If you are an enthusiast who is always playing with hardware, constantly swapping components, the HighSpeedPC Tech Station might be for you. We test the large version which offers plenty of space to add serious watercooling or even more exotic stuff. During our review we check if it's easy enough to put together and we also put a system inside the Tech Station to see if it can live up to the expectations.
The "Silencer" series from Arctic Cooling has been famous for delivering top notch performance while still being quiet. The Arctic Cooling Accelero X2 is the first aftermarket cooler engineered for the ATI Radeon X1800 and X1900 series. It features a completely revamped design and continues the tradition of powerful and silent.
The Corsair FlashVoyager USB Sticks are well known for their ruggedness. During our testing we boil and freeze the USB stick, put it into the dish washer and run over it with a car, more testing happens in the toaster and in the washing machine, and we finally managed to break it. Not only can the stick take a lot of beating but the transfer speeds are also among the fastest.
Thermaltake introduces its new Big Water 745 kit with single and dual radiators. Adding an improved water block and a move to 3/8" tubing Thermaltake takes the Big Water to a new level. Also included is a beefed up pump with larger reservoir. We'll check the new parts inside and out while testing it against its predecessor.
The ECS PF88 Extreme is a unique motherboard. Its SIS 656 chipset offers users the possibility to purchase CPU add-in cards, called SIMA cards which allow to run a completely different CPU architecture on the motherboard. At the moment SIMA cards are available for Intel Pentium M Socket 479, AMD Socket 754 and AMD Socket 939. Together with the on-board Socket LGA 775 this means that you can run any mainstream CPU available today. However, there are a few BIOS bugs, one allowed us to get a POST screenshot at 6750 MHz.
Artic Cooling is famous for their video card coolers, but they offer more. The Freezer 64 Pro is the latest addition to their CPU coolers. Clever routing of airflow cools the motherboard voltage circuitry. Another good idea is that the fan is mounted on rubber posts which absorb any vibration caused by the fan. During our testing we learn that the Freezer 64 Pro can not only deliver solid cooling performance but does so without creating a lot of noise.
The Mambo is another competitively priced case from Thermaltake. It weighs only 6.2kg but still offers all the comfort of a full tower case. Its elegant black design makes it pleasing for the eyes of the more mature computer users.
NVIDIA is successfully filling all the gaps on today's market, offering solutions for both the masses as well as the few "exclusive" people. The 6800GS is NVIDIA's latest product and is aimed at people looking for a compromise between performance and money. Unlike the 6800 Ultra, which is no longer manufactured, the card has only 12 pipelines, but the GPU clock has been bumped up by 25 MHz.
G.SKILL is known for their well performing memory, which doesn't cost an arm and a leg. We have their latest 2GB kit on the testbench and were surprised by the good results. For $200 you get a 2 GB kit which performs very close to Samsung TCCD. Our best result was 272 MHz at only 2.8V. Impressive for a 2GB kit.
ATI video card specialist Sapphire has built this Crossfire-ready motherboard with enthusiasts and gamers in mind. Special care has been given to providing the whole range of needed BIOS options to properly tweak the motherboard. Its unique white design will make the board stand out of the crowd.
Thermalright is well known for making world-class CPU coolers. Now they have entered the VGA cooling business. The Thermalright V1 Ultra is an improved version of the V1 and features a third heatpipe. Not only does it cool well, it does this without creating a lot of fan noise. During our testing the cooler could easily beat a low-cost watercooling solution.
Modern games require more and more memory. One gigabyte of system memory has pretty much become today's standard. Once you turn up the eye candy you are much better off having 2 GB. OCZ is using their new XTC honey-comb heatspreaders on these modules which offer much better thermal properties than the traditional solid heatspreaders. For 1024 MB modules the overclocking works quite well too, we reached up to 240 MHz without any voltage increase.
MGE targets the extreme gamer/modder niche and the build-your-own mainstream market of PC enthusiasts with this power supply. It features a unique blue anodized design with side windows in the PSU case. A PCI-Express video card connector is available, all cables are sleeved. During our testing we found that the PSU can supply stable clean voltage. Another plus is that the retail price of $60 is quite competitive.
When I first heard that DFI is coming up with a new "Expert" version of this board, I was wondering if they could really improve things so much that it warrants a new product. Yes they did! There are a lot of improvements compared to the older LanParty NF4 series. For example you can finally run four 512 MB memory modules at 1T timing.
When we hear Razer, we think of high-performance mice made for gamers. The latest Razer product is the Razer Copperhead Gaming Mouse, it has an amazing 2000 DPI laser engine with a response time of 1 ms. Unlike other mice the laser never powers down during game play, so you are ready to frag at any time.
Cooler Master has engineered a great PSU which has a PCI-Express Power connector and can supply 12V from three rails. Most PSUs have only one or two. For the visual aspect there is a Watt Viewer which goes into a drive bay and automatically displays the current power consumption of your computer - without the need of additional software.
After all the good reviews NVIDIA got for their brand-new 7800 GTX 512 MB, ATI had to come up with ideas how to respond to this. Instead of building better products which are available at launch date, their marketing guys sat down and put together this presentation.
MIPS Computer is a manufacturer of specialized high-performance water cooling solutions for overclockers. Their products offer excellent build quality made in Germany. This time we test the RAM Freezer which is a water cooling device for DDR1/DDR2 memory. We saw great testing results with Winbond UTT, Samsung TCCD and Winbond BH-5 memory - up to 25 MHz faster without any additional fan noise is very impressive.
OCZ is well known for being constantly on the lookout for new ways to improve performance of their enthusiast memories. The 3200 Gold GX XTC are using OCZ's completely reingeneered heatspreaders which feature a pattern of honeycomb holes for improved heat transfer. Being able to run tight latencies of 2-2-2-5 1T is a great way to improve system performance. In our tests we could run at DDR476 with those timings.
Sansun is a new and rather unknown company, which produces various types of hardware including premodded cases. There are different designs available, the one that we tested has a Batman theme. It looks good and performs pretty well at the same time.
Mushkin has been well known for producing top-notch overclocker's memory. Now they have released a 2 GB kit which features their brand-new reengineered heatspreaders. Even though it uses 6 ns rated memory chips from Infineon we could overclock them to 280 MHz, a great result for a 2 GB kit.
ASRock has engineered the 939Dual-SATA2 around ULi's new M1695 chipset. The board has both AGP 8x and PCI-Express x16 slots which do not suffer from performance loss like other manufacturers' implementations. You can even use both slots at the same time. General performance is very close to that of the competition. Suprisingly the board is a good overclocker as well, it reached an amazing 380 MHz HTT after some tweaking.
Today, we will take a look at Sapphire's Radeon X850XT Platinum Edition for AGP. With nForce 4 for AMD and the i9XX chipsets for Intel, it seemed that the long era of AGP was over once and for all. However, about a year later, this is not quite the case, and many people still use AGP. Is there still some life left in the dying standard? Or would you be better off upgrading to PCI-Express right this minute?
The G.SKILL F1-4000USU2-2GBHZ unite overclocking and 2GB. They almost overclock like the best 1 GB Dual-Channel kits, but offer double the amount of capacity. We reached 275 MHz (DDR550) at low 2.6V. If you want the smoothness of 2 GB and also overclocking, they can be yours for about $245, which is an excellent price.
Sirtec may not be one of the known big players of the PSU industry, but in fact they are a huge OEM producer of power supplies, for example for Thermaltake and Chieftec. We test Sirtec's 410W unit which offers a beautiful chrome finish and a low-noise fan at a very competitive price.