in 2001, the Taiwanese company ADATA Technology Corporation specializes in memory-based products. A few years ago they branched out into SSDs, and have been competing aggressively on price/performance as SSD prices continue to fall. Benchmark Reviews has previously looked at the ADATA Premier SP550 mainstream and ADATA XPG SX930 performance SSDs; today we have the ADATA Premier SP550. With Hynix TLC NAND backed by a Silicon Motion controller and LDPC error correction, is the SP550 the price/performance sweet spot in ADATA’s lineup?
With SSD prices falling under intense competition, and most consumer-level drives bumping up against the bandwidth limitations of SATA 6, how does a vendor distinguish their product? ADATA thinks their SX930 “Extreme Performance Gaming” (XPG) drive can do it, bolstered by features like enterprise-grade NAND, a JMicron JMF670H controller, hardware-based BHC error correction, pSLC cache technology, all supported with free application software and a five-year warranty. Benchmark Reviews runs the ADATA XPG SX930 Gaming SSD through our test suite to see how it performs.
As computers become ever smaller, their storage devices shrink as well. The Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF), also known as m.2, provides not only a smaller envelope for storage devices to fit in, it defines new PCI-E based interfaces as well as the legacy SATA 6G interface. MyDigitalSSD’s Super Boot Drive is equipped with Toshiba toggle NAND and a Phison PS3109 controller, and is Benchmark Review’s test subject for today.
Many enthusiasts probably haven’t heard of Tesoro Technology, which is perhaps understandable, since the company is so secretive their web page doesn’t even have an “About Us” section. Apparently based in Milpitas, California, Tesoro started out making mechanical keyboards a few years ago and has since branched out into mice and headsets, all aimed at gamers. Benchmark Reviews has just received their latest product, the RGB-illuminated and programmable Excalibur Spectrum mechanical gaming keyboard, so let’s take a look at it!
As the consumer mechanical keyboard resurgence matures, vendors are looking for ways to distinguish their products. Thermaltake’s “Tt eSPORTS” division has a new idea for a feature: a Bluetooth 4.0-enabled smart keyboard that, in conjunction with an iOS or Android applet on your phone or tablet, tracks and compiles statistics on how you use your keyboard (and your enabled mouse, if you have one) for posting to social media. Benchmark Reviews looks at the Poseidon Z Plus Smart Keyboard in this article.
Founded in 2001, the Taiwanese company ADATA Technology Corporation specializes in memory-based products, selling everything from USB keys to flash memory cards to DRAM memory for desktop and server computers. A few years ago they branched out into SSDs, and have been competing aggressively on price/performance as SSD prices continue to fall. Today Benchmark Reviews has the opportunity to review their ADATA Premier SP610 256GB SSD.
Zalman made their reputation with high-end aluminum cases– who could forget the marvelously insane $1,000+ TNN-500? – and CPU air coolers like their “flower”-designed CNPS7000 series. They don’t make insanely expensive cases any more, and air coolers are arguably irrelevant in the enthusiast market these days, but Zalman’s been branching out into gaming peripherals, and today Benchmark Reviews has their top-end Knossos ZM-GM4 Professional Laser Gaming Mouse to review.
As more enthusiasts realize that they don’t need the expansion capabilities of standard ATX motherboards, mATX and mini-ITX systems are exploding in popularity, and we’re seeing some real innovation in small systems case design. Today we have Phanteks’ latest, the Enthoo Evolv ITX case. This case has excellent air flow, a very versatile design, and is perfect for those who want to water-cool their systems: it can accommodate a 240mm radiator and even comes with a bracket for a separate water pump if you want to roll your own. Long graphics cards are no problem, either, and integrated cable management features make a clean build easy. Of course the real proof is building a system in this case, and that’s exactly what Benchmark Reviews will do.
The Ozone Neon Precision Laser Mouse is their mid-level gaming mouse offering, and boasts 128KB on-board memory, on-the-fly switchable resolutions, multiple profiles, 8 programmable buttons, and a 6400-dpi laser sensor. Its ambidextrous design separates it from most other gaming mice, and today Benchmark Reviews will take a detailed look at this new entry in the gaming mouse field.
EVGA continues their expansion into the peripherals market with the introduction of their TORQ peripherals line; today, we have the new EVGA Torq X5 Gaming Mouse to review. Benchmark Reviews has previously looked at the EVGA TORQ X10 Gaming Mouse and we liked it enough to give it our highest rating. The new X5 Gaming Mouse sacrifices a few features for a lower price point, but how does it perform? Let’s find out.
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.
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.