The Be Quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 - White Edition is an upgraded but functionally similar version of the Dark Base 900, the highest of the high end Be Quiet! enclosures. The tagline for this model is “outstanding flexibility and silence,” referring to the fact that the motherboard can be inverted, a feature we previewed at Computex a year ago. We first spotted the white edition at this year’s Computex, where Be Quiet! was showing off the limited edition white variety.

The newest version of the case differs only from previous DBP 900 cases in its color, but as we never reviewed the original Dark Base Pro 900, we’ll be going through the complete review and benchmark today. This Dark Base Pro 900 review includes thermal testing for standard and inverted layouts, ventilation/duct testing, noise testing, and assembly.

A Big Push for Case Reviews

By Published September 18, 2017 at 10:14 pm

GN’s main video producer, Andrew, has been on a bit of a vacation for the past week, and that will continue for a few more days. We’ve also got other upcoming travel this weekend, so content has been in a longer pipeline than normally.

Right now, the two of us at home base have been working on cranking away at upcoming CPU and case content. The cases are part of a renewed push by GN to expand coverage outside of “just” CPUs and GPUs. Not long ago, we added to our case testing by expanding into 3DMark testing for real-world scenarios, Blender testing (for more real-world scenarios), and fortifying our torture workloads. Our case reviews have slowly added testing with and without panels, filters, and optional features, digging for optimal configurations on a per-case basis.

EVGA GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 Hybrid Tear-Down

By Published September 17, 2017 at 10:23 pm

Taking apart EVGA's GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 Hybrid isn't too different from the process for all the company's other cards: Two types of Phillips head screws are used in abundance for the backplate, the removal of which effectively dismantles the entire card. Wider-thread screws are used for the shroud, with thinner screws used for areas where the backplate is secured to front-side heatsinks (rather than the plastic shroud).

That's what we did when we got back from our PAX trip -- we dismantled the FTW3 Hybrid. We don't have any immediate plans to review this card, particularly since its conclusions -- aside from thermals -- will be the same as our FTW3 review, but we wanted to at least have a look at the design.

Before PAX Prime, we took apart the Logitech G903 mouse and wireless charging station, known as “Powerplay.” The G903 mouse can socket a “Powerplay module” into the weight slot, acting as one of two coils to engage the magnetic resonance charging built into the underlying powerplay mat. Magnetic resonance and inductive charging have been around since Nikola Tesla was alive, so it’s not new technology – but hasn’t been deployed in a mainstream peripheral implementation. Laptops have attempted various versions of inductive charging in the past (to varying degrees of success), and phones now do “Qi” charging, but a mouse is one of the most sensible applications. It’s also far lower power consumption than something like a laptop, and so doesn’t suffer as much for the inefficiencies inherent to wireless charging.

Current GPU and flash-based memory/storage pricing has left those looking to build a system or upgrade an existing one in a tough spot. Prices on the midrange GPU market have started to compete with the higher SKUs, and flash-based memory (SSDs and DRAM) have been and continue to be high. That being said, this week we’ve looked at other hardware to help offset the above average costs for the aforementioned components.

GN Goes SSL - Part 1 of Many Site Updates

By Published September 14, 2017 at 7:18 pm

As recently mentioned in one of our site update articles, we have now successfully -- theoretically -- moved to SSL for GamersNexus.net. The store page (which is a masked redirect to a SquareSpace page) should also be behind SSL, though we're still doing some troubleshooting on that. It's secure and behind a certificate, but it's a masked redirect, so might be some errors thrown about that.

Either way, there shouldn't be any issues with the change. The website is now forcing all internal HTTP links to HTTPS, moving us into the modern era for the site. Although not a big one, it's an exciting first step to a round of much-needed website and server upgrades for GN. There are still bugs with the site (comments, forums, registration, email), but we're working on those. If you encounter specific SSL-related bugs, please let us know via Twitter or comment.

AMD’s architecture hasn’t generally shown a large gain from increasing CU count between top-tier and second-to-top cards. The Fury and Fury X, for instance, could be made to match with an overclock on the lower-tiered card. Additional gains on the higher-tiered card often amount from the increased power limit and clock, not from a straight shader increase. We’re putting that knowledge to the test on Vega architecture, equalizing the Vega 56 & Vega 64 clocks (and 945MHz HBM2 clocks) to determine how much of a difference emerges from the 4096 shaders on V64 to 3584 shaders on V56. Purely counting shaders, that’s a 14% increase to V64, but like most performance metrics, that won’t result in a linear performance increase.

We were able to crush Vega 64’s performance with our heavily modded Vega 56 card, using powerplay tables and liquid to jump to 1742MHz clock speeds. That's with modding, though, and isn't out-of-box performance -- it also doesn't give us any indication as to shader differences. Going less crazy about overclocking and limiting clocks to matched speeds, we can reveal the shader count difference.

This episode of Ask GN is the last of our GamersNexus content from the combined PAX West & Whistler trip (with other videos still uploading to the GNSteve side-channel). Episode 58 is something of a special episode, having been shot in the “Peak 2 Peak” Gondola, and provided a unique time trials element to answering the questions.

We tackle topics of memory bandwidth (“what is memory bandwidth?”), Vega voltage validation and undervoltage issues, and daisy chained PCIe cable topics.

Episode below:

Antec P8 Tempered Glass Case Critical Review

By Published September 11, 2017 at 4:31 pm

Antec is a venerable company, founded in 1986, but they’ve been an infrequent guest to GamersNexus. We did a quick summary of the Performance One when it launched in 2012, were intrigued by the more recent Razer Cube, reviewed Antec’s 1250 highly, and reviewed the GX700. But that’s it--until now. Like many other manufacturers, Antec is now experimenting with sub-$100 tempered glass in their new P8 mid tower.

It’s illegal to outright fix prices of products. Manufacturers have varying levels of sway when establishing cost to distributor partners and suggested retail prices, acted on much lower in the chain, and have to produce supply based on expectations of demand. We’ve previously talked about how MDF or other exchanges can be used to inspire retailers to work within some guidelines, but there are limits to the financial and legal extension of those means.

This context in mind, it makes sense that the undertone of discussion pertaining to video card prices – not just AMD’s, but nVidia’s – plants much of the blame squarely on retailers. There’s only so much that AMD and nVidia can do to drive prices at least somewhat close to MSRP. One of those actions is to put out more supply to sate demand but, as we saw during the last mining boom & bust (with emergent ASIC miners), there’s reason for manufacturers to remain hesitant of a major supply commitment. If AMD or nVidia were to place a large order with their fabs, there’d better be some level of confidence that the product will sell. Factory-to-shelf turn-around is a period of months, weeks of which can be shipping (unless opting for prohibitively expensive air freight).  A period of months is a wide window. We’ve seen mining markets “crash” and recover in a period of days, or hours, with oft unpredictable frequency and intensity. That’d explain why AMD might be hesitant to issue large orders of older product, like the RX 500 series, to try and meet demand.

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