Samsung SSD 845DC EVO/PRO Performance Preview & Exploring IOPS Consistency

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Traditionally Samsung’s enterprise SSDs have only been available to large server OEMs (e.g. Dell, EMC, and IBM). In other words, unless you were buying tens of thousands of drives, Samsung would not sell you any. However, back in June Samsung made a change in its strategy and released the 845DC EVO, Samsung’s first enterprise SSD for the channel. The 845DC EVO was accompanied by the 845DC PRO a month later and today we have a performance preview of both SSDs, along with a glimpse of our new enterprise test suite.

AMD FX-8370E CPU Review: Vishera Down to 95W, Price Cuts for FX

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I will be honest, after AMD did not update its FX processor line with the Steamroller architecture, I was not too hopeful for the brand to see anything new in 2014. But since the start of the year the 5 GHz turbo FX-9590 has been rereleased as a consumer part and today AMD is showing it can get four Piledriver modules down to 95W with a few frequency adjustments and cherry picking the dies. This is accompanied with price cuts for the eight-thread FX parts, which AMD is aiming squarely at similarly priced Intel i5 and i3 processors.

VisionX 420D Review: ASRock’s mini-PC Lineup Continues to Impress

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ASRock has been one of the few motherboard vendors to focus on mini-PCs targeting the HTPC and portable gaming markets. Starting from the ION-based nettop days, they have consistently refreshed the mini-PC lineup in sync with Intel’s product cycle. We have been reviewing members of their CoreHT lineup (rechristened as VisionHT last year) since the Arrandale days, but today, we are focusing on their gamer-targeted mini-PCs. The VisionX lineup marked the departure from NVIDIA to AMD for the discrete GPU component, and their Haswell version, the VisionX 420D combines a Core i5-4200M with an AMD Radeon R9 M270X. Read on to see how the mini-PC fares under both gaming and HTPC workloads.

The Road Ahead

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Both of my parents were teachers, and for as long as I can remember they both encouraged me to do something in life that would help others. I figured being a doctor would be the most obvious way to do that, but growing up around a pair of teachers must’ve rubbed off on me. My venue wouldn’t be the classroom but rather the Internet. On April 26, 1997, armed with very little actual knowledge, I began to share what I had with the world on a little Geocities site named Anand’s Hardware Tech Page. Most of what I knew was wrong or poorly understood, but I was 14 years old at the time. Little did I know that I had nearly two decades ahead of me to fill in the blanks. I liked the idea of sharing knowledge online and the thought of building a resource where everyone who was interested in tech could find something helpful.

That’s the short story of how I started AnandTech. There’s a lot more to it involving an upgrade to the AMD K6, a PC consulting business I ran for 2 years prior and an appreciation for writing that I didn’t know I had – but that’s the gist.

I’m 32 now. The only things that’ve been more of a constant in my life than AnandTech are my parents. I’ve spent over half of my life learning about, testing, analyzing and covering technology. And I have to say, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

But after 17.5 years of digging, testing, analyzing and writing about the most interesting stuff in tech, it’s time for a change. This will be the last thing I write on AnandTech as I am officially retiring from the tech publishing world. Ryan Smith is taking over as Editor in Chief of AnandTech. Ryan has been working with us for nearly 10 years, he has a strong background in Computer Science and he’s been shadowing me quite closely for the past couple of years. I am fully confident in Ryan’s ability to carry the torch and pick up where I left off. We’ve grown the staff over the course of this year in anticipation of the move. With a bunch of new faces around AnandTech, all eager to uphold the high standards and unique approach to covering tech, I firmly believe the site can continue to thrive for years to come.

It’s important for me to stress two things: this isn’t a transition because of health or business issues. I am healthy and hope to be even more so now that I won’t be flying nearly 130,000 miles every year. The website and business are both extremely strong. We’ve expanded our staff this year to include a number of new faces contributing to both mobile and more traditional PC categories. Traffic is solid, we are looking forward to a bunch of very exciting launches especially in the final quarters of 2014. On the business side we continue an amazing run of being self sustaining, profitable and growing for every since year since 1997. We don’t talk about business affairs much on the site but we set a number of records in 2013 and expect that to continue. In other words, you don’t have to worry about the ability of the site to continue to operate.

Even though I’ve been doing this for nearly 18 years, we’ve evolved with the industry. AnandTech started as a site that primarily reviewed motherboards, then we added CPUs, video cards, cases, notebooks, Macs, smartphones, tablets and anything else that mattered. The site today is just as strong in coverage of new mobile devices as it is in our traditional PC component coverage and there’s a roadmap in place to continue to support both sides of the business. Our learnings in the PC component space helped us approach mobile the right way, and our learnings in the mobile space have helped us bring the PC enthusiast message to a broader audience than would’ve ever seen it before.

Over the past year I’ve transitioned many of my personal coverage areas to other ATers. Ian took over CPUs not too long ago and Josh has been flying solo with our mobile coverage for a bit now. Even the articles I helped co-author with Josh were 90% his. Kristian has more or less been running our entire SSD review program at AnandTech for a while now and he’s been doing a tremendous job. I remember editing one of his pieces and thinking wow, this kid knows more than me. In fact I’d go as far as to say that about all of our editors at this point. We’ve got a sea of specialists here and each one of them knows more than me about the area in which they cover. I’m beyond proud of them all and honored to have worked with them.

On a personal level I’ve made myself available to all AnandTech editors for advice and guidance, however I have fully removed myself from the editorial process. I can offer a suggestion on how to deal with a situation so long as describing the situation does not reveal any confidential information to me.

Thank You All

To everyone I worked with in the industry – thank you for the support and help over the years. You were my mentors. You showed kindness and support to a kid who just showed up one day. I learned from you and every last one of you influenced me at a very formative period in my life. The chance you all took on me, the opportunities, and education you provided all mean the world to me. You trusted me with your products, your engineers and your knowledge – thank you.

To Larry, Cara, Mike, Howard, Virginia, Hilary and the rest of the LMCD team that has supported (and continues to support) AnandTech for almost its entire life, I thank you for making all of this possible. I learned so much about the business side of this world from you all and it helped give me perspective and knowledge that I could have never gotten on my own. For those who don’t know them, the LMCD crew is responsible for the advertising side of AnandTech. They’ve made sure that the lights remained on and were instrumental in fueling some of our biggest growth spurts. 

To the AnandTech editors and staff, both present and past, you guys are awesome. You are easily some of the hardest working, most talented and passionate enthusiasts I’ve ever encountered. Your knowledge always humbles me and the effort that you’ve put into the site puts my own to shame. You’ve always been asked to do the best job possible under sometimes insane time constraints and you’ve always delivered. I know each and every one of you will have a bright future ahead of you. This is your ship to steer now and I couldn’t be happier with the crew.

To the millions of readers who have visited and supported me and the site over the past 17+ years, I owe you my deepest gratitude. You all enabled me to spend over half of my life learning more than I ever could have in any other position. The education I’ve received doing this job and the ability to serve you all with it is the most amazing gift anyone could ever ask for. You enabled me to get the education of a lifetime and I will never be able to repay you for that. Thank you.

I’ve always said that AnandTech is your site and I continue to believe that today. Your support, criticism and push to make us better is what allowed us to grow and succeed.

In the publishing world I always hear people talk about ignoring the comments to articles as a way of keeping sane. While I understood the premise, it’s not something I ever really followed or believed in. Some of the feedback can be harsh, but I do believe that it’s almost always because you expect more from us and want us to do better. That sort of free education and immediate response you all have provided me and the rest of the AnandTech team for years is invaluable. I’m beyond proud and honored by the AnandTech audience. I believe we have some of the most insightful readers I’ve ever encountered. It’s not just our interactions that I’m proud of, but literally every company that we work with recognizes the quality of the audience and the extreme influence you all exert on the market. You’re paid attention t

AMD Radeon R7 SSD (240GB) Review

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In 2011 AMD took the first step in expanding the Radeon brand and partnered with Patriot and VisionTek to provide AMD branded memory. With the launch of the Radeon R7 SSD AMD is continuing this strategy by jumping into the SSD market. Just as they did with memory, AMD is partnering with a third party that handles the development, manufacturing and support of the product, which in the case of the R7 SSD is OCZ. Based on OCZ’s Barefoot 3 controller, the R7 is positioned between the Vector 150 and ARC 100 with its four-year warranty and 30GB/day endurance. Read on to see what AMD’s first SSD adds to the market.

OCZ ARC 100 (240GB) SSD Review

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OCZ launched the Barefoot 3 platform and the Vector SSDs in late 2012, and with their new direction OCZ has been trying to change their image to become a premium manufacturer of high performance SSDs rather than a budget brand. The Vector remained as the only Barefoot 3 based product for months until OCZ introduced the Vertex 450, a not exactly cheap but more mainstream version of the Vector with a shorter three-year warranty. Now, almost two years after the introduction of the Barefoot 3, OCZ is back in the mainstream SSD game with the ARC 100. Read on to find out what has changed and how the ARC 100 performs.

A Month with the iPhone 5s: Impressions from an Android User

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I must confess that the last time I used an iPhone was three or four years ago. While I’ve followed the hardware changes from generation to generation, I’ve never really been able to write about the iPhone or iOS in detail. While objective data is great to work with, a great deal of evaluation relies on subjective experience. To fix this gap in knowledge, I received an iPhone 5s. After a month, I’ve really come to have a much more nuanced view of how Android and iOS compare, along with how Apple’s iPhone compares to the rest of the smartphone market. To find out how it compares, read on for the full article.

MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K Review

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MSI has several lines of gaming notebooks catering to different types of users. At the high-end is the GT series that supports the fastest mobile CPUs and GPUs while the GE series caters more towards the cost-conscious buyers. Somewhere in the middle is the GS line, which offers similar (or slightly higher) specifications to the GE series but delivers everything in a refined and more attractive chassis. Read on to find out how the GS60 with a 3K display compares to the other gaming laptops.

NAS Units as VM Hosts: QNAP’s Virtualization Station Explored

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Virtualization has been around since the 1960s, but it has emerged as a hot topic over the last decade or so. Despite the rising popularity, its applications have been mostly restricted to enterprise use. Hardware-assisted virtualization features (AMD-V, VT-x and VT-d, for example) have been slowly making their way into the lower end x86 parts, thereby enabling low-cost virtualization platforms. QNAP is, to our knowledge, the only NAS vendor to offer a virtualization platform (using the Virtualization Station package for QTS) with some of their units. Read on to find out how it works and the impact it has on regular performance.

AMD’s Big Bet on ARM Powered Servers: Opteron A1100 Revealed

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It has been a full seven months since AMD released detailed information about its Opteron A1100 server CPU, and twenty two months since announcement. Today, at the Hot Chips conference in Cupertino, AMD revealed the final missing pieces about its ARM powered server strategy headlining the A1100. One thing is certainly clear, AMD is betting heavily on ARM powered servers by delivering one of the most disruptive server CPUs yet, and it is getting closer to launch.

Intel Broadwell Architecture Preview: A Glimpse into Core M

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Typically we would see Intel unveil the bulk of the technical details of their forthcoming products at their annual Intel Developer Forum, and with the next IDF scheduled for the week of September 9th we’ll see just that. However today Intel will be breaking from their established standards a bit by not waiting until IDF to deliver everything at once. In a presentation coinciding with today’s embargo, dubbed Advancing Moore’s Law in 2014, Intel will be offering a preview of sorts for Broadwell and the 14nm process.

Today’s preview and Intel’s associated presentation are going to be based around the forthcoming Intel Core M microprocessor, Broadwell configuration otherwise known at Broadwell-Y. The reason for this is a culmination of several factors, and in all honesty it’s probably driven as much by investor relations as it is consumer/enthusiast relations, as Intel would like to convince consumer and investor alike that they are on the right path to take control of the mobile/tablet through superior products, superior technology, and superior manufacturing. Hence today’s preview will be focused on the part and the market Intel feels is the most competitive and most at risk for the next cycle: the mobile market that Core M will be competing in.

AMD’s 5 GHz Turbo CPU in Retail: The FX-9590 and ASRock 990FX Extreme9 Review

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While AMD’s FX-9590 CPU has been in systems for over a year, it suddenly comes to market as a retail package for end-users to buy with a bundled liquid cooling system. This 220W CPU that has a turbo speed of 5.0 GHz still sits at the top of AMD’s performance stack, despite subsequent improvements in the architecture since. We have decided to grab ASRock’s 990FX Extreme9 and an FX-9590 for a review to see if it still is the AMD performance CPU champion.

Life with the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro

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Earlier this year I upgraded to the new Yoga 2 Pro, an Ultrabook with pretty typical specifications. The screen is one of the key differentiators with a QHD+ 3200×1800 resolution, four times the pixels of the original Yoga. After using the laptop for many months now, it’s a very interesting experience, as the flexible chassis works as both a traditional laptop or a touch input tablet. Read on to find out what it’s like living with the Yoga 2 Pro, and how it measure up in our suite of benchmarks.

The NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet Review

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While I talked about this in the launch article, the SHIELD Tablet is very much the culmination of lessons learned from 2013. While the Tegra Note 7 was a decent tablet, it had to eke out a profit through hardware sales against competition that was willing to sell their tablets with no profit on hardware. While the SHIELD portable was a good portable gaming device, it was far too specialized to be anything but a gaming device. Without an established gaming ecosystem, NVIDIA struggled against established competitors.

As a result, NVIDIA is the first to launch a serious gaming tablet running Android. While gaming tablets have been done before, they’ve been few and far between. It’s always been technically possible to take a high end tablet and make it usable for gaming, but for the most part these attempts are marred by either the need for root or an application that requires extensive work on the part of the user to create proper control profiles for each game. In addition, the SoC in the tablet is often underequipped for intensive 3D gaming.

That’s where the SHIELD tablet comes in. With Tegra K1, a dedicated controller, 2×2 WiFi, and a huge amount of custom software, there’s definitely a lot of ground to cover. Once again, while the SHIELD tablet is a gaming device, it must also be a good tablet. To that end, NVIDIA has tried to differentiate this tablet with DirectStylus 2 and dual front facing speakers/bass reflex ports. To find out how this device does, read on for the full review.

QNAP TS-451 Bay Trail NAS Performance Review

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The launch of the QNAP TS-x51 series was covered in detail last month. Its introduction has revitalized the premium NAS market for SOHO and power users by providing a powerful enough alternative to the Atom D270x-based NAS units. The 22nm Celeron J1800 in the TS-x51 is a SoC (obviates the necessity for a platform controller hub) and brings a revamped Atom microarchitecture (Silvermont) to the NAS market. Does this make the TS-x51 perform better and consume lower power compared to its predecessors in the same class? Read on for our review of the 4-bay TS-451 to find out.

LG G Watch Giveaway

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Last month’s Google IO saw the official introduction of Google’s Android Wear as well as the first two devices to run the new wearable OS. Among those was LG’s G Watch, a Snapdragon 400 (4 x ARM Cortex A7) based Android Wear device with a 1.65" IPS display. As a show of continued support for the Wearables section on AnandTech, ARM is providing two G Watches as giveaways to two lucky AnandTech readers. 

To be elligible you need to be a US resident with a US mailing address and leave a comment below. In your comment, ARM would like to know what segments or applications you think wearables would be most successful in. Some examples being communication, enterprise, fashion, healthcare, security, fitness, etc…

Leave your feedback in a comment below and that’ll automatically enter you for the giveaway. Good luck!

Nokia Lumia 630 Review

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With the introduction of the Lumia 630 and 635 models, we have our first look at the next generation of low cost Windows Phone devices, and the Lumia 630 is a phone with many firsts for this segment. It’s the first phone launched with Windows Phone 8.1 from any manufacturer. It’s also the first phone released after the acquisition of Nokia by Microsoft, though the phone was announced at BUILD prior to the final paperwork was completed on the acquisition. This is the first Windows Phone ever with an optional Dual SIM model. This is also the first Windows Phone which incorporates a SensorCore branded pedometer. It’s the first Windows Phone which replaces the hardware back, home, and search keys with on-screen equivalents, and unfortunately it’s the first Windows Phone which is lacking a hardware camera button, ambient light sensor, and proximity sensor. This is definitely a device of firsts for Windows Phone, but not all of the firsts are good news.

6 TB NAS Drives: WD Red, Seagate Enterprise Capacity and HGST Ultrastar He6 Face-Off

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Western Digital launched the first NAS-specific 6 TB drive today. In expanding their Red portfolio, they have brought 6 TB drives suitable for 24×7 operation into the hands of home consumers. Some enterprise-specific 6 TB drives have been around since late last year. Today’s introduction provides us an opportunity to see how the WD Red compares against those offerings. Read on for our evaluation of the currently available 6 TB drives suitable for NAS units.

Overclockable Pentium Anniversary Edition Review: The Intel Pentium G3258

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Many industries, both inside and outside of technology, are versed in the terminology ‘cheap and cheerful’. When enthusiasts were overclocking their CPUs at the turn of the century, this was the case – taking a low cost part, such as the Celeron 300A, and adjusting one or two settings to make it run as fast as a Pentium III 450 MHz. This gave a +50% frequency boost at the lower price point, as long as one could manage the heat output. The Pentium Anniversary Edition is a small nod back to those days, and to celebrate the 20+ years of Pentium branding, Intel is now releasing a $75 overclockable dual core Haswell-derived CPU.

Western Digital My Book Duo DAS Review

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Earlier this week, we took a look at LaCie’s high end 2-bay RAID DAS, the 2big Thunderbolt 2. It integrated both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 2 as connectivity options. At $800 for a 8 TB version, the pricing carries a premium for the Thunderbolt connectivity. USB 3.0 is, in a way, the poor man’s Thunderbolt. With a focus on the average consumer, Western Digital launched the My Book Duo USB 3.0 DAS with hardware RAID capabilities a few weeks back. The 8 TB variant is priced at a more palatable $450. Read on to see how it performs in our evaluation.

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