Why You Won’t Be Seeing Many Reviews of the AMD R9 Nano!

It’s that time of the year again folks, AMD is releasing another top end graphics card that is in seriously short supply and we at eTeknix won’t be getting hold of one, at least not from AMD.

We have previously posted articles that shone a bad light on AMD, this was primarily revolving around the performance figures of the R9 Fury X graphics card. This was down to AMD figures being extremely positive, while leaked benchmarks were painting a different picture. We posted what we saw, but kept an open mind ready for our sample to make the final decision, as we would and often do with many products. In fact, you can read our reviews of the new AMD R9 Fury X, R9 Fury X Crossfire and R9 Fury here. We loved the cards, the architecture, and the new HBM which has so much potential, showing very little memory impact at 4K compared to traditional GDDR5.

The official word from AMD is that the Fiji and HBM are in short supply and every effort is being taken to land the product in the hands of the people who want it, i.e. the consumers. Don’t get me wrong, that’s all well and good, cards need to get to consumers. However, media samples are an important factor for consumers too. Most consumers looking to spend £500+ on an extremely niche graphics card will look for reviews first, find out how it compares and without a good range of reviews from multiple sites, it’s hard for a lot of consumers and our readers to build their trust in a product; it’s not like you can take one for a test drive as you would a car.

We are doing everything in our power to source a sample, but sadly we are extremely unlikely to have an article up for launch, as most tech review sites at this time. However, we’ll update you as soon as the Nano lands in our office ready for an independent review.

AMD R9 Fury X CrossfireX 12K Eyefinity Review

Introduction


Triple monitor configurations were massively useful a few years ago when the ‘new’ standard was 1080p and everyone wanted to have huge workspaces to process more information at once. While this was good back then, nowadays monitors can have up to 4x the resolution of 1080p in the form of 4K (2160p) and workers can fit a huge amount of information onto a single monitor.

How about when it comes to gaming? The surround monitors engulf you in a wealth of visual stimulation and even presents some details which you cannot normally see in a typical single monitor setup.

Last time we looked at our current top end cards, they all faired reasonably well when stacked against the mighty triple 4K configuration, but what about when we pitch the R9 Fury X crossfire duo against it? Let’s find out in today’s article.

All is not Well With the AMD Fury X

Since the launch of such a hugely anticipated card with heaps of new technology, it was expected that some were going to be faulty/ problematic at first. Since the media had their samples, some noted in the independent reviews; a noise coming from the GPU, which could be coil whine or water pump buzzing. AMD had then confirmed that this issue was only in the initial batch of media sample cards and that the consumer cards would not suffer from this fault.

Well, now it seems that is not the case at all. A new Fury X owner has received his card and seems to have the same or similar sound.Here is the with and without Fury X videos for you to hear yourselves.

Without Fury X installed:

https://youtu.be/FfminqAIl_4

With Fury X installed:

https://youtu.be/XfyQzroYnrI

It’s not totally clear what that sound is, it doesn’t seem high-pitched enough to be coil whine, but the user didn’t adjust the pump speed to rule out pump noise. If it is either of those issues, it could make what has already come across as somewhat of a flop of a launch even worse. Let us know what you think that sound is in the comment section.

UPDATE: We have reached out to AMD for an official statement, and if they respond, we will be more than happy to add it to the article to get both sides of the story.

Did AMD Troll Itself on Social Media?

In the past week or so we have heard multiple stories and sources regarding the newest line up of AMD graphic card solutions; namely the Radeon Rx 300 series and the highly anticipated R9 Fury X.

It came as a surprise for most people that this High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) touting micro card had what it takes to shake up the NVIDIA top cards; despite not actually having the rumoured power to completely dethrone the GTX 980Ti or Titan X graphics cards.

AMD’s Facebook page posts a lot of links relating to reviews about its graphics cards or processors, but as good publicity for itself; you would expect for them to only pick and post favourable reviews that shines a good light on the hardware.

As of 9am GMT yesterday (25th June), AMD had posted two reviews, one from Forbes and another from IGN. Two fairly well-known technology outlets, but AMD didn’t realise that the preview of the IGN review gave praise in the one hand, but also took the feet from under then almost immediately after.

IGN wrote “The Fury X is an outstanding GPU that runs cool and quiet, but it’s not the knockout punch to Nvidia that everyone had hoped for.” 

And just in case the post gets pulled, here’s a screenshot.

Do you think that AMD knew what it was doing by posting this article? Self-admittance that the card wasn’t as planned or maybe they just picked the best of a bad bunch? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

AMD Fury X: What We Know so Far

Sadly, due to problematic stock levels in the EU; we weren’t able to get ourselves one of the new Fiji based graphics cards. However, that isn’t going to stop us commenting on the card.

When the card was first announced, people on both AMD and NVIDIA benches sat forward, somewhat worried about what High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) could bring to the graphics market. It is a new technology, so the results could have gone either way. It promised lower power consumption, a smaller footprint, and massive bandwidth gains compared to traditional GDDR5 memory.

As time progressed, we had snippets of information released to us in the forms of charts and pictures. In one hand, the Fury range stacked up to offer outstanding performance, in the other, the results leaked looked too good to be true.

The renders that were coming in looked amazing, a short card with a AIO water cooling set up, it ticked all of the right boxes and thankfully, AMD delivered what we all wanted.

So what about actual performance? Earlier today we caught a leaked review showing that the performance was somewhere on par with the NVIDIA GTX Titan X. Now that more reviews are available, it seems that it is more on par with the NVIDIA GTX 980Ti, although the performance difference between those two cards is marginal.

Let’s take a look at what some of our friends around the world thought of the new card.

HardOCP released one of the first on time reviews and this quote really struck a cord with us here at eTeknix:

“The new AMD Fiji GPU and Fury X video card looks awesome on paper, but has underwhelmed and disappointed us when it comes to real world gameplay. The AMD Radeon R9 Fury X feels like a proof of concept for HBM technology.”

Sadly, you can provide the numbers, but if the actual performance isn’t there; it won’t work out. AMD have a tendency to provide huge numbers such as utilising a 512bit interface on the R9 290 and 290x graphics cards and still plummeting compared to what NVIDIA had to offer.

The editor at Toms Hardware wrote:

“There, sitting alongside Nvidia’s gaming champion, Radeon R9 Fury X now shares the throne. It’s not faster, it’s not cheaper and it’s certainly not any more elegant. The card is just enough to yield a bit of parity. And for the AMD faithful, that’s enough to warrant a purchase. We have to wonder if the company stopped just short of the gold, though. More speed, a lower price, some sort of game bundle—it could have gone in several directions, really, to convince enthusiasts that Fury X is the better buy.”

From reading many reviews, we know that it is not quite the Titan X killer that AMD set out to produce, it tumbles with the GTX 980Ti. However, for AMD to release a card with matching performance around the same time as NVIDIA, this be a step to a more competitive future.

Despite the overall loss against the Titan X, some review sites are still awarding the Fury X the highest possible award; do you think this is a fair representation or could another award be used in its place? Here at eTeknix, if we had the card in our hands and based off of what we’ve seen we think that the AMD Fury X would deserve an Innovation award thanks to the incorporation of High-Bandwidth Memory, but that’s about it. Check out our awards here and comment what you think would best suit.

First Look at AMD Radeon R9 Fury X Review Samples

Pictures have been released online of the all new AMD Radeon Fury X samples. A chap over at PCPop managed to find one and post some pictures. The new GPU is seen packaged in a very sturdy and fancy box with the well-known AMD logo on it. No sign of a dedicated Fury logo surprises me, there is also no sign of a logo on any of the documentation and manuals of the Fury logo.

The card itself has 4 logos printed on it, an LED one on the side, a red Radeon logo on the front, a laser etched one on the I/O ports and the final one on the fan; none of which even states Fury.

The GPU looks to be made of a nice aluminium casting, finished in a soft to touch black coating and a black gloss. The front plate is removable and AMD are stating that they expect modders to design their own plates with 3d printing systems. It won’t affect the cards functionality or cooling, as the cooling will be done by the attached water cooling loop with a radiator.

From the pictures below we can see that the cooling loop is shielded with a very nice and clean-looking braiding which then connects into a single 90mm radiator and fan. The cards official TDP is 275w but the connectors and PCI slot can give up to 375W.

And finally, the first GPU-Z screenshot of the new card:

Please note that the bandwith shown is incorrect (should be 512gb/s) but I’m sure this will be because the creator of GPU-Z needs to make a few tweaks in order to cope with the new chip.

Thank you to videocardz for providing us with this information

Things go from Bad to Worse for Reviews of AMD Radeon Fury X

AMD has been making some incredibly concerning decisions these last few weeks regarding its new product launches. First, we brought you news yesterday that review sample allocation of its upcoming R9 Fury graphics cards is non-existent, or at least that AMD has no plans to send out these cards, on the other hand the R9 Fury X will only have 10 samples for the whole of the EU region. That number may not sound too bad but when you consider the scope of this industry spans print magazines, YouTube reviewers and a wide range of enthusiast technology sites, it soon becomes apparent that 10 is barely enough to scratch the surface. Such a move is certainly not what you would expect of a flagship product – you would normally expect a large set of reviews and independent testing to entice consumers into a purchase.

eTeknix already knows it won’t be allocated a sample in the first wave and in light of recent news, it appears eTeknix likely won’t get one at all. Fellow UK publication KitGuru (Link) has spoken out this morning that AMD has withdrawn its Fury X sample over ‘negative content’ and put simply, that’s outrageous. As journalists it is integral that are able to write freely and independently, to say what we see, as we see it and share that information and informed opinion with readers. A balanced and independent approach includes both the good news and bad news and when it comes to AMD, as with any brand, eTeknix has had a fair number of positive things to say, as well as negative, but crucially there’s some balance to be found in it all.

AMD’s decision to withdraw samples for a number of websites because of negative content is, in my mind, a bullying tactic – “say nice things if you want to work with us.” Should eTeknix stop publishing independent analysis and opinion that could be beneficial to readers if that means a brand will no longer support us? eTeknix hasn’t lied to get to where it is now and it’s certainly not about to start.

eTeknix reached out to AMD for further details on sample availability, what constitutes ‘negative content’ and why they’re cutting back on events. Unfortunately, eTeknix received a very similar canned response from multiple contacts at AMD. If we didn’t know any better we’d say AMD were on damage control but, looking at recent reviews, we can’t understand why.

Below you can find the response from Senior Manager of EMEA Communications Christine Brown:

“I’m sorry to say that AMD is generally reducing the press events we host, invitee numbers for any events, sampling numbers, etc. Our decisions are based on a number of factors that I’m unable to go into. However I can only assure you that we will involve you in events and sampling when we feel it is appropriate and we are able. With regards to specific sampling of Fiji, I’m afraid our current allocation means we will not be able to sample you prior to launch. I realize this may not be the response you were hoping for but I can only reiterate that we will keep sharing information and more when we can.”

For further clarification eTeknix reached out to an additional AMD representative, Corporate VP and General Manager of EMEA for AMD Darren Grasby, and his reply was as follows:

“Thanks for getting in touch. I appreciate all the support you’ve given us both in the past and moving forward. As I think the team have explained, there are a number of factors behind the planning for our launches and unfortunately that sometimes means we’re unable to accommodate every request, as much as we’d like to. I’m sorry to say that AMD is generally reducing the press events we host, invitee numbers for any events, sampling numbers, etc. Our decisions are based on a number of factors that I’m unable to go into. However I can only assure you that we will involve you in events and sampling when we feel it is appropriate and we are able.”

These responses look uncannily similar so maybe AMD doesn’t have the time or capability to provide more honest responses to its trusted press partners or representatives have been instructed to deliver a general response. The R9 Fury and R9 Fury X appear to be impressive graphics cards so you can bet eTeknix is going to push hard to bring readers an in-depth review of this upcoming hardware, even if it involves getting samples from AMD AIB partners as eTeknix has had to do in the past.

R9 Fury Benchmark Details Have Been Leaked

With the official release of the R9 300 range today, some people are asking where the Fury graphics cards are. Cut a long story short, the official launch date for the R9 300 range is today and the Fury range is June 23rd (subject to change).

This has meant that some details of the Fury cards may slip out unintentionally, either with bad review editing by including the wrong graphs or poor scheduling. This means we get a quick glimpse at the performance of one of the Fury cards; the Fury X.

We will bring you more information as we get it.

Thank you VideoCardz for providing us with this information.

TteSports Ventus X Laser Gaming Mouse Review

Introduction


TteSports are back on eTeknix once again, this time with their latest gaming mouse, the rather unique looking Ventus X. The Ventus is tuned for gaming performance and comes with a bunch of funky features that will help you dominate in the digital battlefield of choice, but we’ll get to taking a closer look at those in a few moments.

VENTUS X – Gaming Mouse – The new generation from Tt eSPORTS’s VENTUS gaming mouse, providing enhanced modern technology and classic design that fits all gamers and bring style to gaming. The new VENTUS X was designed with a new coating that gives full comfort while in gameplay. The VENTUS X also brings about a new ergonomically tuned right handed laser gaming mouse to the VENTUS family, that will appeal to gamers who’re fans of some classic legacy styled mouse shapes and brings the new tech to them.

The Ventus X comes equipped with all the features you would expect, such as a high-quality laser sensor, a good selection of switches, macro functions and more. It also benefits from customisable weight tuning and LED lighting effects.

The box covers all the basics, such as the 5700 DPI sensor, the new and improved surface coating, 128KB internal memory and the air cooling ventilation.

In the box, you’ll find a protective pouch, some documents and the Ventus X mouse.

The Ventus comes hard-wired with a high-quality braided cable and a custom USB jack with gold-plated connector.

The mouse has been given a new coating compared with previous models. The new one looks gorgeous, it’s basically something between a glossy and a matte finish, but its hard-wearing grip surface certainly looks and feel fantastic. To further enhance your grip, the left side of the mouse has a rubberized thumb rest, so there’s little chance of you losing your grip in the heat of battle.

There’s two switches down the left side of the mouse, pretty standard stuff, but they’re obviously pretty essential for most games and day-to-day desktop navigation.

There’s not extra switches on the right, but there’s another rubber grip on the swollen ergonomic side panel. The mouse looks a little wider than most, but it feels comfortable and nimble in both palm rest and finger-tip play-styles.

The left and right mouse buttons have a deep recess and a ridge on their outer edge. This shape helps your fingers find a comfortable resting position and should help prevent your fingers slipping from the mouse.

There’s a good quality scroll wheel recessed into the mouse, with a thick and soft rubber grip coating for added control. Behind the scroll wheel, there’s a DPI toggle switch; I’d have liked to see full DPI up/down buttons, but this is still a welcome feature.

One unique aspect of this mouse is the ventilated rear section. It’s not much, but it’ll allow a little extra airflow to the palm of your hand; a welcome feature for anyone who suffers from sweaty hands while gaming.

Hidden behind the ventilation is a Tt Dragon logo, which lights up when the mouse is plugged in.

There are three huge slipmats on the base of the mouse, giving it exceptional glide on your favourite gaming surface; be that a hard or soft mat.

Tucked away behind the flip-off panel, you’ll find 3 x 4.5g weights, allowing you to better calibrate the feel and the glide of the mouse to suit your preference.

The included carry pouch is great too, especially if you want to keep it free from scratches when you throw it in your bag to take to a LAN party.

Tesla Model 3 Release Date Revealed

Elon Musk, owner of the outstanding Tesla EV company has finally announced the expected release date of the highly anticipated Model 3. During the quarterly financial conference call for Tesla, Musk finally disclosed the release date of the wallet-friendly Model 3.

According to Musk, Tesla will reveal the car sometime in March 2016. Now Tesla has to deliver here, the current Model S and the upcoming Model X are simply stunning. Exterior design is one thing, but with the Model 3 expected to be around 20% smaller than the Model S; interior designers needs to keep an eye on space..

As for the actual launch date, Musk has stated 2017 with a key emphasis on late 2017. Now Tesla has a little track record of releasing its cars a tad late, so hopefully we will see the Model 3 in early 2018 at the latest.

For you who are a bit confused with all of these ‘Models’, here’s a quick breakdown; the Model S is Tesla’s current flagship car, the Model X is a crossover vehicle and the Model 3 is Tesla’s ‘Ace’, an EV for everyone with a price of just $35,000. That might seem steep, but this is $35,000 for a proven all EV, I would have a serious consideration for one as my next car.

If the Model 3 does hold a price around $35,000, would you consider one as a future car? Do you think Tesla have waited too long to release a more budget-friendly version? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to BGR for providing us with this information.

‘Thunderstrike’ Fixed in OS X 10.10.2

‘Thunderstrike’, a vulnerability for Macs with a Thunderbolt port, will be patched in the next version of OS X Yosemite. The vulnerability allowed an attacker to swap a Mac’s boot firmware with software of their own via the Thunderbolt port. The new update, released to developers last week, fixes this issue.

The flaw was deemed to be quite significant, with potential for an attacker to pretty much take whatever they wanted from a target machine. However, there have been no examples of this exploit being implemented in the wild – most probably due to the fact it would require an attacker to have physical access to the machine.

The exploit is notable as one of the first of its kind to effect Macs, with many speculating whether the Mac platform and OS X would now be subject to more vulnerabilities like this thanks to their increased popularity.

The update, which includes the fix, should be rolled out to end users in the coming weeks, although that may be sooner considering the urgency required to fix this flaw.

Source: iMore

Kingston HyperX Fury 240GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


The SSD market today is bursting at the seams with various types of solid state drives catering for every level of budget and with varying degrees of performance including drives that are now pushing the SATA !! interface to its absolute limits along with drives which pack insane amounts of storage compared to those drives which were around only a year ago. Similarly the number of manufacturers on the market is slowly growing, but those who have been in the business for a number of years are those that stand out above the rest and this includes Crucial, OCZ, Corsair, Plextor, Sandisk and Kingston of whom we’re looking at today.

Like the SSD, the HyperX line of products has been around for some time now and when we look at their SSD line up, we are somewhat limited in choice with only one mainstream HyperX drive available – namely the HyperX 3K, which replaced the first generation HyperX, offering a better price point with good levels of performance. Even though the 3K brings a more attractive price point over the [now end of line] HyperX, it is still somewhat expensive compared to drives from a number of other brands and with the launch of the HyperX Fury product line, Kingston have come up with an even cheaper drive to open up the doors into HyperX to a larger group of users.

Designed purely to offer a lower price tag for the budget conscious buyer, the HyperX Fury SSD is built around a SandForce SF-2281 controller with Kingston’s own MLC NAND. This combination of components allows the drive to offer compressible read and write speeds of around 500MB/s and incompressible speeds of 470MB/s read and 220MB/s write. Kingston stress however that this drive is all about offering a compelling price point for an enthusiast grade drive not its out-and-out performance.

Where we find the HyperX 3K coming in a large box with drive bay adaptors, screws and manuals and this all adds up nudging the price of the drive up as well. The Fury restricts this additional cost by shipping in a slim card packet with a plastic cover holding the drive in place. Inside all we get is a 2.5mm shim for installing the drive into 9.5mm drive bays and a HyperX sticker for your notebook or gaming rig.

Tesla Release a Sporty Model 3

Tesla has recently announced they are planning a BMW Series 3 rival named the model 3.

We had heard rumors that their next release would be called the model E, but  Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk had some issues in the naming process:

“We had the model S for sedan and X for crossover SUV, then a friend asked what we were going to call the third car, so I said we had the model S and X, we might as well have the E.

We were going to call it model E for a while and then Ford sued us saying it wanted to use the Model E – I thought this is crazy, Ford’s trying to kill sex! So we’ll have to think of another name.

The new model is going to be called Model III, we’ll have three bars to represent it and it’ll be S III X!” Auto Express

This new design is will be unveiled in 2016 and set to be market-ready by 2017. We’ve also learned that it’s most likely set to be an all-new design – rather than based on Teslas other models, the Model S and Model X. As for the cars technology, that’s a task for ex-Aston Martin employee Chris Porritt.

As for specific information, the model 3 is rumoured to be 20% smaller than the Model S and is said to retail for $35,000 USD, thanks to cheaper battery technology made possible by Teslas Gigafactory. Musk also mentioned that the model 3 will have a realistic range of 200 miles, which is less than its Model S brother at 306 miles.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much more to say about the Model 3 at this stage, we’re going to have to wait until the time is closer Musk told CNET:

“We don’t have any more details to share at this point. Our focus continues to be on Model S and preparing for the introduction of Model X.”

For some images of the beast in question, check them out here.

Image courtesy of Solar Feeds

New Tesla to be Released With Gull Wing Doors – Model X

Tesla Model X reservation holders have just been informed that their brand new SUV’s will begin production in early 2015.

In the email, Tesla also confirmed the futuristic-looking gull wing door design:

“We’re pleased to confirm that the falcon wing doors will be a defining feature of this exceptional car. Not only do these doors look amazing, but they also make getting in and out of the Model X so much easier than would a conventional front-hinged door. You can even do it standing up.”

While some other car manufacturers are quite often guilty of creating outlandish designs with extra features in their concept models, then under-delivering on production models – Tesla has the history of delivering the goods on their released product. This has been shown previously with their Tesla Model S and now with their Model X’s featured gull wing doors.

Tesla went on to explain:

“We can confirm that all-wheel drive will come standard for Model X, and you’ll have the option to add a third row of seats to carry more passengers. You’ll also be able to fold down the second and third rows to create a flat platform for storage. When it comes to charging and long distance drives, Model X will be able to take full advantage of our rapidly growing Supercharger network.”

These features all make for quite an exceptional fully electric automobile.

Unfortunately there is no confirmed shipment date for the final product but Tesla confirming there will be more information released in the coming months.

For more information on Tesla and their new Model X, check out their website.

Photo courtesy of Tech Crunch

 

Breaking News: Motorola Mobility Factory In Texas Closing Down

In recent months we have been hearing news at how Motorola’s Texas factory has been seeing a slow decline in profitably, particularly since sales of the Moto X and the Moto Maker scheme have not been as strong as once perceived. Due to its location in the US, the factory has been able to offer a customisation scheme to US customers, where they can make personal alterations to their handset, including the use of different materials and specifications. Sadly though the Moto Maker scheme and the number of Moto X handsets sold in the US have not been doing that well and from a once packed manufacturing plant, the Google owned property now employs little over 700 people – a sign in itself that times are changing and the time was ticking before a major change was going to happen.

The suspicion that the site’s days were numbered was only made more certain after the word early this year got out the Lenovo were looking to take over the Motorola Mobility division from Google and considering the fact that the site is barely turning a profit, it is easy to understand why such a move would be on the cards. Even though the site’s days are effectively numbered, with the closure likely to happen at the end of this year, production of the Moto X handset will continue at two other factories in China and Taiwan; where manufacturing costs are considerably lower than in the US.

Motorola has made a statement saying that the Moto Maker service will continue to be a pre-purchase service to customers, however there are no further details on how the service will continue to run and where it will be made available.

Source: Tech Geek Forever

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.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster Collector’s Edition Detailed

Square Enix have announced a Collector’s Edition for Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster for the PlayStation 3. Set to launch on March 18th, 2014, the collector’s bundle will be available exclusively through the Square Enix Online Store.

Enclosed within a hardcover artbook that comprises the PlayStation 3 system version of the game, the Collector’s Edition features 40 pages of imagery from the stunning world of Spira. Alongside five lithographs of iconic artwork and characters, the packaging will also include a Final Fantasy X HD Remaster Original Soundtrack – with more than six hours of music set to the game’s most memorable moments on a Blu-ray Disc.

This collector’s edition is exclusive for North America and may not reflect editions available in other territories. The collector’s edition for the PlayStation 3 system will be sold exclusively at the Square Enix Online Store for $79.99.

Available as a 2-in-1 retail pack, the PlayStation Vita system version of the game will include Final Fantasy X HD Remaster on the game card and Final Fantasy X-2 HD Remaster as a downloadable PlayStation Network voucher. Both titles will be available on March 18th, 2014 and will support cross-save functionality with the PlayStation 3 system.

Thank you FFXHD for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of FFXHD.

Space Saga ‘X Rebirth’ Out Next Month, Collector’s Edition Detailed

Heads up, fans of the space saga X: Deep Silver and Egosoft are releasing a limited Collector’s Edition of the latest instalment X Rebirth. The extensive package includes the game itself along with exclusive contents: The blu-ray disc “X the Space Opera – Per Musica ad Albion” contains unique pieces of music composed specially for the game. There is also a soundtrack CD featuring 26 tracks. A 56-card pack of playing cards with motifs from the X Universe, a 28-page art booklet and other exciting extras round off the package.

The Collector’s Edition of X Rebirth will be released along with the regular retail edition on November 15, 2013, and will be available at a price of GBP 59.99 in the UK.

Exclusive contents of the limited Collector’s Edition

· “X the Space Opera – Per Musica ad Albion” + extensive “Making of” on blu-ray
· Exclusive soundtrack audio CD
· Pack of X playing cards (56-card Quartets pack)
· Removable sleeve
· X LED flashlight
· Update of the official X Encyclopedia for filing plus digital version
· 10 large-format postcards featuring artwork from the X Universe
· Art booklet including unpublished concept art (28 pages)
· “Albion Skunk” sticker
· Double-sided poster (36×48 cm)
· Full-color manual

Last August we had the chance to check out X Rebirth at Gamescom and it is shaping up to one epic space faring adventure. Gorgeous graphics, slick controls and from what we’ve seen, a fairly decent story too. Now all we have to do is wait a few more weeks to get into the full game, not sure I’ll personally need the collector’s edition, but it’s certainly one of the more generous collectors editions I’ve seen in a while.

Thank you Egosoft for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Egosoft.

Kingston HyperX Predator USB3.0 1TB Flash Drive Review

Kingston HyperX Predator USB3.0 1TB Flash Drive Review


Every now and again I get the chance to have a product a little ahead of every other reviewer in the world and in some cases, I’ve been able to claim the world’s first review as well. There is however one drive that I’m sure many reviewers are waiting to get their hands on, and thanks to Kingston I’ve been able to get a hands-on world-exclusive look at the HyperX Predator 1TB USB3.0 flash drive.

A few months ago I had a look at the DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 G3 64GB flash drive which features a build and design that is fairly similar to that of the 1TB drive that I have to play with today. However, this is of course a little more special with its HyperX branding and of course the mammoth 1TB capacity.

As opposed to most flash drives that we’ve seen from Kingston, the HyperX Predator 1TB is far more worthy othan the typical plastic packaging that is pretty much the standard these days. Instead, this drive comes in a rather sleek looking metal tin, with a fitted foam interior, that holds both the drive and the accessories that come with it. Alongside the mammoth 1TB USB drive, we find a keyring for attaching the drive to a set of keys or hand-cuffs; as after all you really don’t want to be letting this drive out of your sight too soon – or at least this is how I felt whilst I had it in my possession. The other accessory we get is a short USB extension cable which for many users will be a well used accessory due to the fact that the drive is a little wider than a typical USB drive meaning it may have compatibility issues with some USB ports.

Looking closer at the drive the sheer physical dimensions are staggering. Granted it is a rather chunky looking drive and it is 7.2cm long x 2.6cm x 2.1cm. Of course we do have to remember that there are a whole heap of flash ICs packed into a comparatively small space. The brushed metal surface is finished off with the Kingston and HyperX Predator branding and on the end is a loop for attaching the drive to the included keyring.

The need for the USB cable in some cases becomes more apparent when we look at the drive from the end, you can see it will easily interfere with other devices that are close-by in adjacent USB slots. Just above the drive there is a small hole through which the blue status/activity LED can be seen.

Test system:

  • Asus Maximus VI Formula
  • Intel Core i7 4770k
  • Corsair Dominator Platinum 1866MHz 16GB
  • Asus GTX 780 – DC2OC
  • Corsair H100i
  • Corsair HX1050W
  • Corsair Force LS 120GB SSD
  • Asus MX229Q

We would like to thank Asus for allowing us to use their demonstration system at i49 for the testing of this drive
It’s safe to say that the Kingston Predator 1TB USB flash drive looks the part, but this is not really going to be worth much if the drive doesn’t deliver the performance as well. Kingston have rated this drive with a read speed of 240MB/s and a write speed of 160MB/s – which for any HyperX USB drive is top level performance. This is part of the reason why this drive has had so much exposure because it has been reported to have not only the capacity but also the performance to go alongside that.

To test this drive, I first of all want to see what the underlying performance is through ATTO – just to see how well the drive can deliver behind the scenes.

Looking at the 1024k test, the 1TB drive appears to give virtually the rated performance on the read front that Kingston claim however the write performance does appear to be down. What we have to take into account though is that ATTO works with compressible data which does not favour this drive very well at all.

Next up is CrystalDiskMark, and immediately we can see a huge boost in both the read and write speeds of the HyperX Predator. Topping out during the 4MB sequential read test at 298.4MB/s and 109.5MB/s, we can see that the drive clearly can deliver top level performance when pulling data from the drive. The 512k test is also impressive with speeds topping out at 225.1MB/s read and 112.8MB/s write.

Anvil’s Storage Utility is the last of the tests that this drive is going through and as a final push, the HyperX Predator manages to kick the read speed up to 278.15MB/s and write to 169.17MB/s both passing the rated speeds that Kingston give on the tin.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjWqZ8p6i9g[/youtube]

When it comes to top end flash drives, there are many on the market, but there is now one that reigns above them all. Kingston’s HyperX Predator 1TB is not only a feat of technical engineering, but it is also something to marvel over. With solid build quality and construction, the drive feels like it’s worth a £1000 and that is exactly its price point. There have been many rumours and speculations floating about since the drive was first announced earlier in the year about its price, with some thinking it will sell for as much as £4000. However, with a price point of around £1/GB its price is astonishing for what it is.

The performance is also remarkable, granted ATTO doesn’t show great results, but drives of this nature are going to perform better with incompressible data and this is clear with the results from Anvil’s Storage Utilities.

Availability of the drive is something that a lot of people are going to question and at this moment in time, there are only seven working units in the world, of which this one that I’ve looked at is the only one in the UK. Pre-orders are being taken through etailers such as Overclockers UK and Dabs.com, but do expect a some waiting time when you order as these units have only just had their first batch shipped out. Many more units are currently in the manufacturing and testing stages.

All in all though I’m more than astounded by this drive – after all how often are you going to say that you have 1TB of USB storage hanging from your keys? Granted the cost is not affordable for the large majority of people out there, but as a feat of engineering Kingston’s 1TB HyperX Predator USB3.0 flash drive is worthy of our eTeknix Innovation Award.

Pros:

  • Well known and established manufacturer
  • Solid build quality and metal construction
  • Whopping 1TB capacity
  • Top level performance
  • “Bling factor”
  • USB extension cable in the tin for hard to reach ports

Cons:

  • Can get a little warm during continuous use
  • Out of the price range for most users.

eTeknix Says: Kingston have done it again with pushing next-generation storage to the max. The HyperX Predator 1TB USB drive has a crazy level of storage space, but also a top-level of performance to go with it. Did you once fancy 1TB of storage for on the go? Now your dreams have come true with this truly outstanding drive.”

Kingston HyperX Predator USB3.0 1TB Flash Drive Review

Thanks to Kingston for providing this review sample.

Kingston HyperX Beast DDR3 2400MHz 8GB Memory Kit Review

Late last year we had a look at the then latest addition to the HyperX lineup of memory kits with the Predator 8GB 2666MHz kit with top end speeds and kits that ranged right up to 32GB in capacity and in their latest addition, Kingston have got a new line of kits to add to the collection, but they’re not quite what we’d call new under the surface.  Whilst the Beast kits bear a new suit of black heat spreaders, the memory that lies underneath is taken from the Predator kits, however these kits only range up to 2400MHz whilst packing capacities right up to 64GB and lies upon a black PCB the match the heat spreaders.

The new Beast kit lies in between the Genesis and Predator kits in grand scheme of things now giving nine different memory types to choose from and this is the next to top end kit to chose from the entire lineup so I’m looking to see some good performance figures from the kit as I work to put it through its paces.

The black heat spreaders do extend above the PCB which is something that is only seen otherwise on the Predator Hyper X kit and this can cause some compatibility issues with some heat sinks, but with more people moving towards closed loop water cooling options and heat sink manufacturers, addressing the compatibility with items that now clear more kits, this is less of a problem that it once used to be.

Test system:

  • Asus Maximus V Formula
  • Intel Core i7 3770k
  • AMD Radeon HD 7970
  • Corsair H100i
  • Corsair HX1050W
  • Kingston HyperX 240GB SSD
  • Lian Li T60
  • AOC E2795VH

Enabling the X.M.P. profile we can see the Hyper X beast uses an average set of timings at 11-13-13-30 with a moderate 2T command rate whilst running at the top specified sped of 2400MHz.

After CPU-Z had confirmed our settings had been applied, we fired up AIDA64 to check the stock performance of the memory on our Z77 motherboard.

At stock the HyperX beast gives a rather average set of bandwidth results of 21209MBs/ read, 18800MB/s write and 23173MB/s copy with a good latency of 35.3ns. We’ve seen before that overclocking does have a good impact on memory write speeds so there is good scope for unleashing some hidden performance with minimal effort.

Keeping the kit at its stock timings to start, the first step is to overclock the CPU to 4.5GHz to open up some extra headroom within the memory controller and allow the memory to overclock more freely. From there the next step is to raise the memory divider to 2600MHz and with a successful boot the next divider 2666Mz resulted in a series of boot loops – not too surprising considering this speed is getting to the limits of what our CPU can handle. Working on the 2600Mz divider, the BCLK was the next port of call, however with the memory restricted to stock timings, there was no extra speed to be found.

As expected from overclocking,  the write speed sees the greatest improvement in bandwidth, rising up to 21305MB/s. The read speed also sees a reasonable gain up to 23495MB/s whilst the copy stays fairly close to stock at 23238MB/s. There’s also a good drop in latency down to 32.5ns.

Following a good overclock at stock timings, its time to let the motherboard take the leash on the timings as we see how far this kit really can go. Once again the 266Mz divider was tested just to see if there was a boot possibility, but once again this was a restriction by the CPU. Working on the BCLK, an extra 21Mz was there to be played with and with the timings fairly close to stock at 11-13-13-35 2T the memory should see some significant gains.

Given the ever so slight overclock, there is a good gain all round in performance, with read speeds rising to 24673MB/s write to 23352MB/s and copy up to 24610MB/s. Yet again there is also a good drop in latency, right down to 30.9ns.

Pushing just over the 2600MHz barrier seems to have a considerable effect on the kits performance and even when booting Windows, this extra performance is clearly noticeable, especially with the drop in latency from 35.3ns to 30.9ns.

Priced at around £80, the HyperX Beast kits are certainly not a budget option, but what they do offer is top level performance for a price that is only a fraction below that of the Predator kit of that same speed and capacity. Whilst there is a minimal difference in price I’d say this is the better kit to go for, both in terms of performance, but to me they look far superior to the top level kits with their black PCB’s and more well designed heat spreaders. For anyone that’s in the market for a well priced, high performance kit, considering this is capable of speeds in excess of 2600MHz with minimal effort and with great results, Kingston’s HyperX Beast is one animal of a kit.