Wednesday News, September 28th 2011

Kitguru often focuses on the ultra high end hardware, but today we are building a system around the Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3 Z68 motherboard, a new product which aims to deliver the best price point possible. At a shade under £85 we wanted to test this new mobo with the award winning Intel 2500K processor. Can we upgrade your older system to a new, kick ass CrossfireX gaming system for around £600?

We've never been fans of mid-range cards, but that's all down to the fact that the staff at eTeknix are enthusiasts through and through, but we do believe that mid-range cards have their place in the market, as not everyone has ?400+ to spend on a dual GPU monster like the Radeon 6990 or GTX 590, and for the most part, cards like that would be wasted on most consumers. This is why we find manufacturers releasing these refreshed cards which give the consumer something more than your bog standard reference card.

The OCZ Z-Drive R4 PCI Express SSD contains eight SandForce SF-2281 processors, 128 pieces of NAND flash memory and a Superscale Storage Controller. If ever a MONSTER storage device was created, the R4 definitely answers that call. In fact, a simple review just doesn't seem appropriate for the OCZ Z-Drive R4 (Z-R4). Let's throw it in the ring against FUSION-IO's ioDrive Duo (io-D), see who can go all twelve rounds and emerge the true heavyweight champion. Let the storage wars begin!

Case and Peripherals

We are benchmarking the Intel Core i3 2120 CPU against the AMD Phenom II X2 560 CPU. The Intel Core i3 2120 is clocked at 3300Mhz while the AMD Phenom II X2 560 is clocked at 3300Mhz. The Intel Core i3 2120 supports MMX+, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSE4, EM64T, VT-X AND AVX. A big disadvantage for the Intel Core i3 2120 is the 3MB Level 3 Cache while the AMD Phenom II X2 560 has 6MB Level 3 Cache. We will be using Benchmarks for testing the Intel Core i3 2120 and AMD Phenom II X2 560 which are:- Cinebench, Geekbench, Novabench and Nuclearus. Games are Hawk 2 and Lost Planet 2. The AMD Phenom II X2 560 is Dual Core so it's going to be as interesting fight for the Intel Core i3 2120 which is also Dual Core.

The winner of the current F1 season is almost a sure-thing, but is Codemasters' latest F1 sim as well? With the introduction of DRS and KERS, improved driving physics, more realistic AI, a new collection of tracks, an improved focus on multi-player and the greatest racing challenge to date – it just might be.