Build a PC en Gigabyte Aims Shrink Ray at Maxwell, Ends Up with a Mini ITX GeForce GTX 970 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/gigabyte_gtx_970_mini_itx.jpg" alt="Gigabyte Mini ITX GeForce GTX 970" title="Gigabyte Mini ITX GeForce GTX 970" width="228" height="163" style="float: right;" />Tiny graphics card packs a Maxwell-sized bite</h3> <p>It's not the size of the graphics card that matters, but the potency of the GPU inside, right? We'll find out when we get our hands on <strong>Gigabyte's mini ITX variant of the GeForce GTX 970</strong> (GV-N970IXOC-4GD). Though it's tiny by comparison to a full size GeForce GTX 970 video card, Gigabyte's mini ITX version is actually overclocked to run at a base clockspeed of 1076MHz and a boost clockspeed of 1216MHz.</p> <p>Nvidia's reference design calls for a 1051MHz base clockspeed and 1178MHz boost clockspeed. Granted, Gigabyte's overclock isn't anything crazy, but considering the size of the card, even just running at stock clocks would have been noteworthy.</p> <p><a href=",27915.html" target="_blank">According to <em>TomsHardware</em></a>, the cooler is likely based on Gigabyte's WindForce 3X design, except that it only has one fan instead of three. There's an aluminum fin arry underneath, along with a Triangle Cool design to manipulate airflow more effectively.</p> <p>Apparently it works -- Gigabyte claims the card ran at 62C during a Metro Last Light benchmark, compared to a reference card running at 76C in the same test. That kind of cooling potential bodes well for a mini ITX system that's short on space with limited airflow.</p> <p>Gigabyte has priced the card at $330 and will start shipping it next month.</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 gigabyte graphics card Hardware mini itx Video Card News Wed, 22 Oct 2014 19:27:40 +0000 Paul Lilly 28768 at FSP Brings the Juice with 80 Plus Platinum Aurum PT Power Supply Line <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/fsp_aurum_pt_1200w.jpg" alt="FSP Aurum PT 1200W Power Supply" title="FSP Aurum PT 1200W Power Supply" width="228" height="199" style="float: right;" />Keeping things tidy with modular cables</h3> <p><strong>FSP's new 80 Plus Platinum certified Aurum PT power supply family</strong> leaves few, if any stones unturned. Available in 850W, 1000W, and even 1200W models, the high-end Aurum PT line boasts super high efficiency (over 92 percent), enough wattage to run the most demanding gaming systems, flat-ribbon modular cables to help keep the inside of your case nice and clutter free (as possible), and a neat looking design, in case the opportunity to show off your PSU ever presents itself.</p> <p><a href=";SN=159" target="_blank">According to FSP</a>, the Aurum PT uses full industrial grade Japanese capacitors and solid capacitors on the secondary side to ensure that the single +12V rail design delivers consistent, ripple-free power. The new PSU family also features FSP's proprietary "E-Sync Remote-Sensing" technology to provide synchronized 3.3V/5V/12V with a stable signal.</p> <p>Cooling chores are handled by a 135mm fluid dynamic bearing fan that supposedly stays cool and silent even during gaming sessions, and arrow-shaped ventilation holes that were aerodynamically designed to improve air extraction (FSP's claim, not ours).</p> <p>These PSUs ship with eight PCI-E 6+2 pin connectors to support up to four graphics cards, along with enough cables and connectors to hook up 13 SATA devices.</p> <p>The Aurum PT series is available now for <a href=";PSN=1099" target="_blank">$220 (850W)</a>, <a href=";PSN=1121">$240 (1000W)</a>, and <a href=";PSN=1122" target="_blank">$280 (1200W)</a> MSRP, all backed by 7-year warranties.</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> 80 plus platinum aurum pt Build a PC fsp Hardware modular power supply PSU News Thu, 16 Oct 2014 16:02:43 +0000 Paul Lilly 28730 at Lian Li's PC-T80 Open Air Test Bench Supports Liquid Cooling <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/lian_li_pc-t80.jpg" alt="Lian Li PC-T80" title="Lian Li PC-T80" width="228" height="217" style="float: right;" />Keep those cups of coffee far, far away</h3> <p>Open air test benches aren't for everyone. Your mom and pop? They're probably not candidates. In fact, we'd venture to guess that the vast majority would prefer a traditional closed case. That's not to say there isn't a market for test benches -- reviewers, frequent upgraders, and those who are always tinkering will see the value in such a design. There aren't a ton to choose from, though <strong>the market for open air test benches did just grow by one with the introduction of Lian Li's PC-T80</strong>.</p> <p>Or it grew it two, if you want to consider the black (PC-T80X) and silver (PC-T80A) color options as two totally different beasts. Color differences aside, the PC-T80 follows in the footsteps of Lian Li's PC-T60 but adds native radiator support and a more modular design.</p> <p>It measures 17.3 (W) x 17.1 (H) x 13.1 (D) inches (440mm x 435mm x 335mm) and is separated into three zones. Up top is a dual-functioning bracket to install radiators up to 360mm or three 3.5-inch/2.5-inch HDDs. <a href="" target="_blank">According to Lian Li</a>, the HDD cage and power supply location in the lower zone can be exchanged without much effort, and if you need it, an additional HDD cage can be installed in the lower zone.</p> <p>The PC-T80 supports motherboards up to XL-ATX. It uses a tool-less mounting system for HDDs and features a pre-cut motherboard tray for the optional installation of USB and multimedia port connector cables.</p> <p>Both the <a href="" target="_blank">silver and black PC-T80 models</a> will be available soon for $169 (MSRP).</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> Build a PC case chassis enclosure Hardware Lian Li pc-t80 Test Bench News Thu, 16 Oct 2014 15:17:42 +0000 Paul Lilly 28728 at Fractal Design Announces Edison M Line of Modular Power Supplies <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/fractal_design_edison_m.jpg" alt="Fractal Design Edison M" title="Fractal Design Edison M" width="228" height="159" style="float: right;" />New PSUs from Fractal Design range in wattage from 450W to 750W</h3> <p>Fractal Design is perhaps best known for its line of cases, like the Define XL or Core 3000. However, that's not all the company is into. <strong>Fractal Design just rolled out a new family of modular power supplies dubbed Edison M</strong>. They're available in a variety of wattages, including 450W, 550W, 650W, and 750W, each with modular cables and 80 Plus Gold efficiency certification.</p> <p>Each unit sports a temperature controlled FDB-bearing 120mm fan, Japanese electrolytic capacitors, over-temperature protection, short circuit protection, and other safeguards that are relatively standard fare in today's power supplies. One area where the Edison M may stand out is by having an "extra-long" ATX 12V cable to accommodate cases with bottom-mounted PSU positions -- the 4+4 pin measures 700mm and the ATX 20+4 pin measures 550mm.</p> <p>The Edison M utilizes a single +12V rail design, with 37A available on the 450W model, 45A on the 550W, 54A on the 650W, and 72A on the 750W.</p> <p>Compared to other PSUs that appear to be in the same class, <a href="" target="_blank">Fractal Design's Edison M Series</a> seems to run a little high. MSRPs are $85 for 450W, $95 for 550W, $105 for 650W, and $120 for 750W.</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 fractal design Hardware modular power supply PSU News Tue, 14 Oct 2014 14:43:24 +0000 Paul Lilly 28709 at AMD Rumored to Refresh Never Settle Game Bundle <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/never_settle.jpg" alt="Never Settle" title="Never Settle" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />More free titles from AMD might be on the way</h3> <p>With the recent launch of Nvidia's Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 970 and 980 graphics cards, the pressure is on AMD to respond, especially since we haven't heard much about its Tonga XT architecture as of late. One alternative to releasing a new graphics card that's proved popular is giving away free games, and <strong>rumor has it AMD is getting ready to announce a new Never Settle bundle</strong>.</p> <p>That's according to news and rumor site <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Fudzilla</em></a>, which says it learned that AMD is planning the new game bundle for a launch later this month. There hasn't been a lot of chatter about the specific titles that will be included, though one that's cropped up around the rumor mill is Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth.</p> <p>AMD has supposedly told its hardware partners to be on standby for the announcement. If true, the refreshed Never Settle bundle would come not long after the <a href="">recent price cuts</a> that retailers doled out to the Radeon R9 290 and 290X graphics cards, which can now be had for as little as $276 (street) and $360 (also street), respectively (or lower with mail-in-rebate).</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 games Gaming graphics cards Hardware never settle Software News Mon, 13 Oct 2014 15:24:12 +0000 Paul Lilly 28704 at ECS Adds Z97I-Drone Motherboard to L337 Gaming Series <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/ecs_z97i_drone.jpg" alt="ECS Z97I-Drone" title="ECS Z97I-Drone" width="228" height="168" style="float: right;" />ECS wanders into high-end territory</h3> <p>You'd be surprised at how many OEM motherboards in pre-built systems come from ECS, but be that as it may, it still isn't a company most would associate with high-end computing. ECS appears to want to change that perception, hence the creation of its "L337 Gaming" high-end gaming motherboard series. <strong>The latest addition to the L337 Gaming line is the ECS Z97I-Drone, which is essentially a mini-ITX version of the company's Z97-Machine</strong>.</p> <p>The Z97I-Drone is a socket LGA 1150 board based on Intel's Z97 chipset. It has two DDR3-3000+ (OC) DIMM slots with support for up to 16GB of RAM, a single PCI-Express x16 3.0 slot, a M.2 slot, onboard audio, and a few other goodies.</p> <p>ECS built the board using a 5-phase power design with high-end components designed to make the board more reliable and perhaps overclocking friendly. Some of the features include a dual advanced MOSFET, hybrid digital PWM, ICY chokes, solid capacitors, and so forth.</p> <p>No word yet on when the Z97I-Drone will be available or for how much. In the meantime, you can find more details on the board's <a href=";CategoryID=1&amp;DetailName=Feature&amp;MenuID=181&amp;LanID=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> Build a PC ecs Hardware l337 gaming motherboard z97i-drone News Fri, 10 Oct 2014 15:12:40 +0000 Paul Lilly 28697 at Enermax Thormax GT Full Tower Case Swallows E-ATX Motherboards <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/enermax_thormax_gt.jpg" alt="Enermax Thormax GT" title="Enermax Thormax GT" width="228" height="221" style="float: right;" />Giant sized armor for big and burly system builds</h3> <p>Planning a massive system build loaded to the gills with large components and high end parts? You'll need a case that's capable of housing all those parts, and if you're in the market for one, <strong>Enermax hopes you'll check out its new Thormax GT full tower enclosure</strong>. The Thormax GT is large and in charge with support for E-ATX motherboards, graphics cards up to 490mm in length, and 240mm and 360mm depth liquid coolers.</p> <p>You can fit up to four dual-slot graphics cards inside the Thormax GT, two of which can be up to 490mm in length as previously mentioned; the other two must be 360mm or less and requires removing the HDD cage. The case also houses various drive spaces -- four 5.25-inch bays with screwless latch designs, five 2.5-inch/3.5-inch HDD trays, and an additional 2.5-inch drive behind the motherboard tray.</p> <p>Enermax says the design of the Thromax GT allows the installation of two extended length liquid coolers with 60mm high clearance. You can install a 360mm liquid cooler under the roof and a 240mm at the bottom. It also comes pre-installed with dual 18cm Enermax Vegas blue LED fans with an additional six 12/14cm fan slots for more airflow.</p> <p>The top I/O panel is one of the more robust out there. It has two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, 4-level fan RPM controller with LED speed indicators, headphone and microphone ports, and of course power and reset buttons.</p> <p>Other features include 360-degree rotatable feet, a sturdy handle for carrying the case, and a foldable and movable magnetic headset holder.</p> <p>No word yet on how much the <a href="" target="_blank">Thormax GT</a> costs or when it will be available.</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 case chassis enclosure Enermax full tower Hardware thormax gt News Wed, 08 Oct 2014 20:57:16 +0000 Paul Lilly 28686 at Mushkin Launches Chronos G2 Solid State Drive Family <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/mushkin_chronos_1.jpg" alt="Mushkin Chronos" title="Mushkin Chronos" width="228" height="203" style="float: right;" />Maximum transfer rate of 555MB/s</h3> <p>For those of you who needed another solid state drive line to consider for your next upgrade, <strong>Mushkin today added the Chronos G2 series to its family of SSDs</strong>. Part of the pitch from Mushkin is that they're designed and assembled in the U.S., while the other selling point is that the Chronos G2 line offers a high level of performance for users working with a limited budget.</p> <p>"If you want the most innovative Mushkin SSD ever, you'll have to be more specific. Mushkin doesn’t only focus on launching new and innovative storage and memory solutions, we are always looking for new ways to enhance our existing products as we are doing with our value Chronos G2," <a href="" target="_blank">said Nicolas Villalobos</a>, Director of Global Marketing at Mushkin Inc. "A reincarnation of the legendary Chronos, the Chronos G2 Series was born to stand out from the crowd. Its competition-surpassing value give Mushkin’s Value SSD an oversized attitude."</p> <p>With all that talk about value, it's a bit curious that Mushkin didn't provide any MSRPs in its press release. However, we were able to dig up some street pricing, though take it with a grain of salt -- a single vendor on Newegg ( is offering the new drives, and as they become more widely available, prices may change.</p> <p>In any event, street pricing at the moment breaks down like this:</p> <ul> <li>Mushkin Chronos G2 60GB: $60 ($1 per gigabyte)</li> <li>Mushkin Chronos G2 120GB: $80 ($0.67 per gigabyte)</li> <li>Mushkin Chronos G2 240GB: $125 ($0.52 per gigabyte)</li> <li>Mushkin Chronos G2 480GB: $220 ($0.46 per gigabyte)</li> </ul> <p>As you can see, the higher the capacity, the better the value in terms of price per gigabyte. As for performance, these drives sport a SATA 6Gbps interface and a SandForce SF-2000 series controller. Performance for each drive looks like this:</p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Mushkin Chronos G2 60GB</a>: 550MB/s read, 515MB/s write, no mention of IOPS</li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Mushkin Chronos G2 120GB</a>: 555MB/s read, 525MB/s write, no mention of IOPS</li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Mushkin Chronos G2 240GB</a>: 555MB/s read, 535MB/s write, no mention of IOPS</li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Mushkin Chronos G2 480GB</a>: 540MB/s read, 465MB/s write, 55,000 IOPS</li> </ul> <p>All three drives are backed by a 3-year warranty.</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 chronos g2 Hardware mushkin solid state drive ssd storage News Tue, 07 Oct 2014 15:48:47 +0000 Paul Lilly 28675 at AMD Marks Down Radeon R9 290 and 290X Cards to Compete with Maxwell <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/radeon_r9_290x_0.jpg" alt="Radeon R9 290X" title="Radeon R9 290X" width="228" height="158" style="float: right;" />Taking a trip to 'Hawaii' just got a bit more affordable</h3> <p>Competition is fierce in the graphics card market, and while we've seen AMD and Nvidia duke it out with bundled game offers, it's the price wars that truly get our attention. Speaking of which, Nvidia certainly got AMD's attention when it launched Maxwell during the company's <a href="">GAME24 event</a>, which saw the release of the GeForce GTX 970 and <a href="">GTX 980</a> for $329 and $549, respectively (MSRPs). <strong>AMD has just responded by cutting the price of its Radeon R9 290 and 290X Hawaii cards</strong>.</p> <p>We'll give <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Fudzilla</em> credit</a> for the heads up on this one. According to the news and rumor site, AMD is also planning to slash the price of its Radeon R9 280 graphics card, though at present, it's the other two cards that are marked down. Specifically, you can now find the Radeon R9 290X selling for $399 at Newegg, down from its original launch price of $549, and the Radeon R9 290 going for $299, down from $399. In some cases, prices are even lower if you factor in any applicable mail-in-rebate offers.</p> <p>As for the Radeon R9 280X, <em>Fudzilla</em> claims to have heard that it's dropping to as low as $229, though at the time of this writing, the cheapest we found one selling for new (as opposed to refurbished or open box) is $270 ($250 after mail-in-rebate).</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 maxwell nvidia r9 290 r9 290x radeon Video Card News Mon, 06 Oct 2014 15:52:03 +0000 Paul Lilly 28666 at Leaked Press Photo Suggests MSI is Readying a Lite Edition GeForce GTX 970 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/msi_gtx_970_gaming_lite_edition.jpg" alt="MSI GTX 970 Gaming Lite Edition" title="MSI GTX 970 Gaming Lite Edition" width="228" height="190" style="float: right;" />MSI may release a slower and less expensive version of the GeForce GTX 970</h3> <p>Nvidia has a winning architecture on its hands with Maxwell, and as we've seen in benchmarks, both the GeForce GTX 970 and GTX 980 are fine graphics cards. As is typically the case, Nvidia's third-party partners have taken to customizing the reference designs with their own cooling solutions and factory overclocks, though interestingly <strong>MSI appears to be preparing a Lite Edition of the GeForce GTX 970</strong>.</p> <p>The folks at <a href="" target="_blank"><em></em></a> posted what looks to be a legitimate press image (it's worth noting that they've caught early scoops like this several times in the past) of an MSI GTX 970 Gaming Lite Edition graphics card. If you look closely, you can see the "Lite Edition" label in the lower left corner of the box next to two other labels pimping 4GB of GDDR5 RAM and PCI-E 3.0.</p> <p>There are no specs to share, though <em></em> says it will indeed be a slower and cheaper version of MSI's regular 970 Gaming card, with pricing in the range of reference (between $330 and $340).</p> <p>For the sake of comparison, MSI's 970 Gaming card boasts 1140MHz core and 1279MHz boost clockspeeds and streets for around $356 shipped. Nvidia's reference design calls for the core and boost clockspeeds to be 1050MHz and 1178MHz, respectively, along with a $329 MSRP.</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 lite edition msi Video Card News Fri, 03 Oct 2014 16:18:38 +0000 Paul Lilly 28659 at Solid State Drive Price War Erupts Overseas <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/samsung_ssd_0.jpg" alt="Samsung SSD" title="Samsung SSD" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Look for lower priced SSDs in the coming weeks and months</h3> <p>We have to admit, we've been spoiled by solid state drive price drops in the past year or so. While once considered cost prohibitive by many, SSDs are mostly affordable these days, provided you're not trying to match your 4TB hard drive in capacity. SSDs typically sell for less than 50 cents per gigabyte with prices continuing to drop. Accelerating the process is a <strong>price war in China that's leading to even lower cost SSDs</strong>.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>Digitimes</em></a>, SSD prices in China have "drastically fallen" to the point where you can pick up a 128GB for around $50 or a 256GB SSD for just $100. The sharp drops are a direct result of a price war started by China-based vendors TIGO Technology and Galaxy Microsystems.</p> <p>You probably haven't heard of either company, but don't rule out price drops coming to the U.S. market as well. As TIGO Technology and Galaxy Microsystems duke it out, Samsung and Kingston Technology, the two largest SSD vendors in China, are feeling the pressure to lower prices as well. Both are also major players in the U.S., so it's possible that those price drops could land stateside.</p> <p>Image Credit: <a href="" target="_blank">Flickr (Dr. Martin Von Nostrand)</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> Build a PC china Hardware solid state drive ssd storage News Fri, 26 Sep 2014 15:33:20 +0000 Paul Lilly 28614 at MSI Z97S SLI Krait Edition Motherboard is for "Sophisticated" Builds <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/msi_z97s_sli_krait_edition.jpg" alt="MSI Z97S Krait Edition SLI Motherboard" title="MSI Z97S Krait Edition SLI Motherboard" width="228" height="160" style="float: right;" />Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?</h3> <p>We've seen our share of colorful motherboards with loud designs that scream, "Hey, look at me!" They're typically aimed at gamers, overclockers, and enthusiasts in general, and so is <strong>MSI's Z97S SLI Krait Edition motherboard</strong>, though it's an attention-getter for a different reason. Rather than draw eyeballs with flashing LEDs and a range of colors, MSI opted for a classy black and white scheme.</p> <p>"Looking for that creative, one-off build? The new black and white design instantly adds a touch of class to a sophisticated build," <a href=";N=3292" target="_blank">MSI says</a>. "The new MSI Z97S SLI Krait Edition has been purposely designed together with the most elite case modders to meet the demands of community who craved a pure black and white motherboard."</p> <p>From the pictures we've seen, we have to admit that in a proper build, the Z97S SLI Krait Edition looks fantastic, assuming you're into the classic black and white theme. Regardless, there's more to this motherboard than a fancy design.</p> <p>Based on Intel's Z97 Express chipset, this socket 1150 board features four DIMM slots with support for up to 32GB of DDR3-3300 (OC) memory, two PCI-E x16 slots, three PCI-E x1 slots, two standard PCI slots, a SATA Express port, six SATA 6Gbps ports, a single M.2 port, GbE LAN, two front and four rear USB 3.0 ports, four front and two rear USB 2.0 ports, and a few other goodies.</p> <p>MSI's board also sports the company's Military Class 4 components such as Super Ferrite chokes (they run 35C cooler and have a 30 percent higher current capacity for more stable overclocking) and Dark capacitors.</p> <p>No word yet on when the <a href="" target="_blank">Z97S SLI Krait Edition</a> will be available or for how much.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/msi_z97s_sli_krait_edition_setup.jpg" alt="MSI Z97S SLI Krait Edition Setup" title="MSI Z97S SLI Krait Edition Setup" width="620" height="454" /></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 motherboard msi z97s sli krait edition News Wed, 24 Sep 2014 18:02:07 +0000 Paul Lilly 28603 at Asus and Gigabyte May Lower Motherboard Prices to Reach Shipment Goals <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/gigabyte_g1_gaming_motherboard.jpg" alt="Gigabyte G1 Gaming Motherboard" title="Gigabyte G1 Gaming Motherboard" width="228" height="202" style="float: right;" />Watch for lower priced motherboards in Q4</h3> <p>We've already mentioned that Asus and Gigabyte may engage each other in a price of war of sorts as each one attempts to ship more motherboards than the other. However, weaker than expected demand in China combined with soft retail channel orders ahead of the country's National Day holidays are likely to cause both companies to fall short of their shipment goals. As a result, <strong>Asus and Gigabyte might be even more aggressive with motherboard price cuts than previously anticipated</strong>.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>Digitimes</em></a>, Asus and Gigabyte are both expected to ship around 5.6 million motherboards in the third quarter. That figure is below what each company was expecting, as the two firms hoped that Intel's new Haswell-E processor launch and 9 Series chipsets would spark a replacement trend among consumers.</p> <p>Even with Haswell-E on the table, motherboard sales are falling a bit short. In order for Asus and Gigabyte to reach their stated 20-22 million motherboard shipment goal by the end of the year, the companies will need a strong fourth quarter. Sources tell<em> Digitimes</em> that price competition among the two is expected to "grow even fiercer."</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 gigabyte Hardware motherboard News Mon, 22 Sep 2014 18:09:23 +0000 Paul Lilly 28582 at Biostar Tries Going High-End with Hi-Fi Z97Z7 Motherboard <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/biostar_hi-fi_z97z7.jpg" alt="Biostar Hi-Fi Z97Z7" title="Biostar Hi-Fi Z97Z7" width="228" height="186" style="float: right;" />How do you like the view up here, Biostar?</h3> <p>Quick, blurt our the first brand that comes to mind when you think about high-end motherboards. Did you say Biostar? Lies! We would have accepted several brand names, though Biostar isn't one that's typically associated with premium boards (to be fair, the company has released a few top dwellers). We don't know if that's going to change, and apparently neither does Biostar, which "launched the first development of what might become a possible series of high-end gaming boards." That's how <strong>Biostar describes its new Hi-Fi Z97Z7 motherboard</strong>. Might? Possible? C'mon Biostar, if you're going to play with the big boys, you need to bring a barrel of confidence with you!</p> <p>Biostar's hesitation aside, the company's newest board is based on Intel's Z97 chipset with support for Intel socket 1150 CPUs (hello Haswell, but not Haswell-E). It's a full size ATX mobo with four DIMM slots supporting up to 32GB of DDR3-2800 (OC) RAM, a single PCI-E x16 3.0 slot, a single PCI-E x16 2.0 slot, two PCI-E x1 2.0 slots, two standard PCI slots, four SATA 6Gbps connectors, a SATA Express connector, four USB 3.0 ports plus a header, two USB 2.0 ports plus a header, GbE LAN, HDMI and DVI connectors, and various other odds and ends.</p> <p>It's not the most feature-rich board on the planet, though it does have some higher end goodies, such as "super durable solid caps," a "super durable Ferrite choke," a "super durable box header," 8-phase power design, moisture proof PCB, ESD protection, Hi-Fi audio with a built-in amp and 110dB+ rating, "Super Rapid Debug 3" for providing POST code information, and more, all of which you can read about on the board's <a href="" target="_blank">product page</a>.</p> <p>And then there's the price -- Biostar says its Hi-Fi Z97H7 has an MSRP of $120, which seems reasonable to us. No word yet on when it will be available.</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> Biostar Build a PC Hardware hi-fi z97z7 motherboard z97 News Mon, 22 Sep 2014 15:44:53 +0000 Paul Lilly 28580 at Asus Rolls Out Overclocked and Custom Cooled Strix GTX 980 and GTX 970 Cards <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/asus_strix_gtx_980.jpg" alt="Asus Strix GTX 980" title="Asus Strix GTX 980" width="228" height="205" style="float: right;" />Cooler and quieter than reference</h3> <p>Are you of the opinion that speed limits are more like suggestions than enforced rules? Do you believe reference designs are for suckers? If you answered yes to one or both questions, you might be interested in the new <strong>Strix GTX 980 and Strix GTX 970 graphics cards from Asus</strong>. Both of these <a href="">Maxwell-powered</a> parts sport factory overclocks and custom cooling solutions that are supposedly 30 percent quieter than Nvidia's reference cooler.</p> <p>As Asus is prone to do, it outfitted its new cards with its Digi+ voltage-regulator module (VRM) technology and Super Alloy Power components -- fancy terms for higher end components intended to increase durability and cooling. Both cards also feature a DisplayPort interface to support gaming at up to 4K Ultra HD.</p> <p>The Strix GTX 980 is overclocked to 1279MHz, up from 1126MHz, and the Strix GTX 970 is goosed to 1253MHz, up from 1050MHz. Both sport 4GB of GDDR5 memory that runs at boosted speeds of up to 7010MHz, which is essentially reference.</p> <p>With regards to cooling, the cards use Asus' DirectCU II cooling technology that consists of 10mm heat pipes capable of transporting 40 percent more heat away from the GPU. The design also offers 220 percent more heat dissipation. <a href="" target="_blank">According to Asus</a>, the cards run 30 percent cooler and 3x quieter than reference.</p> <p>Both cards should be available today. At the time of this writing, Newegg shows the Strix 970 as out of stock and priced at $340 (plus $6.31 shipping); there's no listing yet for the Strix 980.</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 Gaming graphics card Hardware strix gtx 970 strix gtx 980 Video Card News Fri, 19 Sep 2014 16:58:35 +0000 Paul Lilly 28572 at