Best Graphics Cards For The Money: February 2014 and more
Posted on: 02/07/2014 01:03 PM

Here a roundup of today's reviews and articles, including Best Graphics Cards For The Money: February 2014, Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga: A Yoga Dressed For Business, OCZ Vector 150 - 120GB SSD Review, ASRock Z87 Extreme11/ac Motherboard SSD Storage Overview, and Buying advice: ITX Gaming PC - Updated

Best Graphics Cards For The Money: February 2014 @ Toms Hardware
This month, the prices on AMD's high-end Radeon cards rise even more. We also talk about the company's new beta driver that enables Mantle. Perhaps more important, long-awaited support for frame pacing in multi-monitor configurations is available to try.

Detailed graphics card specifications and reviews are great, assuming you have the time to do the research. But at the end of the day, a gamer needs to know what the best graphics card is for their money. So, if you don’t have the time to research the benchmarks, or if you don’t feel confident enough in your ability to pick the right card, then fear not. We've compiled a simple list of the best gaming cards offered in any given price range.


Read more: Best Graphics Cards For The Money: February 2014 @ Toms Hardware

Practical Meter with Fast Charge Cable Review @ ThinkComputers.org
Being someone who is constantly using different gadgets USB ports are very important to me. They are what charge most of my gadgets and of course I use them for USB flash drives and hard drives too. One thing that always annoys me about changing devices is that some USB ports will charge devices faster than others. What if you could tell which USB port was providing the most power? That way you could plug in your critical devices like your smartphone into this port and other non-important devices into the low power ports. Well that is where the Practical Meter comes it. It works as a pass-through that you plug into your USB port and it will tell you how much power it is delivering. The device also ships with a nifty fast charging cable. Read on as we check it out.


Read more: Practical Meter with Fast Charge Cable Review @ ThinkComputers.org

Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga: A Yoga Dressed For Business @ HotHardware
It's a ThinkPad. No, it's a Yoga! No, it's...a ThinkPad Yoga. Lenovo has melded two of its popular laptop design approaches together to create a sort of hybrid ultrabook, bringing together elements of its workhorse ThinkPad lineup and multi-mode capable Yoga notebooks. It has the work-friendly keyboard design of the new generation of Lenovo ThinkPads, yet it also has that innovative hinge flexibility and multimode configurations of the Yoga series.

The result is a laptop that's either a more utilitarian, thicker version of the Yoga or a much cooler version of the ThinkPad. It sort of depends on if you're a glass-is-half-full or glass-is-half-empty type.

So which is it? We gave the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga a close look and put it through the paces to see whether this machine offers the best of two worlds or something else all together.


Read more: Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga: A Yoga Dressed For Business @ HotHardware

Dell XPS 11 Review @ TechReviewSource.com
The Dell XPS 11 convertible ultrabook/tablet comes with an incredibly high-resolution screen and a lovely carbon fiber chassis, but a couple of large flaws keep it from outrunning the pack.


Read more: Dell XPS 11 Review @ TechReviewSource.com

EpicGear Blade and Hybrid Pad Review @ ocaholic
With the Blade, EpicGear have a gaming mouse in their portfolio, that sports a rather aggressive price tag, which apparently comes at the cost of a low resolution sensor. In this case, there is an Avageo ADNS-3050 with 2000 DPI, with which the maker of this mouse won't break any records. Apart from that we were testing this mouse on an EpicGear Hybrid Pad, which we will also have a quick look at on the following pages.


Read more: EpicGear Blade and Hybrid Pad Review @ ocaholic

Rollei CarDVR-110 Full HD GPS Car Camera @ NikKTech
How many times have you found yourself in or in front of a car accident and you just wished you had the means to prove that you were not the one responsible? Well i don't know about you all but this has happened to me once and although in my case i saw the person responsible for my accident he fled the scene almost immediately afterwards and got lost in traffic so in the end i just had no way of tracking him down to get his insurance information (although i really doubt he had any). Of course there are many other reasons for a person to own a good car camera/camcorder but even so i don't even know a single person who does own one. On the other hand i know quite a few who chose to go with action cameras for more flexibility and although i can understand their choice (not many can afford to have two such cameras) still dedicated car models come packing certain features you will need a lot more when inside your car. Rollei has been in the camera business for many decades and after the very good S-50 Wi-Fi Nitro Circus Live Limited Edition Action Camera which we reviewed a while back it was just a matter of time before we put their latest CarDVR-110 Full HD GPS Car Camera to the test.


Read more: Rollei CarDVR-110 Full HD GPS Car Camera @ NikKTech

Asus R9 290 Direct CU II OC Review (1600p, Ultra HD 4K) @ KitGuru
Today we look at the latest card from Asus the R9 290 Direct CU II, which ships with a custom cooler and out of the box clock enhancements. Can this card compete with solutions from Sapphire and Gigabyte which we have reviewed in the last month?


Read more: Asus R9 290 Direct CU II OC Review (1600p, Ultra HD 4K) @ KitGuru

Thermaltake eSPORTS Cronos Gaming Headset Review @ Modders-Inc
Thermaltake, one of the industry leaders in eSports, recently released the Cronos Gaming Headset. The Thermaltake Cronos Gaming Headset is a stereo headset built for comfort for those long gaming sessions.


Read more: Thermaltake eSPORTS Cronos Gaming Headset Review @ Modders-Inc

OCZ Vector 150 - 120GB SSD Review @ FunkyKit
The hard drive is another important PC component that has seen quite an evolutionary change over many decades. It is simply amazing to think about hard drives of yore that had less than 1mb of storage costing thousands of dollars; then technologically advancing into the gigabytes and even terabytes than can now fit into the palm of our hands. That readers, is one reason why I am so fascinated and drawn to the world of consumer electronics.
Over the recent years, solid-state drives or SSDs have become all the rave due to their high-speed performance, low power consumption, and silent operation. As far as raw speed goes, a traditional mechanical hard drive cannot compete with an SSD. The downside for SSDs, however, has been capacity limitations, stability issues, and higher costs.
Thankfully, manufacturers such as OCZ have been working hard on these issues; and we are starting to see larger capacities at lower prices as well as increased stability on newer controllers.
 
Today we will be test-driving the Vector 150 Series 120GB SSD from OCZ to see just how this new drive stacks up against a couple of other drives that we have here in the shop. Sporting maximum sequential read and write speeds of up to 550MB/s and 450MB/s respectively, SATA III operation, a five-year warranty, and enterprise-quality construction; OCZ gives us high hopes that this drive will be very popular with consumers looking to make the jump to a solid-state solution for their storage needs.
 


Read more: OCZ Vector 150 - 120GB SSD Review @ FunkyKit

Noctua NH-U12S CPU Cooler Review @ HCW
Today we’re reviewing the Noctua NH-U12S. This is the little brother to the NH-U14S, which is so far the best cooler we have ever tested on an open bench – this includes dual fan closed loop coolers. The U14S sets a high standard, and it will be interesting to see if the NH-U12S can follow up on it.

Although not as tall as its big brother, the NH-U12S is not a tiny cooler either. It measures in at 15.8 cm tall when a fan is installed. This is plenty short enough for most tower cases, but if you have a fan installed on the door of a mid-tower case, that may cause issues. Be sure to check your specifications before proceeding.

It comes equipped with a single 120mm NF-F12 fan, and can accommodate a second fan by installing the extra tall rubber pads and using the included brackets. At full voltage, the fan spins at 1500 RPM, and can push air at a rate of 93.4 m³/h. Noctua includes a Low Noise Adapter that lowers the speed to 1200 RPM max, lowering the airflow to 74.3 m³/h. Noctua rates the sound levels at 22.4 dB and 18.6 dB, which should easily be below ambient sound in most scenarios.


Read more: Noctua NH-U12S CPU Cooler Review @ HCW

Broken Age and the Kickstarter factor @ The Tech Report
Is there a way for big budgets to feed originality rather than destroy it in games? After playing Broken Age, a Kickstarter project that raised over $3.3 million, TR's Cyril Kowaliski shares his thoughts on the subject.


Read more: Broken Age and the Kickstarter factor @ The Tech Report

ASRock Z87 Extreme11/ac Motherboard SSD Storage Overview @ The SSD Review
It's no secret that SSDs have been a major force in tech advance and the force in which they've impacted could never be covered in a single report. Eyeing the enthusiast or home user alone, SSDs are now a main staple of any PC build. They enable quicker PC start times, increase system performance and reduce scene transition times when gaming. Add to that characteristics such as less heat, less noise, better data protection as well as better battery life for laptop and ultra users.Motherboard manufacturers have been relatively slow to adapt, and their reasoning that SSD progression just hasn't slowed enough yet to grab hold, is valid. In just a few years we have seen consumer SSDs progress from the 3.5" desktop standard, to notebook, mSATA, PCIe and now we are about to experience the smallest form factor yet with the newest M.2 standard. Quite frankly, motherboard manufacturers find that just as they have been able to successfully incorporate one standard, the next appears.
The fact that we were formerly limited to two Intel ports for full 500+ MB/s SSD performance didn't help.


Read more: ASRock Z87 Extreme11/ac Motherboard SSD Storage Overview @ The SSD Review

XFX R7 250 Review @ OCC
With so many revisions being released lately it can be hard for established gamers on a budget to justify wanting to buy upgrades when their equipment might perform similarly (as the HD 7750 and R7 250 does). For people building new systems right now the HD 7750 is priced slightly cheaper (but it does have a rebate at this time), and while it is 1-2 generations older (two if you count the OEM-only HD 8000 series), it did perform slightly better than the R7 250. Upgrading from older generation graphics cards would be much wiser than a jump from a mid-range HD 7000-series to the mid-range R7-series.


Read more: XFX R7 250 Review @ OCC

Asustor AS-302T 2-bay NAS Review @ eTeknix
Its not very often we see new names coming to market that appear to have such a strong presence about them. Typically it takes quite a period for a new name to be classed as on of the common brands, rather than being left on the sidelines, however there is a new name to the NAS scene that has only taken a couple of years to become more commonly known. Asustor, who have been around for only the last two years, are as some might guess a subsidiary of Asus, one of the leading brands in graphics cards and motherboards.

Taking the expertise in design, innovation and quality that Asus have, Asustor NAS systems are, in their desktop format, designed straight for the home user with clean and stylish looks, a user interface that makes the process of managing a NAS a lot simpler and more intuitive to work with and an app for iOS devices that allows the system to be remotely controlled when a HD TV is connected for its media centre functions.

Being a relatively new player in to the NAS market, Asustor are going to have their work cut out when it comes to taking on the big names such as QNAP and Thecus but with the backing of Asus, they do have a good change of being right up there with the big guns so to speak.


Read more: Asustor AS-302T 2-bay NAS Review @ eTeknix

Mionix Avior 7000 Gaming Mouse Review @ eTeknix
Today I get to take a look at my very first Mionix mouse, I’ve heard great things about them in the past and we loved what they had on display this year at CES 2014. The gaming peripherals market is hardly short on great products right now, there are plenty of premium grade brands making gaming mice that are simply incredible to use, so much so that it is getting harder and harder for new products to distinguish themselves from the crowd, so it will be exciting to see what the Mionix Avior 7000 has to offer to the fiercely competitive gaming market.

Last year was a great year for PC gaming, eSports is bigger than ever, competitive gaming is more popular, LAN events and general online multiplayer such as FPS and MMO gaming are growing in numbers. This growth means there is a seeming ever increasing demand for great peripherals that offer plenty of features and performance for a reasonable price tag. Kicking back to enjoy your favourite game, online or offline can be a wonderful experience with the right tools at your disposal, but you also want a mouse that will fulfil your day to day requirements for work and browsing the web, not just scoring headshots in Battlefield 4.

Priced at around £55 here in the UK and $80 in the US, the Avior 7000 isn’t especially cheap, but it does pack plenty of features. Most importantly is the powerful processor that will make sure the sensor and macro functions never miss a beat, while an ambidextrous design, fully programmable buttons and a highly customisable sensor means you should be able to find your optimum setup with relative ease.


Read more: Mionix Avior 7000 Gaming Mouse Review @ eTeknix

AMD Mantle BF4 and StarSwarm Testing Part 2 @ Legit Reviews
On February 1, 2014 AMD released the first public beta of the Catalyst 14.1 drivers as Beta 1.6 with Mantle support. Previously we tested Beta 1.5 drivers, and found it increased the performance of Battlefield 4 by 15.8% on a Sapphire Radeon R7 260X video card. As this is a new build, we wanted to do some additional testing, focusing on how well Mantle works with both video card and processor overclocking. The percent performance increase from DirectX to Mantle varies greatly and depends on the video card that you are using. AMD provided us with a slide that shows performance of four discrete graphics cards on teh AMD A10-7700K processor and the performance gains ranged from just around 6% on the AMD Radeon R9 270X to over 40% on the AMD Radeon R9 290X. We've been testing with an AMD Radeon R7 260X due to the affordability of the card and the fact that many gamers are using it since it supports both AMD Mantle and TrueAudio technologies. Read on to find out what happens with overclocking.


Read more: AMD Mantle BF4 and StarSwarm Testing Part 2 @ Legit Reviews

Aerocool GT-S White Full Tower Computer Case Review @ Madshrimps
Today we review the Aerocool GT-S Full tower case, which exists in two flavors. The model we received from the eTONIX crew is the white and blue model, however there is also a black and red themed version available. Taiwanese Aerocool Advanced Technology (AAT) was founded way back in 2001 and has settled as one of the leading names in the Do It Yourself Market. The GT-S case was designed for these DIY enthusiasts and also targeting heavy duty gamers, allowing maximum hardware compatibility, ease of installation and great out of the box cooling. Without further ado lets put Aerocool's latest sibling to the test.


Read more: Aerocool GT-S White Full Tower Computer Case Review @ Madshrimps

Antec TruePower Classic Series 750 W @ techPowerUp
Today we are taking a look at Antec's TruePower Classic 750 W unit today. The strongest of the series, its efficiency is Gold-certified. It also utilizes a non-modular cabling design to be as affordable as possible.


Read more: Antec TruePower Classic Series 750 W @ techPowerUp

Omate TrueSmart Smartwatch Review @ Madshrimps
The latest breed of smartwatches have a lot of integrated stuff and run on Android OS; the TrueSmart from Omate comes with hardware GPS, can receive and make phone calls, browse the web and many more; we could think it as a fully-featured smartphone disguised as a wristwatch. Let's check the product in more detail now, shall we?


Read more: Omate TrueSmart Smartwatch Review @ Madshrimps

Buying advice: ITX Gaming PC - Updated @ ocaholic
Systems based on mini ITX motherboards are becoming increasingly popular these days, which is precisely why we've put together a buying advice article to keep you updated on several great miniITX configurations for different budgets. Included in these articles there are links to Geizhals.at as well as Toppreise.ch, which display automatically updated prices. If you're thinking about building a miniITX rig, this article might be a good starting point for you.


Read more: Buying advice: ITX Gaming PC - Updated @ ocaholic

Sapphire Tri-X R9 290X Graphics Card Review @ HardwareHeaven.com
Today we take a look at Sapphire's current high end model, the overclocked R9 290X with Tri-X cooler... we will be testing some of the latest games such as Battlefield 4 in real world use as well as taking a look at AMD Mantle and gaming at 4K too.


Read more: Sapphire Tri-X R9 290X Graphics Card Review @ HardwareHeaven.com

Razor-qt review @ Netrunner
Me latest Netrunner Magazine article - a review of Razor-qt, a lightweight desktop environment based on Qt technologies, including look & feel, ease of use, menus, applications, customization, uniqueness, performance, and more. Tested using SparkyLinux. Bon Appetit.


Read more: Razor-qt review @ Netrunner

Dell Venue 11 Pro Review @ V3
Dell's Venue 11 Pro is the right idea for mobile workers, and it has a range of useful accessories and some decent specifications, but it is let down by build quality and software problems. Performance is admirable and its removable battery is a big selling point.

Pros:
Removable battery, range of accessories, mobile data an optional extra, clear focus on business users

Cons:
Screen is mediocre, unsuitable keyboard dock angle and software glitches hinder the experience


Read more: Dell Venue 11 Pro Review @ V3



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