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.
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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.
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.