Watch Dogs PC Graphics Performance Review and more
Posted on: 05/27/2014 10:22 AM

Here a roundup of todays reviews and articles:

ASRock Z97 Extreme6 Tests Samsung XP941 M.2 x4, Plextor M6e M.2 x2 and Samsung 840 Pro SATA 3 SSDs
ASUS ROG Maximus VII Hero Review
ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark 1 Preview
BitFenix Ronin Midtower Case Review
Corsair AXi Series 1500 W Review
Does ARM have a chance of succeeding in the server market?
Genius Energy Mouse Review
GIGABYTE Z97X-Gaming 7 Review
Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming G1 WIFI-BK Motherboard Review
Liquid Image Ego 1080P WiFi Xtreme Sport Camera Review
Logitech Proteus Core G502 Gaming Mouse Review
Mint 17: The best Linux desktop to date
NVIDIA vs. AMD 2D Performance Benchmarks
Ozone Strike Pro Review
SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-II 32GB Memory Card Review
Sapphire R9 290 Vapor-X OC Review
Sapphire R9 290X Vapor-X OC Review
Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet (10.1-Inch) Review
Synology DS414 NAS Device Review
Watch Dogs (PC) Review
Watch Dogs Benchmarked: Graphics & CPU Performance
Watch Dogs PC graphics performance Review
Z97 & Z87 Motherboard Charts: 34 Models tested - Update Gigabyte Z97X-SOC Force

ASRock Z97 Extreme6 Tests Samsung XP941 M.2 x4, Plextor M6e M.2 x2 and Samsung 840 Pro SATA 3 SSDs
To anyone not familiar with SSDs, our title might not seem that striking, but it represents a huge step forward in storage technology within a very short time. It also speaks highly of ASRock for again leading the way in advancing storage, as they are the only to incorporate a new SSD innovation into their Extreme 6 motherboard; this of course being a PCIe Gen 3 x4 interface that could accommodate M.2 SSDs up to blazing 32GB/s speeds. Although it may be some time until we get such a small form factor SSD travelling at that speed, this does mean that the Extreme6 is the only motherboard in the world that can accommodate our Samsung XP941 as a boot drive today. In fact today, we are going to be testing not only that XP941, but also the Plextor M6e PCIe x2 SSD and the Samsung 840 Pro SATA 3 SSD.


Read full article @ The SSD Review

ASUS ROG Maximus VII Hero Review
The ASUS ROG brand has morphed from a purely hardware centric build that featured everything including the kitchen sink, with ASUS now introducing lower entry points into the ROG line-up with slightly less hardware bells and whistles. ASUS pays attention to the feedback given online in any number of forums to get a good idea as to what its customer base is looking for in terms of feature set and reliability. The Maximus VII Hero is ready for sale at e-tailers at $229 and expands on the feature set for the gamer. The board is released concurrently with the Maximus VII Ranger and Gene, with Formula and Extreme models to follow in the future.

ASUS ROG Z87 offerings were excellent performers in their own right and now Intel and its board partners have introduced the Z97 PCH-equipped socket 1150 offerings, which includes the Maximus VII Hero I have here today. Not only do you get improvement through the Z97 PCH, but you get software updates to the ROG standbys, along with new implementations including Keybot, a new UEFI BIOS interface, and improved hardware.


Read full article @ OCC

ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark 1 Preview
With their TUF series motherboards ASUS, have rather interesting products in their portfolio. Next to their unique design, these boards feature good cooling with the thermal shield and apart from that there is a decent power design as well as an overall high quality. All of this even comes at an interesting price point which sounds like a compelling offer, doesn't it?


Read full article @ ocaholic

BitFenix Ronin Midtower Case Review
The war between PC gaming and console gaming has been heating up lately, especially surrounding the release of these “next gen” consoles that are less powerful than a PC from even a few years ago. Even my four year old laptop is more powerful. For years, PC gamers politely sat by and watched the games we love get dumbed down both graphically and, more importantly, the game play has been simplified to accommodate the player base of the console. Modern games are riddled with “quick time” events which, to me, are no more like gaming than watching a movie and needing to press a button for the next scene.

Thankfully, PC gaming seems to be on the rise, heaving itself from the ashes of mediocre games and rising like a phoenix to the call of games like Star Citizen. I cannot express my joy with this enough, and now that PC gaming is more accessible than ever before, I hope to see more and more beginners building their own PCs. I hate to see anyone “taken for a ride”. I want people to be knowledgeable and capable so they are not swayed by PC companies that promise PC gaming and beauty in their craftsmanship, but at a cost much higher than what it should be. For that, people may as well stay on consoles. I mentioned the phoenix rising up from the ashes because there is a company which wants to help people rise up to the glory of PC gaming, and their name reflects that. BitFenix build beautiful, quality cases that are geared towards the more budget minded end of the spectrum.


Read full article @ HiTech Legion

Corsair AXi Series 1500 W Review
Corsair is first to release an 80 Plus Titanium-certified PSU, which is the flagship of their top-notch AXi line. The AX1500i is the best PSU we ever tested, and at 1.5 kW, it is strong enough for an incredibly powerful system with a four-way SLI or Crossfire configuration.


Read full article @ techPowerUp

Does ARM have a chance of succeeding in the server market?
ARM recently held their second annual Tech Days event, where a small number of approximately fifteen journalists were brought up to date on the most recent developments and the future plans of the CPU designer. Hardware.Info was one of the few European publications attending the event. In addition to a lot of information on ARM's products for smartphones, tablets, and wearables, an entire day of the event was dedicated to ARM's products and plans for the server market.

ARM already announced their plans to enter the server market a few years ago. ARM sees a big opportunity to compete with Intel in the relatively young segment of so-called micro servers. Intel currently dominates almost the entire server market, with the exception of a few other players in the top segment (e.g. mainframes). ARM track record of producing energy efficient processors should be one of the catalysts for the architecture's adoption into the server market.

If we had to summarize the different presentations that ARM gave during the server day of the Tech Days event in one sentence, we would say that all the puzzle pieces that are required for ARM's adoption into the server market are finished. Although the ARMv8 64-bit architecture was already out there, the first ARMv8 server grade SoCs will also be hitting the market soon. In addition, the software is also ready: operating systems such as Ubuntu, virtualisation hypervisors such as Xen, middleware such as OpenJDK and countless server applications are already stable on the ARM architecture. Finally, the server manufacturers are also nearly ready to release ARM products onto the market. Presentations were given by companies such as Canonical, Citrix, and HP to reinforce these claims.


Read full article @ Hardware.Info

Genius Energy Mouse Review
Near the end of last month, I headed down to Seattle with a few of my friends to attend an anime/Japanese cultural convention called Sakura-con. Let's just say I learned quite a few things I did not know about my friends and some "online acquaintances" as well. I have always been taught with the common adage of "don't judge a book by its cover" and "there is more than meets the eyes." These words could not have rang any more true, as I spent two nights and three days with this group of people. Sometimes, on a surface level, you feel like you know just about everything you need to know about a person; this is especially true when you consider them to be your friends. On the other hand, with people you meet online, most people are usually more cautious, and take some time to get to know them on both a superficial and possibly a deeper degree if they pass the first level. These adages do not only apply to people, but they also apply to various items and objects, such as the one product we will take a look at today. From Genius, we have a product called the Energy Mouse, which combines the common portable wireless mouse with the added bonus of using it as a power bank. Genius is known for creating a lot of products, and also being an OEM for other companies, with products ranging from mice to tablets. Let's take look at how the Genius Energy Mouse combines the portable wireless mouse and power bank.


Read full article @ APH Networks

GIGABYTE Z97X-Gaming 7 Review
So far on our Intel Z97 venture we’ve analysed a number of motherboards which focus on being affordable. Those who are perhaps on tight budget constraints will appreciate an offering which retains high-end features but sits at an attractive price-point and today’s sample achieves exactly that.

Z97X-Gaming 7 sits within the well-regarded G1 gaming line. This motherboard upholds many of the features and characteristics from the Gaming G1 motherboard but doesn’t end up costing the earth.


Read full article @ Vortez

Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming G1 WIFI-BK Motherboard Review
The Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming G1 WIFI-BK is a high-end socket LGA1150 motherboard based on the new Intel Z97 chipset, supporting the fourth and the forthcoming fifth generation Core i processors. It brings high-end network and audio interfaces, four PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, ten SATA-600 ports (allowing one SATA Express connection), and eight USB 3.0 ports. Let's take a good look at it.


Read full article @ Hardware Secrets

Liquid Image Ego 1080P WiFi Xtreme Sport Camera Review
If you happen to visit YouTube a lot like we do you will have most possibly noticed an considerable increase in clips recorded with action cameras and car dash cameras from all around the world. Obviously this wasn't possible a few years back but the current state of technology along with the large number of companies in the market that focus in the design and manufacturer of such products have allowed consumers from virtually every segment to own one such device. Since we have both used and tested quite a few such devices we know firsthand of what you can expect from them both in terms of video/audio quality and features but as with everything else there are plenty of models in the market we have yet to get our hands on. Liquid Image is one of the oldest players and already counts 6 years in the market but it wasn't until just a couple of months ago that they send us their latest EGO 1080p/12MP Wi-Fi Xtreme Sport Camera to test.

Based in California, Liquid Image Co® is a leading Action Camera manufacturer and the developers of the first in-goggle camera with the lens mounted at eye level, allowing for True POV video capture. Since the release of the first underwater camera mask in 2008, Liquid Image has continued to evolve and develop products for underwater, snow, and motocross markets. In addition, most models include HD video in 1080P at 30 frames per second, 720P at 60 frames per second for high action, and wind guarded audio recording. In 2012, Liquid Image released their first mountable camera, which is currently one of the world’s smallest wireless enabled cameras on the market. With over 150 products and 35 Action Cameras in the Xtreme Sport Cams™ division, Liquid Image has the largest selection of hands free Action Cameras and accessories on the market. Liquid Image products have been honored for design and functionality by the CEA organization multiple times. The streamlined and ergonomically designed sports equipment created by Liquid Image offers technology that is both easy to use and beneficial to athletic performance, all at an affordable retail price point. The products range from low priced models that appeal to vacationing families up to higher-level models for photographers, athletes and the savvy tech consumer.


Read full article @ NikKTech

Logitech Proteus Core G502 Gaming Mouse Review
The modern gaming mouse market is a diverse one, from ambidextrous, cut back and clean looking mice, to those festooned with buttons, bells whistles to look like something created in a future space race. Today we review one that looks like it was lifted straight from the latest Tron movie. The Logitech G502 Proteus Core ships with a high rated sensor (12,000 dpi) and a ton of buttons and a scroll wheel that seems to never stop spinning once you get it going.

Is this conducive to gaming? Probably, but we wouldn’t be much of a review site if we took the marketing at face value now would we?


Read full article @ KitGuru

Mint 17: The best Linux desktop to date
I've used hundreds of Linux desktops over the years, and Mint 17 with Cinnamon is my favorite one to date.


Read full article @ ZDNet

NVIDIA vs. AMD 2D Performance Benchmarks
Yesterday on Phoronix we had benchmarks of high-end NVIDIA and AMD GPUs when looking at the Linux OpenGL performance on the proprietary drivers. For those more concerned about the 2D performance of the modern GeForce and Radeon graphics cards, here's some benchmarks for you.


Read full article @ Phoronix

Ozone Strike Pro Review
It's been a while since we reviewed the first mechanical keyboard from Ozone. The 'Strike' was not a bad keyboard and performed very well so to that end if you were looking for a no-nonsense mechanical keyboard that offering was worthy of consideration. We however found that it was lacking in some areas when compared to the competition. The lack of finesse, additional options and configurability meant the original strike was little more than any other basic mechanical keyboard on the market. Ozone has since upped their game and today we get to analyse their latest mechanical keyboard in the guise of the Strike Pro.


Read full article @ Vortez

SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-II 32GB Memory Card Review
Billed as the world'€™s fastest SD cards, the recently released SanDisk Extreme PRO SDHC/SDXC UHS-II memory card series uses the latest high-performance SD specification, UHS-II, to offer up to 280MB/s (1867X) read transfer speeds for optimized post production workflows and up to 250MB/s (1667X) write speeds for continuous burst-mode shooting. Read on to see how the SanDisk 32GB Extreme PRO UHS-II card performs!


Read full article @ Legit Reviews

Sapphire R9 290 Vapor-X OC Review
It’s been a while since we last reviewed an R9 290 here at Hardware Canucks; nearly two months in fact. During that time, the R9 295X2 launched, NVIDIA announced the TITAN Z, details about DirectX 12 came out and AMD rolled out another Never Settle gaming bundle. Meanwhile, Sapphire’s R9 290 Vapor-X OC, one of the fastest cards available right now, was shown for the first time and we’ve finally been able to take a closer look at it.

Amongst all that industry news one of the most important news items for gamers went largely overlooked: due to various factors, some of the wind went out of the sails of crypto currency mining. Now some of you may be wondering what mining has to do with this review and the answer to that is simple: due to their relative strength in crunching numbers, the AMD’s graphics cards’ retailer-bound pricing structure was literally tied at the hip to the popularity of Bitcoin, Litecoin and countless other virtual currencies. At the height of the mining craze Radeon GPU prices hit stratospheric levels but, as the market has rebalanced, things are finally beginning to settle down.


Read full article @ Hardware Canucks

Sapphire R9 290X Vapor-X OC Review
If you are in the market for a high end graphics solution then Sapphire surely have to be on your final shortlist. The company have been releasing award winning graphics cards consistently for the last year – featuring the best coolers that money can buy. Today we look at their very latest R9 290X Vapor-X OC featuring a custom designed three fan cooler and out of the box overclocked speeds. Is it worth the £500 asking price?


Read full article @ KitGuru

Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet (10.1-Inch) Review
What are you looking for in a tablet these days? Do you want a tablet with all the high-end specs to provide you with all that high-end performance? Do you want one that is as thin and as light as can be? Do you want one that’ll survive the accidental dunk in the pool? Putting ticks in all those checkboxes is the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet, which appropriately builds upon what we had already seen in the first Sony Xperia Tablet.


Read full article @ MEGATech

Synology DS414 NAS Device Review
I'm a big advocate of backing up your files, whether it's to a device in your home, to a cloud provider, or hopefully to both. Most people usually don't think about backup copies until they have a disaster of some sort, and at that time it's usually too late. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Today I'll take a look at the Synology DS414, a four-bay NAS device that promises a ton of storage to backup your files and also supports a wide range of applications so that it can act as a scaled down server in your home. Does it warrant a $480 price tag (without disks) though? I'll put the DS414 through its paces to help you decide if the device is for you.


Read full article @ Neowin

Watch Dogs (PC) Review
In the run up to the launch of Microsoft's Xbox One and Sonys PS4 there were a few games which were really getting gamers excited. One of those was Watch_Dogs, a brand new franchise from Ubisoft, but sadly it was delayed (on all platforms, including PC, 360 and PS3) with the publisher stating it was to allow the game time for further development and maximum quality. So 6 months on Watch_Dogs finally hits the market and today we can talk about our experience with the game.


Read full article @ HardwareHeaven.com

Watch Dogs Benchmarked: Graphics & CPU Performance
Set in an alternate reality techno-dystopian Chicago, Watch Dogs hit every gamer's holiday wishlist after appearing at E3 2012. The open world hackfest wowed onlookers with its urban stealth action and its seemingly 'next-gen' graphics. Unfortunately, a month before its November 2013 release the game was delayed for another six months -- the short-term blowout of which caused Ubisoft's stock to drop some 40%.

Being a long-term company with a long-term vision, Ubisoft says Watch Dogs is a long-term play and so it was postponed because it simply wasn't ready. That's commendable considering how often games are released in an unfinished state just to meet deadlines and make sales. Battlefield 4, for example, was among the buggiest blockbusters to ship in recent memory yet it grossed well over $200 million dollars last year.

Making a bad first impression wouldn't have been the smartest way to begin a new franchise, especially when the alternative is having fans wait two quarters. However, with that extra development time and nearly two years having passed since the game was unveiled, many people are wondering if Watch Dogs can live up to the hype.


Read full article @ Techspot

Watch Dogs PC graphics performance Review
For today's article we will benchmark Watch Dogs on the PC. The new game is a hit among PC gamers yet is bound to start a discussion or two, as the performance and system requirements topic of a debate alright. We will have a look at DX11 performance. The release of Watch Dogs on the PC is a little odd, it is a heavy duty AAA title yet offers graphics quality that is 'okay'. Meanwhile the game at the very least prefers a quad core processor, more than 4GB of system memory (6 GB is the norm). And you are going to need a beefy graphics card if you want to enable all eye candy alright. While playing around with a GeForce GTX 780 Ti and Radeon R9 290X I learned quickly that both these cards can not offer what the game really needs when it comes to raw performance if you flick on Ultra quality settings - Ultra Texture quality and high or exotic Anti aliasing levels. The problem mainly is related to graphics memory, as the game can easily pass 3 GB.

The game itself is sheer fun, yet comes with stutters and hick-ups if you do not have your settings right. The gameplay and experience however are top notch. You have to hack yourself into mobile phone's, CCTV camera's, computers and electronics to advance in this game. And sure, Watch Dogs certainly does remind us of GTA. The game engine has been PC optimized and especially with all tricks and bells enabled, it does look good if your graphics card en PC in general can manage it of course. However, no matter how we benchmark this title, the results remain a little unreliable with weird offsets here and there. As driving in car for example passing a crossing can slow down your framerate to a crawl, simple things like switching in-game to other quality settings sometimes even do not kick in.

During our test runs we found that one test run will result on 50 FPS, the second 40 FPS ... This means that the results shown today in this article are preliminary and indicative, not a precise measurement by any standard. And that's something we do not like. It in fact made me hesitate whether or not to post this article whatsoever.


Read full article @ Guru3D

Z97 & Z87 Motherboard Charts: 34 Models tested - Update Gigabyte Z97X-SOC Force
In our comparison tables, meanwhile you find benchmark values regarding 34 recent Z97 and Z87 motherboards. Furthermore we do not comment the benchmark values. The idea and also the goal is to present to you a market overview which helps you choose the right motherboard.


Read full article @ ocaholic




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