Thermaltake Water 3.0 Extreme S CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Thermaltake have created some fantastic coolers in recent years, with a range that covers everything from air, to water, budget to premium, including their new and rather stunning custom loop water cooling gear. The model we’re looking at today covers several categories, it’s an AIO water cooler, which promises the high-end cooling thrills of their other water coolers, with a more affordable price tag, making it very attractive to those investing in their first water-cooled setup.

Check out the quick overview video below to find out why Thermaltake stripped down some of the features on this cooler and why that’s a good thing for (most) consumers.

The packaging is colourful and has all the major specification information on there that you will need.

The interior is pretty much what we see with all AIO coolers, a carton with protective bags overall smaller hardware components to keep them safe.

A pair of double curved fans, which can operate between 1200 and 2000 RPM, each fitted with a standard PWM connector and a black braided cable.

There’s no shortage of mounting options on offer, with separate rings and backplates for both Intel and AMD, 2011 screws, fan and chassis screws and even a Y-split PWM cable for the fans.

The radiator and pump are nicely designed, but also pretty standard. Those looking for something unique may want to look elsewhere, but it’s certainly presentable.

The radiator is a slim design, maximizing compatibility with most systems, while the 240mm length provides a good amount of surface area to dissipate heat from your CPU.

Two slim and long hoses mean that it’ll be easy to fit the pump inside your system, whether you have a small chassis, or a large one. The back of the pump has a Thermaltake logo on it, which looks pretty cool.

Pre-applied thermal paste is great for a quick and easy install, but there is no extra paste included, so you’ll need more if you plan to re-install in the future.

We won’t be using the stock paste of course, so I’ve cleaned it off. As you can see, we’ve got a good size copper contact plate and lots of screws providing a snug fit for the pump housing.

New 34″ Ultra-Wide Display Released by Philips Featuring MHL-Capable HDMI

Philips has just added a new 34″ ultra-wide display to their range of products. The new display product code is BDM3470UP and it looks perfect for anyone who is looking for a display to work with in applications that require a big landscape-mode solution.

Brief specs can be seen below:

  • 3440 x 1440 pixel resolution
  • 5ms G2G response time
  • 60Hz refresh rate
  • 1000:1 contrast ratio
  • 320 cd/m2 brightness
  • 178/178 viewing angles
  • 1.07b colour depth
  • W-LED backlight offering sRGB gamut

The BDM3470UP screen also features Philips’ SmartUniformity mode, using dedicated metrics to assess colour accuracy and deliver at least 95% average luminance uniformity. In terms of connectivity, the display comes with MHL-capable HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI and VGA display ports, as well as 2 x USB 2.0 and 2 x USB 3.0 ports.

The 34″ display also features 2 x 3W stereo speakers and PiP / PbP support and allows the user to tilt, height, swivel and rotate as per preference. Philips is said to be selling the BDM3470UP at a price of €799.

Thank you Guru3D for providing us with this information

Cherry MX-Board 3.0 MX Blue, Red, Brown & Black Mechanical Keyboard Review

Introduction


The name Cherry is synonymous with mechanical keyboards, their switches are used in a vast amount of mechanical keyboard from pretty much all major manufacturers such as Cooler Master, Corsair and Logitech to name but a few, and they have been using MX switches for many years now. With so many brands using their switches, it’s more than likely that most of our readers have owned a Cherry MX switch keyboard.

Mechanical switches are well-known for their durability, long life span and tactile feedback. The only downside of the switches is that their quality often comes with a big increase in price compared to membrane switch keyboards. Which is something that Cherry seem well aware of as their latest Cherry MX-Board 3.0 keyboards come in at a super affordable price of around £50-60. Still expensive, but certainly cheaper than a lot of competing mechanical keyboard products, so it’ll be interesting to see what this keyboard has to offer at this price range.

The MX-Board 3.0 comes in a choice of four switch types, Cherry MX Blue, Brown, Black and Red. Fortunately for you I have all four at my disposal today, so not only do I get to take a closer look at the keyboards, but also get a real feel for the differences between each switch type and the tasks each switch is best suited to.

The MX-Board 3.0 doesn’t come fitted with a rest, but you can buy the Cherry Palmrest separately for around £15-20.

The box is really nicely design with a stylish image of the keyboard on the front. The only difference between each box is that the logo in the top right corner shows what switch type is installed.

Around the back we have an international breakdown of the main features and specifications (see above).

Each box also has a quick run down of what each switch type offers in terms of force and travel distance. Blue offer an audible and tactile “click” when pressed, requiring a little more force to press.

Reds are linear and very smooth to press, offering minimal resistance and are generally a much faster switch to press.

Black switches are also linear like the reds, but require more force to press.

Brown are smooth and softer like the red switches, but have a feel that is closer to black switches.

All of the keyboards come nicely packaged to prevent damage in transit.

In each box you’ll find the keyboard, a USB to micro USB cable, two large rubber grips, kick-stand rubber feet and a simple user guide.

SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB USB3.0 Flash Drive Review

Introduction


Since their launch, USB3.0 flash drives have been one of those items that any avid enthusiast has had to have in their portfolio of tech gadgets, but when we get down to the simple facts of what they have to offer over any other USB based flash drive, 99% of the time I would guarantee that it’s the higher capacity and read speeds that make them attractive. When we look at the bigger picture, it is easy to see why these two details make these flash drives desirable. With the amount of data that we are wanting to move around growing exponentially, being able to move large volumes of data in one hit and being able to transfer content to and from the drive quickly is key. There is though one problem that the vast majority of these drives have in common and that is all-round read performance. Being able to say you’ve got fast sequential speeds is one thing, but when we move down the ladder to the smaller file sizes, we soon start to see things not looking so great – especially when compared to the read performance figures that are available.

True to form there is always one manufacturer that sees this weakness in the market and ventures on to resolve the problem with a new class of drive and this is exactly what SanDisk has aimed to do with the Extreme PRO USB3.0 flash drive. Although we don’t know exactly which NAND in particular has been used, going by the specs we could make a fair bet that its of a synchronous variety and guaging by the sixe of the drive there could easily be two NAND packages alongside the drives controller. That said though, all of this is packed into an aluminium and black plastic body and with read and write speeds of 260MB/s and 240MB/s respectively on offer, we are touching on the performance that SATAII SSDs have to give. Sounds good doesn’t it? Boasting up to 60x the performance of USB2.0 flash drives is a big thing to shout about so it’s all down to those all important performance results to make or break SanDisk’s claims that this is truly an Extreme performing drive.


On the front of the matte black box we find a typical SanDisk layout with the drive on full view the model name and some key performance figures on display alongside the capacity. SanDisk have no need to use flashy graphics all over their packaging, instead preferring to use a top the point design with a small amount of flare with the product name printed in a gold like colour.

USB 3.Optical Cables By Corning Now Available

Corning, the same people who make the popular Gorilla Glass front to many of today’s mobile handsets, have today announced the availability of their latest USB 3.Optical cables which allow USB devices to be connected at far greater distances than with a traditional copper based alternative.

Using the latest fibre optic technology the 3.Optical cable connects just as normal via a standard USB2.0 or 3.0 port, but instead of having copper wire running between the two terminals, an optical cable is used instead and this means that the standard limitation of 3 metres from point-to-point is nor longer a worry nor a restriction with distances of up to 30m easily achievable.

Since their introduction in the early stages of last year, Corning have been developing the cables with thinner and lighter designs being introduced and thanks to the of their ClearCurve VSDN fibre, they are able to withstands a “zero-bend” radius which allows the to withstand a lot of punishment such as being squeezed and tangled with out damage or loss of connectivity.

“With longer, thinner, and lighter cables, USB 3.Optical Cables by Corning give users the freedom to max out data connection speeds for a more enjoyable creative workflow,” said Bernhard Deutsch, vice president, product line management, Optical Connectivity Solutions for Corning Optical Communications. “Imagine having your computer at your workstation and the whir of back-up hard drives, printers, and other noisy peripherals in an entirely different room – and still benefiting from unbelievable transmission speeds.”

With many of todays external devices utilising the humble USB connection, the USB 3.Optical cables are ideal for a whole multitude of operations and scenarios, whether it be in the home, or in a commercial setting such as an office or bar.

“For example, restaurants can connect order-entry stations to USB-equipped printers located in both the bar and kitchen areas. The system then splits out the orders, printing food tickets in the kitchen and drink orders at the bar, resulting in faster service and happier customers.”

Currently the cables are only available in 10m lengths with “A-to-receptacle-A” terminals on either end (in other words they are just like a USB extension cable, but this means that they will work with any form of USB terminal when a short connecting cable is used. Priced at around $129, stock is available through the US Amazon store and Accu-Tech with more suppliers appearing in the future, along with 15 and 30m lengths also appearing on the shelves later this year.

Source: Press Release

Silverstone SST-EP02 USB3.0 to SATA Adaptor & SST-MS07 HDD/SSD Case Review

Introduction


In the consumer market, there are a number of manufacturers that cover more than one market segment and this in most situations ranges from chassis to coolers and power supplies, fans and also solid state drives and memory as well. Silverstone is a good example of a vendor that covers a broad range of market segments with their sleek and stylistic chassis, solid power supplies, fans and so forth, but what they have in their catalogue as well as this main spread of products is one of the widest range of accessories out there when compared their competitors. These accessories range from simple fan adaptors, to fans and dust filters, mobile accessories, notebook coolers and on top of that; drive adaptors and accessories for solid state and hard drives externally as well.

The two items that I’m looking at today are just a small sample of what is on offer and like a number of individual products, these are designed to be paired together, resulting in one complete accessory, although they can also be bought separately if desired.

We’ve seen countless times before and mainly at the big trade shows that external storage is a vital sector of the market as we are demanding larger and larger capacity drives that are easy to take from one place to the next with very little effort needed. In a nutshell the customisable enclosures have to be drop dead simple to use and inexpensive to purchase at the same time whilst also offering a decent amount of performance. They may not seem like a worthwhile item to stock in a shop or to manufacture as a whole, but take them away and you’ll soon see the demand for them grow.

Both the EP02 and the MS07 each come in a simple package, with the MS07 no more than just the cover in a plastic pack with a card backing while the EP02 comes packaged in a windowed box to show off the adaptor whilst the cable and manual sit behind. Both boxes give a quick run down on the key aspects of each item including their dimensions, weight and compatibility whilst the design is just as we would expect from Silverstone – simple and to the point.

ADATA DashDrive HV620 2.5″ 1TB External Hard Drive Review

Introduction


Generally speaking when we talk about external hard drives, there is not as much to talk about these days compared to a few years ago when they were all the rage. Flash storage has been getting more and more popular with many users, simply due to the fact that it is more compact, offers faster transfer speeds and more recently they are starting to offer higher capacities. They do have a slight downside however and this is the relative cost. On the lower end of the scale, any flash drive up to around 16GB in capacity is easy to get hold of – almost to the point where people are literally giving them away. When we start to move up the scale to drives that offer 32GB and above, the performance of the drive also starts to go up and in turn so does the cost.

With the average size of files quickly growing and the need to carry more and more data around with us also growing, flash storage quickly becomes an expensive solution. This is where the good ol’ trusty hard drive comes back in to place. With the price of hard drives coming down to almost rock bottom prices and to a point where they are inexpensive option for a number of people, we find these legacy storage options holding on to a strong position in the market due to their cheaper cost for a higher capacity. Naturally we don’t expect these legacy drives to offer the same blazing fast speeds that flash storage has to offer, but instead the amount of data that they hold is the desirable feature.

Until a few months ago, getting anything more than 1TB into a 2.5″ drive as not though of and consequently you had to look at a 3.5″ drive – but these are not exactly ‘portable’ when you consider their physical size, weight and the fact you also need an AC power adaptor as well. Thankfully, the challenge of cramming 2TB of storage into a 2.5″ format has been overcome and now we find many vendors offering up models with 2TB capacity. ADATA is just one of these companies and their portable drive comes under the DashDrive line of products.

ADATA recently introduced the HV620 into the market, with capacities ranging from 500GB through 1TB and on to 2TB, but storage space is not all that these drives have to offer. When we took a look at the HE720 around a year ago, one of its biggest shouting points was its scratch resistant metal shell. The HV620 offers up the same scratch resistant property, however it is this time on a plastic case. Anyone that owns a plastic product with a glossy finish will know how easy it is to leave a fine scratch in its surface, but ADATA have taken care of this with a small lip around the perimeter of the drive that helps to prevent any marks appearing.

Lexar JumpDrive M10 Secure 64GB Flash Drive Review

Introduction


Recently I’ve been taking a look at some of the newest flash drives on the market, including those from Lexar and whilst they may be either the fastest, best looking, or offer the best value for money, there is one area where they all fail. This is security. We hear about security all the time, and in the home or work place, security is key, after all we don’t want to let our data get out into the wrong hands. Typically this generally entails users locking their computers with a password and in the case of networks, securing the wireless with an encryption key for example. We also lock our buildings, filing cabinets, doors and vehicles, but for the most part, there is one everyday item that we tend to forget about; the humble USB flash drive.

When we look at the world of flash drives, they’re inexpensive to buy and their extremely convenient for moving and sharing data between point A and B with ease. This is all and well, but what happens when we lose then – let’s be honest we’ve all misplaced our flash drives at some point, be it on the home or office, or more worryingly when we are out and about. For the most part, the concern is not so much on having to replace the drive as they are easy to get hold of, the factor of getting the data back or someone else getting hold of the data if they find it is the real worry. Whilst some files are more mundane and harmless, from time to time there may be sensitive data on them such as personal details that is at risk of getting spread.

Take my personal circumstances, as a reviewer, I often have confidential files sent to me on unreleased products and when you hear us mention that we can’t disclose too much information due to an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement), we have to sign paperwork to declare that we will not reveal certain pieces of information. Loosing a flash drive with the sensitive information on for example is something that we would rather not do. Take graphics card launches as another example; in the run up to the launch date we always hear rumours and snippets of information being leaked out, but should we lose a flash drive and the wrong person get hold of the data then everything could be out in the open. This is what we try to avoid and thus brings us round to the item that I’ll be looking at today.

You may have recently read my review on Lexar’s JumpDrive P10 – one of their fastest and one of the fastest USB3.0 flash drives on the market with an astonishing price point but in the JumpDrive range there is another product that offers up something else of interest to many of us as opposed to speed – security. The JumpDrive M10 Secure offers up the piece of mind that your files are secure with industry leading 256-bit AES encryption through Lexars own EncryptStick Lite software, whilst offering up to 4x the speed of an equivalent USB2.0 drive and an always-on capacity meter. Available in capacities ranging from 16GB through to 128GB, the M10 is PC and Mac compatible, giving secure storage backed by a three-year warranty.

Tizen 3.0 Features Revealed At Tizen Developer Summit

Tizen OS version 2.2.1 was announced by Samsung at their first Developer Conference as being complete and capable of being deployed on smartphones. Version 3.0 of Tizen OS was also announced, and according to the key features which are detailed below it is the most able candidate for deployment in the near future.

Key Features:

  • Updated Core and ToolChain
  • Multiple user support (Multiple user support with protection)
  • 64-bit Support (IA and ARM chips, performance improvements, larger, memory address space)
  • 3D UI framework (3D Rendering Engine for 2D and 3D Objects in the real world and Dynamic Animation library)
  • WayLand based compositor
  • Crosswalk (HTML5 based application runtime based on Chromium/Blink)

According to The Handheld Blog, the first Tizen devices will be available in stores in February 2014. Despite the advantages of Tizen 3.0, Samsung will not be able to release the handsets with the 3.0 operating system pre-installed. They will be release with the Tizen 2.2.1 operating system and Tizen 3.0 is set to be a feature update which will be come later on.

Thank you NextPowerUp and The Handheld Blog for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of The Handheld Blog

Mach Xtreme MX-ES SLC 32GB Flash Drive Review

Introduction


Late last year I had a look at one of the latest flash drives to roll off the Mach Xtreme production line, featuring 16GB of SLC NAND within its slim read body and a suitably reasonable price tag to go along with it. Now, nearly a year on, I’m going to be taking a look at the 32GB SKU of the same MX-ES SLC drive that I looked at last year.

As a brief re-run over the history of Mach Xtreme, they are one of the leading storage manufacturers for flash products and over the last couple of years, they have been focussing on the MX-ES line of drives with its SLC NAND design.For a few people out there, SLC is common knowledge, but for those that do not know, this refers to the build up of the NAND flash, in this case with a Single Level Cell in instead of a Multi Level Cell design that we typically see in flash drives. Over the MLC design, SLC does not suffer from the same high wear rates and at the same time offers up a better write performance. The downside of this is that SLC NAND takes up a greater space over the much denser MLC and also the production costs are also higher.

As we’ve seen before, the MX-ES drive comes attached to a card with a plastic cover. The front side of the card is packed with information of the drive, including its five year warranty, SLC flash design and that it is ‘optimised’ for Asus motherboards – although the latter we showed to be inconclusive last time round with our testing.

Lexar JumpDrive P10 32GB USB3.0 Flash Drive Review

Introduction


In the world of flash storage, there is a multitude of big names on the playing field and for those who hold the highest reputations, they are either built on a long standing existence for example Sandisk and for some other vendors, the reputation they have built up from producing high quality products. Lexar is a company that in a sense falls into both categories and built as a spin-off company from Cirrus Logic in 1996, Lexar started off in developing flash controllers. Further down the line, Lexar was overtaken in ownership by Micron in 2006 and has since then been merged with Crucial as a subsidiary of Micron. Since then there has been a long line of flash storage products roll off the production line with the Lexar branding and moving forward to today we have the fastest and best looking flash drive that they have ever made.

The P10, as mentioned is quoted to be one of the fastest flash drives available to buy at this moment in time, offering up to 24x the performance of USB2.0 drives, The drive also features a sleek metal alloy body and come in capacities ranging from 16-64GB as it headlines Lexars USB flash drive lineup.

The JumpDrive P10 comes in a rather bulky pack when compared to other flash drives that I’ve looked at, however it does look rather sleek with its all black appearance with white writing printed on the front. Lexar are keen to show off not only the drives capacity, but also its expected read and write speeds. When it comes to the high-street retail channels, getting lots of information on to the front of the pack is key when trying to maximise sales. The clear packaging also gives us a full on view of the drive itself.

Teratrend (SilverStone) TS231U 2 Bay USB3.0 RAID Enclosure Review

Introduction


The storage markets are growing rapidly at the moment and this is certainly clear from the large number of home and small office users that are jumping onto the NAS bandwagon to increase their storage capacity to satisfy their needs. For some people though the prospect of setting up network devices is still either a daunting process or even more simply, too much hassle. Having a solution that is virtually plug and play is still the main choice of many users and as a result there is a market flooded by USB enclosures for both 2.5″ and 3.5″ drives.

Teratrend is a name that some may look at and turn away as its not recognised, but the sooner its realised that their a sub-brand of SilverStone – the same people of manufacture many great looking chassis and power supplies as well as coolers, the attention is soon brought back with the prospect of a high quality, well build unit.

As storage is not the main focus of SilverStone, the Teratrend brand was brought in to distinguish the new line of products a few years ago and since then we have seen a number of two and four bay options that take the effort out of storage expansion with say to use and simple devices that look good at the same time on any desk.

Like many other drive enclosures on the market, the contents are rather simple and alongside the enclosure itself we find a kettle lead, eSATA and USB3.0 data cables and a simple manual that outlines the RAID selection and drive installation process.

EA DICE Has Created The “Frostbite Go” Engine For iOS and Android

The Frostbite 3 engine is set to be the true next-gen engine of EA’s DICE studio and while Frostbite 2.0 still have plenty of power to give us, they’re not going to sleep on their achievements that easy and are already looking forward to future generations of their titles.

Not only are EA working on next-gen engines for consoles and PC, but their website has now also confirmed that they’re working on the Frostbite Go engine, a new edition of their popular engine that is tailored towards mobile gaming platforms.

“[one of the] most exciting current projects is called Frostbite Go, a mobile division empowering EA game developers with Frostbite’s proven excellent workflows and features to bring true Frostbite experiences to all major mobile platforms”. reads the EA website where their Stockholm development team is working on the new engine.

This is of course big news and while it may not seem like it, this could have a big impact on what EA games come to the mobile market. With iPads and Tegra powered devices now able to churn out graphics that are in many cases on par with current gen console offereings there is little to no reason why premium titles such as Battlefield couldn’t co exsist in the world of mobile and there is less and less need these days for them to be cut down editions of what we see on consoles and in some cases even the PC editions.

Frostbite 2 is EA’s most popular engine and it’s already the weapon of choice for powering Battlefield 3, Need for Speed, Medal of Honor and more. With Frostbite 3 set to power Battlefield III and even Dragon Age III, we can only look forward to what EA might bring to mobile market with a proper, scalable game engine.

“runtime memory and runtime performance are both key factors to enabling code and data systems to deploy content to diverse targets from Xbox 360 and PlayStation 4 to iOS and Android”.

It’s also likely that EA will licence out their engine much like Unity and Unreal Engine are leased out, either way it should make for some interesting developments in mobile gaming over the next couple of years.

Western Digital My Passport Enterprise 500GB USB3.0 External Hard Drive Review

All portable hard drives on the market are in essence the same in generally speaking there is very little that sets each one apart, after all they take your files from one place to another. But waht if you wanted your portable hard drive to give just a little bit more? How about taking not just your files, but your entire desktop with you so that you can plug it into any computer, boot it up and then work in your very own workspace? Well it turns out this option is very much a reality and users of Windows 8 Enterprise have this option at their finger tips but this does mean that they need to have a Windows To Go compatible drive.

Windows To Go is a little picky on what drives it can be installed to and thus in order to use this feature, you need to find a certified product. The vast majority of the certified products however are flash based, but whilst this is great for speed, space is compromised. This is where Western Digital step in with the world’s only Windows To Go certified portable USB3.0 hard drive. Granted the drive is not going to offer to blazing speed that flash can, but it does repay the user with considerably more space to play with out of the box.