Sapphire Radeon R7 250, Dual Graphics, Mantle, and more
Posted on: 02/13/2014 01:16 PM
Here a roundup of today's reviews and articles, including Sapphire Radeon R7 250, Dual Graphics and Mantle, SteelSeries 9H Gaming Headset, Radeon HD 7870 vs. R9 270X - Should I upgrade?, EnerPlex Kickr IV Foldable Solar Charger Review, and MSI GT60-2OK 3K Mobile Workstation Review
Sapphire Radeon R7 250, Dual Graphics and Mantle @ Hexus
A closer look at AMD's mainstream graphics solutions. AMD introduced a number of GPUs during October of last year. The press focussed on the R9 280X, R9 270X and R7 260X, which are, for the most part, rebrands of existing Radeon HD 7000-series technology. Slipping under the radar somewhat, AMD brought a couple of all-new GPUs to market in the form of the modestly-priced Radeon R7 250 and R7 240.
These GCN-toting, mainstream cards, starting at £50, are based on what is known as the 'Oland' die - one that is purpose-built for these models. Measuring 90mm² and sipping on a maximum 65W, thus not requiring an external power connector, you won't find it anywhere else in AMD's past or present GPU stack.
Read more: Sapphire Radeon R7 250, Dual Graphics and Mantle @ HexusGigabyte Windforce Radeon R9 280X OC Video Card Review @ HiTech Legion
Every once in a while, I find myself watching “American Pickers”, and its actually got nothing to do with waiting for appearances by Dani. OK, that might have something to do with it, but that isn’t pertinent for this particular writing. There are just certain “picks” they go on that produce items that leave me amazed. Whether it is staged or not is inconsequential, it is the fact that the items exist at all. It seems that no matter what you may be into, or into collecting, they turn something up that will pique your interest (pun intended), and that you never knew existed.
One of my particular favorites involved the home of a factory sponsored rider of Indian motorcycles. While Harley Davidson has been the big name for as long as anyone can remember, it has always been Indian that has held my interest. Maybe it was the world speed records, maybe the fact that Indians were so open to modification, I really don’t know for sure. Indian disbanded and was out of the public eye for many years, though, making a comeback as a purely boutique piece in 1999. While AMD didn’t disband, they did fall behind nVidia in the performance race in recent years. However, the new R9 series is changing that and AMD is making a comeback in a big way.
Read more: Gigabyte Windforce Radeon R9 280X OC Video Card Review @ HiTech LegionMSI GK-601 Review @ Vortez
MSI are responsible for the production of many varying components and devices ranging from the trusty motherboard right through to all-in-one PCs, but enthusiasts will be interested to discover that MSI are now moving into new territories.
Back in May of last year MSI announced their first mechanical keyboards and chose to launch them over in the US to begin with. Over in the UK and EU these new keyboards will soon be available and we are to put one such offering under the spotlight today.
GK-601 is MSI’s first attempt at producing a mechanical keyboard and it features the Cherry MX Red switch and an assortment of other useful features such as full NKRO functionality, yellow LED backlight, and the ability to disable the windows key on the fly. But, can these and other features ensure a good entry into the peripherals market for MSI?
Read more: MSI GK-601 Review @ VortezSteelSeries 9H Gaming Headset @ NikKTech
Inside 2014 we are going to witness the release of several highly anticipated game titles for both the PC and consoles so this is a very good time for people not only to upgrade their systems in terms of firepower (PC users obviously) but also to swap their old peripherals for new ones in order to get the best possible experience. Gaming keyboards and mice are without doubt very important for both casual and serious gamers but a good gaming headset might just offer a bit more enjoyment in some games. Now as many of you know the market is filled with 5.1/7.1 virtual surround headsets most of which are no better than your average stereo headset however from time to time we have received some very decent solutions that can almost go toe to toe with "real" surround sound headsets. I'm certain that SteelSeries needs no introductions and since aside the excellent Elite Gaming Headset they also released the 9H Gaming Headset at around the same time we decided to see just how good it is.
Read more: SteelSeries 9H Gaming Headset @ NikKTechIn Win 904 Case Review @ ThinkComputers.org
Over the past year In Win has been releasing some very unique case designs. This all started with their Tou case that was revealed at Computex. Today we are looking at another case from In Win that does not conform to the norms, it is their 904 mid tower case. This case is made entirely of glass and aluminum! Thats right, both side panels are made of thick tinted tempered glass and the frame of the case is constructed of 4mm thick aluminum alloy. This makes for a very unique case and something that will catch the eyes of onlookers at a LAN party for sure! Is this case all looks or is it actually functional as well? Read on as we take a look
Read more: In Win 904 Case Review @ ThinkComputers.orgRadeon HD 7870 vs. R9 270X - Should I upgrade? @ ocaholic
A gamer simply can't get enough graphics power in their rig, which makes the upgrade question omnipresent. To show you whether it makes sense to upgrade from one generation to another we created this series of articles, where we will compare graphics cards from different generations. Today we're having a close look at the differences between the Radeon HD 7870 and the R9 270X.
Read more: Radeon HD 7870 vs. R9 270X - Should I upgrade? @ ocaholicSteelSeries 9H Gaming Headset Review @ Legit Reviews
SteelSeries has been working on sinister things this past year putting out many new and revitalized offerings including the Apex keyboard, the Siberia Elite headset, and the Stratus controller amongst even more products. It could be speculated that SteelSeries ongoing product expansion is being coupled with its increased exposure in competitive gaming. We point to the four gaming organizations with their names and logos printed on the 9H box: Na'vi, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Tyloo, and Fnatic (the same four organizations featured on the 5Hv3s box which we previously reviewed.) The company has long invested in marketing through eSports and the scene continues to grow through popular competitive multiplayer PC games such as League of Legends, Counterstrike: Global Offense, and DOTA 2 as well as the popularity of livestream platforms. Having the pros use company products is one way to solve the challenge of demonstrating an expensive products value to skeptical buyers. Of course, we're going to keep an open mind as we review the SteelSeries 9H Gaming Headset.
Read more: SteelSeries 9H Gaming Headset Review @ Legit ReviewsEnerPlex Kickr IV Foldable Solar Charger Review @ TechwareLabs
We've all been asked, at least once in our lives, if you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you take with you? Well if any of those three things are your favorite mobile device, then you might consider how you plan to power your favorite tech gadget on said desert island. Being "off the grid", generally means you have to go without many of the technological amenities we've grown accustomed too in our normal day to day lives. So are there any solutions for using these devices when a wall outlet isn't readily accessible? Today we will be looking at the EnerPlex Kickr IV, this foldable solar charger, whichis advertised as all the charger you will need for your mobile devices (assuming there is an ample amount of sunlight available).
Read more: EnerPlex Kickr IV Foldable Solar Charger Review @ TechwareLabsCooler Master HAF Stacker 935 Case Review @ Hardware Asylum
A computer case is many things. First and foremost it is a convenient location to store all the gear you need to run your computer. You have external drive bays for optical drives and card readers, internal bays for hard drives and SSDs and a location for motherboard, video card(s) and power supply. The question is, what happens when you need more space for your gear?
In this review we will be looking at the new HAF Stacker from Cooler Master. This case made a debut at the 2013 PAX Prime in Seattle and while we got to see it from afar some of our readers got to see it in person and were very impressed.
Read more: Cooler Master HAF Stacker 935 Case Review @ Hardware AsylumQNAP HS-210 Silent and Fanless 2-bay NAS Review @ Madshrimps
HS-210 is the new fanless 2-bay NAS from QNAP which supports both 2.5’’ and 3.5’’ drives; the top cover acts as a large heatsink and is powered by a 1.6GHz Marvell processor along with 512MB of RAM. Thanks to the QTS 4.1 operating system, the NAS is fully featured but unfortunately it does not have a HDMI port for connecting directly to our HDTV.
Read more: QNAP HS-210 Silent and Fanless 2-bay NAS Review @ MadshrimpsAsus SATA Express Hands-on Preview @ KitGuru
SATA Express - its coming. What is it and do YOU need it? We take an indepth look today at a preproduction board from ASUS and give you the juicy details. You won't want to miss this one.
Read more: Asus SATA Express Hands-on Preview @ KitGuruSamsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 Review @ V3
The Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2's robust business-focused software offering and top-end hardware justify its high starting price.
Large sized and sharp screen, S Pen a great productivity aid, robust enterprise application offering, powerful processor, decent battery life
Magazine UX may confuse some users, relatively expensive
Read more: Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 Review @ V3Speedlink Decus 5000dpi Gaming Mouse Review @ eTeknix
Today I’ll be taking a look at the feature packed Speedlink Decus gaming mouse, it promises a lot of features despite its affordable price tag and if the performance is up to scratch it could very well be one of the best value for money mice available on the market. With prices averaging around £35 on Google Shopping it’s obviously not a budget model, but it is still cheap for a feature packed gaming mouse and I’m really looking forward to put it through it’s paces.
Speedlink aren’t exactly the first name you think of when your talking about gaming peripherals, but they’ve got a pretty solid range to their name for the low to mid budget market. Sure most enthusiast gamers will leap towards the bigger gaming brands such as Razer, Roccat, Corsair and MadCatz, to name but a few, but your average consumer and casual gamer is much more likely to pick up something like the Speedlink, as it looks affordable and the specification list is on par with many other top brands and products on the market.
With the ever increasing popularity of PC gaming there is big demand for affordable peripherals and as you can see from the features below the Decus doesn’t disappoint, we’ve got a 5000 DPI laser sensor, 7 programmable buttons including a rapid-fire feature, macro editor, profile features, internal memory and more, everything you would expect from a quality gaming mouse.
Read more: Speedlink Decus 5000dpi Gaming Mouse Review @ eTeknixMSI GT60-2OK 3K Mobile Workstation Review @ eTeknix
When we look across the wide range of groups and user bases that technology is designed for, typically the first class of devices that one would think of is consumer level; in other words what you find on the high street in retail stores or most commonly these days on the internet. This range goes from your typical memory card, right through to televisions, laptops, phones, cameras and so forth. What most people tend to forget though, is that consumer based hardware is not the only major part of the technology world. Whilst we all see what is front of us, you have to take into consideration is that behind the scenes, the type of hardware that is hidden away is of a completely different class and is designed in a totally different manner, after all it has got a completely different job to undertake and without it, your consumer grade technology won’t even function. This grade of technology is what we refer to as the enterprise level.
Whilst I’m talking about the two extremes of the technology world here, there is yet another crucial sector that for many of us is just an everyday thing. This is the business and professional grade sector. Whilst gamers and enthusiasts push for the fastest frame rate that they can or the best level of detail that is possible in a gaming environment, professional users have a totally different set of requirements for their system and this typically includes the likes of video rendering and design work. For this type of work, the specification that a system needs does vary quite considerably and when we look at the major building blocks such as the graphics cards, we see different line of GPUs being used as the type of performance that this type of system needs is in a whole different league.
For namesake, we are taking about the difference (in the case of NVIDIA) between GeForce Cuda based cards which are at the forefront of today’s enthusiast line-up and Quadro which we rarely see on the consumer market. Now when it comes down to the point of saying what makes each card different from the other, taking out all the little fine details and getting down to raw essentials, there is one major fact that sets these apart; this is OpenGL. In the early days of graphics engineering, OpenGL was miles ahead of Direct3D in all of its performance areas, but as time has moved on and technology advanced in leaps and bounds, Direct3D – or as it’s more commonly known, DirectX – has overtaken OpenGL in the gaming sector and consequently games are now built to run more fluidly on this platform. OpenGL however is still the go-to place for operations such as CAD work or image rendering from the ground up. The applications that do this type of workload are heavily optimised for OpenGL and as a result is DirectX is, in most instances, useless.
Read more: MSI GT60-2OK 3K Mobile Workstation Review @ eTeknixROCCAT Kave XTD 5.1 Digital Review @ Vortez
ROCCAT have become a common name amongst gamers, for some it may be strange to think that it has been 5 years since the release of the Kone mouse. Through cutting edge innovation and marked improvement, it wasn't long before ROCCAT ventured into the realm of gaming audio, delivering what is, arguably, considered one of the best 'real' 5.1 surround gaming headsets, the Kave. That was now 2 years ago.
Today we look at the successor, the Kave XTD 5.1 Digital, rebuilt from the ground up to make improvements upon the original. Amongst various changes such as using USB and a semi discrete audio processor, a concern many hold over 'real' surround headsets is the weight, after all, you have to fit in three times the amount of audio drivers. The Kave XTD comes in at 335g, close to 25% lighter than the original which will be a welcome change. Let's move on and take at some of the other new features.
Read more: ROCCAT Kave XTD 5.1 Digital Review @ Vortez