Author:
Manufacturer: PC Perspective

In case you missed it...

UPDATE: We have now published full details on our Frame Rating capture and analysis system as well as an entire host of benchmark results.  Please check it out!!

In one of the last pages of our recent NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN graphics card review we included an update to our Frame Rating graphics performance metric that details the testing method in more detail and showed results for the first time.  Because it was buried so far into the article, I thought it was worth posting this information here as a separate article to solict feedback from readers and help guide the discussion forward without getting lost in the TITAN shuffle.  If you already read that page of our TITAN review, nothing new is included below. 

I am still planning a full article based on these results sooner rather than later; for now, please leave me your thoughts, comments, ideas and criticisms in the comments below!


Why are you not testing CrossFire??

If you haven't been following our sequence of stories that investigates a completely new testing methodology we are calling "frame rating", then you are really missing out.  (Part 1 is here, part 2 is here.)  The basic premise of Frame Rating is that the performance metrics that the industry is gathering using FRAPS are inaccurate in many cases and do not properly reflect the real-world gaming experience the user has.

Because of that, we are working on another method that uses high-end dual-link DVI capture equipment to directly record the raw output from the graphics card with an overlay technology that allows us to measure frame rates as they are presented on the screen, not as they are presented to the FRAPS software sub-system.  With these tools we can measure average frame rates, frame times and stutter, all in a way that reflects exactly what the viewer sees from the game.

We aren't ready to show our full sets of results yet (soon!) but the problems lie in that AMD's CrossFire technology shows severe performance degradations when viewed under the Frame Rating microscope that do not show up nearly as dramatically under FRAPS.  As such, I decided that it was simply irresponsible of me to present data to readers that I would then immediately refute on the final pages of this review (Editor: referencing the GTX TITAN article linked above.) - it would be a waste of time for the reader and people that skip only to the performance graphs wouldn't know our theory on why the results displayed were invalid.

Many other sites will use FRAPS, will use CrossFire, and there is nothing wrong with that at all.  They are simply presenting data that they believe to be true based on the tools at their disposal.  More data is always better. 

Here are these results and our discussion.  I decided to use the most popular game out today, Battlefield 3 and please keep in mind this is NOT the worst case scenario for AMD CrossFire in any way.  I tested the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition in single and CrossFire configurations as well as the GeForce GTX 680 and SLI.  To gather results I used two processes:

  1. Run FRAPS while running through a repeatable section and record frame rates and frame times for 60 seconds
  2. Run our Frame Rating capture system with a special overlay that allows us to measure frame rates and frame times with post processing.

Here is an example of what the overlay looks like in Battlefield 3.

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Frame Rating capture on GeForce GTX 680s in SLI - Click to Enlarge

The column on the left is actually the visuals of an overlay that is applied to each and every frame of the game early in the rendering process.  A solid color is added to the PRESENT call (more details to come later) for each individual frame.  As you know, when you are playing a game, multiple frames will make it on any single 60 Hz cycle of your monitor and because of that you get a succession of colors on the left hand side.

By measuring the pixel height of those colored columns, and knowing the order in which they should appear beforehand, we can gather the same data that FRAPS does but our results are seen AFTER any driver optimizations and DX changes the game might make.

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Frame Rating capture on Radeon HD 7970 CrossFire - Click to Enlarge

Here you see a very similar screenshot running on CrossFire.  Notice the thin silver band between the maroon and purple?  That is a complete frame according to FRAPS and most reviews.  Not to us - we think that frame rendered is almost useless. 

Continue reading our 3rd part in a series of Frame Rating and to see our first performance results!!

Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

TITAN is back for more!

Our NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN Coverage Schedule:

If you are reading this today, chances are you were here on Tuesday when we first launched our NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN features and preview story (accessible from the link above) and were hoping to find benchmarks then.  You didn't, but you will now.  I am here to show you that the TITAN is indeed the single fastest GPU on the market and MAY be the best graphics cards (single or dual GPU) on the market depending on what usage models you have.  Some will argue, some will disagree, but we have an interesting argument to make about this $999 gaming beast.

A brief history of time...er, TITAN

In our previous article we talked all about TITAN's GK110-based GPU, the form factor, card design, GPU Boost 2.0 features and much more and I would highly press you all to read it before going forward.  If you just want the cliff notes, I am going to copy and paste some of the most important details below.

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From a pure specifications standpoint the GeForce GTX TITAN based on GK110 is a powerhouse.  While the full GPU sports a total of 15 SMX units, TITAN will have 14 of them enabled for a total of 2688 shaders and 224 texture units.  Clock speeds on TITAN are a bit lower than on GK104 with a base clock rate of 836 MHz and a Boost Clock of 876 MHz.  As we will show you later in this article though the GPU Boost technology has been updated and changed quite a bit from what we first saw with the GTX 680.

The bump in the memory bus width is also key, being able to feed that many CUDA cores definitely required a boost from 256-bit to 384-bit, a 50% increase.  Even better, the memory bus is still running at 6.0 GHz resulting in total memory bandwdith of 288.4 GB/s.

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Speaking of memory - this card will ship with 6GB on-board.  Yes, 6 GeeBees!!  That is twice as much as AMD's Radeon HD 7970 and three times as much as NVIDIA's own GeForce GTX 680 card.  This is without a doubt a nod to the super-computing capabilities of the GPU and the GPGPU functionality that NVIDIA is enabling with the double precision aspects of GK110.

Continue reading our full review of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN graphics card with benchmarks and an update on our Frame Rating process!!

Subject: Editorial, Storage
Manufacturer: Various
Tagged: tlc, ssd, slc, mlc, endurance

Taking an Accurate Look at SSD Write Endurance

Last year, I posted a rebuttal to a paper describing the future of flash memory as ‘bleak’. The paper went through great (and convoluted) lengths to paint a tragic picture of flash memory endurance moving forward. Yesterday a newer paper hit Slashdotthis one doing just the opposite, and going as far as to assume production flash memory handling up to 1 Million erase cycles. You’d think that since I’m constantly pushing flash memory as a viable, reliable, and super-fast successor to Hard Disks (aka 'Spinning Rust'), that I’d just sit back on this one and let it fly. After all, it helps make my argument! Well, I can’t, because if there are errors published on a topic so important to me, it’s in the interest of journalistic integrity that I must now post an equal and opposite rebuttal to this one – even if it works against my case.

First I’m going to invite you to read through the paper in question. After doing so, I’m now going to pick it apart. Unfortunately I’m crunched for time today, so I’m going to reduce my dissertation into the form of some simple bulleted points:

  • Max data write speed did not take into account 8/10 encoding, meaning 6Gb/sec = 600MB/sec, not 750MB/sec.
  • The flash *page* size (8KB) and block sizes (2MB) chosen more closely resemble that of MLC parts (not SLC – see below for why this is important).
  • The paper makes no reference to Write Amplification.

Perhaps the most glaring and significant is that all of the formulas, while correct, fail to consider the most important factor when dealing with flash memory writes – Write Amplification.

Before geting into it, I'll reference the excellent graphic that Anand put in his SSD Relapse piece:

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SSD controllers combine smaller writes into larger ones in an attempt to speed up the effective write speed. This falls flat once all flash blocks have been written to at least once. From that point forward, the SSD must play musical chairs with the data on each and every small write. In a bad case, a single 4KB write turns into a 2MB write. For that example, Write Amplification would be a factor of 500, meaning the flash memory is cycled at 500x the rate calculated in the paper. Sure that’s an extreme example, but the point is that without referencing amplification at all, it is assumed to be a factor of 1, which would only be the case if you were only writing 2MB blocks of data to the SSD. This is almost never the case, regardless of Operating System.

After posters on Slashdot called out the author on his assumptions of rated P/E cycles, he went back and added two links to justify his figures. The problem is that the first links to a 2005 data sheet for 90nm SLC flash. Samsung’s 90nm flash was 1Gb per die (128MB). The packages were available with up to 4 dies each, and scaling up to a typical 16-chip SSD, that only gives you an 8GB SSD. Not very practical. That’s not to say 100k is an inaccurate figure for SLC endurance. It’s just a really bad reference to use is all. Here's a better one from the Flash Memory Summit a couple of years back:

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The second link was a 2008 PR blast from Micron, based on their proposed pushing of the 34nm process to its limits. “One Million Write Cycles” was nothing more than a tag line for an achievement accomplished in a lab under ideal conditions. That figure was never reached in anything you could actually buy in a SATA SSD. A better reference would be from that same presentation at the Summit:

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This shows larger process nodes hitting even beyond 1 million cycles (given sufficient additional error bits used for error correction), but remember it has to be something that is available and in a usable capacity to be practical for real world use, and that’s just not the case for the flash in the above chart.

At the end of the day, manufacturers must balance cost, capacity, and longevity. This forces a push towards smaller processes (for more capacity per cost), with the limit being how much endurance they are willing to give up in the process. In the end they choose based on what the customer needs. Enterprise use leans towards SLC or eMLC, as they are willing to spend more for the gain in endurance. Typical PC users get standard MLC and now even TLC, which are *good enough* for that application. It's worth noting that most SSD failures are not due to burning out all of the available flash P/E cycles. The vast majority are due to infant mortality failures of the controller or even due to buggy firmware. I've never written enough to any single consumer SSD (in normal operation) to wear out all of the flash. The closest I've come to a flash-related failure was when I had an ioDrive fail during testing by excessive heat causing a solder pad to lift on one of the flash chips.

All of this said, I’d love to see a revisit to the author’s well-structured paper – only based on the corrected assumptions I’ve outlined above. *That* is the type of paper I would reference when attempting to make *accurate* arguments for SSD endurance.

Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

GK110 Makes Its Way to Gamers

Our NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN Coverage Schedule:

Back in May of 2012 NVIDIA released information on GK110, a new GPU that the company was targeting towards HPC (high performance computing) and the GPGPU markets that are eager for more processing power.  Almost immediately the questions began on when we might see the GK110 part make its way to consumers and gamers in addition to finding a home in supercomputers like Cray's Titan system capable of 17.59 Petaflops/s. 

 

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Watch this same video on our YouTube channel

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Nine months later we finally have an answer - the GeForce GTX TITAN is a consumer graphics card built around the GK110 GPU.  Comprised of 2,688 CUDA cores, 7.1 billion transistors and with a die size of 551 mm^2, the GTX TITAN is a big step forward (both in performance and physical size).

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From a pure specifications standpoint the GeForce GTX TITAN based on GK110 is a powerhouse.  While the full GPU sports a total of 15 SMX units, TITAN will have 14 of them enabled for a total of 2688 shaders and 224 texture units.  Clock speeds on TITAN are a bit lower than on GK104 with a base clock rate of 836 MHz and a Boost Clock of 876 MHz.  As we will show you later in this article though the GPU Boost technology has been updated and changed quite a bit from what we first saw with the GTX 680.

The bump in the memory bus width is also key, being able to feed that many CUDA cores definitely required a boost from 256-bit to 384-bit, a 50% increase.  Even better, the memory bus is still running at 6.0 GHz resulting in total memory bandwdith of 288.4 GB/s

Continue reading our preview of the brand new NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN graphics card!!

Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Gigabyte

Define an Enthusiast CPU...

 

FM2 poses an interesting quandary for motherboard manufacturers.  AMD provides a very robust and full featured chip for use with their processors (A85X) that would lend itself well to midrange and enthusiast class motherboards.  Unfortunately, AMD does not provide a similarly high end CPU as compared to the competition at price ranges that would make sense for a motherboard that would cost between $140 and $250 on the FM2 platform.

So these manufacturers are constrained on price to offer fully featured motherboards that take advantage of all aspects of the A85X FCH (Fusion Controller Hub).  Until AMD can deliver a more competitive CPU on the FM2 platform, motherboard manufacturers will be forced to design offerings that can really go no higher than $129 (the current price of the fastest A10 processor from AMD).  This is not necessarily a bad thing though, as it has forced these manufacturers to really rethink their designs and to focus their energies on getting the greatest bang-for-the-buck.  AMD is selling a decent number of these processors, but the market is constrained as compared to the Intel offerings utilizing the 1155 BGA infrastructure.

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Gigabyte has taken this particular bull by the horns and have applied a very unique (so far) technology to the board.  This is on top of all the other marketing and engineering terms that we are quite familiar with.  The company itself is one of the top three manufacturers of motherboards in the world, and they typically trail Asus in terms of shipments but are still ahead of MSI.  As with any motherboard manufacturer, the quality of Gigabyte products has seen peaks and valleys through the years.  From what I have seen for the past few years though, Gigabyte is doing very well in terms of overall quality and value.

Click to continue reading about the Gigabyte GA-F2A85X-UP4!!

Manufacturer: Rosewill

Introduction and Features

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Rosewill continues to expand their power supply lineup with the introduction of four new units in the Tachyon Series. All Tachyon Series power supplies are certified 80Plus Platinum to deliver maximum efficiency. We will be taking a detailed look at the Flagship Tachyon-1000 in this review.

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Tachyon Series 1000W PSU Key Features:

• 80Plus Platinum certified
• Continuous 1000W output @50°C
• Single powerful +12V rail – ideal for Gaming Systems
• SLI & CrossFire Ready – six 6+2 pin PCI-E connectors
• Modular cable design
• Mesh sleeving on all cables for easier cable routing
• Silent 140mm fan with Auto Fan Speed Control
• Fanless operation at low power
• Active PFC with Universal AC input (100-240V)
• Protection Circuits: OC, OV, OP, UV, and SC Protection,
• Safety and EMI Approvals: cTUVus, FCC, CE, ROHS
• 5-Year Warranty

Please continue reading our Rosewill Tachyon power supply review!

Subject: Storage

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Introduction

With newer and faster SSDs coming to market, we should not forget those capable controllers of yesteryear. There are plenty of folks out there cranking out products based on controllers that were until very recently the king of the hill. Competition is great for the market, and newer product launches have driven down the cost of the older SandForce 2281 SATA 6Gb/sec controller. ADATA makes a product based on this controller, and it's high time we gave it a look:

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The ADATA XPG SX900 launched mid last year, and was ADATA's first crack at the eXtended capacity variant of the SandForce firmware. This traded off some of the spare area in the interest of more capacity for the consumer.

Read on for the full review!

Manufacturer: Seasonic

Introduction and Features

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Seasonic has built a stellar reputation for producing some of the best PC power supplies on the market today. In their relentless pursuit to continuously improve their products, Seasonic has recently upgraded the X-650, X-750 and X-850 units to provide quality performance for PC enthusiasts who seek reliability, tight voltage regulation, and high efficiency. The following list details the specific enhancements and differences between the earlier KM2 models and the new X-650/750/850 KM3 models.

• 12V Line Regulation improved to ±2% instead of ±3%
• S2FC/S3FC Selector Switch allows end user to select fan control mode of choice
• Flat Black DC Cables: easier to install, better airflow, and good appearance
• Increased number of CPU/PCI-E cable options
• New KM3 models use Full Bridge topology versus Half Bridge in KM2 for better reliability and efficiency
• MOSFETs relocated to Daughter Card instead of main PCB for improved efficiency, cooling and safety
• KM3 uses High Current Connectors (9A, 85°C) for added security and reliability

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Seasonic 80Plus Gold X-Series Features

80Plus Gold The X-Series Gold 650/750/850 power supplies are certified in accordance to the 80PLUS organization's Gold standards, offering performance and energy savings with up to ≥90% efficiency and a true power factor of greater than 0.9 PF.

Full Modular Design (DC to DC) The Seasonic X-Series power supplies feature an integrated DC connector panel with onboard VRM (Voltage Regulator Module) that enables not only near perfect DC-to-DC conversion with reduction of current loss/impedance and increase of efficiency but also a fully modular DC cabling that enables maximum flexibility of integration and forward compatibility.

Please continue reading our Seasonic X-750 Gold power supply review!

Author:
Manufacturer: Futuremark

The Ice Storm Test

Love it or hate it, 3DMark has a unique place in the world of PC gaming and enthusiasts.  Since 3DMark99 was released...in 1998...with a target on DirectX 6, Futuremark has been developing benchmarks on a regular basis in time with major API changes and also major harware changes.  The most recent release of 3DMark11 has been out since late in 2010 and has been a regular part of our many graphics card reviews on PC Perspective

Today Futuremark is not only releasing a new version of the benchmark but is also taking fundamentally different approach to performance testing and platforms.  The new 3DMark, just called "3DMark", will not only target high-end gaming PCs but integrated graphics platforms and even tablets and smartphones. 

We interviewed the President of Futuremark, Oliver Baltuch, over the weekend and asked some questions about this new direction for 3DMark, how mobile devices were going to affect benchmarks going forward and asked about the new results patterns, stuttering and more.  Check out the video below!

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Make no bones about it, this is a synthetic benchmark and if you have had issues with that in the past because it is not a "real world" gaming test, you will continue to have those complaints.  Personally I see the information that 3DMark provides to be very informative though it definitely shouldn't be depended on as the ONLY graphics performance metric. 

Continue reading our story on the new 3DMark benchmark and the first performance results!!

Manufacturer: EVGA

Introduction and Features

EVGA was founded in 1999 with headquarters in Brea, California. They currently specialize in producing NVIDIA based graphics adapters and Intel based motherboards and they are continuing to expand their product line to include enthusiast grade power supplies, starting with the NEX1500 last year and now adding the SuperNOVA NEX750G and NEX650G models.

Back in September 2012 we reviewed the SuperNOVA NEX1500 digital power supply that delivered 1500 watts of power and came bundled with EVGA’s SuperNOVA software that allows monitoring all of the power supply’s functions in real-time from your desktop. We liked the NEX1500, especially the SuperNOVA monitoring software, so when EVGA asked us to review the new SuperNOVA NEX750G Gold, we said yes and assumed it would incorporate similar features to the flagship SuperNOVA NEX1500. While the NEX1500 PSU was targeted towards an elite few with deep pockets, the new NEX750G and NEX650G models are aimed at more mainstream, cost-conscious consumers. And to our disappointment, neither of the new power supplies feature digital control, so they can't be used with EVGA's SuperNOVA monitoring software.

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Here is what EVGA has to say about the new SuperNOVA NEX 750G Gold PSU: “The EVGA NEX750G Gold PSU is a premium quality power supply intended to meet the needs of the most demanding enthusiasts systems. Designed with enthusiast needs in mind the NEX series is the best choice to power next generation enthusiast computers. Combining 750W of continuous power with exceptional performance, stunning efficiency, and cutting-edge design and features, the NEX750G Gold is what you need to take your system to the next level.

You can also count on EVGA to provide the utmost reliability and performance, with 100% Japanese capacitors and a durable dual-ball bearing fan. The NEX750G Gold is designed from start to finish to be the best choice for today's most demanding enthusiast computers. Bring you’re a-game with the NEX750G Gold power supply!"

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Please continue reading our review of the EVGA SuperNOVA NEX750G PSU!!!

Subject: Storage
Tagged: Intel, ssd, 525, msata

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Introduction

It has been just under a year since Intel released their 520 Series SSD, which was their second 6 Gb/sec SATA unit. Sporting a SandForce controller, that release helped bridge a high speed storage gap in their product lineup. One year prior, Intel dabbled in the mSATA form factor, releasing a 310 Series model under that moniker. The 310 showed up here and there, but never really caught on as the physical interface was admittedly before its time. While in hindsight it was a very good way to go towards establishing a fixed standard, the industry had already begun fragmenting on these smaller interfaces. The MacBook Air had already launched with a longer 'GumStick' shaped SSD, and Ultrabook makers were following suit with units that were physically identical yet not pin-compatible with that used in the Apple product.

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The Intel 520 Series SSD helped push Intel into 6Gb/sec SATA territory.

It's taken a while for the industry to favor defragmentation (pun intended) enough for mSATA to really start catching on, and that time appears to be nearing with Intel's launch of the SSD 525 Series:

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Read on for the full review!

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The Z77X-UP7 board represents a new approach to the motherboard game for GIGABYTE - no holds barred. The board combines a larger than normal form factor with high-end digital power circuitry to build a product that packs a punch while not skimping on features. We welcomed the challenge that this board presented, putting it through the normal suite of benchmark and functionality tests to see how well it stacked up. The GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7's performance and features come with a price, as all flagship products do, with its $399.99 price tag still a hefty sum.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

To power the Z77X-UP7, GIGABYTE used a 32+3+2 power phase design with every heat producing chip covered by a highly effective heat pipe cooling solution. GIGABYTE integrated the following features into the Z77X-UP7's design: SATA 2, SATA 3, and mSATA ports; support for 4 different networking types including an Intel GigE NIC, an Atheros GigE NIC, an Atheros dual-port 802.11n adapter, and an Atheros Bluetooth adapter; enough PCI-Express x16 slots for true quad-card support; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

Continue reading our review of the GIGABYTE Z77X-UP7 Motherboard!!

Manufacturer: Thermaltake

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Thermaltake

As the newest member of Thermaltake's Armor Revo case line, the Armor Revo Gene mid-tower case features sleek looks and exudes the humble power that only the war-worn warrior's know. We decided to put the Armor Revo Gene to the test to see how well the case works under a variety of circumstances. At a base price of $129.99, the Armor Revo Gene seems to be a well priced steal for the features designed into it.

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Courtesy of Thermaltake

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Courtesy of Thermaltake

The Armor Revo Gene features a flat-black, scratch-resistant coating on all surfaces, giving it a sleek and uniformly menacing look. The case's right panel contains a window in it upper half to show off your case innards, bisected by a grilled space for up to a 200mm side fan to help cool your PCI-Express cards. A wing-shaped aluminum front bezel helps to direct air through the front of the case in an optimal manner.

Continue reading our review of the Thermaltake Armor Revo Gene Mid-Tower Case!!

Manufacturer: Seasonic

Introduction and Features

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Seasonic has built a stellar reputation for themselves producing some of the best PC power supplies on the market. Over the years, Seasonic has been the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) of choice for companies like Corsair, PC Power & Cooling, and XFX to name just a few. But Seasonic also markets power supplies under their own brand name. The Platinum 660W/760W/860W Series is Seasonic's newest flagship line for the retail market. We will be taking a detailed look at the Platinum 660W model in this review. All of the PSUs in the Platinum Series are based on Seasonic's X-Series, which has brought several major advancements to the standard PC power supply platform since its introduction over three years ago.

• Proprietary circuit design delivers High efficiency (80Plus Platinum certified)
• Full modular DC Connector Module features integrated VRMs (3.3V and 5V)
• Hybrid Silent Fan Control (3 modes of operation: Fanless, Silent and Cooling)
• High-quality Sanyo Denki SanAce120 dual ball bearing fan with PWM
• High-reliability 105°C grade A capacitors and solid polymer capacitors

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Seasonic Platinum 660W Power Supply

The Platinum 660W, 760W and 860W are top performers and highly efficient power supplies that at lower loads can operate silently in semi-fanless mode.

80Plus Platinum The Platinum Series 660W, 760W, and 860W power supplies are certified in accordance to the 80PLUS organization's highest standard, offering the newest technology and innovation for performance and energy savings with up to 92% efficiency and a true power factor of greater than 0.9 PF.

Full Modular Design (DC to DC) Carried over from the Seasonic X-Series power supplies, the new Platinum Series features an integrated DC connector panel with onboard VRM (Voltage Regulator Module) that enables not only near perfect DC-to-DC conversion with reduction of current loss/impedance and increase of efficiency but also a fully modular DC cabling that enables maximum flexibility of integration and forward compatibility.

Continue reading our review of the Seasonic Platinum Series 660 watt power supply!!

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Hydro Series™ H80i High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
Courtesy of Corsair

The Corsair Hydro Series™ H80i High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler is the middle tier cooler in Corsair's latest revision of the series. We decided to take the cooler apart to see what makes it tick and share insight on the components used in designing this award winning cooler.

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The Hydro Series™ H80i cooling system consists of an aluminum-based 120mm x 120mm x 38mm radiator capable of supporting two 120mm x 120mm fans, attached to a CPU copper-based cooling assembly via 3/8 inch rubber hoses. The CPU cooler contains embedded magnets to better hold the CPU clip to the body of the cooling assembly. The CPU cooler also includes an integrated LED in the top of the assembly as well as Corsair Link™ connection ports and fan connection ports. The cooling hoses are attached to the CPU assembly by rotating nozzles, capable of an almost full 360 degrees of rotation.

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CPU cooler assembly breakdown
Courtesy of CoolIT Systems

Corsair partnered with CoolIT Systems in the design and implementation of the H80i. While the CPU cooler assembly pictured is not exactly like the H80i, the CoolIT Systems designed ECO II is close enough to the H80i in design for comparison purposes. Notice how the top cap and cold plate sandwich the pump assembly in place with the pump and electronics sitting in an upper chamber and the barbs feeding into or fed from a lower chamber.

Technical Specifications (taken from the Corsair and CoolIT Systems websites)

Cold Plate Material

Copper Micro Fin

Radiator Material

Aluminum

Radiator dimensions

120mm x 152mm x 38mm

Fan Dimensions

120mm x 120mm x 25mm

Maximum Fan Speed

2700 RPM

Maximum Fan Airflow

77 CFM

Fan dBA

37.68 dBA

Fan static pressure

4mm/H20

Tubing

Large-diameter, low permeability, low evaporation rubber

Socket Support

AMD AM2, AMD AM3, AMD FM1, Intel LGA 1155, Intel LGA 1156, Intel LGA 1366, Intel LGA 2011

Coolant

Low toxicity propylene glycol/water mixture with anti-corrosion/anti-fungal package

Continue reading our deconstruction of the Corsair Hydro Series H80i Cooler!!

Author:
Manufacturer: Corsair

Quick look at a low cost Carbide

Corsair continues its push into the case markets with yet another option, the Carbide 200R, bringing the price of entry down to sub-$50.  Currently selling on Newegg.com for $45 with a coupon code, check out this quick video walkthrough of the latest case from Corsair!

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After spending a bit more time with the case I can tell that for the price, the 200R is a pretty solid option.  I am not a fan of the 2.5-in drive arrangement that puts the power and data cables out into the case rather than towards the back (like the 3.5-in drives have) just from a cleanliness point of view, but that's somewhat minor.  Also worth noting is that even though we have a $50, and very light chassis, there aren't any sharp edges to cut you; Corsair did a good job rounding off the edges and having the metal fold back for a safe environment. 

There are a TON of case options in the price range so it might be hard for the Carbide 200R to stand out with a simple Newegg/Amazon search, but I think the Corsair brand will help sift it to the top.

Manufacturer: SilverStone

Introduction and Features

After a four year hiatus, SilverStone's top of the line power supply series, Zeus, has returned. The all new Zeus ZM1350 was designed for elite IT professionals, PC power users, and overclockers and retains excellent characteristics from its predecessors with a continuous output capacity of 1350W (1500W peak) rated for 24/7 operation at 50°C, ±1% voltage regulation for exceptional stability, and careful selection of premium industrial grade components. Other aspects such as efficiency, modular cabling compatible with other SilverStone PSUs, switch for multi/single +12V rail selection, pots for tweaking voltages, and fan speed control are all improved to make the new Zeus ZM1350 the most sought-after power supply that SilverStone has ever designed.  

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The Zeus ZM1350 PSU is fully modular and certified 80 Plus Silver (80 Plus Gold level efficiency when operating on 230VAC line power).  The ZM1350 features a switch to select between single or multiple +12V rails, incorporates three small pots for adjusting the +3.3V, +5V and +12V outputs, and has a fan speed override switch on the back panel to force the fan into constant full speed operation if desired.

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Zeus  Power Supply Key Features:

• 1350 watt continuous power output at 50°C (1500W peak)
• 60°C operation with up to 1080W continuous power output
• Strict ±1% voltage regulation with low AC ripple and noise
• Patented six/single +12V rails selector switch
• User accessible +3.3V, +5v, and +12V rail voltage adjustment pots
• 80Plus Silver certified with 80 Plus Gold level efficiency at 230VAC
• Class leading +12V rails with combined loading up to 105A (1260W)
• Industrial grade components
• Active PFC (up to 0.99)
• Universal AC input (90-264 VAC) full range
• Advanced 100% modular cables
• Long-life dual ball bearing 80mm fan with speed control switch
• Protections: OCP, OVP, OPP, OTP, UVP, SCP, NLO
• Supports latest ATX12V 2.3 & EPS12V 2.93 standards

Please continue reading our Zeus ZM1350 power supply review!

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Manufacturer: PC Perspective

Another update

In our previous article and video, I introduced you to our upcoming testing methodology for evaluating graphics cards based not only frame rates but on frame smoothness and the efficiency of those frame rates.  I showed off some of the new hardware we are using for this process and detailed how direct capture of graphics card output allows us to find interesting frame and animation anomalies using some Photoshop still frames.

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Today we are taking that a step further and looking at a couple of captured videos that demonstrate a "stutter" and walking you through, frame by frame, how we can detect, visualize and even start to measure them.

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This video takes a couple of examples of stutter in games, DiRT 3 and Dishonored to be exact, and shows what they look like in real time, at 25% speed and then finally in a much more detailed frame-by-frame analysis.

 

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Obviously this is just a couple instances of what a stutter is and there are often times less apparent in-game stutters that are even harder to see in video playback.  Not to worry - this capture method is capable of seeing those issues as well and we plan on diving into the "micro" level as well shortly.

We aren't going to start talking about whose card and what driver is being used yet and I know that there are still a lot of questions to be answered on this topic.  You will be hearing more quite soon from us and I thank you all for your comments, critiques and support.

Let me know below what you thought of this video and any questions that you might have. 

Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Hydro Series™ H100i Extreme Performance CPU Cooler
Courtesy of Corsair

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Hydro Series™ H80i High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
Courtesy of Corsair

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Hydro Series™ H60 High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
Courtesy of Corsair

The Corsair Hydro Series™ CPU water coolers come in a variety of sizes and configurations to fit the needs of all classes of computer enthusiasts. We decided to look at their latest revisions of these coolers, embodied in the H60, H80i, and H100i cooling units. We put these units up against the Swiftech Apogee HD custom cooling system on our test bench to see just how well these coolers performed. Starting at a base price of $79.99 for the Corsair H60 cooler, you really can't go wrong with the any of these standalone units.

Continue reading our review of the new Corsair Hydro Series CPU Coolers!!

Author:
Manufacturer: Various
Tagged: ces 2013, CES

Hardware is still key

The show is over, but CES 2013 is still taking its affect on our feet and our minds.  While the feet are healing I asked our team to give me a few stories that would summarize this year's show.  What stood out and surprised us and really made an impact?  Below are a handful of quick selections with links to the full stories, but if you really want the full CES 2013 experience, you should check out our stream of CES news at http://pcper.com/ces.

 

NVIDIA Tegra 4 / Shield

CES really kicked off with the announcement of Tegra 4 and Shield, an Android-powered mobile gaming system built off the company's newest SoC.  Shield combines a 5-in touch screen, Tegra 4 processor, console-quality game controller, speakers, display output support and more in a small, battery powered package.  They are promising the best Android gaming experience as well as the ability to stream PC games on your home network to Shield.

Check out our hands-on video with the device as well as some other information on the Tegra 4.

 

AMD APU Relevance

To be honest, not much was expected from AMD at the show this year but they surprised many of us by talking about new APUs that looked to be much more relevant in the market than we thought they would be.  Kaveri will be shipping before the end of the year and will be the first full HSA ready part, Kabini will be a high performance quad-core SoC for ultrathin notebooks and Temash could be a beast in the tablet and hybrid space.

Continue reading our wrap up from CES 2013!!