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

EVGA GeForce GTX 780 ACX SC Review @ Hardware Canucks

Published: Thursday, June 20, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Ninjalane

One of the best things a video card mfg can do is offer up their own cooling solution but you have to be careful that it not only outperforms the stock cooler but also looks good.  The ACX cooler from EVGA does both of these things.

The GTX 780 is one of today's most popular graphics cards and EVGA's Superclocked series boosts its performance to some impressive levels.  Added to this pre-overclocked goodness is a new custom designed ACX cooler which boosts cooling levels and remains blissfully silent.

EVGA is famous for their Superclocked video cards but don't let that fool you because there is a Classified edition in there someplace that demands some attention.

Computex 2013 Madshrimps Style @ Madshrimps

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

Computex is so big you're never quite sure what you will see or who you will run into.  Case in point, two editors from Madshrimps.  As a hardware enthusiast and overclocker I can usually be found at the component booths but also lurking around some of the after events such as the Gigabyte Overclocker Gathering and MSI OC Workshop.

If you look careful you might even find a photo of me in their gallery.

Even though CeBIT still is one of the biggest tradeshows in Europe, most big vendors seem to slowly but steadily be less and less present at the Hannover hallen. Most of the big names, either have rented hotel suites outside the CeBIT fair or are solely represented at the Planet Resellers booth. Secondly most new hardware launches are done at CES in Las Vegas or at the center of the computing world, Taipei City in Taiwan. This year we opted to go to the Computex Tradeshow to visit an old friend and gather with some of world's most famous overclockers. Time to bag up and head inbound Taiwan !

Instead of a daily post they opted to do one big article so hunker down and check out the carnage.  (psst.  good stuff on page 15+)

ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DirectCU II OC review

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

GTX 780 is the yum when it comes to video cards under a G in the US.  Does Asus do the card justice?

We review the ASUS GTX780-DC2OC-3GD5. Its Titan's little brother, the GeForce GTX 780 from ASUS, in a DirectCU II OC flavah-flaf. This is the 3GB DirectCU II & CoolTech Fan edition that comes factory clocked for you at 889 MHz (Ref 863) with a Boost clock of 941 MHz (Ref 900). However, ASUS increased the power limits a little as it seems, as the during monitoring the card ran steady at 1058 MHz. We'll throw our entire benchmark arsenal at the card including multiple FCAT tests.

The clocks seem good and the DirectCU II cooler is quite good though it is difficult to see the PCB construction and overclocking results are somewhat weak at 1000Mhz.  It seems like there is some room for improvement.

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.