Overclockers UK Titan Dark Zone Gaming PC Review

Introduction


Overclockers UK is one of the leading stockists of PC hardware and their engineering team produces an impressive range of custom rigs to suit contrasting tastes. Whether you’re looking for a silent air-cooled build, or extreme overclocked PC with premium water cooling parts, there’s something designed for your specific requirements. Often, whenever a new game is released which sells remarkably well, consumers like to pay homage with a system based around its theme. This can be a challenge especially if the game in question doesn’t have a distinctive colour scheme. The Division is an open world third-person shooter set in a bleak vision of New York City ravaged by a smallpox pandemic. This intriguing setting and captivating multiplayer confrontations have proved to be incredibly popular! As a result, The Division became Ubisoft’s fastest selling game on record and attracted a very passionate community.

This success story has given Overclockers UK inspiration for their latest gaming PC entitled the Titan Dark Zone. The system opts for orange braided PSU extension cables and vibrant LED lighting which creates a stunning aesthetic design. Combining the orange tones with black jet black components is quite unusual and a reference to The Division’s box art. Therefore, the Titan Dark Zone is a dream come true for fans of this particular title and features a very potent specification capable of powering VR devices without any concessions. The Intel i7-6700K is professionally overclocked to 4.5GHz using the Alpenfohn Broken 2 cooler. As a result, I expect to see an impeccable performance to noise ratio which surpasses many closed-loop-coolers. On another note, the 16GB 2400MHz DDR4 memory, factory overclocked GTX 980Ti and Samsung 250GB boot drive should be able to provide a sensational gaming experience even on high-resolution monitors. Rather surprising, Overclockers UK have decided to use a non-modular power supply which complicates cables management. On the other hand, the PSU has received a great deal of critical acclaim and showcases the careful decision-making process when designing a system’s specification.

Specifications

  • Name: Overclockers UK Titan Dark Zone
  • Case: Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX
  • Motherboard: MSI Z170A-SLI Plus
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-6700K Overclocked to 4.5GHz
  • Processor Cooler: Alpenfohn Broken 2
  • System Memory: Team Group Elite 16GB (8x2GB) 2400MHz CL16 RAM
  • Main Boot Drive: Samsung 250GB 850 Evo SSD
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): Seagate 2TB 7200RPM HDD
  • Graphics card: MSI GeForce GTX 980ti Armor X2 6GB
  • Power Supply: XFX TS 750W 80 Plus Gold
  • Peripherals: N/A
  • Monitor: N/A
  • Optical Drive: N/A 
  • Wireless: N/A
  • OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
  • Warranty: Three Year (24 Month Collect and Return plus 12 Month labour) Mainland UK and Ireland Only
  • Price: £1549.99

Packing and Accessories

The system arrived in an extremely large box which cannot fit on my photography backdrop. This is the reason why I’ve taken a snapshot in the hallway to emphasize the package’s mammoth size. Overclockers UK always adopt such an attentive approach to packaging and employ durable materials which enhances the level of protection substantially. It’s evidently clear that the company has considered the strain delicate PCs go under during transit and taken every necessary step to dramatically reduce the probability of damage occurring.

Once the top cover has been removed, we can see an ample supply of durable cardboard inserts which holds the system firmly in position.

The Titan Dark Zone is placed in the original chassis box and secured with strong tape. Honestly, I’d be extremely surprised if you received the system with even cosmetic imperfections considering multiple layers were used for protective purposes.

There’s additional support inside the chassis box via two strong polystyrene blocks.

The system’s internal components are surrounded by three Instapak foam pieces. These are essential additions which protect the CPU mounting and prevent the graphics card from applying too much pressure on the PCI-E slot during delivery.

In terms of accessories, OCUK included a Welcome Pack and Windows 10 Home OEM DVD containing the product code. The Welcome Pack outlines the system’s specification, and warranty terms in an easy to understand manner. Personally, I love the overall presentation and solder joints design on the front cover.

CPU-Z


GPU-Z

Microsoft’s Unified Gaming Platform Hits More Trouble

Microsoft has long been keen on repairing what can only be described as a damaged relationship with the PC gaming community. After a slew of initial releases, Microsoft’s game for Windows Live has soured many experiences of games the company is directly involved, made worse by the lack of features (and sometimes playability at all) when the service was taken down. Windows 10 looks to save them from this past but the initial signs all point to trouble.

One of the key selling points of Windows 10 is DirectX12, a new system designed to make games run not only faster but smoother with all the benefits of the latest generation of software. With “apps” being downloaded through the Windows 10 App store, sometimes with exclusive releases of big games like Gears Of Wars: Ultimate Edition, the limitations on these releases suddenly becomes frightening for PC gamers.

According to recent reports from Guru3D, when testing the latest Ashes of the Singularity beta disabling the vsync setting wouldn’t actually disable the feature. This is because of the technology used to display games in Windows 10, the windows display driver model 2.0.

You may not notice the problem though as programs downloaded from the store don’t expose an executable file, something that a lot of software uses to help mold their experience. Ever use Steam’s big picture mode or Fraps? They both use executable files from your programs to run, meaning using them with Windows 10 games may be more difficult than expected.

Microsoft has said how much they want to bring PC gamers back to trusting their development and platforms. With items like this happening and the quiet (and disastrous) release of Gears Of War Ultimate Edition on their store, they may be harming rather than helping their reputation with the gaming community.

GALAX Teases Upcoming HOF PCI-E SSD

GALAX, formerly known as GALAXY, is well-known for their amazing graphics cards that push the hardware to the limits of what’s possible and we have also seen them create the same great things with memory modules. The next logical step for the company is to branch out and enter the SSD market.

During our visit to CES in January, we had a first look at the HOF PCI-E SSD although the details were sparse at the time and we didn’t find out when it was to be released either.

What we do know is that it is a PCIe Gen3 x4 interface and the drive is using NVMe rather than AHCI for its connection. This in return results in a much better performance and the officially given ratings will allow the drive to read with up to 2600 MB/s and write with up to 1300MB/s. The random performance is equally impressive with 300K IOPS at 4K read operations and 200K at write operations.

The PCB itself was hidden from us at the time and we could only see the beautiful casing with signature HOF engravings. That changed today as GALAX published more photos, renderings, and real benchmark results on their Facebook page. While the information still is sparse, we get some more information from just looking at these newly shared pictures.

While the finished product is a full-sized card, the PCB itself seems to fit the HHHL standard (half-height, half-length) which should make it compatible with low-profile brackets. Whether such a solution will be released is another matter, but it does open up the options for modders.

Below are the officially released benchmark results which look pretty good to me, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be tweaked a little more with firmware optimizations. There’s still a little work to be done by GALAX and the HOF PCI-E SSD is now officially classified as “near completion”.

Are you looking forward to this storage drive or do you prefer something less extravagant and smaller such as the newer M.2 type drives? Let us know in the comments.

Futuremark Releases Major Update for PCMark 8

Futuremark released a new major update to the popular benchmarking application PCMark 8 that accommodates the latest changes in Adobe After Effects and provides better support for NVMe SSDs. This is a major update that will affect scores, which also means that results from this version shouldn’t be compared to older versions of the software. The new version is PCMark 8 v2.6.512 and it is ready now.

While the changes to Adobe After Effects and NVMe support provides better scores thanks to optimizations, the Home, Creative, and Work benchmark scores are not affected and can be compared to previous versions without trouble. Changing the scores dramatically, like it happened in this case, is never something good. But it is something that can be necessary to do at times, seeing how our technology evolves.

“Whenever possible, we avoid making workload changes that affect scores. But occasionally there are post-launch changes in 3rd party applications that affect our tests. Or new technologies appear that we could not have predicted when developing the benchmark.”

The latest version of Adobe After Effects CC no longer supports output to compressed Windows Media Video, which was the format that previously was used for the tests. As a result, Futuremark had to change the test to output to uncompressed AVI format instead. The better NVMe support will provide better scores on those drives in most cases, but the change won’t affect other types of drives.

Change Log

Adobe Applications benchmark

  • Adobe Applications benchmark has been updated to version 2.0. Scores should not be compared with earlier versions.
  • The After Effects test output has been changed to uncompressed AVI format as the latest version of Adobe After Effects CC no longer supports output to compressed Windows Media Video format.
  • Use Compatibility mode to compare scores with historical result data. This also requires an older version of After Effects that supports Windows Media Video.

Storage benchmark

  • The Storage and Expanded Storage benchmarks have been updated to version 2.0. Scores should not be compared with earlier versions.
  • The tests now provide better support for NVMe drives. Scores from NVMe drives will improve in some cases. The faster the drive, the bigger the difference. Other types of drive are unaffected.

Improved

  • General stability and error handling have been improved.
  • SystemInfo module updated to 4.41 for improved hardware compatibility.

Fixed

  • Video Chat test now works even when there is no audio device in the system.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause PCMark 8 to crash when the SystemInfo module failed.
  • Fixed several issues found on non-English language Windows installations.

Professional Edition only

  • Command line now offers temp path selection.
  • XML output now shows battery life in minutes not seconds for more intuitive results.

As always you can find the full information about the entire benchmark application on the official website or download your own version. If you already have the app installed, then it should prompt you with an update notification next time that you run it.

AMD Claims SYSmark Benchmark is Biased

In the technology industry, reviewers rely on accredited benchmarks to easily distinguish between the latest hardware and provide scores which help quantify the difference in performance. Generally, the majority of respected websites, and YouTube channels opt for the same software. For example, 3DMark is an essential tool to gauge GPU performance at various resolutions. Companies tend to fixate on benchmark numbers because if gives the consumer a direct comparison between their product and the nearest competitors. Today, AMD released a scathing video about SYSmark and claims the benchmark is biased, and inaccurate.

During the video, John Hampton, director of computer client products and Tony Salinas, engineering manager at AMD, said “SYSmark does not use everyday real world workloads”. In the software, an Intel i5 CPU attained a score of 987, while a “comparable AMD platform powered by an FX processor” managed 659. This is a delta of 50%. In comparison, PC Mark 8 accelerated scores are 4199 on the Intel platform and 3908 on AMD, a difference of 7%. According to AMD, there’s an excessive amount of stress being placed on the CPU and doesn’t accurately measure other key system components. PC Mark 8 provides a more well-rounded indication of real world performance.

To clarify this, AMD created a set of custom scripts and measured the start to end end time in the office suite and reached a time stamp. The Intel platform took 61 seconds to complete the task while the AMD system finished in 64 seconds. This is a delta of  6-7% which coincides with PC Mark 8’s accelerated results. Obviously, these are bold claims made by AMD and some might argue it’s just sour grapes for creating an inferior product. However, the data does suggest there’s a smaller gap than people might expect in real world scenarios. Despite this, SYSmark is recording the CPU’s performance so it’s bound to show a marked difference compared to a more general benchmark.

Do you feel AMD is right to criticize SYSmark’s benchmarking algorithm?

DirectX 12 3DMark Shown For The First Time!

3DMark is an essential tool in the technology industry and predominately used to differentiate between various graphics cards. More specifically, FireStrike, FireStrike Extreme and FireStrike Ultra determines the GPU’s performance at different resolutions and provides an accurate score which many leading hardware websites depend on. That’s not to say it’s just for professional use though, as some enthusiasts like to bench hardware and see the enhancements in driver revisions as well as small core clock adjustments. DirectX 11 is a functional API but doesn’t offer anywhere near the optimizations and low overheads in DirectX 12. As a result, DirectX 12 is often perceived as a revolutionary step which encourages multi-GPU configurations and utilizes each person’s setup in a more effective manner.

The latest big update to 3DMark revolves around these major changes and has been kept under wraps for some time. However, 3DMark’s product manager, Pasi Virtanen showcased the current working build of 3DMark using DirectX 12 during a presentation. According to Pasi Virtanen, the upcoming edition will feature two GPU tests, including the “Time Spy” benchmark and a CPU test. Apparently, this will provide some of the most complex benchmarking tools ever devised and incorporate leading DirectX 12 attributes in the testing procedure.

Currently, there’s no firm release date as the software suite is being worked on. Although, early reports suggest it will probably launch sometime in 2016. I cannot wait to see if DirectX 12 lives up to its potential and how developers manage to cope with the new API.

Just Cause 3 PC Ultra Footage Revealed

Just Cause 2 is one of the PC’s greatest open world adventures and features explosions, exploration and chaotic gunplay. The developer, Avalanche Studios is renowned for making absolutely stunning PC games which run superbly on a wide range of hardware. After a lengthy development period, Just Cause 3 is finally on the horizon and adopts a gorgeous visual style. If the game runs anything like Mad Max, then the performance should be flawless.

Gamersyde managed to record a hands-on preview during Paris Game Week. Interestingly, the footage is from the PC version running on Ultra and looks remarkably smooth. Additionally, the system used to capture the video contained an i5 processor (no more details on the exact model) and GTX 970. The game was probably running on a 1920×1080 display so it’s unknown how well the engine will scale to much higher resolutions.

Whatever the case, it’s great to see the game running so well on a modest setup. For those of you interested in picking up Just Cause 3, CDKeys currently has it on pre-order for the absurdly cheap price of £19.99. Once again, the value proposition of PC gaming comes into force when you factor in the price of day one mainstream titles.

Are you looking forward to Just Cause 3?

Upcoming AMD 8-Core CPU Performance Leaked

Benchmarks of AMD’s upcoming “Heirofalcon” SOC have been leaked which indicate the chip’s capabilities and astonishing power to performance ratio. The SOC features 8 ARM 64-bit A57 cores operating at a frequency of 2.0GHz while only utilizing a maximum TDP of 30w. In terms of its specification, the Heirofalcon SOC is based on the 28nm manufacturing process and contains 4MB of L2 cache. Additionally, the CPU has a dual-channel DDR3/DDR4 memory controller with ECC support up to speeds of 1866MHz. As a result, the chip is incredibly versatile.

AMD plans to release a number of different versions with varying wattage demands which should relate to frequency alterations. Rather surprisingly, the leaked benchmarks provide a great amount of detail and include comparisons to older AMD chips. Please note, the benchmark was conducted using an early engineering sample which might not reflect the final version.

As we can see from the data, AMD’s Hierofalcon performs exceedingly well for an ARM-based CPU given the low TDP and 2.0GHz frequency. 

In multi-core workloads, the chip once again manages to achieve great results, but falls well behind in tasks like kPipe. However, this is expected given its core architecture.

Finally, we can see the power efficiency rating across various benchmarks which shows how amazingly efficient the Hierofalcon CPU is. Throughout testing, the results were extremely consistent and signified a return to form. As always, it’s important to take any leaked benchmarks with a grain of salt, but the Hierofalcon looks very promising!

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information. 

Fable Legends DX12 Benchmark Show AMD Gains

Ever since the first AOTS DX12 benchmark showed major gains for AMD, many have been waiting for another benchmark. Today, Microsoft released a DX12 benchmark for their new Fable Legends game. Once again, it looks like AMD has managed to secure some strong gains in DX12, with cards throughout the lineup showing good relative gains compared to their Nvidia counterparts.

Comparing stock reference cards, the R9 290X/390X shows significant improvement, being able to secure a strong lead over the GTX 980. The 290/390 also leads significantly over its GTX970 competitor and even manages to edge past the GTX 980. These figures hold true across multiple resolutions which shows that the differences are more architectural rather than CPU bound. One reason for this is likely the ASync Compute that Fable developers have noted is nearly free to implement on AMD’s GCN.

Higher up the product stack, the GTX 980 Ti manages to hold onto its crown against the Fury X, with the two cards trading blows. This really shows how strong GM200 has been for Nvidia and also how the current GCN architecture is bottlenecked. Lower down the 380 takes a commanding lead over the 960 tough not quite enough to match the GTX 970. For older cards like the 7970 and the 680, AMD also managed to post a strong lead, showing off how GCN really was forward looking.

One variation to look out for between benchmarks is that some sites are using non-reference  factory OC models that clock more and are not labelling them. Once you consider overclocking the numbers go flying and Maxwell’s ability to OC would likely narrow some of the gains showed by AMD. However, it’s still early days for DX12 so there may yet be more changes until the ecosystem stabilizes. The biggest takeaway is how 290/290X owners will be loving their cards more and more as DX12 games roll out. With many DX12 to be associated with AMD, who knows if this trend will continue?

Thank you ExtremeTech for providing us with this information

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided to Feature DX12 & Built-in Benchmark from Day-One

We caught the news this week that Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will be reaping the benefits, or should I say augments, that come from DirectX 12. This is great news for those who are wanting to tap into more of their GPU hardware, but even better news as there’s not exactly a lot of games out there right now that are flexing DX12!

The good news is that the game will support DirectX 12 from day one, so no waiting for a future patch or update to see what all the fuss is about. What is going to make this game even more interesting, at least as far as I am concerned, is that it’ll feature a built-in benchmark; something that is sorely missing from many modern games.

Given that the game features DirectX 12, as well as a bunch of features such as AMD’s TressFX 3.0 tech, it’s going to be an interesting one to push the limits of the latest graphics cards and we can’t wait to get benchmarking with it.

Of course, Direct X 12, benchmarking tools and more are a big win for consumers, as you’ll be able to better fine tune your games visuals to run on your hardware. Let’s just hope they sort out that bloody awful pre-order campaign!

Thank you DSO for providing us with this information.

Seasonic’s Platinum 1200 Watt Power Supply Assists In World Record

Seasonic Electronics Company was founded 40 years ago and prides itself on research and development with the aim of providing consumers with cutting edge technology. This is the case with the Platinum 1200 power supply which has assisted in the achievement of a new world record in conjunction with Dancop.

For those not familiar, Dancop is a German overclocking pro team who have achieved a new World Record within CPU and GPU benchmarks as well as finishing first place within numerous other benchmark categories at the global rankings.  These are overseen by HWBOT who are an organization that monitors professional competitive overclocking results.

So what makes this Power Supply exceptional? The Platinum 1200 version boasts among other features Dual Copper Bars which carry a higher current which is much more effective than the traditional copper strips. A No Negative Voltage Tolerance which implements an even stricter voltage regulation which entirely eliminates negative deviations, this is with the aim of keeping voltage 80% tighter than Intel specifications and 66 % tighter than top reviewers recommend. The icing on the cake is in the form of Seasonic’s 7 year warranty which provides the piece of mind to consumers.

Seasonic has also been awarded the European Hardware Awards for 2015, this prestigious award was for their Platinum Power Supply series.

 

PowerColor Devil 370X Benchmarks Leaked

AMD’s budget-focused 370X is designed to compete with the GTX 950 and could instigate a price war in the lower-end market. The 370X features 1280 stream processors and utilizes the entire Pitcairn architecture. Finally, the raw performance numbers are emerging from custom-cooled models such as the PowerColor Devil 370x. This particular card contains a core of 1180MHz and memory frequency of 5600MHz.

The PowerColor Devil 370X opts for a rather understated matte black backplate which prevents unwanted drooping and implements a more premium feel.

This GPU is powered by 2 6-pin PCI-E connectors which should help with overclocking potential.

In terms of connectivity, the PowerColor Devil includes 2 mini DisplayPorts 1.2, 1 HDMI (most probably 1.4) and 2 DVI-I connectors. There is also a vent to help with airflow and push heat outside the case.

The cooler itself is based on a copper 4-heatpipe design with ample room for two extremely large heatsinks.

The shroud is constructed from metal and painted in a gorgeous black and red finish. While this colour scheme is overdone, it looks fantastic and oozes build quality. Additionally, a 3 fan setup allows for reasonable temperatures at a low decibel level.

A closer look at the PCB shows the card’s power circuitry, core and VRAM layout.

Moving onto the actual results, we can see the PowerColor Devil 370x reaches a 3DMARK 11 X-score of 2761. To put this into perspective, a reference GTX 960 usually manages around X3350.

The GPU was also tested in Fire Strike Extreme and achieved a Graphics score of 3035. This easily outperforms many overclocked 270X cards which attain a figure around 2700-2800.

Perhaps the most important results revolve around gaming benchmarks at the mainstream 1920×1080 standard. The chart below records the lowest and average frame rate from a wide array of demanding games. In descending order, the benched titles are Assassin’s Creed Rogue, Dragon Age Inquisition, Lords of the Fallen, Project Cars, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, Zombie Army Trilogy, Moonlight Blade and World of Tanks.

Judging from the benchmarks and gaming scores, it seems the PowerColor Devil 370X will be a stonking card for customers on a tight budget.

Intel Skylake i7 6700K Performance Leaked Again Along with Discrete GPU 3DMark

Given the sheer amount of leaks coming out, Intel’s Skylake should be just around the corner. Today, we have more i7 6700K benchmarks to share, this time compared on an MSI board vs an i7 4790K. While the MSI board is not one those fancy schmancy ones leaked earlier, the MSI Z170A Gaming Pro does bundle a number of newer features like Turbo M.2, Lan Protect, Game Boost and of course LGA 1151 and DDR4.

Starting right off the bat, both chips are stock clocked so the i7 6700K 5.2Ghz and later 6.3Ghz overclocks don’t apply. Despite a small 200mhz speed advantage at full boost, the i7 6700K manages to pull ahead in most tasks, albeit slightly at about 3% faster overall. Taking the clock speed into account, that gives an IPC boost of about 8%, which is about par given the jump from Ivy Bridge to Haswell. When driving a dGPU. Skylake stretches its lead a bit more, posting a 6% improvement that means an IPC gain of 11% once you consider the clock speed deficit.

There were a few anomalies with WinRAR posting mixed results, with the 6700K pulling ahead in multi-thread but dropped behind in single-thread. This also holds true for 3DMark Firestrike Ultra, with mixed scores there as well. While these issues could be caused by unfinished drivers, the more likely cause is run to run variation. It’s also important to note that motherboards do play a role in performance, but that is something hard to quantify across generations. Overall, the tests do point out to yet another standard release for Intel with a decent but still minor boost in IPC, with real world overclocking remaining the big unknown. Stay tuned for more coverage as we near the August launch.

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information 

Images courtesy of WCCFTech

SSD-Z Utility Tool Version 15.7.11b Update Released

SSD-Z isn’t yet as well-known as other information apps such as GPU-Z and CPU-Z, but it is a great little tool and it just got another update, the first since March. SSD-Z might look like an advanced and long-living app based on its version number, but that is built on the simple numbering of the date when the version was released. It is still in beta and needs more work, but it’s a great start and worth to check out.

SSD-Z is an information tool for Solid State Drives and other disk devices, it will show information about your SSD using a database such as the SSD controller, the processing tech, the NAND type, and more. Other useful information related to disk drives are also shown, such as S.M.A.R.T. status and partition layout. A benchmark function is in the works, but it is still deemed for testing purposes only and not reliable.

This update brings along a newer database that features more drives and information as well as a lot of fixes and improvements. A lot of keyboard shortcuts have been added, but one of the most important features is probably the Submit function. Should some of your drives information be false or it isn’t in the database yet, then you can help out the author and everyone else by submitting your information and help make the next version even better.

If you’d like to try it out yourself, you can find it here.

Changelog for version 15.7.11b

  • The keyboard shortcut modifier to change tabs, was changed from Alt to Control. E.g. [Ctrl + 3].
  • Added keyboard shortcuts to resize the window. Using [Alt + 1, 2, 3, 4] will resize the window to 100%, 150%, 250% or 300%. Last two are width only.
  • New Tab: “Config”. This tab allows for customization of SSD-Z. The Config tab can be opened by pressing [F2] or from the system menu.
  • Settings are now stored in an INI file, in the same folder as the EXE. What’s saved: last active tab, last active device, window position, temperature unit, plus a few other things.
  • The mousewheel can now scroll the visible tabs, if there are too many to fit at once.
  • Partition Tab: The volume list now shows the percentage of free space left.
  • Improved interpretation for certain SMART attributes.
  • Improved several tooltips to be more clear about what the specific field show.
  • Benchmark Tab: Improved the IOPS benchmark by using queue depth.
  • More SSDs have been added to the database.
  • Added support for a few more vendors and their associated logo.
  • Fixed clicking on the temperature field on the device tab to swap unit. This will now properly update the displayed temperature, instead of turning into “n/a”.
  • Partition Tab: Added a column showing if a partition is aligned on a 4k boundry.
  • DevSlp is now listed in the capabilities, for devices that support it.
  • Removed the “-expand” command line parameter. It has been made useless now that the window size is remembered between sessions.
  • Benchmark Tab: Replaced the specific benchmark selection buttons with a drop-down list.
  • Benchmark Tab: The benchmark data is now remembered, even if another benchmark is activated or another device is selected. Only doing a full refresh, [Ctrl + F5] or bottom left button, will clear benchmark data.
  • Benchmark Tab: Some benchmarks can now be aborted when running. This is just a temporary fix until the benchmarks are properly threaded.
  • Added a keyboard shortcut [F4] to activate the previously selected tab.
  • SMART Tab: The attribute name of the selected item can now be copied to the clipboard using [Ctrl + C] or by double clicking the attribute.
  • Added “system.stay_on_top” option to make SSD-Z stay on top.
  • Identify Tab: Many words now displays a description of what each individual bit means.
  • Added debugging option “system.enum_scsi_debug”. When enabled, “\\.\ScsiX:” devices will be enumerated.
  • New Tab: “Submit”. Here you can submit your SSD to the TechPowerUp database. Having access to the submitted information of many SSDs will help improve future versions.
  • Increased the default window width, to accommodate the increased number of tabs.

Intel Skylake i7-6700K Benchmarks Leaked

Another batch of Skylake benchmarks have leaked out a little under a month before the expected launch. This time we have the Intel i7-6700K on an ECS Z170-Claymore paired with 16GB of 2133Mhz DRR4, 128GB SSD and a GTX970. For comparison an i7-4790K on an MSI Z97A Gaming 6 with 8GB of 1600Mhz DDR3 with the same GPU and SSD. Both systems used the stock Intel heatsink with the copper core.

PCMark 8, 3DMark, Cinebench R15, and Sandra 2015 were tested with the 6700K coming first in the images with the 4790K following. As you can see Skylake trades blows with Haswell in PCMark 8, only managing to pull ahead significantly in the Home test. In the two Firestrike tests, Haswell manages to pull ahead but Skylake manages wins in Cloud Gate and Sky Diver.

Cinebench R15 shows a win for Skylake with a notable improvement in multicore efficiency. OpenGL shows a big jump due to the improved iGPU on Skylake. For Sandra 2015, the red line is Haswell and blue for Skylake. The two trade blows in the arithmetic test, but Skylake pulls ahead in multimedia, cryptography and memory bandwidth. The final two are expected given additional instruction support for cryptography and DDR4 with Skylake.

As we pretty much expected, Skylake is a minor bump in terms of IPC gains, being able to pull ahead of Haswell despite being clocked lower. One can’t forget that the extra bandwidth offered by DDR4 might be giving a boost to Skylake so those with 2133Mhz DDR3  Haswell might see fewer gains. Drivers for the motherboard are still in beta, but not too much is likely to change in that field. These benchmarks serve to confirm the general trend shown by previous leaks and the hardware looks set for a much leaked August launch.

Thank you TechBang for providing us this information

First AMD R9 Fury X Benchmarks Are Here!

So with the imminent launch of the highly anticipated AMD Fury graphics cards, it was only a matter of time before someone accidentally published a review before the NDA. In this case, DigitalStorm dropped the ball.

As we all know, the AMD Fury range is based on the newest Fiji architecture and will feature High Bandwidth Memory v1. Previously rumoured to offer AMD R9 295×2 performance in a package as small as the NVIDIA GTX 970 ITX, this was set to be one of the best graphics card innovations in years.

We have covered a lot of news regarding the AMD R9 Fury range, how it should be a better performer than the Titan X, the same cost as a GTX 980, the same size as a GTX 970 ITX and water cooled like its older brother, the R9 295×2. However, solid performance details have been scarce with only one or two charts popping up and all contradicting each other.

We will keep this post updated as we get more details, so stay tuned to your F5 button.

  

Was this the performance you was expecting from the new AMD Fury X? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to VideoCardz for providing us with this information

AMD Fury X Gets Benchmarked on Far Cry 4

Details about AMD’s latest Fury X graphics card have been focused on the hardware and specs. We did know the card came with AMD’s HBM technology and a lot of computing power. If you’ve missed the spec details, you can view them again here. So how well can it handle the latest games? Well, AMD seems to have ut it to the test.

The Fury X was recently benchmarked on Ubisoft’s latest Far Cry title, Far Cry 4, at the Beijing conference. The company showed that Fury X is able to handle 4K resolution while rendering Far Cry 4 in Ultra Settings at an average rate of 54FPS. The minimum was indeed 43FPS, but we are talking about 4K here and I’m sure nothing that is within an acceptable price range can handle that at the latter FPS.

Also, compared to other cards benchmarked on Far Cry 4, the Fury X seems to be at the top line. I mean it looks to have even taken on NVIDIA’s GTX Titan X as shown below. The only competition it has, according to the benchmarks, is the R9 295X2. However, you can’t really compare a dual-GPU card or an SLI configuration’s statistic with just a single card’s output.

What we need to know now is what price tag coming with this beast. We don’t want to speculate on a price right now, but since it’s AMD, we can’t be looking at something greater than what NVIDIA is asking for their own cards. Or will we?

Images courtesy of LinusTechTips

Futuremark Begins Development of VR Benchmark ‘VRMark’

It’s no secret that VR gaming is taking off in a big way, with Oculus, Vive and many others all pushing their new hardware in one form or another. However, one major issue still holds a lot of gamers back when it comes to VR; hardware requirements. If you’re eager to find out just how VR-capable your rig is, you’ll want to benchmark it, which is where benchmarking specialists Futuremark come in.

VRMark has just been announced by Futuremark, which will use a combination of software and hardware to measure VR system performance, testing aspects such as latency and accuracy. While the benchmark is still in development, Futuremark are aiming to release the tool this year, so there’s no doubt we can expect a sneaky video of it in action in the not too distant future.

“There are already more than a dozen different head-mounted displays for VR at various stages of completion. Analysts forecast that VR will reach 10.8 million users by the end of 2016. But delivering a great VR experience relies on overcoming significant performance challenges,” said Jukka Mäkinen, Managing Director at Futuremark. “With VRMark, we’re aiming to help everyone, from industry engineers and press reviewers to the end user at home, discover the best performing VR technology.”

“UL believes that the blossoming VR industry will greatly benefit from a dedicated VR benchmark developed by a neutral 3rd party,” said Sajeev Jesudas, President, Consumer Business Unit at UL. “VRMark is the first component of a comprehensive VR offering from UL that will also include the development of new standards and certification programs to protect the health, safety and well-being of VR users.”

I’m really looking forward to testing this new benchmark out, and its great news for consumers, especially if it helps identify hardware that it suitable for VR gaming.

More Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti Details Leaked

AMD’s new flagship graphics cards with HBM memory are just around the corner and it looks like Nvidia is trying to steal the show a bit. We’ve seen more and more leaks about the upcoming GeForce GTX 980Ti recently which points in the direction of an eminent release date.

The newest information comes from the same Korean tech-publication as the previous “leaks”, only this time we get a GPU-Z screenshot revealing the clock frequencies.

The GeForce GTX 980Ti is clocked at 1000MHz and has a GPU boost frequency of 1076MHz, very close to that of the GTX Titan X. The memory is clocked at the usual 7012MHz GDDR5 speed.

Other previously revealed specifications include 2816 CUDA cores and 176 TMUs. You’ll get 6GB video memory running on a 384-bit memory bus with 336 GB/s bandwidth. The card is powered by a 6-pin and 8-pin power connector and comes with one DVI, one HDMI, and three DisplayPort connectors.

What we don’t know for sure yet are the ROPs that are expected at 96, the TDP and the MSRP.

There are also some 3DMark benchmark results coming from the same direction, both Fire Strike and Cloud Gate. The Fire Strike test clocks in with a score of 14,071 while the Cloud Gate reaches 29,444.

More Intel Skylake i7 6700K Benchmarks Leaked

More performance figure for Intel’s i7-6700K have been leaked ahead of its launch. Published by cpu-monkey, these benchmarks offer some insight into Intel’s upcoming 14nm Skylake microarchitecture. The i7-6700K is set to be Intel’s top mainstream chip for Skylake and is set to replace the i7-4770K and i7-4790K based on Haswell 22nm. From cpu-monkey’s data, the 6700K is set to clock between 4-4.2Ghz, which is slightly lower than the 4790K (4-4.4Ghz). Surprisingly, TDP has gone up a tad back to the old 95W standard. As expected DDR4 is supported and a new LGA 1151 Socket is required.

Benchmarks tested include Cinebench R11.5 64bit and R15, Passmark CPU and Geekbench 3 64bit. Overall the i7 6900K pretty much follows the same trajectory Intel has been on in terms of IPC over the last few generations. Throughout all of the tests, the i7-6700K posted a strong 9% gain over the i7-4790K, which is actually pretty good considering the jumps between Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge and Haswell never really reached those levels. This means there will be quite a sizable IPC gain Sandy Bridge and older systems and even Ivy Bridge users might be tempted.

An interesting note is that Skylake is rumored to support both DDR3 and DDR4 so there is no way to know which memory system these tests were run on. Using faster DDR4 could have skewed the results for the 6700K, meaning the real IPC gains might be lower if the DDR3 used by the 4790K was also used as well. Higher memory bandwidth kits for Haswell can boost performance by as much as 9% in some cases, so it may be premature to attribute all of the performance gains to IPC improvements just yet. It will also be interesting to see how much overclocking headroom there will be on Intel’s new 14nm platform. If Skylake does not OC well, there will be less incentive for those running on golden chips to upgrade. Hopefully, we’ll have more information to bring you as Skylake nears launch.

Intel Skylake i7 6700K Performance Figures Leaked

Intel Skylake is finally on the horizon and hardware is slowly starting to trickle into the hands of hardware developers around the world, which means one thing; leaked information is coming!

The first leak about Intel’s upcoming CPU architecture focuses on one thing we really care about, the performance and initial impressions are certainly positive. The first listed CPU, the 6700K appears to have the same frequency ratio as the 4790K, but with 15% higher gaming performance. The performance increase may not look huge, but keep in mind that these benchmarks skip over some big innovations in the hardware and software market, such as DirectX12.

It seems that 6-cores will become the norm for the next-generation of CPUs and we expect that’ll be a similar vibe for the upcoming AMD Zen architecture also. With the new DirectX API being able to address all cores more efficiently, as well as software developers updating their software to better utilize the newer Skylake hardware, we expect the performance gap to increase quite quickly.

Of course, Skylake will also bring a lot of other benefits, such as supporting both DDR3 and DDR4 memory formats, a new chipset from Intel, the 100-series and the usual reduction in power consumption, so it’s certainly something we’re looking forward to.

AMD Reveals DirectX 12 Performance Stats in 3DMark Benchmark

Futuremark has released a new update for 3DMark that adds 3DMark API Overhead benchmark. It didn’t take long for AMD to get straight into showing its performance stats for the Radeon R9 290X graphics and the FX-8370 octa-core CPU scaling.

Futuremark has added draw calls on different APIs in its Overhead benchmark, having it support DirectX 11, DirectX 12 and Mantle on a single system. While AMD was keen on showing its performance on Mantle as well as the other APIs, it eventually followed Futuremark’s notes in not comparing GPUs from different vendors and stuck with only DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 performance statistics on the Radeon R9 290X and R7 260X.

DirectX 12 looks like it will also have a certain impact on multi-threaded CPU performance scaling, having the FX-8370 CPU managing to get DirecX 12 to scale with six cores compared to the limed two cores of the DirectX 11 API.

Though AMD’s statistics look very promising, these are still just benchmark results and real-world performance is usually something completely different. Even so, DirectX 12 and games powered by the latter API should be available by the end of the year.

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information

AMD R9 290X and Titan X Go Head to Head With DX12

DirectX 12 support has just been added to 3DMark and the results look too good to be true! Delivering performance up to 20x faster than DirectX 11 in certain tests. While Nvidia cards gain a lot from the new API, AMD cards have benefitted from the biggest improvement.

The R9 290X goes head to head with the new flagship Nvidia Titan X, even gaining a small lead in some cases. Looking further back, the 290X pulls a 33% lead on the GTx 980, making DirectX 12 a fantastic upgrade for any gamer with a high-end AMD or Nvidia card.

With DirectX 11, the Titan X and the 290X show some very exciting figures. The Titan X maxed out at an impressive 740 thousand draw calls per second, but a significantly more impressive 13 million, 419 thousand calls with DirectX 12; you don’t need to be Einstein to work out that that’s a huge improvement. The 290X managed 935 thousand and 13 million, 474 thousand in DX11 and DX12 respectively, beating out the Titan X in both respects and even beating out the Mantle API by 8%.

When it comes to the FPS results, we see the GTX 980 scoring 2.75FPS in DX11 and 15.67FPS in DX12, a massive improvement overall. However, that still falls short of the 290X, which clocked up 19.12FPS in DX12, although still short of the 20.88FPS it scored using Mantle.

DirectX 12 shows impressive scaling with extra CPU cores, although performance seems to taper off beyond six cores. Mantle has more significant gains here, being able to take advantage of eight cores. What is interesting is that enabling Hyper-Threading actually seems to hinder performance, DirectX 12 much prefers physical cores to boost performance.

Of course, the thing that’s most important to remember is that these are synthetic benchmarks. They give a nice ballpark idea of how the API can improve performance on these cards, but they’re little indication of real-world gaming and rendering performance. The API’s, drivers and in the case of Windows 10, the operating system that they’re operating on are all still in their infancy. We expect improved performance in the coming months and there’s even a chance that a new driver update could quickly put the Nvidia cards back on the top spot.

What’s great to see is that all the hype about DirectX 12 is finally starting to show some real world figures, and they’re very impressive.

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information.

NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX Titan X Gets Its First Benchmark Results Posted

While NVIDIA tends to keep information about its latest Titan X graphics solution at bay, there are more and more sources coming forth with information about the card. This time, VideoCards comes forth with new benchmark results for the Titan X.

However, VideoCards is said to have revealed information such as testbed configuration, driver versions or other details about the tests performed on the card, nor whether the information comes from their testers or third-parties. Based on the results revealed by VideoCards, we see the following alleged results for the GeForce GTX Titan (performed at default clock speeds of 1GHz GPU and 7GHz memory):

  • 22903 points in 3DMark 11 Performance, which is 34.8 per cent faster compared to reference GeForce GTX 980
  • 7427 points in 3DMark 11 Extreme, which is 39.9 per cent faster compared to reference GeForce GTX 980
  • 17470 points in 3DMark FireStrike, which is 36 per cent faster compared to reference GeForce GTX 980
  • 7989 points in 3DMark FireStrike Extreme, which is 36 per cent faster compared to reference GeForce GTX 980

If the information above proves to be accurate, then NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX Titan X would perform as expected, namely 33% faster than the GTX 980 in most cases.

Thank you KitGuru for providing us with this information

ExecuteIndirect Command in DirectX 12 Brings Improved Performance and Low CPU Usage

Microsoft has revealed a new indirect dispatching draw solution that can be used by all DirectX 12 compatible hardware, completely replacing the DrawIndirect and DispatchIndirect commands. The company says that this solution will bring ‘major performance improvements to the already incredible performance that DX12 can achieve’.

ExecuteIndirect is said to perform multiple draws with a single API call, and gives the ability to both the CPU and the GPU to control draw calls, as well as change bindings between draw calls. Principal Development Lead for Direct3D and DXGI at Microsoft, Max McMullen, has demoed the new feature at GDC with the help of Intel’s Asteroid benchmark.

McMullen first demoed the DX11 version, where the benchmark results came in at only 29 FPS. Switching to DX12 however, an outstanding 75 FPS result was achieved, having a 4 to 6 FPS increase when bindless mode was added to the equation. For those unaware, bindless mode is a DX12 feature which can pre-bake all textures used in the application. Microsoft states that the feature is “a major efficiency improvement in how the GPU is running”.

Lastly, when switching to ExecuteIndirect, an epic 90 FPS result was achieved in the benchmark. This is where we see a significant reduction of CPU usage as well compared to the previous two DX12 benchmarks, making the feature one of the best solutions for delivering high-quality graphics at the lowest possible hardware usage. Now it remains to be seen if developers can take full advantage of Microsoft’s new feature.

Thank you DSOGaming for providing us with this information

AMD R9 390X Benchmarks Surface

With Nvidia’s GTX 970 and 980 pretty much dominating the market now, we all can’t wait for AMD’s next move. We will still have to be a little patient though, but it does look like it will be worth waiting for.

We’ve had rumours and leaks for a while now, starting with pictures of a possible hybrid reference cooler and the use of stacked High-Bandwidth-Memory (HBM). Time has passed we’re now seeing the first leaks of benchmarks for the next generation of AMD cards.

Two separate benchmarks have surfaced during the last week, claiming to be from AMD R9 390X cards. The first is a 3D Mark 11 score of X8121 where the current 290X only scores around X4700. Very impressive and if true without a doubt due to the new memory as the GPU still will be built on the 28nm process.

The second benchmark is from an R9 390x quad crossfire setup scoring impressive 38,875 in the Fire Strike Extreme test – about 33% more than a heavy overclocked GTX 980 Quad-SLI setup. The user posting the quad benchmark also posted what is supposed to be the PCB of the card.

Please keep in mind that these are rumours. We do however know that the new AMD Rx 300 series will launch in Q2 2015, most likely during Computex. The R9 380 will double up to 4096 GCN 1.2 cores and use 4GB of stacked HBM memory as was confirmed in an investor conference call following the AMD q4-2014 and fiscal year reports.

Thanks to MyDrivers for providing us with this information

New Tool Coming To Benchmark DirectX 12, 11 and Mantle

We saw some impressive figures from Microsoft this week, making huge promises about the performance of DirectX 12. However, you’ll soon be able to test out the new API for yourself on your own hardware.

Futuremark will be adding a new update to their 3DMark suite called “API Overhead Feature Test” that will let you test DirectX 12 against the current DirectX 11, as well as the AMD Mantle API.

“Games make thousands of draw calls per frame, but each one creates performance-limiting overhead for the CPU. APIs with less overhead can handle more draw calls and produce richer visuals. The 3DMark API Overhead feature test is the world’s first independent test for comparing the performance of DirectX 12, Mantle, and DirectX 11. See how many draw calls your PC can handle with each API before the frame rate drops below 30 fps.”

No exact release date just yet, but we do know it will be “coming soon.”