Gigabyte GeForce GTX 960 2GB ITX Graphics Card Review

Introduction and A Closer Look


The GeForce GTX 960 has been with us for a few months now, it has established itself as the ‘go-to’ graphics card for under $200. With the amount of power graphical power it produces at this price point, it has really been taken on by the mid-range enthusiast market and as such, NVIDIA allowed manufacturers to release an ITX version, much like the NVIDIA GTX 970 before it. This new form factor is set to take the Small Form Factor (SFF) a light. Well under the typical MSRP of the rest of the GTX 960 range, the ITX models. The push for the GTX 960 was to move stagnant gamers from their aging technology. The data was collected from a Steam survey; results showing the typical powered graphics card around a GTX 660 or lower.

Today we have Gigabyte’s offering into the ITX GTX 960 market, the Gigabyte Geforce GTX 960 2GB ‘ITX Edition’ OC; that’s a bit of a mouthful, so for the rest of the article, I will refer to it as GTX 960 ITX. The reason for the ‘ITX’ label is the entire length of the card is only 17cm, which is the length of an ITX motherboard. The card features all of the typical GTX 900 series features, but due to the decreased size, the flex display has been removed due to fewer output ports. Performance wise, it has two overclocked settings; OC and Gamer. The gamer has the highest overclock at around 8% over stock, but leaves the memory clock at the standard 7010MHz. It features the same 120W TDP and 128 Bit bus interface as the standard GTX 960, so let’s see if the increased clock speeds is enough to prove this ITX size card has what it takes to compete.

The packaging follows the same design as the other Gigabyte VGA boxes, plain and simple with just the key features.

Inside the box, we find a Molex to PCIe 6 pin cable, manual and driver disk.

The card is very plain, a very similar design to the GTX 970 ITX Edition. It features the newly implemented Windforce 92mm fan with increased air flow and silence.

Along the bottom of the card is nothing interesting; the PCIe interface and the side of the cooling shroud.

At the end of the card, we see the heatsink sticking out with open-ended fins for the hot air to be expelled.

Looking down onto the top of the card, still a very boring looking card, but you do get a look at those massive copper cooling pipes.

To keep the cost down, Gigabyte didn’t incorporate a backplate on this graphics card.

The outputs offered is very wide for a card this size, 1x HDMI, 2x DVI and 1x DisplayPort. This means there aren’t enough ports to carry out FlexDisplay.

 

Diamond DS3900V2 UltraDock Docking Station Review

Introduction


It doesn’t matter if you got the new Apple Macbook with just one USB port or any other system, you always have too few, especially on your portable computers. The Diamond DS3900 Ultra Dock Dual Video USB 3.0/2.0 docking station enables multiple USB devices, monitors, and a network to be connected to the computer using a single USB3.0 cable. It doesn’t matter if you want to connect to your large screen displays, stereo speakers, external hard drive, optical disk drive, printer, USB keyboard, mouse or any other USB devices, the DS3900 has it covered.

Any laptop, Ultrabook, MacBook, just as well as any other PC, can connect to the Diamond DS3900 Ultra Dock docking station, eliminating the need to plug in all USB peripherals and external monitor every time you come into the office or go back home. Just plug in the one USB 3.0 cable from the docking station to any USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 port on the laptop and your displays and accessories will be activated in seconds.

Most laptop manufacturers also build some sort of docking station for their systems, but they usually come with a pretty hefty price as well as being limited for use with specific models. Not so with Diamond’s universal solution. One of the big advantages of having a docking station at home, is that you don’t need to connect every single cable when you get home, a single one will do the trick and all your hardware is hooked up. Even audio is covered.

The single USB 3.0 uplink provides two USB 3.0 ports where one of them supports quick charge (BC1/2 battery charging function) for iPad and iPhones. Further, it has four USB 2.0 ports as well as an IEEE 802.3, 802.3u, and 802.3ab compatible RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port with full support for IPv4 and IPv6, full-duplex, and flow control. Just like it should be.

On the video side of things, the DS3900 is using a DisplayLink DL-3900 chipset and it supports 1080p HDMI and DVI dual digital video output. Extend or mirror your display onto another monitor or set an external connected monitor as your default one, you won’t notice any difference between the use of this docking station and a native connection. It supports High Resolution up to 2048 x 1152 and the entire unit is DisplayLink certified. Audio connections shouldn’t be left out, and they aren’t. It has two 3.5mm stereo jacks for audio output and microphone input.

The Diamond docking station measures 234 x 86 x 33 mm and weighs just 450 grams, light enough to make it portable as well. It does require Windows 7 Mac OS X, and newer versions to work, 1GB of memory, a 1.2GHz or faster SSE2 supporting CPU and 30MB free space for the installation and 10MB hard disk space for the drivers.

Besides the large rubber foot underneath the docking station, it also features a vertical stand for different optics and a smaller footprint. The metal foot is heavy enough to give the station a sturdy stand, even when heavy cables are connected to it. The rubber foot can be slid off and then you just hang the station onto the stand. Very simple and it looks awesome.

Diamond created a what looks to be a solid docking station, one where you only need to connect one cable to your system and in return you get full connectivity including dual display, audio, network, and USB 3.0 speed.

The package includes everything that you need, including a DVI to VGA adapter, power supply, vertical stand, USB cable, manuals, and driver disk.

Diamond USB 3.0 to Multi Display Adapter Review

Introduction


There’s no doubt in my mind that if you’re using a computer, you’re using a display of some sorts; a PC isn’t much use without one. Having a single display is fine for most people, it’s more than enough for working, gaming and whatever else you need. However, what if you need to expand your display setup even further? There are other display outputs on your GPU, or at least most graphics cards have more than one output. However, what if you find yourself in a situation where you have no more outputs available? If you have 1-3 displays setup for your system, or you run your spare output to a bigscreen TV or projector, you’ve got no room left to add another display to your setup, without adding another video card into the mix.

Of course, the real market for this device is for notebooks and tablets with a single display output. Most ultrabooks only have a single display output, if they have one at all! So being able to have a cost-effective connectivity solution could be a great solution for expanding your workspace.

The Diamond USB 3.0 to DVI/HDMI/VGA does exactly what it says on the box, it allows you to turn a USB 3.0 port into a video output, giving you as many more display ports as you could need, at a significantly lower price point than adding an extra dedicated GPU. Of course, there are some shortfalls to this, such as the solution may not be ideal for gaming, but for work and content creation, it could be the flexible solution you need.

Specifications and features

Product weight 0.10 lbs.
Package weight 0.65 lbs.
Product Dimensions 3.2(L) x 1.9(W) x 1.0(H) Inches
Package Dimensions 8.6 x 6.4 x 2.1 Inches

Connectors

DVI (Native)
DVI to HDMI (with included adapter)
DVI to VGA (with included adapter)
USB 3.0 Micro

Chipset

DisplayLink DL-3500

Number of Displays Supported

1 per BVU3500 adapter

Max resolution

2048 x 1152 and 1080P

HDCP

Yes, Protected video playback HDCP 2.0

In the box, you will find a USB 3.0 cable, the USB to DVI adaptor, a DVI to VGA adaptor and a DVI to HDMI adaptor; virtually any monitor you can think of should be able to connect with ease.

The main unit is simple enough, with the USB connection on the end and a small LED indicator on the top.

The DVI port is self-explanatory and what is nice to see is that all the connectors are gold-plated, so they should last a lot longer without corroding.

On the underside, you’ll find a small sticker with the product model number (UGA250000S REV.A) and four small screws should you need to open the device for repairs, which is very unlikely.

Both of the connectors are of a very high quality and come with metal thumbscrew fittings to ensure your cables don’t drop out; with the exception of HDMI, which is a self-supporting cable.

The HDMI connector may not screw into place, but the mount does swivel and twist, which should further ensure that your cable doesn’t get pulled from its fitting.

Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X 8GB CrossFireX 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 have a pair of Sapphire’s amazing R9 290x 8GB Tri-x edition graphics cards to combine together for some CrossFireX action. The dedicated review for this graphics card can be found here. When striving for the best results, it is favourable to test 2 of the same models to allow for no variation in any clock speeds or variations in any integrated components, so today we should see some excellent results.

In the dedicated review, this graphics card has more than enough power to play most games at 4K resolution at 60FPS, faltering slightly in the more demanding Metro Last Light.

We inserted both graphics cards onto our Core i7 5820K and X99-based test system, ensuring adequate spacing for optimum cooling and that both have access to sufficient PCI-e bandwidth for CrossFire operation.

The typical ‘hot spot’ when arranging a CrossFire or SLI configuration is the closest graphics card to the processor, due to both of these cards being equipped with the Tri-x cooler, positioning isn’t an issue.

As these graphics cards have been subject to Sapphires treatment, they have slightly higher clock speeds than a reference model, but as these are both the same cards, there should be little to no variation in clock speeds; this will result in maximum gains during testing.  

Microsoft Launches MS-DOS App for Mobile Devices

Microsoft is going old-school this April Fools’ Day has launched an MS-DOS app for mobile. The app appears to be just like the real thing, having to navigate around by typing DIR in order to list available apps and using CD to enter directories.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irJQDGw8Ptk

If you navigate to the programs folder, you can see a camera.exe app that lets you take an ASCII or CGA selfie and you can even find a Rock Paper Scissors game, taking you back to the Sound Blaster sound card days and CGA,EGA and VGA display settings with the help of Cortana.

Also, by typing WIN you can enter Microsoft’s first Windows platform, Windows 3.1. For those interested in trying out the app, you can download it for free from the Windows Phone store here.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information

NVIDIA Show The Future of Gaming on TITAN X

GTC 2015: While Jen-Hsun Huang was talking about how powerful the new TITAN X graphics card is, numbers and figures are sometimes not enough for most consumers, and instead they need to see something to tug on their emotions and Jen-Hsun didn’t disappoint one bit.

We all know that EPIC is a huge partner for NVIDIA and to show how they have been working together, a brief real-time video was shown running on the new TITAN X graphics card and we have to admit, it looks pretty damn impressive.

The complete video is below, but if you scroll through to around just before 4 minutes, you’ll see what we’re talking about. Enjoy!

NVIDIA Discuss the Rise of Deep Learning

GTC 2015: For the most part, GTC has already been a huge event for NVIDIA with the unveiling of the new TITAN X graphics card to the market but while this is great for the average consumer, NVIDIA have a lot more to offer than just their GeForce segment and one aspect of this is deep learning, and actually is a segment from within their company that crosses over into GeForce and other more industrial sectors that NVIDIA have to offer.

Jen-Hsun Huang (CEO and co-founder of NVIDIA) took to the stage at NVIDIA GTC 2015 to talk through the theme of the event this year and deep learning was at the core.

You can see part 1 of the video here:

As you can see from the video, Jen-Hsun went through the various milestones of the company last year including GeForce, Shield, Tegra, enterprise graphics and of course what NVIDIA are doing from within the car industry.

A big highlight was what the new TITAN X GPU can do in comparison to other offerings on the market. A comparison of a 16-core Xeon CPU, original TITAN, TITAN Black and the newest TITAN X were shown training AlexNet and while the TITAN and TITAN Black managed to improve on what the Xeon CPU could do by cutting down the time it takes to train AlexNet, the new TITAN X dramatically improved even on that. This sees the AlexNet training take just 3 days opposed to the 43 days that the Xeon takes showing that NVIDIA are focussing on more than just gaming.

NVIDIA GTX Titan X Review Roundup

Here we are at NVIDIA’s GTC event in San Jose, California and with the buzz surrounding Titan X in the air, we thought that even though we haven’t got our review sample in our hands as of yet, it would be a good idea to bring you a collective list of reviews from some of our friends from within the industry.

This is a comprehensive list of sites that we know and trust the writers from within our small industry, so we invite you to check out their reviews and in the mean time, we will keep you up-to-date with our sample on our social media pages, so expect us to have a full review in the coming week ahead.

Remember to check back when we will have our very own review of the new NVIDIA Titan X 12GB graphics card soon!

NVIDIA TITAN X Officially Unveiled

GTC 2015: If you’ve been under a rock for a while, then you’ve missed out on something huge happening within the market and for the most part we’re probably sure that you’ve heard about the new NVIDIA GTX TITAN X launching in some capacity or another.

If we cast our minds back only a short while to GDC, you’ll remember that NVIDIA unveiled the TITAN X graphics card, but while a lot was said about the card, there were still so many unanswered questions, including pricing, availability and much more.

Scroll forward to the present day, and CEO and owner Jen-Hsun answered these questions and officially introduced the TITAN X graphics card at this years GTC 2015 event. While he took to the stage, a promotional video was played showing us the new card in all of its glory, but one of the main speculative questions on everyone’s lips came down to pricing.

Some were basing pricing off of the TITAN Z that launched at last GTC in 2014, expecting the new TITAN X to be at least $2000, but with a shock moment and a stunned audience, the pricing of $999 came to light.

While $999 is considered ridiculously expensive by some, you have to remember that this is the world’s fastest GPU on the market with 8 billion transistors, 3072 CUDA cores, and a whopping 12GB of memory. This card allows 4K high quality gaming to be an easy task with room to spare and something that we are definitely looking forward to testing out.

New 34″ Ultra-Wide Display Released by Philips Featuring MHL-Capable HDMI

Philips has just added a new 34″ ultra-wide display to their range of products. The new display product code is BDM3470UP and it looks perfect for anyone who is looking for a display to work with in applications that require a big landscape-mode solution.

Brief specs can be seen below:

  • 3440 x 1440 pixel resolution
  • 5ms G2G response time
  • 60Hz refresh rate
  • 1000:1 contrast ratio
  • 320 cd/m2 brightness
  • 178/178 viewing angles
  • 1.07b colour depth
  • W-LED backlight offering sRGB gamut

The BDM3470UP screen also features Philips’ SmartUniformity mode, using dedicated metrics to assess colour accuracy and deliver at least 95% average luminance uniformity. In terms of connectivity, the display comes with MHL-capable HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI and VGA display ports, as well as 2 x USB 2.0 and 2 x USB 3.0 ports.

The 34″ display also features 2 x 3W stereo speakers and PiP / PbP support and allows the user to tilt, height, swivel and rotate as per preference. Philips is said to be selling the BDM3470UP at a price of €799.

Thank you Guru3D for providing us with this information

ADR1FT First Look Trailer Revealed at VGA

ADR1FT, the unique first person game from the developers at threeonezero and 505 Games, has just had its first look trailer revealed at the Video Game Awards (VGA).

The First Person Experience (FPX) is interesting because it’ll be coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, but with full support for the Oculus Rift on the latter.

The game tells the story of an astronaut in peril, floating amongst the wreckage of a destroyed space station with no memory and a damaged suit. The struggle to survive is difficult and you must find resources and answers among the wreckage in the hope you can make your way home.

Thank you ADR1FT for providing us with this information.

Samsung Uncovers Curved 27-Inch Monitor

Samsung have revealed details of their new 1080p curved monitor; which is geared towards a more immerse entertainment experience. The 27-inch Samsung S27D590CS is aimed at gamers and heavy video-watchers where the curved screen is meant to create a more subtle 3D effect with a greater sense of depth and wider field of view.

The monitor has a wide 178-degree viewing angle and a 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution. The grey-to-grey response time is 4 ms and the screen has a refresh rate of 60 Hz. It has plenty of connection options with VGA D-sub, HDMI and DisplayPort. Besides a set of 5 watts dual speaker the monitor also has pass-through for headphones.

The monitor has a sleek design with a metallic silver stand and the thin black bezel; it doesn’t have many ergonomic options or abilities, but it can be tilted up and down from -2 to +20 degrees and it also supports 100 mm VESA wall mounts. I believe the size to be very fitting for a curved display, as the larger screens the effect is barely noticeable due to the width and on phones it’s more of a gimmick than anything else.

In theory at least, the curved design should allow for a smother view to the corners of the screen, as your eyes don’t need to refocus for the change in distance. This factor will be heavily increased when running multi-monitor setups, giving you a smooth view all the way to your peripheral vision.

The monitor has a MSRP of $430 and will go on sale in the US on October 1st. As for the rest of the world, your guess is a good as mine. While the specification don’t impress too much when looking at the price, you have to consider the fact that curved monitors still are a niche market; a premium has to be expected, but does it offer enough to convince you?

Thank you Samsung for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Samsung

AMD Tease Something New?

This past week has certainly been a bit of a tough one for the red team as Nvidia took over the web with news, leaks, coverage and of course; the official unveiling of the GTX 900 series graphics cards. If you’re unsure on how they perform, it’s worth checking out our reviews here:

Even some heart-felt news took the web by storm when Nvidia gave a shiny new GTX 980 graphics card was given to an eager gamer who waited in line for the GAME24 event in Stockholm, Sweden as seen here.

While this is all great news and some amazing PR for the green team, AMD were brushed to the side while Nvidia held the spotlight, but it seems that AMD have something up their sleeve destined for 25th September 2014 as depicted in the above and below images.

After some investigations, it seems that only AMD India are the ones promoting it from first observation, but we can’t see this being something new for their market solely, so hopefully we see some more pushed to social media on a global level, but only time will tell.

What do you think AMD have up their sleeve? More APUs? Higher core CPUs or maybe the rumoured R9 390X graphics card that we’ve already reported on here and here? Who knows, but for now, we will just have to sit and wait.

Images courtesy of Twitter

 

Aerocool Launches DS 200 Midi Tower With Special Insulation and Built-In Fan Controller

Aerocool has launched a new addition to its Dead Silence chassis series, the DS 200, sporting a variety of features, such as having both side-panels equipped with special insulation mats in order to reduce the noise inside the PC. In addition to the latter, the DS 200 also features an integrated fan controller as well as 0.8 mm SECC material.

The company distinguishes the DS series from the rest of the products by granting a variety of color options, having the DS 200 coming in six colors: classy black, black/white, red, orange, blue and green. It is said that all chassis options equipped with a special top-cover which can be removed and replaced by a mesh-style cover in order to boost the airflow capacity. Aerocool even offers an optional side panel window for customers who would like to show off their build.

The built-in fan controller is another interesting feature, having it be located on the topside of the chassis. It is said to support a total of 25W shared by three channels, having the fans be controlled simultaneously. The fan controller is said to have three speed options, namely low, medium and high, while also boasting the capability of stopping a fan channel when needed. The temperature is said to be displayed on the large round display, having to choose from seven color options for the display illumination. Lastly, the I/O panel is said to feature two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, and HD audio and a microphone connector.

On the inside, the DS 200 is said to have enough space for even the latest hardware components, a tool-free rack for both optical and disk drives and support for the ATX, Micro-ATX and Mini-ATX. The company states that up to five 3.5″ HDDs or seven 2.5″ HDDs/SSDs can be mounted inside the case, as well as VGA cards with a length of up to 29 cm (41 cm if removing the center 3.5″ cage). When it comes to cooling, the DS 200 is said to offer support for both air and water cooling solutions, having room for big CPU cooler with a length of 17 cm as well as several pass-through openings with rubber protection located in the mainboard tray. Aerocool states that 240 or 280 mm water-cooling solutions can be mounted in the front or the top of the DS 200, having enough room for even a PSU of 22 cm in length.

In terms of noise output, the DS 200 is said to have both side panels insulated with mats, while having all the 2.5″ and 3.5″ bays as well as the PSU equipped with anti-vibration shock-proof rubber. In addition to the latter, two silent case fans are pre-equipped and ready to provide steady airflow out of the box. Aerocool has stated to also introduce the “Lite Edition” option, which includes the DS 200 with standard non-insulated side panels and comes without the center 3.5″ cage and auto-eject front-panel.

When it comes to prices, Aerocool is said to offer the entry-level DS 200 Lite Black Edition at a price of $120.90, the Black Edition at $158.90, while the Red, Orange, Black/White, Blue and Green Editions are said to all come at the same $163.90 price tag. Additionally, the DS 200 Window Panels are said to be sold separately, having a price tag of $13.00.

Images courtesy of Aerocool

HannsG Rolls Out Its New HS Monitor Series Featuring IPS Panel Technology

HannsG has announced its new HS series of affordable monitors, featuring IPS panel technology. The new HS series comes in screen sizes of 21.5″, 24″ and 27″, bearing the HS221HPB, HS241HPB and respectively HS271HPB serial numbers.

The HS series are said to be LED monitors with ultra-wide viewing angles of 178-degrees, featuring IPS panel technology and full HD resolutions. HannsG is said to also include its ACTIVE contrast ratio of 80,000,000:1, which along with the 250 cd/m2 and 1000:1 contrast ration is said to deliver the very best visual display experience.

The IPS technology, HannsG promises consistent, accurate colour from all viewing angles without any blur, as well as stable response times of 5 ms and super fast data processing. This is said to help users experience the best viewing experience, perfect for heavy graphic applications and gaming.

In terms of connectivity, the HS series come with one HDMI 1.4, one VGA and one DVI-D connectivity solutions. HannsG is said to have included the Multi-Video Modes technology, which enables quick selection of optimal picture settings for difference activities, such as Movie, Game, PC and Eco, along with built-in speakers to complete the Audio-Video package.

Other specifications include a 3 year warranty, an Energy Start 6 certification for all HS series monitors and Anti-Glare technology on the panel surface. HannsG is said to have made the 27″ currently available in stores, while the 21.5″ and 24″ monitors are said to follow shortly.

The company has also released a recommended price for the HS series monitors, having the 21.5″ HS221HPB priced at £94.99, the 24″ HS241HPB at £119.99 and the 27″ HS271HPB at £179.99.

AOC Launch New IPS Panels Featuring ONKYO Audio

It’s safe to say that the built-in speakers that we get in many of todays monitors are not exactly what I would call outstanding. Generally they are ideal for the system audio output that we get in say Skype, Windows and other various applications, however if you’re thinking about watching a film or listen to music through them, you really are better off either using headphones or simply getting a proper powered speaker system.

Whilst there have been one or two panels that have cropped up over the last few years that boast better audio, they have not really been all round performers with less attention to detail going into the visual performance than we would typically see. As one of the leading monitor manufacturers in today’s market, AOC have announced the arrival of two new 23.8″ IPS panels which have been paired up with a set of ONKYO speakers in the base to give a far richer audio experience.

The two monitors, which are virtually identical to each other feature LED backlit IPS panels sporting full HD 1920 x 1080 resolutions with a 5ms response time, VGA and two HDMI inputs (one with MHL support) and two 7W speakers from ONKYO. The difference between the i2473Pwm panel with an MSRP of around £159 and the premium i2473Pwy at around £189 is the addition of Miracast wireless capabilities, allowing users to connect their mobile devices to the display and stream content directly from their phone or tablet without the need for any wires.

Both panels are available to purchase now, with the aim of bringing clearer and more defined audio to the monitor market.

Source: Press Release

Gigabyte Aorus X7 High-end Gaming Notebook Preview

It appears that “Aorus” is in fact Gigabyte’s new line of gaming notebooks, much like Alienware is to Dell. Therefore, Aorus is a sub-brand of Gigabyte with high-end gaming notebooks under its belt. And the best thing is that the Aorus X7 gaming notebook will debut at CES 2014.

Gigabyte will showcase the whole line of Aorus gaming notebooks at CES 2014 in January. The notebook in spotlight today is the Aorus X7, it is powered by 4th generation Intel Core i7 Haswell processor and NVIDIA GTX 700 series graphics. There is not much reveal in-terms of specifications except for that it houses a 17-inch display and some shots of its exterior. The notebook has a simple yet attractive design, with Aorus logo at the top.

According to the pictures, Aorus X7 comes with VGA, 2 x HDMI and one mini DisplayPorts along with one SD card slot and USB 3.0 ports for external storage. Standard audio jacks plus a full-size keyboards makes up the Auros X7. Benchmarks and details of the notebook will be revealed at CES in January.

Auros X7 sure looks powerful but at the same time quite bulky but its normal for a gaming with a few exceptions of course. Razer’s Blade and MSI’s GT70 are two very powerful yet slim notebooks but if Gigabyte’s Aorus X7 houses SLI NVIDIA graphics with super fast SSDs in RAID then the thickness can be ignored. For more details stay tuned since CES 2014 is just 8 days away.

Thank you Chip Loco for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of VR-Zone via Chip Loco

AOC Q2963PM 29″ UWHD AH-IPS Monitor Review

Introduction


Over the last few years, we have been [in general] demanding higher and higher resolutions from our monitors, and before we even think about using a multi-screen setup – the most common resolution of choice has to be 1920×1080. Over the last year or so, we have been seeing a slow transition over to the 2560×1600 bandwagon as some users opt for bigger 27″+ panels. The problem with these through is that the cost is far greater than a 1920×1080 panel so having a pair of 22″ or 24″ panels is not uncommon – it gives a balance between the desktop space and cost that many people look for.

In a bid to give users the best option of desktop space and display aspect ratio, the 2560×1080 resolution has slowly been cropping up within the market place and in effect it is an ideal alternative for anyone that is looking at a dual 1920×1080 screen setup. The super-wide aspect of this 29″ monitor gives a single desktop space to work within, however when we move over to the gaming side of things, the extra pixels allow for a wider peripheral vision without the distraction of a bezel right in the middle of your view.

AOC’s super-wide monitor is just one of the few to now offer the new resolution, but it doesn’t just give more pixels; it also has one of the best panels on the market to show the image as well. The AH-IPS (Advanced High-Performance In Plane Switching) panel that AOC have chosen produces a mixture of supreme colour accuracy, high pixel density and a high level of brightness, oh and let’s not forget that it has a superb viewing angle as well. All the ingredients are there for certain, but does having a 21:9 aspect monitor really make that much of a difference?

Before we even get a chance to delve inside the box, AOC are keen to show off the screens super-wide aspect ratio and its ability to house multiple windows with ease. The blue box also has a row of the panels highlighted features laid out along the lower edge with a front and back view of the monitor found to the right.

Taking everything out of the box, we find the monitor in two parts and alongside a two-part DC power adaptor we also have a VGA display cable, HDMI cable, 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable, a cable tie, rubber feet and a CD containing a set of display drivers and AOC’s accompanying software for this panel.

GIGABYTE Launches the Z87X-SLI, A Low-Cost Gamer Oriented Motherboard

GIGABYTE has announced a new motherboard supporting the LGA1150 socket for Haswell CPUs, the Z87X-SLI. What makes this motherboard different from all the other gaming-oriented motherboards is that GIGABYTE is targeting gamers who just want to play games and not overclock their gear. The Z87X-SLI comes with all the basic necessities with the addition of SLI support, stripping all the extras and making the motherboard more affordable than the rest.

GIGABYTE has only equipped the Z87X-SLI with six SATA III ports, six USB 3.0 ports along with HDMI (with support of 4K resolution @ 24 Hz), DVI and VGA for display output. To keep the cost down, GIGABYTE has attached the Realtek ALC892 audio codec and Realtek gigabit Ethernet LAN. In terms of expansion slots, it comes with one PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, one PCIe 3.0 x8 slot, three PCIe x1 slots and two legacy PCI slots. In case of SLI, both the PCIe slots will shift to x8/x8 mode.

Looking at the Haswell LGA1150 socket, we see that GIGABYTE has gold-plated it to add better conductibility between the motherboard and CPU (and it also looks good either way). In terms of RAM, the Z87X-SLI provides 4 sockets and a 32 GB of maximum DDR3 RAM support with speeds of up to 3000 MHz O.C. GIGABYTE included a Hardware Monitoring feature as well, having support for System voltage detection, CPU/System temperature detection, fan speed detection, overheating warning, fan fail warning and fan speed control.

The GIGABYTE Z87X-SLI will soon be available in stores for £95 (inc VAT) or $130 in US. Though GIGABYTE is targeting the mid-low budget market, there are quite a lot of motherboards in this price range which are equivalent or more performance-oriented than the Z87X-SLI.

Thank you Chip Loco and GIGABYTE for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of GIGABYTE

AOC Unveils New Budget Friendly 24″ White LED Monitor

We all love a good bargain and AOC look set to strike that much loved balance of value and performance with their new e2451Fh monitor. With a sleek white exterior there is no doubt that this is one sexy looking monitor that wouldn’t look out of place on many desks. The a classy white finish is topped off nicely with a detachable stand. The Full HD panel utilises the latest in LED-backlit LCD technology to match a stunning picture performance to its excellent looks, and  a pixel response time of two milliseconds makes it a prime choice for gaming.

AOC decks out the latest model from its Style Line 51 series with a state-of-the-art TN panel. Delivering a luminosity of 250 cd/m², a native contrast of 1000:1 and a response time of only 2 ms, the e2451Fh provides brilliant images without blurs or ghosting effects. Suited for office applications, multimedia and gaming alike, this Full HD all-rounder is the perfect choice for all those who seek extraordinary picture quality combined with an attractive design.

This 24″ monitor receives video signals via its analogue VGA port as well as digitally over DVI-D or HDMI. A 3.5 mm output can be used to loop sounds to an external audio set-up. The tiltable monitor also comes with a number of practical software: While “e-Saver” and “Eco Mode” use intelligent picture modes to further decrease energy consumption, i-Menu allows for the monitor settings to be conveniently changed with the mouse in addition to the touch keys on the monitor bezel. “Screen+” is a program that divides the large 16:9 screen into different panes, which are accessible through keyboard shortcuts.

The e2451Fh fulfils numerous demanding sustainability certificates such as EPEAT Silver, TCO 6.0 and Energy Star 6.0, also thanks to its sophisticated LED backlights with their power consumption of a mere 25 W. As for all monitors, AOC offers a 3-year warranty for its Style Line model. The e2451Fh will be available as of December 2013, the MSRP will be 139.99 GBP.

Thank you AOC for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of AOC.

What Games Would you Like us to Benchmark in our Graphics Card Reviews?

As you know, eTeknix are always the first to have newly released graphics card reviews from both AMD and Nvidia and every so often we find ourselves updating our suite of games and applications to cater for the latest technologies, and to bring the latest games to our readers. Now the biggest problem with choosing games is making it as fair as possible, as some games (Dirt Showdown) are geared towards AMD, while others (Batman) is geared towards Nvidia, and obviously we want our tests to be clear cut and to give both GPU manufacturers the best chance to shine.

This is why we’ve sat down and got hold of some new games, and decided to bring the choice to our readers with the poll below. So if you’d be so kind, please cast your vote below as to what 7 games you’d like us to benchmark in our graphics card reviews, and by all means, comment below regarding your choices, but for the most part remember that some games do have issues benchmarking such as Hitman Absolution and occasionally Dirt Showdown.

[poll id=”15″]

Many thanks for assisting eTeknix on this.

Philips 242G5 144Hz LCD Gaming Monitor Review

Introduction


Over the last few months, monitors that are built for gaming have been cropping up within the marketplace and at last people can get a panel that compliments their high performance gaming system, delivering better image quality and faster refresh rates with a typical 144Hz refresh rate. The refresh rate is the key part to what sets this new type of panel apart from the rest of the crowd. As I’ve highlighted before, it’s all and well having a GPU that can pump out in the region of 100fps, but if your monitor is only running at 60Hz as the vast majority do, then it can only show a maximum of 60 frames per second itself. As a result there are frames that have been rendered effectively going to waste and it may be one of those frames that could make a crucial difference to the outcome of a tournament for example.

This is where the new 144Hz standard comes into play. With this higher refresh rate, the panel is able to display up to 144 frames per second. This means that not only are those extra frames not going to waste, but the image will appear to be much smoother and fluid in motion as scenes are displayed.

Recently I took a look at one of these new 144Hz panels from AOC, namely the G2460PQU and on the whole I was impressed with the quality of the build and the feature set on offer, but most importantly, the difference that the faster refresh rate made to not only game play but also during day-to-day usage.

Philips as some may or may not know is related to AOC through a parent company known as TPV. Whilst the two rand names run side by side, it is worth noting that some aspects of the monitors from each brand may appear to be the same, but on the whole they are run as two completely separate brands within the market place.

Philips ship the monitor in is probably one of the biggest boxes that I’ve seen for a screen of this size. The box is wrapped in a bold space styled scene with an image of the screen itself and along the lower edge are a set of smaller images highlighting certain aspects of the screen.

With everything taken out of the box, it’s immediately apparent why the box is so thick. Where most screens come with the base plate completely separate from the rest of the stand, the 242G5’s stank is one complete unit and as a result the dimensions of the box are increased. Alongside the stand and the LCD panel, there are a set of manuals and an information and driver CD, IEC power cable, USB3.0 cable, two display cables (VGA and DL-DVI) and finally an OSD remote control pad.

HannsG Announces The Company’s First Touch Screen Monitor

HannsG has today announced its first Touch Screen monitor. Having price tag of only £199.99, the 23″ HT231HPB is set to turn the futuristic touch screen computing experience into reality for everyone. The new monitor which boasts advanced 10-Point touch control is certified to work with Windows 8 and is launched to coincide nicely with the release of Windows 8.1.

To be noted is that the HT231HPB offers the ultimate touch experience with highly responsive 10 point touch control technology to navigate the Windows 8 operating system with ease. This enables users to fully appreciate finger tip screen control at its best promising no lag, better accuracy and zoom capabilities.

The perfect host for demanding HD multimedia content, the HT231HPB boasts Full HD credentials with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, and features HannsG’s proprietary active contrast technology delivering clarity and true colour with an 80,000,000:1 contrast ratio. In addition, the HT231HPB has a full connectivity line up including HDMI, DVI and VGA on board and has built-in stereo speakers as standard.

Part of the HannStar Display Corporation one of the largest glass panel manufacturers in the world and HannsTouch the third largest touch technology manufacturer in the world, HannsG benefits from a rich heritage and world class, technological AV prowess. Consequently the new HT231HPB boasts advanced proprietary touch control technologies which deliver the very best user experience and an industry leading glass panel for the ultimate visual display. It also enables HannsG to confidently offer customers an industry leading 3 year warranty.

For those who would like to acquire a 23″ HannsG HW246HPB display can do it from Ingram Micro, Micro-P, and Midwich. There is also a bigger model in the works, a 27″ Touch Screen model, but no official confirmation of its release date has been made available. More information about the HW246HPB model can be found here.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Hannspree.

AOC G2460PQU 24″ 144Hz WLED Gaming Monitor Review

Introduction


As we have seen recently, there are a huge number of components that make up any system setup and unfortunately there is one key component that many people fail to put any attention to, thus making that gloriously expensive graphics card not give as good as it can. This of course is the monitor that we spend every minute looking at whilst using the system for whatever the task may be – whether it be office work, watching a film, image editing or even gaming. What these panels do for each task has a major impact on our user experience as a whole. If the image that we see is not crisp and defined with a great balance of colour, brightness and vibrancy, in the long run there is the chance of the poor image having an effect on the eyes or in the mind of a gamer, this can have a detrimental effect on the outcome of a game.

On the market there are so many generic ‘all-round’ performing monitors that are designed to perform for any task with reasonably good results, but nothing special. As we have seen recently though, there are many panels as well that are built for a specific user group in mind and this was a prime case when I looked at the ProArt PA249Q from Asus not too long ago. This panel is optimised for professional users who perform tasks such as image and video editing, where the need for precise colours and a definitively sharp display is fundamentally important.

Across many users, there is one task as such that many people carry out and this is where many people spend hundreds, if not thousands of pounds getting the best system they can. This of course is gaming. As highlighted in my ProArt review, its quite a sad sight so see when someone has spent hundreds of pounds on the latest and greatest graphics card, only to have a cheap, generic TFT panel connected up to it that can only give a mediocre / average image that consequently doesn’t do the card much justice. As a result this is where gaming orientated displays come into the playing field.

The most critical gamers on the planet are the professional team players. This select group of dedicated people strive to win and being able to see and respond to what they see with accuracy – and fast, is what can be the make or break of any match. Anyone who has seen a professional team in action will note that each and every one of them can have differing mouse and keyboard setups and this comes down to what they find is the best for them and what they are comfortable with and all the time they are looking at the best screens they can get their hands on.

AOC have been developing some of the most sought after panels for a number of months now, including the super widescreen 29″ Q2963PM with its 2560×1080 UWHD resolution and the i2369Vm IPs panel which AOC market as the IPS panel for everyone. One of the more recent focus points for the AOC development team has been the gamer. Whilst the vast majority of screens sold worldwide for offices and professionals alike will never see a game displayed upon them, we cannot forget that the world of gaming is growing ever more rapidly and the need to have the best screen for the job is too. To develop this new panel, AOC have taken their development to the people who will push them to their limits – the professional gamers. By working with this select group of users who know specifically what they are after, AOC have been able to craft a screen that has been made for gamers – by the gamers.

Like many a large number of other panels on the market, the G2460PQU comes in a brown based box with some simple monochrome styling around it to show what model is inside.

Inside there is the usual selection of cables included with the panel, including VGA and DVI display cables, a UK kettle lead, USB2.0 A-B, 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable, clip on cable tidy, a CD with the user guide and some software and last of all a copy of Shoot Mania to play.