Saturday, October 20, 2018

Frank Stroupe

Power SuppliesReviews

Sparkle Computer Gold Class 850W Power Supply Review

Our friends at Sparkle Computer, manufacturer of some of the best non-reference geForce graphics cards in the industry, has recently gone into the power supply business, and have released their Gold Class series of power supplies. All of these PSUs are modular and 80Plus Gold certified. Today I will be looking at Sparkle Computer’s Gold Class 850 watt power supply, which is not only 80Plus Gold and modular, it sports a full five +12v rails. Read on to check out the Sparkle Computer Gold Class 850!


ASUS M4A89GTD Pro/USB3 AMD 890GX Socket AM3 Motherboard Review

If you didn’t know, AMD and partners market and sell the “GX” and “G” series motherboards as economy boards.  They differ from the FX in that they have integrated graphics, but they are fully capable of running discrete video cards.  Though their graphics capabilities are more for HTPC and “surf the net and read email” people, the onboard VGA is getting better and will actually play a number of games at lower settings. Today I will be looking at one of ASUS’ new 890 GX motherboards, the M4A89GTD Pro/USB3.  This board is just bursting with new features, some we haven’t seen before, others we’ve seen on Asus’ Intel boards but not their AMD boards.  The chipset not only natively supports SATA 6Gb/s, it also has brand new integrated graphics, the Radeon HD 4290, which ATI says far surpasses the earlier HD 4200.  Will the M4A89GTD Pro/USB3 pass the test?  Read on to see!


ASUS AT3IONT-I Deluxe Atom 330/nVidia ION Motherboard Review

The HTPC is growing increasingly popular as people discover the endless possibilities of the multimedia side of the PC. Yeah, I know, we enthusiasts have realized this for a long time, but keep in mind that the average PC user still primarily uses his/her rig for email and surfing the net. Well, add loading music into their iPOD, hanging out with their Facebook friends, and watching YouTube videos to that list. Most still haven’t realized how versatile that intimidating box they know as simply “my computer” can be. Our friends at Asus have been working hard to create the ideal HTPC setup in their new AT3IONT-I Deluxe Mini-ITX board. Powered by a passively cooled Intel Atom 330 processor and nVidia ION chipset and sporting onboard WiFi among other features, their MiniMax Home Entertainment Center may just be what you need to build that home theater around. Read on to check out the Asus AT3IONT-I Deluxe!


ASUS P6X58D-E Intel X58 Express Motherboard Review

Though well equipped, including Asus’ TurboV, Asus Express gate, and Asus EPU6, among many other features, that first Asus X58 motherboard I had, the P6T, has become a little dated, especially compared to Asus’ newer motherboards.  The P6T had 8+2 phase voltage regulating, Asus has since improved on that with other boards.  And both USB3 and SATA 6Gb/s has been released since the P6T was released. So to bring the venerable X58 up to date, Asus has released a couple of new X58 boards.  Today I will be looking at the Asus P6X58D-E motherboard, a new Asus board sporting 16+2 phase power, true USB3 and SATA 6Gb/s, and support for the Intel Bloomfield processor and Microsoft Windows 7.  Read on to check out the Asus P6X58D-E motherboard!


How to Flash (Update) Your Motherboard’s System BIOS

Recently Bob did an article on <a href="">finding out the model of your motherboard.</a> Since you usually find out the version of your board’s BIOS at the same time, I thought that an article on updating, or flashing, your BIOS would be a good idea. There were numerous articles on the subject back when I first got into building, and all of them involved a 3.5” floppy drive. Today, nearly all motherboards have multiple options for flashing the BIOS, and normally a floppy isn’t required.


G.Skill PIS Series DDR3-2400 4GB Dual Channel Memory Kit Review

Up to this point the fastest memory I have owned was DDR3-2000. The guys at G.Skill contacted me recently to ask if I was interested in memory even faster than that…of course I was! G.Skill is one of those companies that I knew was out there but I had never really considered their memory in the past, as most I usually purchase from the “household name” companies. But G.Skill is not a newcomer to the memory industry, having been in business building memory since 1989. Today I will be looking at G.Skill’s latest, a DDR3-2400 4GB kit with timings of 9-11-9. This memory has been engineered specifically for the Intel Core i7 860/870 LGA 1156 processor and P55 Express chipset. Of course the memory operates at Intel’s max VDIMM of 1.65v, and it comes with a very nice cooling fan. Read on to check out the G.Skill PIS Series DDR3-2400 memory!


ASRock X58 Extreme3 Intel X58 Motherboard Review

The problem is the other new technologies that have just emerged, SATA 6 Gb/s and USB 3. Most of us had no idea that either was in the works when the Core i7/X58 emerged. Going to the expense of buying the new Core i7 980X, you definitely want the latest data transfer technologies, and with an older X58 board, the only way you will get them is with PCI expansion cards. But, the motherboard manufacturers are ready for this, and some have already released new models of X58 boards supporting SATA 6 Gb/s and USB 3. Today I will be looking at the ASRock X58 Extreme 3, their new top-of-the-line board. It not only supports SATA 6 Gb/s and USB 3, but also supports eSATA 6Gb/s. Read on to check out the ASRock X58 Extreme3!

Graphics CardsReviews

Sparkle GeForce 210 1GB Video Card Review

The largest use for mainstream video cards is to add some graphics “oomph” to that off-the-shelf Dell, HP, Compaq, or whatever. With a CPU and integrated graphics designed to “just get by”, the mainstream video card adds extra power and life to the compromised graphics of the “store bought” rig. In the past I have reviewed several ATI mainstream cards, but I haven’t had the opportunity try an nVidia mainstream card. Today I will be looking at Sparkle’s brand new geForce mainstream card. Though the geForce 210 has been around for a while, Sparkle has just released this new model with a full gig of memory, to free up that system memory that is normally taken by the integrated graphics. Read on to check out the Sparkle GeForce 210 1GB video card.


Thermaltake Element Q Mini-ITX Case Review

But recently, I’ve had the bug for a small footprint rig for HTPC. I have had several mATX motherboards over the past year, but never ended up with a small case for them. Recently I was asked to review a Mini-ITX motherboard, and this time I couldn’t wing it, I would have to have a case for it. Imagine my excitement when I opened the box and saw that familiar orange and red Thermaltake logo. I’ve had one Thermaltake HTPC styled case, but though it was a desktop it still was large enough to house an ATX motherboard. Not so here, this one will hold only the 6.7” x 6.7” Mini-ITX board. Today I will be looking at the Thermaltake Element Q Mini-ITX Case. It is quite small, but still has room for a 5.25” drive and a pair of 3.5” drives. It also comes with its own 220 watt power supply. Read on to check out the Thermaltake Element Q!


ASRock A330ION nVidia MCP7A-ION Mini-ITX Motherboard Review

Recently, Bob asked me if I would be interested in reviewing a Mini-ITX motherboard. Since I’ve been interested in a small footprint HTPC rig, so I said yes. Today I will be looking at the ASRock A330ION Mini-ITX motherboard, based on the nVidia MCP7A-ION chipset and complete with an Intel Atom 330 dual core processor. It has onboard nVidia geForce 9 Series graphics, and supports dual channel DDR3 memory. This thing is so small I have to put on my glasses just to see it. Is it true that dynamite comes in small packages? Read on to see!


OCZ Platinum DDR3-1600 4GB Low Voltage Dual Channel Memory Kit Review

Keep in mind that though most of us in the PC Hardware website realm generally fall in or near what I call the “extreme enthusiast”, more interested in overclocking, high-end gaming, or just owning powerful rigs…pretty much what you would have considered “an enthusiast” just a few years ago. But the term “enthusiast” has changed, encompassing a large number of new “enthusiasts”…the HTPC crowd, and those with high-end workstations. So rather than purchasing the upper end memory which will generally be purchased by the extreme enthusiast or overclocker, it is more likely that the buyer will get DDR3-1600 or DDR3-1333 memory. Today I will be looking at OCZ’s Platinum DDR3-1600 Low Voltage Dual Channel 4GB Memory Kit. It sports some tight timings of 7-7-7, and meets Intel’s requirement of doing its thing at a max of 1.65 volts. An has those beautiful platinum-plated OCZ Platinum heatspreaders. Will it live up to the expectations we have for OCZ memory? Read on to see!


ASUS P7P55D-E Pro Intel P55 LGA 1156 Motherboard Review

There are a couple of other decisions that will have to be made, mainly whether or not to get ready for the two other new technologies on the market…SATA 6gb/s, and USB 3. Many new P55 motherboards have onboard SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3, but were you aware that most of them actually use PCI-E lanes to compensate for the lack of buses to utilize these new methods of data transfer, taking those valuable lanes away from the video cards? Today I will be looking at the Asus P7P55D-E Pro, a middle-of-the-road version of Asus’ new P55 motherboards that sport SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3 without PCI-E compensation. Yes, this board prepares you for the future while allowing you the full use of your PCI-E lanes for SLI or CrossfireX by using Asus’ new PLX implementation. Is the P7P55D-E Pro the P55 board to have? Read on to see!

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