Best Desktop Video Cards - Holiday 2013 and more
Posted on: 12/03/2013 11:52 AM

Here a roundup of today's reviews and articles, including Best Desktop Video Cards - Holiday 2013, Lexar JumpDrive P10 32 GB USB 3.0, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition Tablet Review, DIAMOND Xtreme Sound 7.1 XS71HD Soundcard Review, and XMG C703 - world's thinnest 17in gaming laptop

Best Desktop Video Cards - Holiday 2013 @ Anandtech
Continuing our series of Holiday Buyers Guides, today well be taking a look at desktop video cards. Cyber Monday kicks off today, and while video cards neither have the margins to allow deep discount sales nor the popularity to be doorbusters, that doesnt mean there wont be some good offers out there for gamers gearing up for 2014. At this point AMD and NVIDIA have (to the best of our knowledge) completed their 2013 product rollouts, so for current generation products everything looks to have settled in place. NVIDIA for their part is continuing to offer the GeForce 700 series above $200 and the GeForce 600 series below $200, though the distinction is largely branding since so many of the GPUs are the same. Meanwhile AMD just finished launching a boatload of Radeon 200 series products from the high end all the way budget market, releasing a mix of products with both new GPUs (Hawaii) and reused GPUs (Tahiti, Pitcairn, Bonaire).

Read more: Best Desktop Video Cards - Holiday 2013 @ Anandtech

PowerColor R9 270X 2GB Devil Edition Video Card Review @ HiTech Legion
Finally we are seeing the “next” generation consoles arriving on the scene. What this means for the PC world is that game developers can finally start optimizing for higher graphics levels and still be able to target multiple audiences. We should see the DirectX 9/10 standards dissipate even more at this point and all future games built using DirectX 11+ standards. I believe that development cycles will also improve since developers will be able to focus on newer technologies without having to make adjustments to make their software run on certain hardware.

There is also a huge advantage to PC gamers, with the fact that both the PS4 and the XBOX One are based on PC hardware. Again, this will make it easier for developers to target all audiences and still make a quality game. So, hopefully, instead of seeing badly ported games, we should see games optimized for high end PCs with options for quality reduction that will be used on the consoles. Overall, though, we are talking about a point where we should see a big jump in graphics potential, so it is a great time to look at new GPUs.

Read more: PowerColor R9 270X 2GB Devil Edition Video Card Review @ HiTech Legion

MSI MPower Max Z87 LGA1150 Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks
MSI’s MPower series is their latest effort to compete against the likes of ASUS’ Deluxe and Gigabyte UD7 but to do so, these motherboards have a lot of ground to make up. Over the last few years, MSI has released some great mid-tier boards but ultimately fell behind the development curve for enthusiast-focused products. While the initial XPower lineup was a first tentative step towards building an enthusiast platform from the ground up, the new MPower MAX Z87 is the culmination of MSI’s ultimate design goals while adding in a touch of affordability.

Even though it is technically not their top-of-the-line Z87 model – a slot reserved for the e-ATX form factor XPower II – the MPower MAX is a flagship motherboard in its own right. It features top-tier additions in terms of both quality and the features it has to offer and at $230 it’s priced at a lower point than some competitors.

Read more: MSI MPower Max Z87 LGA1150 Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks

QNAP TS-470 Network Attached Storage Review @ APH Networks
For most people, if I were to ask them who their most admired person is, chances are they will reply with a political leader of some sort. What makes a political or world leader great? Obviously, the skill and character of the person is crucial, but it is also a combination of the times and the people under him or her. For me, I have always been a fan of Sir Winston Churchill. His unfading determination, uncompromising character, ability to inspire enthusiasm, and having foresight in seeing the weight of the situation has made him a hero in the hearts of people around the world for generations. Now if he were to become the prime minister of the United Kingdom today, would he have made such an impact? Personally, I do not think so. On the flip side, let's look at Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto. By now, you should be quite familiar with this guy. Is Rob Ford a great political leader? If you look from the perspective where he balanced the city budget without increasing taxes or decreasing services, then yes, he is. But if you look at how he drinks and drives, smokes illegal drugs, and makes inappropriate comments on live television, then you will understand why he has been an international joke for the last month or so. Clearly, being great is not just about what you do, but it is also about who you are. At the end of the day, while there is no particular formula to being great, there are factors of a great leader. The same goes in the computer world. What makes a product great? Is it its performance? Or is it the design? Again, while there are no formulas, there are factors that make a product great. Today, we will take a look at QNAP's latest network attached storage system, the TS-470. After so many years of making NAS boxes, does it still have what it takes to be at the forefront of technology? Let's dig into the details, and find out more!

Read more: QNAP TS-470 Network Attached Storage Review @ APH Networks

ROCCAT Ryos MK Glow Illuminated Gaming Mechanical Keyboard Review @ OCC
The Ryos MK Glow Illuminated Mechanical Gaming from ROCCAT was awesome, though it took me till the very end to finally figure that out. I liked nearly every aspect of this keyboard, from the Black key switches, to the blue color scheme, to the slightly overly complicated software. For pure gaming, this keyboard is sublime. The possibilities for customization are awe inspiring. Certain users will dislike the small number of standalone macros, but for those who are adventurous enough, there are more macros than ever before. It does require some extra space because of the solid, integrated wrist rest and extra mysterious width, but that is a total afterthought compared to making games play almost any way you want. Having every key light up and having your very own overly dramatic man voice tell you how to quick record keys is just a bonus.

Read more: ROCCAT Ryos MK Glow Illuminated Gaming Mechanical Keyboard Review @ OCC

Gigabyte Radeon R9 270X OC Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
The Radeon R9 270X graphics card was released by AMD in October 2013 and quickly became a favorite for gamers wanting a new card at the $200 price point. When the AMD Radeon R9 270X card first came out we reviewed the reference card and a high-end custom card by Sapphire. Today we will be taking a look at the Gigabyte R9 270X OC that is sold under part number GV-R927XOC-2GD and retails right now for $199.99 plus shipping. Not a bad price for a custom designed card that is also factory overclocked and backed by 3-year warranty.

Read more: Gigabyte Radeon R9 270X OC Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews

Gigabyte Aivia Uranium Wireless Gaming Mouse and Macro Station Video Review @
Today DaveChaos reviews the Gigabyte Aivia Uranium Wireless Gaming Mouse including Ghost Macro Station.

Read more: Gigabyte Aivia Uranium Wireless Gaming Mouse and Macro Station Video Review @

Noctua NH-U14S Heatsink Review @
In this review Frostytech will be testing out Noctua's NH-U14S heatsink, a 170mm tall thermal solution built around six 6mm diameter heatpipes and featuring one 140x150mm fan called the NF-A15 PWM. The Noctua-branded NF-A15 fan features all kinds of fancy attributes designed to decrease noise, increase airflow, lengthen bearing life and cancel out errant vibrations. Given the pride Noctua have in their fans, Frostytech will be taking the extra step of testing the NH-U14S heatsink in stock and dual fan configurations, on 85W, 150W and 200W synthetic thermal test platforms.

Read more: Noctua NH-U14S Heatsink Review @

Patriot Fuel+ 9000mAh Mobile Rechargeable Battery Review @ eTeknix
We find ourselves busy every moment of our lives. There’s not enough time to do all the things we want or even need to do and charging our portable devices is one of those things as that leaves us with the inconvenience of being tethered by a cable and a power source. With smartphones getting faster and coming with bigger screens, the need for a larger battery is ever growing and while some manufacturers have started putting high capacity batteries in their devices, others have not in order to keep costs down. Either way, most of us are left reaching the end of the day with a phone or tablet that will not turn on.

Whatever the reason though, we have all no doubt found ourselves in need of just that extra bit of juice, and left without a power outlet near by to charge with. In comes the Patriot Fuel+ Rechargeable Battery, a battery pack with a USB port on it that can run and charge your devices on the go!

Patriot are famous for their memory and flash based products, but they also have a strong line of accessories like the Fuel+ and today we are going to be taking a look at the 9000mAh model. The Fuel+ is intended to be a simple and easy to use product, it’s designed to do one thing and one thing well and that’s to charge up to 2 devices at will.

Read more: Patriot Fuel+ 9000mAh Mobile Rechargeable Battery Review @ eTeknix

Lexar JumpDrive P10 32 GB USB 3.0 @ techPowerUp
The Lexar JumpDrive P10 may look like the Triton released last year, but don't be fooled: Lexar has upped the maximum speeds of the unit to 265 MB/s read and 245 MB/s write!

Read more: Lexar JumpDrive P10 32 GB USB 3.0 @ techPowerUp

Seagate Wireless Plus 1 TB External HDD Review @ Hardware Secrets
The Seagate Wireless Plus 1 TB is an external HDD that can be accessed through a USB 3.0 port as a regular external drive, but also has a Wi-Fi interface, being wirelessly accessible by a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Let's test it!

Read more: Seagate Wireless Plus 1 TB External HDD Review @ Hardware Secrets

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition Tablet Review @
Just over a year ago, Samsung broadened its Note portfolio to not only include phones, but tablets as well. The company saw a need to introduce a slate that catered to working professionals, power users, and those who need more content creation capabilities -- hence, the Galaxy Note 10.1 with the S Pen was born. In the ever-challenging world of product naming and differentiation, Samsung decided on quite the mouthful for the Note 10.1's successor. The Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition is perhaps awkwardly named, but it's shipping in a market where work-capable tablets are certainly generating a lot of buzz.

Microsoft's own Surface 2 line just shipped, and the company is hoping to right the wrongs of the original. Samsung wants to slot into that category, competitively offering up a powerful, versatile slate that's relatively affordable given its capabilities. The new Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition also has a few unique features: compatibility with Samsung's Galaxy Gear smart watch, a super high resolution 2560X1600 display, and a leather-like rear cover that adds style in a product category that's growing increasingly ho-hum. Let's take a look at what makes this tablet tick.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition Tablet Review @

Seasonic Platinum Series SS-660XP2 Review @ ocaholic
The Seasonic SS-660XP2 offers some quite unique features paired up with 80PLUS Platinum certification and a high-end design, all packed together with a rather affordable US $140 price tag. Today, we will check out if Seasonic, who is also the maker of this PSU, actually lives up to its name and high standards expected from it.

Read more: Seasonic Platinum Series SS-660XP2 Review @ ocaholic

Corsair Hydro Series H75 Review @ Vortez
The age of liquid CPU coolers is well and truly upon is, numerous brands are now involved in this energetic market space none more so than Corsair. Their Hydro Series is a product line which is now synonymous with self-contained liquid CPU coolers and is a range which is responsible for projecting the brand to prominence only a few years ago. In October, Corsair announced a new model within the series named H75 and today we are to look at this new AIO (All-in-One) CPU cooler.

The Hydro Series H75 is a liquid CPU cooler which is comprised of a slim-line 120mm radiator, two SP120L cooling fans and a newly design Asetek pump and mounting system. The Hydro Series has impressed before, can it continue to with this new model?

Read more: Corsair Hydro Series H75 Review @ Vortez

Gigabyte Z87X-UD3H Motherboard Review @
When it comes to choosing any motherboard there are so many options out there. Many companies load up motherboards with great features, but sadly most users won't even make use of these features. So inevitably we are stuck with very expensive motherboard that we never really make full use of. Today we will be taking a look at a motherboard at the lower-end spectrum as far as pricing goes, but it still offers a solid feature set. The motherboard in question is the Gigabyte Z87X-UD3H. This motherboard supports Intel's 4th Generation Haswell processors and features 8 SATA 6GB/s ports, 10 USB 3.0 ports, multi-GPU support, and a very impressive UEFI BIOS. Is this the Z87 motherboard for you? Read on as we find out...

Read more: Gigabyte Z87X-UD3H Motherboard Review @

Synology DS1513+ Scalable NAS for SMB Review @ Madshrimps
The DS1513+ NAS from Synology comes with a redesigned enclosure which features removable fans, new screwless trays, 2GB of DDR3 RAM (with the possibility of upgrade to 4GB), an Intel Dual Core CPU at 2.13GHz and no less than four LAN ports with Link Aggregation support.

Read more: Synology DS1513+ Scalable NAS for SMB Review @ Madshrimps

DIAMOND Xtreme Sound 7.1 XS71HD Soundcard Review @ HCW
We repeat the mantra in almost all of our motherboard reviews – if you have decent speakers or headphones, you owe it to yourself to not use the onboard audio controller used by your motherboard. It’s not that all onboard audio codecs suck – they can actually be very good, and the manufacturers often make high end codecs as well – it’s that most do.

You don’t even need extremely high end audio equipment to benefit from a better audio solution. Any decent set of speakers or headphones will make full use of improvements over most of the low end codecs such as lower end Via and C-Media codecs, and pretty much anything with a crab on it (Realtek).

So do you need to upgrade to an expensive soundcard like the $130 Asus Xonar Phoebus Solo we reviewed a while back? Not necessarily. The Diamond Xtreme Sound 7.1 uses a very similar audio controller and codec as the Xonar Phoebus. However, the latter adds several audio converters and amps for even higher output quality. If you are just going to use a set of decent Logitech speakers or headphones, or a digital home theatre system, something like the Diamond Xtreme Sound 7.1 may be just what you need.

Read more: DIAMOND Xtreme Sound 7.1 XS71HD Soundcard Review @ HCW

Lenovo IdeaCentre Flex 20 Review @
The IdeaCentre Flex 20 is another innovative desktop PC/tablet hybrid from Lenovo. It looks just like a standard all-in-one desktop PC, but fold up the stand and unplug the power cord, and you've got a 20-inch tablet.

Read more: Lenovo IdeaCentre Flex 20 Review @

SAPPHIRE TOXIC R9 280X Video Card Review @ HardOCP
The SAPPHIRE TOXIC R9 280X is here and is screaming to be overclocked. This bad boy is suited with the new SAPPHIRE Tri-X cooling system, a hefty factory overclock, and is built to push overclocking to the next level. It will have some fierce competition going head to head with the ASUS GeForce GTX 770 DirectCU II and its overclocking ability.

Sapphire Technology is a well-known company based in Hong Kong, China, and is recognized as the single largest supplier of AMD-based video cards. Since ATI began funneling graphics processors to AiBs in 2001, Sapphire has been at the head of the red-team pack. In addition to video cards , Sapphire also offers a series of motherboards, workstation class video cards, multimedia products such as TV tuners and Digital Photo frames, and mini PCs like the EDGE HD2.

On our test bench today is the SAPPHIRE TOXIC R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 (100363TXSR) video card.

Read more: SAPPHIRE TOXIC R9 280X Video Card Review @ HardOCP

Western Digital Caviar Black V2 4TB (WD4003FZEX) review: faster Black hard drive @ Hardware.Info
In late October, Western Digital released a new version of its Caviar Black Edition hard disks. WD calls the new ones 'Caviar Black' like the original series, but promises better performance compared to the first version. We tested the 4TB model.

While WD called the new version by the same name, it does have new product codes. For example, the original Caviar Black 4TB was called the WD4001FAEX and the new one WD4003FZEX.

Read more: Western Digital Caviar Black V2 4TB (WD4003FZEX) review: faster Black hard drive @ Hardware.Info

Lenovo Erazer X700 Gaming Desktop PC Review @ TechSpot
As the globe’s largest PC maker, Lenovo is well-known for its diverse portfolio of offerings spanning home and business. Gaming, on the other hand, is one area Lenovo has mostly ignored over the years. With that in mind, we introduce to you the Erazer X700 -- Lenovo’s first stab at a PC tailored for gamers.

Features which qualify the X700 as a full-fledged gaming PC are its unique exterior, performance-centered parts, ample tool-free expandability, liquid cooling and OneKey overclocking. Sound good so far?

Read more: Lenovo Erazer X700 Gaming Desktop PC Review @ TechSpot

Corsair Vengeance K95 keyboard Review @ Guru3D
We review the Corsair Vengeance K95 mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Red switches. The K95 is the flagship successor in the popular Vengeance keyboard series and, while it uses the same basis and concept, but it adds some more features, is much more cool looking with full LED lit programmable keys, and has a trick or two encompassed in the new design as well as programmable G keys, a feature much desired by many of you.

Today's tested set of keys for example comes in black anodized aluminum, and it just looks incredible, though I'll immediately acknowledge that taste is a very subjective thing. Still, looking at what Corsair offers with the Vengeance K95 gaming keyboard brings a smile to my face, especially since it now has full LED lit keys. So from an aesthetics viewpoint, Corsair just gets it. The K95 is a mechanical RTS gaming keyboard. The previous series received some criticism on products like the K60 and K90, so the concept was overhauled a bit. For example, every key is now mechanical, using Cherry MX Red key-switches. So yes, the K95 is 100% mechanical. New also is per-key adjustable back-lighting, using white LEDs, so that you can customize which keys are lit, according to the game you’re playing. Though we received the black anodised aluminum version, the standard brushed silver aluminum frame is available as well, though I definitely prefer black anodised aluminum.

Read more: Corsair Vengeance K95 keyboard Review @ Guru3D

Biostar Z87X 3D Motherboard Review @ Bjorn3D
Biostar is one of those names you hear about but not as common as the “bigger” players in the component game but regardless of this they have a decent share in the more cost conscious market which is actually a very large segment to live in. Also on previous mainstream enthusiasts boards I have been rather impressed with the performance/price ratio the Biostar boards are able to pull in comparison to some of the higher priced competitors.

Today we have Biostar’s top Z87 model which integrates their HiFi audio solution for a great audio experience should you use this for a multimedia or gaming board this one should be up for the task.

The one thing that did surprise me is the lack of SLI support which means your talking single Nvidia card or crossfire depending upon your needs, but from what i have seen many users utilize a single card setup anyways especially budget builds so this may be a great low cost solution for a low cost gamer.

Read more: Biostar Z87X 3D Motherboard Review @ Bjorn3D

HTC Desire 500 Review @ V3
Had it been released six months ago, the HTC Desire 500 would have been the best affordable Android handset available, offering quad-core performance while costing a rock-bottom £199. However, with the arrival of the even higher-specced and cheaper Motorola Moto G imminent, its business appeal has been significantly tarnished.

Read more: HTC Desire 500 Review @ V3

XMG C703 - world's thinnest 17in gaming laptop @ HEXUS
Mainstream laptops haven't changed all that much in the past 10 years; for the most part, we remain stuck with bulky chassis that sport 1,366x768-pixel panels. These contrast sharply with sleek, slim tablets equipped with HD-busting resolutions as standard. Perhaps, then, it's best that laptop manufacturers concentrate on high-end models offering genuine gaming performance contained within svelte chassis.

Gigabyte's visited this market with the P34G while UK builder PC Specialist has gone big with the Optimus V X17. Looking to take the best bits of both by releasing a large-screen gaming laptop with an impossibly-thin profile, German manufacturer XMG believes it has an ace-in-the-hole with the staidly-named C703.

Read more: XMG C703 - world's thinnest 17in gaming laptop @ HEXUS

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