After careful consideration and much regret I have decided to transfer all hardware review activities to a new domain.  I purchased in 2012 and have been working hard to build a new and improved Ninjalane on that domain.  If you are reading this you have reached one of the archived articles, news, projects and reviews that were left behind during the site migration. 

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Ninjalane News

MSI GTX 770 Lightning 2 GB @ techPowerUp

Published: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

Most people in the know will think the following quote might be a bit of an overstatement considering that the GTX 770 Lighting is using the same PCB as the GTX 680 but, then again, that isn't common knowledge either.

MSI's GeForce GTX 770 Lightning uses a completely re-engineered PCB design with a large dual-fan cooler. The card is also overclocked out of the box, which gives it an extra performance advantage.

When it comes to custom video cards that you can buy in the US there are basically three companies you can choose from.  MSI, EVGA and Asus.  MSI is by far the most popular with the Lightning edition and happens to be the only card you want to use in the MOA.  EVGA has been making good headway to become one of the premiere go to partners with their Classified edition cards.  Asus on the other hand doesn't market in the US all that often so it's hard to know if their stuff is all that good or just an understated overachiever.

Thermaltake Urban S31 Mid Tower Case Review @ HiTech Legion

Published: Thursday, June 13, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

Hate to say it but I have never been all that impressed with this chassis.  The styling is just kinda, meh.

The Thermaltake Urban S31 Mid Tower case is designed to have a simple appearance without cutting out features. The Urban S31 has a brushed aluminum finish on the front door panel, covering the external drive bays while leaving the I/O ports accessible. Front I/O ports include two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 Ports, and audio in and out jacks. There is also a 2.5”/3.5” HDD docking station on the top of the case, offering an easy way to swap hard drives. Both the 5.25” and 3.5” drive bays feature a tool-free design making the installation easy to accomplish. The Thermaltake Urban S31 has a cooling system made up of two preinstalled 120mm fans and plenty of optional mounting locations for additional cooling.

The layout should be good for modifications and the cooling is already decent which opens up a world of options.

Chinese Supercomputer Tops the Charts - Again

Published: Monday, June 17, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Web

Here is some interesting news on the super computer front.  Almost a year after the launch of Titan (the super computer not the video card) the Chinese have announced that they are once again at the top of the supercomputer world with Tianhe-2.  The new super computer is built with 3.1 million processor cores and is two years ahead of its time.

The Tianhe-2 has 32,000 Xeon processors boosted by 48,000 Xeon Phi accelerator processors for a total of 3.12 million processor cores linked together with a Chinese interconnect called TH Express-2. It's also got 1 petabyte of memory (that's about 12,500 times as much as in an ordinary personal computer), runs the university's Kylin Linux operating system, and sucks down 17.8 megawatts of power.

-- snip --
Its performance is nearly double that of the machine now bumped to second place, the Cray XK7 system called Titan at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, with a speed of 17.59 petaflops. Third place went to Sequoia, an IBM BlueGene/Q system installed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory with a speed of 17.17 petaflops. 

There is one problem surrounding the modern super computer and that is performance per watt.  They say the most efficient systems use about 1 to 2 megawatts per petaflops.  Combine that with excess heat and power to cool the datacenter and you have a really expensive computer to run.  When Titan was built they attempted to create a very power efficient system using around 8.2 MegaWatts of power.  That is about a MegaWatt power savings over Tianhe-2 given that it is also twice as powerful.

Check out the article, it's worth a read.

ASUS GTX 780 Direct CU II OC 3 GB @ techPowerUp

Published: Thursday, June 13, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

Here come the custom GTX 780's, seriously these are the best cards money can buy, the only thing that would make them better is the ability to link four of them together.  Silly nVidia SLI is for fun and Titan is too expensive for 4-way. sad smile

With the GTX 780 DirectCU II OC, ASUS introduces a new cooler design, which uses upgraded heatpipes that can carry more heat and two new fans to optimize airflow. The card is also overclocked out of the box and comes with a 10-phase power design.

Asus has always been somewhat subdued when it comes to their VRMs but when combined with their mature tweaking tools you can really push them to the limit.

Noctua NH-U12S and NH-U14S Single Tower CPU Coolers Review @ Pro-Clockers

Published: Thursday, June 13, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

Looking for some great heatsinks? Then be sure to check these out.

There are a lot of companies out there making coolers for desktop processors nowadays. Using aftermarket coolers is a mainstream wherein you get better cooling which helps improve the lifespan of your computer. When looking at the selection today, you would get overwhelmed at the number of options and try to make a good choice. Most of the time, we rely on friends and web publishers to make a purchase. This is one reason why we are here for you. There are also individuals that tend to go with brands they felt had given them the best products over the years.

I have a couple of these in the lab and plan to put them thru the paces.  With any luck the review should be posted over the next few weeks.

The Worst Part of Traveling

Published: Thursday, June 13, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Ninjalane

After another two weeks in Taipei Taiwan I am happy to say that I am glad to be home.  The trip turned out to be a great success, good food, good people and minus a few hiccups the travel process was a vast improvement over the travel debacle of 2012. 

As I have mentioned many times I use Computex as a way to meet with my manufacture friends and actually see some of the products that will be coming out over the next couple months.  Despite all of the good there is one thing I dread when Computex is said and done.

Jet Lag

Yes folks it seems that when you travel into the future by 14+ hours it takes awhile to adjust once you have returned.

Gigabyte Fly Headset Review @ APH Networks

Published: Wednesday, June 05, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

The Fly headset is one of the new products shown at Computex and is a super lightweight headset with 40mm drivers and stylish look.  Their biggest claim to fame is weight, or lack there of.

Will the Gigabyte Fly fly through out tests? Let's see how the latest from the company turns out.

I'm not usually one to like small over the ear headphones but they are still plenty popular as an in-ear replacement when sound quality is a concern.

Computex 2013 Show Coverage @ Ninjalane

Published: Monday, June 03, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Ninjalane

Computex is a big show and sometimes things get lost in the shuffle. I'll attempt to keep you notified at some of the cool stuff I find along the way.  I'm going to try and keep to a daily posting schedule.

Day 0: The Pre-Show
Computex 2013: Day 0 - The Pre-Show Spotlight
Computex 2013: Day 0 - The Pre-Show Spotlight Gallery

Day 1: The First Full Day
Computex 2013: Day 1 - The Start of the Show
Computex 2013: Day 1 - The Start of the Show Gallery

Day 2: Visits with Roccat Corsair and EVGA
Computex 2013: Day 2 - Visits with Roccat Corsair and EVGA
Computex 2013: Day 2 - Visits with Roccat Corsair and EVGA Gallery

Day 3 - Visits with beQuiet and Several Random Encounters
Computex 2013: Day 3 - Visits with beQuiet and Several Random Encounters
Computex 2013: Day 3 - Visits with beQuiet and Several Random Encounters Gallery

Computex 2013: What Hardware Canucks Wants to See

Published: Sunday, June 02, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

Here is a neat little article that speculates what you may see at Computex through the eyes of Hardware Canucks.  Some of the stuff has been confirmed thru the normal media channels while some of the other things are pure educated speculation.

In the early days companies would go to great lengths to launch products at Computex and did a really good job keeping everything quiet until the big unveil.  Due to the law of "I must one up you" we are finding that product launches are happening sooner or waiting until long after Computex fever draws down, like in September. O_o.

Heck, even Computex articles are going up "days" before the show starts, case in point happy smile

Before the official start of Computex, Hardware Canucks' reporters at the show have a discussion regarding what's expected and which companies are about to make a big splash.

Personally I am looking forward to checking out the Haswell motherboards, GTX 700 series graphics cards and whatever AMD has to offer.  Tablets are cool and all but really aside from what is inside they are all basically the same and only distinguished by the operating system.

Mozilla Readies Major Firefox Redesign - Wonders what to do

Published: Saturday, June 01, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Web

Don't get me wrong but didn't Microsoft re-think the browser back in like '00?  If memory serves they also promptly get sued by the sensitive Europeans for bogarting Internet presence in the Windows OS??

Well I don't blame the Mozilla folks, the browser needs to be "re-invented" since it has started to be come more than "just" an application to view websites.  the EA Origin application pushes the limits by spawning a browser window which in turn spawns a game (read: Battlefield 3).  Basically this excatly what Steam does but instead of writing their own browser engine they are using the one you already have installed.

HTML5 has also blurred the lines on what a desktop application is over a web one by  borrowing media support from the host system.  So, if you have a high quality audio player the browser will use that to play music instead of relying on what Flash implementation has been provided.  As a web developer I am a little torn on how HTML5 works but do welcome the change.

“Maybe we shouldn’t even call it a browser anymore,” Mozilla’s VP of Firefox engineering Jonathan Nightingale told me a few days ago. “‘Browser’ is really an antiquated word. People don’t really browse all that much anymore.” Instead, he argues, we now mostly use our browsers to access sophisticated web apps, web-based productivity tools and social networks.

For browser developers, this means they have to start to rethink what their browsers should look like now that usage patterns have changed and that the majority of users have become pretty experienced Internet (and browser) users.

I'm not a fan of the new user interface, making Firefox look like Chrome is just proving that Chrome won the "new" browser wars.  I hope this isn't the start of a downward sprial for the browser but, I have faith and will support them whenever I can.