With the XP2-6400 Mushkin has released their second generation of DDR2-800 memory. The memory comes with default timings of 4-4-3-10, which is a good deal better than most of the competition. The elegant black heatspreaders add to the look of this memory. But this memory is not only about looks. The timings can be tightened down to 3-2-2-4. Relaxing them has an even better surprise for you - we reached DDR2-1104 at CL5.
Thermaltake with its well known Aquabay series has added a HDD water cooler to its list of offerings for their water cooling kits. The new cooler is dubbed the M4 which is the next number in line for the Aquabay series. With the addition of this new HDD water cooler it opens a new debate as well "Do I really need to water cool my HDD?" We'll try to answer that question as we review the Thermaltake Aquabay M4.
The Aspire X-QPack is a unique case, which has everything the gamer is looking for. It is small and portable, thanks to the integrated handle and has all the room one could need. The small power supply still packs a punch and can power all the latest hardware with its 420W. But Aspire did not stop there - they included a 12 cm blue LED fan, as well as thermal probes so you can keep an eye on your temps while playing your favourite games at a LAN party. We crammed the case completely full, using every last screw that was included and checked out how it performed.
This press presentation from NVIDIA talks about the upcoming nForce 500 Series chipsets. One interesting feature is SLI Memory (EPP Memory) which has been developed together with Corsair. Another highlight is the new networking support in nForce500 which offers dual Gigabit with technology that makes you "King of Ping" and also lets you link together two GigE links. You want RAID with 6 SATA drives? That's possible with nForce 500 too.
The X1800 GTO cards use regular X1800XL chips with just 12 rasterizing pipelines instead of 16. Clocks are still at 500 MHz for both memory and core. We tested this card and found it is an overclocker's dream. Even though we could not unlock the extra pipelines, the card still overclocks very well, in our case to over 700 MHz on air cooling.
SteelPad have been around for some time now and have an excellent reputation for producing high quality mouse pads. The SteelSeries SteelPad QcK+ is made with the gamer or graphics designer in mind. This pad offers so much surface area that you will never run out of space when things get hectic. The fabric used ensures high precision in all scenarios, even the highest resolutions on optical mice. Another plus is that this nice pad comes at a bargain price of under $15.
The OCZ Rally USB Stick revolutionized performance of USB sticks. Now OCZ has released another stick called the Mini Kart which is optimized for size and ultra-portability. The stick which comes in a 512 MB, 1 GB and 2 GB version has a height of only 2.8 mm. Small enough to carry it around in your wallet. Considering how thin the Mini Kart is, we tested its strength using the weight of OCZ's latest PSU hooked to the end of the USB stick to see if the stick would snap.
AData is well-known in the overclocking scene as a high-quality memory brand which offers good overclocking on all their memory modules. We have their Vitesta DDR2-800 kit on the testbench and were impressed that it could be overclocked to DDR2-900 without any problems. Even though the default timings of 5-5-5-15 are a bit slow, they can be tightened down to 3-2-2-4 when running lower clocks. Another plus is that this memory will work great even at stock voltage of 1.8V.
XTracPads is known to produce some of the absolute best performing cloth mats on the market and they have specialized accessories to suit even the most demanding gamer. Over the last years they have produced a variety of different mats, right from the Micro hard plastic mat up to this new Ripper XXL measuring in at an astounding 914mm width, 457mm height. Yes, that's right. You can put your keyboard on it and still have plenty of space for the mouse.
At this year's CeBIT the most controversial and most debated new hardware was NVIDIA's Quad-SLI, which was awarded "best product of CES" earlier this year. We had the chance to put two identical retail 7900 GX2 QuadSLI and X1900 XTX CrossFire systems right next to each other and evaluate them. There were quite a bunch of surprises.
The Thermaltake Big Typhoon is known for being one of the top-performing air coolers out there. Now Thermaltake has released a smaller, lighter cooler called the Mini Typhoon which is is supposed to offer the best features of the Big Typhoon at a fraction of the cost. Can six heatpipes and a 92mm fan keep your CPU cool?
A few weeks ago I got me a new notebook from Lenovo, the Thinkpad X60s. Soon I realized that the default memory configuration of 512 MB is not enough. Since the official memory upgrades are rather expensive I thought I'd give G.SKILL notebook memory a try. These modules come for about half the price of the original memory and offer rock stable performance for your memory hungry applications.
Today we take a look at the Point of View 7900 GTX, which is based on the current high end chip from NVIDIA, the G71. The GeForce 7900 Series was introduced during CeBIT this year, and has replaced the old 7800 Series line up. A major change is the increased clock speed of 650 MHz on the core and 1600 MHz on the GDDR3 memory. While the card is not exactly budget at $499 it is still cheaper than most other 7900 GTX cards from the competition.
Thermaltake provides the Tai-Chi in two versions, one with pre-installed water cooling and one without. Obviously the water cooled equipped Tai-Chi comes with a hefty price tag and is one of the most expensive cases. Gazing at this behemoth one would expect it to do laundry too, however everything I wash turns pink even the poka dots. So after having to explain to the kids we didn't get a new TV I lugged the box indoors. Time to see what's inside the crate and makes this the top of the line Thermaltake offers.
SteelSeries has been manufacturing gaming gear for the gaming enthusiast for half a decade. The SteelPad 5L is the latest incarnation of there SteelSeries gaming surface series and today we take the SteelPad 5L for a test drive. The gaming surface at first glance looks like the typical cloth type mouse pads of back in the day when we all had roller style mouses and input devices. The cushion layer thats between the surface and backing resembles a thin layer of neoprene, so the surface has a stiff but sponge like feel to it. The surface is comfortable and smooth to the touch. Let's have a look.
Pentagram has been a leading supplier of communication products for the european market in the last years. Now they are entering the CPU heatsink business with a load of new products. The NXC 100-Cu heatsink uses the proven "flower" design in an all-copper approach. The cooler supports all current CPU sockets and comes with an easy to use fan controller.
The Evercool Turbo2 is a universal GPU cooler which fits all cards from NVIDIA and ATI, including the 7800/7900 and X1800/X1900 Series. What really makes this fan stand out compared to other solutions is that it is extremely quiet while still being able to keep your card cool. Another plus is that you can find it online for a bargain $20.
The F2-4200PHU2-1GBNT are G.SKILL's latest budget DDR2 memory kit. Even though they lack heatspreaders they offer excellent overclocking. Our sample would go from the advertised DDR2-4200 up to a blazing DDR2-5800. What makes this kit even more attractive is that you can tighten the timings to 3-3-2-4. All this comes at a very competitive price of only $75 for a 2x512 MB dual channel kit.
With all the attention on the high ends cards being released most people overlook the bargain video cards that are already out by numerous OEM manufactures. It seems everyone is on the band wagon and this includes Diamond Multimedia. With the release of the GTO and GTO² series there are some goods deals to be had. We'll be taking a look at Diamond's Viper X800GTO PCI-E to see it's no X1900 but would take the sting out of finally upgrading to PCI-E.
At this year's CeBIT NVIDIA had a load of new products and was very aggressively marketing them, which made ATI's existing customers feel insecure. In order to level the playing field and reassure distributors that ATI is indeed able to compete, this presentation was created. It quotes several big websites on topics like X1800GTO, 7600 and 7900.
ASRock did it again. The 939SLI32-eSATA is the killer budget board of 2006. It comes with two PCI-Express x16 slots and supports NVIDIA's SLI. Other new features are Gigabit Ethernet and support for eSATA. Also the overclocking has been polished some, the dreaded 275 MHz limit is gone and there are more memory timings options available. With a CPU socket upgrade card this board can even run with AMD's upcoming AM2 CPUs.
In this presentation ATI talks about "The Product Stack" which is one way to measure how much bang you get for your buck. There is a comparison of different price segments against what the competition from NVIDIA has to offer. Also there is a hint of "cable-free CrossFire mode" with upcoming Catalyst 6.5.
G.SKILL presented their new 2GB F1-4000BIU2-2GBHV DDR memory kit at Cebit. If you are looking for a well overclocking 2GB memory kit you should definitely take a look. Even though it comes with CL3 timings, it will also run at CL2 and CL2.5. It can do all its overclocking magic at only 2.6V so this may be a good choice for users of budget motherboards which do not offer allow voltage adjustments in the BIOS.
OCZ has been a technology leader in the overclocker's memory business for quite a while now. Their new DDR2 PC2-6400 Platinum XTC kit comes with stock timings of 4-5-4-15 which we could tighten down to 3-3-2-4 and still get some serious overclocking out of the memory.
Our Cebit coverage ends with reports from SiS, Asetek, Foxconn, Primecooler, Scythe, Arctic Cooling and NVIDIA. The highlights here are definitely the NVIDIA Quad-SLI and slides from the NVIDIA press conference.