Gigabyte Z87X-UD5 TH Thunderbolt Motherboard Review and more
Posted on: 11/26/2013 11:36 AM
Here a roundup of today's reviews and articles, including Gigabyte Z87X-UD5 TH Thunderbolt Motherboard Review, The SSD Endurance Experiment: Testing data retention at 300TB, Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex TV HD Media Player Review, ADATA XPG v1.0 Black DDR3-1600 CL9 Memory Kit review, and EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Ti SC SuperClocked ACX Review
Gigabyte Z87X-UD5 TH Thunderbolt Motherboard Review @ Hardware Asylum
The biggest reason people build their own computer is because they are often unhappy with what is currently available. Sometimes the cost is too high while others feel the features they need are not available. By building your own rig you can feel good about what goes into your system and, for the most part, control the overall cost. The interesting thing is that when a hardware enthusiast builds a system you may think they are after the ultra high-end and most expensive but the truth is the hardware selection process is about matching features to how they intend to use the system while leaving room for future expandability.
In this review we will be looking at the Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD5 TH. This is an up market motherboard with plenty of enthusiast friendly features designed for those who what to get stuff done. A typical user would be a content producer or developer that is concerned with speed and wants a system which can handle immense amounts of data and may or may not need a discrete graphics card.
Read more: Gigabyte Z87X-UD5 TH Thunderbolt Motherboard Review @ Hardware AsylumADATA DashDrive Elite UE700 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ APH Networks
If you have been around APH Networks for a while, you will notice we frequently talk about our history. Why do we like to talk about our history? Is it because, as Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana puts it, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"? Well, not exactly. The reason why we enjoy talking about it is because, firstly, we have history to talk about; and secondly, this week marks the eighth year of which we have been publishing reviews! Back in November 2005, I wrote my first article published here at APH Networks, with that being the Pure Energy XL rechargeable alkaline set. Over the years, we have worked almost one hundred different manufacturers to do over four hundred and fifty reviews. Without the support of you, the reader, and all these manufacturers who value our fair evaluations more than pure marketing, as well as a team of incredibly talented writers on the staff team, we definitely would not be here today. Back in the 2007 to 2008 period, we have reviewed the PD 17 1GB USB drive, Extreme Edition 2x1GB DDR2-800 RAM, and Eee PC Edition 8GB SDHC card from ADATA. For some reason, we have not covered anything from them since then. But today, we are back with the latest from the company. The ADATA DashDrive Elite UE700 64GB is a sleek USB 3.0 flash drive that carries an iF Design award. Good looking, fast, and large capacity? Seems like a formula for success to me. Let's see if this formula translates to a real winner in real life.
Read more: ADATA DashDrive Elite UE700 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ APH NetworksThe SSD Endurance Experiment: Testing data retention at 300TB @ The Tech Report
We're slamming six SSDs with a nearly continuous stream of writes to see what happens as the flash wears out. Our subjects have now reached the 300TB mark, so it's time for another health and performance check-up. We've also added an unpowered retention test to see if the drives can hold data when left unplugged for a few days.
Read more: The SSD Endurance Experiment: Testing data retention at 300TB @ The Tech ReportWestern Digital Black² 1TB Dual Drive Review @ Hardware Canucks
The continuing tug of war between performance-orientated SSDs and capacity-focused hard drives has created a demand for ‘hybrid’ solutions which allow consumers to experience the best of both worlds. That’s exactly what Western Digital is aiming to accomplish with their new Digital Black² Dual Drive solution. It’s a particularly innovative, unique take on the two issues that normally plague these hybrid solutions: a lack of NAND and very little customizability.
In order to understand why Western Digital is approaching these new drives from a different perspective, the current hybrid situation needs to be explained. The typical hybrid drive combines a relatively large but low speed spindle-based HDD with a few gigabytes of onboard NAND to boost performance. This NAND is set aside for caching purposes and works alongside built-in algorithms to “remember” your most-used programs by keeping the necessary boot files in quick-access storage. However, since the amount of NAND is limited, the onboard controller has to decide which chunks of data have the luxury of being accelerated. This certainly does boost performance but only in a finite number of applications and consumers have no say in what the controller thinks is important.
Read more: Western Digital Black² 1TB Dual Drive Review @ Hardware CanucksCall of Duty: Ghosts (PC) Game Review @ HardwareHeaven.com
If its not broke, dont fix it. Infinity Ward seem to be firm believers in this old adage. Sure they keep tweaking the game, but theyre not really ready to shake it up just yet. As news breaks Ghosts failed to outsell Black Ops II at launch, what conclusions can be drawn?
Read more: Call of Duty: Ghosts (PC) Game Review @ HardwareHeaven.comSeagate FreeAgent GoFlex TV HD Media Player Review @ PC Stats
Seagate's GoFlex TV HD is a media player with network connectivity and hard drive dock. The pint-sized black box fits unobtrusively in a living room environment - unlike a full sized Media PC - and the GoFlex TV HD's on screen controls are simple to navigate via the infrared remote control. Full size media PCs often need a keyboard and mouse to be useful, having cooling fans that make a lot of noise and take up too much space...
Read more: Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex TV HD Media Player Review @ PC StatsWD Black 2 Dual Drive @ LanOC Reviews
I don’t know about you, but when I build a new PC I basically plan for an SSD for my operating system and then a second drive or more for my Steam and other files. This has been fairly consistent in my builds from the “Fridge” with its double SSD’s and double spinning drives all the way to the most recent “lunchbox 3” with its SSD and hard drive. I even do the same thing on my gaming laptop. Sadly, there are a lot of people who just can’t do this with their laptops do to only having one drive space. Western Digital surprised us late last week with a game changing drive that has that situation in mind without going with a hybrid setup. That drive is their new WD Black 2 Dual Drive, a single drive that houses a 120GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive.
Read more: WD Black 2 Dual Drive @ LanOC ReviewsDelving deeper into AMD's Mantle API @ The Tech Report
At its APU13 developer conference in San Jose, California, AMD invited journalists and developers to listen to hours worth of keynotes and sessions by Mantle's creators and early adopters. We sat through all of it's and talked to some of those experts one on oneâ€”in order to get a sense of what Mantle does, how it will impact performance, and what its future may hold.
Read more: Delving deeper into AMD's Mantle API @ The Tech ReportADATA XPG v1.0 Black DDR3-1600 CL9 Memory Kit review @ OCIA.net
Despite being around for more than six years now, DDR3 memory remains the standard desktop module type in use today. It may be another year before DDR4 begins to filter into the marketplace and with manufacturers pushing DDR3 speed far beyond the 2133 ceiling, it may be even longer until it is completely supplanted. Check any component retailer and you'll likely find DDR3-1600 still the most abundant and commonly sold memory type to date. No surprise then that ADATA sent over a 2 x 4GB kit of their XPG v1.0 Black DDR3-1600 memory for review.
Read more: ADATA XPG v1.0 Black DDR3-1600 CL9 Memory Kit review @ OCIA.netRoccat Sense Meteor Blue Mousepad Review @ eTeknix
Roccat have produced some of the coolest and best performing peripherals we’ve ever tested here at eTeknix, going from the Roccat Kone XTD gaming mouse which I personally regard as the best mouse on the market, to their smaller Kone Pure and the hybrid Savu, all of which won eTeknix awards for their incredible performance and extensive features, amongst many other great reasons. So naturally we’re going into this review with pretty high expectations of both Roccat and the Kone Pure Optical gaming mouse.
The Optical sensor is a big deal for some gamers, laser is wonderful to use and incredibly accurate across a wide range of surfaces, while also being capable of extremely high DPI in excess of 8200. Optical is typically capable of lower DPI settings of around 4000 and doesn’t work on some surface types such as glass and aluminium. Both types of sensor have theirs benefits and while I lack the words to describe how, optical feels different to laser and the way it tracks is really a matter of taste compared to laser. Roccat know that a lot of gamers love optical sensors and would rather have one over crazy high DPI laser sensors, which is why they’ve released the Pure Optical mouse.
The mouse is really well equipped with a high quality sensor, 1000Hz polling rate, a super low response time, a fast tracking speed, built in ARM CPU, on board memory for profiles, macros and most importantly of all zero angle snapping and prediction.
Read more: Roccat Sense Meteor Blue Mousepad Review @ eTeknixAOC Q2963PM Ultra Wide Monitor Review @ KitGuru
With the growing rise in popularity of new high resolution Ultra Wide monitors we take a look at the AOC Q2963PM. This panel has support for both Dual Link DVI and DisplayPort connectors and can output at 2,560x1080 resolution. If you need a lot of deskspace is this a cost effective upgrade at the end of the year?
Read more: AOC Q2963PM Ultra Wide Monitor Review @ KitGuruA Grounded Evaluation Of The iPad Air @ HotHardware.com
The iPad Air is Apple's fifth generation iPad and the true successor to the iPad 3, whereas the iPad 4 was mostly a speed bump and lacked the fanfare associated with most of Apple's product launches. It also marks the first real redesign of the tablet's form factor to some extent. The iPad Air is significantly thinner than the previous iPad, noticeably lighter, and it sports a reduced bezel that more closely resembles that of the iPad mini. It's such a drastic change in feel that Apple chose to add the "Air" moniker to this iPad. It seems Apple always chooses a standout feature to rally behind -- upgraded cameras, high-resolution (Retina) display, Siri -- and this time around it's the physical dimensions garnering all the attention, though the iPad Air offers excellent performance as well...
Read more: A Grounded Evaluation Of The iPad Air @ HotHardware.comRosewill Galaxy-03 Mid-Tower PC Case Review @ Legit Reviews
Rosewill makes a plethora of products, including but not limited to: networking equipment, PC peripherals, computer cases, and even binoculars. They've been known to make a well functioning low cost alternative to the big boys, while also providing higher end products, which keeps them in the eyes of many. I personally have purchased a few products from them over the years and I think that they're all great. Today we're going to take a look at Rosewill's Galaxy-03 case, which is a mid tower budget minded case. So if you're looking to build yourself a new computer on a budget for the holidays, or even looking to gift a case for that great friend who is on a limited budget for his/her new gaming PC, you will definitely want to read on and see how this case fairs!
Read more: Rosewill Galaxy-03 Mid-Tower PC Case Review @ Legit ReviewsCorsair RM Series 650 W @ techPowerUp
Corsair is doing their best to dominate the PSU market by constantly releasing new PSU lines, covering all needs and every price range. The RM line addresses users looking for an inaudible PSU at a good price. Today, we will test the RM650: It is 80 Plus Gold certified and features a fully modular cabling system.
Read more: Corsair RM Series 650 W @ techPowerUpWestern Digital Black Dual Drive Review - Two drives in one! @ TechwareLabs
With prices continually falling, SSD drives are no longer a luxury for the enthusiast. There is no doubt that SSD drives have significant advantages over their spinning brethren, but pricing aside...capacity continues to be the SSD's Achilles' heel. The current defacto solution to this conundrum is to pair your shinny SSD with a large capacity HDD. This pairing allows the user to decide how to handle their data management needs, performance or storage capacity. This works for most PC users, but in cases where design limitations prevent the use of two separate drives, the user is unfortunately forced into decision between one or the other. Will you ever be able to have your cake and eat it too?
Read more: Western Digital Black Dual Drive Review - Two drives in one! @ TechwareLabsSamsung BD-F5900 Review @ TechReviewSource.com
The Samsung BD-F5900 is a Blu-ray player that offers more features than most other players do, an easy-to-use interface and very speedy performance. It also has an inexpensive price too, but CD ripping is both limited and slow.
Read more: Samsung BD-F5900 Review @ TechReviewSource.comFractal Design Integra R2 750W Review @ ocaholic
The Fractal Design R2 750W is quite a decent mid-range PSU that comes with 80Plus Bronze certification and pretty much offers all the regular features and specification at a rather surprisingly low price. It should be enough even for multi-GPU PC systems, and should work flawlessly as long as you are not looking to power a really high-end PC or engage in any serious overclocking.
Read more: Fractal Design Integra R2 750W Review @ ocaholicEVGA GeForce GTX 780 Ti SC SuperClocked ACX Review @ Guru3D
In this review, we test the EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Ti SC SuperClocked ACX. Armed with that 450W cooler and our FLIR camera we'll see if it really is good cooling. Oh and hey, SC means a factory overclock - this thing is fast! NVIDIA unlocked the GPU completely meaning all 2880 Shader processors are available. That combined with increased core and memory clock frequencies and nice overclock potential will make this the top 699 USD flagship product to purchase for the Christmas holiday season. So yeah, this means it is based on the GK110 revision B GPU and has an whopping 7.1 Billion transistors. That makes it a nice, one of the fastest graphics cards available on the market today. We test the product with the hottest games like Metro: Last light, Battlefield 4, Medal of Honor Warfighter, Hitman Absolution and many more.
Just like GTX Titan, the GTX 780 Ti is based on the GK110 GPU with the distinctions that the Titan has a GK110-300 GPU and the GeForce GTX 780 a revision B GK110 GPU. Same stuff, yet with some changes. The recipe for the GTX 780 Ti is fantastic though, as the product has the full 15 Streaming clusters thus 2880 Shader Processing Units enabled. That's 240 TMUs and 48 ROPs on a 384-bit memory interface of fast GDDR5. So yeah, NVIDIA in a nutshell that is a 45 mm × 45 mm 2397-pin S-FCBGA GK110b GPU with 2880 shader/stream/CUDA processors. But wait Dave, there's more. Memory wise NVIDIA equipped the GeForce GTX 780 Ti with 7Gbps memory, the fastest GDDR5 memory you can find on a graphics card today. The GeForce GTX 780 Ti ships with 3GB of this memory, providing up to 336GB/sec of peak memory bandwidth. That is still huge (12 pieces of 64M ×16 GDDR5 SDRAM) of memory (384-bit) on there and started designing a bunch of new tricks at BIOS and driver level. Combined with GPU Boost 2.0 you will see this product boosting towards the 1000~1050 MHz range once you tweak it. The reference clock is 875 MHz with a boost clock of 928 MHz. Looking at the specs you must think that this product must consume heaps of power, well it's not great, but definitely not bad at all either. Another improvement that Nvidia implemented to the GeForce GTX 780 Ti is a new power balancing feature that’s been made so enthusiasts can get the most out of their overclock. Typically GPU gets its power from three sources: the 6-pin and 8-pin power connectors, and the PCI Express interface. Under normal conditions, the power sent to the GPU is balanced across these three sources, but when a user overclocks their graphics card they can unbalance the power delivery and draw more power from one source than the others, potentially maxing it out. With this new feature we can steer power from one input to another, so if you max out one power source, you can draw more power from the others to make up the difference.
Read more: EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Ti SC SuperClocked ACX Review @ Guru3DMSI Z87M Gaming Micro ATX Motherboard Review @ Bjorn3D
MSI has already had a few entries of its gaming line for Z87 and now there is a third with the board we are looking at today the Z87M Gaming.
This board is the mATX version for those looking for a smaller form factor gaming grade board. We have looked at the gaming series boards and they have proven quite capable while also offering a nice feature set at a great value.
Read more: MSI Z87M Gaming Micro ATX Motherboard Review @ Bjorn3DASRock Fatal1ty Z87 Killer Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
The Fatal1ty Z87 Killer is a top mid-range motherboard for socket LGA1150 Intel CPUs. It comes with a high-end audio codec, an Atheros Killer E2200 Gigabit Ethernet chip (hence the name of the product), three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, six SATA-600 ports, and six USB 3.0 ports. Let's take a look at it.
Read more: ASRock Fatal1ty Z87 Killer Motherboard @ Hardware SecretsHIS R9 270X IceQ X2 Turbo Boost 2 GB @ techPowerUp
The HIS R9 270X IceQ X² Turbo Boost comes at reference design pricing of $200, which makes it the cheapest, highest-clocked R9 270X available at this time. In addition to the free overclock out of the box, you also get a better cooler that provides very low temperatures, but ends up slightly noisy.
Read more: HIS R9 270X IceQ X2 Turbo Boost 2 GB @ techPowerUp