Hardware

NZXT Source 340 Budget Gaming Case Specs Announced

By Published September 03, 2014 at 9:00 am

I’ve watched what NZXT offers with their crafted series cases for quite some time now. Besides, it’s always good to see the company release a case that isn’t a Phantom brand. Their lineup of cases keeps growing post-PAX. In the case of the Source 340, we get a case that seems to be a less expensive variant of the H440 with a chassis overhaul. The H440 was a ground-breaking case and was one of the first cases to include a power supply shroud and completely remove the 5.25", bays allowing for more cooling options and a cleaner look. The Source 340 at first glance appears to mimic everything we loved about the H440, but hovers at almost half the price.

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AMD continues to perpetuate its FX-series line-up on 2011's AM3+ platform. The company today announced the new FX-8370 CPU, an eight-core X86 processor that ships stock at 4.3GHz, alongside a new “E Series” of FX CPUs. New prices were announced for the entirety of the FX line-up.

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AMD's FX-8370 stands as a slight step up from the 8350 at 0.1GHz higher max operating frequency. The unit is marked for $200 flat retail, up against the 8350's MSRP of $180. The E Series of FX CPUs – including the new FX-8370E and FX-8320E – are a lower TDP alternative to eight-core CPUs, shipping at 95W TDP with a 3.3 and 3.2GHz (respectively) modified BCLK. Max frequency is rated as 4.3GHz and 4GHz (respectively). The FX-8370E sells for $200 and is effectively identical in all aspects to the FX-8370, sans lower TDP and lower BCLK. The same goes for the FX-8320E, which is a lower TDP version of the FX-8320. The FX-8320E sells for $147.

[Video] ZOTAC Pico Phone-Sized PC Hands-On Overview

By Published September 01, 2014 at 3:26 am

Our PAX Prime visit thus far has showcased some of MSI’s new X99 boards, Intel’s X99 setup, and lots of Star Citizen. Come Saturday, we had the opportunity to get hands-on with Zotac’s new Pico PI320 mini-PC announced shortly before PAX.

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The PC was fully-detailed in our previous article, so we’ll just recap the core specs and video here.

The first of our more major X99 motherboard coverage comes bearing MSI’s dragon-engraved badge. Intel’s new platform and CPU officially launched on day one of PAX (where we got some video), bringing a new era of $1000 Extreme Series CPUs for professional development and enthusiast rigs. We saw ASUS’ X99 Deluxe board on day one, but didn’t get much of a chance to go in depth.

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MSI, EVGA, and Gigabyte also have a presence at PAX Prime 2014, making for a firm hardware showcase at a typically gaming-oriented event. MSI’s booth hosted the X99S XPower AC board, the X99S Gaming 7, and the X99S SLI Plus. We took an extended look at the company’s X99S XPower AC motherboard, home to 5xPCI-e slots, the X99 chipset, M.2 SATA, SATA-e, and one of the biggest VRMs we’ve seen recently.

ZOTAC ZBOX PI320 Pico PC Fits in Your Pocket

By Published August 27, 2014 at 12:53 pm

A new PI mini-PC from ZOTAC ships at 115.5 x 66 x 19.2mm, similar to a Raspberry Pi. The new “ZBOX PI320” ships with Windows 8.1 pre-installed on its 32GB Flash memory and fills-out a form factor that ZOTAC calls “Nano XS.”

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The computer is equipped with Intel's quad-core Baytrail BGA CPU running the IGP for graphics (specific CPU undefined), 2GB of DDR3L memory, 32GB eMMC integrated Flash, and room to expand storage via micro SD/SDHC/SDXC.

Seagate Announces First 8TB HDD

By Published August 26, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Seagate announced today that they have managed to achieve new feats of storage capacity. Seagate is the first company to get an 8TB 3.5” HDD to the consumer market, according to Seagate Vice President of Marketing Scott Horn. This comes only a few months after the company released its 6TB HDD and hopefully means they may be creating even larger HDDs as they are learning more about achieving high density storage in the restrictive space, but that’s probably overly optimistic speculation on my side.

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One of the hurdles of TLC NAND and VNAND is an inherently lower count of program / erase (P/E) cycles that the SSD can endure. This is the nature of packing more voltage levels into a cell to accommodate for the extra bits each cell can hold (yielding our higher capacity and lower cost). More voltage levels means more granularity required when attempting to read/write data, and the NAND loses its ability to accurately perform those reads / writes as it ages. Controllers have to step in to ensure longer life when using TLC NAND.

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Kingston HyperX Cloud Headset Now in White

By Published August 18, 2014 at 9:00 am

HyperX, Kingston's premier gaming line, announced on Wednesday the release of a white version of their Cloud gaming headset. We've been following this equipment since Kingston first announced the release of the black version. This headset has already won numerous awards this year and is used by a number of e-sports teams. As it's just a recoloring of their current headset, the specs are identical to the original version.

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DDR4 will see its consumer debut in Intel's X99 HW-E platform, though Broadwell is sticking with DDR3 for now. As the memory manufacturers ramp-up for X99, we're starting to see specs roll out for updated product lines; the most recent is Corsair's Dominator Platinum high-end OC memory, with a new iteration of Vengeance LPX shipping alongside it.

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DirectX 12 has been discussed by nVidia and Intel for a while now, with AMD only responding occasionally to recommit to Mantle. The API is still far away for gaming uses -- at least a year -- but it's making the rounds at SIGGRAPH 2014 in Vancouver.

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Intel demonstrated a Haswell-equipped tablet running graphics stress test software that toggled between DirectX 11 and DirectX 12. During the demonstration, the company was able to yield nearly a 70% performance increase in Dx12 over Dx11, jumping from 19FPS to 33FPS. Intel attributes this gain largely toward reduced overhead in the API (putting developers "closer to the metal," as Mantle does), then pointed toward multi-threaded rendering optimization.

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