FreshTech Solutions Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

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

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


£529.00

Specification:

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

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

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


£699.00

Specification:

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

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


£899.00

Specification:

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

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

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


£1049.00

 

Specification:

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

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


£1599.00

Specification:

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

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

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


£1938.00

Specification:

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

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

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

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

High-End Intel Broadwell-E Processors Listed and Priced

With the official release nearly upon us, Intel’s Broadwell-E CPUs have started popping up everywhere. First, we had all of the various motherboard vendors announce support for the new Broadwell-E CPUs for their X99 motherboards. Next, Intel even leaked the chips on their driver website, confirming the rumoured specifications. Now, we finally get retail listing for the chips from NCIX along with pricing.

The pricing is pretty exorbitant right now with the low-end i7-6800K coming in at $629.99. All fo the other CPUs are much more expensive with the  i7-6850K at $889.99 and i7-6900K at $1495.99. That’s the same price as the rumoured $1500 for the i7-6950X which is listed for an exorbitant $2349.98. Of course, these are likely only placeholder prices till the real launch so we can expect the real prices to be quite a bit lower if past history is anything to go by.

Broadwell-E is expected to bring the 10 core i7 6950X along with Broadwell improvements to Intel’s HEDT. With a relatively simple updated, X99 motherboards with LGA 2011-3 will work with the new chips. While these prices are unrealistic, in my mind, intel may plan to squeeze consumers as much as they can. Intel recently cut 12,000 staff and if they can find a way to make more money, they’ll take it.

ASUS Adds Broadwell-E Support to X99 Motherboards

Last week, we saw the first sign of support for Intel’s upcoming Broadwell-E CPUs. MSI was the first out of the gate with their announcement of new BIOS revisions to support Intel’s new line of Extreme CPUs followed by ASRock. Today, ASUS has announced their own support for Broadwell-E with new BIOS releases for their X99 series of motherboards. With 3 motherboard vendors offering support, Intel much be releasing their chips soon.

For most of the lineup, the new 3004 BIOS will be the one adding support. Interestingly, the Rampage IV and Rampage IV/U3.1 will have to rely on the 3007 BETA BIOS. I don’t know about you, but a beta BIOS doesn’t sound all that safe. In order to upgrade their firmware, users can either use the built-in EZ Flash 2 utility from within the BIOS or the USB BIOS Flashback/ROG Connect button from outside the system.

As we know, Broadwell-E will include the massive i7-6950X with 10 cores and 20 threads with 25MB of L3. The monster of a chip will also come with an equally massive price tag to match. The rest of the lineup will consist of the Core i7-6900K, i7-6850K and i7-6800K with the usual 6 and 8 core offerings. With Zen rumoured to peak at 8 cores for the consumer market, the 6950X may reign supreme for quite a while.

Gigabyte Releases World’s First Thunderbolt 3 X99 Motherboard

Gigabyte is one of the leading motherboard vendors with a large X99 range including the X99-Gaming-5P, X99-UD4P and more. The 2011-3 platform is designed for professionals requiring additional multi-threaded processing power in complex workloads. Intel’s mainstream Z170 chipset only supports up to 4-core, 8-thread CPUs. While the current X99 platform is older than Skylake, current offerings such as the 5820K and 5960X are better options when working with large video editing projects or heavy rendering tasks. Of course, Intel is poised to launch their brand new X99 based processors, codenamed “Broadwell-E” relatively soon. Vendors including MSI and ASRock have already released widespread BIOS updates to allow the current models to support Broadwell-E CPUs.

Today, Gigabyte unveiled a brand new motherboard, entitled the X99P-SLI. This particular product supports Broadwell-E out-of-the-box and utilizes the ATX form factor. More importantly, it’s the world’s first X99 motherboard with Thunderbolt 3 certification. This connector is currently the fastest connectivity protocol offering speeds up to 40 Gb/s, twice that of the previous generation. In practical terms, Thunderbolt allows you connect discrete GPU boxes, external quad M.2 devices or U.2 expansion drives. X99-based CPUs don’t have an iGPU which means you have to use a discrete graphics card to utilize the Thunderbolt controller. Thankfully, an included cable connects between an integrated DisplayPort connector and monitor with Type-C functionality. This allows you to daisy-chain up to 6 devices via Thunderbolt 3 and offers unparalleled flexibility.

As you might expect, the motherboard supports up to 128GB DDR4 memory, 4-way SLI and 4-way CrossfireX. The expansion slots include two PCI-E x16 running at x16, two PCI-E running at x8, and two PCI-E x1 slots. The Realtek ALC1151 115dB SNR HD audio is a great addition as many X99 motherboards ignore gaming focussed features. The motherboard deploys an all digital power design with IR digital PWM & IR PowIRstage ICs, premium 10k black capacitors and audio noise isolation.

MSI Socket LGA2011v3 Motherboards Now Support Broadwell-E

Intel has resigned the higher core count processors for the professional X99 platform and doesn’t look like changing this business strategy in the near future. As a result, users with hefty requirements might need a 6-core or even an 8-core CPU for complex rendering work, or perhaps huge video editing workloads. The current flagship is the Intel Core i7-5960X which utilizes 8-cores and 16-threads. Apparently this behemoth will be replaced sometime this year with a 10-core, 20-thread 6950X processor. The new range codenamed Broadwell-E is going to be an alluring prospect for extreme users wanting the absolute best performance. Theoretically, these CPUs should work on 2011v3 motherboards providing the manufacturer offers a suitable BIOS

Today, MSI revealed that they have already taken this into consideration and released BIOS updates for their entire X99 range. Here you can see the list of supported models:

  • X99S MPOWER (E7885IMS.M80)
  • X99A SLI Krait Edition (E7885IMS.N50)
  • X99S SLI Krait Edition (E7885IMS.N50)
  • X99A RAIDER (E7885IMS.P20)
  • X99A RAIDER (E7885IMS.P20)
  • X99A GAMING 7 (E7885IMS.HC0)
  • X99S GAMING 7 (E7885IMS.HC0)
  • X99A SLI PLUS (E7885IMS.1A0)
  • X99S SLI PLUS (E7885IMS.1A0)
  • X99A MPOWER (E7885IMS.M80)
  • X99A GODLIKE GAMING (E7883IMS.130)
  • X99A GODLIKE GAMING CARBON (E7883IMS.210)
  • X99A GAMING 9 ACK (E7882IMS.320)
  • X99S GAMING 9 ACK (E7882IMS.260)
  • X99S GAMING 9 AC (E7882IMS.190)
  • X99A XPOWER AC (E7881IMS.A30)
  • X99S XPOWER AC (E7881IMS.190)

This is great news for existing owners of X99 MSI motherboards who intend to upgrade to a Broadwell-E CPU upon release. I have to commend MSI for updating the BIOS way in advance (perhaps), to ensure everything is fully operational when you purchase a Broadwell-E processor. If you have any intentions of upgrading, simply navigate to the specific model number’s support page and download the latest BIOS version. Other manufacturers should follow suit very soon but it’s great to see MSI taking such a proactive approach.

Are you looking forward to Broadwell-E’s release?

MSI is Now Offering Cashback on Selected Motherboards

Consumers have a staggering array of options when considering a new motherboard and it can be quite tricky to narrow down the choices. MSI produces a stunning range which targets various price points and user demands. Whether you’re looking for a flagship X99 server-grade product, or affordable H170 gaming motherboard, there’s something to suit everyone’s budget. The company has recently launched a promotion which allows you to receive cashback on the following motherboards:

X99A GODLIKE GAMING – £40.00
X99A GAMING 9 ACK – £40.00
X99A GAMING 7 – £30.00
C236A WORKSTATION – £30.00
Z170A GAMING M9 ACK – £30.00
Z170A XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM EDITION – £30.00
B150A GAMING PRO – £22.00
H170A GAMING PRO – £22.00
C236M WORKSTATION – £22.00
Z170A GAMING M7 – £22.00
Z170A GAMING M5 – £22.00
Z170A-G45 GAMING – £22.00
Z170A GAMING PRO – £22.00
Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON – £22.00
Z170A KRAIT GAMING 3X – £22.00
Z170I GAMING PRO AC – £22.00
Z170A TOMAHAWK AC – £15.00
Z170A TOMAHAWK – £15.00
Z170A SLI PLUS – £15.00
Z170M MORTAR – £15.00
H170M-A PRO – £15.00
H170I PRO AC – £15.00
B150M NIGHT ELF – £15.00
B150M MORTAR – £15.00
B150I GAMING PRO AC – £15.00
B150I GAMING PRO – £15.00

Please note the cashback offer is only available residents of the United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Poland, Spain and Turkey. Furthermore, you need to have a valid proof of purchase from participating retailers. If you’re eligible, the claim process is really simple and shouldn’t take too long to complete. The promotion ends on the 18th April 2016, and all claims must be filled 30 days after the purchase date. Although, you can’t leave it longer than 60 days to complete.

To register your product and instigate a claim please visit this page. Cashback offers are always a great incentive and reduces the price of a product you’re considering by a decent amount. Perhaps, this is enough of a saving and an encouragement to upgrade to a higher-end model. Please remember the promotion is for a limited time so it’s important to register your claim as soon as possible. Personally, I feel the Z170A Pro Carbon is a bargain even without the cashback offer.

Mushkin Redline DDR4 3000MHz 16GB (4x4GB) Quad Channel Memory Kit Review

Introduction


The Mushkin Redline series is engineered to provide magnificent reliability and low latency while utilizing impressive memory speeds well beyond the DDR4 standard. Each Mushkin kit undergoes a rigorous testing procedure to reduce the possibility of hardware failure and backed by a generous lifetime warranty. This gives the purchaser peace-of-mind and ensures their investment is protected. On another note, Mushkin use high-quality ICs to maximize performance by finding the perfect balance between frequency and latency.

Today we’re taking a detailed look at a 3000MHz 16GB quad channel kit which adopts Mushkin’s FrostByte heatsink design and features timings of 15-15-15-35. The memory’s impressive memory speed to latency ratio should result in exceptional numbers, and I expect to see it compare favourably against rival offerings.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The modules come in a stylish cardboard box which enhances the level of protection compared to traditional blister packs. Additionally, the small cut out allows you to see the memory in all its glory and increases your excitement during the unboxing process. It’s always great to see something a little unusual with memory packaging because the majority of kits take a fairly mundane approach to box design.

On the rear section, there’s a brief synopsis about the product’s reliability, and Mushkin’s commitment to providing excellent customer service.

A Closer Look

The memory’s primary colour is difficult to pinpoint as the red finish tends to lighten at certain angles. It’s really a cross between a dark red and pink, but once the modules are exposed to low-medium light conditions, they look like a typical red design. This unusual shading effect works superbly and makes the modules have a sense of character. I also really like the silver accent and subtle Mushkin branding which adds a sophisticated feel.

On another note, the distinctive shape on the heatspreaders stands out without detracting from the understated construction. Sadly, the green PCB doesn’t help matters and I’d much prefer to see a black PCB instead. Granted, this isn’t a major problem when the modules are installed, but it might irk some users wanting the perfect colour scheme, or using hefty LED illumination. Overall, the aesthetic design is excellent and should cater towards the mainstream gaming market rather nicely.

Mushkin Blackline Ridgeback DDR4 2400MHz 16GB Memory Kit Review

Introduction


The latest memory kit to arrive for review purposes is part of Muskin’s Blackline Ridgeback range. The sample we received opts for a 16GB capacity, 2400MHz speed and timings of 15-15-15-35. This is achieved with a very respectable voltage rating of 1.2V and showcases the modules’ efficiency. Mushkin is a pioneering memory manufacturer formed in 1994 and continues to release new DIMMs sporting unique designs at a very competitive price point. Unlike their competitors, Mushkin assembles and hand tests each memory kit in the USA while strictly monitoring their production line.

This results in exceptional reliability and minimizes the potential for customer returns. The company also selects low latency modules to find a suitable balance between raw frequency and operating latency. On another note, every Mushkin memory kit is backed with a lifetime warranty and approachable customer service team. Given their reputation in the industry, I expect the memory kit to perform admirably at stock values and have some good overclocking headroom. Let’s see how it compares to other dual channel alternatives!

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The product comes in a traditional blister pack, and adopts the slogan, “Gamers take notice, rivals take notes.” I quite like the background design which looks rather striking and adds a dash of colour.

On the rear, there’s a very detailed installation guide containing extremely clear diagrams. Inserting the modules into position is a very simple process, but it’s always good to include instructions for newcomers without any previous system building experience.

A Closer Look

The DIMMs convey a professional look via the neutral colour scheme and should suit a wide range of system builds. Additionally, the angled heat spreaders provide a distinctive appearance without straying too far from the sophisticated, understated design. I’m also really keen on the silver accents, which adds some visual flair. Sadly, the green PCB spoils the black theme somewhat and ruins the overall level of synergy. Although once the modules are installed, you shouldn’t notice the green PCB from a distance. Thankfully, there are some SKUs which already have the same heat spreader design and black PCB to complement it perfectly. Overall, Mushkin has done a commendable job in the product’s aesthetics and ensured it appeals to the core gaming demographic.

Patriot Viper 4 DDR4 3200MHz 16GB (2x8GB) Dual Channel Memory Kit Review

Introduction


DDR4 memory kits are steadily superseding DDR3 DIMMs due to competitive pricing and the advent of Intel’s LGA1151 chipset which supports speeds in excess of 3200MHz. Furthermore, DDR4 modules require less voltage to remain stable despite the typical increase in memory bandwidth. Recently, professional overclocker Shamino set an astounding world record and overclocked the G.Skill Ripjaws 4 to 4255MHz using a mere 1.3 volts. Clearly, this is an extreme case and the majority of DDR4 kits available to consumers range between 2400MHz and 4000MHz. Plus, the performance difference in gaming tasks primarily revolves around your system’s graphics card, and CPU. Nevertheless, it’s still important to select high-quality DIMMs to keep your PC perfectly stable and compliment the other components.

The Patriot Viper series is synonymous for offering excellent memory speeds at an affordable price point. Here’s a brief description of the product directly from the manufacturer:

“Patriot Memory’s Viper 4 Series memory modules are designed with true performance in mind. Built for the latest Intel® Skylake processor utilizing the 100 series platform, the Viper 4 series provides the best performance and stability for the most demanding computer environments.

The Viper 4 series utilizes a custom designed high performance heat shield for superior heat dissipation to ensure rock solid performance even when using the most taxing applications. Built from the highest quality Build of Materials, Patriot Memory’s Viper 4 Series memory modules are hand tested and validated for system compatibility.

Available in dual kits, 8GB, 16GB and 32GB kits, Patriot Memory’s Viper 4 Series will be offered at speeds from 2400MHz up to 3600MHz and XMP 2.0 ready. Hand tested for quality assurance the Viper 4 series is backed by a lifetime warranty.”

As you can see, the latest version of the Viper range comes in a variety of capacities and memory speeds to suit a wide range of user requirements. Given the impressive 3200MHz speed, 16-16-16 timings and respectable voltage, I expect to see some superb numbers which legitimately rival the best dual channel kits we’ve tested!

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

Patriot have adopted a clean, bold design to the memory’s packaging which makes it easy to read the key specifications while admiring the DIMM’s colour scheme. Here we can see a visual run down of the memory’s speed, capacity, XMP version and other essential statistics. Many kits on the market utilize pretty plain blister packs which don’t enthuse a luxury feel. In this case, the packaging draws you in and leaves a very positive initial impression.

On the rear section, there’s information about Patriot’s lifetime warranty, a brief synopsis of the product, and links to the company’s presence across various social media platforms.

A Closer Look

From an aesthetics standpoint, the DIMMs have a rather understated look and targets the mainstream gaming audience. Any red and black heatspreader combination is going to become a popular choice, and the different shades combine quite nicely. Another striking touch is the contrast between the textured black finish and matte section towards the PCB. I’m also quite fond of the sophisticated Viper logo and small gap between the main heatspreader which creates an impressive visual effect. Sadly, the green PCB is difficult to overlook and detracts from the attractive design. If a black PCB was used instead, the memory would be the perfect choice for a high-end build. Despite these qualms, once the RAM is installed, you’re not going to notice the PCB colour in an enclosed chassis.

Intel’s 10 Core i7-6950X Cost may be Astronomical

Following right on the heels of the first consumer octa-core i7-5960X CPU, 2016 is the year that we may finally see a deca-core CPU from Intel. Called the i7-6950X, the new chip will be the flagship for Intel’s HEDT Broadwell-E platform. According to a new report though, the price is going way up this time, set for an exorbitant $1500 USD. Compared to previous HEDT flagships, this will be quite a jump.

Broadwell-E will be replacing Intel’s current HEDT platform, Haswell-E, which debuted the i7-5960X octa-core. Broadwell-E also marks the move from Intel’s current 22nm process to the new 14nm process Skylake started using. Broadwell-E will continue to use the same X99 Wellsburg platform as well but introduce BCLK overclocking in addition to the current multiplier based overclocking.

At 10 cores and 20 threads, the 6950X marks a jump of $500 or 50% over the previous asking price of the top chip from Intel. The octa-core 6900K will maintain the $1000 USD pricing set by its predecessor. Even when Intel made the jump from 6 core to 8 cores, they kept the price at $1000. This time, the extra cores and 14nm must either be costing Intel a lot more, or they’ve caught on that enthusiasts are willing to pay any price for top of the line chips.

MSI Launches X99 And Z170 Carbon Edition Motherboards @ CES 2016

CES 2016: MSI’s X99A GODLIKE GAMING motherboard is instantly recognizable with a feature list that almost defies belief. It’s certainly one of the best motherboards ever designed in terms of visual effects, build quality and overclocking prowess. While it’s an expensive proposition, there isn’t any other product like it on the market! However, not everyone enjoyed the lavish colour scheme, and wanted those amazing features in a more neutral package. Thankfully, MSI has delivered with the X99A GODLIKE GAMING CARBON. This black finish works beautifully with white builds and looks so sophisticated. Additionally, MSI has improved on the Mystic Light to add a sense of visual flair to the carbon layer.

The Z170A PRO GAMING CARBON follows a similar pattern, and is a revised version of the Z170A PRO GAMING. As you can see, the motherboard looks astonishing and is a real show piece. Nothing has been altered in the core specification (which is a good thing), and I’m really pleased with how the accents on the heatsink contrast with the PCB’s colour.

Do you prefer the stealth black look or traditional red and black gaming theme?

Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4 2400MHz 16GB (2x8GB) Dual Channel Memory Kit Review

Introduction


The overwhelming majority of gaming builds revolve around a red and black colour scheme which makes it relatively difficult for hardware manufacturers to produce other colours in large numbers. Any niche section of the market isn’t prioritized as companies attempt to maximize sales and cater to the mainstream customer. On the other hand, white components have become more popular in recent years and look absolutely stunning. For example, the ASUS Sabertooth Mark S compliments the Avexir Sabranco memory in a beautiful way. Sadly, it’s pretty rare to see memory kits with a white PCB especially on the DDR4 platform.

One of the more affordable DDR4 memory kits comes from Crucial and even implements a gorgeous white PCB! Crucial’s LT branding is slightly confusing as the DIMMs utilize an identical specification to the standard Sport range. The only difference is the revised heatspreader design. This particular memory kit operates at 2400MHz, and requires 1.2V. Additionally, the timings are fairly tight for DDR4 at 16-16-16-39 but this is to be expected compared to higher frequency alternatives.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The memory kit comes in a traditional blister pack and outlines the key specification. I also found it quite easy to remove the modules without applying too much force.

A Closer Look

Here we can see the aesthetically pleasing heatspreaders which adopt a low profile design to enhance compatibility with large air coolers. More specifically, the modules measure 40mm in height and you shouldn’t experience any clearance issues. From a visual standpoint, the white PCB, central Ballistix logo and retro-inspired decal looks phenomenal. Additionally, the edges feature a textured finish which enhances the memory’s unique appearance. I’m also quite fond of the stylish cutouts which are easily visible once the DIMMs have been installed.

G.Skill TridentZ 3200MHz DDR4 16GB Memory Kit Review

Introduction


G.Skill is one of the most respected memory vendors in the technology industry and synonymous for selecting premium ICs to set world records. For example, back in August, Chi-Kui Lam overclocked G.Skill’s Ripjaws 4 memory made from Samsung ICs to attain an astonishing world record of 4795.8MHz. Additionally, the data from HWBOT in August shows 7 Skylake world records were set on Ripjaws 4 memory kits. This exemplifies the overclocking potential of G.Skill modules and strict binning process. In most scenarios, consumers simply enable Intel’s Extreme Memory Profile and avoid manual overclocks to maximize compatibility. Additionally, in gaming tasks, the difference between 2400MHz and higher frequencies is minimal. Nevertheless, if the price difference between 2400MHz and 3000MHz+ is small, there’s no reason not to pay the extra for higher bandwidth modules out of the box.

The G.Skill TridentZ series is available in a number of configurations from 2800MHz all the way up to 4000MHz. As you can see, this is an extraordinarily high specification and designed for consumers wanting the ultimate in memory speeds. Today, we’re taking a look at the 3200MHz kit which utilizes 1.35v, and 16-18-18 timings. It’s quite important to note that G.Skill have conducted thorough testing on Intel’s Z170 platform to check compatibility and stability with XMP. Unfortunately, our testing procedure revolves around X99, and every other DDR4 memory review has been conducted via the professional platform. Theoretically, we could have reviewed this particular memory kit on a Z170 motherboard but there wouldn’t be any fair comparison to previous reviews and too many variables. This is why the X99 test bench is still being used for DDR4 reviews.

Despite this lengthy clarification, I expect the TridentZ kit to perform superbly given G.Skill’s heritage and commitment to providing the fastest memory on the planet!

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The memory kit comes in a visually appealing box which creates a sense of luxury and outlines the product’s magnificent aesthetic design.

On the opposite side, there is a brief synopsis about the TridentZ series and G.Skill’s lifetime support service.

A Closer Look

Here we can see the gorgeous memory in all its glory and I honestly believe this is some of the best-looking RAM I’ve ever seen. The metallic silver finish, and dynamic edges contrast in a beautiful manner. Furthermore, the G.Skill and TridentZ logos are positioned perfectly and it enhances the aesthetic design without being too overbearing. Additionally, the red strip on the top looks fantastic and really stands out compared to the silver heat spreader and white lettering. On another note, the black PCB accentuates the memory’s sharp, sophisticated tone.

Even more astounding, G.Skill utilized a dark brushed metallic finish on the reverse side to proficiently suit red and black gaming motherboards. From this angle, it’s evidently clear how much time has been taken designing the memory which makes each module look very expensive.

EK WB Releases Monoblock for ASUS X99 Motherboards

It can be of great benefit to cool your CPU with liquid rather than air, but when you do that, you leave one area exposed. The VRM around the CPU area doesn’t get the same airflow as it would with a fan based cooler and as such you need to pay extra attention to the cooling here.

One way to resolve this issue is with a monoblock and EK Water Blocks just released one of these that will fit ASUS’ X99 motherboard models: X99-A, X-99-DELUXE, X99-PRO, and X99-S.

The EK-FB ASUS X99 Monoblock as it is called is a complete all-in-one CPU and MOSFETs liquid cooling solution for these ASUS motherboards. It is designed in cooperation with ASUS and uses the award-winning EK-Supremacy EVO cooling engine. All critical areas are covered with a liquid flow that should ensure a stable and effective cooling.

The base of the monoblock is made of nickel-plated electrolytic copper while the top is made of quality POM Acetal or acrylic glass material, depending on the variant. Both models cost the same, €119.95, and are available directly from EK WB as well as partner resellers.

Which is your preferred cooling method? Traditional air, all-in-one liquid coolers, or maybe even a complete custom liquid cooling setup? Let us know in the comments.

G.Skill Boosts DDR4 8GB Module Speed up to 4133MHz


G.Skill is synonymous with extreme memory speeds and a common choice for professional overclockers looking to break bandwidth records. Their latest product range is based on massive DDR4 frequencies which range between 3600MHz to a staggering 4133MHz. Please note, this refers to 8GB DIMMs in a number of different configurations. Here is a complete rundown of the high-bandwidth TridentZ modules:

To achieve the maximum frequencies, G.Skill utilizes premium Samsung ICs and validated the 4133MHz kit with an i7-6700K. Here are the results which show the memory is perfectly stable and reaches the full bandwidth:

The elite-tier of DDR4 memory is incredible and a huge boost from the fastest DDR3 kits available. Furthermore, DDR4 is becoming more affordable, and replaced DDR3 on the mainstream Z170 platform. As a result, DDR4 is no longer consigned to the expensive X99 professional chipset. The huge bandwidth on G.Skill’s TridentZ modules now applies to 8GB DIMMs instead of the original 4GB SKUs which were quite limiting. Sadly, we don’t have a a suggested retail price at this time but this information should be revealed quite soon.

Clearly, the TridentZ memory is designed for extreme overclocking, but it’s always impressive to see the operating frequency on premium modules. On another note, the TridentZ DIMMs adopt a fantastic heatsink design which accompanies a red and black gaming build superbly.

Kingston Announces HyperX Savage DDR4 Memory up to 3000MHz

With the release of Intel’s new Skylake platform, more and more people are in the need for DDR4 memory instead of the older generation of DDR3 modules. Sure, there are a few boards that support DDR3, but why go for something lesser when you don’t have to. Kingston’s enthusiast department HyperX has released their newest DDR4 modules that are designed to work with Skylake on the Z170 and 100 series chipsets as well as the a little older X99 chipset.

The new modules from Kingston’s HyperX division are called Savage and come with speeds of up to 3000MHz. The built-in XMP profiles are optimized for both Intel’s Core i7 and Core i5 CPUs and allow for the easy setup that we’ve come to rely on. The new Savage modules are available as single modules up to 8GB and kits up to 64GB, which is the downside here. More and more people are looking to go beyond the natural limitation you deal with when limited to a maximum of 8GB per module, but I’m sure that bigger version already are in the works.

“We are excited to present this new high speed, yet power efficient memory for those gamers and enthusiasts looking to maximize system performance,” said Lawrence Yang, business manager, HyperX. “HyperX Savage DDR4 offers consumers standout performance, and with its asymmetrical die-cast aluminum, low-profile heat spreader and matching black PCB a standout look to upgrade any system.”

As mentioned the modules go up to 8GB capacity each, but there is also a 4GB version available. The frequencies available range from 2133MHz to 3000MHz, allowing you to choose what you need and prevent you from spending a lot of money on something you might not even need. The CAS Latency is rated between 12 and 15 and the modules are backed by Kingston’s known lifetime warranty.

HyperX Savage DDR4 Features and Specifications:

  • Capacities: 4GB-8GB (single), 8GB-64GB (kits)
  • Frequency: 2133MHz, 2400MHz, 2666MHz, 2800MHz and 3000MHz
  • CAS Latency: 12-15
  • Voltage: 1.2V or 1.35V
  • Operating Temperature: 0°C to 85°C
  • Storage Temperature: -55°C to 100°C
  • Dimensions: 133.35mm x 34.57mm
  • Compatible with: X99, Z170, H110, H170 and B150
  • Reliable: 100% tested
  • Guaranteed: Lifetime warranty

Overclockers UK Expand Systems with Storm Range

 

Overclockers UK already released some pretty impressive pre-built systems this year and it doesn’t look like they have any plans to stop that. They have expanded once more and added the Storm range of system that are designed to be able to handle gaming as well as graphic design and video rendering.

The range includes five PCs, the Titan Riptide, Wave, Thunder, Tornado, and Typhoon, and all are based around the X99 platform and come with an Intel Core i7 processor that has been overclocked to 4.40GHz from its 4GHz default clock. The range is naturally available with Windows 10, but Windows 7 and OS-less are options as well.

You can customize the system far beyond the default specifications and select between a variety of cases, power graphics cards, and just the storage option you need. Mechanical HDDs, hybrid SSHDs, and regular SSDs are all available to choose from and you have the option to choose the LED lighting you would prefer, giving the system that final touch our of the box.

These systems are built with high-quality components and all systems are powered by Super Flower power
supply units to ensure quality and stability. The case manufacturers that you can choose from include Aerocool, BitFenix, Corsair, Fractal Design, Lian Li, NZXT, Phanteks. For storage, there are options of Samsung or Seagate, and you also decide whether you want to use AMD or NVIDIA graphics cards.

The systems are suitable for gamers they are probably aimed more at the more demanding enthusiast and professionals, providing an all-rounder with good performance for gaming, graphic design and video rendering.

Overclockers UK Storm Range is backed by a 3-year warranty and labour-free upgrade service for total peace of mind. A perfect system for those who want an out of the box solution that isn’t average. The fun starts at £1143.94 and how high it goes depends on your customization in the order.

 

Overclockers UK Offer a X99 System for Less than a Top-End Skylake i7 Setup

Intel launched their Skylake platform yesterday and we had you covered with both the two new processor reviews as well as a bunch of new Z170 motherboards. But not everyone is convinced that it might be the best way to go, as we still have the option to go down the X99 based route. Overclockers UK agree with this and for a limited time they are offering an X99 based system with a six-core Intel i7-5820K CPU for £50 less than an equivalent top-of-the-line i7-6700K  Skylake system costs.

And there are quite a few benefits on the X99 based system with an i7-5820K processor. The processor is a little slower with 4.2GHz versus 4.4GHz, but that doesn’t really make a lot of difference. What does make a difference is the X99’s ability to support quad-channel memory and it has more PCI-Express lanes. The Skylake CPU still only has 16 lanes and that’s just not enough for a proper tricked-out high-end system. Skylake does have the ability to clock higher, but the X99 still performs better in most areas and when you are rendering physics, using Photoshop, or similar creative work, then “X99 smashes Skylake out of the water”.

The two systems in question from Overclockers UK are the Titan Riptide X99 based Gaming PC for £1140.97 and the Titan Bayonet Skylake Gaming PC for £1192.99 when specced with equivalent parts including 16GB 2400MHz memory, 2TB 7200RPM Hard Drive and a Nvidia GTX 970 graphics card.

ASRock Rack EPC612D4U-2T8R Micro ATX Motherboard Launched

ASRock is mostly known for their consumer products, but they also have a range of server equipment in the ASRock Rack branding. Just that division has just announced the latest motherboard in their lineup and it is a unique little board.

The new EPC612D4U-2T8R comes in a rare form factor for an E5 motherboard and it can be considered the first mATX motherboard with support for Intel’s Xeon E5 v3 series with its LGA2011-3 single socket.

It further comes with four DDR4 DIMM slots for quad-channel memory and eight SATA 3.0 ports for storage. It further comes with an LSI 3008 controller with support for eight SAS3 ports. With two full PCI-Express 3.0 x16 and one x8 slot, you can expand the capabilities even further.

They haven’t skimped on the network connectivity either with Intel’s X540 that supports two 10Gbased-T connections. All of this put together makes up one very powerful motherboard for an high-end processor in a very compact form factor.

Key Specification

  • Micro ATX 9.6″ x 9.6″
  • Socket LGA 2011 R3 Intel Xeon processor E5-1600/2600 v3 series
  • Supports Quad channel DDR4 2133/1866/ ECC DIMM, R DIMM, LR DIMM
  • Intel® C612: 6 x SATA3 6.0Gb/s(support RAID 0, 1, 5, 10); 2 x sSATA3 6.0Gb/s(support RAID 0, 1)
  • Supports 8-port SAS 3 by LSI:3008
  • Supports 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 3.0 x 8
  • Integrated IPMI 2.0 with KVM and Dedicated LAN (RTL8211E)
  • Supports 1 x Intel®X540

This motherboard won’t come cheap and will set you back around 500 bucks at the time of writing. We’ll also have a full review of this board ready for you soon, so stay tuned.

ASRock X99 Extreme6 Motherboard Giveaway Winner!

We love giving away prizes here at eTeknix and today is no exception. We’ve had the incredible ASRock X99 Extreme6 motherboard up for grabs in our latest competition, but now the competition has run its course and we’ve fired up the random bean machine to pick a lucky winner for this incredible prize.

The motherboard packs a lot of high-end features that will help you take advantage of many of the latest technologies, and the performance boost that they can bring. Of course, I’m delaying you like crazy here, so let’s get right to it and ask that all important question…

 

Did I Win?

Crucial Announces Ballistix DDR4 16GB Performance Memory

Crucial is well known for their memory and storage drives, but this time it’s the memory that we’ll talk a little about. Crucial just announced the release of Ballistix DDR4 16GB performance memory with various heat-sink configurations.

The new modules are perfect for gamers and enthusiasts who deal with content creation, virtual machines, RAM drives, and memory-intensive applications. The new modules are using Micron’s new 8Gb DDR4 component technology to offer up these high-density DDR4 memory modules.

With the recent release of these high-capacity memory modules with 16GB per module, home users can now create systems with 128GB total memory capabilities that otherwise was reserved for server grade systems. The modules are compatible with the latest Intel X99 platforms and support XMP 2.0 profiles for easy setup.

“This density of memory module will start to become broadly available in the desktop space with our new 8Gb-based Ballistix DDR4 16GB modules,” said Jeremy Mortenson, worldwide DRAM product marketing manager, Crucial. “We anticipate that our new modules and component densities will enable smaller form factors and the next generation of computers to have capacities that were traditionally limited to the server or high-end desktop space.”

Ballistix DDR4 16GB memory is expected to ship in late July as Ballistix Sport, Ballistix Tactical, and Ballistix Elite. The 16GB modules will be available single or in kits up to 128GB and come backed by a limited lifetime warranty.

ASUS TUF X99 Sabertooth (LGA 2011-3) Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging


X99, the chipset that has brought workstation power to the consumer level, has been around with us for a few months now. In this time, motherboard manufacturers have had time to tweak and release their top of the line motherboards with the best features and settings. A little out of the gates with the trademark TUF SABERTOOTH motherboard is ASUS.

That’s right, we have received our sample of the legendary TUF (The Ultimate Force) series motherboard, based on the X99 chipset. This particular model series allows ASUS to cram as much military grade inspired technology as possible into one motherboard. Covered from top to bottom in a checkered plate style cover and using only the finest capacitors in the world.

ASUS cherry pick and test all of the components to server specifications, giving them the confidence to grace this motherboard with a 5 Year warranty period. The attention to detail on the TUF series allows the users to take full control of the system in terms of cooling, allowing you to control 9 adjustable fan headers in tandem with 12 real-time temperature sensors to really choose the best fan placement. Along with the ultra durability and cooling features presented by the TUF range, ASUS along include the brand new USB 3.1 format, capable of 10Gp/s transfers.

Let’s take a look if all these features really make an ounce of difference.

Key Features

Manufacturers nowadays need to find innovative ways to stand out from the crowd, ASUS is no exception and has crammed a huge array of features into this motherboard.

  • USB 3.1 Boost
  • USB BIOS Flashback
  • USB Charger+
  • Remote Go!
  • ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ mode
  • Turbo LAN
  • Push Notice
  • AI-Suite 3
    • Q-connector
    • Q-Shield
    • Q-LED
    • Q-Slot
    • Q-DIMM
    • OC Profile
    • CrashFree BIOS 3
    • ASUS EZ-Update
    • Disk Unlocker
    • EZ Flash 2

Now because this is one of ASUS’ trump cards, they’ve crammed in a little more ‘TUF’ features:

  • Ultimate Cool
    • Thermal Armour
    • Thermal Radar 2 with Thermistors
    • ICe
  • We Got Your Back
    • Fortifier
  • TUF Engine
    • 8+2 Phase Power
    • TUF  Components (10K capacitors, Chose & MOSFET)
    • DIGI+ Power Control
  • SAFE & Stable
    • TUF Detective
    • TUF ESD Guards 2
    • Dust Defenders
    • MemOK!

For more information on these functions, please visit the ASUS TUF X99 SABERTOOH product page.

Packaging and Accessories

The box is feature covered, yet simple; very plain and neutral colour scheme. It’s a shame really, I was expecting a metal briefcase similar to the AMD R9 295×2, that would really drive home the “TUF” standard.

Inside the box is a huge amount of accessories; consisting of manuals, driver disk, 6x SATA cables, 1x SLi bridge connector, 1x Q-shield (backplate), 1x Q-Connector kit (easy front panel header connector), 1x 40mm fan, 4x DRAM slot dust covers,  assortment of PCi-e dust covers, 3x thermistor cables, assortment of addition I/O and internal header dust covers.

CyberPowerPC Infinity Xtreme Halo Review

Introduction


CyberPowerPC are making a sizeable impact in the UK PC market in recent years since they came across the water and settled in the sunny North of England. They contacted us offering not just a glimpse at one their flagship systems, but a completely built and ready to go review sample of which we were encouraged to “test”, and by test I mean game on.

Naturally we were on scene faster than you can shake a stick at and soon we were pulling up outside Cyberpower HQ eager to get our mitts onto this mystery machine. We were not disappointed when we were warned that it would take 2 men to lift it, and that I would need to put my back seats down as the box would take up half of the back of my car. As we returned to eTeknix towers we could see on the box what chassis we had, but it wasn’t until we got it unpacked that we seen what we had been given, and investigated the invoice properly. What they had in fact given us was a top end X99 system with not one but TWO GTX Titan X’s in SLI, with a bespoke water cooling setup, a price tag of £6400, and that’s just the beginning. Ladies and Gentlemen, hold onto your hats, I’m going in!

Specifications

  • Name: Cyberpower Infinity Xtreme Halo
  • Case: In-Win S Frame ? Black and Gold
  • Motherboard: ASUS X99 Deluxe INTEL X99,  4 Channel DDR4 ATX Mainboard w/ 8 RAM slots,UEFI Bios,Turbo APP,Thunderbolt Ready,Crystal Sound 2,Turbo LAN,USB3.0,SATA-III RAID,3 Gen3 PCIe x16 & 1 PCIe x4
  • Processor: i7-5960X Extreme Edition Eight-Core 3.00 GHz 20MB Haswell-E
  • Processor Cooler: Custom loop, featuring a resivior/pump combo, 360mm radiator with LED fans and rigid tubing.
  • System Memory: 32GB HyperX Fury w/Heat Spreader DDR4/2400MHz Quad Channel Memory (8 x 4GB sticks)
  • Main Boot Drive: (1x400GB) Intel 750 Series M.2 PCIe Solid State Drive Card, Read: 2500MB/Sec, Write: 1200MB/Sec
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): 2TB Seagate Hybrid Gen3 SATA-III 6.0Gb/s Cache 5400RPM SSHD in RAID 0
  • Graphics card: GeForce GTX Titan X (x2 in SLI, with full cover waterblocks)
  • Power Supply: Corsair 1200 Watts AX1200i Platinum 80+ Modular digital control Gaming Power Supply – Quad SLI Ready
  • Extras: ASUS USB 3.1 Expansion PCI-E card, provides extra two USB 3.1, Free Arkham Knight and The Witcher 3 – Wild Hunt
  • Optical Drive: None
  • Wireless: Wireless A/C
  • Monitor: Not included
  • Peripherals: Not included
  • OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit
  • Warranty: 2 Year Warranty
  • Price: £6400 as configured Delivered.

Here have the huge box,  with oodles of padding, foam and air pockets to protect its precious cargo.

A motherboard box full of extra cables, goodies and more, including a Windows 8.1 disc.

Unboxed and raring to go.  By this point I had smeared the glass with my clammy palms and had to give it a quick wipe down.

 

CPU-Z

GPU-Z

EK Releases New X99 LGA2011v3 Water Block

Water cooling your components is a fun thing to do, whether it’s building your first CPU loop to completely redesigning the case interior to fit that 480mm radiator; you can never have too much cooling. In the world of water cooling, EK Water Blocks reign supreme and are the choice of many when it comes to water blocks. The latest release from the company is the X99 LGA2011v3 compatible Supremacy EVO.

The Supremacy EVO series is the best of the best for EK and now it has been brought to the LGA2011v3 socket to give the high-end market that chilly feeling. In use, this can shave off up to 2.2°C thanks to the improved internal flow with low hydraulic restriction. It comes equipped with an error preventing mounting mechanism, resulting in great contact and performance every time.

“The EK-Supremacy EVO uses the same cooling engine as it’s predecessor. The cooling liquid accelerates through jet plate’s nozzle and turbulently continues its path through numerous very thin channels, which provide extreme heat dissipating surface area. Specifically designed and carefully machined copper base (sometimes referred to as ‘cold plate’) is made from purest copper available on the market and is further polished to absolute mirror finish. This alone greatly improves the cooling performance of EK-Supremacy EVO.”

Prices start at 58.95€ for the nickel block and can be found on the EK online store or with selected retailers.

Thank you to TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

EKWB Releases New Kit for GIGABYTE X99 SOC Champion Motherboard

When we are thinking of liquid cooling we mostly think of CPUs and graphics cards, but you can include pretty much any part of your system into your custom liquid loop. The motherboard with its southbridge and VRM is an obvious choice, especially for people who run open case systems, test benches, or other low ventilated systems. You either need some airflow over your system or more water blocks to ensure that everything keeps running as smooth as you like it.

EK WB released a new set designed especially for GIGABYTE’s X99-SOC Champion motherboard and it covers the VRM and southbridge with individual modules. The EK-FB KIT GA X99-SOC Champion kit is a complete solution for those who want to take their high-end system one step further for a complete solution.

The base of the water block is made of nickel plated electrolytic copper while the top depends on the model. There are two models available, made of quality POM Acetal or acrylic glass material depending on the variant. The screw-in standoffs are pre-installed and allow for easy and trouble-free installation by utilizing the original motherboard backplates.

 

The new EK-FB KIT GA X99-SOC Champion is available now for an MSRP of €114.95.

Gigabyte X99-Gaming-5P (LGA 2011-3) Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging


X99, the best of the best when it comes to general consumer chipsets. Released back in August 2014, this has quickly taken the technology world by storm; offering some of the best performance only before seen in workstation systems.

Today at eTeknix, we have the newest addition to the Gaming 5 line-up, the X99-Gaming-5P. “What’s the difference compared to the original X99-Gaming-5 motherboard?” I hear you all saying in your mind; well that’s a tough one. On first impressions, it just seems Gigabyte took the original Gaming 5 motherboard and extended it into the large E-ATX width and added some fancy lights. On a deeper look into the comparison, it seems that the Gaming-5P is more aimed towards the overclockers and higher-end enthusiasts, offering support of up to 128GB RAM capacity and speeds of up to 3333MHz, that’s a massive increase over the standard 64GB and 2800MHz. Along with the RAM tweaks, Gigabyte has also added a CPU switch on the side of the motherboard, there are other additions; which I will go into later.

Key Features

Manufacturers nowadays need to find innovative ways to stand out from the crowd, Gigabyte is no exception and has brought a huge array of features to this motherboard.

  • Support for APP Center
    • Available applications in APP Center may differ by motherboard model. Supported functions of each application may also differ depending on motherboard specifications.
    • @BIOS
    • Ambient LED
    • EasyTune
    • EZ Setup
    • Fast Boot
    • Game Controller
    • Cloud Station
    • ON/OFF Charge
    • Smart TimeLock
    • Smart Recovery 2
    • System Information Viewer
    • USB Blocker
    • V-Tuner Š
  • Support for Q-Flash Š
  • Support for Smart Switch Š
  • Support for Xpress Install

For more information on these functions, please visit the Gigabyte X99-Gaming-5P product page.

Packaging and Accessories

Following true Gigabyte style, they use very similar boxing styles to most of their motherboard range now, very solid plastic box, black colouring with the series colour highlights (G1 Gaming red for this model).

Inside we see an absolute treasure trove of accessories, 6x SATA cables, 1x split power cable, 1x LED I/O shield, 1x single x-fire bridge, 1x single SLI bridge, 1x dual SLI bridge, 1x tri SLI bridge, 1x quad SLI bridge and the usual manuals and driver disk.

GIGABYTE Hosts X99 Champion Challenge on HWBOT

It’s that jolly season that is upon us again, it’s overclocking time. Okay, maybe not that jolly, but interesting none-the-less. GIGABYTE is hosting the X99 Champion Challenge on HWBOT.org. The contest is open to anyone and it gives the community the chance to test and show their skills on the GIGABYTE X99 platform. Of course, you’ll also be able to win something and GIGABYTE put up both hardware and $2.800 USD in prize money.

The event starts on May 1st, so you still have some time to get your system ready to kill with those benchmark scores and run away with the grand prize of $1.500 USD. You have to collect points throughout 6 different stages that are designed to test both your CPU and GPU overclocking skills.

As mentioned, the first place takes home $1500. The second place still gets a nice $800 prize and the third place gets $500. There will also be three lucky draws at the end of the competition where a randomly selected overclocker will receive a motherboard based on category and overclocking type.

Contest Rules

  • This competition is limited to GIGABYTE X99 motherboards only
  • Submissions will open on the first day of the stage at 00:01 (UTC +8) and close on the last day at 23:59 (UTC+8)
  • To be eligible for the Lucky Draw #1, participants must submit in all stages, and have their XTU submission shown ABOVE 25 Celsius. One random winner will be selected from the eligible participants.
  • To be eligible for the Lucky Draw #2, participants must submit in all stages, and have their XTU submission shown BELOW 25 Celsius. One random winner will be selected from the eligible participants.
  • To be eligible for the Lucky Draw #3, participants must have submitted within the 3 lowest scores in any of the stages. One random winner will be selected from the eligible participants.
  • User ranked #1, #2 and #3 in any stage are not eligible for the lucky draw.
  • Every submission must include the competition background, XTU’s CPU frequency and temperature and a picture of the rig.
  • A participant is eligible to win only once. If he is found to be the winner in multiple categories, the prize will go to the runner-up.

If you’d like to check out the complete and detailed event, then head right on over to GIGABYTE’s mini-site and check them out.