Low-End NVIDIA/AMD GPU Comparison On Open-Source Drivers and more
Posted on: 02/28/2013 02:06 PM
Here a roundup of today's reviews and articles, including Low-End NVIDIA/AMD GPU Comparison On Open-Source Drivers, Smartphone Screen Real Estate: How Big Is Big Enough?, Sapphire EDGE VS8 Barebones Model Review (8GB/SSD), Corsair H90 and H110 CPU Cooler Review, and Audyssey Wireless Speakers Review
Low-End NVIDIA/AMD GPU Comparison On Open-Source Drivers @ Phoronix
For those looking to purchase a low or mid-range graphics card for use with the open-source graphics drivers -- rather than being bound by NVIDIA's proprietary driver or AMD's Catalyst -- here's a comparison of nine different discrete graphics cards when benchmarked by the open-source drivers.
When using the open-source Linux graphics drivers found "out of the box" on Linux desktops, generally the lower-end graphics cards perform the best since these drivers don't take advantage of all optimizations and capabilities found with the higher-end graphics cards. These lower-end graphics cards generally have less core/memory frequency steppings, power management, and other features to worry about, especially in the case of the Nouveau driver that's a reverse-engineered implementation of NVIDIA's official graphics driver.
Aside from the lower-end graphics cards generally working better, for both NVIDIA and AMD, hardware that's usually two to three generations old also does the best in terms of open-source support. This open-source support is generally well tested and mature by the time of being two to three generations old. The sweet spot at the moment seems to be the Radeon HD 5000/6000 series on the AMD side and the GeForce 9 series for Nouveau. However, there are exceptions, with regressions frequently being spotted at Phoronix. It was just earlier this week that I discovered the Radeon 3000 IGP to be broken and went undetected into a stable release.
Read more: Low-End NVIDIA/AMD GPU Comparison On Open-Source Drivers @ PhoronixNanoxia Deep Silence 2 Case Review @ Hardware Secrets
Nanoxia is releasing its second mid-tower case, the Deep Silence 2 (also known as DS2), targeted to silent computing. We've already reviewed the Deep Silence 1, which received our Golden Award. Let's see if the new version also deserves our recommendation.
Read more: Nanoxia Deep Silence 2 Case Review @ Hardware SecretsCooler Master HAF XB LAN Box Review @ Modders-Inc
One of the features of the HAF Systems is the open mesh design which allows more air to flow through the case, thus keeping the components cooler.
In November 2012, Cooler Master released the latest case in the HAF Series, the HAF XB LAN Box. The HAF XB is a cube style chassis and is designed to be toted to LAN parties. Does the HAF XB live up to its nomenclature?
Read more: Cooler Master HAF XB LAN Box Review @ Modders-IncROCCAT Kone XTD 8200DPI Wired Gaming Mouse Review @ Legit Reviews
Today we take a look at ROCCAT's successor to the Kone[+], the Kone XTD. This mouse features 8 physical buttons, allowing for up to 23 different functions via Easy-Shift[+], a crazy 8200DPI sensor, and enough on-board memory to store five button profiles to customize just about every button on the mouse. Read on to see how this mouse fairs in the gaming world!
I feel that ROCCAT did a very good job with the Kone XTD gaming mouse. As games get more and more complex, mice like these are needed to give the gamer more power at his/her fingertips, without having to reach for a key. MMO's demand so many macro keys and buttons, it isn't funny. Toss in ROCCAT's Easy-Shift[+] technology, and you have twice the buttons at your fingertips! The layout of the mouse is pretty generic, with exception to the button in front of the scroll wheel, but this generic layout is quite comfortable and welcome. The 8200DPI sensor will absolutely provide superior tracking precision, and a lot of gamers will love that! The construction and quality feels exceptional and will be desirable by many...
Read more: ROCCAT Kone XTD 8200DPI Wired Gaming Mouse Review @ Legit ReviewsSmartphone Screen Real Estate: How Big Is Big Enough? @ HotHardware
About five seconds after we were first debating the merits of the 7-inch tablet form factor (for the record, I'm fully in favor), the market is suddenly flush with mobile devices at almost any screen size, from little 3-inch phones up to monster 10.1-inch tablets. Somewhere in there, phablets--so named because they're too big to be a phone and too small to be a tablet--were born.
Aside from the terrible nickname (it sounds like a term for the spoiled offspring of fabulous people), phablets are somewhat controversial because they seem to be the epitome of inflated phone sizes. A lot of people wanted bigger, and this is "bigger" to the extreme. A larger screen on a smartphone is attractive for obvious reasons, but surely there's a limit.
So how big is too big?
Read more: Smartphone Screen Real Estate: How Big Is Big Enough? @ HotHardwareToshiba Satellite C875-S7340 Review @ TechReviewSource.com
The Toshiba Satellite C875-S7340 is a solid entry-level Windows 8-equipped laptop that belongs to Toshiba's value-oriented Satellite C series. It is capable of delivering decent performance for daily tasks and even packs a few niceties, including a large display, full-size keyboard and 6GB of RAM. For users on a budget, it's worth checking out.
Read more: Toshiba Satellite C875-S7340 Review @ TechReviewSource.comSapphire EDGE VS8 Barebones Model Review (8GB/SSD) @ KitGuru
Kitguru has reviewed many of the diminutive, versatile Sapphire EDGE systems in the last couple of years. We reviewed the EDGE HD3 in February 2012, powered by the AMD E450 and the EDGE VS8 in December 2012, powered by the AMD A8 4555M APU. In early February we also reviewed the latest Celeron powered EDGE HD4. Today however we have something really special for you“ the enthusiast focused barebones version of the EDGE VS8.
Read more: Sapphire EDGE VS8 Barebones Model Review (8GB/SSD) @ KitGuruApple iPad Mini Smart Cover Review @ Techradar
As we sat in the audience watching the iPad 2 launch, we were interested in its new features, but we had no strong desire to replace our original iPads with it. Until, that is, the Smart Cover was shown. For us, this was reason enough to buy an iPad 2.
Read more: Apple iPad Mini Smart Cover Review @ TechradarNox Xtreme Coolbay VX @ techPowerUp
The NOX Xtreme Coolbay VX Goblin Green Edition offers a whole lot of bang for your buck with a long list of features and some unique aspects for a surprisingly low price tag. Is it a goblin's magic trick, or is there some real substance behind this unbelievable mix of price and performance?
Read more: Nox Xtreme Coolbay VX @ techPowerUpCrysis 3 Performance Test: Graphics & CPU @ Techspot
Built with CryEngine2, the original Crysis raised the bar for PC gaming graphics in 2007 with stunningly detailed visuals that crippled even the fastest of rigs. Looking back at our first Crysis performance article, which was based on the game's demo, the fastest GPU available at the time (the GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB) struggled to average 30fps when running at 1920x1200 with high quality settings on DirectX 10.
Given how punishing the first game was, we were excited to explore 2011's CryEngine 3-based Crysis 2, but it was quickly apparent that the second installment wouldn't be a repeat performance. Not to say it didn't look better, but relative to Crytek's first title, the sequel didn't really set any new benchmarks. It was just another computer game that made great use of DX9, though DX11 was eventually patched in.
Read more: Crysis 3 Performance Test: Graphics & CPU @ TechspotAce Combat: Assault Horizon Review – Too Automated to be Simulated? @ Techgage
Assault Horizon is the first game in the Ace Combat series to take place in real-world locations and through many different eyes. The year is 2015; Lieutenant Colonel William Bishop is hot and heavy in a dogfight over Miami. The fighting is intense; after taking down wave after wave of enemy aircraft, Bishop is shot down. He has just enough time to eject, but he is almost hit by the enemy in a mid-air collision.
Bishop wakes up in a feverish sweat, realizing that the ordeal was just a nightmare. There’s a knock on the door, and he and his squadron are called to duty. While Bishop prepares for his sortie, you take the role of a gunner, a member of a multi-helicopter squadron. The mission, undertaken by a joint venture between NATO and Russian forces, is to put down rebel resistance in East Africa.
Read more: Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Review – Too Automated to be Simulated? @ TechgageCorsair H90 and H110 CPU Cooler Review @ Hi Tech Legion
The same idea can be applied to CPU cooling, with heat taking the place of downtown Japanese commuters and the subway system representing the CPU cooler. Heat is taken away from CPU core and delivered by the heatpipes towards the fins and cooled by the fan. For liquid cooling setups, heat is taken away from the CPU core by the cold plate then it is transferred through the liquid made to move by the pump to the radiator where a fan actively cools the area. The larger the heatsink or the radiator, the more heat is dissipated just as a larger subway car can take more passengers per trip. I think tower style heatsinks are big enough as it is but for self-contained liquid cooling solutions, there is still room to grow especially for users with space for 140mm or 280mm radiator inside their cases.
The Corsair H90 and H110 are high-end CPU coolers which are part of Corsair’s Hydro Series line. Both the H90 and H110 coolers use an updated Asetek design that uses 140mm fans. The Corsair H90 has a radiator that can fit a single 140mm fan on one side while the Corsair H110 has a 280mm radiator that can hold two 140mm fans per side. One more fan can be added to the Corsair H90 while two more fans can be added to the Corsair H110 in a push-pull configuration. Users can install both the H90 and H110 hydro series CPU coolers on Intel LGA115X, LGA1366 and LGA2011 sockets as well as AMD AM2, AM3, AM3+, FM1 and FM2 motherboards. The H90 and H110 all-in-one CPU coolers are backed with a 5-year warranty by Corsair, guaranteed to outlast your current system build.
Read more: Corsair H90 and H110 CPU Cooler Review @ Hi Tech LegionSanDisk Ultra Plus 256GB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
SanDisk’s SSDs are rapidly gaining momentum after initially being one of the first to offer solid state storage directly to consumers. Since those early days they have consistently delivered drives known for their performance and value like the excellent SanDisk Extreme 240GB which turned out to be one impressive storage solution. On the other hand, the new Ultra Plus series has the same aims as its Extreme sibling but targets a slightly lower price point.
The $210 Ultra Plus 256GB is SanDisk’s big entry into a market which is currently filled with affordable alternatives which do a great job of combining price and raw power. For example, OCZ’s Agility 4, Kingston’s SSDNow V300 and the Neutron series from Corsair all play in the same ballpark as the Ultra Plus and have been on the market for significantly longer. So how is SanDisk planning on competing against industry heavyweights? By sure-footed innovation and a unique blend of components.
Read more: SanDisk Ultra Plus 256GB SSD Review @ Hardware CanucksNoctua NH-L9a Low Profile AMD CPU Cooler Review @ Bigbruin.com
Noctua has made a name for themselves with their high quality CPU cooling solutions, many of which have proven themselves in reviews at Bigbruin.com. While many have implemented the tried and true heatpipe tower design, a few have featured a cooling fan mounted horizontally to make the overall height smaller and allow them to fit in to smaller cases. Nothing we have seen from Noctua - or any other CPU cooler manufacturer in recent history - has been as compact as the two new coolers Noctua has released for use in HTPCs and small form factor systems.
The promotional image above shows the Noctua NH-L9a, which is to be covered in this review. The lower case "a" designates this as an AMD cooler, and there is a similarly styled cooler called the NH-L9i for Intel coolers which will be covered in an upcoming review. The low profile array of fins and slim fan reminds me of a rackmount server cooler, but even before using this cooler I imagined that Noctua had applied their experience to make the cooler perform near silence instead of the deafening roar you might expect in a server.
Before taking a closer look at the cooler provided for review, let's take a look at some of the technical data on the cooler and the included fan, as taken from the official product page on the Noctua site.
Read more: Noctua NH-L9a Low Profile AMD CPU Cooler Review @ Bigbruin.comCooler Master CM Storm Ceres-400 Gaming Headset Review @ Neoseeker
With the latest games offering a greater level of graphical fidelity, we may sometimes forget just how big a role audio plays still plays as part of the experience. A perfect example of jaw-dropping graphics and interactive environments would be Battlefield 3, featuring destructible buildings and vehicles. It is easy to overlook (or perhaps underestimate?) the simple sound of an enemy footsteps behind you, but this is where gaming headsets have begun to step in. With more choices on the market than ever before when it comes to headsets, it can often be difficult choosing the right one. Today we hope to make that choice just a little easier, with our review of Cooler Master's CM Storm Ceres-400 headset. It's advertised as a rugged yet lightweight solution that still delivers the audio quality appreciated by gamers and audiophiles alike, particularly while they are on the go.
The CM Storm Ceres-400 comes packaged in Cooler Master's signature black box with red accents, along with a window that offers a small view of the headset itself. Flipping the box around you have a brief description of the Ceres-400 in multiple languages, with the specifications for the Ceres-400 listed on the left side of the box.
Read more: Cooler Master CM Storm Ceres-400 Gaming Headset Review @ NeoseekerFUNC MS-3 Gaming Mouse Review @ HardwareHeaven.com
Today on our test bench we will be taking a look at FUNC's first gaming mouse in their new range, the MS-3. The MS-3 is a 10 button large gaming mouse with a unique thumbzone button configuration and we are keen to see if it lives up to the quality reputation that FUNC have for their products.
Read more: FUNC MS-3 Gaming Mouse Review @ HardwareHeaven.comAudyssey Wireless Speakers Review @ NikKTech
I remember a time when we all went out occasionally to see all the latest complete stereo systems launched from all the leading manufacturers like SONY, Philips, Pioneer, Panasonic, AIWA, Technics and Yamaha only to find out in the end that we couldn't really afford to get the highest end models featuring 10 CD disc changers (or more), mini discs and plenty of bells and whistles which of course were not available on the cheapest models. Times have changed however and so nowadays most people prefer to use their computer systems, media stations and smartphones to listen to their favorite music while at the comfort of their home and so the only real issue is finding a quality speaker set capable of fulfilling that task with ease. Well the latest Wireless Speakers by our friends over at Audyssey just might be the right ones for the job.
Read more: Audyssey Wireless Speakers Review @ NikKTechPC Power & Cooling Silencer MK III 750W @ DreamWare Computers
PC Power & Cooling first debuted their 'Silencer' line of power supplies over six years ago. Since then, the Silencer name has not died off, but has continued to evolve through their MK II and the latest MK III variant of this series. The original release of the Silencer MK III series came last year, but more recently PC Power & Cooling has done another round of revisions on this series which introduced some notable upgrades. Energy efficiency was taken from an 80PLUS Bronze certification right up to 80PLUS Gold, fan size was increased to a 140mm fan which should offer better efficiency and lower noise, the modular cable design was given a screw-on steel design, and among some other smaller changes, the warranty was increased to seven years.
Read more: PC Power & Cooling Silencer MK III 750W @ DreamWare ComputersECBC Poseidon Messenger Bag K7202 Review @ OCC
Simple yet stylish design, high quality materials, great craftsmanship, and smart implementations, make the ECBC Poseidon Messenger Bag K7202 a great choice if you are looking for a safe way to carry your valuable electronics around. The ECBC Poseidon Messenger Bag K7202 packs some great features: Luggage handle pass-through section, water resistant coating and zippers, large count of compartments, and a fail-safe shoulder strap clip. The padded handle is very comfortable and so is the adjustable shoulder strap. The seams on the ECBC Poseidon Messenger Bag K7202 feel very solid and the attention to detail on this unit is remarkable.
Read more: ECBC Poseidon Messenger Bag K7202 Review @ OCCCorsair H90 Review @ Guru3D
Corsair has been releasing a massive amount of Liquid coolers lately, we already reviewed the Corsair H110, H100i, H60 liquid coolers but yeah, we just had to share the results on their all new 140mm All-in-One liquid cooling solution Hydro H90 as well. Slowly but steadily the new 140 and 280mm liquid cooling kits are getting more popular often offering less noise yet more performance. Today we review the Corsair H90.
The Hydro Series H90 is Corsairs first 1400mm Liquid Cooling solution that should be able to dissipate some impressive heat from your processor. With cool looks and very silent operation we can see this product ending up in a lot of PC builds alright.
Compared to the last generation of Hydro products Corsair changed the fan, tubing, pump and cooling blocks sizes. The H90 is a single 140mm fan based liquid cooling solution that offers cooling performance at the level of the more expensive heat-pipe coolers in terms of cooling performance, as really it offers excellent performance for the money whilst remaining very silent. The Corsair Hydro H90 series once again is easy on the eyes and has a relatively simple to manage installation, the product is compatible with AMD Socket AM2, AM3, FM1 and FM2 any modern AMD CPU really.
Read more: Corsair H90 Review @ Guru3D