Microsoft Surface 2 Review and more
Posted on: 10/21/2013 10:11 AM

Here a roundup of today's reviews and articles, including Microsoft Surface 2 Review, Cooler Master HAF Stacker 935 Midtower and mITX Case Review, NVIDIA G-Sync explained, iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5 head-to-head review, and Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 OC / GTX 780 OC Review

Microsoft Surface 2 Review @ Anandtech
A year ago Microsoft first threw its hat into the tablet race with a new brand, a new OS and a completely new strategy. To make a challenging situation even more difficult, Microsoft chose to go after the traditional tablet market with a device that was neither a tablet nor a notebook. I was relatively pleased with both Surface devices that launched last year. Surface RT had potential, but it was too slow, needed a price adjustment and of course needed more maturity on the OS side. Surface Pro on the other hand needed to be thinner, needed Haswell and related, it needed better battery life. With its new commitment to being a devices services company, Microsoft now joins the ranks of Apple and Google in shipping platforms with annual updates to hardware and software. Last week we saw the software side of the story, with a free update to Windows 8.1. It wasnt too long ago that Microsoft was charging hundreds of dollars for new OS revisions, but with Apple and Google redefining what users come to expect from both cost and frequency of OS updates, Microsoft had to change. Today we get the second half of the story. Microsofts partners have already announced their Windows 8.1 launch devices, now its time for Microsoft.

Read more: Microsoft Surface 2 Review @ Anandtech

Sony VAIO Pro 13 Ultrabook Native PCIe SSD Review 1GB/s Performance Fastest Ultra Speed To Date @ The SSD Review
A few weeks back, we published our review of the Sony VAIO Pro 13 ultrabook where we discovered that there were two different configurations of the VAIO being shipped, that with a SATA M.2 SSD and that with a native M.2 PCIe SSD. Not only did the system that we received contain a SATA M.2 SSD, but also, a quick check of the internet revealed that there were several Sony VAIO Pro 13 customers just as surprised and disapppointed. In subsequent conversations with Sony, we learned that certain pre-configured Sony Pro 13 models shipped with the M.2 SATA SSD, vice the native M.2 PCIe SSD.

Read more: Sony VAIO Pro 13 Ultrabook Native PCIe SSD Review 1GB/s Performance Fastest Ultra Speed To Date @ The SSD Review

Thermaltake NiC-F4 Review @ OCC
Cooling performance was about in the middle of the comparison field. That my sound bad but considering a lot of self-contained liquid cooling solutions are part of the field, the perspective changes when you see this $40 cooler outperforming coolers that cost more and deliver less. The red and black fans are going to match up nicely with the abundance of red and black themed boards on the market from all of the top manufacturers including ASUS, Gigabyte, and MSI. It's a good-looking cooler that performs well.

Read more: Thermaltake NiC-F4 Review @ OCC

Cooler Master HAF Stacker 935 Midtower and mITX Case Review @ HiTech Legion
For anyone who hasn't noticed yet, I am Texan. I am sure you have all heard that everything is bigger in Texas, and it is generally accepted that bigger is better, right? Our Texas State Fair just opened up a couple weeks ago and our new “Big Tex” was introduced. For those who may not know, Big Tex is a statue of sorts that stands 55 feet tall. He started out as a gimmick for a small town called Kerens trying to make Christmas revenue in 1949. The Chamber of Commerce commissioned the “Tallest Santa Claus” in the world, which was then built of iron pipe and papier mache. Within a couple years, the novelty of the big Santa had worn off and the President of the State Fair of Texas, R.L. Thornton, bought the shell for $750. Almost one year ago, as of the time of this writing, Big Tex burned to the ground. Like any tradition, we couldn’t just let it be, so we built a new one. Will he be as loved as the original? Who knows? But he is a symbol of Texas sized pride.

Read more: Cooler Master HAF Stacker 935 Midtower and mITX Case Review @ HiTech Legion

C6 Magnefix Bookcase Case for iPad mini Review @ TestFreaks
It’s Sunday, time for another iPad mini case review. Today’s review item is the Magnefix Bookcase from C6 a company with an environmentally friendly spin. Their company name originates from the sixth element on the periodic table – carbon the element required for life on Earth. With a name like that they have decided to be environmentally and socially conscious.

Read more: C6 Magnefix Bookcase Case for iPad mini Review @ TestFreaks

NVIDIA G-Sync explained @ Guru3D
On Friday NVIDIA announced G-Sync, and considering the little details available out there I wanted to write a quick follow-up on this new technology, as it really is a big announcement - a really big thing actually. In recent years we all have been driven by the knowledge that on a 60 Hz monitor you want 60 FPS rendered, this was for a reason, you want the two as close as possible to each other as that offers you not only the best gaming experience, but also the best visual experience. This is why framerate limiters are so popular, you sync each rendered frame in line with your monitor refresh rate. Obviously 9 out of 10 times that is not happening. This results into tow anomalies that everybody knows and experiences, stutter and tearing.

So what is happening ?

Very simply put, the graphics card is always firing of frames as fast as it can possibly do, that FPS this is dynamic and can bounce from say 30 to 80 FPS in an matter of split seconds. On the eye side of things, you have this hardware which is the monitor, and it is a fixed device as it refreshes at 60 Hz (60Hz is example). Fixed and Dynamic are two different things and collide with each other. So on one end we have the graphics card rendering at a varying framerate while the monitor refreshes at 60 images per second. That causes a problem as with a slower or faster FPS then 60 you'll get multiple images displayed on the screen per refresh of the monitor. So graphics cards don’t render at fixed speeds. In fact, their frame rates will vary dramatically even within a single scene of a single game, based on the instant load that the GPU sees.

Read more: NVIDIA G-Sync explained @ Guru3D

Astro A40 and Mixamp Review @ KitGuru
Within recent years we have seen a lot of competition from many brands in the audio sector. Trying to decide which one is best can often be a long drawn out process. Astro say that they are on a mission to produce the worlds finest gaming equipment. Today we are going to take a look at their A40 headset - it is worthy of your consideration?

Read more: Astro A40 and Mixamp Review @ KitGuru

Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Review @ Anandtech
When Microsoft introduced its first Surface devices last year, it did so in a staggered fashion. Surface RT showed up first, then four months later Surface Pro went on sale. Despite sharing a lot of the same DNA, the response to Surface Pro was much better than what we saw with Surface RT. While Surface RT suffered a lot from being a new platform that lacked the support of decades of Windows applications, Surface Pro had no such issue. Instead, Surface Pro offered the promise of a tablet that could potentially replace your notebook and desktop as well. Microsofts strategy with Surface Pro mimicked the market transition we saw years earlier. The notebooks that replaced desktops over the 2000s did so by being able to work as both notebooks or desktops. Similarly, Microsoft hoped that Surface Pro could act as both a tablet and a notebook for those users who didnt want to carry two devices. By and large, Microsoft was successful in achieving that vision. Although as with all devices that attempt to fulfill multiple roles, Surface Pro presented a set of tradeoffs. It wasnt as portable and didnt last as long on a single charge as a conventional ARM based tablet. It also didnt have the same keyboard or in-lap experience as a PC notebook. You got a compromised experience on both sides of the fence. Just as with Surface 2, Microsoft is committed to a more aggressive update cadence to its Surface Pro hardware as well. Here we are, almost 9 months since availability of the original Surface Pro, reviewing its successor.    

Read more: Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Review @ Anandtech

Cooler Master NotePal XL Laptop Cooler Review @ Madshrimps
One of the most recent laptop coolers/pads is the NotePal XL which features a redesign compared to the NotePal A200 we have taken a look over previously, is equipped with a larger 230mm fan and for connecting low power devices we have the option of using the integrated 3-port USB fan which is more convenient placed than before.

Read more: Cooler Master NotePal XL Laptop Cooler Review @ Madshrimps

Antec SP1 Portable Bluetooth Speaker @ Bjorn3D
A well-known brand among the PC industry, Antec is branching out like many other manufacturers. Antec A.M.P. (which stands for Antec Mobile Products) is the branch of Antec that specializes in mobile products. Antec’s foray into mobile peripherals started with an array of audio, power, and cleaning product. Today, we are going to take a look their SP1 portable Bluetooth speaker.

Read more: Antec SP1 Portable Bluetooth Speaker @ Bjorn3D

iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5 head-to-head review @ V3
We pit the current and former premium Apple smartphones against each other to see if it's worth upgrading     

Read more: iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5 head-to-head review @ V3

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 OC / GTX 780 OC Review @ Hardware.Info
Gigabyte sent us their OC version of the GeForce GTX 770 and GeForce GTX 780 graphics cards, equipped with their proprietary WindForce cooler. We tested both extensively and compared them to the other 770s and 780s we've had our hands on.

In the past we haven't received many cards from Gigabyte, but that seems to be changing with the arrival of the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 OC and GTX 780 OC. In case long-time readers are wondering why we frequently reviewed Gigabyte motherboards but not their graphics cards in our round-ups, it's because they're actually two different business units.

Read more: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 OC / GTX 780 OC Review @ Hardware.Info

Noctua NH-U14S Cooler & NF-A15 Fan Review @ Funky Kit
Aftermarket cooling is almost commonplace amongst the PC gaming community these days; they're affordable and keep your CPU within tolerable levels while pulling an all-nighter on Quake. People still play Quake, right? Anyway, this heatsink in particular is one of Noctua's children and will be proving to us whether or not it's even worth considering for more than a few minutes. This is the NH-U14S. No fancy names this time.

Noctua is fairly well-known among benchers, but just in case you've never heard of them: website

Read more: Noctua NH-U14S Cooler & NF-A15 Fan Review @ Funky Kit

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