Subject: Storage | July 7, 2014 - 03:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vertical, V-NAND, ssd, sata, Samsung, 850 PRO, 3d
As you saw in Al's review, the Samsung 850 drive is more than just a small bump in model number and performance, it is the stellar introduction to 3D NAND. The Tech Report is likely having nightmares from the drives reported longevity which is expected to be up to 10 times the cycles of current drives and means an update to their long running endurance test could see them testing into the 2020's. While they haven't yet added the 850 to that particular test they did post a review which starts out with a comprehensive look at the history of Flash technology and why 3D NAND is faster and more resilient than previous types; read on to get a better understanding of the fastest consumer SATA drive on the market.
"Most flash memory is limited to a single layer, but the V-NAND chips in Samsung's new 850 Pro SSD stack 32 layers on top of each other. This is next-level stuff, literally, and it's supposed to make the 850 Pro the fastest SATA drive around. We investigate."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Samsung SSD 850 PRO @ Benchmark Reviews
- Samsung SSD 850 Pro @ Legion Hardware
- Samsung 850 PRO 512GB SATA SSD @ Custom PC Review
- Samsung 850 Pro 1TB SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- Samsung 850 Pro SSD Review - Showing Off With 3D V-NAND @ The SSD Review
- Samsung 845DC EVO 240GB SSD Review @ NikKTech
- Samsung 845DC EVO 240GB, 960GB SATA SSD @ Custom PC Review
- Crucial MX100 512GB SSD Review @ NikKTech
- OCZ RevoDrive 350 480 GB Review @ OCC
- OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB PCIe SSD @ Custom PC Review
- ADATA XPG SX300 SATA 6Gb/s mSATA SSD Review @ Modders-Inc
- Seagate Laptop SSHD 1 TB Solid State Hybrid Drive @ TechARP
- Synology DS414slim 4-Bay NAS @ eTeknix
- OWC ThunderBay 4 RAID5 Edition Review - Speed, Capacity and Data Security @ The SSD Review
- Samsung Pro microSDXC UHS-1 U1 Card @ The SSD Review
Subject: General Tech | July 7, 2014 - 05:13 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: riot games, moba, lol, free to play
MOBAs are known to be intricate, unforgiving PC games. League of Legends is one of the most popular at the moment (#1 PC game in terms of hours played for May 2014 according to Raptr). It is free to install and play, with small purchases to unlock more content ("microtransaction"). The free-to-play business model is quite interesting, albeit polarizing, because your commitment starts when your users installs your title, not ends. This often leads to one of two outcomes: abusers of human psychology or constantly developed, great games that strive to never get boring.
Now you can see why it is polarizing (or just read our impending comments).
The business model does permit games that are deep in gameplay mechanics, however, if it keeps a core user base playing (and buying additional content) forever. Unfortunately, this also makes it difficult for new players to join -- especially when it is competitive and multiplayer.
Riot Games noted that they were uncomfortable with how many of their players lose "Battle Training", which is supposed to be a tutorial. Some even prove to have significant skill later on. They interpret this as the problem being how they educate new players. There is high complexity that is fair, and then there is just bad user experience.
"Intro Bots" is designed to be a mode which adjusts its difficulty to match the player currently, and as they progress. Hopefully it works. Obviously that is the limiting factor. It does seem to be designed reasonably. It teaches with repetition and in realistic scenarios.
Intro Bots is coming soon, after a brief stop in public beta. Ironically, the public beta realm was refered to as "PBE"... in a press release for a feature intended to be easier for new players. You know, the people who might not know the game's vocabulary. Just saying.
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | July 11, 2014 - 04:58 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: x86, VIA, isaiah II, Intel, centaur, arm, amd
There might be a third, x86-compatible processor manufacturer who is looking at the mobile market. Intel has been trying to make headway, including the direct development of Android for the x86 architecture. The company also has a few design wins, mostly with Windows 8.1-based tablets but also the occasional Android-based models. Google is rumored to be preparing the "Nexus 8" tablet with one of Intel's Moorefield SoCs. AMD, the second-largest x86 processor manufacturer, is aiming their Mullins platform at tablets and two-in-ones, but cannot afford to play snowplow, at least not like Intel.
VIA, through their Centaur Technology division, is expected to announce their own x86-based SoC, too. Called Isaiah II, it is rumored to be a quad core, 64-bit processor with a maximum clock rate of 2.0 GHz. Its GPU is currently unknown. VIA sold their stake S3 Graphics to HTC back in 2011, who then became majority shareholder over the GPU company. That said, HTC and VIA are very close companies. The chairwoman of HTC is the founder of VIA Technologies. The current President and CEO of VIA, who has been in that position since 1992, is her husband. I expect that the GPU architecture will be provided by S3, or will somehow be based on their technology. I could be wrong. Both companies will obviously do what they think is best.
It would make sense, though, especially if it benefits HTC with cheap but effective SoCs for Android and "full" Windows (not Windows RT) devices.
Or this announcement could be larger than it would appear. Three years ago, VIA filed for a patent which described a processor that can read both x86 and ARM machine language and translate it into its own, internal microinstructions. The Centaur Isaiah II could reasonably be based on that technology. If so, this processor would be able to support either version of Android. Or, after Intel built up the Android x86 code base, maybe they shelved that initiative (or just got that patent for legal reasons).
But what about Intel? Honestly, I see this being a benefit for the behemoth. Extra x86-based vendors will probably grow the overall market share, compared to ARM, by helping with software support. Even if it is compatible with both ARM and x86, what Intel needs right now is software. They can only write so much of it themselves. It is possible that VIA, being the original netbook processor, could disrupt the PC market with both x86 and ARM compatibility, but I doubt it.
Centaur Technology, the relevant division of VIA, will make their announcement in less than 51 days.
Subject: Motherboards | July 7, 2014 - 07:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asrock, Fatal1ty Z97 Killer, budget
The ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer can be yours for $135, much less than many previous motherboards bearing that famous name and [H]ard|OCP has a good idea why after reviewing the board. The build quality of the board is rather cheap, as in the PCB is "as straight as undercooked bacon and feels more prone to breakage than the crispiest strips of bacon" and there was also mention of blood spilled. However you should not judge the board by its cover as [H] soon found out, 8 phase power and sold caps provided a solid performance experience with no problems installing the OS or during their benchmarking process. Their i7-4770K hit 4.7GHz with almost no effort whatsoever and can be coaxed higher if you have the time and skill. This mix of low price, cheap build and stellar performance for a budget board earned this Killer a Gold Award and a place on the short list for economical enthusiasts.
"The ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer offers very little frills and boasts tons of performance at a very low cost. ASRock with us has been hit and miss in the past in terms of reviews. This $125 has all the features though that are needed to get you overclocking though. We put the ASRock Z97 Killer Fatal1ty to the test."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- GIGABYTE Z97X-UD5H Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Gigabyte Z97X-UD5H-BK @ eTeknix
- GIGABYTE Z97X-Gaming G1 WiFi-BK Intel Z97 Motherboard Review @ Legit Reviews
- ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- ASRock Z97 Extreme6 @ Phoronix
- BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z97WE LGA1150 Motherboard Review @ Madshrimps
- ASRock Z97 Extreme6 @ Kitguru
- ASUS MAXIMUS VII HERO @ techPowerUp
- ASRock Fatal1ty H97 Killer Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 11, 2014 - 05:55 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Kraken X61, nzxt, AIO, water cooling
NZXT's new Kraken X61 has a new trick up its sleeving, a variable speed pump for those who want as quiet a cooler as possible. [H]ard|OCP found that the design was so efficient and quiet that they really didn't need that feature but for those with sensitive ears it might be a perfect solution. The performance was on par with many of the other AIO coolers they have tested however the price was higher at ~$140 which may be a deal breaker for some. The other possible barrier for potential purchasers is the lack of documentation for both the physical installation and the software; experienced users will not be daunted by this but those who are not comfortable with muddling around in advanced settings and mounting coolers may want to print out the online docs before attempting to use the X61.
"NZXT is known to many enthusiasts for its computer cases but not so much for its Kraken series of CPU closed loop liquid coolers. After a year of design NZXT has introduced its new Kraken X61. Its claim to fame is that it is the "world's first variable speed liquid cooler." Let's see what this variable RPM pump does for the new Kraken."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Deepcool Gamer Storm Maelstrom 240 @ techPowerUp
- Swiftech Apogee XL CPU Block Review @HiTech Legion
- Cooler Master Seidon 120XL Liquid Cooler Review @ Neoseeker
- Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler @ Kitguru
- be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 Review @ OCC
- NZXT Phantom 240 Case Review @ Neoseeker
- DimasTech EasyXL Test Bench Review @ Modders-Inc
- Raidmax Horus MX Micro ATX Tower Review @ NikKTech
- In Win S-Frame @ techPowerUp
- In Win S-Frame Open Air Case Review @ Hardware Asylum
- Rosewill Legacy W1 Mini-ITX @ Benchmark Reviews
- Thermaltake Core V71 Full Tower Chassis @ eTeknix
- Thermaltake Urban T81 Full Tower Case Review @ Neoseeker
- SilentiumPC Aquarius X90 Mid-Tower Case Review @ Madshrimps
- BitFenix Comrade M-ATX Chassis @ eTeknix
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