LSI SandForce SF-3700 Flash SSD Controller Questions Answered and more
Posted on: 11/22/2013 11:20 AM

Here a roundup of today's reviews and articles, including LSI SandForce SF-3700 Flash SSD Controller Questions Answered, Asus PQ321QE 4K monitor Review, Creative Sound Blaster EVO ZxR Review, EUROCOM Panther 5D High Performance Laptop Review, and 2560x1600: GeForce GTX 780 Ti vs Radeon R9 290X

LSI SandForce SF-3700 Flash SSD Controller Questions Answered @ The SSD Review
Since first discovery of the next gen LSI SandForce FSP , we have seen this controller shed its Codename Griffin skin and receive official validation as the new LSI SandForce SF-3700 Series flash controller, indeed capable of top SSD performance speeds of 1.8GB/s. There are a ton of questions that remain, however. Why hasn't it been released? Why haven't we seen thorough performance benchmarks? Are there heat issues with the controller? Is it possible, like folklore describing the Griffin with its head of an eagle and body of a lion, that the SF3700 family is myth and something that we may just never see? Let's tackle these questions one by one, all the while showing you some early examples of what various LSI SandForce partners have to offer.


Read more: LSI SandForce SF-3700 Flash SSD Controller Questions Answered @ The SSD Review

Lexar JumpDrive M10 Secure 64GB Flash Drive Review @ eTeknix
Recently I’ve been taking a look at some of the newest flash drives on the market, including those from Lexar and whilst they may be either the fastest, best looking, or offer the best value for money, there is one area where they all fail. This is security. We hear about security all the time, and in the home or work place, security is key, after all we don’t want to let our data get out into the wrong hands. Typically this generally entails users locking their computers with a password and in the case of networks, securing the wireless with an encryption key for example. We also lock our buildings, filing cabinets, doors and vehicles, but for the most part, there is one everyday item that we tend to forget about; the humble USB flash drive.

When we look at the world of flash drives, they’re inexpensive to buy and their extremely convenient for moving and sharing data between point A and B with ease. This is all and well, but what happens when we lose then – let’s be honest we’ve all misplaced our flash drives at some point, be it on the home or office, or more worryingly when we are out and about. For the most part, the concern is not so much on having to replace the drive as they are easy to get hold of, the factor of getting the data back or someone else getting hold of the data if they find it is the real worry. Whilst some files are more mundane and harmless, from time to time there may be sensitive data on them such as personal details that is at risk of getting spread.


Read more: Lexar JumpDrive M10 Secure 64GB Flash Drive Review @ eTeknix

Asus PQ321QE 4K monitor Review @ Techradar
Thirty inches. 2,560 by 1,600 grid. Four million pixels. That was the gold standard in PC displays. But it's just been blown away. Welcome to the wonderful world of ultra-highdefi nition visuals. With this outrageous £3,000 flatscreen, Asus is giving us our first taste of 4K resolutions. It might just be the next big thing in PC graphics. Can it possibly live up to the hype? Let's not get ahead of ourselves, here. Regular PCFers among you will know we've been a bit down on high-end PC hardware in the past. On the CPU side, for instance, Intel's been sandbagging on an epic scale. Recently, we've had the new Core i7-4960X - such a spectacularly incremental step forward, it's a bit like adding a seat to a single tube carriage on the Northern Line and then firing out a triumphant press release claiming increases in national public transport capacity. What a crock. Then there's graphics. AMD and Nvidia have at least been keeping each other honest on the performance side.


Read more: Asus PQ321QE 4K monitor Review @ Techradar

Bitcoin Mining with a GPU is Still Viable - Using Litecoin @ Hardcoreware
Bitcoin is in the news lately, as the price recovers from a low period due to uncertainty, and the fact that it is catching on big time in China. It helped that the US Department of Justice recently declared that Bitcoin is a “legal means of exchange” – this is the first time the currency has been legitimized by American agencies officially.

The problem with bitcoin mining on your own is that the difficulty has ramped up to the point where it is no longer feasible to mine with low-power high-wattage devices like video cards. A GPU capable of hashing at 300 mH/s at 200w would have been fine a year ago, but today it costs more in power than you will get back based on current exchange rates.

We wrote about Litecoin as an alternative cryptocurrency before, and it is just as useful as ever for people to get into casual bitcoin mining. With recent price increases, it is still viable to mine LTC, and sell it for BTC, turning it into a profit. Take a look at this chart, which is accurate as of November 22, 10:00 pm PST


Read more: Bitcoin Mining with a GPU is Still Viable - Using Litecoin @ Hardcoreware

ADATA HV620 2TB External Hard Drive Review @ HiTech Legion
The average person in the United States carries around a huge amount of data with them. Personally, I have a smartphone with 16GB of internal space, with a 32GB micro SD card in it, and numerous flash drives of varying sizes. I may not be completely average, since I am in the tech business, but even just the cell phone's internal space would allow for over four thousand pictures to be stored. As you can imagine, no one would want to lose their precious data, so it is important to backup the information to another device.

Backing up a few thousand photos does not really take much room, but then you get into the size of videos, or audio files. Videos are a whole different issue, considering that 10 minutes of video at 1080p is often over 1GB in size, so that same 16GB would not hold much. Thankfully we have much larger external devices to use as backup devices, ranging from flash memory to large mechanical hard drives.


Read more: ADATA HV620 2TB External Hard Drive Review @ HiTech Legion

ASUS RT-AC68U & PCE-AC68 Wireless AC Review @ Hardware Canucks
With the wireless spectrum starved for bandwidth, the steady move towards the next generation 802.11AC standard couldn’t be coming at a better time. ASUS has been at the forefront of this movement from day one and their new AC68-series (consisting of the RT-AC68U and PCE-AC68) builds upon their previous generation RT-AC66U and PCE-AC66 models but really takes things to the next level.

The easiest way to think of these new AC68 models is that both are ASUS’ ‘tock’ model to their first generation AC66’s ‘tick’. Like Intel’s ‘tock’ models, consumers can technically purchase only one or the other and see improvements in their wireless home networks performance but, in a perfect world, they’re meant to be paired up together for optimal performance.

So what does this perfect scenario consist of? The primary component is ASUS’ $239 flagship RT-AC68U router which takes over from the well-regarded RT-AC66U. The PCE-AC68 meanwhile is a PCI-E based add-in board which retails for $99 and is supposed to bring ultra quick AC wireless compatibility to your desktop system with a minimum of headaches. These two devices are should bring home networking to the next level through their powerful interfaces, versatile installation procedures and user friendly software stacks.


Read more: ASUS RT-AC68U & PCE-AC68 Wireless AC Review @ Hardware Canucks

Tranquil PC D33217GKE NUC Case @ techPowerUp
Though Intel sells their NUC motherboards separately, few manufacturers offer passive NUC cases. One of the first was Tranquil PC. We take a look at their compact, passive chassis for the Gigabit i3-based NUC board to see if it manages to offer better thermal performance without a fan.


Read more: Tranquil PC D33217GKE NUC Case @ techPowerUp

Creative Sound Blaster EVO ZxR Review @ Vortez
The bigger brother to the impressive Sound Blaster EVO Zx comes in swinging several new and improved features. On first glance the EVO ZxR has very similar aesthetics to its stablemates. Though on closer inspection, the ZxR is noticeably larger than the Zx and has additional buttons and features not previously seen.

New features we find exclusive to the ZxR include Active Noice Cancelling (ANC), a talk-through function as well as full spectrum 50mm drivers. Of course many features previously explored such as Near Field Communication (NFC) are still present.


Read more: Creative Sound Blaster EVO ZxR Review @ Vortez

WD My Cloud Personal Cloud Server Review @ HotHardware.com
Cloud storage has emerged as a hugely attractive option for consumers and businesses alike. Consumer cloud storage darling Dropbox has gotten big enough that it warrants its own developer conference, Box is consistently innovating in the business space, Amazon's storage cloud is massive and popular, and we could go on and on with numerous other companies offering all types of cloud storage services.

Even as cloud storage has exploded, however, there are many skeptics who believe that entrusting your data to a cloud service is foolish, due to reliability, privacy and security concerns. Diehard proponents of local storage have legitimate concerns when they say they're distrustful of the cloud, but local storage has its own set of problems. Western Digital has developed a solution called WD My Cloud, however, that seeks the middle ground...


Read more: WD My Cloud Personal Cloud Server Review @ HotHardware.com

OCZ Deneva 2 R 200 GB eMLC Review @ ocaholic
Since quite a few years OCZ is covering ground in the enterprise SSD market. In this regard the entry-level market gets supplied with their Deneva 2 series, where there are several different models. The main differences can be found with the different types of flash memory. Today we're having a closer look at the 200 Gigabyte Deneva R eMLC drive, which features high endurance. Should you run, lets say a storage appliance where performance is critical and which has to cope with huge amounts of host writes, then it won't hurt to have a closer look at this drive. The Deneva 2 becomes especially interesting if you have to realize a cost effective solution.


Read more: OCZ Deneva 2 R 200 GB eMLC Review @ ocaholic

The HTC One Max Tech Report @ Tech ARP
Today, HTC Malaysia officially launched the HTC One Max, the phablet version of the award-winning HTC One smartphone. At hand for the launch was SK Wong, Country Manager of HTC Malaysia, Sirpa Ikola, Senior Marketing Director of HTC South Asia and Wayne Tang, Product Marketing Manager of HTC South Asia.

The new HTC One Max features a massive 5.9" full HD display with 2 GB of RAM and a 1.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor, and will ship with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and HTC Sense 5.5.

Although HTC will offer the new HTC One Max with 16 GB or 32 GB of flash storage, HTC Malaysia will only bring in the 16 GB model. Yes, you read that right - there won't be a 32 GB model, at least in Malaysia. This is because the HTC One Max addressed one complaint that many users have with the HTC One and the follow-up HTC One Mini - the inability to upgrade its built-in flash storage. The new HTC One Max comes with a microSD card slot hidden under the removable back panel.


Read more: The HTC One Max Tech Report @ Tech ARP

EUROCOM Panther 5D High Performance Laptop Review @ HardwareHeaven.com
The Eurocom Panther 5D costs as much as the Canon which shares its name but this high end kit is packed with SLI, Xeon (i7 equivalent) and a bunch of other high end kit. How does it compare to high/mainstream models? Lets find out in some of the latest games as well as productivity tests.


Read more: EUROCOM Panther 5D High Performance Laptop Review @ HardwareHeaven.com

Thecus N2560 Review @ Vortez
Smartphones and tablets have steadily been increasing in popularity over the last few years and it would be quite odd to see them absent from the average household. In similar fashion, the home network has also evolved too, with devices now working in conjunction with our mobile devices. NAS designers have been keen to channel into the interaction between the home network and mobile device, and users can now enjoy the freedom to access and configure media file servers just like the product we are taking a look at today from Thecus.

The N2560 is a dual-bay NAS which features an Intel Atom 1.6GHz dual-core processor, 2GB of DDR3 memory and promises to deliver a wealth of features for the home network.


Read more: Thecus N2560 Review @ Vortez

Asus Transformer Book T100 review: Bringing the netbook back, almost @ ArsTechnica
Asus is no stranger to small and cheap computing. Just six years ago it introduced the world to the very first netbook. That Linux-powered Asus Eee PC ran an Intel Celeron at just 700MHz, and it was touted by some as the future of computing.

It has been a long six years since, and much has changed. While Asus was thinking that smaller computing was the recipe for future success, the company didn’t take it far enough. Netbooks were displaced by the one-two punch of Ultrabooks and tablets, and today most of us spend much more time on tablets (and on our phones) than we do on anything resembling a traditional PC.

However, Asus hasn't given up on the netbook concept. Together with Intel and Microsoft, Asus thinks the Transformer Book T100 is just the thing to usher the netbook into this new era. And as it turns out, Asus almost got it right.


Read more: Asus Transformer Book T100 review: Bringing the netbook back, almost @ ArsTechnica

Acer Aspire R7-572: Haswell and an Active Digitizer @ Anandtech
Earlier this year, we looked at Acers R7 laptop an interesting hybrid device that moves the keyboard forward and the touchpad back, with the idea being that youll use the touchscreen display rather than the touchpad. Its big selling point is the Ezel hinge, which allows you to do a few other things besides shifting the screen forward, like turning the R7 into a table, or flipping the screen over for presentation mode. While I wouldnt call the original R7 a bad laptop, at the same time its not laptop for everyone, and it definitely had a few flaws. Acer has now updated the R7 line with a Haswell processor, and theyve added an active digitizer as a bonus (though the stylus to make use of the active digitizer is an optional extra). Is that enough to change the R7 from a quirky laptop into something great?


Read more: Acer Aspire R7-572: Haswell and an Active Digitizer @ Anandtech

Nike FuelBand SE Review @ TechRadar
Introduction and designIf Apple is building an iWatch, it's probably keeping a close eye on Nike's FuelBand right now.With the first FuelBand, Nike successfully built a life gamifier. It was a piece of fitness tech that you'd wear like any other watch or wristband, not just something to put on for a jog like you would the TomTom Runner. In other words, it nailed wearable tech.The Nike FuelBand SE is the second iteration of the FuelBand, but while the Fitbit Force and others are edging into smartwatch territory, Nike has instead decided to keep its focus on fitness and plugging the gaps found in the original.


Read more: Nike FuelBand SE Review @ TechRadar

AMD Radeon R9 290X 4GB reviewed @ Fudzilla
The eagerly awaited Hawaii GPU got its official brand last month and now it’s finally official and available for less than 500 euro, or 549 greenbacks. The big kahuna, the faster of two cards based on Hawaii XT is known as the Radeon R9 290X, while the Hawaii Pro version is the R9 290.

The new Hawaii XT chip is the first significant "big core” GPU from AMD since the launch of the Radeon 7000 series in Q4 2011. It took a while before the Tahiti 28nm chip got a serious successor that could step on Nvidia’s toes. Not only that, but in many cases the R9 290X can bring the fight to Nvidia’s new Geforce GTX 780 Ti, and keep in mind that NV’s new card is quite a bit pricier. Even the Geforce Titan ends up slower than the R9 290X in Über mode, but we can pretty much forget about the Titan from a gaming perspective. We reckon it will be discontinued soon.

A year ago people started talking that AMD will simply pull out of the big core business both in the graphics space and in CPUs. People predicted that the future is in smaller, more flexible cores, like GK104 and Pitcairn XT chips that will perform well and won’t end up with 4+ billion transistors. Nvidia designed the GK110 for the compute market and then introduced it to gaming with whopping 7.08 billion transistors and a year later AMD has introduced Hawaii, yet another immense GPU.


Read more: AMD Radeon R9 290X 4GB reviewed @ Fudzilla

ASUS MARS 760 review: dual GTX 760 graphics card @ Hardware.Info
ASUS launched a new Mars card this week. After introducing the first Mars back in 2009, that name has been reserved for graphics cards with two GPUs that aren't officially dual-GPU Nvidia cards. As you probably guessed already, the new MARS 760 combines two GeForce GTX 760s. We extensively tested the card with our usual benchmarks.


Read more: ASUS MARS 760 review: dual GTX 760 graphics card @ Hardware.Info

Antec Kühler H2O 920 Review @ ocaholic
With the H2O 920, Antec has a closed-loop watercooler in their portfolio, which can be equipped with two 120 millimeter fans. Therefore we expect great cooling performance at a very reasonable noise level. Apart from that, owners get the possibility to use Antec's Chill Control Software, which lets you control fans speeds. So far we're quite curious how this thing is going to perform.


Read more: Antec Kühler H2O 920 Review @ ocaholic

Fractal Design Integra R2 750W Review @ KitGuru
Today we are revisiting a power supply that hit the scene in late 2012 the Bronze certified Fractal Design Integra R2 750W. This budget unit recently received a price reduction in the UK, taking the cost to just £60 inc vat. Today we find out if this is a good purchase for a discerning enthusiast user on a strict budget. Ideal for a new system upgrade before the end of the year?


Read more: Fractal Design Integra R2 750W Review @ KitGuru

EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Superclocked ACX review @ Hexus
Still thinking about ordering a next-generation console? How about putting that money towards a PC graphics card with oodles more power. Why play games at a native 720p or 900p when cards such as the GeForce GTX 780 or Radeon R9 290 can provide arguably superior visuals at a 1,440p (2,560x1,440) resolution?

And if you're going to go the whole nine yards and look at the very best card on the market, set your sights no further than the GeForce GTX 780 Ti. The reference model is the fastest single-GPU card we've come across, but the underlying GPU can be made even quicker when in the hands of add-in board partners who know what they're doing.

The initial raft of overclocked GTX 780 Tis arrive in retail form in two ways: with nary a sticker to differentiate them from reference, or with custom coolers previously used on other high-end Nvidia GPUs. Time to market is a huge concern during the holiday period and, as such, all shipping GTX 780 Tis share the same PCB. The difference between partner cards is the cooling employed along with frequencies they're willing to guarantee.


Read more: EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Superclocked ACX review @ Hexus

2560×1600: GeForce GTX 780 Ti vs Radeon R9 290X @ Benchmark Reviews
It's no secret that PC gamers who seek realistic graphics prefer their desktop platform over the 1080p-limited console counterparts. Discrete graphics cards, the hardware added onto motherboards built for high performance, support enthusiast video resolutions as large as 2560×1600. More pixels means more power needed to produce them, so I decided to test some of the most recent graphics cards from NVIDIA and AMD on our massive 30" monitor. In this article Benchmark Reviews tests frame rate performance for the AMD Radeon R9 290X and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti at their maximum supported resolution.


Read more: 2560×1600: GeForce GTX 780 Ti vs Radeon R9 290X @ Benchmark Reviews

MINI REVIEW: Scan 3XS Z87 Cyclone SLI @ TechRadar
Reviewing machines such as this Cyclone SLI from Scan is tricky. At nearly £3,500 it's hugely expensive, but there's no denying that it's one hell of a desirable rig. The 3XS Z87 Cyclone SLI is the sort of machine you'll see at shows; a PC built to highlight all the versatility and strength in PC gaming. As such, there's not a hint of compromise in this water-cooled, multi-GPU, Haswell-powered monster. That liquid-chilling setup really shows off its positioning at the top of the PC tech tree. We're not just talking about a closed-loop CPU cooler here - the Cyclone SLI is watercooled from top to bottom. Literally.


Read more: MINI REVIEW: Scan 3XS Z87 Cyclone SLI @ TechRadar




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