$99 PC Bricking Device ‘USB Killer’ hits Indigogo – Genius or Stupid?

A new crowdfunding campaign has hit Indiegogo, which is effectively someone charging you money for a product which is intended to damage your computer. USB Killer is a nasty bit of technology, you simply plug it into your USB port and the intention of the device is to load the port with volts to break the USB port, preventing people from accessing your device and stealing your files, but it’s not that simple, these things never are.

Bad USB is something we’ve covered before, USB Killer is little more than a rebranding of a PC killing bit of kit, that’s more likely to be used maliciously than as a preventative measure, which the creators are advertising it as. Check out the video below to see what a USB device like this can do. Please keep in mind that the video is a demonstration of a similar device and not of the device being listed on Indiegogo.

The idea is that USB Killer will destroy your USB ports, this prevents people from breaking in and stealing your data. However, I think it’s more marketed at people who do illegal activities and need a quick way to brick the PC to prevent people, the police for example, from checking their computer. As the disclaimer on the device reads, this could wreck your motherboard and brick the entire computer. In our opinion, that’s not a disclaimer, that’s exactly what will happen if you use this.

Whatever the intentions of the Russian creators of USB Killer, you can find out more about this $99 PC killing device, however dodgy the campaign may seem, on the Indiegogo page.

Of course, these promotional videos may help convince you that this is the right device for you…

Still not convinced that Killer USB is the right device to thwart mobsters stealing your data? What about a pesky family member? Again, I guarantee this is nonsense, it will kill the whole computer, not just the USB ports.

So, USB Killer, is it genius or stupid?

Rivet Networks Launches Killer E2400 Ethernet Controller

Rivet Networks released their newest LAN controller yesterday, they brand new Killer E2400 Gigabit Ethernet controller that is said to deliver unprecedented speed, intelligence, and control for the ultimate networking experience. The new LAN controller adds to the already impressive predecessor with Advanced Stream Detect 2.0 to offer cutting-edge network data detection and network optimization technology.

The Killer E2400 LAN chip automatically detects and prioritizes specific website traffic in addition to networked applications and games. It also provides two additional network priority levels for a total of six different priority levels to take full advantage of the enhanced application and website detection. The adapter is said to outperform the competition by up to 10 times when multi-tasking and being up to 50 percent faster at single application usage.

The Killer E2400 also works together with the Killer Wireless products via Killer DoubleShot Pro technology, which uses both Killer Ethernet and Killer Wireless interfaces simultaneously to automatically route high priority traffic to the fastest connection. For the absolute best connection, you can couple two of these chips together with the Killer Wireless-AC to get a DoubleShot-X3 Pro connection with up to 2.867 Gbps throughput.

The new Killer E2400 LAN controller is being released in partnership with MSI and GIGABYTE whole feature them on some of their best new Z170 motherboards such as the MSI Z170A GAMING M9 ACK, the MSI X99A GODLIKE GAMING, the GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 7, and the GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming GT.

Killer E2400 Features:

  • Advanced Stream Detect 2.0 offers the most advanced network data detection available in consumer products today. Advanced Stream Detect 2.0 automatically classifies and prioritizes network traffic for online games, HD video, and specific websites for better quality and fewer interruptions in a user’s online experience
  • Lag and Latency Reduction Technology designed specifically to reduce latency and improve online gaming and HD video performance
  • Visual Bandwidth Control shows which applications and websites are monopolizing bandwidth and gives users the control to optimize performance by adjusting priorities and setting bandwidth limits so that low priority traffic doesn’t interfere with multimedia applications or favorite websites

Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 5 (LGA 1150) Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging


Intel’s Z97 platform feels like it has been here forever; since its official launch in early May 2014 we’ve ploughed through a sizeable 13 Z97 motherboard reviews here at eTeknix. Yet in the grand-scheme of things that 5 months is barely any time at all:the average PC user will tend to abide to a 2-3 year upgrade cycle meaning they’ll sit through about three new Intel platform launches before choosing to upgrade. With that said Z97 is still as relevant to the PC user today as it was 5 months ago even if Z97 has lost some of its “latest & greatest” status with the recent launch of X99. Today we are examining Z97 motherboard number 14 courtesy of Gigabyte: we have their Z97X-Gaming 5 motherboard in for review.

There is nothing particularly exciting or innovative going on with the Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 5 if I’m being totally honest. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing because “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” as the old saying goes. We have a very familiar red & black colour scheme which predictably gives this motherboard its “Gaming” denotation. Being a gaming board we also find this motherboard adheres to the usual high quality audio and networking package which makes use of Realtek’s latest and greatest ALC 1150 codec and Qualcomm’s Killer E2201 networking chip. The fact that the Z97X Gaming 5 is based on Intel’s Z97 chipset means we also get all of the new desktop storage interfaces: M.2 and SATA Express, in addition to the tried and trusted SATA III. I won’t pretend you can’t get these specifications anywhere else: ASRock and MSI offer very similar motherboards with virtually identical hardware configurations. The real question is: why should you choose Gigabyte? The simple answer is because of the value for money proposition and the fact Gigabyte do offer some unique features of their own such as their patented dualBIOS and Amp-Up audio package: but we’ll get onto all this later on in the review.

Packaging and Accessories

The Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 5 is a budget board in the wider Z97 market, it starts at £105/$145, so we aren’t surprised to see a modest accessory bundle. Included is the usual documentation, a utility DVD, four SATA cables, a case sticker and an I/O shield which didn’t come with our review sample. An I/O shield does come with the standard retail version and is identical to the I/O shield used with the Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 7 for those who are interested.

ASRock Reveals X99M Killer mATX Motherboard

A couple of days ago ASRock showed us their X99X Killer motherboard, and today they’re showing us it’s little brother. They being in the mood to share is great for us and we’re getting a sneak peak at the ASRock X99M Killer mATX board. The minimized size has cost the board half its memory slots compared to the big brother, but it doesn’t let down on features in other areas. And lets face it, four RAM slots is more then enough for most people.

As the name suggests, we’re of course seeing the X99 chipset as well as the LGA2011 Socket. With three PCI Express x16 slots and 10 SATA 6Gbps ports, this little brother has nothing to be ashamed off. One Ultra M.2 connector, two Gigabit Ethernet controller (Intel and KillerNIC) and a Purity Sound 2 7.1 Audio chip are also found on this board. The double-digit error displays for quick bug-fixing is always a nice thing to see on any motherboard.

The IO area offers two USB 2.0 Fatal1ty mouse ports, four normal USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, one eSATA and two Gigabit RJ45 ports and a dual PS2 mouse and keyboard port. Of course there’s also the five 3.5 mm and optical audio ports. Another four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports can be connected to the on-board headers.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of TechPowerUp.

MSI GP70-2PE ‘Leopard’ Gaming Notebook Review

Introduction


Running off the tail end of our look at MSI’s GS6 ‘Ghost Pro’ gaming series notebook, which features NVIDIA’s latest 800m series graphics, MSI have been keen to show us what else they have in their artillery for the everyday gamer. Where the GS60 is a strong and well-balanced system, packing some Ultrabook-like credentials such as its slim and lightweight design, the GP70 Leopard that we’re looking at today is aimed more at the budget gamer who wants a competent system that packs all the features and credentials needed to be classed as a gaming notebook, but without such a strong price tag that surpasses the £1000 barrier.

The GP70 is by no means a new system in its design and layout, having been around for at least one generation now, the GP70 ‘Leopard’ is effectively a refreshed model, taking advantage of NVIDIA’s latest 800m series graphics to give this more budget conscious notebook a performance boost, bringing it up to date with the latest games and the growing needs of today’s gamers.

As we have seen from our first look at the 800m series graphics on the Ghost Pro, there is a notable gain in performance to be seen over the previous generation 700m series chips. To put the latest generation graphics into context, a current generation 870m GPU provides frame rates and performance similar to that of a 780m core whilst a 860m should give performance similar to that of a 770m and so on. What this means for the Leopard is that we should see a notable difference in performance between the new GP70 Leopard, with its 840m GPU and the older GP70 with its 740m offering.

Aside the GPU there are a handful of other areas where MSI have done some housekeeping, the network adaptor has been upgraded to the KillerLAN E2200 series gaming NIC, whilst the wireless adaptor sees an upgrade to support the latest 802.11ac standard. The audio sees a refresh with MSI’s Audio Boost technology to give a deeper adn richer audio experience. Finally the storage sees a huge boost in performance from a hybrid system that uses 24GB of NAND cache with a 1TB hard drive for all of its storage needs over to a setup that uses two separate drives; a 128GB mSATA drive for the boost drive and a 1TB hard drive for bulk storage needs. All the other key areas of the systems specification, including the processors, chipset, memory and I/O features, plus the design of the system remain the same as before.

  • Name: MSI GP70-2PE ‘Leopard’
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4700HQ @ 2.4GHz
  • RAM: 8GB 1600MHz ADATA MIF4D1D167HZ1
  • SSD: Toshiba 128GB mSATA SSD
  • HDD: Western Digital Blue 750GB
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 840M 2GB
  • LAN: Killer E2200
  • WLAN: Intel dual-band Wireless-AC 3160
  • Monitor: 17.3″1920 x 1080 Anti-glare LED backlit
  • Keyboard: Steelseries chiclet
  • I/O: 2x USB3.0, 2x USB2.0, 1x HDMI, 1x VGA, SD Reader, Mic-in & Headphone-out, 1x 1Gb LAN, FHD Webcam
  • ODD: DVD-RW DL
  • Battery: 6-Cell 4400mAh 49Wh
  • OS: Windows 8.1
  • Dimensions: 41.8 x 26.9 x 3.9 cm
  • Weight: 2.7kg with battery (5.96lb)
  • Warranty: 2 year RTB
  • Price: £899.99 Inc VAT

For any gaming laptop, let alone a system as thin as this, there is a lot of ‘oomph’ behind the keyboard – especially in the graphics department and considering the fact that gaming laptops these days are generally considered as bulky and heavy, a thin and light system is certainly a welcome addition to the market.

Every part of MSI’s gaming series is just as important as the notebook itself and thus everything follows the same colour scheme. Bearing the red dragon and the tagline ‘Top Player – Top choice’, the box print looks like the brushed effect paint that we will see on the notebook. Inside the notebook comes protected inside a plastic bag and then a cloth liner to prevent marks and scratches during transport, further more a soft-touch layer sits between the keyboard and screen to ensure the notebook arrives with you in the same way that it left the factory. A series of guides, manuals, warranty paper work followed by a driver CD and regional power adaptor round off the GP70 package.

Gigabyte G1.Sniper M5 Motherboard Preview

With Intel’s new chipset and 4th generation processors almost upon us, you’ll find the eTeknix team working doubly hard to bring you the latest and greatest content before and during the launch, but this comes with its hiccups to say the least. With a constant new set of BIOS updates being handed to us almost daily, we are vigorously testing away, and trying to tease our readers with some visuals at the same time which is where we see ourselves today.

We wanted to show our readers a bit of an insight into some of the boards that we’re getting a chance to work with, and to talk about their features and aesthetics, while not breaking Intel NDA and getting the whip for being naughty. This is why we have a huge set of previews being released over the next coming days, showing you exactly that, while focussing mainly on the design and style among some features that are non-Intel related.

Next up in the preview arena we find the Gigabyte G1.Sniper M5; a micro-ATX form factor motherboard which is set to pack a punch, like its predecessor did with the Z77 chipset. For those not wanting to skimp all out on the fully-fledged G1.Sniper 5, a micro-ATX board has been developed to give users the power and features of a true gaming board branded under the G1-Skiller series, without losing out on any of the beneficial traits that we expect within this range.

Following on from the G1.Sniper M3, we find the M5 keeping with the colour scheme and design of the Sniper range with a black PCB and green accented components ranging from the DIMM slots to the PCI-Express lanes, even to the heatsinks.Design wise, we see the same branding being used and from attending a MSI event in London, MSI plan to release more models within the MPOWER range, offering different price points depending on the users needs.

For a small form factor board, the M5 certainly isn’t lacking cooling potential with two heatsinks around the CPU socket area, providing sufficient cooling to those wishing to push the boundaries of the new 4th generation processors from Intel.

A small, low-profile heatsink covers over the new Intel chipset, while still allowing larger PCI-Express expansion cards room within your system. The G1-Killer branding is present here, showing you that this board means business.

For those wanting a full look around the board, checking out its design and feature list, we have produced a video preview just for you, where we take a close look at the board in a lot more detail, while trying not to give anything away in terms of benchmarks and performance.

 [youtube]http://youtu.be/-DJJGbSiC5s[/youtube]

I’ve always liked the G1-Killer range of boards, though never were a big fan of the bullets and other similar design ploys, but Gigabyte have clearly cleaned up their act and have gone down a more serious route with the G1.Sniper M5 and have opted for a simple yet effective design and have still managed to chuck on a load of features despite its micro-ATX form factor.

Now smaller components seem to be getting a lot of hype lately especially with small form factor chassis being released to the market like the BitFenix Prodigy among others, which opens up a huge pathway for mini-ITX and Micro-ATX boards, which finds the likes of Gigabyte producing more products for these markets, which is where we find the M5 suitably placed. The thing I honestly love from a personal point of view is that they still manage to include key features that we’re all used to such as improved audio, three PCI-Express x16 lanes, and overclocking technology that is generally found on higher-spec full ATX form factor products.

In summary, this is one of the boards that I’m most excited about, and that’s purely down to previous experience with the G1.Sniper M3 that seemed to keep wanting to push in terms of performance and overclockability and had no flaws whatsoever, while still maintaining a small footprint with thanks to its form factor. From a design point of view, the M5 is a personal favourite of mine and with a shiny green watercooling kit, we think modders are going to love the colour scheme and the form factor will allow for some really cool looking systems, so all we have to wait on now is to see if the performance matches this high quality of design that we’ve seen today.