You don't have to sell us on the merits of building a PC from scratch -- it's what we've been doing for decades, and it's one of the core principles of our brand. Heck, the desire to roll your own rig may have even been what prompted you to pick up your very first issue of Maximum PC (or Boot). Well, we're embarking on a new year, and already there's evidence that this passion of ours is yet again in great shape -- the numbers are in from Asus, which shipped 5.6 million DIY motherboards in the fourth quarter of 2014 alone.
Now that Haswell-E and accompanying Intel X99-based motherboards requiring DDR4 RAM are here, we expect to see a lot of record announcements. It always happens when new platforms are introduced, and G.Skill is wasting no time adding to its virtual shelf of overclocking tropies -- G.Skill today announced that it set a new memory record for fastest DDR4 memory frequency at 4,255MHz.
Low power SSD hits ultra high speeds (2,150MB/s reads, 1,550MB/s writes)
One of the biggest developments in the solid state drive market has been that of falling prices over the past couple of years. We hope that trend continues, though it's not the sole storyline -- there's also the transition to PCI Express, and with it comes much faster speeds than their SATA 6Gbps counterparts. How fast are we talking? Well, Samsung's SM951 SSD for ultra-slim laptops and workstations is rated to read and write data at up to 2,150MB/s, and 1,550MB/s, respectively.
There was no dearth of solid-state drive (SSD) announcements at the recently concluded Consumer Electronics Show. Of these, two were from Micron-owned memory and storage maker Crucial: the all-new BX100, aimed at the entry-level segment with the promise of “substantial yet affordable performance gains” over a hard drive, and the MX200, the successor to the generally well-received MX100.
There's a close relationship between Enermax and Lepa, the latter of which you may not be as familiar with. Lepa is a brand that belongs to Ecomaster, which itself is a U.S. distributor for Enermax. You can also view Lepa as Enermax's house brand, or as siblings under parent company Ecomaster. Make sense? Let's move on to what we saw from Lepa at the Consumer Electronics Show -- a new water cooler and a promising case design.
Have you ever seen a water cooling setup that resembles Cthulhu? If not, then you've never seen Gigabyte's Water Force cooler, a unique and crazy looking apparatus that we had to see for ourselves. And now you can too, thanks to our Online Managing Editor and proficient deep water diver Jimmy Thang, who waded his way through the busy crowd at the Consumer Electronics Show to catch on camera Gigabyte's cool creation.
A visit to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas wouldn't be complete without popping by AVN AMD to see what the Sunnyvale chip designer is excited about as we embark on a new year of technology, and we got our answer to that when Online Managing Editor and freestyle rap legend Jimmy Thang moonwalked his way to AMD's location. It was there that he got a glimpse of AMD's FreeSync display technology in action.
Another attempt to get Android into the living room
You can always count on Razer to introduce a surprise product or two every year at the Consumer Electronics Show. Last year it was Project Christine, a modular PC concept that may one day become an actual consumer product. And this year? Well, Razer has multiple items on tap, including Forge TV, which it describes as a high-performance Android TV micro-console with a lofty goal.
The fastest SATA 6Gbps SSDs top out at around 590MB/s, and if you want to go faster, one way to do that is by utilizing PCI Express. That's exactly what Plextor has done. Yes, the same Plextor that made a name for itself with high-end optical drives, back when that sort of thing mattered. These days Plextor's been focusing on more modern products, like its new M6e Black Edition SSD.
Whether or not virtual reality has the legs to go the distance remains to be seen, especially since the technology is in the crawling stage at this point. However, what we do know for sure is that there are a lot of companies excited about the potential. Obviously there's Oculus Rift VR, which is the most popular, but now we have Razer as a player. One of Razer's big reveals at this year's Consumer Electronics Show is the Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) ecosystem, and we were on hand to discuss the technology with the company.