FreshTech Solutions Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

FreshTech Solutions is one of the leading system integrators in the UK and forged an impressive reputation for their huge range of pre-configured PCs. Whether you’re on a tight budget looking to try out PC gaming for the first time, or a content creator seeking the absolute best performance, there’s something to suit your requirements. Each PC is backed by generous warranty period and it’s even possible to purchase additional cover for further peace-of-mind. For example, on systems costing £1000 and above, you can increase the warranty length from 3 years to 5 years for £25. If you’re opting for a cheaper rig under the £1000 mark, then it’s possible to select three years cover for £25 and five years support at a cost of £50. This level of flexibility allows you to protect your investment for a period which you expect to use the system for.

When selecting a custom PC, the number of configurations and pricing variation means it’s extraordinarily difficult for novices to judge which model to go for. It’s not always a sensible approach to spend more if you’re unlikely to reap the benefits. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of custom PCs from FreshTech Solutions that we are happy to recommend at various price points. Hopefully, our readers will find this useful and those without technical knowledge can make an informed decision about which unit suits their usage scenario.


£529.00

Specification:

  • Skylake i5 6400
  • 8gb Crucial DDR4 2133MHz
  • 120gb Kingston V300 SSD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • EVGA 500w 80Plus White PSU
  • Nvidia GTX 950 2GB
  • Gigabyte H110M-S2H
  • Falcon Blue Case With Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 1 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 1 Year Parts, 1 Year Labour)

The first machine we’re taking a look at targets consumers on a very tight budget who want to enter into the Intel ecosystem. While you could compile a cheaper build using an AMD CPU and AM3+ motherboard, it doesn’t offer much headroom in the future if you suddenly demand additional horsepower. The majority of games are GPU bound but there’s some examples including ARMA III and more recently, Black Desert Online which rely heavily on a system’s CPU performance. This particular build features a large enough capacity boot SSD to install the operating system and enjoy a snappier feel in Windows.

Also, the GTX 950 2GB graphics card is a great choice for 1080P gaming providing you turn down a few settings. On another note, the lack of overclocking isn’t an issue at this price and won’t impact on the user experience during graphically intensive games. Ideally, I’d recommend paying extra for the next tier, but this is a great choice for beginners moving away from consoles for the very first time.


£699.00

Specification:

  • Skylake i5 6600K
  • 8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz
  • Samsung EVO 250GB SSD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • EVGA 500w 80Plus White PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 960 2GB
  • Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3
  • Titan Blue Case with Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 1 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 1 Year Parts, 1 Year Labour )

The next system which retails for £699.00 offers overclocking functionality due to the unlocked K processor and Z170 chipset. Furthermore, the Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3 contains an illuminated LED strip on the PCB to create a more ostentatious appearance. This higher end model includes the GTX 960 2GB GPU to maintain improved frame-rates at higher settings. It’s a significant boost over the GTX 950 and worth considering given the constant influx of modern titles requiring additional graphical grunt. Of course, it’ s still a budget option and pales in comparison to higher end graphics cards, but it should provide an enjoyable user-experience with a 1920×1080 display. Also, the boot SSD’s higher capacity allows you to store your favourites games and benefit from faster load times.


£899.00

Specification:

  • Skylake i5 6600K
  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz
  • Samsung EVO 250GB SSD
  • WD 1TB WD10EZEX HDD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • Corsair CX600 80Plus Bronze PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 970 4GB
  • Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3
  • Titan Red Case with Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 1 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 1 Year Parts, 1 Year Labour )

The next tier’s system costs £899.99 and has a number of key improvements including a secondary mechanical hard disk, 16GB RAM and GTX 970 graphics card. When discussing the previous systems it’s important to remember that I’d recommend adding a mechanical drive to store large sums of data. This allows you to easily install various games while ensuring the boot SSD doesn’t fill up rather quickly. Thankfully, this doesn’t increase the asking price by an exponential amount. On another note, the 16GB memory is useful when working with video, photo editing and other complex workloads. It’s not really necessary in games just yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if 16GB becomes the standard in the next few years.

NVIDIA’s GTX 970 offers absolutely stunning performance even with a 2560×1440 monitor and can exceed 60 frames-per-second in various titles including the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot. It’s unquestionably one of the best price to performance GPUs on the market and a suitable choice for a powerful gaming system.


£1049.00

 

Specification:

  • Skylake i5 6600K Tested Overclock to 4.6GHz
  • Corsair H80I V2 Water Cooler
  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz
  • Samsung EVO 250GB SSD
  • Seagate 1TB HDD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • Corsair RM750x 80Plus Gold PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 970 4GB
  • Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3
  • Falcon Gaming Case With Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 3 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 2 Years Parts, 3 Years Labour )

Moving towards the higher end market is a system which retails for £1049.00. This model contains a higher wattage power supply and Corsair water cooling unit to attain better temperatures. Furthermore, FreshTech Solutions guarantees the system will reach 4.6GHz and tests each overclock extremely carefully. This will be incredibly useful to consumers who feel apprehensive about overclocking their CPU and haven’t got any experience in this field. They really shouldn’t be concerned because the process is ridiculous simple. However, whenever anything goes awry, it’s important to have an excellent level of after-care support.


£1599.00

Specification:

  • Skylake i7 6700K Tested Overclock to 4.5GHz
  • Corsair H80I V2 Water Cooler
  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz
  • Samsung EVO 500GB SSD
  • Seagate 2TB HDD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • Corsair RM750x 80Plus Gold PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 980TI 6GB
  • Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 5
  • Fractal Design R5 With Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 3 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 2 Years Parts, 3 Years Labour )

The £1599.00 system swaps out the i5 6600K for Intel’s enthusiast flagship i7-6700K on the LGA1151 chipset. Once again, FreshTech Solutions guarantees an impressive minimum overclock to reach significant gains compared to stock values. Also, the 500GB SSD is a great addition which allows you to install various applications without constantly checking on the remaining capacity. The system is housed in the highly regard Fractal Design R5 chassis which creates a more premium feel. Clearly, the main improvement revolves around the GTX 980Ti and is a major step up when compared to the GTX 970.

Even though the GPU isn’t capable of running games at maximum details on a 4K display, it’s able to really reach high figures on a 2560×1440 or 3440×1440 monitor. If you want to improve the performance even further, it’s possible to add a second GTX 980Ti due to the power supply’s 750 watts rating. The Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 5 motherboard supports USB 3.1, SATA Express, multi-GPU configurations and opts for a superb audio solution. Once combined, this offers an absolutely staggering user-experience.


£1938.00

Specification:

  • Intel Core i7 5930K 3.50GHz
  • Corsair H80I V2 Water Cooler
  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3000MHz
  • 512GB Samsung 950 Pro M.2 Solid State Drive
  • Seagate 2TB Hard Drive
  • 24x DVDRW
  • Corsair RM750x 80Plus Gold PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 980TI 6GB
  • Gigabyte X99-SLI
  • Fractal Design R5 With Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 3 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 2 Years Parts, 3 Years Labour )

Up to this point, we’ve focussed on the consumer LGA1151 chipset which offers great value for typical desktop tasks. Unfortunately, the platform only supports up to a 4-core 8-thread CPU. This severely limits the computational power during multi-threaded workloads. As a result, many professionals opt for 2011-v3 powered systems because they can leverage extra performance using 6-core or even 8-core processors. The next system totalling £1938.00 utilises a hex core processor with 40 PCI-E lanes and a 2TB hard disk.

Not only that, the Samsung 950 Pro NVMe boot drive is capable of an astounding maximum read of 2500MB/s and maximum write reaching 1500MB/s. This allows games to load faster and helps to process huge 4K video projects in a more efficient manner. Of course, this elite-grade PC opts for the best possible hardware including the GTX 980Ti and Gigabyte X99-SLI motherboard. This means you can have a powerful workstation and play demanding games in your leisure time.

If you’d like us to review any of the systems mentioned above, please let us know in the comments section below.

Nvidia Reportedly Stopped Maxwell GM204 and GM200 Production

Winding down production of a soon to be discontinued product is industry standard practice. When you see production of current models cease, that’s when you know the next generation is just around to corner. Two weeks ago, we brought you news that Nvidia may have stopped GTX 980Ti production. Now it seems that Nvidia has also ceased production of 2 other Maxwell-based GPUs in preparation of Pascal.

According to HWBattle, both of the GM204 based GPUs are no longer being supplied to AiB partners. This means the GTX 970 and 980 will disappear off store shelves sometime between the next 2 months given a normal logistics situation. At the same time, this means the replacements for GM200 and GM204 are well on their way and may arrive within 2 months as well. This is perfect for the late May launch at Computex.

As we’ve reported before, the replacements will be the 3 GP104 chips that will be called GTX 1080, 1070 and 1060Ti. These are the GP104-400, GP104-200 and GP104-150 respectively. Furthermore, the usual practice of launching reference cards first followed by custom ones will not be followed by the GTX 1070. Instead, the custom cards will launch at the same time as the reference models. With Computex just around the corner, we’ll all find out soon what GeForce Pascal truly is like.

Nvidia May Have Stopped GeForce GTX 980Ti Production

One of the inevitable signs of an imminent  release of new products is when the old model starts becoming hard to find. A seamless transition to the new version is a mark of good logistics and something Nvidia is known for. In line with the expectations for Pascal, Nvidia has reportedly stopped shipping GTX 980Ti’s to their AiB partners, which indicates that Nvidia is winding down the supply chain for the high-end card.

A stop in GTX 980Ti production points to a Pascal chip to replace it coming soon down the line. Usually, shipments to stores are ahead by a month and production a month or so before that. If Nvidia stops supplies now, there will still be about 2-3months before supplies run low. This puts the timeframe smack dab during Computex where Pascal is expected to be launched. It seems like perfect timing for GTX 980Ti supply to dry up just as Pascal launches and becomes available.

Given the movement to 16nmFF+, we can expect the GTX 1080 to at the very least match the GTX 980Ti. With a replacement product, it makes sense for the GTX 980Ti to cease production now. For now, it seems that Nvidia hasn’t started supplying their partners with Pascal just yet but that should happen shortly if Pascal is to arrive at Computex. The leaked shrouds suggest that the AiB partners have already tooled up in expectation of Pascal. Of course, this is still an unconfirmed report, released on April 1st to boot, so take this with a fist full of salt.

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

OCUK Releases Powerful Asteroid mITX Gaming System by 8Pack

When we here 8Pack, then we know that it is followed by something great and it is no different this time around. Overclockers UK introduced the new Asteroid Mini-ITX gaming system by 8Pack – an impressive and very powerful system. The all-new extreme mini PC is designed and built by Ian 8Pack Parry, one of the best-known overclockers in the world. The hardware has been handpicked and tuned for only the best experience.

The 8Pack Astroid isn’t just a powerful system, it is also a beautiful one with its black and red case. It is also built with hard-line tubing for the custom liquid cooling loop that gives it an even better over-all look. The PC is also supplied with a flight case as standard that has been manufactured for portability, allowing the user to also pack their peripherals with the PC.

So by now you’re probably curious what kind of hardware powers this tiny monster. At the heart, it has an Intel Core i7 6700K Skylake processor that has been overclocked to 4.7GHz and the base configuration comes with 8GB memory that has been overclocked to 3866MHz. The graphics part is covered by a Nvidia GTX 980Ti graphics card that also has been overclocked out of the box, in this case to 1450MHz or more. The operating system gets a 512GB solid state drive while there also is a 1TB SSD for files and your game collection. All this is powered by a 1000W 80Plus Titanium rated Super Flower power supply. Wow.

 

In every single 8Pack Asteroid gaming PC, there is always expert craftsmanship with cherry picked hardware and deep testing. With a setup like this, you won’t run into any bottlenecks and get maximum performance from the hardware without any compromise.

As with all Overclockers UK systems, you can also customize the specification away from the standard setup in order to get just the right match for your needs. While many might go for a memory upgrade, the rest is pretty much solid. So what will all this cost you, you might ask. It starts at £3989.99 which is a hefty sum, but it is also a hefty system.

Standard Specification:

  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980Ti overclocked (Option to upgrade to Titan X)
  • Memory: Team Group Xtreem 8GB 3866Mhz (Option to upgrade to 16GB 3733Mhz)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 6700K overclocked to 4.7+
  • Storage: Two Samsung 850 Evo Series Solid State Drives. 512GB for OS, and 1TB for games
  • PSU: 1000W Superflower PSU
  • Case: Custom Parvum 8Pack Edition case with built in water cooling reservoir
  • Fan controller: Aquaero 5
  • Flight Case included

While the price of almost £4000 might have put you off a little bit, we got to remember that we don’t just buy the hardware here – this is a little piece of art and it comes with unparalleled support. As a customer of this system, you ‘ll be given 8Packs mobile phone number to contact him if there were any issues or support queries – labour free for 5 years. That isn’t a service that you’ll find anywhere else.

Below you’ll find a lot more images of this beautiful built system and all its details, so have fun drooling and imagining how great it would look on your desk right now.

Inno3D GTX 980Ti iChill Black Graphics Card Review

Introduction


Closed-loop liquid coolers have become extremely popular in the CPU market due to the cleaner build, and greater space around the CPU socket compared to traditional air cooling hardware. This means you can install an all in one liquid cooler without having to make concessions in terms of memory compatibility or worry too much about your motherboard’s PCI-E arrangement. As you might expect, all in one liquid coolers have progressively moved into the GPU sector to offer improved overclocking headroom and a lower noise output. There are some interesting parallels between CPU and GPU all in one liquid cooling though which needs to be addressed.

Firstly, many air coolers like the Noctua NH-D15 can outperform Asetek units, while being much quieter. It’s a similar picture with graphics cards because proficient air cooling setups including the Gigabyte Windforce X3 and Sapphire Tri-X provide a superb noise to performance ratio. Liquid cooled graphics cards have a price premium and involve a more complicated installation process. It’s important to remember that Maxwell is a very mature and efficient architecture which allows vendors to enable a 0dB idle fan mode. Despite my own qualms about closed-loop liquid cooling, it’s fantastic to see products which cater to a different target market. There’s clearly a demand for pre-assembled liquid cooled graphics cards, and their appeal is bound to grow in the next few years.

Today, we’re taking a look at the Inno3D GTX 980Ti iChill Black which utilizes a very powerful hybrid cooling solution. The GPU incorporates a traditional fan which only switches on during heavy load, in addition to a 120mm fan/radiator combination. The Arctic Cooling radiator fan is constantly on but has a very low RPM curve to maintain silent running. This impeccable hardware allows for an impressive core clock of 1203MHz and default boost reaching 1304MHz. The memory has also been increased to 7280MHz. As you can see from the chart below, this isn’t the greatest configuration we’ve encountered from the factory, but it’s exceedingly fast and should be a top performer. It will be fascinating to contrast this graphics card with the marvellous Inno3D GTX 980Ti X3 Ultra DHS which opts for a hefty air cooling design.

Specifications:

Packing and Accessories

The Inno3D GTX 980 Ti iChill Black comes in a huge box to properly house the closed loop cooler’s tubing and protect against leaks during shipping. Honestly, the picture doesn’t provide an accurate depiction of the packaging’s size. I have to commend Inno3D because they have taken the precautionary steps to reduce the possibility of damage occurring and utilized strong foam inserts as cushioning materials. The box itself features an attractive render of the GPU, and outlines its specification.

On the rear portion, there’s a brief synopsis of NVIDIA’s Maxwell architecture. I’m a bit surprised to see the back doesn’t contain any information about the liquid cooling solution and the acoustical benefits compared to NVIDIA’s reference cooler.

In terms of accessories, the graphics card is bundled with mounting screws, 6-pin PCI-E to molex adapter, case badge, DVI-D to VGA adapter and installation guide. There’s also a driver’s disk which you should disregard, a copy of 3DMark, and other documentation. This is a great selection of items and provides everything you need to get started! The mouse mat is surprisingly high-quality and relatively thick.

Rise of The Tomb Raider Recommended NVIDIA GPUs Revealed

The original Tomb Raider reboot scaled remarkably well across a wide range of hardware configurations and still provides a good indication of GPU performance. Nixxes Software, who worked on the PC version, has gained a great deal of respect for being one of the best in the industry when it comes to optimization. Thankfully, the studio was given the contract for Rise of the Tomb Raider, and I cannot wait to see how it performs on various setups. This time, the game is supported by NVIDIA and included when you purchase a GTX 970 or above from participating stores. Furthermore, this also applies if you buy a GTX 970M or above gaming notebook. NVIDIA also revealed the recommended specification to attain 60 frames-per-second at 1080P and 1440P. Here is a brief description of the testing methodology:

“With further testing, our technical marketing team concluded that a 60 frames per second average during this particularly demanding scene, on the High-detail preset, delivered the best balance between graphical fidelity, input responsiveness, and performance in all of Rise of the Tomb Raider’s gameplay locations and cutscenes.”

“In our Rise of the Tomb Raider test there are only a few momentary spikes, and none above 25 milliseconds, there are no periods of spiking between low and high frametimes, almost all of the benchmark is below 20 milliseconds, and much of it is at, around or below 16.6 millisecond, the 60 FPS sweet spot. In other words, the GeForce GTX 970 not only delivers a High level of graphical fidelity at over 60 frames per second, it’s also super smooth with no stuttering or stalls, giving you a fluid, responsive gaming experience.”

As you can see from the image below, NVIDIA recommends a GTX 970 to maintain 60 FPS at 1920×1080. Please note, this is on “high settings” and we’re currently unaware if this is the best preset. On another note, 1440P gamers should be utilizing a GTX 980 Ti to attain 60 frames-per-second at that particular resolution. Sadly, there’s no information regarding 4K or 21:9 setups.

Rise of the Tomb Raider looks phenomenal so far, and has some fairly hefty system requirements. Hopefully, the game supports SLI on launch and doesn’t encounter any major issues on AMD graphics cards. Once the game is launched, we should be conducting a through performance analysis at various settings and resolutions.

ASUS Announces 20th Anniversary Gold Edition GTX 980 Ti

ASUS celebrates 20 years in the graphics card market with a new premium and limited edition Gold Edition GTX 980Ti. ASUS new graphics card doesn’t just sport a fancy golden design, it is also one of the fastest GTX 980Ti graphics cards and comes with advanced features for overclockers.

The new ASUS Gold Edition GTX 980Ti is up to 21.6% faster than reference models in 3D Mark 11 Extreme and provides up to 22.1% faster gaming performance in Grand Theft Auto V. The cooler on the 20th-anniversary card is the well-known DirectCU II with patented wing-blade 0dB fans – a cooler that has proven itself again and again.

ASUS added a golden backplate to match the overall design and add some extra durability to the card. The backplate also helps with overall cooling of the card, making it even better. We can also spot the power connections on the picture below and see that it requires two 8-pin PCIe power connectors. The LED field on the side of the card will show the load level by changing shade through four highly visible color gradients to provide a real-time visual guide to performance.

ASUS’ 20th Anniversary Gold Edition GTX 980Ti comes with 6GB GDDR5 memory clocked at 7200MHz on its 384-bit memory bus. The GPU features 2816 CUDA cores and runs at a base clock speed of 1266 with a boost up to 1367.

 

ASUS built the card with their acclaimed Digi+ voltage-regulation modules (VRMs) with 14-phase Super Alloy Power II components, long-life capacitors, concrete-core chokes, and hardened MOSFETs. These are all things that will ensure that you have the best graphics card for a long time.

Connection-wise, you get one dual-link DVI-I port, three DisplayPort 2.0, and one HDMI 2.0 port and the card is able to drive a digital resolution of up to 5120 x 3200 pixels at 60Hz.

There are several extra features for overclockers, such as memory defroster. This clever technology quickly defrosts the graphics card’s memory during sub-zero overclocking to ensure a sustained stability. The card also features an LN2 jumper to unlock even more overvolting options for the professional overclockers.

There isn’t anything to worry about when you mess up your settings on this card as it features a Safe Mode. The default BIOS settings are instantly flashed back at the push of a button, allowing users to overclock with the complete confidence that they can undo their changes at any time.

The new ASUS 20th Anniversary Gold Edition GTX 980TI will be available in late November, but ASUS did not reveal the pricing at this time. It is a limited edition card, so expect the price to reflect that.

ASUS Announces the ROG Matrix GTX 980Ti Platinum

With the superb overclocking abilities of the GTX 980i, it’s no surprise that overclocking oriented cards like MSI’s Lightning and EVGA’s K|NGP|N have launched already. Today, ASUS has announced their own counter, the ROG Matrix GTX 980Ti Platinum. While being part of the gamer-focused ROG lineup, there can be no mistake that the card is overclocking oriented, living up to its Matrix branding.

Right off the bat, the card feature’s ASUS’s classic DirectCU II along with 10mm heat pipes. This should put the cooling solution well beyond many others and it’s supposed to offer 25% cooler performance and 3X less noise than the reference card. This is combined with Wing-blade fan technology which should improve air pressure by 105%.

On the power delivery side, ASUS has gone with their usual Super Alloy Power II components to ensure high-efficiency and clean power delivery. As befits an overclocking card, the ROG Matrix Platinum also features Memory Defroster, a defrosting for the GDDR5 memory when under sub-zero conditions. This means that LN2 users won’t have to worry as much about insulation when searching for those high clocks.

As a way to ensure stability as well, the card also features a once-click Safe Mode button that restores the VBIOS to its original settings in case something goes wrong; this makes using custom VBIOS that much safer. Another useful feature is a color-coded ROG load indicator which shows GPU load without having to delve into software. While not that useful for overclocking or even normal users, it’s a neat feature to have.

Overall, ASUS has what appears to be a solid card coming along the heals of the Strix and Poseidon. The bigger question is how the card will fare against rival 980Ti overclockers like MSI’s Lightning and EVGA’s K|NGP|N editions among others. There is also one GTX980Ti left from ASUS, which is the Gold20th GTX980Ti Platinum.

ASUS Announces the Poseidon Platinum GTX 980Ti

Something that we know about the GTX 980Ti range is the completely absurd performance that this one graphics card can deliver. When the sub-vendors were allowed to customise the card, the performance increased and the variations are so diverse that choosing only one to buy is a difficult choice.

Today ASUS has announced the Poseidon Platinum GTX 980Ti, adding onto the pre-existing RoG range is the Hybrid cooled monster. Based on the GM200 core, it will come with a factory boost OC clock speed of 1228MHz. This might not be the highest clock speed of all of the GTX 980Ti’s on the market, but something we have come to learn is that a strong core with a lower clock speed can outperform a poorer core and higher clock speed.

The cooling design features a unique, dust free dual fan design with a built-in water block for future cooling upgradeability; named DirectCU H2O. The design features the most common G¼-inch threaded fittings for the best possible compatibility with most of today’s water cooling products. On standard air cooling, you can expect up to 5°c lower temperatures and up to 30°c better when under water.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnDpSlx6q68

The new manufacturing process, Auto Extreme, has almost completely removed humans from the production line, coupled with Super Alloy Power II components, this adds up to one efficient, powerful and high quality graphics card that is set to last.

Along with the physical features, ASUS will also include a download to the in-house GPU Tweak II; probably one of the best GPU tuning software options available and a 1-year subscription to X-Split Gamecaster premium. Based at $99 for the year, this software allows gamers to easily stream and/ or record gameplay via a lite in-game overlay. Along with those, ASUS also bundles in a 15-day World of Warships premium account with an exclusive Diana Cruiser ship code.

I can’t wait to test one of these and compare it against the other GTX 980Ti’s we’ve had in. Are you still torn about a new graphics card purchase? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

MSI GeForce GTX 980Ti Lightning Launched

MSI has launched their much-anticipated GeForce GTX 980Ti Lightning, one of the premier overclocking GTX 980Ti’s around. As part of the overclocking Lightning lineup, the card is designed to push the GPU to the limit and is the flagship OC product of MSI. To meet those high expectations, the card features a whole host of features and tools.

Starting off the bat, the specifications are actually a bit better than previous leaks had alluded to. A minor improvement is in the number of power phases to 16 in total, up from the 12+3 from the leaks. Other than that, the board largely remains the same, with Military Class 4 components, dual BIOS (LN2 tweaked). Cooling is provided by 5 nickel-plated 8mm “SuperPipes” paired with a massive heatsink cooled by new Torx fans in a TriFrozor setup and directional airflow. While technically a dual slot card, the Lightning pretty much will take up 3 due to the massive cooler. The card also features a memory and MOSFET heatsink as well as a backplate.

On the GPU side of things, the core is clocked to 1304 MHz boost but can drop down to 1203 MHz. The 6GB of GDDR5 will run at an effective rate of 7096Mhz. Interestingly enough, these speeds are the exact same as those offered by rival EVGA’s GTX 980Ti K|NGP|N Edition, another overclocking-focused offering. Given these similarities, it might be that Nvidia is restricting their partners to certain limits, or that this is simply the sweet spot for the GTX 980Ti. One allure that the K|NGP|N offered was ASIC binning so it will be interesting to see if MSI did any ASIC binning themselves as well. Given the fierce competition in the overclocking world, it will be interesting to see if the Lightning will surpass the K|NGP|N.

Palit Super JetStream GTX 980Ti 6GB Graphics Card Review

Introduction


The graphics card world experienced a shake-up when NVIDIA announced the Titan X, a 12GB VRAM monster, then did it again just a few weeks after with the launch of the GTX 980Ti. With this, it brought extreme performance to a much more affordable level and at just $600, it was around half the price of the Titan X and a in some tests just 5% slower than the Titan X.

Today on the test bench we have the Palit Super JetStream GTX; the Super JetStream branding is reserved solely for the top end air-cooled Palit graphics cards. Poised at just £539, this is only £10 more expensive than the reference design and boasts figures that only some of the higher priced models can achieve. The card features twin 10cm turbo fan blades with are designed to disperse heat as much as possible and also are translucent to project the built-in LED lighting even further.

We know that the GTX 980Ti is the current top mainstream graphics card and when it’s given to a sub-vendor it only gets better; so let’s find out how it performs in today’s review!

The outer skin is plain, displaying only key information with the trademark black and gold theme.

The back of the box is filled with information in many different languages. The key information revolves around the display features, gaming features and new ways to game, such as VR.

This box has a front door with all of the information you could want to know about the graphics card itself. Not only does it give you a graphic rendering of the card, there is a window into the box so you can see the GPU design directly.

Inside the box, you have a HDMI to DVI adapter, manual, driver disk, JetStream sticker and PCIe power adapter.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980Ti 6GB SLi Review

Introduction


Here at eTeknix, we strive to give the consumer the best possible advice in every aspect of technology. Today is no different, as we are extremely excited to bring you the Sli review of the recently released NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980Ti. We all know the story behind the 980Ti, taken almost directly from the Titan X with slightly fewer cores and half the VRAM, but it still performs within 5%. NVIDIA has done something right with this card, something very, very right thanks to the recent price drops which see the reference design for sale at around £500.

In the test bench today, we have the more recently released MSI Gaming and Inno3D iChill x3 Ultra versions of the card. These were great advancements over the reference card and added in custom cooling designs; which is something that consumers miss with the vast majority of Titan X graphics cards.

We already know the performance is greatly increased with these new additions, but what about when we add them together in possibly the greatest two-way card/ GPU configuration of all time?

A quick overview of the cards shows us that they are more than capable of keeping cool when in Sli, so placement isn’t a huge issue. However, the Inno3D card is wider at 3 slots; so that was placed as the second card.

MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 980Ti ‘OC’ 6GB Graphics Card Review

Introduction and Packaging


MSI is one of those names you think of when compiling a list of computer components. You know that the amount of testing and quality control that goes into each product released will shine through in performance and longevity. MSI produces some of the best looking, cooling, sounding and performing graphics cards on the market thanks to the military grade components that go into every card.

Today on the test bench is the MSI Gaming GTX 980Ti OC edition. MSI has given this card the magic touch with a custom PCB and the epic Twin Frozr V cooling solution. The new design features a brand new fan design called TORX fan, this includes a fan blade that forces air down into the heatsink and out faster than conventional fan blades.

Since the launch of the GTX 980Ti, it has been adored the world over by enthusiasts of both AMD and NVIDIA. Based on a cut-down version of the GM200 GPU found in the Titan X, the GTX 980Ti seemed like it would lag behind the Titan X by around 10%, however, that never was the case. This graphics card pretty much dethroned the Titan X overnight thanks to the sub-vendors ability to customise the cooling designs and huge price difference.

The outer box resembles the rest of the GeForce range of graphics cards made by MSI. A small amount of information on the front with the MSI Gaming dragon dominating in terms of colour.

The back of the box is filled with key MSI features, mainly focusing on the Twin Frozr V cooling solution.

Inside the main box, you’ll find a slimmer box containing the accessories.

The accessories include a user guide, product series ‘catalogue’, driver disc, DVi to VGA adapter and a 6-pin PCIe power to 8-pin adapter.

PC Specialist Azure (LGA 1151) Gaming PC Review

Introduction


PC Specialist has an illustrious reputation for creating some of the most reliable and thought-provoking builds in the custom PC industry. Their latest creation, code-named Azure, is based on Intel’s brand new Z170 chipset and includes the flagship, i7-6700K Skylake processor (review here). While the CPU has a stock clock of 4.0GHz, there is ample headroom for a hefty overclock with assistance from the Corsair 240mm liquid-cooling solution. PC Specialist opted for the Asus Z170-A motherboard (review here) which offers excellent voltage regulation, dynamic fan control and an intuitive BIOS interface. Only the best components are used throughout, such as NVIDIA’s top-tier GTX 980Ti graphics card and Kingston’s HyperX Predator 3000MHz DDR4 memory.

In terms of storage, the Azure is bundled with a 480GB SSD boot drive and 2TB mechanical for data storage purposes. The PC is powered by an 850W Corsair RM power supply and neatly presented in the Corsair 780T case. Previously, we reviewed the X99-based Vortex 440 which performed superbly and exceeded our expectations. Therefore, I’m hoping the Azure will be cool, quiet and leading the benchmark figures whilst retailing at a respectable £1499 price point.

Specifications

Packing and Accessories

The chassis arrived in a gargantuan box and contains precautionary labels to prevent the courier from adopting a haphazard approach. I was genuinely surprised with the box’s size which provides superb protection during transit. The packaging itself also utilizes a thick grade of cardboard and encompasses the case to withstand any sudden impact.

Once opened, the case is revealed and cushioned by a cloth cover to stop accidental scratches from occurring. If the case was packaged without any padding, the chassis could rub against the box and become damaged. This is especially true with delicate windowed side panels.

From another angle, we can see the flexible foam supports which add a great deal of rigidity and keeps the case perfectly aligned. I have to commend PC Specialist for using some of the strongest foam inserts I’ve ever seen. For example, I intentionally bent the inserts to see if they would snap under pressure, but they withstood this rigorous testing procedure rather well.

The accessories are bundled in a lovely Welcome Pack which evokes a professional feel from the presentation alone.

Included in the Welcome Pack is a setup guide, component documentation, driver disks, extra SSD mounts, power cables, and much more! Everything is separated into segments which makes it easier to find specific parts.

The accessories can be easily stored away in the original packaging and has enough room to house future purchases such as a DisplayPort cable. While the box is too large to fit in a small drawer, it does prevent you from losing any accessories and keeps everything in a neat package.

CPU-Z

GPU-Z

Inno3D iChill X3 Ultra GeForce GTX 980Ti Graphics Card Review

Introduction and Packaging


The GTX 980Ti, the card that has taken the world by storm, is finally to have manufacturers install their own custom cooling solutions. Since the launch of the GTX 980Ti, it has been adored the world over by enthusiasts of both AMD and NVIDIA. Based on a cut-down version of the GM200 GPU found in the Titan X, the GTX 980Ti seemed like it would lag behind the Titan X by around 10%, however, that never was the case. This graphics card pretty much dethroned the Titan X overnight thanks to the sub-vendors ability to customise the cooling designs and huge price difference.

Today in the test bench is the Inno3D iChill x3 Ultra GTX 980Ti. This card is an absolute monster, measuring 300mm long and 3 slots wide; it’s not for the small case. We know that the GTX 980Ti is a great card, but Inno3D has taken the reference PCB to a whole new level with upgraded components. Fitted to this card is the renowned iChill Ultra x3 Airboss cooling design, which is completely modular and covered by warranty to take apart and clean; assuming you don’t take off the heat sink.

We already know that the GTX 980Ti has outstanding performance, but let’s see if Inno3D has added to the performance in today’s review.


The outer box is very plain, with minimal branding. On the right side is what you can find inside the box.

The rear of the box is very generic, multiple languages stating the features.

The inner box is of strong construction with just the iChill logo on top and Inno3D logo on the base.

Accessories include 1x 3Dmark licence, 1x mouse mat, 1x Molex to 6-pin adapter, 1x VGA to DVI connector, 1x iChill case badge, 1x power supply guideline leaflet, 1x quick installation manual and 1x driver disc.

Nvidia AIB Partners Cut Price on GTX 980 and 980Ti

For those of you debating on whether or not to snag a card from the green team, now may be the time. Following the launch of AMD’s R9 Fury many of Nvidia’s AIB partners are cutting prices on their 980 and 980Ti cards. MSRP are dropping about $20 for both cards, with the 980 dropping from $499 USD to $479 while the 980Ti falls from $649 to $629. This time around, the price drop is silent, with no official announcement coming out from anyone.

While a price cut of $20 isn’t much, that’s another extra $20 that can be put to a larger SSD, better case, CPU or power supply. With this price cut, it looks like Nvidia and it’s AIB partners want to have their cards be more competitive. The R9 Fury currently has an MSRP of $550 and the R9 Fury X at $650. While the 980 won’t make too much difference, dropping the price of the 980Ti below the Fury X will make more of an impact.

These price drops will be sure to put more pressure on AMD. Nvidia appeared to have been planning these prices drops for a while already, waiting till AMD had launched their new lineup. It’s important to note that while the MSRP has dropped, not every card has dropped by that amount, with some hitting above and below $20. AMD may not be able to afford to drop prices yet on the Fury’s given their new launch and tech. It will be interesting to see how AMD will react to this price drop in the near future.

Overclockers UK Slashes GTX 980 Ti Reference to £509.99

The AMD Fury X unveiling was a tantalizing moment for GPU aficionados, but little was known about the card’s raw performance numbers. Speculation suggested it could defeat the 980Ti and possibly dethrone the Titan X. Finally, the benchmarks have been revealed and AMD’s new flagship received a lukewarm response. With no units in stock, and inconsistent numbers which show the 980TI being clearly ahead below 4K resolutions is a disappointing result. Obviously, this could be down to a lack of mature drivers with HBM, but currently, it’s a difficult selling proposition costing £509.99 and performing worse, on average, than the 980 TI reference. When you consider custom PCB 980 Ti cards such as the Gigabyte G1 Gaming are capable of huge overclocks, then it’s unclear how AMD can compete in the high-end market.

One could argue that the 980Ti’s original price at £550 would help AMD in trying to regain market share, but Nvidia caused a storm after pitching the 980 Ti against the Titan X and even beating it with aftermarket coolers. Given the Fury X is similarly priced with less VRAM and requiring space to fit a water cooling AIO, I highly doubt anyone seriously considering a £509.99 GPU would try to save £50 based on clear performance gains.

These issues have been compounded for AMD as Overclockers UK launched a weekly promotion offering a reference GTX 980Ti for £509.99. This price matches the Fury X RRP and is currently in stock. According to Overclockers UK, stock of the Fury X isn’t expected until sometime next month and depends on the board partner. Furthermore, the reference model sold at this ridiculously good price is from Zotac which features an extensive 5 year warranty.

Vendor 980Ti’s have a wild pricing disparity and highly sought-after models such as the MSI Gaming retail for £599.99. In contrast to this, the best deal from my own point of view, is the EVGA GeForce GTX 980Ti Superclocked ACX 2.0+ which features a superb cooler, 0dB idle fan mode, 3 year warranty and factory overclocked performance, all for £539.99.  More specifically, this GPU utilizes a base clock of 1102MHz and boost clock of 1190MHz with lots of headroom to manually push the card further. Unfortunately, the memory is limited to stock values but shouldn’t be too difficult to overclock using software. Another advantage to the current 980Ti offerings is the inclusion of Batman: Arkham Knight. While the game is a technical mess at the moment, the story is impeccable and hopefully it will function properly soon enough.

ZOTAC Unveils the Arcticstorm Cooler @ Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – While at the ZOTAC stand, a certain graphics card caught our eye. If you remember back to this article, it includes the render of a new hybrid cooling solution for ZOTAC called the Arcticstorm. This featured a typical heatsink and fan cooling design like the AMP! graphics card, but also had a water cooling block integrated. Well, I think I can safely say that it is now real and looks awesome. The article regarded a custom design fitted to a Titan X graphics card, this model is the GTX 980ti, but it shows that the design is real and could make its way to the Titan X if the ban has indeed been lifted.

We will keep you updated with any news and events from the rest of Computex 2015.

ZOTAC Showcase its Latest Graphics Cards @ Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – Towards the end of day 2 at Computex and we’ve arrived at the ZOTAC stand. ZOTAC are known for producing some fairly bonkers graphics cards, with a stylish design approach.

With the launch of the GTX 980Ti just 2 days ago, NVIDIA partner, ZOTAC, is focusing on the custom cooled GTX 980Ti. Some of the clock speeds are yet to be announced, but we can expect some high overclocks due to how well the GTX 980Ti performs under pressure. The two main coolers that are on show, are the AMP! and AMP! Omega, both are fairly similar in design, but the AMP! Omega is a huge 3 slots wide and it features twin 8pin power connectors; hopefully being able to provide enough power and cooling performance to see some high overclockers.


We will be ready with a review as soon as possible after Computex. We will keep you updated with any news or events from the rest of Computex 2015.

NVIDIA GTX 980Ti @ Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – Our first port of call is to a NVIDIA breakfast conference. Here we were greeted by Jen-Hsun Huang who presented the first piece of Computex hardware; the GeForce GTX 980Ti. Check out our review here!

The GTX 980Ti was made for VR with upcoming demos on display in an upcoming event later in the week. This is the first GPU in the world to use multi-resolution shading which vastly improves the VR performance by up to 30% by using different sized pixels.

We will keep you updated with the rest of the events at Computex.

ZOTAC Reveal GTX 980Ti Launch Products

With the launch of NVIDIA’s GTX 980Ti graphics card just around the corner, manufacturers are starting to show off what they will be offering to consumers. This time around, it is the turn of ZOTAC.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti (ZT-90501-10P)

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti (ZT-90501-10P) Specifications:

  • 2816 CUDA cores
  • 6GB GDDR5 memory
  • 384-bit memory bus
  • Base Clock: 1000 MHz
  • Boost Clock: 1076 MHz
  • Memory clock: 7010 MHz

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! (ZT-90503-10P)

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! (ZT-90503-10P) Specifications:

  • 2816 CUDA cores
  • 6GB GDDR5 memory
  • 384-bit memory bus
  • Base Clock: 1051 MHz
  • Boost Clock: 1140 MHz
  • Memory clock: 7010 MHz

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme (ZT-90505-10P)

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme (ZT-90505-10P) Specifications:

  • 2816 CUDA cores
  • 6GB GDDR5 memory
  • 384-bit memory bus
  • Base Clock: 1253 MHz
  • Boost Clock: 1355 MHz
  • Memory clock: 7210 MHz
  • Custom PCB, 2x-8pin PEG

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti Arctic Storm

  ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti Arctic Storm Specifications:

  • 2816 CUDA cores
  • 6GB GDDR5 memory
  • 384-bit memory bus
  • Base Clock: 1051 MHz
  • Boost Clock: 1140 MHz
  • Memory clock: 7010 MHz

There as some very nice looking designs, mainly following the AMP! branding and style of previous ZOTAC graphics cards. The most interesting is the Arctic Storm with its hybrid air and water cooling solution. More images and specifications will be launched throughout Computex, we will keep you updated.

Thank you to VideoCardz for providing us with this information.

First Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti Specifications Confirmed

AMD has been grabbing most headlines lately with their highly anticipated 300 series GPU launch, but that doesn’t mean the Nvidia is just standing by and watching what happens. They’ve been busy themselves and have been working on the GeForce GTX 980 Ti card that I know quite a few of our readers are looking forward too.

There have been some rumours concerning the specifications so far, but the sources have been questionable, or at least they weren’t verifiable. That has changed as Videocardz got the latest information directly from Jen-Hsun, the CEO of Nvidia, and you can’t really find anyone that more credible in this situation.

So what has been confirmed now? First of all the name, the next graphics card that Nvidia has for us all is the GeForce GTX 980 Ti. It will use half the memory of the TITAN X, 6GB, and it will be available with both stock and aftermarket coolers. The 12GB TITAN X monster is currently limited to Nvidia’s own stock coolers. The connection options were also confirmed and the 980 Ti comes with three DisplayPort, one HDMI, and one DVI-I port.

What we still don’t know is if it will use the full GM200 silicon and what speeds it will run at, but I’m sure we won’t have to wait long before we also get those details as the card is expected to arrive in a few week. We’ll make sure to keep you updated. The chart below is from earlier this year and contains some of the rumoured specification of the new card.

Thank you Videocardz for providing us with this information