Best SSDs For The Money: December 2013 and more
Posted on: 12/19/2013 11:23 AM
Here a roundup of today's hardware reviews, including Best SSDs For The Money: December 2013, SteelSeries, In Win 904 Glass & Aluminium Chassis Review, Samsung Galaxy Ace 3, Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X OC Review (1600p, Ultra HD 4K), and Clash of the terabyte titans: Crucial M500 960GB vs. Samsung 840 EVO 1TB
Best SSDs For The Money: December 2013 @ Toms Hardware
Storage editor Christopher Ryan returns from LSI's Accelerating Innovation Summit 2013 with details about SandForce's next-gen controller. Read along as he walks us through some of the processor's features, and then updates our monthly recommendations.
Read more: Best SSDs For The Money: December 2013 @ Toms HardwareSteelSeries Siberia Elite @ LanOC Reviews
It’s really hard to believe that the SteelSeries Siberia v2’s that we know and love have been out for over four years now. In that time most of you have rebuilt your PC at least once, have played countless game, and even lived through the Harlem Shake and Gangnam Style. So after all of that, I’m not surprised that SteelSeries is finally introducing another Siberia model to sell alongside of the v2. I have been looking forward to seeing what SteelSeries could do with their latest Siberia headset, let’s dive in and see what they are all about and see if they live up to their Elite name.
Read more: SteelSeries Siberia Elite @ LanOC ReviewsIn Win 904 Glass & Aluminium Chassis Review @ eTeknix
In Win have been pushing the boundaries of chassis design to their very limits, then pushing them again! In recent years they have created some of the most unique and incredibly cool chassis products on the market, from the D-Frame which was based on the chassis of a motorbike, the H-Frame, which I can only assume was styled on a Transformer, and the glass covered Tao that was styled on the sort of glass skyscrapers you see in big cities. Now we have their new chassis, the 904 Mid Tower, which looks set to combine much of what In Win have done before, but into something just a little bit more practical and affordable.
With a price tag of just £149.99 the 904 falls right in line with the competition in terms of premium models, competing with other high end mid towers from companies like NZXT and Corsair. However, while other companies may focus on cramming their chassis full of features to benefit high end gaming rigs, the In Win 904 is set to focus almost purely on style. Not everyone wants huge radiators, 14 fan mounts and 12 hard drives, some people just want their PC to look incredible.
Read more: In Win 904 Glass & Aluminium Chassis Review @ eTeknixSuper Talent PCIe DX1 M.2 SSD Review (128GB) @ TechnologyX
Super Talent has once again been busy behind the scenes and their newest entries into the SSD market include a new M.2 NGFF design called the DX1. Anything but ordinary, the STT DX1 is available as a SATA M.2 SSD (known as the STT NGFF DX1), or that of a PCIe X1 interface where a SATA 3 SSD is routed through a PCIe to SATA bridge and travels via a single PCIe lane (STT PCIe DX1). A bit confusing at first, the additional benefit of the PCIe DX1 is that it is a fully bootable SSD and only the second bootable M.2 PCIe SSD we have seen to date. Perhaps this is the start of a trend.
Read more: Super Talent PCIe DX1 M.2 SSD Review (128GB) @ TechnologyXBitFenix Phenom mITX Case Review @ Benchmark Reviews
When the BitFenix Prodigy was released last year, it expanded on the idea of how much performance could fit in a small case. There were some users (me included) that felt the original Prodigy was just a little too big for an ITX box responding to customer feedback, BitFenix wanted to provide a more streamlined option for those users that wanted all that the Prodigy had to offer in a more compact package. With essentially the same internal layout as the original Prodigy, the new BitFenix Phenom (model BFC-PHE-300-WWXKK-RP) caters to those that want something a little more minimalistic with airflow taking a backseat to looks and finesse. Benchmark Reviews is ready to look inside and see how much of the Prodigy legacy stays intact with the BitFenix Phenom ITX case.
Read more: BitFenix Phenom mITX Case Review @ Benchmark ReviewsASRock Z87 Extreme11/ac Motherboard Review @ KitGuru
The 4770K offers quite possibly the highest per-clock performance numbers of any consumer-grade processor currently on the market. It's just that fact which makes Haswell's multiplier-unlocked Core i7 a plausible option for workstation applications. And with that possible usage scenario comes the requirement for workstation-grade LGA 1150 motherboards. Is ASRock's flagship LGA 1150 motherboard, the Z87 Extreme11/ac, the perfect partner for a powerful, Haswell-based workstation?
Read more: ASRock Z87 Extreme11/ac Motherboard Review @ KitGuruASUS Radeon R9-290X DirectCUII OC review @ Guru3D
We review the ASUS Radeon R9 290X DirectCU II OC edition. A lot of you guys have been waiting on a custom cooled version of this product. Armed with the latest revision of the DirectCU II the cooler and will get that 2816 Stream processor based Hawaii chip with and 4 GB GDDR5 memory running along a 512-bit memory interface. The DirectCU II card will be equipped with a fully custom PCB design featuring the Digi+ VRM with Super Alloy Power technology and high quality C-Caps and MOSFETs. The card is powered through 8-Pin + 6-Pin power configuration and obviously runs at factory overclocked specifications. The card can Boost towards 1050 MHz and is clocked to 5400 MHz (effective) in the GDDR5 memory.
Some keywords for this review as a small appetizer; 6 Billion transistors on a 438 mm2 Die, 512-bit Memory bus with 4 GB - 5.0 Gbps GDDR5 memory, Ultra HD ready, 5.6 TFLOPS of compute performance. Not bad for keywords, eh? AMD is partnering with EA's Battlefield 4, meaning that for as long as the coupons are available, you will receive Battlefield 4 with the card for certain selected SKUs. That would be a deluxe edition with extra DLC and weapons. AMD also is focusing strongly at gaming in Ultra High Definition (UHD), so this will be a focus in our review as well. Will we be able to play the hottest games at that whopping 8.2 Mpixels at a 3840x2160 resolution @ 60 Hz.
Read more: ASUS Radeon R9-290X DirectCUII OC review @ Guru3DWavemaster Mobi-2 Bluetooth Speaker Review @ KitGuru
When KitGuru first looked at the original Wavemaster Mobi (http://www.kitguru.net/peripherals/speakers/jules/wavemaster-mobi-speakers-review/) speaker back in July there were two things that we felt were missing Bluetooth support and the ability to daisychain. Now that the German design team in Bremen has addressed Bluetooth functionality, we decided to retest the latest version.
Read more: Wavemaster Mobi-2 Bluetooth Speaker Review @ KitGuruSamsung Galaxy Ace 3 @ Techradar
The Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 continues the Korean firm's drive to create an Android device for every single niche in the market.Samsung's current range has the powerhouses of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy Note 3, followed up by the less powerful yet still impressive Galaxy S4 Mini.B elow that sits the Galaxy Ace 3, with the Galaxy Fame and the Galaxy Young rounding off the list.Being one of the lower-specced handsets, it's reasonable to assume that the pricing would match, and you wouldn't be far wrong.SIM prices start from around £200, $225, with 4G contracts in the UK as low as £19pm, or 3G for £17pm. This puts the Galaxy Ace 3 in square contention with the newly launched HTC Desire 500 and the Nokia Lumia 625, as well as being a shade more expensive than the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini. Being a more budget-oriented device, the Galaxy Ace 3 has a lot to compete against. Sitting within the Galaxy range should help, though - as should an existing user base that might be looking to upgrade from the original Galaxy Ace.In order to convince you to part with some (though admittedly not much) of your hard-earned cash, the Galaxy Ace 3 packs in a few surprises.
Read more: Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 @ TechradarSapphire R9 290 Tri-X OC Review (1600p, Ultra HD 4K) @ KitGuru
In November AMD released their reference R9 290 and while we were impressed with the frame rate performance we certainly didn't find it fun dealing with the noisy, ill performing reference cooler. It has been some time coming, but today we look at the first custom cooled, overclocked card from partner Sapphire. It features their tasty Tri X cooler.
Is this the card you need in your new system build as we head into 2014?
Read more: Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X OC Review (1600p, Ultra HD 4K) @ KitGuruECS GANK MACHINE Z87H3-A2X EXTREME (Intel LGA 1150) @ techPowerUp
Like a mad rush of level 60 rogues, the ECS GANK MACHINE launches its assault on the Intel Haswell platform in a way no other would even attempt, going straight for the kill. Built with gaming in mind, and a bit of overclocking, too, the ECS GANK MACHINE not only surprised me, but left me feeling helpless, and under-skilled.
Read more: ECS GANK MACHINE Z87H3-A2X EXTREME (Intel LGA 1150) @ techPowerUpPatriot Viper 3 Low Profile PC3-17000 4x8GB DDR3 RAM @ APH Networks
As we come together and lament OCZ's bankruptcy in late November and its purchase by Toshiba earlier this month, let's take a moment to remember how such a young technology company has come to revolutionize the computer market in the last decade or so. I vividly recall buying a pair of Corsair Value Select PC3200 2x512MB dual channel kit in 2004 for a rock bottom price of $206.98, simply because I could not afford anything better. What I really wanted, of course, were the OCZ EL Platinum 2x1GB, but for $400 at that time, it was a little too much money for someone who was in Grade 9. So why were OCZ RAM so popular? Obviously, they were fast -- but in my personal opinion, it was really because they first ones to slap a heatspreader on practically every model they sold. Sure, the heatspreaders really didn't do anything performance-wise, but who cares? This was a resounding success, because the company sold tons of memory kits, and everyone else had no choice but to follow suit. Over the years, OCZ went pretty crazy with their heatsink designs, like the copper heatpipe enabled Reaper HPC, the ReaperX HPC with a even more intense setup, and who could forget the water cooling capable OCZ Flex XLC? Unfortunately, all these crazy heatspreader designs posed a major issue with the same people who also own large CPU heatsinks. It was not until recently that companies finally came to their senses, and decided to strike a balance between marketing and practicality by implementing low profile heatspreaders with their RAM. Today, we will take a look at the Patriot Viper 3 Low Profile PC3-17000 4x8GB. As its name suggests, it carries a low profile heatspreader. However, unlike the name it suggests, it is not modest in speed and capacity. Is this time kit that will rock you Christmas tree next week? Read on to find out!
Read more: Patriot Viper 3 Low Profile PC3-17000 4x8GB DDR3 RAM @ APH NetworksLenovo Yoga 2 Pro Ultrabook Review @ HotHardware.com
When Lenovo introduced the original Yoga 13 convertible ultrabook last year, consumers snatched it up in droves, making it one of the top selling Windows 8 convertibles on the market. Fast-forward a year, and Lenovo is at it again, this time with the new Yoga 2 Pro. Like its predecessor, the Yoga 2 Pro features the same well-liked multimode form factor that can function in laptop, stand, tablet, and tent modes.
The new Yoga 2 Pro is thinner and lighter than previous models. It also features Intel's latest 4th generation Haswell-based Core processors and comes preloaded with Windows 8.1. Another key differentiating factor between the previous Yoga 13 and the new Yoga 2 Pro is the super high-resolution QHD+ touchscreen that is 16% brighter than the previous display...
Read more: Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro Ultrabook Review @ HotHardware.comWildStar Closed Beta Coverage Levels 1-15 Video Gameplay with Kaeyi Dream @ HardwareHeaven.com
Thanks to our wonderful friends at Carbine we now have press access to the WildStar closed beta. This means we are able to cover any content from levels 1-15. This includes all classes, races and paths. Housing, PvP, Questing and MORE.
Read more: WildStar Closed Beta Coverage Levels 1-15 Video Gameplay with Kaeyi Dream @ HardwareHeaven.comASUS MARS 760 4GB Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
Today, we'll be looking at the ASUS ROG MARS 760 4GB Dual-GPU video card that is sold under part number MARS760-4GD5. The ASUS ROG MARS 760 is a single card that features two of NVIDIA GK104 'Kepler' GPU's, so it is basically dual GeForce GTX 760 card running in SLI. ASUS claims that their MARS 760 card can outperform the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan and that this card is aimed at 2560x1440 gamers. This card isn't really going to work well for those 4K displays or large multi-monitor setups as there is just 2GB of frame buffer allotted to each GPU. This card has a total of 4GB of memory, but that memory is not shared between the two GPU's just like a traditional NVIDIA SLI multi-GPU setup. Read on to see how it performs when we put this card to the test across three screen resolutions.
Read more: ASUS MARS 760 4GB Video Card Review @ Legit ReviewsPowerColor Radeon R9 270X PCS+ Review @ Hexus
AMD's Radeon R9 270X gets the custom-cooled and overclocked PCS+ treatment.
Fans of AMD's Radeon graphics cards are eagerly anticipating custom-cooled variants of the hard-hitting R9 290 and R9 290X. Such cards are now just around the corner (we have one sat on the testbench this minute), but for the time being we're turning our attention a little further down the GPU hierarchy.
This holiday season, if you're looking to buy a new graphics card at around the £150 mark, you should certainly have the R9 270X on your radar. While ultimately based on the same Pitcairn XT silicon as the previous-generation Radeon HD 7870, the R9 270X ships with higher clock speeds, a couple of under-the-hood improvements, and, just as importantly, AMD's partners have already made it available in a wide choice of flavours.
Read more: PowerColor Radeon R9 270X PCS+ Review @ HexusGigabyte G1.Sniper B5 review @ Guru3D
Let's review the Gigabyte G1.Sniper B5, which is based on the budget B85 chipset from Intel. See B85 based motherboards typically end up in business desktops and normally are limited from overclocking. Well, that changes with the Gigabyte G1.Sniper B5 ! So small price, nice features and tweakability ? We just have to check that out. Oh and you'll get many USB 3.0 ports and of course an improved and enhanced audio solution (albeit that really is a software layer sitting on top of the Realtek ALC898 codec)
The Gigabyte G1.Sniper B5 uses a modest 4+1 phase VRM (voltage regulation) design, has 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors, four SATA 6 Gbps ports and two SATA 3 Gbps ports. It also features a Realtek ALC898 Audio CODEC (110 dBA SNR) and Nichicon audiophile-grade electrolytic capacitors on the AMP stage, yup again this is supposed to be a budget series chipset
Read more: Gigabyte G1.Sniper B5 review @ Guru3DClash of the terabyte titans: Crucial M500 960GB vs. Samsung 840 EVO 1TB @ The Tech Report
Despite the fact that they both sell for over $500, the Crucial M500 960GB and Samsung 840 EVO 1TB are relative bargains. These SSDs have the lowest price per gigabyte around, and they're very different drives. We've pitted them against each other in an epic clash of terabyte titans.
Read more: Clash of the terabyte titans: Crucial M500 960GB vs. Samsung 840 EVO 1TB @ The Tech ReportIntel Core i3 4340 Review - Beating AMD At Their Own Game @ Hardcoreware
Last week, we reviewed the AMD A10 6790K, the second fastest “Richland” APU (by 100 MHz) and were overall pleased with the results. Going up against the Ivy Bridge powered Core i3 3240, it outperformed the Intel chip in most desktop applications, and unlike the Core i3, its integrated graphics performance was usable in many games using settings higher than Xbox 360 or PS3 would use.
Perhaps we can’t be blamed for not considering the existence of Haswell based Core i3 CPUs, as they were quietly launched in September with little to no fanfare. Intel usually don’t send samples for low end products like the Core i3, so we went and got our own to do this review.
Read more: Intel Core i3 4340 Review - Beating AMD At Their Own Game @ HardcorewareAntec Kuhler H20 650 @ PureOverclock
Antec is at it once again developing stronger and more powerful closed loop coolers. Their newest addition to the Kuhler family is the 650, 950 and 1250. The 650 unit is a high performance cooling solution with an integrated large pump built into the cooling fan providing a more efficient and optimized product. With the PWM fan designed to automatically adjust fan speed based on temperature, its directional blade is designed to focus on maximum airflow. It even includes an LED on the block that changes color based on temperature. Continue reading to find how well the 650 stays cool under our heat producing machines.
Read more: Antec Kuhler H20 650 @ PureOverclockCougar MX500 Mid-Tower Case Review @ HiTech Legion
I grew up in a neighborhood where you could leave stuff on your porch and people wouldn't touch it. Not because people in the neighborhood respected your property, but because they assumed it had no value. I remember one time I tested this theory. I placed an old but functional microwave on the front steps and labeled it as "Free". The microwave just sat there for days. But, as soon as we changed the sign to say "$20" it disappeared almost as soon as we turned our backs. I feel like computer cases are the same way. Think about it. If you build a gaming rig with $10,000 worth of parts and used one of those generic beige boxes from the 90s for the case, no one would look twice or even consider that it was anything but a piece of junk.
Read more: Cougar MX500 Mid-Tower Case Review @ HiTech Legion