Investigating NVIDIA’s BatteryBoost with MSI GT72

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BatteryBoost initially launched with the GTX 800M series earlier this year, and our first look at the technology came with the MSI GT70 with GTX 880M. That may not have been the best starting point, and unfortunately most of the gaming notebooks we’ve looked at since then haven’t been much better. Armed with the latest MSI GT72 sporting a Maxwell 2.0 GTX 980M, NVIDIA claims that BatteryBoost is finally going to hit the 2+ hours mark for gaming. Read on for our in-depth testing of BatteryBoost.

Benchmarked – Civilization: Beyond Earth

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One of the longest running gaming franchises around, the Civilization series goes all the way back to my high school years. There have been many changes along the way, but the core turn-based strategy gameplay remains. With this latest release, Civilization once again heads beyond the confines of our planet. What sort of hardware does it require to run the game, and does this fifth Mantle enabled title add anything new to the mix? That’s what we’re here to find out.

Upgrading the SSD in Chromebook & MyDigitalSSD Super Boot Drive M.2 2242 SSD Review

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The majority of the Chromebooks tend to have 16GB of onboard storage with some high-end models having twice that. For the intended usage where everything is done in the web, that is sufficient, but when you need local storage for offline occasions (e.g. when traveling), 16GB or 32GB will not get you far. There is always the option of carrying external storage to expand the internal storage, but there is another alternative: upgrading the internal SSD. Read on to find out how the upgrade is done and how MyDigitalSSD’s Super Boot Drive M.2 2242 SSDs does in our Chromebook tests, as well as how it fares as a standard SSD.

The Battle of Bay Trail-D: GIGABYTE J1900N-D3V and ASUS J1900I-C Reviewed

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All the recent talk of Haswell-E and high-end refreshes has obscured the more casual computing market. The Bay Trail platform uses Intel’s Atom based Silvermont cores and competes directly against AMD’s Kabini for integrated computing, digital signage and cheap computing models. Today we compare two mini-ITX Celeron J1900 based motherboards: the GIGABYTE J1900N-D3V at $85 and the ASUS J1900I-C at $92, as well as the SoC itself.

FSP Aurum PT 1200W Power Supply Review

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Today FSP Group is launching their newest and most advanced PSU to date, the Aurum PT 1200W. The 80 Plus Platinum certified unit has been designed to compete with corresponding products from other manufacturers, many of which were a few months ago. Does FSP have what it takes to go head to head with the top-tier designs from companies like Seasonic and Flextronics? We’ll find out in our full review.

 

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review

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At this point, the Galaxy Note line needs little introduction. After all, the Galaxy Note is Samsung’s biggest success in mobile. While Apple redefined the smartphone and tablet segment, Samsung defined the phablet segment. Despite widespread skepticism, the original Galaxy Note was a massive success. Combined with the Galaxy S2, 2011 was a watershed year for Samsung as they leapfrogged other Android OEMs. Since then, we’ve seen continuous improvement from year to year with each Galaxy Note. While there were competitors, Samsung managed to hold on to their first-mover advantage for multiple generations. However, with the release of Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus we see one of the first significant threats to Samsung’s dominance of this segment.

This is our review of the Galaxy Note 4.

Nixeus MODA Mechanical Keyboard Capsule Review

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Today we’re looking at the Nixeus MODA, a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard designed for applications where a compact quality keyboard at the lowest possible cost is the main goal. It lacks backlighting and advanced features but comes with a three-year warranty and has a competitive price tag. If you are interested in a "no frills, no thrills" kind of product, then the Nixeus MODA may be just right for you.

Intel Xeon E5-2687W v3 and E5-2650 v3 Review: Haswell-EP with 10 Cores

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During September we managed to get hold of some Haswell-EP samples for a quick run through our testing suite. The Xeon E5 v3 range extends beyond that of the E5 v2 with the new architecture, support for DDR4 and more SKUs with more cores. These are generally split into several markets including workstation, server, low power and high performance, with a few SKUs dedicated for communications or off-map SKUs with different levels of support. Today we are testing two 10 core models, the Xeon E5-2687W v3 and the Xeon E5-2650 v3.

The 2014 Razer Blade Review

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In early 2014 the Razer Blade got a refresh. The significant updates over the 2013 model are the display, moving from a (rather poor) 1600×900 panel to a 3200×1800 QHD+ IGZO display and an upgraded GPU to push all of the extra pixels they just added. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M replaces the GTX 765M from the 2013 model. Read on for our full review.

GIGABYTE BRIX GB-BXi7-4500 Review: Intel Core i7 in a UCFF PC

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Over the last couple of years, the ultra-compact form factor (UCFF) has emerged as one of the bright spots in the troubled PC marker. Intel kickstarted the category with their Sandy Bridge NUC kits in early 2013. Recognizing the popularity of this segment, other vendors also began to promote similar products. GIGABYTE targets this market segment with an extensive lineup of products under the BRIX brand. Late last year, GIGABYTE sent us their high-end vanilla BRIX, the GB-BXi7-4500. Unlike Intel’s Haswell NUCs (with a i5-based SKU at the top end), this BRIX brings a Haswell i7 ULV processor into the UCFF market. Read on to find out what an i7 CPU can deliver in this form factor.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M and GTX 970M: Mobile to the Maxwell

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Every year NVIDIA launches quite a few new products; some are better than others, but they’re all interesting. This fall, the big news is Maxwell 2.0, aka GM204. Initially launched last month as the GTX 980 and GTX 970, NVIDIA is hopefully changing the way notebook gamers get treated by launching the mobile version of the GM204 just one month later. We already covered all of the new features in the desktop launch, but now we have specifications for the mobile versions. Read on for a preview of GM204 on notebooks as NVIDIA seeks to close the performance gap with desktops.

MSI Z97 Gaming 5 Motherboard Review: Five is Alive

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Sometimes it feels odd to review the cheaper elements of the motherboard market. The more expensive models have more to play with, whereas the sub $160 market for Z97 comes down to the choice of an individual controller or two. Here is where brand loyalty and styling seem to matter more than absolute feature set. To make matters worse for MSI, one of the other manufacturers is also branding their motherboards with ‘Gaming X’, making it harder to forge that nomenclature as a brand. Today we are looking at the MSI Z97 Gaming 5 at $160, which at the time of writing was sold out on Newegg.

Antec EDGE 550W Power Supply Review

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Today we are looking at Antec’s latest PSU series, the EDGE, which the company markets as "the pinnacle of power supplies". Bold statements aside, only medium capacity units are available and silence seekers are their main target. We’re reviewing the lowest capacity model of the series, with a maximum output of just 550 Watts, which means this is a PSU that could be used by a larger number of users. Let’s see how it performs.

ASRock Z97 OC Formula Motherboard Review: Less Lamborghini, More Yellow

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ASRock is quietly confident of its OC Formula range. We awarded the Z77 version because of its aggressive tactics at the $240 price point and while the Z87 model offered even more but at $330 it missed that sub-$250 market which cheaper overclocking builds are built on. The Z97 OC Formula ditches the Lamborghini on the box and comes back down to earth at $210, although the feature set becomes lighter as a result. The mainstream overclocking motherboard market is always hot at $200, so today we are putting the Z97 OC Formula through its paces.

The iPhone 6 Review

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With every launch of the iPhone, Apple seems to have everything to lose and not much to gain. Apple’s iPhone line accounts for the majority of profits in the smartphone space, and as the smartphone market marches towards maturity it seems inevitable that companies like Xiaomi will be able to deliver largely similar experiences at much lower prices. The same was once happened with Apple in the days of the PC industry where Apple approached irrelevance. Yet generation after generation, Apple seems to be able to hold on to a majority of the profit share, and they’ve managed to tenaciously hold on to their first-mover advantage. To find out if they can continue that trend with the latest iPhone launch, read on for the full review.

Micron M600 (128GB, 256GB & 1TB) SSD Review

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Those that have been following the SSD industry for a couple of years are likely aware that Micron does not sell retail drives under its own brand (unlike, e.g. Samsung and Intel). Instead Micron has two subsidiaries, Crucial and Lexar, with their sole purpose being the handling of retail sales. The Crucial side handles RAM and SSD sales, whereas Lexar is focused on memory cards and USB flash drives. The Micron crew is left with business to business sales, which consists of OEM sales as well as direct sales to some large corporations. Since the MX100 Micron and Crucial have had separate product planning teams and the M600 is the first Micron-only product to come out of that. Read on to see how the M600 differs from the retail MX100.

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 Review: Featuring EVGA

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Last week we took a look at NVIDIA’s newest consumer flagship video card, the GeForce GTX 980. Today in the second part of our series on the GTX 900 series we’re taking a look at its lower-tier, lower priced counterpart, the GeForce GTX 970. With a price of just $329, GTX 970 is just as interesting (if not more interesting overall) than its bigger sibling. The performance decrease from the reduced clockspeeds and fewer SMMs that comes with being a GTX x70 part is going to be tangible, but then so is a $220 savings to the pocketbook. With GTX 980 already topping our charts, if GTX 970 can stay relatively close then it would be a very tantalizing value proposition for enthusiast gamers who want to buy in to GM204 at a lower price.

The Intel Haswell-E X99 Motherboard Roundup with ASUS, GIGABYTE, ASRock and MSI

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The launch of Haswell-E ushered in a triumvirate of new technology – a new CPU line, a new motherboard chipset and DDR4 memory. Today we focus on the new consumer motherboard chipset, X99, with motherboards from all four major manufacturers: the ASUS X99-Deluxe, the GIGABYTE X99-UD7 WiFi, the ASRock X99 WS and the MSI X99S SLI Plus.

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Review: Maxwell Mark 2

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At the start of this year we saw the first half of the Maxwell architecture in the form of the GeForce GTX 750 and GTX 750 Ti. Based on the first generation Maxwell based GM107 GPU, NVIDIA did something we still can hardly believe and managed to pull off a trifecta of improvements over Kepler. GTX 750 Ti was significantly faster than its predecessor, it was denser than its predecessor (though larger overall), and perhaps most importantly consumed less power than its predecessor. In GM107 NVIDIA was able to significantly improve their performance and reduce their power consumption at the same time, all on the same 28nm manufacturing node we’ve come to know since 2012. For NVIDIA this was a major accomplishment, and to this day competitor AMD doesn’t have a real answer to GM107’s energy efficiency.

However GM107 was only the start of the story. In deviating from their typical strategy of launching high-end GPU first – either a 100/110 or 104 GPU – NVIDIA told us up front that while they were launching in the low end first because that made the most sense for them, they would be following up on GM107 later this year with what at the time was being called “second generation Maxwell”. Now 7 months later and true to their word, NVIDIA is back in the spotlight with the first of the second generation Maxwell GPUs, GM204.

The New Motorola Moto X (2nd Gen) Review

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While I talked about Motorola’s issues in the launch article for the new Moto X, it’s well worth repeating. Motorola has been through a lot these past few years. Once the iconic symbol of Android with their Droid smartphones, Motorola had lost its way. It wasn’t unusual to see one phone launch after the other, with no real regard for strategy, and no real cohesive message to tie all of their devices together. If anything, there was a point where Motorola had become an ODM for network operators in the US, with no real international presence. After Google acquired it in 2012, we saw the launch of the Moto X in 2013. The amount of hype that I saw online before the announcement of the Moto X was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

Unfortunately, the device that launched didn’t quite fit with the hype. The Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset was decidedly mid-range by the time it launched. The display was good for the time, but AMOLED wasn’t quite the imminent LCD replacement that it is today. The camera was also rather unfortunate at launch. For better or worse, the Moto X was a phone with the right size and shape, but a lot of hardware choices that aged poorly. This leads us to the new Moto X. On the surface, this phone corrects a lot of issues that were present in the original Moto X. The new Moto X brings an SoC that is up to par with its competition, a new camera with a Sony sensor, and an improved AMOLED panel. To find out how it performs, read on for the full review.

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