EVGA's Z170 Stinger ($200) motherboard, something we reported on months ago, markets itself on enthusiast-level features in a mini-ITX form factor. The motherboard hosts Intel's newest “Performance” Z170 chipset, meaning it supports the latest i7-6700K, i5-6600K, and all the other forthcoming Skylake CPUs.
The Z170 Stinger is inherently restricted by opting for a mini-ITX form factor, but attempts to make the best of the space available with careful selection of supported I/O through the chipset. The unit hosts a single PCI-e slot and two memory slots – standard for mITX – along with a set of four SATA ports. This is reserved compared to larger motherboards, but allows a 6.7” x 6.7” size for use in SFF or gaming HTPC system builds.
Our review of the EVGA Z170 Stinger gaming motherboard will run through the specs, cooler clearances, BIOS, and relevant tests. Aesthetics aren't really something we like to discuss – the photos do that – but we'll talk through a few key points on that front, too.
Corsair has become a prominent gaming brand in recent years, with expansion into cases (they didn’t always make them) and peripherals. One of Corsair’s strongest pursuits has been mechanical keyboards. The company recently released its Strafe mechanical keyboard, and announced a soon-to-be-released RGB Strafe. In preparation for the RGB variant, we’ve used, dissected, and reviewed the Corsair Strafe mechanical keyboard.
The Strafe is Corsair’s response to a lack of a lower-budget, mechanical gaming keyboards in their product vertical. Corsair’s Strafe comes with Cherry MX Brown or Red switches, has a plastic enclosure, and hosts customizable lighting through the Corsair Utility Engine (CUE) software. The Corsair Strafe has an MSRP of, and currently retails for, $110 via retailers.
The RGM-1100 is Rosewill’s latest mouse at $40, a successor to the RGM-1000 that we previously reviewed. The RGM-1100 is prominently marketed towards gamers in looks, packaging, and features. It is also an example of the market surge to implement RGB (or at least multi-color) lighting in everything possible -- headsets now included.
While the RGM-1100 doesn’t support 16.8 million colors or have a multitude of macro keys, it does have multi-color lighting, configurable settings, and adjustable weight.
This review of Rosewill's new RGM-1100 gaming mouse looks at endurance, button layout, sensor and acceleration specs, and value.
One video card to the next. We just reviewed MSI's R9 390X Gaming 8GB card at the mid-to-high range, the A10-7870K APU at the low-end, and now we're moving on to nVidia's newest product: The GeForce GTX 950.
NVidia's new GTX 950 is priced at $160, but scales up to $180 for some pre-overclocked models. The ASUS Strix GTX 950 that we received for testing is a $170 unit. These prices, then, land the GTX 950 in an awkward bracket; the GTX 750 Ti holds the budget class firmly below it and the R9 380 & GTX 960 hold the mid-range market above it.
The new GeForce GTX 950 graphics card hosts Maxwell architecture – the same GM206 found in the GTX 960 – and hosts 2GB of GDDR5 memory on a 128-bit interface. More on that momentarily. The big marketing point for nVidia has been reduced input latency for MOBA games, something that's being pushed through GeForce Experience (GFE) in the immediate future.
This review benchmarks nVidia's new GeForce GTX 950 graphics card in the Witcher 3, GTA V, and other games, ranking it against the R9 380, GTX 960, 750 Ti, and others.
The hardware industry has been spitting out launches at a rate difficult to follow. Over the last few months, we've reviewed the GTX 980 Ti Hybrid (which won Editor's Choice & Best of Bench awards), the R9 Fury X, the R9 390 & 380, an A10-7870K APU, and Intel's i7-6700K.
We've returned to the world of graphics to look at MSI's take on the AMD Radeon R9 390X, part of the R300 series of refreshed GPUs. The R300 series has adapted existing R200 architecture to the modern era, filling some of the market gap while AMD levies its Fiji platform. R300 video cards are purely targeted at gaming at an affordable price-point, something AMD has clung to for a number of years at this point.
This review of AMD's Radeon R9 390X benchmarks the MSI “Gaming” brand of the card, measuring FPS in the Witcher 3 & more, alongside power and thermal metrics. The MSI Radeon R9 390X Gaming 8G is priced at $430. This video card was provided by iBUYPOWER as a loaner for independent review.
Racing wheels are to driving games what HOTAS is to flight sims. Logitech's new G29 racing wheel is undeniably a “premium” gaming input device, priced at $400 and stitched in real leather. Its full name is “G29 Driving Force,” likely named for the attention paid to force feedback, and its counterpart is the G920 for Xbox users.
Racing wheels have likely been experienced by most readers of this review in arcades, if not from previous in-home experience. Most of the arcade racers deploy some similar concepts, like force feedback and vibration, but do so with more simplistic execution than what modern racing wheels market. The G29 is an attempt at bringing high-quality, simulation-ready racing into the home.
In this review of the Logitech G29 Driving Force racing wheel, we'll talk motors, belts and gears, game compatibility, build quality, and playability.
First, some specs:
Skylake is in full production – as is Broadwell. And the Kaveri refresh. And a lot of things, really – it's been a busy summer. With all the simultaneous product launches comes the industry-wide update to system integrator websites and pre-built offerings.
iBUYPOWER is the first SI we're reviewing for its implementation of Intel's Skylake platform. The company's “Gamer Paladin Z980” pre-built machine is now shipping with the Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K, with our deployment hosting an i7, GTX 980 Ti, and 16GB DDR4-2800. The total build cost for our (loaner) review system is priced-out to ~$1824. That's a big sticker.
Our review of the Gamer Paladin Z980 aims to benchmark the system for gaming performance (FPS), thermals, and compare the pre-built option against a DIY approach. We've assembled a part-to-part price comparison and matched that against a GN-recommended build. Not everyone wants to DIY – and that's fair – but it's still important to ensure the prices match up.
Let's get to it.
Enermax, LEPA, and Ecomaster are all confusingly tied together in a web of brands and companies, but they can be effectively thought of as a single entity. We were recently offered the new LEPA “Lenyx” case for review, a $160 E-ATX full-tower unit that uses a rubberized paint aesthetic.
In response to the offer, I warned the company that I may dislike the case based on an initial product overview. From my quick preview, I advised, it looked as if the case made heavy use of plastics, something I've grown to dislike over the years. The Enermax representative assured me that the photos didn't do the enclosure justice, emphasizing the high-quality application of rubberized paint and again offering the unit for review. I accepted.
This review of the LEPA Lenyx full-tower looks at ease-of-installation, build quality, aesthetics, extras, and thermal performance in benchmarking. We'll also go over cable management and design strategy. The LEPA 801 Lenyx case has an MSRP of $160 and is presently sold at $171 via Amazon.
Today marks the public release of Intel's codename “Skylake-S” platform, a new 14nm microarchitecture designated for use in the company's newest line of CPUs. The Core series CPUs see accompaniment from a new Z170 chipset, found on each of the motherboards included in our Skylake Z170 board round-up. Skylake is targeted heavily at the PC gaming userbase, which is currently experiencing a heavy surge in platform adoption.
Intel's platform flagship is the i7-6700K ($350), sticking to the well-known 4-core, 8-thread approach by way of matured hyperthreading technology. Prior to Skylake, Intel shipped its Devil's Canyon update to Haswell, a worthwhile, same-price replacement with slightly bolstered clockrates. The “Haswell Refresh” CPUs have been mostly forgotten at this point, but were released in close proximity to Devil's Canyon. This string of same-generation releases is uncharacteristic of Intel, who generally launch the mainstay i7 and i5 for each architecture before immediately shifting gears to the next platform release.
After an extended period of hardware silence, AMD has recently made its resurgence with updated GPU and CPU lines. The Radeon 300 series refreshed the existing R200 lineup, followed shortly by the architecturally revamped Fiji GPU on the Fury X; we've reviewed both of these launches (R9 390 & 380 review / Fury X review). Back in May, we also posted about the company's promised Kaveri refresh – the A10-7870K – and its market positioning.
Today we're reviewing that APU.
We moderate comments on a ~24~48 hour cycle. There will be some delay after submitting a comment.