Yesterday Microsoft may have confirmed what many have speculated, DirectX 12 will have a multi-GPU component that will allow AMD and nVidia to play nicely together. What this means exactly no one is sure, but we do know that some form of code is there to allow this. This is not the first time that someone has tried to setup a cross vendor system for GPUs. Not all that long ago Lucid Technologies tried it with dubious benefits.

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In the world of computer enclosures things can get boring pretty fast; after all how much can you do with a box? For too many companies the way to differentiate their products is to put in a window and extra LEDs and call it a day. There is little that is new to be perfectly honest with you. However, every now and then something comes out that does stand out from the crowd. We have seen it before with some very unique designs and concepts. One company that has done a fairly good job at keeping things interesting is Cooler Master and in particular their CMStorm line. While at CES this year (2012) we were shown a case that caught our eye and imagination. It was the CMStorm Stryker. We called it the Storm Trooper, not only for its connections to the CMStorm Trooper, but also because it reminded me of the Strom Troopers from Star Wars.  We have one of these in our lab now and well… let’s dive in to see what you get and how well it performs.

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In the enthusiast world you can never seem to have enough power or enough headroom for your system. Although you might hear rumors of the “post PC” era or that the desktop is dead nothing could be further from the truth with regards to Asus and their Republic of Gamers line up of boards. We have covered a number of these going all the way back to before the ROG line was even established and can tell you that when it comes to this line Asus spares no expense in components or research and development. Today we have the ROG Rampage IV Formula in the lab and will be covering the design, features and component choices that Asus has made with this this board and across the entire ROG line.

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As we round out our coverage of the Asus Republic of Gamers Rampage IV Gene we are taking a look at both the synthetic and real-world performance of this board. As we have mentioned before the Gene is the gateway into the ROG Line and shows an excellent blending of performance, features and ease of use for those that are new to playing with higher end Motherboards. Of course the Gene also serves a purpose with the enthusiasts as well it offers a very competent motherboard in a small package for gaming, small and quiet systems and even for someone looking for a solid board to build a home server on. Since we have already shown you what the Rampage IV Gene looks like on paper, let’s take the tiem to show you how it looks in the real world.

Sunday, 10 June 2012 19:17

Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H Performance Review

board03In our continuing coverage of the Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H WB we are moving into the performance side of things. Here is where it becomes difficult to differentiate between companies. The problem is that if you are testing Z77 Express based motherboards you are testing very similar platforms. It is only when you start adding in features to the mix that they separate. So the big deal here is how well do these products perform when you throw in all the advertised features (or at least as many as will work at once)? This is what we try to do with our performances testing. In our feature and design review we showed you what the Z77X-UD5H has to offer, and now we will show you how well it performs when you ask it to give you all of that at once.

board01With all of the news about the Z77 Express motherboards and Ivy Bridge we thought we would step back and take a look at our old friend the X79 and the Sandy Bridge-E CPU. This platform still represents the top end for Intel and although it does not have the same mainstream media acceleration that Ivy Bridge does it is still quite the platform. We are going to dive into the design and features of one of the more prominent enthusiast products for this chipset; Asus Republic of Gamers Rampage IV. We have the Rampage IV Gene and the Formula in the lab and will be running both of these through their paces in the coming days. Right now we are going to walk around the Rampage IV Gene which at $290 is a lot of money to shell out, but it also looks like a lot of motherboard in a small package. Let’s take a look shall we?

Tuesday, 22 May 2012 21:03

Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe Performance Review

board03After what seemed like a long time we are finally getting into the full performance section of our review. The Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe is a board that really has quite a bit going on which makes properly covering everything something of a chore. You can check out our design and feature coverage to see just how much there is packed into this board. Still we have tested out all of the pieces and parts and had the time to use the board in some of our testing with Ivy Bridge and the heat issues that have popped up. With that said let’s dive in right now and talk about the performance you can expect from Asus’ P8Z77-V Deluxe motherboard.

board05So now that we have covered all of the features and design choices for the P8Z77-V we are about to dive into the performance of this board. So far if what we have seen on paper adds up we should see some very good performance. After all Asus has been working on tuning their Z77 boards for a while and with the new trace layout we are seeing we might actually get to see some of that pop-up in every day performance. So without waiting too long let’s just get to it.

board04As we continue our coverage of both Ivy Bridge and the Z77 Express chipset we now head over to Gigabyte. Gigabyte is a company that has worked very hard for the position they have in the market. They were originally a manufacturer who concentrated on compatibility and stability rather than working on pushing the envelope in terms of speed and performance. However that was a long time ago. Now they are definitely working to get the most out of each product. We have watch them develop their line up since the P55 days and know that they are more than capable of putting out a motherboard (and other products) that can satisfy your performance needs. So with that in mind let’s take a look at what Gigabyte has built into the GA-Z77X-UD3H in terms of design choices and features.

board01Now 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.