ADATA HD720 Review : Old Wine, New Bottle

ADATA’s external hard disc drive lineup is pretty exhaustive. A pretty quick release cadence helps them address any shortcomings of the previous generation. Hence in short succession we have seen the HD710, and then the HD710A replacing it. Today we have with us the HD720, the newest member of the rugged external hard disc family. The HD720 isn’t a replacement for the HD710A per se, as ADATA’s website lists both the HD710 and the HD710A models as still available units – a fact that somewhat baffles me. With that said,…

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GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-Gaming G1 Review : Ferrari for Z170 arrives

It’s another year of the same thing. Intel has released another refresh of their processor and chipset generation, and we’re back to square one discussing about how much money should you really spend on it? The abundance of low and medium range motherboards coming with more and more features is a strong sign that users do not want to spend an absurd amount of money in their base setup. Not everyone needs dual NICs, twelve SATA ports, plethora of bundled applications or a throw-everything-at-you UEFI. But every year we see…

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ASUS ROG GR8 Review : A ‘GR8’ Gaming SFF PC?

We have been discussing the recent trend of Small Form Factor (SFF) or Ultra-Compact Form Factor (UCFF) PCs and their subsequent rise in the market during our last couple of system reviews. But when you shrink the size, the first compromise that comes is in terms of hardware. Often, low end parts are just what they are – low end. That means performance leaves much to be desired and expandability is nonexistent. With the progress on lithographic process for processor manufacturing at least, some of those issues are being tackled…

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ECS Liva X Review : X means small

ECS has been instrumental in the ultra-compact form factor (UCFF) PC market. Since we have been discussing about PCs and their gradual shrink in size, a manufacturer that spends considerable time and effort (and money) on their SFF lineup needs to be mentioned. ECS’ Liva line of UCFF PCs debuted some time back and met with mixed reviews. While the idea was novel, their design decisions were questioned and as a result they went back to the drawing board. Today’s Liva-X is a result of those design changes that ECS…

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GIGABYTE BRIX and BRIX-S Review : Small Form is the Factor

There are two distinct ways the PC hardware has evolved over the years. The more distinct fascination has been to build things bigger. Hence we have seen the rise of cabinets of gargantuan proportions like the 900D or the STH10. On the other hand, the increasing demand for mobile systems have pushed manufacturers to produce smaller systems. Intel has been a strong advocate in the second field, producing their own platform called NUC a few years back, and encouraging system manufacturers in the process to bring out their own versions…

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Intel Skylake Review Part 2 : Feat. Core i5-6600K & GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 7

Intel has spilled very few details about its Skylake processors during its initial release, and in my previous review I covered most of what was revealed at launch. But that changed in the Intel Developer’s Forum (IDF). In this year’s edition, Intel removed the lid from a lot of details it earlier held back about the architecture for Skylake. While we will be reserving the detailed look into Skylake’s iGPU architecture in a separate article, for this one I’ll be looking at Intel’s first Skylake i5 part, the Core i5-6600K.…

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ASUS GTX980Ti STRIX OC Review : Titan X for cheap

The GPU market has seen the same transition for the last couple of years like the CPU market. Nvidia and AMD fighting for the graphics supremacy has more often than not been a very even battle, with both companies releasing products steadily at a less than a year cadence to outrun each other. But over the last year or so, the share of wins has been more for camp green. If we consider the fact that the GPU manufacturing lithography is stuck at 28nm for quite some time (while the…

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Intel Skylake review Part 1 : feat. Core i7-6700K & ASUS Z170-A

Adapting to Moore’s Law isn’t easy. Intel has been officially on their ‘tick-tock’ program since 2007 with a Tick being the advancement for manufacturing technology in accordance with Moore’s Law, while a Tock a new microarchitecture using the previous ‘tick’ cycle. Their release cadence in between two ‘Tick’s has varied between 18-24 months, gradually shrinking the manufacturing lithographical process to 22nm and increasing the number of transistors in a chip/die. But with the release of Sandy Bridge, Intel produced the last significant performance gap between two tick generations, something that…

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Skylake is here : Unboxing ASUS’ Z170-A

Intel’s Tick-Tock Model has aged well. First introduced with their 45nm parts in 2007, a Tick is advancement for manufacturing technology in accordance with Moore’s Law, while a Tock provides a new microarchitecture using the previous ‘tick’ cycle(like Sandy Bridge – Ivy Bridge). That being said, Intel’s last ‘Tick’, Haswell, didn’t prove to be much of an improvement from Ivy Bridge. Performance wise we looked at around 10% increase compared to IVB while the idle power consumption shrunk by 25%. It was hard to convince most IVB users to shift…

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