Build a PC en Sapphire Adds Triple Fan Cooler to 8GB Radeon R9 290X, Tweaks Clocks and Lowers Cost <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/sapphire_radeon_r9_290x_8gb_0.jpg" alt="Sapphire Radeon R9 290X 8GB" title="Sapphire Radeon R9 290X 8GB" width="228" height="225" style="float: right;" />More than just a big frame buffer</h3> <p>Sapphire was the first company to release an 8GB version of AMD's Radeon R9 290X graphics card, though it's no longer the only one -- a handful of other graphics card players jumped on board after AMD gave them a <a href="" target="_blank">reference design</a> to play with. Be that as it may, <strong>Sapphire is intent on standing out from the crowd, so it went and retooled its 8GB R9 290X with a triple fan cooler</strong> and some other changes.</p> <p>According to Sapphire, its Tri-X triple fan cooler is the first in the industry to use a central 10mm heatpipe in addition to four subsidiary heatpipes for even heat distribution throughout the heatsink. The fans themselves have dust repelling bearings with dual ball races and are equipped with aerofoil section blades. Topping it off is a fan cowling designed to guide the airflow for maximum cooling efficiency, Sapphire says.</p> <p>The company also points out that it builds its own PCB rather than outsourcing production. In this instance, its using a 6-phase VDDC power design.</p> <p>You'll find 8GB of GDDR5 memory on the new card, along with a 512-bit interface. The memory is "now clocked at 1375MHz (5.5GHz effective) delivering higher bandwidth than earlier models."</p> <p>Other features include a dual BIOS design, two 8-pin power connectors, and engine clock of up to 1020MHz.</p> <p>As for pricing? Good question -- Sapphire said the card comes it at a "slightly lower cost" but didn't specifiy an exact price. It's also not showing up in retail yet, though we'll update this article when/if we hear back from them. In the meantime, you can see more of the card on its <a href=";gid=3&amp;sgid=1227&amp;pid=2548&amp;psn=&amp;lid=1&amp;leg=0" target="_blank">product page</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> 8GB Build a PC Gaming graphics card Hardware radeon R9 290x sapphire Video Card News Thu, 29 Jan 2015 18:45:34 +0000 Paul Lilly 29334 at Nvidia Will Help Disgruntled GTX 970 Owners Get a Refund, Says a Driver Update is Coming <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/gtx_970.jpg" alt="Nvidia GeForce GTX 970" title="Nvidia GeForce GTX 970" width="228" height="156" style="float: right;" />Upcoming driver could improve GTX 970's memory performance</h3> <p>Nvidia really stepped in a pile of PR poo when it was discovered that there was an internal communication gaffe over the way the GeForce GTX 970 handles its 4GB of onboard memory and the resulting specs. In short, the GTX 970 has 56 ROPs and 1,792KB of L2 cache instead of matching the GTX 980's 64 ROPs and 2,048KB of L2 cache as originally advertised. However, <strong>Nvidia wants to make things right and has offered to help GTX 970 owners obtain a refund</strong>, if need be. Should you go that route?</p> <p>In most cases, probably not. Before reading any further, however, we highly recommend familiarizing yourself with the situation by <a href="" target="_blank">reading this</a>. Don't worry, we won't go anywhere -- we'll be right here when you get back.</p> <p>Finished? Great, now here's the deal. Nvidia stated on its forum that it's working on a driver update that will do a better job managing the memory scheme on the GTX 970, and expects to improve performance. Granted there's only so much that can be done on the software side to address a physical design, but given that Nvidia built the card the way it did, it stands to reason that it also knows how to properly tune it. We'll see.</p> <p>If you ultimately decide that you don't want the card, however, that's your choice, and Nvidia says it will help you obtain a refund if you're unable to do so on your own. Here's the <a href="" target="_blank">full statement</a>.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">"Hey,</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">First, I want you to know that I'm not just a mod, I work for Nvidia in Santa Clara</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">I totally get why so many people are upset. We messed up some of the stats on the reviewer kit and we didn't properly explain the memory architecture. I realize a lot of you guys rely on product reviews to make purchase decisions and we let you down.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">It sucks because we're really proud of this thing. The GTX 970 is an amazing card and I genuinely believe it's the best card for the money that you can buy. We're working on a driver update that will tune what's allocated where in memory to further improve performance.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">Having said that, I understand that this whole experience might have turned you off to the card. If you don't want the card anymore you should return it and get a refund or exchange. If you have any problems getting that done, let me know and I'll do my best to help.</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">--Peter"</p> <p>It's important to note that Peter says he'll do his best to help, which is different than saying Nvidia will take care of things. In other words, if you're having trouble getting a refund, there's a chance you'll be stuck with it anyway. However, given the PR hit Nvidia's already taken on this one, we suspect those scenarios will be few and far between, if at all.</p> <p>For most people, what this boils down to is that your GTX 970 is going to get even faster courtesy of some forthcoming optimizations.&nbsp; And for the few that are truly affected by the way the GTX 970 handles memory above 3.5GB, you now have someone at Nvidia that's willing to help you obtain a refund.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Build a PC driver geforce gtx 970 gpu graphics card Hardware nvidia Video Card News Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:13:53 +0000 Paul Lilly 29330 at Gamers Petition for GeForce GTX 970 Refund Over Error in Specs <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/nvidia_geforce_gtx_970.jpg" alt="Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Diagram" title="Nvidia GeForce GTX 970" width="228" height="184" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Internal miscommunication at Nvidia led to confusion over the GTX 970's specs</h3> <p>Sometimes the tech world can be like a geek version of a soap opera, and this is one of those times. The main characters in this case are Nvidia and the GeForce GTX 970. If you're looking for a quick summary of events, it's this: Gamers noticed a slowdown in performance when games tried to access more than 3.5GB of memory on the GTX 970. This in turn led to Nvidia explaining a new memory architecture in the GTX 970, along with clarification of specs that were different than originally reported. In light of all this, <strong>there's a petition floating around demanding a refund for anyone who purchased a GTX 970</strong>, but to really understand what's going on, a deeper explanation is necessary.</p> <p>This all began a week ago when users on various forums began investigation a memory issue with the GTX 970. At a glance, it seemed that the card was only using 3.5GB of its 4GB of GDDR5 memory. Upon closer look, it was discovered that a serious performance drop could occur when accessing that final .5GB of VRAM, which isn't an issue on the GTX 980.</p> <p>To clarify what was happening, Nvidia issued the following statement:</p> <p>"The GeForce GTX 970 is equipped with 4GB of dedicated graphics memory. However the 970 has a different configuration of SMs than the 980, and fewer crossbar resources to the memory system," Nvidia said. "To optimally manage memory traffic in this configuration, we segment graphics memory into a 3.5GB section and a 0.5GB section. The GPU has higher priority access to the 3.5GB section. When a game needs less than 3.5GB of video memory per draw command then it will only access the first partition, and 3rd party applications that measure memory usage will report 3.5GB of memory in use on GTX 970, but may report more for GTX 980 if there is more memory used by other commands. When a game requires more than 3.5GB of memory then we use both segments.</p> <p>"We understand there have been some questions about how the GTX 970 will perform when it accesses the 0.5GB memory segment. The best way to test that is to look at game performance. Compare a GTX 980 to a 970 on a game that uses less than 3.5GB. Then turn up the settings so the game needs more than 3.5GB and compare 980 and 970 performance again."</p> <p>Nvidia Senior VP of GPU Engineering, Jonah Alben, <a href="" target="_blank">spoke with <em>PC Perspective</em></a> and broke things down even further with a quite a few technical details. He also offered a helpful diagram, seen below.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/gtx_970_diagram.jpg" alt="Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Diagram" title="Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Diagram" width="620" height="479" /></p> <p>As you can see in the graph, there are 13 enabled SMMs, each with 128 CUDA cores for a total of 1,664. There are also three that are grayed out -- they've been disabled from the full GM204 found on the GTX 980. But what's really important is the memory system, which is connected to the SMMs through a crossbar interface.</p> <p>"That interface has 8 total ports to connect to collections of L2 cache and memory controllers, all of which are utilized in a GTX 980. With a GTX 970 though, only 7 of those ports are enabled, taking one of the combination L2 cache / ROP units along with it. However, the 32-bit memory controller segment remains," <em>PC Perspective</em> writes.</p> <p>There are a couple of takeaways there. First is the GTX 970 has less ROPs and L2 cache than the GTX 980 even though it was reported otherwise. Why? Nvidia blames the gaffe on an error in the reviewer's guide, which is usually a PDF (or actual paper) containing detailed info on a product prior to its launch that manufacturers send out to reviewers, and a misunderstanding between the engineering team and the technical PR team on how the architecture actually functioned.</p> <p>Bottom line is, the GTX 970 has 56 ROPs and 1,792KB of L2 cache instead of 64 ROPs and 2,048KB of L2 cache like the GTX 980.</p> <p>That's actually not as big of a deal as it sounds, as the SMMs are the true bottleneck, not the ROPs.</p> <p>"A quick note about the GTX 980 here: it uses a 1KB memory access stride to walk across the memory bus from left to right, able to hit all 4GB in this capacity," <em>PC Perspective</em> writes. "But the GTX 970 and its altered design has to do things differently. If you walked across the memory interface in the exact same way, over the same 4GB capacity, the 7th crossbar port would tend to always get twice as many requests as the other port (because it has two memories attached). In the short term that could be ok due to queuing in the memory path. But in the long term if the 7th port is fully busy, and is getting twice as many requests as the other port, then the other six must be only half busy, to match with the 2:1 ratio. So the overall bandwidth would be roughly half of peak. This would cause dramatic underutilization and would prevent optimal performance and efficiency for the GPU."</p> <p>There are a LOT more details to digest, and rather than continue to quote bits and pieces, we suggest you read <em>PC Perspective's</em> <a href="" target="_blank">detailed report</a>. If after doing so you come to the conclusion that it's much ado about nothing, great, there's nothing more to see here. However, if you fall on the other side of the fence and feel duped, you can check out and sign the <a href="" target="_blank">petition at</a>.</p> <p>Our take? It's an unfortunate situation Nvidia created for itself, and gamers have a right to be angry over the misreported specs. At the same time, it appears that the impact on real-world performance is negligible, at least for now -- this could be a bigger issue as higher resolution game play becomes more common. Even still, it remains a great card for the price.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Build a PC Gaming geforce gtx 970 graphics card Hardware petition Video Card News Tue, 27 Jan 2015 20:07:53 +0000 Paul Lilly 29322 at Crucial Ballistix Elite RAM Now Available in DDR4 Memory Kits <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/ballistix_ddr4.jpg" alt="Crucial Ballistix DDR4" title="Crucial Ballistix DDR4" width="228" height="124" style="float: right;" />Another memory option for Intel X99 platforms</h3> <p>The number of DDR4 memory kits is growing and will continue to do so as more people build (or buy) systems based on Intel's X99 chipset. One of the newest is <strong>Crucial's Ballistix Elite line, now available in DDR4 form</strong> as a single 4GB module and in 8GB (2x4GB) and 16GB (4x4GB) kits (Crucial says a 32GB kit is also available, though it's not listed on the company's web store yet). As both kits use essentially the same 4GB module, the performance ratings are the same across the board.</p> <p>Crucial's 4GB DDR4 Ballistix Elite module is rated at DDR4-2666 (PC4-2133), which Crucial calls an "introductory" speed -- we take that to mean there should be some overclocking headroom, especially since the Ballistix Elite series is aimed at "extreme enthusiasts, gamers, and overclockers." The sticks also support Intel XMP 2.0 profiles, feature a custom-designed baclk PCB with anodized aluminum heat spreaders, and sport 16-17-17 timings at 1.2V.</p> <p>If you do plan to overclock, you might want to take advantage of Crucial's exclusive Ballistic Memory Overview Display utility, otherwise known as M.O.D. You can use M.O.D. to read information from the modules, including real-time temperatures from the integrated thermal sensor, voltages, and more.</p> <p>Pricing on <a href="" target="_blank">Crucial's website</a> breaks down as follows:</p> <ul> <li>4GB Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $95</li> <li>8GB (2x4GB) Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $190</li> <li>16GB (4x4GB) Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $380</li> </ul> <p>Newegg also carries the kits, though they're in <a href=";IsNodeId=1&amp;N=100006519%2050001455%2040000147%20600531811&amp;Manufactory=1455" target="_blank">pre-order form</a>. Pricing looks like this:</p> <ul> <li>4GB Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $100 (out of stock)</li> <li>8GB (single stick) Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $220 (releases March 10, 2015)</li> <li>8GB (2x4GB) Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $200 (releases February 6, 2015)</li> <li>16GB (2x8GB) Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $352 (releases March 10, 2015)</li> <li>16GB (4x4GB) Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $380 (releases February 6, 2015)</li> <li>32GB (4x8GB) Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666: $704 (releases March 10, 2015)</li> </ul> <p>Shipping charges range from $1 to $3, depending on the kit.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> ballistix elite Build a PC Crucial ddr4 Hardware Memory ram News Tue, 27 Jan 2015 17:01:16 +0000 Paul Lilly 29319 at Nifty Infographic Explains Inner Workings of a Hard Drive <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/hdd_infographic.jpg" alt="HDD Infographic" title="HDD Infographic" width="228" height="176" style="float: right;" />Virtual autopsy of a hard disk drive</h3> <p>You probably already have at least a basic understanding of how a mechanical hard disk drive (HDD) works, but have you ever tried to explain it someone less savvy? It's a little more difficult than it seems -- there's a lot going on inside a hard drive. <strong>This is where infographics can come in handy, and eBuyer just sent us a rather neat one that takes a look at the various parts inside your typical HDD</strong>.</p> <p>Compared to more complex parts like CPUs and GPUs, hard drives are relatively easy to understand and there might not be anything new for you in the infographic. However, if you've taken someone under your wing and recently introduced them to the wonderful world of PCs, this is one of those things you'll want to share with them.</p> <p>The infographic covers the various internal bits, such as the printed circuit board (PCB), shock mount, actuator, read/write heads, spindle, and so forth. There's also a history lesson sprinkled in.</p> <p>"They may be getting smaller, thinner, and lighter every year, but that's certainly not how hard disks started out. Back in 1956, IBM's RAMAC 305 system used 50 platters, originally called 'fixed disks' or 'Winchesters', that were 61cm wide and housed in a unit bigger than a pair of fridges!," the infographic explains. "All this just to store a trifling 5MB of data for the inconceivable cost of more than $400,000 in modern dollars."</p> <p>It also offers up some definitions, such as seek time being the time between the CPU's request for a file and the point at which the first byte is delivered.</p> <p>Give it a look, and if you know someone that's new to PCs, pass it along.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u69/small_hdd_infographic_0.jpg" alt="Small HDD Infographic" title="Small HDD Infographic" width="620" height="528" /></a><strong><br />Click for the full infographic<br /></strong></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Build a PC Hard Drive Hardware HDD infographic storage teardown News Tue, 27 Jan 2015 15:47:53 +0000 Paul Lilly 29317 at Pricing for 240GB Solid State Drives Could Fall to $70 in 2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/apacer_ssd.jpg" alt="Apacer SSD" title="Apacer SSD" width="228" height="211" style="float: right;" />Apacer exec expects another free fall in SSD pricing</h3> <p>Solid state drives may never reach the tantalizing price-per-gigabyte ratio that mechanical hard disk drives enjoy, though that's okay, we're willing to pay a premium for performance. However, that premium might not be finished shrinking. We already saw NAND flash memory pricing take a nose dive, which in turn led to more affordable SSDs, and now <strong>we hear that the cost of SSDs could drop even lower this year</strong>.</p> <p>According to <em>Digitimes</em>, Apacer Technology general manager CK Chang believes prices for 256GB SSDs will fall below $70 in the second half of 2015, while prices for 128GB SSDs will hit $40. At present, 256GB SSDs street for around $100 -- there's an <a href="" target="_blank">Apotop model</a> on Newegg that's priced on sale for $90, while the rest of the 256GB models sell for $100 or more -- and 128GB models go for $60 and up.</p> <p>The reason for the predicted drop in price once again relates to NAND flash memory. Upstream chip vendors have transitioned to 14nm, 15nm, and 16nm, and in doing so, production costs have come down. According to Chang, this will lead to lower priced SSDs.</p> <p>As for Apacer, the company shipped about 4 million SSDs in 2014, accounting for 30 percent of its more than $318 million in revenue.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Build a PC Hardware Solid State Drives ssd storage News Fri, 23 Jan 2015 16:45:49 +0000 Paul Lilly 29303 at Smaller Motherboard Players Regroup to Take on Asus and Gigabyte <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/ecs_mobo.jpg" alt="ECS Mobo" title="ECS Mobo" width="228" height="159" style="float: right;" />Tough times for second tier mobo makers</h3> <p>Asus and Gigabyte dominated the motherboard market in 2014, with Asus coming out slightly ahead of its rival for bragging rights. However, there's more at stake than bragging rights for second tier players. <strong>ASRock, Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS), and Micro-Star International (MSI) all have new strategies for 2015</strong> to help better compete with the big boys, though not all may survive.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>Digitimes</em></a>, ECS president Sunny Yang recently went on record saying he wouldn't dismiss the notion of quitting the motherboard market altogether if its China brand mobo business continues to mount losses in 2015, though nothing has yet been decided. In the meantime, the company is seeing profits from Intel's Classmate PC orders, and also from its mini PC product offerings.</p> <p>As for ASRock, it's adjusting its product and channel strategies for 2015 after seeing an all-time low in its earnings per share last year. It's not clear what new strategies it's putting in place, though the company expects to ship 6.6 million to 7 million motherboards this year.</p> <p>Finally, MSI turned to new blood to liven up its motherboard business. Specifically, the company brought in an executive from its Europe notebook sales business to be in charge of its China-based motherboard and graphics business in the hopes that new management will give it a boost.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> asrock asus Build a PC ecs gigabyte Hardware motherboards msi News Thu, 22 Jan 2015 19:45:52 +0000 Paul Lilly 29301 at Backblaze Takes a Second Look at Hard Drive Reliability, Finds Capacity Matters <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/hitachi_4tb.jpg" alt="HGST 4TB" title="HGST 4TB" width="228" height="189" style="float: right;" />Making the case for 4TB hard drives</h3> <p>It was a year ago that cloud backup firm <a href="">Backblaze revealed</a> some interesting data it had collected in regards to hard drive failure rates. For a number of reasons, trying to analyze the reliability of hard drive brands and models can be complicated, though when the dust settled, Backblaze determined that Hitachi brand HDDs were the best. With another year of operation under its belt, <strong>Backblaze has more data to share, though Hitachi remains a solid option</strong>.</p> <p>At the end of 2013, Backblaze was running 27,134 hard drives. That number increased to 41,213 at the end of 2014, giving Backblaze a large sample size to evaluate. It's also worth noting that most of the new drives Backblaze purchased were 4TB, along with a few 6TB HDDs. As the firm discovered, size matters when it comes to HDD reliability.</p> <p>So does brand. Backblaze recorded a frightening 43.1 percent failure rate among 3TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 HDDs, though just a 2.6 percent failure rate among 4TB Seagate Desktop HDD.15 drives.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/backblaze_data.jpg" alt="BackBlaze Data" title="BackBlaze Data" width="620" height="638" /><br /><em>Source: Backblaze</em></p> <p>"We like every one of the 4 TB drives we bought this year. For the price, you get a lot of storage, and the drive failure rates have been really low," Backblaze said. "The Seagate Desktop HDD.15 has had the best price, and we have a LOT of them. Over 12 thousand of them. The failure rate is a nice low 2.6 percent per year. Low price and reliability is good for business.</p> <p>"The HGST drives, while priced a little higher, have an even lower failure rate, at 1.4 percent. It’s not enough of a difference to be a big factor in our purchasing, but when there’s a good price, we grab some. We have over 12 thousand of these drives."</p> <p>Brand, model, and capacity all seem to matter to some extent, which makes coming to a definitive conclusion a bit tricky. And of course this is but a single company's results. Generally speaking, however, HGST put on the best showing with the lowest failure rates at each capacity.</p> <p>Check out <a href="" target="_blank">Backblaze's blog post</a> for more details.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Backblaze Build a PC data center Hard Drive Hardware reliability storage News Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:57:00 +0000 Paul Lilly 29295 at AMD Radeon R9 380X Rumored to Arrive in Second Quarter of 2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/amd_gpu_0.jpg" alt="AMD GPU" title="AMD GPU" width="228" height="192" style="float: right;" />Rumor has it the Radeon R9 380X will feature 4,096 GCN cores</h3> <p>Keeping in mind that nothing is ever official until it's official (one of the many mottos of Captain Obvious), purported details of AMD's forthcoming Radeon R9 380X have started to emerge. If they turn out to be accurate, you can expect the <strong>Radeon R9 380X to arrive sometime between April and June of this year</strong> with 4,096 GCN cores in tow, along with 4GB of 3D stacked High Bandwidth Memory (HDM).</p> <p>That's according to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>WCCFTech</em></a>, which is getting its information from Swedish website <a href="" target="_blank"><em>SWEClockers</em></a><em>, </em>"which have been proven to be quite accurate in their estimations." In this case, the report points to AMD running with the 380X nomenclature rather than 390X, which would indicate that an even more powerful graphics card is on tap for 2015.</p> <p>As for the 380X, the use of HBM is reported to be 9 times faster than GDDR5. Looking at just the increased number of compute units, however, it's estimated that the 380X could be 45 percent faster than AMD's R9 290X, and that's without taking into considerations architectural improvements or memory bandwidth.</p> <p>The card will be based on a GPU code named Fiji XT. Along with its release, AMD is expected to refresh its current lineup with new GPUs, including a Radeon R9 270 replacement called Trinidad.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> amd Build a PC Gaming graphics card Hardware radeon r9 380x Video Card News Tue, 20 Jan 2015 18:33:19 +0000 Paul Lilly 29284 at G.Skill Scales Consumer Ripjaws 4 DDR4 Memory Kits to 3400MHz <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/ripjaws_4.jpg" alt="G.Skill Ripjaws 4 with Fan" title="G.Skill Ripjaws 4 with Fan" width="228" height="108" style="float: right;" />Comes with their own cooling fans</h3> <p>There have only been a few RAM kits we can recall that came with cooling fans, or that were recommended to pair with an active cooling scheme. Of course, those were back in the early days of DDR memory, when buying a kit of overclocking RAM could you make late with your mortgage payment that month. In any event, much as changed since then, though apparently we haven't seen the last of RAM and fan combinations -- G.Skill's new Ripjaws 4 DDR4 3200MHz and 3400MHz memory kits both with active cooling add-ons.</p> <p>G.Skill bundles its <a href="" target="_blank">Turbulence III Memory Cooling Fan</a> with each kit. The apparatus consists of dual 50mm fans spinning at 3,500 RPM to cool your RAM while remaining quieter than a whisper from a five-foot distance (22dBA), according to G.Skill. On a standalone basis, the Turbulence III runs about $20.</p> <p>Getting back to the RAM, the 16GB (4GBx4) 3200MHz kit (<a href="" target="_blank">F4-3200C15Q-16GRKD</a>) sports 15-15-15-35 timings and requires 1.35V, while the same capacity kit in 3400MHz (<a href=";series=2275" target="_blank">F4-3400C16Q-16GRKD</a>) features 16-16-16-36 timings at the same voltage.</p> <p>According to G.Skill, both kits are made from hand-picked ICs and go through the company's "highly selective binning process." They've also been tested for compatibility on the Asus Rampage V Extreme and Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion motherboards, though they should work with other X99 boards as well.</p> <p>No word yet on price or availability.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Build a PC ddr4 g.skill Hardware Memory ram ripjaws 4 News Thu, 15 Jan 2015 13:37:27 +0000 Paul Lilly 29257 at Asus Sees Rise in Do-It-Yourself Motherboard Sales <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/asus_mobo_0.jpg" alt="Asus Mobo" title="Asus Mobo" width="228" height="151" style="float: right;" />Score a point in favor of the home brewed PC</h3> <p>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 <em>Maximum PC</em> (or <em>Boot</em>). 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 <strong>Asus, which shipped 5.6 million DIY motherboards in the fourth quarter of 2014 alone</strong>.</p> <p>The strong finish bumped the company's full year DIY mobo shipments to 22 million units, representing a year-on-year increase of 6.3 percent, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Digitimes</em> reports</a>. In other words, there's growing interest in building a home brewed PC.</p> <p>Asus' DIY motherboard shipments outpaced its laptop sales, which itself saw growth as well. The company shipped 20.1 million notebooks in 2014, representing an on-year growth rate of 6.9 percent, along with two million desktops, nearly 9.4 million tablets, and over 8 million smartphones.</p> <p>We'll have to wait and see how those figures compare with Gigabyte, especially the motherboard shipments -- the two companies were in a fierce race to outsell one another, with Asus in a small lead for most, if not all of 2014.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> asus Build a PC DIY Hardware motherboards News Mon, 12 Jan 2015 17:26:47 +0000 Paul Lilly 29242 at G.Skill Sets DDR4 Memory Frequency Record <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/gskill_ripjaws_4_0.jpg" alt="G.Skill Ripjaws 4" title="G.Skill Ripjaws 4" width="228" height="131" style="float: right;" />The need for speed</h3> <p>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 -- <strong>G.Skill today announced that it set a new memory record for fastest DDR4 memory frequency at 4,255MHz</strong>.</p> <p>Record breaking attempts are sometimes marred by reality, which in this case is the realistic nature of running DDR4 RAM at 4255MHz. To achieve the record, G.Skill used a single 4GB stick of RAM in single-channel mode, even though the X99 chipset supports quad-channel memory. However, quad-channel mode requires four sticks, and running multiple modules isn't conducive to chasing frequency records.</p> <p>In any event, that's how these things are played out, and for now, G.Skill holds the record. It achieved the feat using its Ripjaws 4 Series plugged into an Asus Rampage V Extreme motherboard with an Intel Core i4 5960X CPU (liquid nitrogen cooling was also used). Timings were set at 18-18-18-63.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Build a PC ddr4 g.skill Hardware Memory overclocking ram records ripjaws 4 News Mon, 12 Jan 2015 17:07:23 +0000 Paul Lilly 29241 at CES 2015: Crucial Intros MX200 and BX100 SSDs <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Crucial MX200 SSD" title="Crucial MX200 SSD" width="228" height="160" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>New SSDs start at $69.99</h3> <p>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: <strong>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.</strong></p> <p>The MX200, for all intents and purposes, is the Crucial-branded consumer version of the <a href="" target="_blank">M600 SSD</a> that Micron announced in September for OEMs and system integrators. Like the M600, the MX200 has the company’s <a href="" target="_blank">Dynamic Write Acceleration (DWA) technology</a>, which enables SSD’s NAND array to switch from MLC mode to SLC mode, and back, on the fly. And it is this adaptive SLC cache technology that really sets the MX200 apart from its predecessor, the <a href="" target="_blank">MX100</a>. Otherwise, the two are <a href="" target="_blank">pretty similar</a>. The Crucial MX200, which will be available in 250GB ($140), 500GB ($250), and 1TB ($470) capacities, is capable of sequential reads and write up to 555MB/s and 500MB/s, respectively.</p> <p>Unlike the MX200, which pairs the Marvell 88SS9189 with Micron’s 16nm 128Gbit NAND, the entry-level Crucial BX100 comes with the same NAND and a SM2246EN controller from Silicon Motion. In fact, the BX100, which delivers sequential reads of up to 535MB/s and and sequential writes of up to 450MB/s,&nbsp; is the first Crucial drive to use a Silicon Motion controller. It will be available in&nbsp; 120GB, 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB flavors that will cost $69.99,<br />$109.99, $199.99 and $399.99, respectively.</p> <p>According to the company, both the BX100 and the MX100 will be available sometime during the quarter from Crucial’s website and select retailers across the globe.</p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Build a PC bx100 ces 2015 Crucial Hardware m600 micron mx100 mx200 solid-state drive ssd News Mon, 12 Jan 2015 05:19:23 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29234 at CES 2015: Enermax Gets Enthused About a New 1250W PSU and Liqmax II Coolers [Video] <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/enermax_psu_0.jpg" alt="Enermax PSU" title="Enermax PSU" width="228" height="162" style="float: right;" />Solving the single versus multi-rail dilemma</h3> <p>There are plenty topics of debate in the tech industry. One of them has to do with single rail versus multi-rail designs in power supplies. Multi-rail PSUs became super popular for a period of time several years ago, though many high end models have since switched back to single rail setups, which refers to the all-important +12V rail. It's a topic worthy of a much longer article, but as it pertains to our Consumer Electronics Show coverage, we happened by <strong>Enermax's section where we got a look at a 1250W PSU that lets you switch between single and multi-rail mode</strong>.</p> <p>You might already have a preference towards one design over the other, though being able to switch allows you to change your mind should new information come out that says one design is superior to the other. Or maybe you can't decide between one over the other but desperately need a new PSU.</p> <p>Whatever, it's Enermax's job to figure out how best to market this beast, and the focus needn't be entirely on the switchable rail design. It also offers oodles of power and is 80 Plus Titanium certified for efficiency -- good stuff.</p> <p>Gigabyte also showed us its second generation Liqmax series dubbed Liqmax II. These are all-in-one liquid coolers with upgraded tubing, a copper plate design, and blue LED fans. It's also worth pointing out that the Liqmax II's various designs are all patented by Enermax, meaning they're not rebranded coolers.</p> <p>Have a look:</p> <p><iframe src="//" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> 1250W Build a PC ces2015 Enermax Liqmax II power supply PSU titanium News Fri, 09 Jan 2015 17:58:30 +0000 Jimmy Thang and Paul Lilly 29229 at CES 2015: Plextor Puts on Display M6e Black Edition PCI Express SSD <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/plextor_m6e_black_edition.jpg" alt="Plextor M6e Black Edition" title="Plextor M6e Black Edition" width="228" height="212" style="float: right;" />Fast storage in a sexy package</h3> <p>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<strong> Plextor's been focusing on more modern products, like its new M6e Black Edition SSD</strong>.</p> <p>Aimed at gamers, the M6e Black Edition is a PCI Express solution using Toshiba's syncrhonous Toggle NAND flash memory. Plextor rates the drive as being able to sequentially read and write data at up to 770MB/s and 625MB/s, respectively. It also boasts 105,000 IOPS of random-read performance and 100,000 IOPS of random-write performance.</p> <p>Also helping with performance is the company's newly developed PlexTurbo 2.0 intelligent SSD software cache technology. It uses up to 4GB of system memory to boost storage and beef up performance, while containing safeguards against data loss.</p> <p>No word yet on when the M6e Black Edition will be available or for how much.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Build a PC Hardware M6e Black Edition pci express PCIe plextor solid state drive ssd storage News Thu, 08 Jan 2015 20:25:55 +0000 Paul Lilly 29226 at