April 2013 System Guide and more
Posted on: 04/16/2013 01:16 PM
Here a roundup of today's reviews and articles, including April 2013 System Guide, LG 29EA93 Review: Are Ultra Wide Monitors Next?, Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch Review: Affordable, Touch-Enabled, Video Coverage of April Duels II Presented By Canada Cup Gaming, and Philips 298P4QJEB superwidescreen monitor Review
NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN SLI Review @ Vortez
In an unusual move, NVIDIA have released their flagship card with no lower end cards to back it up. It is not part of the 6 series nor an introduction to the 7 series. Instead it stands alone as a an example of things to come from the green team.
You would be forgiven into believing the name 'TITAN' was as unoriginal as 'Ultra', 'Overclock' 'Extreme' or any other over hyped tag-line some manufacturers like to add on to their latest product. TITAN however was derived from the TITAN supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The computer was hailed as the worlds fastest supercomputer and is powered by 18,668 NVIDIA Tesla K20X GPU accelerators achieving a record 17.59 Petaflop/sec! So it was only natural the desktop variant of the Tesla K10X accelerator (both using the GK110 core) was aptly named 'TITAN'.
Read more: NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN SLI Review @ VortezLG 29EA93 Review: Are Ultra Wide Monitors Next? @ TechSpot
The Flatron 29EA93-P is LG’s first entry into the still nascent category of ultra-wide consumer displays. There remain few options to compete against the 29EA93’s expansive 21:9 aspect ratio (16:9 is typical). However, LG, Dell and a few others ostensibly believe there’s a market for ultra-wides and I’ll admit -- I think they’re right.
While the 29EA93 seems suitably equipped to watch movies, how does it fare against other types of computer use? Could it possibly be a worthy replacement for your trusty dual-monitor setup? Does the display’s quality, features and novelty justify its $699 street price? Those are some of the questions I’ll be exploring.
Read more: LG 29EA93 Review: Are Ultra Wide Monitors Next? @ TechSpotLaCie Blade Runner 4TB Review @ TechRadar
LaCie is known for striking hard drive designs, but the industrial-looking Blade Runner takes our breath away. Its aluminium body is cut away to look like a parallel series of vertically oriented blades. From a distance, it's like an evolution of the heatsink design seen in other LaCie drives. Look closely and you'll see what seems to be a blob of metal intersected by the blades, in which the disk is housed.
Read more: LaCie Blade Runner 4TB Review @ TechRadarCorsair Obsidian 350D M-ATX Chassis Pictured @ TechPowerUp
In addition to its latest flagship Obsidian 900D chassis, Corsair plans to launch a new premium micro-ATX gaming PC case this season, the Obsidian 350D (model: CC-9011029-WW). It posed for pictures at various retailers, and some of its press-shots were leaked to the web. Reportedly measuring 450 x 210 x 440 mm, the case will retain the solid matte steel construction with a brushed aluminium front, and a large side acrylic window. Its front-panel features two 5.25-inch drive bays, a pair of USB 3.0 ports, and HD audio jacks.
Internally, the Obsidian 350D doesn't feature any drive cages that can go on to obstruct long graphics cards. Instead, it features two 3.5-inch bays towards its bottom, and what appear to be three 2.5-inch bays towards the top portion, with a gap in between. Ventilation includes two 140 mm fan vents on the top, to which radiators can be latched on to (one 140 mm spinner included), and a rear 120 mm fan (included). The Obsidian 350D should be released some time towards late-April or early-May.
Read more: Corsair Obsidian 350D M-ATX Chassis Pictured @ TechPowerUpLenovo IdeaCentre B540 Review @ TechReviewSource.com
The stylish design of the Lenovo IdeaCentre B540 is one that catches our eye in tandem with its budget price tag. The 23-inch 1080p touch screen works well with Windows 8 and looks great for multimedia viewing. Performance is good, especially for the price, but it does make a slight compromise with a Core i3 CPU.
Read more: Lenovo IdeaCentre B540 Review @ TechReviewSource.comROCCAT Isku FX Multicolor Gaming Keyboard Review @ Legit Reviews
As a gaming keyboard, the ROCCAT Isku FX is great. The keys are neither too soft nor too stiff and the short keytravel along with anti-ghosting, low latency, and a fast polling rate makes the keyboard very responsive. The Isku FX is one of the finest membrane keyboards I have ever used. For $99.99 shipped at Amazon and with a 1 year warranty, the Isku FX is fair competition against other multicolor backlit membrane keyboards such as the Logitech G510s and the Alienware TactX keyboard...
Read more: ROCCAT Isku FX Multicolor Gaming Keyboard Review @ Legit ReviewsASRock FM2A75 Pro4-M AMD Socket FM2 Micro-ATX Motherboard Review @ OcInside.de
The AMD Socket FM2 platform has an excellent price/performance ratio and is especially very interesting for those who like to build a less expensive PC.
ASRock top this with this AMD Trinity motherboard and offers for less than 60 EUR a micro-ATX motherboard with three PCI Express slots, one PCI slot, five SATA3 ports, one eSATA3 port, Gigabit LAN, 7.1 sound with optical output, USB3.0, USB2.0 and in addition to the optional COM port even an optional LPT port, which can be useful e.g. for a HTPC, to control a small 20x4 LCD.
Today we have tested this ASRock FM2A75 Pro 4-M Socket FM2 motherboard with the AMD A10-5800 K processor and as usual at OCinside.de overclocked to the limit.
Read more: ASRock FM2A75 Pro4-M AMD Socket FM2 Micro-ATX Motherboard Review @ OcInside.dePowerSkin for Apple iPhone 5 Review @ TestFreaks
Heavy data consuming iPhone users quickly realize that the phone’s battery life has a lot to be desired. Constant use of the iPhone eventually leads to the dreaded less than 20% or even worse the less than 10% remaining icon popping up on the phone some time before late afternoon.
One solution is to carry an iPhone charger with you to alleviate this problem but that is not always feasible. Another is to use an external battery that is where today’s review product comes into play. The PowerSkin for Apple iPhone 5 provides backup power while providing protection for your Apple phone as it is also a case.
This product features a rechargeable built-in 1500 mAh battery, surrounded by a silicone shock absorbing case. Although 1500 mAh will not fully recharge a drained iPhone 5 it will provide 70% more additional capacity to get you through even the most data consuming days.
Read more: PowerSkin for Apple iPhone 5 Review @ TestFreaksLenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch Review: Affordable, Touch-Enabled @ HotHardware
The awkward days of Window 8 laptops without touchscreens aren't behind us just yet, but the end is in sight. It's easy enough to resist touching the Start screen on a desktop PC, but when a laptop display is inches from your fingers, if you're anything like us, your instinct is to reach out and touch it. Thankfully, affordable touch-enabled laptops have begun to hit store shelves, like Lenovo's new IdeaPad Z400 Touch.
Lenovo's IdeaPad Z400 Touch is one of the laptops ushering in the era of touch screens for mid-range systems, so we're taking it for a spin (and a swipe) for you here...
Read more: Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch Review: Affordable, Touch-Enabled @ HotHardwareIron Man Helment Case Mod @ Modders-Inc
Case Modder Franco “warboy” Martinelli created this tribute to Iron Man. Created from scratch the Iron Man Case Mod was made entirely made by hand, including the helmet
Read more: Iron Man Helment Case Mod @ Modders-IncVantec NexStar WiFi Hard Drive Dock Review @ ThinkComputers.org
Hard drive docks are nothing new. They have been around for quite some time and we have reviewed a handful of them. The only thing that has really changed in the way of hard drive docks is the connections. When USB 3.0 came out we saw a new round of hard drive docks with the new, faster connection. So what is next for hard drive docks? Vantec seems to think WiFi is. It makes sense, we have so many wireless devices now with tablets and smartphones ruling our lives. So why not be able to access the information on any hard drive without having to have a USB connection on your device? This is where the NexStar WiFi Hard Drive Dock comes in. It is your normal hard drive dock supporting 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch drives and has a USB 3.0 connection, but it also has WiFi so you can use an iOS or Android device to connect to it and access your files. Let's dive in!
Read more: Vantec NexStar WiFi Hard Drive Dock Review @ ThinkComputers.orgDell U3014 LCD Review @ Anandtech
The newest reference display from Dell is the U3014, which takes the place of the U3011. It retains the same 2560x1600 resolution of a 30" display, but adds a few more notable features including DisplayPort chaining, USB 3.0 support, uniformity correction, and most notably is one of the first LED-backlit displays with an AdobeRGB gamut. Looking only at the specs, this looks like a monitor aiming for the NEC and Eizo users out there, but does it reach those standards?
Read more: Dell U3014 LCD Review @ AnandtechSilverStone HE02 Passive CPU Cooler @ DreamWare Computers
The SilverStone HE02 is SilverStones first entry into the passive CPU cooler market and comes at a time where SilverStone has recently been releasing a number of new products in their CPU cooler lineup (a product line that sat dormant for a number of years before coming back to life). The HE02 is compatible with all current Intel and AMD platforms and also carries a very reasonable price for the true silence it offers.
Read more: SilverStone HE02 Passive CPU Cooler @ DreamWare ComputersMSI GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB Twin Frozr Edition Review @ Hi Tech Legion
But is cloud computing really the next best thing? Many companies seem to think so and even game services are moving to streaming services. These services have large GPU server farms and will process all the graphics on them and then stream them to their customers’ computers over the internet. The downfall of course is that you are at the mercy of an unreliable network and are much more likely to have dropped frames. This is particularly true for people with slower connections and as you can imagine it will take a considerable increase in worldwide bandwidth to allow this model to be successful. Personally I like the idea of having the system that I am gaming on to be in the same room and not introducing other factors into how a game might perform.
The MSI 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr edition is a factory overclocked edition featuring the newest offering in the NVIDIA lineup. MSI has coupled the 650 Ti Boost with their custom Twin Frozr III design that has two 8cm PWN fans and 8mm heat pipes to cool the card and allow for higher overclocks. It utilizes the 28nm GK106 GPU and features 768 CUDA cores. There is 2048MB of memory on board supported by a 192bit memory bus. Connectivity options include two dual-link DVI ports, an HDMI, and a DisplayPort allowing up to four displays to be used at one time and 3DVision with three monitors. The 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr edition also features solid capacitors and a three year warranty. The overclocked speeds are set at 1033 MHz (980MHz std) for the base clock and 1098 MHz (1033 MHz std) for the core boost clock and maintains an effective memory clock speed of 6008 MHz.
Read more: MSI GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB Twin Frozr Edition Review @ Hi Tech LegionVideo Coverage of April Duels II Presented By Canada Cup Gaming @ MEGATech
Last weekend, the crew from Canada Cup Gaming stormed into town to host April Duels II, easily one of the largest fighting game tournaments to ever hit the Vancouver area. Held at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport hotel in Richmond, April Duels II welcomed several professional players from the around the world, including Mago, PR Balrog and Ricky Ortiz.
We had the opportunity to interview Lapchi Duong and Troy Kirkland, the guys behind Canada Cup who organized this event, about what it took to bring April Duels II to Vancouver. We also had a talk with Jackson Dang from event sponsor Canadian Joysticks, as well as professional players like Justin Wong, Tokido, Xian and Chi Rithy, plus a brief talk with Vancouver fighting game fan Mewojin. This was certainly a lot more of a competitive environment than the BCITSA Spring LAN event, but everyone had a lot of fun and it was great for the Vancouver fighting game community.
Read more: Video Coverage of April Duels II Presented By Canada Cup Gaming @ MEGATechTR's April 2013 System Guide @ The Tech Report
We've updated our famous system guide to account for the latest graphics cards (and their accompanying game bundles) as well as recent introductions in mechanical and solid-state storage. This time, our guide also includes the Ultrabox, a small-form-factor desktop build with ultrabook guts.
Read more: TR's April 2013 System Guide @ The Tech ReportLenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 review @ V3
A business-focused tablet that's light and compact while keeping the ThinkPad style
Read more: Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 review @ V3Pivos XIOS DS Media Player Review @ Bjorn3D
Pivos is one of those companies that you might not have ever heard of unless your looking for the specific types of devices they offer. Being a major player in digital media playback and IPTV systems among many more emerging technologies we had heard of them a bit before looking at this unit. The unit we are looking at today is the Pivos XIOS DS which is a multi function media player based on the Android OS.
Read more: Pivos XIOS DS Media Player Review @ Bjorn3DGTX 650 Ti Boost SLI Review @ LanOC
Yesterday I took a look at the MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost Twin Frozr 2Gb OC Edition, although I teased about its extremely long name I was impressed with the card overall. Being the second GTX 650 Ti Boost that we took a look at, I of course couldn’t resist pairing it up with the reference card as well for a little SLI testing. As with our other SLI and crossfire posts we don’t mess around talking about the cards at all. You can check out the individual reviews for that. We jump right into the performance results and give you what you want to see. Enjoy!
Read more: GTX 650 Ti Boost SLI Review @ LanOCTranscend ESD200 external USB 3.0 SSD Review @ Hexus
External storage for computers is now able to replicate what's inside the PC in both speed and capacity. Got a 2TB, 3.5in hard drive in the system? It doesn't cost a whole heap more to purchase an external drive, pre-packaged in a tidy chassis, which connects via USB 3.0. But faster is better, and HEXUS has been a staunch advocate of using solid-state drives (SSDs) in a system. To this end, slowly but surely, super-fast portable-storage solutions, built with SSDs, are beginning to surface.
Other than price, we can't think of any major downsides of having pocketable external storage that's powered by an SSD. Transcend is of the same thinking and has launched an itty-bitty drive called the ESD200. Available in 128GB and 256GB capacities and connecting to the system via now-ubiquitous USB 3.0, let's take a look at the range-topper.
Read more: Transcend ESD200 external USB 3.0 SSD Review @ HexusPatriot Supersonic Rage 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ Reliable PC Reviews
I can honestly say that on more than one occasion I’ve been sitting at my computer waiting for files to transfer to a USB flash drive, so that I can install a game on another machine or just to have a backup of some data. At the same time, I never thought much about investing in a solution that would be faster, until now! Today, we’re looking at the Supersonic Rage USB 3.0 64GB flash drive from Patriot. The Supersonic Rage is a compact, universally compatible flash drive, which is designed to take full advantage of the USB 3.0 Super Speed interface. This particular model can be found on Amazon for $64.99 and features a 5 year warranty through Patriot!
Read more: Patriot Supersonic Rage 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ Reliable PC ReviewsADATA XPG SX900 128GB with SandForce B02 controller SSD Review @ TweakTown
We're looking at the ADATA SX900 for the first time today. The SX900 hit the market with the SP900 last year, but the SP900 review didn't go as ADATA planned. Just days ago ADATA fixed their issue with TRIM by releasing new firmware for a number of SandForce SF-2000 based SSDs. The new firmware, 5.0.7a, is new to us. We expected ADATA to launch 5.0.6, but they leaped straight to this release, one that we didn't even know of prior to ADATA handing it out. TRIM is fixed, but the angels aren't exactly singing.
We've all seen notices that state products can change without notice. Most of the time we don't even pay attention, but the notices are on just about everything. Most of the time the changes are small, such as a new resistor from a different vender here, or a different diode or capacitor there. We've only seen a significant component changed a few times and the end results have always been pretty bad. How many Ford parts can you put on a Ferrari and still call it a Ferrari?
The ADATA SX900 we're looking at today is nothing like the SX900 from 12 months ago. The controller has changed, the new SX900 ships with LSI SandForce's new B02 stepping SF-2281 controller. B02 doesn't change performance at all on its own other than battery life. The B02 stepping uses less power so you get longer battery life - nothing to complain about there. I'll take an Enzo with the full horse power and the battery life of a Prius, sure thing!
Read more: ADATA XPG SX900 128GB with SandForce B02 controller SSD Review @ TweakTownASUS GTX670 DirectCU Mini OC review: pint-size GTX670 @ Hardware.Info
At the beginning of last month we learned that ASUS was working on a strikingly small GeForce GTX 670 graphics card intended for Mini ITX systems. Since then ASUS sent us a sample of the GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU Mini OC, so we of course tested it and compared it to previously tested GTX 670s and 680s.
The reference design of the GeForce GTX 670 already has a relatively short PCB, but because of the standard cooler they're not that compact. For the GTX 670 DirectCU Mini ASUS developed a 17 cm PCB with a 5-phase VRM, and instead of two 6-pin connectors it's equipped with a single 8-pin one.
Read more: ASUS GTX670 DirectCU Mini OC review: pint-size GTX670 @ Hardware.InfoPhilips 298P4QJEB superwidescreen monitor Review @ Hexus
here is no shortage of choice when it comes to drawing up a shortlist for a computer monitor. There's little reason to spend much more than £100 for a 22-24in full-HD (1,920x1,080) screen from a reputable manufacturer. Spend a little more and the choice extends to the type of panel - IPS, VA, TN, etc. - and paves the way for a greater number of monitor-side connections.
Stepping up the financial outlay to some £200 brings larger displays into focus, typically 27in models sporting the same full-HD resolution, while spending upwards of £400 brings higher-resolution panels to the fore. These 27in (2,560x1,440-pixel) screens are about as impressive as monitor technology gets without having to fork out a ludicrous amount of money. It's clear that you pay a premium, and a very substantial one at that, for moving beyond the now-standard full-HD resolution.
A few companies believe there's real opportunity for releasing monitors with a resolution fitting between the 1,920x1,080 and 2,560x1,440 that define most 27in screens. Presented in a 29in, superwidescreen form factor and sporting a 2,560x1,080-pixel IPS panel, Philips is one of the first to try its hand at enlarging your field of view. Let's take a closer look at the £415 298P4QJEB.
Read more: Philips 298P4QJEB superwidescreen monitor Review @ HexusDell XPS One 27 Review: affordable large screen all-in-one @ Hardware.Info
If you want an all-in-one with a large, beautiful IPS display with a nice resolution of 2560x1440, but don't want to spend an arm and a leg? Then there isn't a whole lot of choice. Apple has the 27-inch iMac, and HP has the even more expensive Z1 workstation, but now Dell has entered the fray with the more affordable XPS 27, also called the XPS 2710.
You can get the XPA 27 with and without touchscreen. Starting at € 1,124 you get the XPS 27 without touchscreen and with quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and a 1 TB hard disk, along with the GeForce GT640M. This graphics card is slightly faster than the integrated graphics of the processor.
Read more: Dell XPS One 27 Review: affordable large screen all-in-one @ Hardware.InfoSapphire HD7850 OC (2GB GDDR5) Review @ Funky Kit
Last month did a review of Sapphire's HD7870 OC 2GB graphics card, a really good option for all gamers who can't afford top models, but still want to play new titles in high resolution and higher graphics details.
Today we take a look at less expensive Sapphire card based on the AMD HD7850. This card also comes in an OC version which means we can expect higher frequency for both graphics core and memory. Clocks are respectively 920MHz for core and 1250MHz (5000MHz effective) for memory. That of course is not the limit! We'll find that later in the review.
Read more: Sapphire HD7850 OC (2GB GDDR5) Review @ Funky KitAkitio Introduces 256 GB SSD Thunderbolt Storage Solution @ TechPowerUp
Akitio, makers of network and direct attached storage products has announced the addition of their new 256 GB one bay, bus powered Thunderbolt storage solution. This larger capacity SSD product joins the original 120 GB SSD solution previously introduced by Akitio last year. The new 256 GB option is something that Akitio users have been longing for as the original 120 GB product was just not large enough for many people involved in video editing and other occupations where larger storage capacity was required.
By incorporating a thunderbolt connection with an SSD, and a high performance SATA controller, Akitio is able to obtain data transfer speeds of up to 464 MB/second making it the fastest one bay, bus powered external storage device on the market. The Neutrino comes bundled with a thunderbolt cable making it a true "plug and play" solution.
Read more: Akitio Introduces 256 GB SSD Thunderbolt Storage Solution @ TechPowerUp