Friday News, April 22nd 2011

After the major success that the original Portal experienced, Valve was no doubt under intense pressure to deliver a sequel that could live up to the hype it’s been receiving, if not surpass it. Fortunately, for those who’ve been patiently awaiting its release, Portal 2 delivers on almost all fronts – and yes, it’s easily GOTY material.

You can see another I’ve only played for about an hour of the single player, and I’m already having a blast myself!

KitGuru have given away thousands of pounds of hardware in the last year. Today’s competition however is something really special. We are giving away an AMD HD6990. Yes, one lucky KitGuru reader in just over a months time will be playing all the new games with the fastest graphics card in the world.

In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests the Crucial m4 solid state drive against several of the fastest consumer storage devices available. Based on the Marvell 88SS9174-BLD2 SSD processor, this SATA 6 Gb/s drive is claimed to provide 415 MB/s reads and 260 MB/s writes with up to 90,000 IOPS. We’ve tested the Crucial m4 SSD against its older sibling, the Crucial RealSSD C300, to measure comparative performance differences. The 256GB model CT256M4SSD2 Crucial m4 also competes with the latest SandForce and Indilinx-based solid state drives, and our SSD test results show which product leads the consumer storage market.

What happened to our old friend, the OCZ Vertex 2 60GB? Other than the obvious of the new kid having bigger storage capacity, the last Vertex 2 we have reviewed back in November has 34nm flash ICs, whereas the one we are reviewing today is from a new batch consisting of 25nm chips. This is where all the controversy started. People were complaining about OCZ silently swapping to 25nm, resulting in degraded performance and lower usable capacity. But with all the controversy around lower capacity units like the 120GB version, how is the slightly more expensive 160GB unit? So we stacked up some benchmarks and put them in to the ring for a nice boxing match. OCZ Vertex 2 34nm vs. OCZ Vertex 2 25nm. Is it really as bad as you think? Read on to find out!

For the mainstream gaming enthusiast audience, today’s review product is both feature packed and attractively priced. The Asus P8P67 Deluxe is a 16+2 phase DIGI+ VRM design which fully supports Intel’s VRD12 specifications. There are three PCI Express x16 slots and a PLX PEX8608 chip to add 8 additional PCI Express lanes so bandwidth isn’t impacted when USB 3 and SATA 6 GBps devices are used in Crossfire or SLI configurations.

Case, Cooling and Power

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OCZ have been at the forefront of Solid State drive development for a very long time now, the original Vertex and the Vertex 2 were both class leading SATA 3Gbps drives. We will be honest when we say that we have high hopes for the 6Gbps successor, today’s review product, the Vertex 3.

MSI’s mainstream offering to the P67 family is the P67A-GD65. According to the packaging the motherboard comes in it offers quite a bit in the form of overclocking, high quality on-board components as well as USB 3.0 and SATA III support. All the right things that a consumer are looking for. The packaging can say one thing but will its time on the test bench say the same? We will see.

Today’s review sample is the ASRock E350M1, which as the name indicates is an AMD E350 Fusion APU with the Hudson-M1 (A50M) FCH. This is an mITX desktop board aimed at anyone interested in building a powerful, yet power conservative, HTPC or Nettop system. With the dual-core 1600MHz E350 being fused together with a Radeon HD 6310 GPU, it makes for the perfect platform with enough horse power for either task. Should you want to make a light TV gaming machine, a digital TV box for DVR, or want the best sound possible for your movies, then there is also a full length PCIe slot that can be filled with a discrete card to match your needs. Having four internal SATA-III ports could easily turn the E350M1 into a massive storage DVR or media storage HTPC. Join us as we see what this little APU equipped board is made of and what it is capable of handling.

ASUS’s top tier line of products is the Republic of Gamers line of products otherwise known as ROG. If you are purchasing an ROG product you know you are getting the best of the best and something that is going to last you a long time. With any line it is broken up into segments, Extreme being the highest, Formula being in the middle and Gene at the lower end. Today we will be taking a look at the Rampage III Formula board and from the name we know it sits in the middle. This is an Intel X58 board that has many of the features of its more expensive brother the Rampage III Extreme for a more reasonable price. Let’s take a look and see if this board is perfect for your next build!


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