Consumers have a staggering array of options when considering a new motherboard and it can be quite tricky to narrow down the choices. MSI produces a stunning range which targets various price points and user demands. Whether you’re looking for a flagship X99 server-grade product, or affordable H170 gaming motherboard, there’s something to suit everyone’s budget. The company has recently launched a promotion which allows you to receive cashback on the following motherboards:
X99A GODLIKE GAMING – £40.00
X99A GAMING 9 ACK – £40.00
X99A GAMING 7 – £30.00
C236A WORKSTATION – £30.00
Z170A GAMING M9 ACK – £30.00
Z170A XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM EDITION – £30.00
B150A GAMING PRO – £22.00
H170A GAMING PRO – £22.00
C236M WORKSTATION – £22.00
Z170A GAMING M7 – £22.00
Z170A GAMING M5 – £22.00
Z170A-G45 GAMING – £22.00
Z170A GAMING PRO – £22.00
Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON – £22.00
Z170A KRAIT GAMING 3X – £22.00
Z170I GAMING PRO AC – £22.00
Z170A TOMAHAWK AC – £15.00
Z170A TOMAHAWK – £15.00
Z170A SLI PLUS – £15.00
Z170M MORTAR – £15.00
H170M-A PRO – £15.00
H170I PRO AC – £15.00
B150M NIGHT ELF – £15.00
B150M MORTAR – £15.00
B150I GAMING PRO AC – £15.00
B150I GAMING PRO – £15.00
Please note the cashback offer is only available residents of the United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Poland, Spain and Turkey. Furthermore, you need to have a valid proof of purchase from participating retailers. If you’re eligible, the claim process is really simple and shouldn’t take too long to complete. The promotion ends on the 18th April 2016, and all claims must be filled 30 days after the purchase date. Although, you can’t leave it longer than 60 days to complete.
To register your product and instigate a claim please visit this page. Cashback offers are always a great incentive and reduces the price of a product you’re considering by a decent amount. Perhaps, this is enough of a saving and an encouragement to upgrade to a higher-end model. Please remember the promotion is for a limited time so it’s important to register your claim as soon as possible. Personally, I feel the Z170A Pro Carbon is a bargain even without the cashback offer.
The gaming monitor market incorporates a huge array of display technologies, screen sizes, and a host of other unique selling points. This allows the end-user to select a product which suits their specific requirements and most importantly, their budget. Whether you’re opting for a 16:9 144Hz TN 1920×1080 panel, or 21:9 60Hz IPS 3440×1440 monitor, there’s something to suit everyone’s taste. ASUS’ Republic of Gamers range has proved to be a popular choice due to the unique styling and large choice of models. For example, the original ROG Swift opted for a TN panel with 144Hz refresh rate to offer impeccable response times. As a result, professional gamers found it to be the perfect balance between visual quality and responsiveness. Since then, ASUS has released an IPS model, and a more budget-friendly FreeSync edition.
It’s no surprise that according to sources close to DigiTimes, ASUS accounted for 40% of gaming monitor sales in 2015:
“The sources estimate that worldwide gaming monitor shipments will reach at least 800,000 units in 2015 with Asustek accounting for 40% of the volume thanks to strong sales in Europe, North American and Taiwan.”
Traditionally, ASUS has focused on producing high-end 16:9 displays, but this changed with the PG348Q. This particular monitor utilizes a 3440×1440 IPS panel and adopts a very unusual aesthetic design. Unlike many 3440×1440 screens, the monitor supports G-Sync and a 100Hz refresh rate. As you might expect, this unbelievable display costs in the UK just shy of £1000 and designed for very expensive systems. Personally, I love the 21:9 aspect ratio and feel this is the perfect monitor especially with the curved display. Sadly, It’s slightly out of my price range and I’m perfectly happy with a non-curved 60Hz 3440×1440 monitor. Hopefully, the success of ASUS’ monitor range will reduce prices and enable the company to make cheaper options. One area they do need to keep working hard on is the RMA process which requires greater Quality Control.
After many years of lagging CPU performance, AMD has suffered diminishing market and financial performance. This may change later this year as AMD comes back with their new Zen architecture that AMD originally expected to bring up to 40% IPC increase over their current lineup. According to AMD’s latest report, though, Zen may be performing better than their early estimates, with greater than 40% IPC increase over the current generation.
AMD has long been confident that Zen would deliver on its performance gains. After all, the new architecture is reported to bring instruction set parity with Intel and a reworked and more balanced design. In fact, rumours about a Zen Apple chip have surfaced, which if true, is a strong endorsement for AMD. Zen will also revamp the ageing 9xx series chipset and bring DDR4 and other new technologies with AM4.
While there is much to be optimistic, the biggest disappointment is that the rumour about an early 2016 release is wrong, with the originally suggested late 2016 launch being confirmed. This is despite the tape out having already been completed. The wording for the 40%+ IPC increase also suggests that the increase won’t be much greater than expected, otherwise, numbers like 45% or 50% would have been used. Hopefully, Zen will have what it takes to bring AMD back to the forefront and allow the company to continue with future releases and even stunning designs like this one.
The humble desktop monitor has come a long way since the early days of huge CRT and even the chunky first generation LCD screens. Nowadays we can pick up a new monitor that is thinner than a Blu-Ray case, albeit those panels are expensive and few and far between but you get the idea. We use them for almost all of our viewing needs that can’t be handled by a smartphone or tablet, they have even replace most TV’s due to the reduced price and higher compatibility with computers and games consoles, with no resolution issues.
Back when LCD and plasma screens first hit the consumer market, the resolution was an overlooked specification to compensate for the novelty of owning such a futuristic piece of technology. That has changed in recent years and especially since the HD format was released and standardised. Everyone then moved to resolutions such as 1280 x 720, 1440 x 960 and the most famous 1920 x 1080. The 1080p format held the crown for many years, but now times have changed and 4K (2160p) is becoming the resolution of choice.
Today we have the simply massive Philips BDM4065UC monitor in for testing. I know I’ve already said massive, but this is MASSIVE. Yes there are screens that are bigger and they have been around for years, but having this much screen space with such a high resolution at relatively close range to your face just makes you feel small. This is one of the few monitors on the market to boast such as massive screen size with 4K capabilities and bundle it into a very attractive package thanks to the re-use of a chassis from a popular 40″ TV that Philips produce; I guess the line “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” was said during the production meeting.
Packaging and Features
The front of the box is very plain, focusing primarily on the logo, screen and key details regarding the monitor such as Ultra HD and Wide Viewing Angle.
The key details pointed out by Philips are Ultra HD panel of 3840×2160, VA LED panel allows for an almost 180° viewing angle, Built-in speakers which aren’t uncommon but this monitor packs twin 7W speakers and SmartConnect.
Unfortunately, no motherboards are included in this offer, but there are heavy discounts made across CPUs, power supplies, hard drives, peripherals and selected accessories. There isn’t quite enough to build a whole computer, but it will put you ahead of the retail pricing race for sure.
The most interestingly discounted products include Intel’s i7-4970 Processor for $249.99, 50% off Seagate 2TB hard drives and $140 off Thrustmaster’s Warthog Joystick. As you can see there isn’t a plethora of products available, most likely due to their heavily discounted nature, but there may be something there to tickle your fancy.
The sale is available for only 24 hours and is running out soon, so if you want in on the goods you must hurry.