AMD vs Nvidia: How much of a difference do drivers make? and more
Posted on: 02/06/2013 01:16 PM
Here a roundup of the latest articles, including AMD vs Nvidia: How much of a difference do drivers make?, Hauppage HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition Review, Intel 335 Series 240 GB SSD Review, Why Michael Dell Made His Bold Move, and Microsoft's Surface Pro Review
AMD vs Nvidia: How much of a difference do drivers make? @ t-break
Every time a new graphics card comes out from either AMD or Nvidia, we get new drivers, which are good enough to show the average potential of the card. Still, as with all early releases and beta drivers at launch, we know that it isn’t until the manufacturers and game developers work together over the coming months, that the true power of a card is revealed.
So basically what I’ve decided is to take the first officially supported drivers for the test cards and the latest stable release (WHQL) drivers from both the companies. Beta drivers weren’t considered due to their inherent nature of being potentially unstable with various hardware configurations and creating conflicts with patches and driver software.
For starters I tracked down which drivers supported the AMD HD 7970 (non GHz Edition running at 925MHz on Core Clock) and the NVIDIA GTX 680 at launch. The Catalyst 12.2 came out in March 2012 and was the first driver to officially support the HD 7970 outside of the original beta which came out with the card’s release in December 2011. So it took AMD three months to bring out officially supported drivers for their highest-end card. Their latest drivers are the Catalyst 13.1.
Read more: AMD vs Nvidia: How much of a difference do drivers make? @ t-breakSilicon Power Armor A15 1TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive Review @ NikKTech
No matter how much advancement in technology we see through the years one thing continues to stay unaltered and that's the continuously growing storage demands/needs for most enthusiasts and professionals. Personally for backup purposes only i use quite a few Terabytes and i know many others who use even more so i really hope that the 5TB HDD models will get released sooner rather than later (Q1 2013 is the projected date after all). Now as you all know lately we've been focusing most of our efforts into testing all the latest storage related devices to hit the market from internal devices such as SSDs and HDDs up to portable devices including USB flash drives and 3.5"/2.5" external HDDs. Still the market is huge, new models get released almost on a daily basis and so today in our hands we have yet another such device the Armor A15 1TB USB 3.0 2.5" portable hard drive from Silicon Power.
Read more: Silicon Power Armor A15 1TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive Review @ NikKTechZOTAC Refreshes ZBOX nano XS with AMD Radeon HD 7340 Graphics @ Warp2Search
ZOTAC International, a global innovator and leading manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today refreshes the extra small ZBOX nano XS series. The refreshed ZOTAC ZBOX nano XS with AMD Radeon HD 7340 graphics maintains the pocket-sized form factor while delivering an extra injection of performance.
Read more: ZOTAC Refreshes ZBOX nano XS with AMD Radeon HD 7340 Graphics @ Warp2SearchHauppage HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition Review @ XSReviews
On PC, it’s pretty easy to record footage of your games. Whether you’re using streaming software like XSplit or recording directly to your hard drive with Fraps, getting your gameplay out there is fairly well understood.
For consoles, it’s much harder – with a locked down environment devoid of third party applications, you can’t just download a program off the ‘net and start recording. Instead, you’ll need some physical hardware to do the job.
Enter the Hauppage HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition. This small cuboid is designed to make recording and even streaming your gameplay incredibly simple – just hook up a few wires and, if the back of the box is to be believed, you’ll be away.
Read more: Hauppage HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition Review @ XSReviewsAZZA Silentium 920 Case Review @ Neoseeker
Today I will taking a look at the Silentium 920 case from AZZA, but first a little background information on the company. Founded in 1996, AZZA entered the market as a motherboard manufacturer for the PC industry before rising to become one of the top ten leading suppliers worldwide in the 90's. In 2004 AZZA began manufacturing computer cases, and further expanded upon their offerings by entering the gaming product sector. At this point they began manufacturing a variety of OEM products including computer cases and power supplies for XION. 2009 ushered in more changes as AZZA realigned and established their own label and began distributing products under their own trademark.
AZZA's Silentium 920 mid-tower case is available in two colors, white or black, indicated by the model number. We'li will be looking at the CSAZ-920B model. The Silentium 920 comes packed with features like two 120mm fans located in the front and back of the case, and 5 external drive bays: 4 5.25" and 1 external 3.5".
Taking a quick look at the packaging for the Siletium 920, the box is covered with information regarding the features and benefits of the case. The front of the box contains information regarding the noise reduction material, hard drive holders and support for USB 3.0. Flipping the box around to the back, we are presented with a pair of diagrams and details regarding the other features not mentioned on the front, for instance the 5.25" drive bay quick mount latches, front panel with power switch, USB and audio outputs. Located on the bottom of the Silentium 920 is an air flow vent and filter. These are just a few of the features available in the Silentium 920. As we dive deeper into the case we will cover everything in greater detail.
Read more: AZZA Silentium 920 Case Review @ NeoseekerMushkin Chronos 240 GB @ techPowerUp
The Mushkin Chronos 240 GB comes at an amazing price of just $165, which makes it one of the most affordable drives out there if you want to get going with SSDs. But does such a value oriented SSD offer the performance you need?
Read more: Mushkin Chronos 240 GB @ techPowerUpZalman LQ320 CPU Cooler Review @ Hardware Secrets
Let's test Zalman's LQ320 sealed liquid cooling system for CPUs, which has a 120 mm radiator cooled by a 120 mm fan. Check it out!
Read more: Zalman LQ320 CPU Cooler Review @ Hardware SecretsRazer Kraken Pro Gaming Headset Review @ ThinkComputers.org
The Kraken Pro Analog Gaming Headset was a product that I received after competing in the annual Tiger Direct PC Race. Only after the event was over and all the hoopla from CES calmed down did we decide that the Kraken Pro was one of the products we received that we legitimately wanted to review. Razer has a history of making wild claims regarding PC products, i.e. The Razer Blade: The World's First Gaming Laptop or the Razer Edge Pro: The World's First Gaming Tablet but with the Kraken Pro they are making a claim based on one of the most subjective topics in product reviewscomfort. The Kraken Pro has a lot to live up to, especially when you make a claim like that, so let's see how it holds up.
Read more: Razer Kraken Pro Gaming Headset Review @ ThinkComputers.orgSamsung ATIV Odyssey Smartphone Review @ Legit Reviews
Samsung recently launched their first smartphone running Windows Phone 8, the Samsung ATIV Odyssey. The ATIV Odyssey features the latest Windows Mobile OS, 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core Krait processor, 8GB of internal storage which can be increased with up to a 64GB micro SD card! All in all the Samsung ATIV Odyssey phone looks like a great package, and all of it for less than $50 with a new Verizon Contract! Just how will a sub-$50 phone perform? Check it out and be surprised!
The Samsung ATIV Odyssey phone is available on with Verizon for only $49.99 with a contract. Though going through Newegg I was able to find if for only $9.99 with a new 2 year contract. As far as full featured smart phones go, that's a nice low price when you consider the cost of the latest greatest phones can easily run you $200+. Samsung managed to stuff some pretty impressive specs under the hood of the ATIV Odyssey despite the low price. We will break the specifications down in greater detail as we walk around the phone, as a tease it features a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 Plus processor...
Read more: Samsung ATIV Odyssey Smartphone Review @ Legit ReviewsIntel 335 Series 240 GB SSD Review @ HardOCP
Intel has released its new Intel 335 Series SSDs featuring 20nm MLC NAND and a SandForce SF-2281 processor. Its new MLC NAND boasts impressive power and write specifications. This SSD is geared for the budget market, but will it be able to compete with low-cost TLC alternatives
Read more: Intel 335 Series 240 GB SSD Review @ HardOCPBlackBerry Z10 review @ V3
V3 checks out the company formerly known as RIM's pitch to stay in the smartphone game
Read more: BlackBerry Z10 review @ V3Plextor M5M mSATA SSD Review @ HardwareHeaven.com
Now Plextor have built a mSATA SSD around the latest Marvell controller and hope to offer desktop like SATA 6GB/s in the compact form factor. Today we find out how it compares to an existing mSATA SSD as well as some desktop models.
Read more: Plextor M5M mSATA SSD Review @ HardwareHeaven.comG.SKILL Launches World’s Fastest DDR3 32GB Memory Kit - Trident X Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 2800MHz C11-13-13-35 @ 1.65v @ Warp2Search
G.SKILL International Co. Ltd., manufacturer of extreme performance memory and solid-state storage with superior quality, announced today, the world’s fastest DDR3 32GB Memory Kit – “Trident X Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 2800MHz C11-13-13-35 @ 1.65v Memory kit”.
Read more: G.SKILL Launches World’s Fastest DDR3 32GB Memory Kit - Trident X Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 2800MHz C11-13-13-35 @ 1.65v @ Warp2SearchSamsung Series 5 UltraTouch NP540U3C-A01UB Review @ TechReviewSource.com
The Samsung Series 5 UltraTouch NP540U3C-A01UB gives you a 13-inch ultrabook, married to a touch screen display and Microsoft's touch-friendly Windows 8 operating system. While it may not flip and fold like the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13, the Samsung Series 5 is still a slim and slick-looking laptop.
Read more: Samsung Series 5 UltraTouch NP540U3C-A01UB Review @ TechReviewSource.comMaking the most of your move to Office 365 @ TechwareLabs
Microsofts Office 365 gives businesses a cost-efficient alternative to on-premise email infrastructure, and enables organisations to move to the cloud without losing Microsofts familiar applications and interfaces. It offers a simplified, streamlined infrastructure along with improved scalability and lower total cost of ownership. It does not, however, entirely remove the need for effective email management.
In these hard-bitten times, organisations are increasingly required to get more for less – to identify and implement new technologies while reducing overheads. It is easier said than done but, when it comes to email management, a transition to cloud-based solution means this challenge is not insurmountable.
Microsoft’s Office 365 gives businesses a cost-efficient alternative to on-premise email infrastructure, and enables organisations to move to the cloud without losing Microsoft’s familiar applications and interfaces. It offers a simplified, streamlined infrastructure along with improved scalability and lower total cost of ownership. It does not, however, entirely remove the need for effective email management.
It is impossible to overstate the importance and value attached to a reliable, robust and secure email service. Research suggests around 60% of people now spend half their working day on email, creating vast and ever-growing repositories of critical information, while around 86% of end users rely on email as a search tool. In short, email and email management have become central to organisations’ daily operational needs.
Read more: Making the most of your move to Office 365 @ TechwareLabsWhy Michael Dell Made His Bold Move @ HotHardware
Dell's decision to go private (and Microsoft's $2B investment) are big news in the tech world today, but there's precious little in the way of hard evidence for why Michael Dell decided to buy back the company he founded as a college student back in 1984. The Microsoft angle has gotten a lot of press, but it's not the primary driver of the deal.
Read more: Why Michael Dell Made His Bold Move @ HotHardwareASUS VivoBook X202E 11.6-inch Notebook Review @ Techgage
The mobile market has sure changed over the course of the past couple of years. Prior to the launch of Apple’s iPad, few people would have ever guessed that tablets had a real future – and to be frank, a lot of people (including me) continued to think that even after it launched. Yet, here we are, sitting among a market that’s on fire with tablet releases but declining notebook sales.
The fact that the tablet market had the potential to adversely affect the notebook market was a secret to no one. The original iPad was released in spring 2010, and Intel’s Ultrabook concept was announced in the summer of 2011. This timing was no coincidence. To compete with the onslaught of tablets, and not to mention Apple’s MacBook Air, Intel’s Ultrabook designs insisted on super-slim, light-weight notebooks that performed closer to regular notebooks than netbooks.
Since the launch of the first Ultrabook models, things have fared well enough for Intel, but the notebook market as a whole has continued to decline. That’s not helped by the fact that Ultrabooks, due to their strict design requirements, tend to be more expensive than models that most non-Apple vendors focused on before. That’s resulted in some vendors deciding to tweak the formula to deliver a better product even if it means it doesn’t quite earn the Ultrabook status. Case-in-point, the model we’re looking at today: ASUS’ X202E.
Read more: ASUS VivoBook X202E 11.6-inch Notebook Review @ TechgageThermaltake New Soprano Case Review @ Hi Tech Legion
There is a ripe selection of quiet-computing PC cases in the market that employ these basic principles to varying degrees of success. Older models required compromise with enthusiast-class component installation, which generally produced significantly more noise, but newer designs are now expected to be just as flexible and accommodating as other mainstream gaming cases. Throwing their hat in the ring and responding to user demands, Thermaltake updates their Soprano case to reflect the necessities of current DIY PC computing standards.
Thermaltake’s New Soprano mid-tower case is intended for quiet computing use. As with previous Soprano cases, the New Soprano chassis features a curved front door design but with a more modest look, compared to the aggressive style of Thermaltake cases. The New Soprano mid-tower case has a pair of USB 3.0 and a pair of USB 2.0 on the front I/O, as well as a covered SATA docking station on top for 2.5 or 3.5 inch drives. Both side panels of the New Soprano case are lined with sound-dampening foam and the 120mm and 200mm pre-installed fans are mounted with rubber inserts to further reduce vibrations and noise. The Thermaltake New Soprano comes in both standard all-black mid-tower with aluminum door cover as well as a snow edition with a contrasting all-black interior.
Read more: Thermaltake New Soprano Case Review @ Hi Tech LegionEUROCOM Monster Gaming Notebook Review @ Hardware Canucks
Desktop systems have the luxury of space for all of today’s high end components but gaming notebooks have continually struggled to attain manageable dimensions and thermal characteristics. They just didn’t have the space necessary to house the large cooling assemblies necessary to ensure low temperatures but change is in the air.
As the gaming market slowly shifts to more portable mediums, manufacturers are finding ways to adapt powerful hardware for use in the notebook market. While we have already seen the positives and negatives of this approach, the Eurocom Monster takes it to the next level. With a size of just 11.6”, this gaming notebook is anything but monster-like and flies in the face of the many huge 17” system cluttering other categories. However, Eurocom has still managed to packs a massive amount of horsepower into a such a small body.
Read more: EUROCOM Monster Gaming Notebook Review @ Hardware CanucksZotac's Zbox ID42 Plus nettop review @ The Tech Report
This $400 home-theater machine crams a Sandy Bridge processor and a desktop GeForce into a surprisingly small package. We've tinkered with it, both in Windows and in Ubuntu Linux, to find out whether it deserves a place under your TV.
Read more: Zotac's Zbox ID42 Plus nettop review @ The Tech ReportRHA SA950i Portable Headphones @ Benchmark Reviews
Following on from the RHA CA-200 Noise isolating headphone review last week, Benchmark Reviews is all set to take a look at the higher priced RHA SA950i On-Ear Portable Headphones from Reid Heath Acoustics. The SA950i headphones are designed primarily for Apple iPhone/iPod/iPad users, but will also work just as well on most Android devices and other modern smartphones. Available in Apple Retail Stores from October 30th 2012 (MSRP $59.95), the RHA website claim the SA950i Headphones feature "technologies more commonly found in full-sized studio equipment, and delivers professional-grade audio in a compact supra-aural design".
We were quite impressed by the sound quality of the inexpensive RHA CA-200 Noise Isolating Headphones, and looking at the specifications and price of the SA950i headphones we could easily come to the conclusion that they will be even better still. The SA950i Headphones also feature a 1.5m braided cable with a multi function in-line remote, contour forming ear cups, adjustable chrome sliders, 40mm titanium coated mylar drivers, dynamic neodynium magnets and CCAW voice coils. RHA seem pretty confident about the SA950i Headphones, and we aim to see if they can really deliver.
Read more: RHA SA950i Portable Headphones @ Benchmark ReviewsMicrosoft's Surface Pro Review @ Neowin
The Surface Pro is Microsoft's first hardware device to go head to head with its OEM partners in the full-fat PC space - but is it really the hero device we hope for or has Microsoft missed the mark?
Read more: Microsoft's Surface Pro Review @ NeowinMicrosoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro: Hotter, Thicker, Faster, Louder @ ArsTechnica
What happens when you take Surface RT and add an Intel processor and hi-res screen?
Read more: Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro: Hotter, Thicker, Faster, Louder @ ArsTechnicaFive 550 And 600 W 80 PLUS Platinum Power Supplies, Tested @ Tom's Hardware
A good power supply doesn't just provide you with ample output. Increasingly, vendors have put a bigger emphasis on delivering power more efficiently, too. We're testing five 80 PLUS Platinum-rated power supplies in the 550- to 600-watt range.
Read more: Five 550 And 600 W 80 PLUS Platinum Power Supplies, Tested @ Tom's HardwareMicrosoft Surface Pro Review @ Anandtech
There's clearly interest in a device that converges the tablet and notebook. ASUS saw some of the earliest success in this department with its Transformer line of Android tablets. Once the first Windows RT/8 designs started appearing, it became clear that everyone was aiming to deliver something that delivered the best of both worlds. Even listening to Intel's description of Haswell you can get a good idea for where part of the industry is headed: everyone is working towards delivering a platform/device that has the battery life and portability of a tablet, but with the performance and flexibility of a notebook PC. Apple has remained curiously quiet on this front, but I suspect that too will change in good time. Last year Microsoft unexpectedly threw its hat into the ring with quite possibly the best branding decision since the Xbox. Under the Surface brand, Microsoft would produce two tablets of its own. These Surface devices would be built from the ground up to address this converged tablet/notebook space. The lesser of the two, Surface for Windows RT, would use ARM hardware and serve as a launch vehicle for Windows RT. The big brother in the family, Surface for Windows 8 Pro, would use traditional x86 hardware and come around 3 months later. Surface RT launched less than four months ago to mixed reviews. I saw potential in the device, but it needed faster hardware and honestly Windows RT needed some sanding around the edges. Today we have the official introduction of Surface Pro. With a higher price, thicker/heavier chassis and lower battery life, could Surface Pro possibly fare any better than Surface RT did last year? In my opinion? Surprisingly, yes. Let's get to it.
Read more: Microsoft Surface Pro Review @ AnandtechLeetgion El'Druin RPG Gaming Mouse @ techPowerUp
Leetgion's El'Druin Diablo III gaming mouse is put to the test. This mouse has been optimized for Diablo III and features a lot of unique functions such as a S-Pad controller and a secondary scroll wheel.
Read more: Leetgion El'Druin RPG Gaming Mouse @ techPowerUpLepa G1600 1600 Watt PSU Review @ Guru3D
You know, it's not often we review a 1600 Watt power supply, as well ... these units are so hard to test objectively. The guys behind LEPA however where keen that we tested one. So who are we to argue with that? In this review we'll have a look at the LEPA G1600-MA-EU, a 1600 Watt power supply that is labelled with a Gold certification, and if you are on 230V it will reach close to Platinum levels in terms of efficiency. Quite amazing really as the unit isn't huge by (in dimensions) any standard, it's not too noisy and heck, it is even modular. Have you ever seen a power supply that has 10 (!) 6+2 PCI Express graphics connectors?
So who is LEPA you might ask yourself, well the brand you'll recognize after this explanation. See in a restaurant you can order a house wine right? LEPA is the house wine of Enermax. And Enermax likely gets these units designed and manufacturered at Sirtec, a brand behind some very reputable power supplies.
The second question that will pop into your mind... why would one need a 1600 Watt power supply? Honestly in the year 2013 I can't even start explaining that with valid reasons if I wanted to. However there is a very slim market that craves a need for these beastly products. Especially in the overclocking segment where people use 2-way CPU processor boards and decide to drop four graphics cards into a system, well that's where you don't want to be limited. But even then I agree, 1600 Watt is near silly. For pro overclockers in the sub-zero cooling segment where a lot of voltage is dropped into ICs however a product like this would be seriously interesting.
Read more: Lepa G1600 1600 Watt PSU Review @ Guru3DAcer Aspire V5 Touch Review @ Techradar
Well, you release one flash new operating system with a touch-friendly interface and suddenly touchscreen laptops are all the rage. We've recently seen the Asus VivoBook S400C, the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11, the Asus Taichi and the Dell XPS 12 all get in on the Windows 8 action.And there's more to come, of course - we saw the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch and HP Pavilion Touchbook Sleekbook at CES 2013.Clearly, this is the time to get on board with dirtying up your computer's screen, even if you don't have a tablet.The Acer Aspire V5-571-323b4G50Mass (to give it its full title - you'll forgive us if we start referring to it as the V5 Touch, we trust) brings the touchscreen shenanigans to a lower price point - around £400 (about AU$603/US$628) - than many of those other laptops. Though it's certainly not cheaper than all - the diminutive Asus VivoBook S200 just about beats it on price.What you get is a spacious 15-inch widescreen display, replete with 10-point multi-touch for interacting with the provided copy of Windows 8.
Read more: Acer Aspire V5 Touch Review @ Techradar