Tuesday News, June 14th 2011

This year AMD’s Fusion low cost platform has hit the spotlight, offering hardware accelerated performance with miniscule power demands and heat output. While this will suit many people, some of the enthusiast audience will want to spend more money and aim higher up the food chain. Today’s article should tickle the tastebuds as we will be building a small form factor PC with a new Sapphire mini ITX motherboard with a passively discrete cooled graphics card.

RAM is one of the basic building blocks of a computer system, and although the technology has changed over the years the same basic idea of quick temporary storage has been RAM’s main purpose since its inception. Gamers have always wanted the fastest speeds possible but unfortunately that meant that many of the fastest kits were very expensive. Since the introduction of DDR3 prices have plummeted and speeds have skyrocketed and a good set of 2 x 4GB RAM can be had for under $150. G.Skill understands this and has SKU’s designed for every price range. G.Skill’s most recent addition is its Sniper series of which we will be looking at the 1866 MHz F3-14900CL9D-8GBSR kit which is well priced $104.99 providing users above average speeds with relatively tight 9-10-9-28 timings. Benchmark Reviews will determine if this RAM is worth its price or if users are better off getting slower, less expensive SKU’s.

Case and Power

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OWC has just released the Extreme Pro 6Gbps SSD. At 240GB, and sporting some of the most cutting-edge I/O circuitry, it is capable of pushing the SATA3 interface almost to its limits. The advertised speeds for this drive are 559 MBps (read) and and 527 MBps (write). If true, this is nothing short of amazing, considering the theoretical maximum is 600 MBps. Achieving 90% of a spec’s theoretical performance wall is nothing to sneeze at in even the most mature architectures.

You may remember the Sharkoon Flexi-Drive Extreme Duo that we looked at back in February which gave us some outstanding results and didn’t break the piggy bank to much either. Since then we were ever so keen on getting our hands on some more drives from different manufacturers to see exactly how they rate and if they live up to the hype behind the USB 3.0 marketing. Today starts us off with a 16GB USB 3.0 flash drive from leading storage manufacturer; Mach Xtreme with their MX-GX which features quad-channel technology to give the highest transfer rate possible.

The latest VIPER Xtreme Low Latency 6GB DDR3 1600MHz CL8 kit by Patriot Memory may not be the fastest of its kind but thanks to the new low-profile heatsinks it looks great and also hits the sweet spot between performance and price.

AMD’s Brazos platform spans mobility and the small form factor desktop.
We review Sapphire’s Pure Fusion Mini E350, a mini-ITX board in the TDP of
an energy-efficient processor to see how it’s moved on the low power and
media consumption market niche.

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