Crucial Reveals New DDR4 Server Memory

Crucial’s server memory lineup has received two new additions in the form of 32 GB DDR4 VLP RDIMMs and 64 GB DDR4 LRDIMMs, both of which are quite impressive in their own way. Featuring speeds of 2400 MT/s, these DDR4 server memories feature high densities, as the company has decided to create single 16 Gb components by stacking two 8 Gb DDR4 DRAM dies. The result is increased memory density as well as improved bandwidth and overall performance, which is definitely a step in the right direction. The Crucial 32 GB VLP RDIMMs are almost half the height of a regular RDIMM module, which makes them a perfect choice for blade servers and microservers, especially since they can be installed at a 90-degree angle to the motherboard.

As for the 64 GB LRDIMM, it is the highest density Crucial server module so far, and it is based on a memory buffer chip that presents a single logical rank to the server in order to permit the population of more DIMMs without sacrificing on memory bandwidth. Both the 32 GB DDR4 16 Gb-based VLP RDIMMs and 64 GB DDR4 16 Gb-based LRDIMMs are optimized for Intel’s Xeon E5-2600 v4 processor family, and they are backed by limited lifetime warranties.

What do you think about these new Crucial server DDR4 memory modules?

ASRock E3V5 WS (Intel C232) Super Alloy Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging


Today’s motherboard review lands right in the middle of everything. Not because it’s all over the place, but because it has a lot of usage scenarios and support for pretty much any setup. You could use ASRock’s E5V5 WS motherboard in a gaming system as well as in a server setup as both of those setups are fully supported, but its real area of operation is to act as the base for a powerful workstation.

The ASRock E5V5 WS uses an LGA 1151 socket and the board is compatible with both E3-1200 v5 processors such as the one I’ll be using later on in this review, but it also supports normal 6th Generation Intel Core processors – so basically the entire Skylake and Skylake-S line-up. As backbone behind the CPU that you end up using is the Intel C232 chipset that is perfectly tuned for workstation environments and a motherboard like this. Memory wise you can use normal DDR4 DIMMs as well as ECC UDIMM memory modules with a speed of up to 2133 MHz in the four DIMM slots with 15μ gold contacts for a total of up to 64GB RAM.

The gold contacts in the memory slots aren’t the only quality feature in this motherboard. The E3V5 WS motherboard is part of ASRock’s Super Alloy series and comes with premium 50A power chokes and is made of a high-density glass fabric PCB. It also features ASRock’s full spike protection that protects from sudden surges, lightning, and electrostatic discharges (ESD).

The network connection isn’t controlled by the average low-performance controller either and we find an Intel PHY i219LM controller on this motherboard. The Gigabit Ethernet controller supports Wake-On-LAN, supports 802.3az energy efficient ethernet and PXE. The Ethernet controller is one of the parts that is protected by the Full Spike Protection. The second part with protection is the USB. The ASRock E35 WS features two USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports on the rear panel and you can connect another four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports via headers. All of these are protected by the ASRock Full Spike Protection. The audio is also protected by this and we find a 7.1 channel HD Audio controller, the Realtek ALC892. It features Blu-ray audio support and uses ELNA solid audio capacitors. Last but not least, you also find legacy PS2 connectors for both your mouse and keyboard.

 

Internally we find good expansion options too. Since we are dealing with an Intel-based motherboard, we also get IRST for RAID setups across the six SATA3 6 Gb/s connectors. Supported modes include the normal RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 modes.

There are two PCIe Gen3 x16 slots that support both Nvidia Quadro and AMD FirePro workstation graphics cards as well as consumer graphics cards. There is also full support for the use of AMD’s CrossfireX technology for multiple graphics card usage. As I mentioned earlier, you can make a great workstation with this motherboard. There are three more PCIe Gen3 x1 slots available for further expansion and neither of them will be blocked by the use of two-slot graphics cards. Even with a CrossfireX setup, you’ll still have access to the three x1 slots.

Quality hardware and components are just one side of the story, we also need a good BIOS and proper software to have the best experinece. The E3V5 WS comes with both of those features too. The UEFI BIOS has the easy EZ mode dashboard besides the advanced setup pages, which contains multiple readings of the system’s current status. You can check the most crucial information of your system, such as CPU speed, DRAM frequency, SATA information, fan speed, etc.

Even better, you can reach the tech support purely from the systems BIOS, as long as the system has an internet connection. You can also install LAN drivers onto your windows installation directly from the BIOS.

The ASRock OMG (Online Management Guard) technology allows you to establish an internet curfew or restrict internet access at specified times for your kids. Stay in control of their surfing times without yelling. This probably isn’t the most used function in a workstation system, but it could be used to shut down any connection attempts outside of office hours. Another useful feature is the USB Key function that can replace the password question when you log into windows. Do it by plugging a USB drive in instead.

The well-known ASRock XFast RAM and XFast LAN are also built into this motherboard. The XFast RAM feature allows you to fully utilize the memory space that otherwise can’t be accessed in 32-bit systems, among others. XFast LAN is a quality of service protocol that prioritizes the important traffic so you don’t have to wait for loading times. ASRock Live Update and APP Shop also help to make the maintenance easier.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers product page and can as such be subject to changes in future revisions of the product.

Key Features:

  • ASRock Super Alloy
  • Server-Grade LAN chip support
  • Supports the Intel Xeon E3-1200 v5 Processor & 6th Generation Intel Core Processors (Socket 1151)
  • Supports DDR4 2133 & ECC UDIMM memory modules
  • 2 PCIe 3.0 x16 and 3 PCIe 3.0 x1
  • Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX
  • 7.1 CH HD Audio (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec), ELNA Audio Caps
  • 6 SATA3 and 6 USB 3.0 (2 Front, 4 Rear)
  • Supports Full Spike Protection, ASRock Live Update & APP Shop
  • Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit, 8.1 64-bit, 7 32-bit, 7 64-bit, Server 2012 R2 64-bit, Server 2012 64-bit, and Server 2008 R2 64-bit support

Packaging and Accessories

A quality motherboard also deserves a great look package, and the E3V5 WS got that. The front makes no secret about the boards power.

On the rear of the box, you will find a detailed photo of the motherboard itself as well as feature highlights and specifications.

Inside the box is a user manual, a driver disk, two SATA cables, and an IO shield besides the motherboard itself.

Micron Prepping MX300 With 3D TLC NAND For April

In addition to launching a new series of enterprise SSDs, Micron has also updated us on their plans for their consumer and OEM client business. While it’s interesting and all to read about enterprise drives, most of you probably won’t need the performance or be able to shell out the big bucks for them. To that end, Micron is planning on a number of releases for their Crucial consumer brand, the big one being the MX300.

With a pedigree that stretches back years from the M4, M500, M550, MX100 and MX200, the MX300 will be the first to utilize TLC. Prior to that, all drives had used the faster and more durable MLC. This won’t be any plain old TLC though as the MX300 will be using Micron’s first 3D TLC NAND. This TLC will come in 384Gbit dies and feature better performance and endurance compared to the planar TLC found in the BX200. No word has been revealed about the controller, but I would expect the Marvell 88SS1074 since that controller is optimized for TLC and the M series have always used Marvell controllers. I would expect the MX300 feature some kind of SLC NAND cache as well.

In addition to the MX300, Micron will also be releasing 2 OEM client SSDs as well. While not targeted to consumers, they still might be available in retail channels. These are the 1100 and 2100 series, both with unknown NAND. We can make some guesses about controllers as one is Marvell M.2 SATA and likely the 88SS1074 and the other is Silicon Motion Industries M.2 PCIe, likely the 2260.

Micron also expected 3D NAND to hit the data center lineups later in the year. There is no timeline yet on when we might see Intel and Micron’s vaunted 3D XPoint. Hopefully, we will be able to bring you some performance numbers for the MX300 once it launches later this month.

Supermicro X11SAE Workstation (Intel C236) Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging


Intel recently released their Greenlow based Skylake series Xeon CPUs and it’s a pleasure to take a look at the first enterprise-grade motherboard built for these processors today. I have Supermicro’s X11SAE motherboard on the test bench which is a standard ATX-sized single CPU board, but one with all the trimmings.

“Supermicro’s new X11 UP workstations, long-life embedded systems and motherboards integrate the latest technologies such as USB 3.1 and M.2 as well as step up performance, density and efficiency to provide a new generation of Green Computing solutions,” said Charles Liang, President and CEO of Supermicro. “Indeed, with Supermicro’s first-to-market integration, advanced engineering and architecture expertise, we deliver the widest range of Skylake-S platforms available to the industry, enabling our customers with exactly the best competitive advantage on the market.”

Supermicro’s X11SAE doesn’t just support the new Greenlow Intel Xeon E3-1200 v5 family CPUs, you can also use 6th Gen Core i7, i5, i3, Pentium, and Celeron series processors. The brain behind the motherboard is the new C236 chipset which comes with a lot of enhancements over the predecessors and Supermicro generally added the newest technologies to this motherboard. Additionally, the motherboard supports up to 64GB DDR4 2133MHz ECC UDIMMs in its 4 sockets. While this motherboard does support ECC and non-ECC modules, it doesn’t support RDIMMS, so make sure you get the right ones.

There are plenty of storage features on this motherboard with the eight native SATA3 6 Gbps ports provided directly by the chipset. The ports support RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 for that extra spice in your storage setup and the motherboard also has two SuperDOM ports with built-in power. You’ll also find a next-gen PCIe M.2 slot beside the default SATA3 ports, allowing you to get that extra speed. The M.2 slot doesn’t support AHCI modules, but 2242, 2260, and 2280 PCIe modules will run at a great speed thanks to the x4 slot.

Further expansion can be added through the two PCI-E 3.0 x16 and three PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots. The Supermicro X11SAE also features two legacy 5V PCI 32-bit slots for use with older hardware despite the upgrade to the newest platform.

Externally the X11SAE has two Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 LAN ports where one is powered by an Intel i210-AT and the other is powered by an Intel i219LM chip. There’s also a DVI, a DisplayPort, and an HDMI out for use when processors with iGPU are inserted into the motherboard. Further, you’ll find two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.1 ports on the rear IO area. The USB 3.1 ports sport the increased bandwidth and power which allows it to run with up to 10Gbps.

Internally you can connect an additionally four USB 3.0 and size USB 2.0 ports. The motherboard also features two COM port headers, an ALC 888S 7.1 HD Audio chip, a TPM 1.2 header, and much more.

A workstation motherboard also needs a good set of monitoring abilities. You can connect up to five PWM fans with status monitor for speed control, on/off settings, and tachometer. The temperature monitoring includes the CPU and chassis environment as well as CPU thermal trip support and I2C temperature sensing logic and Thermal Monitor 2 (TM2) support.

As a Supermicro motherboard, we also have the benefits of their SuperDoctor 5 software that monitors system health of hardware and operating system services from the target nodes in real-time and provides alerts to administrators on the availability of systems in data centers.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers product page and can as such be subject to changes in future revisions of the product.

Key Features:

  • Single socket H4 (LGA 1151) supports: Intel Xeon processor E3-1200 v5, Intel 6th Gen. Core i7/i5/i3 series, Intel Celeron and Intel Pentium
  • Intel C236 chipset
  • Up to 64GB Unbuffered ECC/non-ECC, UDIMM DDR4 2133MHz; 4x DIMM slots
  • 2 PCI-E 3.0 x16 (run at 16/NA or 8/8), 3 PCI-E 3.0 x1 (in x4), and 2 5V PCI 32-bit slots
  • Single GbE LAN with Intel i210-AT, Single GbE LAN with Intel i219LM
  • 8x SATA3 (6Gbps) via C236; RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 + 1 PCIe M.2 (support PCIe x4 only, 2242/2260/2280)
  • I/O: 2x COM, TPM 1.2 header
  • 2x SuperDOM with built-in power
  • 6x USB 3.0 (2 rear + 4 via header), 8x USB 2.0 (2 rear + 6 via headers), 2x USB 3.1 (10Gbps, rear)

Packaging and Accessories

The Supermicro X11SAE comes in a neutral package and that’s all that’s needed for a board like this. It isn’t one you’ll find on a shelve in the local store while browsing around, it’s one your order because you know it’s the one you want. There’s still a sticker on the side that will tell you what’s inside and what the base specifications are.

The rear of the box explains a little bit about the series of motherboards which this one is part off. You get basic information about the series as well as a quick view of optimized chassis and systems.

Inside the box we find four SATA3 cables and the IO shield next to the motherboard itself.

D-Link DXE-820T Dual Port 10Gbase NIC Adapter Review

Introduction


Among our recent upgrade to 10 Gbit networking here in the eTeknix review section wasn’t just the awesome 12-port smart switch that we saw a little while ago, D-Link also supplied me with a DXE-820T dual-port 10 Gbit Ethernet Network card to be able to connect with the switch in full speed. After all, what good does a 10 Gbps switch do when my test rig doesn’t have the same kind of performance.

The D-Link DXE-820T is a dual-port 10 GBASE-T RJ-45 PCI Express high-performance adapter designed for the high-speed PCI Express bus architecture. This adapter offers the increased bandwidth needed in modern environments as well as being a reliable and functional PCI network card. It has been specifically designed to allow throughput at rates up to 40 Gbps, thus eliminating the bottleneck that exists with current 32 and 64-bit PCI bus architectures.

The DXE-820T requires a PCI-E v2 x8 or x16 slot for enough bandwidth, but you don’t need to provide any extra power connectors or other things besides your network cables, naturally. The card is capable of a transmitting distance of up to 100m with Cat 6A or higher in 10 GBASE-T mode and up to 100m with Cat 5 type cables in Gigabit mode. This makes the placement of the switch a lot easier.

The DXE-820T features TCP, UDP, and IP checksum offloading functionality, which transfers the checksum processing tasks from the computer’s own CPU and onto the network card itself. The DXE-820T’s ability to handle the checksum processing means that the CPU’s processing power can be used for other tasks while still achieving 20 Gbps network speeds. It also means that the network card needs some extra cooling in the form of an active fan as well as a passive heatsink.

The adapter also features an onboard screening of 802.1Q VLAN tagged Ethernet frames, allowing you to assign multiple subnets to each server and isolate devices within each VLAN from the rest of the network for better traffic control and security. With support for advanced features such as 802.3x flow control, jumbo frames, and SNMP for network management, the DXE-820T can easily interoperate with your current networking equipment.

With two ports at your disposal, you can increase the network throughput even further than the 10 Gbit per second on each port. With Smart Load BalancingTM, the DXE-820T can configure multiple adapters to work as a team, sharing traffic and ensuring data reliability. This both creates a faster network and provides fault tolerance resulting in a stable and efficient network.

The low profile design allows the deployment in space restricted areas and D-Link also included a low-profile slot cover right away. The card itself is powered by Broadcom’s BCM57810 chip.

The card naturally supports Jumbo Frames for optimized setups and it allows for values up to 9K. The DXE-820T is compatible with all major operating systems with drivers available for both user systems and server systems such as Windows Server 2012 or Solaris 11.

Feature Highlights

  • High-Speed data transmission at rates up to 40Gbps allow for seamless data transfer.
  • 10GBASE-T technology supports distances to 100m over CAT6A or better copper cable.
  • Advanced Features: 802.3x flow control for traffic management, 802.1Q VLAN tagging for increased security, and checksum offloading to reduce CPU processing burden.
  • Bandwidth Management: NIC partitioning enables administrators to manage bandwidth for greater network efficiency.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The DXE-820T NIC card comes in a very neutral box that only really reveals that we have a D-Link product inside. But it’s a network card and it isn’t like you would put the box in the display after installing the card anyway, so simply is good.

We do find a little sticker on the rear of the box that reveals what is inside, the model number along with serial, mac address, and hardware version.

There is both a driver disk and a quick installation manual inside the box, and D-Link also included a low-profile bracket for use in small-form-factor systems. Everything you need to get going with that extra speed.

Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4 2400MHz 16GB (2x8GB) Dual Channel Memory Kit Review

Introduction


The overwhelming majority of gaming builds revolve around a red and black colour scheme which makes it relatively difficult for hardware manufacturers to produce other colours in large numbers. Any niche section of the market isn’t prioritized as companies attempt to maximize sales and cater to the mainstream customer. On the other hand, white components have become more popular in recent years and look absolutely stunning. For example, the ASUS Sabertooth Mark S compliments the Avexir Sabranco memory in a beautiful way. Sadly, it’s pretty rare to see memory kits with a white PCB especially on the DDR4 platform.

One of the more affordable DDR4 memory kits comes from Crucial and even implements a gorgeous white PCB! Crucial’s LT branding is slightly confusing as the DIMMs utilize an identical specification to the standard Sport range. The only difference is the revised heatspreader design. This particular memory kit operates at 2400MHz, and requires 1.2V. Additionally, the timings are fairly tight for DDR4 at 16-16-16-39 but this is to be expected compared to higher frequency alternatives.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The memory kit comes in a traditional blister pack and outlines the key specification. I also found it quite easy to remove the modules without applying too much force.

A Closer Look

Here we can see the aesthetically pleasing heatspreaders which adopt a low profile design to enhance compatibility with large air coolers. More specifically, the modules measure 40mm in height and you shouldn’t experience any clearance issues. From a visual standpoint, the white PCB, central Ballistix logo and retro-inspired decal looks phenomenal. Additionally, the edges feature a textured finish which enhances the memory’s unique appearance. I’m also quite fond of the stylish cutouts which are easily visible once the DIMMs have been installed.

D-Link DXS-1210-12TC 12-Port 10GBASE-T Switch Review

Introduction


As a review site, we need to keep our testing equipment above or at least on the same level as the hardware that we test in order to provide you with relevant reviews and in that regards we’ve just upgraded our network test are with new 10 Gbps equipment. Among the new devices is the D-Link DXS-1210-12TC 10 Gigabit Ethernet Smart Switch that I’m taking a closer look at today.

In order to test this switch I need two systems with 10 Gbps capabilities and four CAT7 cables and below you see all but the one network card as that is onboard in one of my test systems. In my opinion, we have been stuck at Gigabit level for way too long and 10 Gigabit Ethernet is slowly starting to make an entry. It is starting to become more affordable which allows SMBs and enthusiasts to enter an area of the market that previously was limited to enterprise and large corporations.

D-Link’s DXS-1210 series is composed of several 10 Gigabit Ethernet Smart Switches and they are a cost-effective 10 solution capable of servicing a wide range of network needs in any business. Some of the switches in the series focus primarily on SFP+ connections which aren’t optimal for my test scenario. I still test a lot of normal Gigabit equipment and my switch needs to stay compatible to those. Luckily D-Link also has this one with eight 10GBASE-T RJ45 ports and two 10Gbps SFP+ ports. Additionally, since it has two combo ports for use with either RJ45 or SFP+ connections.

The DXS-1210-12TC uses a default 19″ rack format which makes it easy to deploy in server cases and D-Link also included rubber feet in case you should run in placed on a desk or shelve somewhere. The 10GBASE-T copper ports utilize RJ45 interfaces and support 10 Gigabit speeds over CAT6a/CAT7 LAN cabling for up to 100m. That makes it easy to deploy no matter how far apart your systems are. The 10GbE fiber ports can be connected to other 10GbE ports with low-cost Direct Attach Copper (DAC) cables or with SFP+ optical transceivers over multimode or single mode fiber optic cabling.

D-Link made sure that there’s plenty of overhead when it comes to transmission capabilities in the DXS-1210-12TC. It is capable of up to 240Gbps switching capacity, double what is needed, and has a maximum packet forwarding rate of 178.56 Mpps.

A device like this will naturally consume quite a bit of electricity as it has to perform flawlessly at any time and needs the power to do so, but D-Link applied their Green technologies in order to improve on this area without sacrificing operational performance or functionality. The DXS-1210-12TC features smart fans that don’t run at full speed when it isn’t needed, internal heat sensors that monitor and detect temperature changes in order to adjust the fans. The switch can also toggle ports into sleep mode automatically and it is built with hardware parts that in themselves are energy-efficient. The DXS-1210-12TC will still draw between 42.65 watts in standby mode and up to a maximum of 90.81 watts.

Feature wise you’ll find anything you’ll want in a smart switch starting with a complete lineup of L2 features. The DXS-1210-12TC supports port mirroring, Spanning Tree Protocol, and Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP). DXS-1210 switches also support Auto Surveillance VLAN (ASV), and Auto Voice VLAN, which are best suited for VoIP and video surveillance deployments. The DSCP markings on Ethernet packets enable different levels of service to be assigned to network traffic. As a result, these voice and video packets take precedence over other packets. In addition, with bandwidth control, network administrators can reserve bandwidth for important functions that require a larger bandwidth or might have high priority.

The DXS-1210 series also features an extensive list of safeguards against traffic flooding and other malicious attacks. It supports 802.1X port and host-based authentication as well as external RADIUS server authentication. It also features Access Control List (ACL) for enhanced network security as well as ARP spoofing prevention. The DHCP server screening feature can also detect rogue DHCP server packets from user ports in order to prevent unauthorized IP assignment.

 

Maintenance is an easy job when it comes to the DXS-1210-12TC smart switch where it also features a few extra functions to make the admins life easier. It includes loopback detection which is used to detect loops created by a specific port and automatically shut down the affected port. There is also a cable diagnostic feature that’s primarily designed to rapidly discover errors and determine a cable’s quality.

The switch has a smart discovery protocol built in which makes it easy to set up and manage through D-Link’s Network Assistant Utility and it will detect all switches within the same L2 network. This allows extensive switch configuration and basic setup of discovered devices, including password changes and firmware upgrades. The switch also supports D-View 7 and Command Line Interface (CLI) through Telnet. D-View 7 is a network management system that allows for the central management of critical network characteristics such as availability, reliability, resilience, and security.

Feature Highlights

  • Green Technology
    • Power saving via the following features: Link Status detection, LED Shut-Off, Port Shut-Off, System Hibernation
  • Security Features
    • Access Control List
    • IP-MAC-Port Binding
    • Clientless MAC/Web access control
    • D-Link Safeguard Engine
    • Port Security
    • ARP Spoofing Prevention
  • Intuitive Management
    • D-Link Network Assistant Utility or Web-based GUI
    • CLI through Telnet
  • Advanced Features
    • Auto Surveillance VLAN
    • Loopback Detection
    • Cable Diagnostics
    • Static Route
    • LLDP/LLDP-MED
    • Auto Voice VLAN

Package and Accessories

Equipment like the D-Link DXS-1210-12TC smart switch doesn’t need a fancy package, it is what is inside that matters.

There is a small sticker in one corner of the box that shows what is inside and the feature highlights.

Inside the box are several leaflets about security and conformity as well as a Getting Started Guide and a Driver and Manual disk.

Included is a mounting system for use as a 19″ rack unit as well as four small rubber feet for those who wish to use it placed on a surface. Screws for the 19″ mounts are included too and so is a cable tie system for the power cord. You wouldn’t want to jank that out by accident.

Naturally there’s also a power cable for the region where you purchased the switch. The switch supports from 110V to 240V, so the only difference here is the plug on one end.

Crucial DDR4 2400MT/s 8Gb-based Server Memory Now Available

Crucial is ready with the next step in their server memory and announced the availability of the Crucial DDR4 2400MT/s 8Gb-based RDIMM, LRDIMM and ECC UDIMM server modules which enable increased performance, bandwidth, and energy efficiency.

The higher density 8Gb-based modules allow for both a greater channel bandwidth and channel density, but the most important factor is probably the lowered power consumption. Memory can be quite power hungry and will make up quite a bit of the overall consumed power in a server environment due to the constant rewrites happening. The new 8Gb-based modules offer up to 20 percent higher energy efficiency than the 4Gb-based modules and that is something that will make a noticeable difference.

Ultimately, these benefits provide more value per gigabit than current 4Gb-based offerings, making it easy to scale
up server deployments in the future and the modules are designed to be compatible with Intel’s next generation processor product families.

Crucial’s 8Gb-based server memory is extensively tested to mission-critical standards and is backed by a limited lifetime warranty. The new 8Gb-based modules are available for immediate purchase through global partners and directly through Crucial.

“We are excited to continue Intel’s collaboration with Crucial with the release of the new 8Gb-based DDR4 server modules,” said Geof Findle, director of memory enabling, Intel. “By working together, we are able to support next-generation server platforms while providing the technology and services needed to support our mutual channel customers.”

“Data-intensive server applications continue to require higher densities of memory as they struggle to meet ever-increasing and more demanding workloads,” said Michael Moreland, worldwide product marketing manager, Crucial. “The new Crucial 8Gb-based server memory modules will help with future scalability and deliver a lower total cost of ownership for users.”

eTeknix 2015 Christmas Buying Guide – Treat Yourself or Someone Else!

The time for holiday festivities is almost upon us and as the modern tradition of consumerism continues to grow, it becomes harder and harder to pick the right gifts for people every year, or perhaps it’s just me who struggles? Either way, we’ve sat around a Christmas fire, or just a general fire in November and December, getting into the gift buying state of mind and picked a range of our favourite products which we’ve reviewed here at eTeknix throughout 2015, as what better products to recommend than the ones we’ve had in our own hands and tested!

We’ve got a huge range of budgets covered here today, although I think it’s fair to assume that given we play around with graphics cards and a lot of enthusiast friendly products, there are some real wallet busters here too. Of course, you can use this guide to find some of the best products of the year to treat your family, friends and more, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t just spoil yourself too!


Rock Band 4 Band in a Box

Get ready to rock out this Christmas and no doubt many other days. Pick up the guitar, drum sticks, or just butcher your favourite song on the microphone. Rock Band 4 – Band in a Box is a fantastic gift and it’s a great thing to deploy at parties too, certainly beats the usual Karaoke chaos! It comes with the guitar, microphone, drums and the game for $249.99. To save costs, the standalone game with the guitar is just $129.99. In the UK, the Band in a Box is £219.99, while the guitar and game is just £109.99.

Check out the full review here.


Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX Chassis

The Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX Mid-Tower chassis is by far my favourite chassis of 2015, it just oozes high quality inside and out, with capabilities for high-end water and air cooling and so much more. It is available from Overclockers UK for £139.99 and is available in both Gun Metal and black.

Check out the full review here.


Raijintek Styx Micro-ATX Aluminium Chassis

What a fantastic little chassis this is! Built from beautifully finished brushed aluminium and available in a wide range of colours, this would make a great gift for someone building a new gaming system this Christmas. The Raijintek Styx chassis is available from Overclockers UK for just £64.99.

Check out the full review here.


be quiet! Silent Base 800 Chassis

Another expensive chassis on our list, but one of the best we’ve seen this year. If you’re wanting to build someone, or yourself, a gaming PC that not only looks great but is as silent as you could ever hope for, the Silent Base 800 Window is the way to go. It is available from most popular retailers for 149,90EUR/119 GBP/149,90 USD ex. VAT.

Check out the full review here.


Corsair Strafe RGB MX Silent Red Mechanical Keyboard

Featuring the innovative Cherry MX Silent Switches, the Corsair Strafe RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is simply amazing to use. It’s packed full of features and is by far the quietest mech we’ve ever tested. A little expensive, but I’m sure anyone would be happy to unwrap this at Christmas. The Strafe is available for £139.99 from Overclockers UK, while the MX Red and the MX Brown are priced at £129.95. If you want the non-RGB version, you can find the MX Red and the MX Brown at £99.95 each.

Check out the full review here.


Thermaltake Commander Gaming Gear Keyboard and Mouse Combo

The TteSports by Thermaltake Commander Keyboard and Mouse Combo is a great gift for Christmas, it’s affordable, has a nice range of features and you get a keyboard and a mouse in a single nice and tidy (and easy to wrap) box! With prices around £23.99 it’s hard to say no to such a great deal! Readers in the US can pick one of from Newegg for an equally impressive $29.99.

Check out the full review here.


CM Storm Quick Fire XTi Mechanical Keyboard

RGB mechanical keyboards are everywhere this year, but the XTi from Cooler Master is my personal favourite so far. It’s no-fuss and bold design is great for home and office, gaming or work, with the added bonus that it’s incredibly durable and has some of the nicest lighting tones I’ve seen so far, even if it does only allow for a mixture of red and blue! You can pick up the XTi from Box for just £134, although there’s also a deal that includes a free mouse here!

Check out the full review here.


Corsair Scimitar RGB MOBA/MMO Gaming Mouse

The Gaming Scimitar RGB MOBA/MMO Gaming Mouse is packed full of features that will put a smile on any PC gamers face. With RGB lighting, excellent performance and a customisable keypad on the side, it’s one of the best mice we’ve ever tested. better yet, it’s only £69.95 from Overclockers UK.

Check out the full review here.


Logitech G502 Proteus Core Gaming Mouse

The Logitech G502 is a prime example of how great a gaming mouse can truly be. This is without a doubt the best mouse sensor we’ve ever tested and the rest of the mouse isn’t exactly lacking in features either. I’d be tempted to buy this one for myself this Christmas, but you could always treat someone else with it too. It’s available directly from the Logitech website (with free shipping) for just £69.99.

Check out the full review here.


G.Skill MX780

A relatively new entry on the peripherals market, the G.Skills MX780 is a fantastic gaming mouse, with a switchable left or right handed grip that makes it ideal for a wide range of gamers. With a retail price of just $59.99 it is exceptional value for a Christmas gift, and given its spec, it’ll go head to head with many of the best mice on the market.

Check out the full review here.


Corsair Void Headset

We were absolutely blown away by the Corsair Void series, some of the best sounding, most comfortable and best-looking headsets we’ve ever seen! They would make a great gift, but be careful, if you try them out before you give them away, you may want to keep them. The Corsair Void USB 7.1 RGB Headset is available from Overclockers UK for just £79.99. This is £10 cheaper than the Wireless headset which is £89.99, I prefer the wireless and think it’s not much more to pay for the extra tech, but you’re own preferences will obviously determine which model you prefer.

Check out the reviews for the USB 7.1, Wireless 7.1 and 2.0 headsets here.


Astro A40 TR + Mix Amp Pro

Eager to get the best of the best gaming headset for you or your loved one? Then make no exception, the Astro A40 TR Headset with Mix Amp Pro is the way to go. This is one that’s sure to leave a dent in your wallet, but as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. Available from the Astro store for £200, plus around £48 for the optional Mod Kit, the Astro is expensive, but the sound quality, features and comfortable fit are priceless.

Check out the full review here.


Crucial BX200 SSD

SSD prices are dropping constantly and there really has never been a better time to invest. If it’s for your own system, you can give yourself a great upgrade without spending a fortune, but the smaller drive sizes make excellent gifts to those who could do with a performance upgrade on their system. The Crucial BX200 comes with an MSRP of £234.49 ($299.99) for the 960GB model and £66.49 ($84.99) and £116.99 ($149.99) for the smaller 240GB and 480GB models, plus the small boxes are super easy to wrap up as a gift.

Check out the full review here.


QNAP TS-251 2-Bay NAS

Give the gift of a connected home this Christmas, from streaming your movies around the house, to backing up those important files, there are a lot of benefits to owning a NAS. Not the cheapest of gifts, but it’s one of those products where if you buy cheap, you’ll likely regret it in the long run. The QNAP’s TS-251 Turbo NAS can be found at NewEgg for $384.99, at Scan UK for £295.32, or through Geizhals starting at €284.

Check out the full review here.


Sapphire Nitro R9 380X 4GB Graphics Card

AMD have created a mighty powerhouse with the R9 380X and the Sapphire Nitro is one of the finest examples. It’s fast, sleek and affordable, more than enough power for 1080P ultra gaming, or 1440p high gaming, making it a great addition to anyone who wants the latest PC games for Christmas. The Sapphire Nitro R9 380X is currently available from OverclockersUK for £199.99. NeweggUS currently has this card listed for $229.99.

Check out the full review here.


Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Graphics Card

Spend a little more, get a lot more, the GTX 970 is a superb card, but one that may be getting a little expensive for those looking for a Christmas gift. With enough power to play anything on the market and even delve into high-end resolutions, it’s a strong contender for something to put under the Christmas tree, or even put on your own wish list. The Gainward Phoenix GTX 970 is currently available in the UK from SCAN for £273.56 and for an estimated $360 in the US.

Check out the full review here.


Nvidia GeForce GTX 980ti 6GB Graphics Card

It wouldn’t be Christmas if we couldn’t all hope and dream, but the Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 980Ti is currently one of the best cards on the market and we would be crazy not to suggest the best of the best. Available in the UK for the £599.99 it’s certainly not cheap, although we’ve seen some great deals bringing it down below £500, so it’s best to shop around. Just imagine the look on your partners face when they unwrap this monster on Christmas day!

Check out the full review here.


DDR4

Getting a little more back to reality and reasonable prices, DDR4 memory is dropping in price quite nicely now. It was super expensive at launch, but now you’ll often find DDR4 kits at equal or lower prices to their DDR3 equivalents. That makes them a great upgrade for Christmas, but make sure you have a DDR4 motherboard to go with it!

Check out our latest memory reviews here.


Shield Android TV

Snapped up a 4K TV in the Black Friday deals? The Nvidia Shield Console is the most powerful Android device on the market, and it’s the perfect media player for Plex, 4K content on Netflix and more. Even better, it’s also a very powerful gaming system, with many AAA games available to play, as well as game streaming features that will leave you wondering why this device doesn’t cost more than £149.99! You can buy the Shield TV and accessories directly from Nvidia here.

Check out the full review here.


Thermaltake Water 3.0 Extreme S

Think someone could do with a cooling upgrade for their system, or perhaps even parts towards a new system build this Christmas? Treat them to an AIO water cooler and they’ll be able to reduce the noise from their system and unlock its overclocking potential! The Thermaltake Water 3.0 Extreme S is a little expensive, but it’s still a competitively priced AIO at just £81.98 and would make a great gift, especially if you’re just going to treat yourself.

Check out the full review here.


Alpenfohn Atlas

The Atlas is one of the coolest coolers we’ve seen this year, a tiny form factor with big performance and virtually silent acoustics. Building a system for someone or upgrading your own, this is one cooler you’ll want to consider and given that it’s available from Overclockers UK for a very reasonable £42.95, it’s another great addition to our buying guide.

Check out the full review here.


be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim

Need a premium cooler but don’t want to pay a premium price this Christmas? The be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim is more affordable, but still packs some impressive performance figures. It’s available from Scan.co.uk for just £30.52 + shipping here in the UK and from Amazon.com for $49.90 + $9.80 shipping in the US.

Check out the full review here.


Inateck Mercury Box Bluetooth Speaker

Love your music on the go, when you’re out at the park, or anywhere for that matter? The Mercury box offers up a huge sound from such a tiny box. Built from aluminium and featuring a waterproof design, it’s one of the best mobile speakers on the market, great for listening to music wherever you are! Available from Amazon.com for just $48.99 and readers in the UK can get it from Amazon.co.uk for £49.99.

Check out the full review here.


OnePlus 10,000mAh Mobile USB Power Bank

The perfect stocking filler, a 10,000 mAh mobile battery. This has enough juice to charge most mobiles several times, and it’ll even recharge high-end devices such as iPads with ease too. Perfect for travelling, and best of all, it’s super lightweight and affordable. The power bank is £13.99/$14.99/€15.99 and you can order it directly from OnePlus.

Check out the full review here.


Gaming Systems

Nothing says I love you like a kick-ass gaming PC. Of course, budgets vary wildly from hundreds to even thousands of pounds/dollars, but that’s the joy of buying a PC, or building your own, there’s so much to choose from! With so many awesome system integrators around these days, you can’t go far wrong. Chillblast, CyberPower, PC Specialist, Vibox, Freshtech or Overclockers UK.

Gaming in the living room? Why not invest in a CyberPower Syber Steambox! Prices start at £485 and go right up to £1905, giving you a great choice to suit your needs, and your budget.

A whole lot of gaming for not a lot of money from Chillblast, with their very competitive Fusion NightHawk, a great option for those looking for their first gaming PC at just £599.

Got a little more budget to play around with this Christmas? The super fast gaming systems from PC Specialist that feature ASUS Maximus VIII hardware also come with the gorgeous Gladius mouse! Systems in this category start at £890 for the i5 and GTX 960 model, all the way up to £1670 for the i7 and GTX 980 Ti.

Another mid-budget powerhouse, this time from Vibox with their Element X. At just £649, this MSI R9 380 and AMD FX-6300 powered computer is great for gaming and would make a great gift this Christmas.

Time to bring out the big gun’s and really treat yourself? Or perhaps you just want your friend or family member to open a present they’ll never forget? The FreshTech Solutions Stealth Gaming PC is an absolute beast, powered by some of today’s latest and greatest hardware. Of course, it’s not cheap at £1412, but this is not your run of the mill gaming PC.

Overclockers UK offer a range of gaming systems, and general day-to-day PC’s just like another other, but with the big advantage that they’re also a normal PC component retailer. If you want to build your own system, customise a build or pick a pre-built system, you’ll find lots to play around with here.

Check out our full range of system reviews here.

Crucial BX200 960GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


It has been almost a year since Crucial introduced the BX100 SSD and set a new standard for how much SSD you could get for your money; bringing large capacity and fast storage in the reach of more people who were dissatisfied with the slow performance of their mechanical hard disk and didn’t want to sacrifice capacity with a smaller SSD. Today I’m taking a closer look at the next step on Crucial’s goal as they just released the Crucial BX200 SSD in three capacities and at a more than good price.

The Crucial BX200 is the perfect entry-level SSD for anyone who wants to take the step away from mechanical storage, but it isn’t exclusive for those people. It could also be a great choice for people who purchase their third, fourth, or fifth SSD as you get more capacity than you are used to. The Crucial BX200 is 13 times faster than a hard drive and at the same time it is 40 times more energy-efficient. It also boots your system a lot faster and almost instantaneously on a modern operating system. Even older systems will reap the benefits of the fast boot times and it also decreases your application and game loading times significantly.

The BX200 isn’t just Crucial’s first drive to use Micron’s 16nm TLC NAND, it is the first overall drive to use Micron’s new TLC NAND. Triple-Level-Cell NAND is capable of storing more bits per cell and thereby reduce both power consumption and costs, but it does cost a little performance and endurance. The two downsides to this should however not be anything that any normal user ever will notice nor be affected by.

Crucial also used a newer controller in the BX200 over the predecessor. The new BX200 comes with a SiliconMotion SM2256 controller where the BX100 used the SM2246. The Crucial BX200 comes with a good performance rating, both when it comes to sequential and random performance. The sequential read performance is rated to 540MB/s reading and 490MB/s writing. The random performance is rated to 66K IOPS reading and 78K IOPS writing. These figures are almost all better than the predecessor, only the random read performance went down a little bit.

As previously mentioned, TLC NAND does affect performance a little bit, but not much and when used the right way it’s barely noticeable. In return, you get a great efficiency and low power consumption where the 480GB model is rated for just 150mW power draw when active, 65mW when idle, 4.6W maximum, and just 10mW when DevSleep is activated.

The Crucial BX200 comes with a mean time before failure (MTBF) of 1..5 million hours, same as the BX100 and MX200 series do. The total bytes written (TBW) rating is set to 72TB. The most important factor in this area is however the warranty and Crucial are backing the BX200 with a 3-year warranty. My personal opinion is that this is more than enough as you’re most likely going to upgrade to a newer drive after that time.

The BX200 comes in a default 2.5-inch form factor and with a height of 7mm. It is available in three capacities, 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB and the drives come with a respective MSRP of £66.49 ($84.99), £116.99 ($149.99), and £234.49 ($299.99). The drives all come with a 9.5mm adapter bracket to make it better suited for laptops that require this size and they all come with a copy of Acronis True Image HD included. Acronis True Image is a very useful cloning and backup program to have and it makes the move between your old and new drive a lot easier. A few clicks, a little wait, and you’re ready to rock on with faster speeds.

Crucial also updated the Crucial Storage Executive at the same time as they released the new BX200. The SSD Toolbox helps you to keep the firmware updated and shows you the drive’s status and health. It also enables encryption reset and burst performance with momentum cache mode. New in this version is the user configurable over provisioning for enhanced endurance and performance, something quite a few people will welcome the ability to manage themselves.

Inside the SSD we find a simple PCB that is well utilized with 16 Micron 16nm TLC NAND chips, two Micron Cache chips, and the Silicon Motion SM2256 SSD controller.

The casing is the simple snap-together casing that we’ve seen a lot on SSDs over the past couple of years and it works completely without screws and eliminates another weak point in that direction.

Advanced Features

  • Multistep Data Integrity Algorithm
  • Thermal Monitoring
  • SLC Write Acceleration
  • Active Garbage Collection
  • TRIM Support
  • Self-Monitoring and Reporting Technology (SMART)
  • Error Correction Code (ECC)
  • Device Sleep extreme low power mode (DEVSLP)

Packaging

Crucial’s SSDs always come in a beautiful wrapping and it is no different this time. The front of the box displays the drive itself, the series, and the capacity size that has been packed inside.

The rear of the box contains a little more information such as the drive size and what’s included in the box. It also provides all the different certification logos and a link where to find more resources for the drive.

Inside the box is a 9.5mm drive adapter next to the drive itself as well as a leaflet with your Acronis True Image HD software activation code.

Supermicro X10DAX (Intel C612) Workstation Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging


Today I’m taking a look at a motherboard for those that need that extra bit of power behind the curtains for heavy workstation or server tasks. The Supermicro X10DAX is aimed at workstations, but it would work well as a basis for a server as well with the features at hand. In the end, as always, it comes down to what tasks the system has to perform.

Supermicro’s X10DAX is a dual CPU motherboard with plenty of memory and multi-GPU support. The motherboard supports up to 1TB ECC DDR4 2133MHz LRDIMM memory over its 16 DIMM memory banks as well as Triple-SLI setup or Quadro-SLI with dual-GPU graphics cards. Those who will use RDIMMs instead of LRDIMMs will be limited to 512GB maximum memory capacity.

The motherboard supports up to two processors from the Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 family thanks to the Dual Socket R3 (LGA 2011). That means up to 18 cores and 45MB cache per processor which in return equals a lot of power. The chipset is the Intel C612 which by itself provides a lof of features and enhancements over the predecessor.

One of the unique features on this motherboard versus its brothers is the overclocking features thanks to the BCLK settings in the BIOS and Supermicro has dubbed this Hyper-Speed on their motherboards. This will allow you to get that extra power from your system when it is needed and if it is needed. A great bonus that surely will be appreciated by many of the people purchasing this motherboard. Next to the Hyper-Speed technology, the Supermicro X10DAX also includes Hyper-Turbo mode which allows more power to be delivered to the CPUs and thereby maximize the CPU Turbo Mode frequency.

Supermicro also made sure that the motherboard is Thunderbolt 2 ready, but that’s an optional add-on you’ll have to get. Since this is a workstation board, it also comes with an onboard sound card. It could, for example, get a pretty hard job to edit videos without sound. The Supermicro X10DAX provides onboard 7.1 channel HD audio for just that reason.

Storage connection isn’t a problem either and we don’t have to pay for an extra SAS controller here that we probably don’t need in a workstation. Ten SATA3 ports, of which two supports SuperDOMs, should be plenty for your storage needs. If you need more than that, you’ll most likely have a server located somewhere anyway and thus eliminating the need again. You also get a Type-A USB 2.0 connector on the motherboard, placed right next to the SATA connectors. Since the SATA3 ports are controlled by Intel’s C612 chipset, we have RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 at our disposal on this board.

Dual Gigabit LAN is included thanks to a couple of Intel i210 network controllers, but we don’t find any dedicated IPMI on this motherboard. The PCI Express connectors available are three PCI-E 3.0 x16, two PCI-E 3.0 x8, and one PCI-E 2.0 x4 (in x8).

With such an amount of power at our disposal, we also need proper cooling. The Supermicro X10DAX has eight 4-pin fan headers that support tachometer monitors, status monitoring, and PWM fans. There are no dedicated CPU fan headers, so you can use any two of the eight for that.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers homepage and are as such subject to change in possible future revisions.

Key Features

  • Supports Hyper-Speed
  • Supports 3-way Geforce SLI
  • Supports 4-way SLI support with dual GPU graphics cards
  • Dual socket R3 (LGA 2011) supports Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v3 family; QPI up to 9.6GT/s
  • Intel C612 chipset
  • 16x DIMM slots for up to 1TB ECC DDR4 2133MHz memory
  • 3 PCI-E 3.0 x16, 2 PCI-E 3.0 x8, and 1 PCI-E 2.0 x4 (in x8) slot
  • Intel i210 Dual port GbE LAN
  • 10x SATA3 (6Gbps) ports (RAID 0, 1, 5, 10)
  • 6x USB 3.0 (4 rear, 2 via header), 5x USB 2.0 (2 rear, 2 via header, 1 Type A)
  • 7.1 HD Audio with optical S/PDIF

Packaging and Accessories

The box for the Supermicro X10DAX is a default layout for the entire line-up and as such presents key features from all boards. While we can spot such things as 40GbE here, we won’t find it on this board.

The rear of the box details the different boards from Supermicro in this category for easy comparison.

Inside the box, next to the motherboard itself, we find six SATA3 cables and an IO shield with proper padding and yet unopened ports. Remember to only pop the ones that the motherboard actually has.

Included is also a Quick Start Guide that will show you the headers and jumper positions, how to install your memory depending on the amount of modules you are using, as well as front header layout and other vital information for installation.

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB (4x8GB) Quad Channel DDR4 Memory Kit Review

Introduction


In today’s market, memory, RAM, Random Access Memory, whichever you like to call it, plays a major factor in the way we determine our computers cost effectiveness. A general PC store will tout just the good numbers which is normally just the quantity of RAM rather than the specification or even branding; while a reputable enthusiast store or self-builder will focus on areas such as timings and speed rather than the quantity or capacity.

In the latest iteration of the highly popular DDR format is DDR4. It’s by no means new, but with the recent release of Intel Skylake and the Z170 chipset, DDR4 memory has been pushed into the limelight of mainstream computer builders. This brings with it two benefits, more demand means more production and thus lower purchase costs and higher speeds for the end users compared to DDR3(L).

The kit we have in today is the Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB DDR4 2666MHz. This is currently the highest clocked memory modules that Crucial produce, which is lower than what the likes of Kingston offer, but let’s see if this Elite 2666MHz kit has what it takes to compete with the big hitters.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

We won’t dwell on the packaging too much as it is very plain and simple: four modules neatly packed into a small rectangular clamshell box. This kit is a quad-channel variety so each module is 8GB in size.

A Closer Look

The Crucial Elite range is all very similar, but the transition from DDR3 to DDR4 has seen the fins removed from the top of the heatsink; A lower profile makes room for a bigger CPU heatsink and better airflow around the case.

Gigabyte MW70-3S0 (Intel C612) Dual CPU Workstation Motherboard Review

Introduction


Gigabyte’s motherboard series based on the Intel C612 chipset is quite an impressive one and I’ve already had the pleasure to test the MU70-SU0 server motherboard. Today I’m taking a look at its bigger brother, the dual socket Gigabyte MW70-3S0 workstation motherboard.

The Gigabyte MW70-3S0 workstation motherboard is based around Intel’s C612 chipset and offers you two LGA 2011-3 sockets with support for Intel’s Xeon E5-2600 V3 processors as well as 16 DDR4 modules for a total of up to 768GB RAM. The MW70-3S0 is a workstation board and as such it offers some other features than server boards, such as Multi-GPU configuration. With support for up to three graphics cards in CrossfireX or SLI via the three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and coupled with the CPU and memory support will make sure that we don’t run out of performance anytime soon.

One of the really great things about this board’s memory support is that it supports the full speed of 2133MHz, even when all 12 memory banks are populated. In the past, you had to make the choice, whether you wanted capacity or speed. Gigabyte made sure that you’ll have a maximum speed on all memory banks at all times.

We also get plenty of storage abilities on Gigabyte’s MW70-3S0. Not only does it provide 10 SATA3 ports via the Intel C612 chipset where two of them support SATA DOMs, we also get an LSI SAS 3008 onboard controller with two Mini-SAS ports for eight SAS 12GB/s drives. The SATA ports support RAID 0/1/5/10 while the SAS ports support RAID 0/1/1E/10. The connectivity is secured by two Intel i210 Gigabit Ethernet ports that allow for easy trunking and link aggregation.

Overall, this board is built with quality components that should make sure that everything runs stable and for a long time. It is equipped with IR Digital PWM and IR PowIRstage IC controllers to guarantee a stable operating environment and OS-CON capacitors with a minimum service life of 50.000 hours. The installed chokes are high-end ferrite core chokes that again should help deliver a stable power to both CPU and memory.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers homepage and are as such subject to change in possible future revisions.

Key Features

  • Intel Xeon processor E5-1600 V3 & E5-2600 V3 product families
  • 16 x RDIMM/LRDIMM ECC DDR4 DIMM slots
  • Supports 3-Way NVIDIA SLI / AMD CrossFireX
  • 2 x GbE LAN port (Intel I210)
  • 2 x Mini-SAS (for 8 x SAS 12Gb/s ports)
  • 10 x SATA III 6Gb/s
  • 7.1+2 HD Audio
  • 2 x USB 3.0 + 2 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 x USB 3.0 header + 1 x USB 2.0 header

Packaging and Accessories

The box follows a very simple design and is perfect for the market it’s aimed at. There is no need for fancy artwork like we’re used to on consumer motherboards.

The rear of the box gives a little detail about 3 key points that are important to a board of this caliber including reliability, availability, and serviceability. These are all major factors for any IT admin needing a reliable product with quality components that is easy to set up and maintain.

Inside the box, we find anything we need to get started, but nothing unnecessary that would drive up the overall price on the product. We get two SATA3 cables where one of them has an angled connector at one end, two CrossFireX bridges, as well as two NVIDIA SLI bridges for 2-way and 3-way SLI and CrossFireX support. There’s also the obligatory IO shield and a driver disk

Crucial Ballistix Sport 2400MHz 32GB (4x8GB) Quad Channel Memory Kit Review

Introduction


When purchasing a computer, RAM generally is the last component that you tend to think about and when you do come to think of it; quantity is the only real factor you tend to consider. That is if you don’t have a colour scheme or a limited amount of DIMM slots to accommodate RAM. Since the early days of computing, RAM has come a long way, the most recent format DDR has seen four iterations. The latest being DDR4, which has surpassed DDR3 as the new mainstream RAM type and has introduced memory speeds up to and surpassing 3333+MHz.

Crucial are one of the big players in the RAM game, providing us with a solid performance at a more affordable price. Today’s kit is the Ballistix Sport 2400MHz, one of Crucial’s cheaper options on the market, providing us with minimal heat spreader size and design and the base unit to adopt the use of black PCB. Let’s see how this set compares in today’s review.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The packaging is almost exactly the same design as the rest of the current Crucial RAM range. A basic clamshell style case with small amounts of information on the single sticker on the front; allowing for maximum exposure for the DIMM’s within.

A Closer Look

Something that the Ballistix Sport range is understated. The black PCB and gold fingers are a nice contrast with a rather small silver heat sink on either side of the DIMM; Personally, I think a splash of gold could have been added to the corners and the logos.

RAM is an often overlooked part of the system, but it’s always nice to see how it looks when installed into a motherboard. Here is the set installed into our base motherboard, the ASUS RAMPAGE V X99. The Ballistix Sport kit fits in well with the colour scheme of our base motherboard.

The GIGABYTE Charity Raffle at I55 Raised £2417 for Zoё’s Place

Gigabyte’s charity raffle for Zoë’s Place, held during Insomnia 55, was a big success and made it possible to hand over a check worth £2417. This isn’t the first time Gigabyte is holding a raffle at the Insomnia event and last time they made £1700, so €2417 is a good step up and a great sign that gamers want to give something back. All the proceeds of the raffle go to Zoë’s Place, a baby hospice providing palliative, respite and end of life care for babies and infants aged from birth to five years and suffering from life-limiting or life-threatening conditions.

That is all great news and there were also some great prizes up for grab as part of the raffle. The ones entering the raffle had the chance to win AMD processors, AOC monitors, Coolermaster power supplies and cases, Crucial memory, Fractal Design power supplies and cases, Kingston memory and HyperX SSDs, Tesoro gaming keyboards, mice, headsets and mousepads, as well as Netgear NAS and cameras. GIGABYTE themselves sponsored a gaming laptop, motherboards, a graphics card, keyboards, and headsets for the raffle. All in all, prizes worth over £5000.

Gigabyte will be back with another Raffle in the future and I hope that even more people will support the cause then. We can do better, we can do more.

Crucial MX200 M.2 500GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


Crucial launched their MX200 series quite a while ago and you might remember our reviews of the 2.5-inch SATA3 models in the series. Crucial has now supplied us with this M.2 version of the drive and today I am giving it a good spin on our test bench to see if it can perform as good as the 2.5-inch versions did. The Crucial MX200 M.2 SSD that I’m taking a closer look at today is the 500GB version (CT500MX200SSD4), an impressive capacity considering the size and even more so considering the amount of chips used, but that is something you’ll see further into the review.

The MX100 series originally set new standards for SATA SSDs and Crucial continued that with the MX200. It boasts great features and a great performance, and it does all that are a very reasonable price. One of the features that help the MX200 push ahead of many competitors is the Dynamic Write Acceleration technology. It uses an adaptable pool of high-speed, single-level cell flash memory for a consistent and fast performance rather than a fixed cache of multi-level cell flash.

The Crucial MX200 M.2 500GB drive is rated with a sequential speed of up to 550MB/s when reading and 500MB/s when writing. The random read performance is rated at 100K IOPS while the write performance has an impressive 87K IOPS. That is pretty sweet considering that we have a drive that’s only 22mm wide and 80mm long.

Crucial also made sure that the MX200 will survive for a very long time and it comes with a total bytes written (TBW) rating of 160TB. That equals to 87GB per day for a 5 year period, which should be more than sufficient and at that time you’ll want to upgrade with a more modern drive anyway. Sounds like a safe bet and a purchase where you can’t do much wrong.

Once we peel off the sticker, we see that this 500GB SSD only uses two NAND chips, one controller, and one RAM chip. Removing the sticker also removed most of the print on the NAND chips and it was almost impossible to take a photo where it was properly readable. The rear of the module isn’t used at all, which is what I referred to in the beginning. It’s all done with just two NAND chips.

This is the best I could do on the Micron NAND chips used on this drive. It isn’t the world’s best photo, but it appears to read 51C22 NW659 and the Micron logo is clearly visible.

The controller used is the Marvell 88SS9189-BLD2, a great choice for its features. You get AES 256-bit hardware encryption, it is TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE-1667 compliant, and compatible with Microsoft’s eDrive. Other features include Power Loss and Adaptive Thermal Protection, Active Garbage Collection and TRIM support, ECC error checking code and SMART monitoring technology as well as Exclusive Data Defense.

Crucial backs the MX200 series with a 3-year limited warranty and the drive has a life expectancy of 1.5 million hours mean time before failure. The drive also comes bundled with Acronis True Image HD backup and cloning software.

Features

  • Hardware Encryption
    • AES 256-bit encryption
    • TCG Opal 2.0-compliant
    • IEEE-1667-compliant
    • Compatible with Microsoft eDrive
  • Data Transfer Software – Includes Acronis True Image HD software for free data transfer
  • Redundant Array of Independent NAND (RAIN)
  • Exclusive Data Defense: Adaptive Thermal Protection, Power Loss Protection, and Data Path Protection
  • Self-Monitoring and Reporting Technology (SMART), Error Correction Code (ECC), TRIM Support, and Active Garbage Collection

Packaging

An M.2 2280 module doesn’t require much of a packaging at all and it comes in the same type blister package that we know from memory modules; and even that is large for this module. The front carries a sticker with the drive type and capacity while the rear displays the included Acronis True Image HD Software.

Inside the tiny box you’ll find the above-mentioned leaflet with the Acronis True Image HD Software Activation key, which can be downloaded from the internet, two screws in case you misplaced the ones from your motherboard or PCIe adapter card and naturally the M.2 Type 2280 500GB Crucial MX200 SSD.

GIGABYTE and Partners Hold Biggest Ever Charity Raffle at I55

UK’s biggest gaming festival, Insomnia, is just around the corner and it will open its doors tomorrow for Multiplay Insomnia 55, UK’s biggest gaming festival at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. Following up on the last successful charity raffle, GIGABYTE again partnered with others to create the biggest ever charity raffle at Insomnia. There will be around £5000 worth of hardware prizes to win spread out over the two days.

The prizes that you can win include AMD processors, AOC monitors, Coolermaster power supplies and cases, Crucial memory, Fractal Design power supplies and cases, Kingston memory and HyperX SSDs, Tesoro gaming keyboards, mice, headsets and mousepads, as well as Netgear NAS and cameras. GIGABYTE is sponsoring a gaming laptop, motherboards, a graphics card, keyboards, and headsets themselves. All this can be won and best of all, everything goes to charity.

There will be two raffles, one held on Friday, the 28th of August and the second the day after, on Saturday, the 29th of August.

Like last time, all the proceeds will be donated to the local charity Zoë’s place, a baby hospice providing palliative, respite and end of life care for babies and infants aged from birth to five years and suffering from life-limiting or life-threatening conditions. This is truly a worthy cause and I hope a lot of the gamers attending the Insomnia event will be very generous. The added bonus of  having a chance to win amazing hardware and this really is a no-brainer. Participate!

ASRock Rack EPC612D4U-2T8R (Intel C612) mATX Server Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging


The motherboard that I am taking a look at today is a little bit special as it is considered to be the first mATX motherboard featuring Intel Xeon E5 V3 series with LGA 2011-3 single socket. The ASRock Rack EPC612D4U-2T8R isn’t just a rarely seen form factor in this category, it also packs a huge punch and plenty of features such as quad-channel DDR4 memory support, dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet, dedicated IPMI, and native support for up to 16 storage drives.

Just because you decide to create a motherboard in the mATX form factor as ASRock Rack did here, doesn’t mean that you can’t add plenty of features to it. It’s all about using the available space properly. You get a total of eight SATA3 ports that are powered by the Intel C612 chipset and on top of that you get another eight SAS3 12Gbps ports thanks to the added LSI 3008 RAID controller. If that isn’t enough for you already, then you have plenty of possibilities to expand that with two PCIe Gen3 x16 and one PCIe Gen3 x8 slot.

The networking is a little bit special on this board as it comes with dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet thanks to the Intel X540 network controller. These ports are still RJ45 and backward compatible with normal RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet components. The ASRock Rack EPC612D4U-2T8R also features a dedicated IPMI 2.0 connection based on a Realtek RTL8211E controller that allows you to manage all your servers from a single connection, locally or remotely.

Four DDR4 DIMM slots with quad-channel support allows you to use this motherboard for memory-hungry applications and while the QVR list only has up to 16GB modules so far, you should also be able to use 32GB modules in this motherboard and get up to 128GB memory to support Intel’s latest Xeon E5 processors.

Overall, with the high performance processor, storage, and network all together in a mATX motherboard, the EPC612D4U-2T8R is perfect for the compact storage solution such as mid-range servers, web 2.0 storage servers, and other warm data servers. It also fits snugly into ASRock Rack’s previous released storage solution 1U12L-C612D4U, and currently has EPC612D4U, EPC612D4U-2T, EPC612D4U-8R and EPC612D4U-2T8R for customers’ selection.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers homepage and are as such subject to change in possible future revisions.

Key Features

There is always something that sets each and every motherboard apart for the rest, sometimes it’s in features and other times it is the software. On this motherboard, it is most likely the Network and storage capabilities as well as the form factor.

  • UATX 9.6”x9.6”
  • Single Socket LGA 2011 R3 Intel Xeon processor E5-1600/2600 v3 series
  • Supports Quad channel DDR4 2133/1866 RDIMM/LR DIMM/NV DIMM, 4 slots
  • Support 8 SATA3 by C612 and by 8 SAS3 LSI 3008
  • Supports 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 3.0 x 8
  • ASPEED 2400. Integrated IPMI 2.0 with KVM and Dedicated LAN (RTL8211E)
  • Supports Intel Dual 10GLAN by Intel X540

Packaging and Accessories

A server motherboard doesn’t need to come in a fancy box with flashy images and slogans, and that is why we don’t get that here. The EPC612D4U-2T8R comes in a simple black box with a little graphic and basic keywords.

The rear of the box doesn’t provide much more information either, but it will tell you a little bit about ASRock Rack as a company.

I really like that ASRock Rack also packed the motherboard properly like seen below. It provides that extra bit of protection during the transport from factory to end-customer over a motherboard that’s just loosely packed into a cardboard box.

Besides the motherboard itself, you’ll find an IO Shield, driver disk, and manual along with six SATA3 cables inside the box. It is nice to see a printed manual come along as it will help a lot with the basic task of finding the headers and pins you need to set it up.

Supermicro X10SDV-F Xeon D-1540 SoC Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging


The motherboard I’m taking a look at today is a little something special. It is a tiny board yet it packs a punch that is worthy of a large right hook. The Supermicro X10SDV-F is a Mini-ITX motherboard with an onboard Intel Xeon D-1540 System-on-a-Chip (SoC) processor and lot of other goodies to go along with it. The Intel Xeon D-1540 is an octa-core processor with sixteen threads. It runs at 2GHz with a boost of up to 2.6.GHz. You will also need a lot of RAM to go along with that kind of CPU and that isn’t any problem for this tiny Supermicro board. It supports up to 128GB DDR4 memory with its 4 DIMM slots. You also get six high-speed SATA3 ports, a PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slot, a full speed PCIe Gen3 x16 slot and two Intel Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports. The bigger brother of this board is called the X10SDV-TLN4F which also features two integrated 10 Gigabit Intel Ethernet ports for those that need even more connectivity from a tiny board. Further, you get two USB 3.0 connectors on the rear I/O while USB 2.0 is provided via two headers. The remote management with a dedicated Realtek Ethernet port and built-in Aspeed graphics solution for maintenance and setup is another great feature and one that shouldn’t be missing on a server-grade motherboard.

There isn’t much you won’t find here. You can also choose whether you want to power it via a standard 24-pin power header or rather use 12V connectors depending on your power supply options. With a thermal design of just 45 watts TDP, the CPU can be passively cooled, but it is recommended that you cool the chassis properly.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers homepage and are as such subject to change in possible future revisions.

Key Features

There is always something that sets each and every motherboard apart for the rest, sometimes it’s in features and other times it is the software. On this motherboard, it is most likely the SoC and up to 128GB DDR4 memory support in this form factor.

  • mITX
  • Intel Xeon D-1540 SoC with 45W TDP
  • Up to 128GB DDR4 ECC Memory
  • ATX and 12V Dual power abilities and low power consumption
  • Dedicated IPMI Remote Management and SuperDoctor 5
  • 6 SATA3 ports, M.2 slot, USB 3.0 on-board, Dual Intel i350-AM2 Gigabit LAN
  • PCI-E gen3 x16 slot

Packaging and Accessories

As reviewers we don’t always get the retail package on these products as we simply don’t need them and the companies wish to get the products to us as fast as possible for review. In this case, I got the motherboard in a simple OEM box without any accessories. Normally however the motherboard includes two 57.5 cm flat SATA cables and a standard I/O shield.

Gigabyte MU70-SU0 (Intel C612) Server Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging


Intel’s C612 chipset brought along a lot of improvements for the workstation and server platform, not just support for Haswell-EP Xeon E5 processors, but also DDR4 memory support at full speed. Today I’m taking a look at one of Gigabyte’s many great server solutions and while most people aren’t that familiar with Gigabyte’s server-side of things, I can assure you that it is a quite impressive line-up. This is the first time we’ve taken a look at a server motherboard, and while we’ve analysed workstation type boards, you will see us opening up our site to a lot more content revolving around servers, their components and everything in between. With that in mind, I’m pleased to start our new server motherboard review section off with a feature packed, small but mighty motherboard from Gigabyte; the MU70-SU0.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers homepage and are as such subject to change in possible future revisions.

Key Features

There is always something that sets each and every motherboard apart for the rest, sometimes it’s in features and other times it is the software. On this motherboard, it is most likely the 12 RAM slots that you can run at full speed at the same time.

  • Intel Xeon processor E5-1600 V3 & E5-2600 V3 product families
  • 12 x RDIMM/LRDIMM ECC DDR4 DIMM slots
  • 4 x GbE LAN port (Intel I210)
  • 9 x SATA III 6Gb/s
  • 1 x mSATA slot
  • 1 x USB 3.0 + 1 x USB 2.0 headers
  • 1 x internal USB 3.0 port
  • Aspeed AST2400 remote management controller

Packaging and Accessories

The box follows a very simple design and is perfect for the market it’s aimed at. There is no need for fancy artwork like we’re used to on consumer motherboards.

The rear of the box gives a little detail about 3 key points that are important to a board of this caliber including reliability, availability, and serviceability. These are all major factors for any IT admin needing a reliable product with quality components that is easy to set up and maintain.

Gigabyte BRIX GB-BXi5H-5200 Review

Introduction


Today we are taking a look at Gigabyte’s Intel i5 5200U powered BRIX. Gigabyte has an impressive array of BRIX models that come in at all different performance levels with many CPU options and even options with discrete GPUs. The small form factor computer business has been exploding the last few years due in part with parts shrinking and their abilities skyrocketing. Many people have been buying small form factor units deciding to use them as business or daily workstations due to the low power consumption, helping to lower costs. Others love these small boxes for use as home theater PCs (HTPCs) since they can be tucked out of the way and will generally not be heard over ambient sound in the home theater. The specs for this BRIX look promising for use in both situations so let’s take a closer look and see just how well it would perform in these tasks.

Specifications
  • Name: Gigabyte BRIX GB-BXi5H-5200
  • CPU: Intel i5 5200U (2C/4T, 2.2 GHz w/ 2.7 GHz Max Turbo, 14nm, 15W)
  • RAM: User Supplied – We tested with Crucial Ballistix 2x4GB DDR3-1600 9-9-9-24 1T 1.35v 
  • SSD: User Supplied – Crucial MX200 SSD 250GB
  • GPU: Integrated – Intel® HD Graphics 5500
  • LAN: Realtek RTL8111G 10/100/1000/Gigabit Base T
  • WLAN: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Built-in Bluetooth V4.0
  • I/O: 4x USB3.0, 1x HDMI, 1x Mini isplayPort, Headphone-out, Microphone in, RJ-45/GbE LAN
  • OS: Supplied Barebones, Windows 10 preview used in this review
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Price: $364.99

Retail Packaging

Printed materials and hardware that the BRIX comes with. You will get a power adapter and power cord to hook up the BRIX as well as all the screws that you will need to mount your SSD or HDD and use the VESA mount if you wish. The DVD and printed materials are toss away materials in my opinion since the most up to date drivers and materials can be downloaded from the support website.

CPU-Z

GPU-Z

Crucial and Lexar Showcase Latest Storage Products @ Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – While, at the Crucial booth, we were contemplating how far storage technology has come in just a few years. With the humble hard drive being the ‘standard’ storage device with its technology dating back to the mid 20th century. In more recent years, we have seen the compression in terms of size and explosion in storage capacities. Crucial showcase today what they have made a name for themselves in, reliable and affordable NAND storage solutions. We see a wide range of storage products on display; including conventional MX200 SSD’s and LEXAR USB flash drives and SD cards.

One thing that plagues memory manufacturers is price, but we have seen a sharp decline in the overall price of NAND technology that consumer SSD options have surpassed the £1 per 1GB mark and are almost to the same price points as conventional hard drives.

 

We look forward to reviewing more of Crucial’s products in the future. We will keep you updated with any news and events from the rest of Computex 2015.

Crucial Showcase its Latest Memory Products @ Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – Memory is one of the few technology sectors that take a massive leap every few years; once a new standard is released, it can take a few months or even years for manufacturers to reap the full potential out of a memory product line. Take DDR3, for example, that was released with speeds up to 1600MHz, then 1866MHz was released and lately 2133MHz has become the norm with DDR4 taking off from there. With the recent announcement that that new Intel Skylake enthusiast processor can support DDR4 memory, we are likely to see the DDR4 standard explored in a much greater way in the upcoming months.

A quick look after the Crucial stand and you are bombarded with quick snippets of information regarding memory and how it has progressed over the years.

We look forward to bringing you a review on the Crucial Ballistix Tracer memory as soon as possible after Computex. We will keep you updated with any news and events from the rest of Computex.

Crucial Announces Ballistix DDR4 16GB Performance Memory

Crucial is well known for their memory and storage drives, but this time it’s the memory that we’ll talk a little about. Crucial just announced the release of Ballistix DDR4 16GB performance memory with various heat-sink configurations.

The new modules are perfect for gamers and enthusiasts who deal with content creation, virtual machines, RAM drives, and memory-intensive applications. The new modules are using Micron’s new 8Gb DDR4 component technology to offer up these high-density DDR4 memory modules.

With the recent release of these high-capacity memory modules with 16GB per module, home users can now create systems with 128GB total memory capabilities that otherwise was reserved for server grade systems. The modules are compatible with the latest Intel X99 platforms and support XMP 2.0 profiles for easy setup.

“This density of memory module will start to become broadly available in the desktop space with our new 8Gb-based Ballistix DDR4 16GB modules,” said Jeremy Mortenson, worldwide DRAM product marketing manager, Crucial. “We anticipate that our new modules and component densities will enable smaller form factors and the next generation of computers to have capacities that were traditionally limited to the server or high-end desktop space.”

Ballistix DDR4 16GB memory is expected to ship in late July as Ballistix Sport, Ballistix Tactical, and Ballistix Elite. The 16GB modules will be available single or in kits up to 128GB and come backed by a limited lifetime warranty.

Crucial Releases New SSD Software With Momentum Cache

A good toolbox for your storage drive is something that’s worth just as much as the drive itself and Crucial has just released an upgrade to their software, the Storage Executive tool.

The new version is 3.20 and it now features Momentum Cache, an intelligent caching feature that can enhance the drives burst performance by up to ten times. The caching software uses your idle system memory to cache redundant writes and in return it also helps to increase the overall lifetime of your storage drive. Only the writes that need to go to the drive are actually written and frequent read data is stored in your memory for quick access.

Anyone owning a Crucial SSD can take advantage of this, but the ones that made the switch to DDR4 more than the rest. We’ve recently seen what DDR4 is capable off, with memory running around 4GHz. That speed will be equally returned when used as RAM disk or caching area.

In addition to the new features, Storage Executive also allows users to update the drives to the latest firmware, monitor the drive’s temperature and health, reset the drive’s encryption password, and easily check how much storage has been used.

“We want everyone to enjoy the benefits of solid state storage,” said Jonathan Weech, storage marketing manager, Crucial. “Software that optimises performance and keeps Crucial SSDs running efficiently is another example of how we make upgrading easy.”

You can download Crucial’s Storage Executive from the official website and it is compatible with Windows 7 and newer operating systems and Crucial’s M500, M550, MX100, MX200, and BX100 SSDs.

Crucial is part of Micron and users with Micron drive can take advantage of the same benefits, they just need the Micron version that can be downloaded from Micron’s website.

Zotac CI321Nano Barebones System Review

 

Introduction


Today we are taking a look at one of Zotac’s latest ZBOX CI321 nano barebones system that is packing a dual-core 2961Y CPU. Something that makes this CI321 nano stand out of the crowd is that it carries dual Gigabit LAN and is completely silent with its passively cooled design. With the inclusion of an onboard IR receiver, this makes it an interesting option for a silent HTPC. With it being a barebones kit, you can use some memory or 2.5″ drives that you have on hand to keep the final build costs down. There has been a lot of growth in the mini PC market and Zotac has been in it for a long time with its ZBOX lineup.

Specifications
  • Name: ZBOX CI321 nano
  • CPU: Intel Celeron 2961Y (2C/2T, 1.10 GHz, 22nm, 6W)
  • RAM: User Supplied – We tested with Crucial Ballistix 2x4GB DDR3-1600 9-9-9-24 1T 1.35v 
  • SSD: User Supplied – Crucial MX200 SSD 250GB
  • GPU: Integrated – Intel HD Graphics
  • LAN: dual 10/100/1000/Gigabit Base T
  • WLAN: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Built-in Bluetooth V4.0
  • I/O: 4x USB3.0, 1x USB 2.0 , 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort, Headphone-out, Microphone in, 2x 1Gb LAN
  • OS: Supplied Barebones, Windows 10 preview used in this review
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Price: $149.99

Retail Packaging

Printed materials that the CI321 comes with

The hardware that you get with the CI321 allows you to mount the unit via the VESA mount of a monitor or TV. You also get an optical audio adapter for use with a Toslink connection, a dual band WiFi antenna, and screws to mount your 2.5″ SSD or HDD.

 

CPU-Z

 

GPU-Z

Crucial Ballistix Sport 2400MHz Quad Channel DDR4 16GB Memory Kit Review

Introduction


Memory, the most vital part of any computer that gets overlooked the most. There’s not a lot to say about RAM apart from its expensive and very confusing. DDR4, the newest iteration of RAM is currently the fastest version of the consumer RAM, with speeds exceeding 3333MHz.

Crucial are one of the big players in the RAM game, providing us with solid performance at a more affordable price. Today’s kit is the Ballistix Sport 2400MHz, one of Crucial’s cheaper sets, providing us with minimal heatsinks and the base unit to use a black PCB. Let’s see how this set compares to the likes of Corsair, G-Skill and our base 32GB Crucial DDR4 set.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

We won’t dwell on the packaging too much as it is very plain and simple. Ffour modules neatly packed into a small rectangular box. This kit is a quad-channel variety so each module is 4GB in size.

A Closer Look

The Ballistix Sport kit looks very understated. A very slimline heatsink panel on each side. Such a minimalistic design which I think might put some off due to looking a little “cheap”. Hopefully that is not the case with the performance.