We try to rotate our official test bench hardware every few years to maintain a relevant, but realistic configuration. Ideally, we use mid-range components that more accurately reflect what a consumer would build – an i5-3570K or i5-4690K, for instance, rather than a $340 i7-4790K. This platform is applied to all of our game benchmarks, which aim to report real-world framerates of newly-launched games.

In a recent attempt to increase testing efficiency, we opted to remove the tried-and-died NZXT Phantom 820 (the case is shot from years of abuse) and migrate to an HPTX top-deck tech station, or “test bench,” as we call it. The unit is fully open-air, exposing expansion cards and video cards for easier access and swapping when performing tests. There are some test concerns by opting for this route, but we've addressed those in our methodology (and will briefly mention them below).

As we've always updated our readers on the site's methodologies and proceedings, I thought I'd put together a video showcasing the new test bench. You can find that below.

As part of our ongoing effort to define major component specifications, we've now published our “PSU Dictionary” to about 80% completion. Additional entries will be listed throughout the week's end. The PSU dictionary details critical terminology to selecting a quality power supply, including 80 Plus certifications, Rails (PSU), electrical protections, voltage ripple, and (soon) coil whine.

On December 31, 2013, I promised that we'd have a new website with a focus on compatibility for large screens and mobile devices. I also promised that we'd have it “sometime soon in 2014.” It's been one year exactly. That's soon-ish. Hey – at least I stuck to my story.

Sorta.

Expected Site Downtime on 12/31

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Just a quick note: Following-up on the previous post mentioning our impending upgrades, there is anticipated downtime for the site at around 12AM EST 12/31. The duration of the downtime is yet undetermined. We will be migrating and upgrading the website, so it could take the better part of the day. We'll attempt to be finished by noon EST 12/31, though.

Take it easy!

- Steve.

This is written for our more loyal, recurring readers (and you are all greatly appreciated!).

I posted a year ago that we'd have a massive mobile and front-end overhaul online in 2014. It's looking like I may be able to keep that promise. After a year of being tied-up in development hell, troubleshooting, bug fixing, and redesigns / innovation, we're approaching the end of the development cycle for our new website template. This new template will feature front-end upgrades, unseen structure updates, and will function significantly faster in loading than the present template. Similarly, the new site has spent the last few weeks getting a mobile facelift – we're trying to build a usable mobile version of the website.

Our YouTube following has grown substantially over the past year, largely thanks to the tremendous support of our regular readers and active community. Having recently hit a milestone of 2,000,000+ video views on YouTube (with hundreds of millions of minutes of content consumed), we announced that we'd like to give back to the community with some big hardware prizes.

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Our YouTube channel just recently hit 2,000,000 views and the website is receiving approximately 3.5 million pageviews per year these days. Things are going well – GN is growing up. In light of our tremendous success this year, specifically celebrating the growth in YouTube channel popularity, we're excited to announce our next big giveaway!

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I wanted to put out this quick note for our regular readers. We're hosting an AMA ("Ask Me Anything" about solid-state drives on the "Build A PC" subreddit right now! Kent Smith of LSI's SandForce division is joining me for this question & answer session; we'll do our best to tackle all of the community's burning solid-state drive, NAND, and controller topics.

You can find the AMA here.

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Antec's 1250 CLC presently rules as king over our CPU cooling test bench. The liquid cooler uses a dual-pump design with fixed fans, ensuring rapid exchange of liquid through the radiator. Software controls the fan RPMs (silent, extreme, and custom speeds) in a manner that enables silence and extreme performance, depending on the use-case scenario.

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All this stated, we're happy to announce that Antec has kindly provided us with a 1250 Kuhler for giveaway on the site.

Thanks to your continued support of our hardware and gaming endeavors, the site has continued to boom into 2014 -- far surpassing traffic during my January 'thank you' -- and we've had to adapt staff to meet demands. Many of you likely already know Michael Mann, known as "Mik" around these parts, for his past role in handling sales round-ups and existing role in PC builds and forum support; Mik has been with us for a number of years and has continued to be a critical asset to the site's hardware support, but even between the two of us, we couldn't keep up with traffic.

gn-logo-smallOur logo was redesigned about 2 years ago by artist Andrew Coleman. Andrew also designed our new shirts (on sale soon!).

The team has grown to accommodate a few new key players alongside the old-guard. The team looks something like this right now:

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