Tech News

  • G.Skill TridentZ 3200 MHz 32GB Quad Channel DDR4 memory review

    Published: Monday, October 17, 2016 | By: Dennis

    GSKill you say?  Quad channel you say? 3200Mhz!! Enough, take my money!

    We review a 32GB TridentZ 3200 MHz CAS14 DDR4 memory from G.Skill. It's fast, it's cool and runs XMP 2.0 memory profiles on Intel platforms as well. Join us as we review some of the fastest clocked bars of memory your money can get you.

    I have already reviewed a dual channel kit of TridenZ running at 3466Mhz and designed for the new Skylake however quad channel at 3200Mhz is something you just don't see every day.  Sure, you can buy two dual channel kits and make a quad but, there is some low level testing and qualification taking place to ensure all of the modules will work well together.

    In fact, most high speed dual channel kits are the same modules used in a lower speed quad channel setup due to the tolerances needed to run the four-way.

  • Tesoro Gram Spectrum @ LanOC Reviews

    Published: Monday, October 17, 2016 | By: Dennis

    I have seen some keyboards in my day and even got to review some EL lighted ones before RGB was cool.  This white beast from Tesoro looks pretty cool even if their widescreen lens gives it the fish eye.

    With us being a few years into the whole RGB movement with mechanical keyboards, we are still seeing some companies finally moving their keyboards over to RGB and others have been refining their original designs. At this point, I have tested and covered just about everything and I think almost every day I’m turning down companies who want to send more and more of the same. I nearly did the same with the Gram Spectrum from Tesoro but the fact it was available in an all white design caught my eye. With everyone else only selling them in black, it is nice to see something a little different. On top of that, the Gram Spectrum also has Tesoro’s new switch called the Tesoro Agile with a short throw and short actuation point. So today I’m going to check out the Gram Spectrum and see what it is all about in all of its pale glory and find out how the new switches compare to the rest of the market.

    RGB does seem to be the trend of the future and while it will eventually fade away and lose popularity there will still be people who kick back with a cold one and say "hey, you remember dem RGB LED lights?  ya, dems was the time."

    Personally I'm waiting for the next generation, I think they will finally get all the bugs worked out by then, I mean seriously they have only had like 40 years to perfect the LED, what is 5 more.

  • Fierce PC Dragon Shield Review @ Vortez

    Published: Wednesday, October 12, 2016 | By: Dennis

    Here we have a Skylake based PC that has not only been overclocked but is also watercooled with DIY parts.

    Dr00l!!

    In the spotlight today is the Dragon Shield from Fierce PC. This computer system is a high-end offering which is laden with features. This rig takes advantage of Intel’s Z170 chipset and therefore makes use of the Intel Core i7-6700K. Accompanying this CPU there is 16GB DDR4, GTX 1070 and a trio of storage drives including M.2 NVMe technology. Not only has Fierce PC overclocked the CPU and GPU but they’ve also installed a custom water cooling configuration in order to achieve extremely low-temperatures.

    The specs read as a "whos who" of high-end hardware making you wonder how they can sell it for 2 grand?

  • Worldwide PC Shipments Declined 5.7 Percent in 3Q16

    Published: Wednesday, October 12, 2016 | By: Dennis

    I am often reminded of a dicussion I had with a fellow review site owner over the future of the PC.  This was during a discussion about "sweet spots" and how there was computer hardware you needed vs computer hardware that was excessively fast.  I told him that I felt it was the high-end hardware that would keep mfgs afloat and of course he disagreed.

    Thing is that was 5 years ago during the start of the "PC sales are declining" scare that started to kill off review sites and what have we learned since then?

    Yep, high-end hardware is keeping mfgs alive and the reason for this is simple.  We have 3 types of computer users. 

    First are your mainstream users, these people use a computer because they have to and could care less what is inside so long as it works.  When the computer gets old or infected with something they also take it to Best Buy and get scammed into buying a new one or will give up on the PC and use a tablet or their phone.

    The second group is working professionals.  These people are developers, designers, builders, programmers, etc. and have to use a computer on a daily basis to get their work done.  They know what they have, know what they need and know how to get it.  eg they buy what they need and use it until it until the warranty expires and starts the process again. 

    The final group is the enthusiasts.  These people are no different from anyone else they may be mainstream users, gamers, hackers or working professionals.  The difference is they know what they want and instead of buying a whole new machine they are on a continual upgrade path and will buy what they want.

    All three groups are hurting the PC market.  The first group is the reason why there are no new PC sales because they have given up.  Ultimately we don't care so much because they would only buy the cheapest thing at the store anyway.  The second group is really who we are measuring with the Gartner data and given that they are buying high-end machines they tend to last longer and don't need to be replaced as often.  Plus, let’s face it, you can game, program and even hack on 5 year old hardware.

    Our final group doesn't fall into this discussion however, is the group that hardware makers are targeting.  These people build their own PCs and are the only ones contributing to the “Make the PC great again” movement.  Sadly they are not represented as a sales number and given that hardware makers rarely supply boards to OEM suppliers you cannot measure their impact.

    PC manufacturers faced many challenges, which included weak back-to-school demand, and ongoing low demand in the consumer market, especially in emerging markets.



    "There are two fundamental issues that have impacted PC market results: the extension of the lifetime of the PC caused by the excess of consumer devices, and weak PC consumer demand in emerging markets," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "According to our 2016 personal technology survey, the majority of consumers own, and use, at least three different types of devices in mature markets. Among these devices, the PC is not a high priority device for the majority of consumers, so they do not feel the need to upgrade their PCs as often as they used to. Some may never decide to upgrade to a PC again.

    Eventually the declining sales will level off which will cause some of the major hardware makers to slowly die off.  I’m still not sure how this will turn around and with Microsoft pushing operating systems designed for tablets and Apple pushing their own tablets they too are contributing to the problem.

    Maybe the PC is dead however there will always be a need for a workstation in the professional space.  The question is, how big will this workstation be?

  • Corsair Carbide Series AIR 740 Cube Case Review @ [H]

    Published: Monday, October 10, 2016 | By: Dennis

    Funny thing about Corsair cases, they seem to be really popular and I have yet to find out why.  Sure I have seen them in person and even got to sit in on a few press conferences but, what really escapes me is why the general public "believes the marketing".

    Corsair is back with another cube type case this time in its Carbide AIR series. The model AIR 740 is a big steel case that has a big footprint, and along with that comes a spacious interior that will lend itself to just about any amount of hardware you want to install and Corsair has its sights set on excellent cooling for all that hardware.

    Don't get me wrong, cube cases are pretty darn cool, not only do they hold a good number of components and offer rather good cooling but also take up entirely too much desk space.  At least this one comes with a decorative front and features some Corsair branded fans.

    big whoop!

  • Lian Li Pitstop PC-T60A Open Air Test Bench Review

    Published: Monday, October 10, 2016 | By: Dennis

    I am no stranger to an open air test bench and test just about everything that comes though the lab on a custom platform I designed or a cut down chassis that has been in the lab since the very beginning. 

    Thing is the way I test my hardware may not suit everyone, in fact the majority of users could care less if you have easy access to heatsinks or a tray system to hold hard drives, they just want a side window, flashing lights and maybe a few fans.

    Well, you get none of that with this gem of a product.

    We’ve got a few semi-dedicated test systems in the office and a dedicated test bench, the MicroCool Banchetto 101 chassis. So, we swap components a lot if we want to use the Banchetto 101 chassis for any sort of sustained testing, like motherboard reviews.

    What I find to be the best thing about this review is how they mention the Microcool Banchetto in the opening quote and don't even include a picture of the product until page two.  I guess that is how you do things in the review world these days.

  • KFA2 GeForce GTX 1060 OC 6GB Video Card Review @ Madshrimps

    Published: Monday, October 10, 2016 | By: Dennis

    Here is what I would call the Zotac of Europe.  KFA2 is a brand you rarely see in the US and while I joke at the expense of Zotac the truth is KFA2 is a sub brand of Galaxy which is also loosely associated with Gainward.

    Gainward, as you may know, was one of the best video card builders in the world until they were bought by Galaxy and almost instantly reduced to a name.

    The GTX 1060 OC video card from KFA2 features a very solid build, while the cooling system succeeds to keep the GPU at low temperatures on high loads. In DirectX11, the card does trade punches with the RX480 and wins most of the time! Surprisingly, in DirectX12 the RX480 from AMD gains a small advantage but considering the low number of DX12 titles nowadays, we think currently this card is a better buy.

    KFA2 surprises us once again with the pricing of the reviewed model; the 6GB version of the GTX 1060 OC is available for just about 259 Euros -> this makes it clearly the cheapest dual-fan custom cooled card on the market, which is also pre-overclocked from the factory.

    Da Shrimps seem to really like the card and given the massive array of heatpipes shown through the branded fans I am sure the love is warranted.

  • GIGABYTE Z170X-UD5 TH Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks

    Published: Monday, October 10, 2016 | By: Dennis

    Some people wonder, "What is the best motherboard I can buy?" and depending on who you ask you will get a different answer each time.  The real question is.

    If I wanted a good motherboard, with great features I will use from a company I can trust, what would it be?

    GIGABYTE's Z170X-UD5 TH has it all; awesome overclocking headroom, a great price and Thunderbolt 3 compatibility but is that enough to differentiate this board from its countless competitors?

    The UD (Ultra Durable) series from Gigabyte is designed to be a all around motherboard solution to fit a wide range of markets from the fledging enthusiast to the seasoned builder who knows quality.  The Thunderbolt 3 controller is just icing on the cake.

    You know for all of those Thunderbolt devices everyone has cause it is sooooo popular. *sic*

  • Competitive Gaming on a Budget FNATIC Says Yes @ Techgage

    Published: Tuesday, October 04, 2016 | By: Dennis

    Maybe one of the shortest system reviews I have ever seen but does bring up a good question.  "Can you game on a $500 system?"

    Short answer "Yes",  You can game on anything from an Android tablet to a Dell to something you found at the thrift store.

    Longer answer: "Depends on what you want to play"

    This will undoubtedly raise a few eyebrows, as I admit I was a little suspicious whether you would actually be able to seriously game without a dedicated GPU. CPUs with integrated graphics have come a long way, and you are hard pressed to find motherboards nowadays without integrated video. There is an obvious push by the industry to integrate graphics. Years ago, it was common that the higher end motherboards didn’t have integrated graphics, but again, not the case these days.

    The question is, can you game at the level of the competition gamers, without dropping a bundle? Can you get enough power into a small form-factor that is smaller than a 6 pack of beer? Let’s take a closer look at what AMD and FNATIC have come up with.

    Something deep down tells me that you should NEVER game on internal graphics but most of that comes from several years knowing that internal graphics was always intended for corporate America and suzy/sammy homemaker checking email and watching pr0n. 

    If you want to really game you need a better graphics card.

    Thing is internal graphics have gotten better and while 4K gaming is still a long way off you can do 1080p with several hefty graphics tweaks. 

    Of course, just because you can build a cooler sized PC "designed for gaming" the real question is should you?  Why bother building something like that when you could buy one off the shelf, have access to tech support and will likely come with an OS. 

    Believe me I am all for building your own computer and tell people they should but "this" isn't how you do it.

  • EVGA Z170 Classified K Motherboard Review @ Legit Reviews

    Published: Monday, October 03, 2016 | By: Dennis

    EVGA makes some really good motherboards and none are better than the "Classified".  That is unless you are into LN2 overclocking then you will want the "Dark" or need something smaller then maybe a "Stinger" is in your future.

    Either way EVGA has something for everyone including Legit Reviews.

    With a change in Intel Chipsets we get new motherboards based on that chipset.  When the Intel Z170 chipset came out, EVGA provided us one of their three ATX Z170 based motherboards, the Z170 FTW.  We found that the motherboard provided the basic features that we were looking for in a basic Z170 motherboard; good overclocking features, USB 3.0, and M.2 NVMe support.  However, we found that it lacked some of the more advanced features that advanced enthusiasts were looking for; dual M.2 NVMe, and USB 3.1.  For these features, you need to look at EVGA’s more advanced Z170 ATX motherboard, the Z170 Classified K. Read on to see if it has what it needs to be your next motherboard!

    I have already reviewed the EVGA Z170 Classified K and found it to be an exceptional overclocker and not bad in the performance department either.  I was curious to see how they tested overclocking and found this little gem.

    Following our standard process, we were able to get the Intel i7-6700K to boot up at 5GHz, and successfully run the benchmarks.  Going beyond that, we would have various failures to boot or run the benchmarks.

    Ok, so I know a few things about overclocking and while I can believe they got a Core i7 6700K to run at 5Ghz I'm not sure how successfully run the benchmarks they were.  I mean, there are no overclocking scores and no confirmation on what cooler was used.

    Wow!