Plextor Announces M7V Value SSD Range

Solid state drives have progressed at an extraordinary pace during the last few years and the latest NVMe products are capable of read speeds well beyond 2000MB/s. In comparison, the traditional SATA interface has a theoretical limit of 6Gb/s and offers significantly lower numbers than extreme M.2 drives. This is evident by the price differences between fairly affordable SATA SSDs and extreme grade NVMe products. Even though SATA drives with capacities up to 500GB can be relatively cheap, it’s still a significantly greater price to capacity ratio when compared to mechanical hard disks.

As a result, enthusiasts often purchase a 250-500GB SSD as a boot drive and mechanical disk for mass storage purposes. This exemplifies the fact that it’s going to be a while before high-capacity solid state drives become the norm and supersede mechanical alternatives. Furthermore, user data demands are increasing at a rapid rate due to 4K video and complex games. Despite this, Plextor is trying to offer more affordable options and decided to launch the M7V range. The drives are available in either an M.2 or 2.5-inch form factor and utilize the SATA3 interface. Plextor will launch 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB products which all use a Marvell 88SS1074B1 processor, wired to Toshiba 15 nm TLC NAND flash memory, and DDR3 DRAM caches of 256 MB, 512 MB, and 768 MB, respectively.

The 512GB M.2 variant features a higher 1GB DRAM cache and each model offers impressive transfer rates. More specifically, each model can achieve sequential reads up to 560MB/s and a maximum write of 500MB/s, 530MB/s and 530MB/s across each capacity. Depending on the capacity, you get a manufacturer rated TBW tolerance of 80 TB, 160 TB, or 320 TB.

Despite the budget focus, Plextor didn’t provide any details about the M7V’s pricing. Although, I expect this information to be revealed soon once it hits retail channels.

SilentiumPC Introduces Regnum RG1 Chassis with Dual-Chamber

Building a system on a budget can be tricky in some areas such as the power supply where you shouldn’t skimp out and the chassis where it can be hard to find one you like for the money you have available. If you like it simple and effective while not costing much at the same time, then the newly introduced Regnum RG1 might be worth a closer look.

The Regnum RG1 features a simple and clean exterior, an internal dual chamber design for cable management and looks, and plenty of space for large hardware parts – and all that for less than £24.00.

The large main chamber in the Regnum RG1 offers plenty of space for full-sized ATX setups. The seven expansion slots provide the ability to mount plenty of add-in cards such as graphics card with a length up to 380mm. The CPU cooler can be up to 160mm high, but that’s only relevant if you go for an air-cooling setup. There is a surprisingly good cooling ability with support for up to six 120mm fans and large radiators too. One 120mm fan is installed by default at the rear, three 120mm fans can be mounted on the front, and another two can be mounted on the PSU shroud.

The large CPU cutout should make cooler installation easy and there are plenty of cable routing options. We don’t see the rubber grommets usually found in higher-end cases, but costs have to be cut somewhere to offer an ATX-sized chassis with these options at such a low price. It will still allow you to build a great looking and clean system.

Other than the seven rear expansion ports, the chassis offers two external 5.25-inch bays, but they share the space with the top fan mounts, so it is an either or there. You can install two 2.5-inch drives as well as two 3.5-inch drives, so you won’t run out of storage anytime soon. Especially not if you couple that with M.2 or PCIe storage options.

You also get two front-faced USB 3.0 ports, a headphone jack, and a microphone jack for easy connectivity. Overall, a nice package for a low cost. Speaking of costs, the Silentium PC Regnum RG1 with an MSRP inc. VAT that’s only set to 31.00 EUR or 23.90 GBP. The US price, excl tax, is set to $27.50.

Would you consider a low budget chassis like the Regnum RG1 with all its features in your next build, or will you rather go for a more premium-styled chassis?

Roccat Announces Renga Stereo Gaming Headset

Roccat has rapidly gained an impressive range of products including keyboards, mice, headsets, and gaming surfaces. The company is renowned for manufacturing reliable peripherals while adopting a unique aesthetic design. This is achieved without impacting on affordability and there’s something to suit various price brackets. Furthermore, Roccat has an official League of Legends team and continues to help the eSports industry. Their latest creation is the Renga stereo gaming headset for the PC, PlayStation 4, mobiles, tablets and other devices. The headset opts for an over-ear design, and produces a premium audio experience.

More specifically, the Renga utilizes a high-end 50mm neodymium driver in each ear cup to provide crisp trebles and a deep powerful bass. Furthermore, the headset features a reinforced skeletal frame which adds a robust feel while remaining surprisingly light. On another note, there’s ventilated ear cups, an ergonomic headband, and plush ear cushions. This ensures the headset is comfortable for long durations and should be a great option for streamers. The in-line remote control provides quick access to commonly used sound settings and allows for on-the-fly no-look control. The bundled microphone apparently offers crystal clear recording and can easily switch between gaming and music playback. It’s also rotatable which means it should be fairly easy to find the optimal positioning.

René Korte, CEO and founder at ROCCAT described the new announcement and indicated this is just the first product in a new range:

“The Renga is the first of our newly-designed headsets built for just one use – the perfect stereo sound experience”,

“Lightweight, robustly built and compatible with almost any device, the Renga is the everyday gaming headset that comes with an affordable price tag, without making compromises in quality.” 

 

 

The ROCCAT Renga will be available in late February with a suggested retail price of 49,99 Euro/USD. This is an excellent price when you consider the features and Roccat warranty.

Synology Releases Affordable yet Powerful DS416j 4-Bay NAS

Synology has released quite a few new NAS lately and we’ve also reviewed multiple of them, but they got more waiting for customers that want to enter the world of NAS or upgrade their current solution. The newest member of the Synology family is the DS416j, a powerful yet affordable 4-bay NAS.

Synology’s DS416j is equipped with an Armada 388 Dual Core processor with 1.3GHz and it comes with 512 MB DDR3 memory. The Armada 388 should deliver plenty of power for this NAS and it also comes with built-in hardware encryption engine. Thanks to the choice of hardware, the DS416j is capable of serving you files with 112.82 MB/s when reading and 101.2 MB/s when writing. Encryption naturally takes some resources, but the DS416j is still capable of a performance around 50MB/s when reading and 37MB/s when writing. That is an increase of 58% in encrypted file transfers compared to its predecessor model.

The DS416j NAS comes with adjustable LED indicators for status, network, and all four hard disk drives. You can switch between four levels of brightness and also put them on a schedule where you turn them off when they aren’t needed. You get a single Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 connection as well as a USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 port on the rear of the unit. It sadly doesn’t have a front USB port, but we also have to remember that this is a budget device and it most likely won’t be the deal breaker for anyone.

Naturally Synology added their well known and great operating system DSM that will provide you will all the features you want and a lot more on top of that. You get easy cross-platform file sharing and synchronizing, download features, apps for playback and streaming of all sorts of media to DLNA and smart devices, as well as comprehensive backup solutions.

Synology targets home and personal users who seeks to get a massive storage capacity where they can build their own personal cloud or serve as a multimedia server. At the same time it targets those who either don’t have a big budget or just don’t want to spend a lot on their next NAS. Four-bay NAS units tend to be quite expensive, but the DS416j comes with a recommended retail price of just £220, and that already includes the VAT.

Overclockers UK Launches Incredible Value “8Pack Approved” Bundle

Ian “8Pack” Parry is one of the most respected overclockers in the world and renowned for setting various world records! Not only that, he employs his many years of experience and specialized expertise to help retailer, Overclockers UK produce extreme grade bundles as well as pre-configured dream systems. After focusing on the elite tier market, 8Pack has decided to cater towards the mainstream customer while only recommending hardware he would feel comfortable using.

The 8Pack Approved Gaming bundle includes an Intel Core i5-6400, 8GB (2x4GB) HyperX Fury 2666MHz DDR4 memory (upgradable to 16GB), ASUS Z170-E motherboard, Alpenföhn Brocken 2 CPU Cooler and 1g Thermal Grizzly which allows for multiple applications. This basic package retails for £329.95 and includes free next day shipping via DPD. By default, the CPU is capable of reaching 4.4GHz despite having a locked multiplier. This is because you can attain substantial speed increases using BCLK adjustments. If this seems like a daunting experience, then there’s nothing to worry about as 8Pack has outlined the recommended settings to easily reach the 4.4GHz figure. Furthermore, if you encounter any problems, he’s usually on hand to help out!

While the bundled air cooler is perfectly acceptable, some users might prefer a more visually pleasing alternative. For an extra £40.94, you can acquire the OcUK TechLabs 120mm All-In-One Watercooler which comes with a Silverstone FQ121 fan in black. This is one of the best water cooling fans on the market and maintains quiet operation. Overall, this is a fantastic bundle for users on a budget and incorporates possibly the best technical support available to consumers.

It’s also great to see a number of options in terms of memory capacity and cooler preference. Since the revelations about Skylake’s CPU strap, there’s no real reason to opt for an unlocked multiplier unless you want to simplify the overclocking process. However, in this case, the hard work has already been done by 8Pack with the hardware testing and recommended profiles.

SilverStone Announces Precision Series PS12 Micro-ATX Chassis

SilverStone announced a new entry to the Precision series, the PS12 Micro-ATX chassis. The PS12 was created with the goal of exceeding user experience and expectation for affordable PC chassis by offering a wide range of features and complete it off with great build quality.

The SilverStone PS12 offers two external 5.25-inch drive bays as well as four internal 3.5-inch and one 2.5-inch drive bays. The is one 120mm fan included and mounted in the front where you also can mount an 80mm fan. The rear or the chassis can hold an 80mm or 92mm fan while the side panel features oversized vents. Overall, plenty of cooling for a small chassis.

You can mount Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX motherboards in this chassis and it takes normal PS2/ATX sized power supplies. It is compatible with expansion cards, IE graphics cards, with a length of up to 14.1-inch, allowing you to use even bigger graphics cards.

The CPU cooler has to stay within the 140mm height specifications, but there are quite a few to pick from in a size up to that. You get two front USB 3.0 ports as well as headset connectors. Overall, everything you want from a chassis without having to pay a premium for something that just needs to work.

SilverStone also added removable fan filter, created the PS12 with all black painted interior, and a CPU backplate cutout. The recommended end user price for the SilverStone PS12 is set to $45 USD excl. VAT and it will be available on November the 25th.

Special Features:

  • Quick access filters to prevent dust buildup
  • Motherboard backplate opening for quick CPU cooler assembly
  • Supports four expansion slots cards up to 14.1 inches long
  • All black painting inside with stylish look
  • Highly flexible drive storage options

Mad Catz Announces Weird Looking R.A.T.1 Mouse

Mad Catz has been on a role lately and released quite a few new products, but they’re far from done. The newest entry is a budget oriented and a very weird-looking mouse called the R.A.T.1. The R.A.T.1 features an innovative modular design as well as 3D printing and personalization options that enable users to truly make it their own.

The new Mad Catz R.A.T.1 is available for preorders now and it will ship in December. The price isn’t bad at all and this new funky looking mouse can be yours for just $29.99. The mouse features three core components: A tripod chassis, a sensor module, and an adjustable palm rest that users can customize to match their personal style and usage requirements. Due to the simple design, the mouse is ultra-lightweight but still made from the same materials used in Mad Catz’ tournament-grade mice.

The R.A.T. 1 comes with an adjustable 3500DPI optical Pixart PMW3320 gaming-grade sensor module. The module itself can be used without anything else as a very compact laptop mouse, making it even more useful. The R.A.T.1 is also the world’s first gaming mouse that empower users to use a 3D Printer to create their own customized Palm Rest. Owners of the R.A.T.1, can download 3D CAD files of the Palm Rest, create, print and share their own unique designs right from their home 3D Printer! The DPI is adjustable all the way down to 250 DPI and the R.A.T.1 features six programmable buttons.

“With a gaming DNA derived from the award-winning R.A.T. PRO Series, the R.A.T.1 re-envisions what a gaming mice could be with its innovative modular design and unique customization options,” said Darren Richardson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz. “The R.A.T.1 sets a new standard in design and personalization, appealing to both passionate gamers and casual users alike – allowing us to broaden the appeal of our R.A.T., range and drive our PC business into 2016 and beyond.”

The Mad Catz RAT1 mouse is available as a black and green model or white and red for those who want to mix it up a little bit.

 

ASUS Announces B150 Pro Gaming Motherboards

Asus announced a new motherboard in two versions for the value oriented gamer that would like a system with all the modern features at a slightly lower cost, the new B150 Pro Gaming motherboards in plain simple and as an Aura model that also comes with LED-illumination. Other than that, the two new motherboards are the same.

Built with the B150 chipset, the new Asus Pro Gaming motherboards allow you to use the 6th generation Skylake Core processors as well as up to 64GB DDR4 dual-channel memory. The motherboards also bring great audio to the end-user in the form of SupremeX and Sonic Radar II. Networking is taken care of by an Intel I219-V Gigabit Ethernet controller that features both LANGuard and GameFirst technologies to give you the perfect gaming experience with zero lag and great audio.

Naturally, you also get the newest connection technologies, including USB 3.1 Type-A, USB 3.1 Type-C, and an M.2 slot for NVMe SSDs next to plenty of the older connections storage and connectors. You can connect 6 SATA3 drives to these motherboards and also six USB 2.0 and six USB 3.0.

Durability shouldn’t be an issue for the B150 Pro Gaming motherboards as they are built with durable capacitors that can resist temperatures between -55 and +110 degrees Celcius while the input/output panel is made of corrosion-resistant stainless-steel. ASUS also added their ESD Guards to actively protect against sudden ESD surges on the USB, audio, and LAN ports.

Asus did not reveal any pricing or availability at this time.

Plextor Releases All New V-Series Solid State Drive Series

Plextor already has some really great solid state drives in their line-up, they’ve proven that in every review we’ve done with their drives so far. The newest member has just been officially introduced and it is called the V series.

The Plextor V-series SSDs comes in three different form factors, the M6V standard 2.5-inch, the M6GV M.2 2280 NGFF SSD, and the M6MV mSATA SSD. The drives are built around SMI’s newest generation 2246 controllers and are packed with Toshiba’s 15nm Toggle NAND flash memory. This allows these value based drives to come with a very good performance and they’re capable of reaching up to 535MB/s at sequential reads and 455MB/s at sequential writes. Random performance is equally great with 83K IOPS reading and 80K IOPS writing.

The M6V is also compatible with the latest version of PlexTurbo, they intelligent caching software that can increase your performance with up to seven times while it also saves on your SSDs wear and tear and thereby lifetime. The dynamic RAM buffer will automatic detect hot and cold data and only keep the needed in your memory.

The V series SSDs also passed rigorous tests executed with Plextor’s strenuous SSD testing equipment. Professional simulations on actual read/write statuses were performed with several “Plextor endurance testing mechanisms” to ensure that the V series SSDs have a Mean Time Between Failures of 1.5 million hours and they come backed by a three-year warranty.

The Plextor V series is estimated to hit the market at the end of July, so that is any day now. The 2.5-inch 7mm M6V and the M6GV M.2 drive will be available as 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB versions while the mSATA M6MV only comes as 128GB and 256GB versions. We should also have reviews of the Plextor V-series SSDs ready for you very soon.

OCZ TRION 100 480GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


I’ve had the pleasure to test all of OCZ’s current SATA drive line-up and I’ve never been let down by any of them and I doubt that it will be any different this time. Today I’m taking a look at the brand new OCZ TRION 100 SSD with 480 GB capacity.

The TRION 100 series is the new value series. You might not get the fastest drive on the market, but you will get one of the cheapest while it still maintains a strong performance. A lot of good things have come from OCZ since they became a part of Toshiba, and now you can get even more of that for you money thanks to the TRION 100.

This SSD is a cost-effective performance upgrade that creates an optimal mix of value and performance. The drive is based around a Toshiba SSD controller and also uses Toshiba’s A19 TLC NAND, making it OCZ’s first drive to feature TLC NAND and the first consumer SSD on the market with Toshiba’s version of it.

There are two core areas where this drive will be perfect, one being consumer notebooks, work laptops, and ultra-thin notebooks. The TRION 100 is OCZ’s first drive to feature DevSleep, making it a perfect companion in a mobile system thanks to its lower power consumption. In DEVSLP mode the drive only consumes 6mW, 830mW while idle, and 4.8W when active.

The second area where it will be great is for a desktop upgrade. Budget systems, home theater PCs, family PCs, and even entry-level gaming rigs can get a great performance boost from this drive over a traditional hard drive – and all that with a price level that comes very close to mechanical solutions.

The TRION 100 has a lot of firsts as it’s also the first OCZ SSD with endurance ratings based on the JEDEC industry standard. Previously the endurance rating was based on the worst-case scenario and those will be adjusted to the same new scheme shortly.

The 480GB version has an endurance rating of 120TB Total Bytes Written (TBW) or 110GB per day. The Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF) is rated to 1.5M hours.

One of the things I love most on OCZ’s current line-up of SSD drives is the ShieldPlus warranty. I can not stress enough how great this is. It is like it should be, no hassle and no trouble if the worst case scenario should happen and your drive fails.

In the event that the product is determined to be defective, it will be replaced with a brand new SSD. Simply provide the SSD’s serial number and it will be set in motion. The advanced product replacement and paid return shipping label minimizes expenses and downtime. The TRION 100 comes with 3-year ShieldPlus warranty.

Just because the drive is labeled as a budget drive with value in mind, doesn’t mean that there isn’t any performance to speak off. The 480GB TRION 100 is rated for up to 550MB/s sequential reads and 530MB/s writes. The random read performance is rated up to 90K IOPS while the write performance is rated up to 54K IOPS. Steady IOPS are rated at 3200 after a 12hour pre-conditioning.

The drive is assembled without any screws or other parts. It’s cleverly designed to so the PCB slides into position while the case snaps together.

The PCB fills about two-thirds of the drive and it is only one side of it that is used. The controller is a Toshiba TC58NC and each of the four TLC NAND packages is 128GB big. We also see a Nanya 256MB RAM chip.

The TRION 100 supports SMART, NCQ, TRIM, Idle Garbage collection, and the aforementioned DevSleep. the SATA3 drive is also backward compatible to earlier SATA revisions.

Being a budget drive, we only find the drive itself and the installation manual inside the box. Notebook users won’t need any mounting kits as the 7mm high drive just slides into the appropriate slot and neither will most desktop users as there aren’t many PC cases out there that don’t support 2.5-inch drives by now.

Features

  • Next Gen TLC Technology: Built with premium Toshiba TLC NAND flash
  • Toshiba Controller & Firmware: Leverages Toshiba SSD controller technology
  • Performance Made Affordable: Superior Balance of price and performance
  • Better Battery Life: Optimized for lower energy consumption for longer battery life
  • World-class Quality and Reliability: 100% Toshiba technology built into every drive, keeping data secure
  • ShieldPlus Warranty: Provides an elite, worry-free customer service experience

EVGA Introduced 600W 80 PLUS Value Power Supply

One of the tough decisions when building a new system is always the power supply. You’ll want something that can provide stable and safe power, something to be efficient, and something that won’t break your budget. EVGA has thought of those people too and introduced the value-based EVGA 600W 80 PLUS power supply.

With 600W of continuous power and 49A on a single +12V rail, the EVGA 600W provides enough power to power most systems with all its parts, including Nvidia SLI setups. The compact designed PSU also helps you to save space in your chassis and all cables are all sleeved.

The PSU has all the protections you will want: OVP (Over Voltage Protection), UVP (Under Voltage Protection), OCP (Over Current Protection), OPP (Over Power Protection), SCP (Short Circuit Protection), and OTP (Over Temperature Protection). Noise shouldn’t be an issue either as the PSU comes with a quiet and intelligent auto fan for near-silent operation.

The used fan is a 120mm sleeve bearing fan and the entire PSU measures 85 x 150 x 140 mm. It has an MTBF of 100K hours and isn’t built with Japanese capacitors as we’re used to from the high-end models. The noise level is rated at 24-26dBa typical.

The EVGA 600W 80 PLUS PSU is backed by a 3-year warranty, but no pricing was revealed yet except for the term value.

Synology DiskStation DS715 2-Bay Value NAS Review

Introduction


It has been a while since I had the pleasure to review a Synology NAS which makes it even more of a pleasure to take the brand new Synology DiskStation DS715 2-bay NAS for a spin. And while it does look ordinary on the first glance, I can tell you it isn’t.

The DS715 is an expandable NAS server, equipped with a powerful quad-core processor with hardware encryption engine and the ability to expand up to 7 drives thanks to the optional expansion unit. You can’t just expand it with extra bays, you can also connect it with Synology’s High Availability (SHA) technology that combines active and passive servers into one cluster.

The DS715 looks to be a perfect balance between performance, features, and value – so let us take a closer look at it.

The Synology DS715 is built around the Annapurna Labs Alpine AL-314 quad-core processor with 1.4GHz. We’ve previously seen a great performance from just this chip in the DS1515 NAS. The CPU has both hardware encryption engine and floating point unit.

The DS715 comes with 2GB DDR3 memory and the drive bays support hot swapping as it has to be. The unit is rated for 16TB raw capacity on its own, but that limitation only exists based on the drives currently available. Nothing should block you from using 10TB or bigger drives ones they become available.

If that still isn’t enough for you, then you’ll just expand the NAS with the DX513 five-bay expansion unit. It gives additional storage on the fly while being supported as if they were internal drives. You can easily expand your overall raw capacity to 56TB with 8TB drives.

The two Gigabit Ethernet ports ensure the connectivity to your network. You can set seven modes of failover and link aggregation depending on your switching setup and need for redundancy and increased throughput. 802.3ad dynamic setup is just one of the available, but probably the most important of the modes.

The addition of an eSATA port is something I love to see and it is my personal preferred method of connecting external storage. It is also the method of connecting the aforementioned DX513 expansion unit. The two USB 3.0 ports allows you to connect other storage drives, printers, or cameras.

The drive trays are tool and screwless, at least for 3.5-inch drives. If you wish to use the NAS with 2.5-inch drives, then you’ll need the included screws to mount them. Otherwise you just pull off the sides on the tray, place the hard disk inside and put them back. All done. Slide the trays back into your NAS and get started. Plug and Play.

Synology’s operating system is called DiskStationa Manager (DSM) and it is now in version 5.2. It is a really robust system that is easy to use and one that brings plenty of features. It also has built-in NVR server, capable of hosting up to 30 IP cameras (900 FPS @ 720p). Two camera licenses are included and more will have to be purchased separately.

Windows AD, LDAP, and Domain Trust allow for seamless account integration with the rest of your equipment and also feature user home folders and Windows ACL. It doesn’t really matter how you want to connect it, you can.

The DS715 also comes with support for Synology Central Management System (CMS). CMS offers both flexibility and convenience for administrators, allowing them to manage all systems from a single point.

File sharing works with all major system, may it be Linux, Windows, or Mac OS. Included protocols are FTP, SMB2, AFP, NFS and WebDAV among others.

The Cloud Station allows for easy backup from all your system to the DS715 NAS and it also supports Rsync, backup to external drives, other NAS devices, or public cloud offerings.

A minor thing, but one that I love, is that Synology included two RJ45 LAN cables with this unit. An LAN cable doesn’t cost much and it is really annoying to get a unit as cool as this and then have to head out again to get an LAN cable so you can setup your link aggregation. Not so here, everything you need to get started, except the hard drives, is included.

Sharkoon Released Minimalistic S28 Value Case

Sharkoon created a new simplistic standard ATX chassis that should go well for many different kinds of builds, the new Sharkoon S28 Value ATX Case. The midi-tower is a value case with plenty of options and it is fully equipped with quiet fans out of the box.

The case features two 5.25-inch drive bays for the tool-free installation of optical drives and other large parts while the internal setup allows you to mount up to three 3.5-inch hard drives as well as four 2.5-inch HDD/SDDs. An additional 2.5-inhc HDD/SSD can be mounted at the bottom of the case.

The Sharkoon S28 has room for graphics cards with a length of up to 415mm without the 2.5-inch drive cage and up to 325mm with the cage installed. Large CPU coolers aren’t a problem either as the S28 supports up to 170mm high coolers.

The front-panel in the S28 Value offers both two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports for easy connection of external devices as well as the obligatory audio jacks for your headset.

Seven expansion slots provide plenty of space for your add-in cards, may they be graphics cards, network cards, sound cards, or anything else that you can get that fits.

The case has one rear 120mm fan and two front 120mm fans, but doesn’t really provide space for internal liquid cooling. Sharkoon did however add routing holes for external radiators and complete units – so it is possible to set it under water.


Those who wish to show off their hardware and have fancy lighting in the case won’t be left out either as Sharkoon created a second model of the chassis with a side panel that has an acrylic window.

Both versions of this new case are available now. The Sharkoon S28 Value has an MSRP of €56.90 while the Sharkoon S28 Window with acrylic side panel comes with an MSRP of 59.90.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880 Coming next Month

Oooh this is exciting, according the VideoCardz.com the GeForce GTX 880 will be available in retailers late next month, an exact date is to be confirmed relatively soon I’d imagine. The interesting this about the 880 is it’s price, it’s rumored to be launching at a lower price that the 780 and 780ti but offer increased performance over the older models, not by a great deal, 10% perhaps, but with more performance and a lower price I can see why it’s being talked about so much.

We should expect NVIDIA to offer up 4GB and 8GB GDDR5 versions, both on a 256-bit bus and with prices rumored to be between $400 and $500. This will not only put some fresh new cards on the market but this will also make the prices for the 780 and 780ti drop to be able to compete with the latest card.

Having owned a GTX 580 and 2 680s in my history of PCs I have a good feeling about this next card, NVIDIA never ceases to impress me with performance and cooling from their cards and I hope this next lineup of cards will bring just as impressive results. We’ll just have to wait and see what the benchmark results bring!

Thanks to Tweaktown for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Tweaktown.

Kingston Launch Web Assistant For Storage & Memory Upgrades

When it comes to working out the specification of your new gaming system or when you’re looking to boost the performance of your existing setup, memory and storage are two of the easiest and most cost-effective ways of getting the most out of what you’ve got. Since the launch of the solid state drive only a few years back, we’ve seen desktop performance rocket up to a whole new level and as the processors and graphics cards progress to new heights, the memory kit is for most of the time forgotten about or underestimated. Whereas selecting the right graphics card for example is pretty easy, selecting the right memory kit for your needs is not as clear cut. When we take every memory kit that is on offer on the market (as well as the SSDs )and throw it all into one basket, the number of hardware combinations and possibilities, as well as price points that there are to choose from is monumental. With such a huge number of products on offer, how are you sure that the kit you’re choosing is the right one for you?

One way of filtering out the select products that would be suitable for your system would be to look around the review sites such as ourselves, where we show you some of the latest performance, mid-range and budget options that there are on the market, giving you an idea of what product you want to be ordering next. Whilst this is all fair and well, we have to be fair and honest and say that not everyone is going to want to go through piles and piles of reviews to see what is best for their needs, either because of the time it takes to read reviews, or because they’re not that technically minded. We therefore see numerous users taking to our forums to ask what would be the best drive or memory kit for them to get for their system for XYZ price bracket, but what if there was an even easier option out there which could guide you through the selection process, showing you only the products which are best suited for your needs; a user with a gaming motherboard would ideally like a gaming memory kit to compliment the performance, whilst a typical home office user may want a budget kit which does what it needs to without burning a hole in the wallet.

Fortunately though Kingston have been busy working away over the last few months to develop a massive database of every motherboard, server, notebook and more; after which they individually select which of their memory kits and SSDs is best suited for that particular users needs with the option on offer to then purchase the hardware directly from Kingston and have it delivered to your door. These selection pages don’t just cover the Windows platform, as Apple systems more commonly than not use very similar desktop components to those used in the rest of the market, we find Kingston offering up a good range of suitable kits for Mac users.

 

With the next generation of motherboards and processors only a short time away now, the time to upgrade is also very close and if you’re not too sure on how to actually do the upgrade, fear not as Kingston have also got you covered. In addition to the massive web database and product selection tools, they also have a library of setup guides and videos on offer which take you through the upgrade process step-by-step, clearing any doubts or worries that you may be doing something wrong. With technology so far advanced compared to where it was a number of years ago, it is actually far easier to upgrade your system than it used to be.

Kingston don’t just supply the retail market with components, they also cover the OEM market, providing a number of manufacturers products for direct use in their systems and to reflect this, Kingston also list the relevant upgrade kits for each of their OEM partners. Here are just a few of Kingston’s partners:

So if you’re a budding enthusiast who wants to know that they are giving their system the very best, or a non-technically minded home user who wants some guidance, head over to Kingston’s Memory and Storage Search Page where you can find the right product and how to get the best out of your system – oh and did I mention that this information and help is TOTALLY FREE? Surely that deserves us giving Kingston a huge thank you to making your tech experience as good as possible.

Compulab’s AMD-powered Fit-PC4 Brings Performance In A Small Fanless Case

Compulab, the Israeli-based system builder, has just announced the addition of the fourth generation Fit-PC, having been built on the nettop platform. The Fit-PC4 is composed out of two variants, the Fit-PC4 Value, and the Fit-PC4 Pro.

The Fit-PC4 Value model is powered by an AMD A4-1250 APU, with a manageable 8W TDP to speak of, while the Fit-PC4 Pro model runs a more powerful AMD GX-420CA Quad-Core SoC, with Radeon HD 8400E graphics.

Both the Fit-PC4 Value and Fit-PC4 Pro have two DDR3 SO-DIMM slots which can hold up to 16 GB of memory, an mPCIe+mSATA 6 Gb/s slot, an internal 2.5-inch drive bay with SATA 6 Gb/s interface, and a micro-SDXC card slot. The case dimensions consist of 16 cm x 19 cm x 3.7 cm for the Pro and a more compact 16 cm x 16 cm x 2.5 cm for the Value.

In terms of connectivity, both models include two HDMI 1.4a ports with 7.1-channel digital audio streams and a TOSLINK SPDIF 7.1-channel digital audio output. Networking includes two Gigabit Ethernet interfaces on both variants, having a 802.11 b/g/n WLAN with Bluetooth 3.0 on the Value model and a 802.11 ac and Bluetooth 4.0 on the Pro model.

The Compulab Fit-PC4 Value is said to have a price tag of $299, while the Compulab Fit-PC4 Pro is going to be priced at $380. Both models should be available at retailers in most countries, however Compulab’s Fit-PC website should provide more detailed information on availability.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of NextPowerUp

Dogecoin Expected To Bring ‘Real Money’ To Owners In The Near Future

Dogecoin is one of the most known cryptocurrency out there, after Bitcoin. It may be pretty easy to pick up some Dogecoin, but, until now, it’s been difficult to convert it into cash. On Wednesday, Canadian electronic currency exchange Vault of Satoshi announced that it will now support Dogecoin, making it far easier to convert the currency into U.S dollars.

Anyone interested in turning their dogecoins into government-backed currency with wider acceptance up until now had to make an individual deal with someone willing to trade for Bitcoin, which could then be exchanged for dollars, Euros, and outer currency. However, this intermediate step not only made the entire process significantly more onerous, but it also inserted an element of risk.

Reports are that Reddit r/DogecoinScamWatch moderator u/goodshibe explained how the majority of the scams posted on the forum involve people having their coins taken from them while trying to convert dollars into dogecoins, or vice versa.

‟Once … [Dogecoin] gets a direct USD/CAD conversion … in place, many of these kinds of scams will fall away,” u/goodshibe predicted.

This newfound ability to easily and safely convert Dogecoin into dollars could change the nature of how the currency is used. According to BitInfoCharts.com, dogecoins with the equivalent of $212,500,000 were said to have been traded over the past 24 hours. To give a sense of how ridiculous that transaction volume is, the total value of every dogecoin in existence is reported to be only around $60,300,000.

The generosity seems to be related to the fact that a single dogecoin is worth a tiny fraction of a penny, so handing out a few dogecoins takes only slightly more commitment. However, it’s likely also a function of there not being a whole lot of things someone could easily do with a wallet full of dogecoins other than hand them out just like that. Now that converting dogecoins into dollars is no more difficult than exchanging any other cryptocurrency, there’s the chance that the community surrounding Dogecoin may come to more closely resemble that of any other cryptocurrency

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information

Twitter and IBM Agree On Deal For 900 Patents, Gives Twitter More IP Protection

Twitter has acquired over 900 patents from IBM. The deal, which includes a cross-license agreement, was made last month, but the two companies have now formally announced it. IBM has received more patents in the U.S. than any other company for 21 consecutive years.

“This acquisition of patents from IBM and licensing agreement provides us with greater intellectual property protection and gives us freedom of action to innovate on behalf of all those who use our service.” said Twitter Legal Director, Ben Lee.

Twitter revealed that IBM had issued a letter to the company alleging that it was infringing upon at least three of its patents, but “inviting” Twitter to negotiate a “business resolution”. Those particular patents were for “Efficient retrieval of uniform resource locators,” “Method for presenting advertising in an interactive service,” and “programmatic discovery of common contacts.”

“We are pleased to reach this agreement with Twitter because it illustrates the value of patented IBM inventions and demonstrates our commitment to licensing access to our broad patent portfolio. We look forward to a productive relationship with Twitter in the future.” said General Manager of Intellectual Property for IBM, Ken King.

Neither Twitter nor IBM revealed any detailed information about the deal, including the terms on which both parties agreed on.

Thank you WebProneNews for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of The News

Bitcoin Estimated At A Value Of $100,000 In The Future

Chris Dixon, partner at Andreessen Horowitz, states that Bitcoin has the potential to become the leading means of making payments online in the future. He says that a single Bitcoin could be worth more than its present value. “I think [a bitcoin] could be easily worth $100,000,” Dixon says.

This is quite a big achievement, since a single Bitcoin was worth only $13 about a year ago. Currently, a bitcoin is worth roughly $840, give or take, giving it a 6,461% increase in value over a 12 month statistic. In addition to the value, there are around 12.2 million Bitcoins in circulation at the moment, summing up a value of around $10.3 billion in cryptocurrency.

Dixon adds that the maximum number of Bitcoins could be reached by the turn of the century, which can lead to increasing value of the Bitcoin by that time. The Bitcoin is currently deemed a very speculative investment, however it may hold promise as an investment instrument, at least with regard to the applications and companies that offer Bitcoin-related services.

This December Andressen Horowitz itself invested $25 million in Coinbase, a San Francisco-based startup that specializes in Bitcoin payments and exchange. During the same period, Horizons Ventures had also put in an investment in BitPay, yet another Bitcoin payment processor.

Thank you VR-Zone for providing us with this information

$126,000 Worth Of Bitcoin Sales Made By Overstock.com During The First Day

Overstock.com, the US-based online retail store, said last year that they will be accepting Bitcoin payments in 2014. And just like that, yesterday was Overstock’s first day of accepting Bitcoin transactions, which went incredibly well, as reports say.

In the first 30 minutes, Overstock made over $5,000 in Bitcoin transactions, which exceeded $10,000 in the following couple of hours. It is estimated that the company made around $126,000 in its first day of accepting Bitcoin currency as payment, which represents roughly 4 percent of its daily sales.

“After 21 hours on @overstock.com, we’ve had 780 #Bitcoin orders that accounted for $124,000 in sales. Wow!” said Overstock.com CEO, Patrick M. Byrne, in a Twitter post.

Bitcoin transactions are currently used in over 19,000 outlets, but Overstock is the biggest retailer which started accepting Bitcoin as a payment method. The value of Bitcoin has fluctuated the past couple of months, from over $1,000 per Bitcoin to just $640 after China announced that their central banking institutions will stop processing Bitcoin transactions. However, the currency rapidly gained back ground after Zynga announced that they will start accepting Bitcoin payments as well.

Cryptocurrency will never have a stable value on the market due to it not being backed by central governments. However, its value is based on the transactions made. The more transactions, the higher the value of Bitcoin gets.

Thank you VR-Zone for providing us with this information

Bitcoin Soars Past $1,000 At Mt.Gox Exchange

Bitcoin has been going crazy this last few weeks, with prices soaring and crashing, but for the most part rising on average. Now the digital currency sets a new record as the coins reach an all time high, passing the $1,000 mark.

Mt.Gox is one of the largest exchanges for Bitcoin, and at time of writing the coins were worth a tidy $1,073, not bad given that they were worth a few hundred dollars this time last month!

The last few days have been great, those with saving in Bitcoins will no doubt be celebrating, or cashing in then celebrating. Perhaps the guy who forgot he had 5000 Bitcoins is happy that his forgotten fortune just keeps on growing.

Mining coins is a hard job these days, but that doesn’t mean one cannot simply invest in the coins by simply buying some. I know I’m kicking myself for not having bought more a few months ago! However, be warned, a big rise is often followed by a crash and we expect the value is a little too high at the moment as people buy into the trend.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information.

BitCoin Value Is Crazy As A Rollercoaster This Week

BitCoin has been going absolutely insane again this week, it doesn’t not if it’s crashing or setting new records as it sets a new record then sheds half of its value, struggling to settle afterwards.

After a steady climb over the course of a day to $900 it crashed to $450, most likely as people began to sell! sell! sell! as it hit the high value, but the crash was followed by another rise back up to $735 where it settled for a little, sit an impressive high value for the crptocurrency.

It’s an interesting time for BitCoin, the digital currency is even changing in value and it is almost frightening to see how rapidly it can swing around the market like this. There are people out there with millions of dollars worth who doubled, then halved their net worth in just a few hours… crazy.

What the future holds for the value of BitCoin is unknown, but interest may be fading for it after the coin mining frenzy starts to taper off.

Thank you Get Pocket for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Get Pocket.

Gigabyte Z87X-UD3H (Z87) Motherboard Review

As we trundle through the stack of Z87 boards we have for review, we find ourselves picking up the Z87X-UD3H and chucking it onto the test bench, but not before taking a look at what Gigabyte offer with it in terms of design, specifications and added accessories that are bundled in.

Now we’re not expecting too much from the UD3H as it is at the lower-end of the scale but still has some high quality features in terms of SLI/CrossFire support, DualBIOS, USB 3.0 connectivity and even some features aimed at those wishing to dabble in overclocking. Couple the overclocking features with the Ultra Durable technology and sufficient sized heatsinks, and we may be pleasantly surprised by the UD3H and what it has to offer in terms of pushing its connected hardware to the limits.

As with all of our reviews, we will start by taking a look at what is on offer with the Z87X-UD3H before moving on to the board itself and taking a detailed look at all of its features before stepping into the BIOS to see if anything is new and shiny. Once we have all of this out of the way, we can start pushing the hardware to its limits and once a 100% stable ground has been found, we can start benchmarking our whole test suite at the overclocked speeds as well as stock to see how things compare.

Join us as we have a look at the Z87X-UD3H from Gigabyte, as we have a feeling that this board has a few tricks up its sleeve and may be able to keep up with the big boys, and if my sources are right at the time of writing this, it should be very attractively priced as well, meaning that we could have a great contender for an all around board that ticks all the right boxes, but lets not get ahead of ourselves and get into the aesthetics side of things first.

Starting with the packing, we can see that straight away Gigabyte have ditched the white plain boxes which is a nice refresh to see the new design which gives a professional, yet extreme feel to it. Inside we find the usual user guides, installation disc, SLI bridge, SATA data cables, rear I/O panel shield plate and casebadge sticker. No fancy extras, but for a mainstream board, I can’t see that they have missed anything out, can you?

ADATA DashDrive Durable UD310 32GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive Review

We’ve been focussing on storage a lot as of late, and for a very good reason as files are getting larger, especially when you look at the size of a good quality image, HD video footage or just a multi-page document. Together these all add up and cause the need for expandable storage, but that comes at a cost, especially when you want speed in conjunction with it too. Taking a step back from the plethora of USB 3.0 SuperSpeed flash drives on the market, you can never go wrong for something small and discrete but with a large capacity, and of course having a price point that doesn’t hurt your bank balance.

The DashDrive UD310 is a rugged USB drive that is aimed at everyone, especially if you like a bit of bling in your life. It comes in a variety of sizes with the smallest 8GB model, mid-range 16GB and the one we have today; the 32GB. Branded under the DashDrive Durable branding, the device is catered to be ultra small and ultra convenient, and when we say it’s tiny, we really mean it. It comes as expected with a lifetime warranty and due to the advanced COB manufacturing process, it also has protection against impact resistance and water damage.

The Design

The overall design is a unique one to say the least with a “jewel like” design as ADATA brand it currently. It comes in two flavours; red or black and today we happen to have the black version with us.

It’s branded as “jewel like” due to the shape of the top part which has a jewel/crystal style. For the most part, it is made from plastic with the only metal part being the USB connector itself.

When plugged into a computer/laptop, the flash drive sits snug and doesn’t obscure in any way due to its low-profile design and sits discretely out of the way.

The Performance

With most USB 3.0 products, a big part of the marketing is the rated speeds, but with this USB 2.0 device, ADATA don’t quote any speeds on the packaging or on any of their marketing material, including the website. There is a very good reason as to why, and it mainly comes down to the times that we’re in. USB 2.0 isn’t trying to be the fastest thing out there, and with this product, it’s trying to be affordable and to give the user exactly what they want. With that in mind, we still have to see how it fairs when looking at performance, and so we fired up CrystalDiskMark to start things up.

To see how performance lays across the board, we also booted into ATTO to see if the results were consistent.

With no rated speeds direct from ADATA, we have nothing to compare to, but was glad to see the results consistent across both CrystalDiskMark and ATTO at 21MB/s read and 8MB/s write.

The Price

We mentioned that a device of this nature is aiming itself at the value segment, by offering a large capacity for a small price and that’s exactly where it ends up. We had the 32GB model with us, and while availability isn’t fantastic in the UK, you’ll still find the UD310 priced at around £17 making it stand out at a whopping 53 pence per GB.

Other models in the range include the 16GB UD310 at £9.50 and the 8GB model at £5.60, all giving extremely good value for money.

Is It Worth It?

If we look at this product from a performance point of view, you won’t be rivalling anyone as it doesn’t offer blistering speeds, but it wasn’t made to offer that in the first place. This is a value product, aimed at the value segment of the market, but value doesn’t mean cheap as this clearly isn’t a cheap, flimsy product. It offers a small footprint that will be hard to damage and is water-resistant too.

Looking at it head-on, it’s definitely worth the money, and we could see ADATA using something like this in the OEM sector, for branding and promotion for other businesses. As we know, ADATA have no problem working as an OEM partner, as they do with many DRAM modules currently on the market under different brands. With this in mind, I honestly feel that OEM may be a way to go with this product, where they could be sold in their hundreds, maybe with some eTeknix branding on in the future?

The simple fact is, it offers fantastic value for money and is pretty much unbeatable considering what it offers for that small outlay, and if you are after an all-year-round stocking filler, then the UD310 32GB will not disappoint, and you’ll still have some change left in your pocket at the end of the day. What more could you want? For us, we’re happy to award it with our bang for buck award, but a word of advice may be to go for the red one, as throughout writing this review; we lost the black one 3 or 4 times. Ooops!

Sharkoon REX8 Value Chassis Review

Its been a while since I had a Sharkoon chassis in the office, not since the T28 Mid Tower I reviewed back in July 2012. The T28 was a great little chassis and it offered plenty of features and style for such a small amount of money, making Sharkoon one of my favourite budget chassis manufacturers. So the REX 8 Value is a welcomed addition to my review schedule and I’m really looking forward to seeing if this chassis matches or even betters the quality that we saw in the last Sharkoon review.

Sharkoon aren’t the best known brand here in the UK but they have been around since 2002 and their popularity is slowly on the increase. There is a big market for PC chassis’ and it seems each year more and more people are looking to build their own systems, not forgetting the upgrade culture that surrounds the PC market as a whole.

“Our goal is the continued growth and expansion of our expertise, to be demonstrated in the establishment and development of successful and sustainable business relationships with our customers and partners. Some of our biggest strengths are our flexibility and rapid response capabilities and the ability to react to future market and technology trends. We offer our customers a comprehensive range of PC components. We strive to always offer unique and unrivalled products.” – Sharkoon

I’ll be looking for one important factor with the Rex 8 Value and that thing is right in its own product name “value”. Given that this is obviously marketed to be a contender for mid-range consumers, who want all the features but not the big price tag, I really want to see if we can find a strong balance of price vs performance here today.

The Rex 8 comes nicely bundled with a selection of screws, stand-offs, cable ties and washers that will provide you with everything you need to install your components, as well as a handy stand-off install tool, motherboard speaker and a 5.25″ drive adaptor bracket.