There was a time when the only type of keyboard you could buy was one with mechanical switches. This was pretty much it for the old AT days of computing. This style of keyboard later extended into the first ATX boards which featured PS/2 connectors (and later USB). This style of keyboard was later replaced by the smaller digital input (also known as capacitive and which was actually designed in the 1970s). These were nothing more than a sponge pad that would press a contact into two trace contacts on a PCB. As these were cheaper to make and boasted the same reliability as the older mechanical switches (which mean one switch per key) it soon became the standard and the older mechanical switch went away… That is until the gaming community resurrected it. Now we have a new generation of keyboards based on the old one-switch-per-key style of manufacturing. We have taken three of these for a stroll around the lab and now have a fourth to tell you about. This is the CM Storm Trigger Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. Let’s see if it can stand up to the rest of the pack.
Intel is in full swing with the X79 and their Sandy Bridge-E CPUs. We have watched as they have broken and re-broken records for performance and in some cases overclocking. Behind all of this we have the X79 chipset with its quad-channel DDR3 configuration and some impressive power specifications. Intel has also brought back BCLK overclocking which has made things very interesting. We have a few X79 boards in the lab and are working on finding out just what they can do and how they actually work in the real world. One of these is also our second Gigabyte motherboard; the X79-UD5. This will also be our first video preview where we show you and talk about the design and features. So let’s dive in and see what the GA-X79-UD5 has to offer…
Moving through some of the more prominent Z77 motherboards that are out right now we come to another one from Gigabyte. Here we have the Z77X-UD5H WiFi Motherboard (Model number GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB). The UD5H is typically their second in line for the top spot in Gigabyte’s food chain The Z77X-UD7 currently holds that top crown. However the UD5 boards are always very functional and tend to combine the best of both performance and features. With this review we will be covering not only the features of the Z77X-UD5H WiFi but also come of the design choices that go into the board to get you the performance you expect on the other end. So let’s get right to it and find out if the Z77X-UD5H WiFi is worth the $210 that Gigabyte is asking.
After taking a look at a couple of Asus’ MicroATX Z77 boards we are moving up in size to the standard ATX products. Asus has been (as we have told you) working on integrating the same feature set you find in their ROG boards down into their mainstream and even channel boards. This move is also helping them to restructure the feature set at each level and offer the right features to the right market segment. We started off with the gateway product into the ROG line (the Maximus V Gene) and then dropped to the other end of the spectrum with the P8Z77-M Pro. Now we are going to check out the lower end of the mid-range motherboards in the P8Z77-V. This board is a step up from the P8Z77-M Pro in both size and the features that it brings to the table. Let’s take a look shall we?
After seeing what new features Asus is bringing to the table with the Maximus V Gene (and there are a ton of them) we now get to dive into the performance side of things and see what we have. As the gateway product to the ROG lineup the Maximus V Gene has a lot to live up to, but with everything that Asus has thrown into it we are sure it can handle the pressure. So let’s dive into the Asus Republic of Gamers Maximus V Gene and see how it performs.
As the devices we carry around with us get smaller and smaller there is going to be an increasing want (or need) for larger and faster portable storage devices. We have watched over the last few years as the storage capacity of USB flash drives (Pen Drives, Thumb Drives etc.) has grown rapidly. It was not that long ago that a 1-2GB drive was something to have. Now we have small flash drives in the 64, 128 and even 256GB range! Kingston has been one of the companies on the forefront if this charge into larger capacity and faster performance. We have tested out multiple products from them from encrypted storage devices to the hefty DTUltimate G2 32GB USB3.0 thumb drive. Now we have a new product on the bench from Kingston. This one is being sold under their performance name HyperX. The Drive boasts 64GB of storage and 225MB/s of read performance! If the paper is to be believed this is almost twice the performance of the DTUltimate G2, which topped out at around 116MB in our testing. Let’s dive in and see if the paper claims match the real world performance.
Gigabyte (as we have told you) is working on remaking their image. They want to be known as a company that builds components for the enthusiast. They are, and have been, working very hard to reach this goal. Their Ultra Durable series of boards have received numerous awards and accolades from review sites and from people who have bought these boards. We have been fortunate enough to review a couple of these and have given you our thoughts on the GA-890FXA-UD7 and are working on a revised impression of the GA-P55A-UD7 as well. For now we are going to move from the big to the small. This is the H55N-UBS3 a Mini-ITX board that features the Intel H55 Express chipset, USB 3.0 and a few Gigabyte special features. Follow along as we dive into this $104.99 board and see if size does not matter.
Now that we have taken a look at most of the rest of the P8Z77 line up we are going to check out what was originally the flagship for the mid-range line the P8Z77-V Deluxe. Earlier today Asus announced and addition to the P8Z77 line which puts this right below the top-end. That does not take anything away from the –V Deluxe with its USB 3.0 Boost, Dual Band WiFi Go (with Bluetooth), SLI and Crossfire support and more. We will be taking a deeper look at the performance very soon, but for now let’s see what Asus has packed into the P8Z77-V Deluxe and if it is worth the $275 that it will cost you.
We have told you about Asus’ design choices for the Sabertooth P67 and even gone into some detail about the mindset behind this and other products in the TUF line. However all of the best design choices and components in the world will not make a board perform. To get great performance takes a little more. In this half of our Sabertooth review we are going to look into that side of the product. Asus has always had a reputation for tinkering with their BIOSes (not always a good one though). So let’s start off there and see where it takes us.
After taking a look over the MSI X79A-GD65(8D) motherboard and some of MSI’s design choices (and the benefits they bring) we have dove into our performance testing. You may remember that we had concerns about the way the PCIe slots were segmented into Gen3 and Gen2. To check and see what effect (if any) this might have on performance we ran some of our tests with the GPU in the Gen2 slot and some in the Gen3 slot. We were more than a little surprised at what we found out. So let’s get into the performance half of our review of the MSI X79A-GD65(8D) and see what we found.