AMD can be a confusing company. Over the years they have made more than a few choices that just do not seem to make sense, but we are not going to dive into that right now. Instead we are going to focus on a recent decision that seems both ill-conceived and sure to confuse AMD supporters.
CES 2015, Las Vegas NV - Palazzo
Out of all of the people we visited during CES 2015 Thermaltake’s suite was one of the most interesting. When we walked in we found three full suites packed with cases, cooling, power supplies and items aimed right at the gamers out there. I was rather impressed even before Shannon Rob came by to show everything off.
CES 2015 Las Vegas, NV Caesar’s Palace
One company that we always are sure to visit during CES is Kingston. Over the years they have had a number of interesting demos and products that are dropped on the world during CES. This year was no exception. David Leong was quick to get into the meat of the presentation and showed off the next generation of the Cloud gaming headset. This new headset features 53mm drivers and a power USB audio adapter to push 7.1 virtual surround sound.
They say that competition is good for the soul, and they are right. In just about any area you can think of having a little competition makes you better at what you do. In the computer world this is especially noticeable when it comes to motherboards, even more so now that companies like Intel and AMD control the chipsets and their features. The push now comes down to performance tuning (at a very fine level) overclocking an additional features to entice the consumer into picking up a new motherboard. We have had a couple of Z97 based boards in the lab recently, but all have been from the same company. Now we have one in from Gigabyte in the form of the Z97MX Gaming 5. Let’s take a look and see if competition has driven Gigabyte to a higher standard.
While a nice layout, cool colors and a good feature set listed on the box might be nice performance is what most people are looking for in a motherboard. A good feature set does not matter so much if the board is not able to perform to the level you want it to. For the most part Asus has done a good job in balancing out their features and performance. This balance has extended even down to their entry level boards as they trickle down what they learn from their Republic of Gamer’s Boards. So where does the Z97-A fit into all of this? Let’s find out.
One of the things that makes a board stand out from the crowd, beside features and price, is how well it performs. Even with a massive feature set a board is not going to do well if the performance is not there. With the Z97-I Asus is trying to push the same level of features that you would find in a larger board, but will they be able to get the same level of performance? That is what we are looking to find out today. So without much in the way of ceremony, let’s get into why you are here and see what the Z97-I is hiding inside its small frame. You can also check out our coverage of the design and features of the Z97I Plus.
As Intel moves more and more core components to their CPU we are seeing an interesting shift in motherboard design. The manufacturers are all realizing that the performance difference between them are narrowing. The days of seeing a massive difference in benchmark scores are almost gone. However, instead of just pushing out a bunch of cookie cutter boards some motherboard makers are looking for new ways to differentiate their boards. Asus is one of these makers and we will be taking a look at a board that has more than a few departures from the normal motherboard design philosophy. This is the Asus Z97-A. So without too much more delay, let’s dive in and see what Asus has given us.
In other news about Intel we are now hearing that Devil’s Canyon, Intel’s Haswell refresh, will come clocked at 4GHz stock with turbo speeds of up to 4.4GHz. This stock speed is unheard of from Intel who has stayed away from pushing the stock speeds of their enthusiast CPUs. This step up is certainly going to be welcomed by the enthusiast and overclocking community who have been salivating over the new Z97 chipset and the feature packed motherboards that have been trickling out.
Today I had the chance to finally put the Raijintek Nemesis CPU cooler through its paces. This is currently the largest cooler offered by Raijintek, and among the largest currently on the market. We’ll be comparing it to the previous three offerings from Raijintek: the low-profile Pallas, the mid-sized Themis Evo, and the Ereboss tower cooler. The Nemesis has quite a bit of size difference over its nearest cousin the Ereboss. We’ll see if that additional heat dissipation area will translate to better performance.
Today we are continuing our testing of the primary line of CPU coolers from Raijintek. In previous reviews we’ve already covered the low-profile Pallas and the smaller tower cooler dubbed the Themis Evo. Both of these coolers performed well, with the Pallas being our favorite thus far. We’ve been testing these coolers in order of size, working our way up to their monster cooler, the Nemesis. Today we look at the third out of four samples sent to us for testing, the Ereboss.