Hardware

AMD has been teasing a new FX processor with a bundled liquid cooler, instilling hope that AMD would be releasing an updated -- or even completely new -- FX-series enthusiast CPU. To the disappointment of the enthusiast community, myself included, the release was just an FX-9590 with a bundled Asetek AIO CLC.

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Intel's Haswell-E and X99 platform have been in development for a while now, and after several months of cloudy release schedules, it looks like Intel is sticking to the original 3Q14 timeline. X99 will be the world's first consumer-ready platform to support DDR4 memory and eliminate traditional channeled architecture, making it appealing for enthusiasts and development rigs. Haswell-E will be the first line of CPUs on the platform, continuing the last-gen -E suffix for extreme-series CPUs.

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"Scam," "fraud," "shadiness," and "lawsuit" are all words that have been somewhat haphazardly plastered across forums and websites this past week, with particular disdain expressed toward SSD makers Kingston and PNY. The internet's bandwagon mentality almost mandates a perpetuity of rage without necessitating a fundamental understanding of the industry toward which that rage is directed. It is an unfortunate side effect of social media that 'shares' and 'likes' will undoubtedly be attributed toward advocacy campaigns without the sharers ever reading accompanying links -- let alone clicking them.

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That's an awful big statement to make without even introducing the topic.

We called NZXT's H440 enclosure an "innovator" and "the reason we review cases" after benchmarking the product. The H440 ships with a built-in PSU shroud, a side window that obscures the drive bays, and a complete lack of 5.25" external optical drive bays; along with these risks taken by the company, the enclosure uses sound-damping foam and locking thumb screws to mitigate noise and streamline installation.

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The company has now partnered with Razer, in a somewhat shocking turn of events, who are now offering their own "NZXT H440 Designed by Razer." The core specs of the case remain the same, but changes to the aesthetic have been made by Razer.

Last year's fly-by over North Carolina's Maker Faire featured 3D printing company Fusion3 Designs, and it looks like the 3D printing crowd has returned again for 2014's Faire. The NC Maker Faire is an extension of the "Maker Faire" franchise, which hosts its largest event annually in the Bay area. Mythbuster Adam Savage is often sighted at the Bay event, usually speaking in front of panel audiences or providing key notes.

maker-faire-1I don't know what it is, but it has lots of red wires and is driving straight at me...

The NC Maker Faire is, understandably, much smaller than what's offered in the Bay area -- but it is growing. This year's NC Maker Faire saw expansion into a larger exhibition space at the NC Fairgrounds, with the event reportedly surpassing previous attendance in presales alone.

The Steam Machine delay into 2015 imposed a set-back for hardware manufacturers hoping to license Valve's official branding and software, but hasn't stopped the release of systems under new names. With to-be Steam Machines like Gigabyte's Brix, Alienware's now-renamed Alpha, and Zotac's now-renamed mini-PC, hardware vendors have already invested resources heavily into HTPC platforms for gaming. The companies were originally expecting a holiday 2014 release, but recent delays by Valve pushed that into 2015; with resources tied-up in platform development, a few of these vendors have decided to release ahead of time with new names and Windows.

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Alienware, a subsidiary of Dell, announced the "Alpha Console" at $550 starting, with various configuration and upgrade options for purchasers.

With Computex now over, we’ve had a full look at what all the major hardware manufacturers have had up their sleeves. One of the more electrically complex items released by EVGA, Corsair, and Be Quiet! are their newest power supplies.

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Rounding-up all the newest power supplies from Computex reveals a cluster of 1600W PSUs, a 600W SFX PSU that we’ve covered before, and a renewed focus on power efficiency.

With A fair amount of the new Z97 motherboards being shown already, fans of Intel's X99 enthusiast chipset may feel a bit cheated being left with nothing interesting to look at. As of Computex 2014, that's finally changed. ASrock recently showed their latest X99 board to press at Taipei's electronics and hardware tradeshow.

asrock-extreme-x99ASRock Extreme6 (Left) & Extreme4 (Right) X99 motherboards. Image source: VR-Zone.

FreeSync was first announced as a variable refresh rate technology at CES 2014, legitimately taking nVidia by surprise on the show floor. Immediately after the technology was unveiled, we happened to be scheduled for a meeting with nVidia's Tom Peterson and Vijay Sharma to discuss G-Sync. I'd slipped in a question about the technology, announced an hour beforehand, and Peterson told us: "I don't know. We just heard about that today. I haven't read about it yet - ask me after the show."

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"Hicookie" isn't an easily-forgotten name. The RAM overclocker last made a major appearance using G.Skill's TridentX RAM, which he pushed to nearly 4GHz. Just a couple of days ago, Gigabyte and Kingston recruited the memory overclocker to break the world record.

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