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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 03:52

A staggering assortment of Serial ATA SSDs has passed through the Benchmarking Sweatshop in recent years. Seriously, we've got results for something like 70 drives on our current testbed alone. Most of them use eight-channel controllers either developed in-house by the drive makers or selected from Marvell or SandForce stocks. Each new generation brings lower prices thanks to NAND built on a finer fabrication process, but they all start to look the same after a while.

Then, every so often, one of them stands out. The Adata Premier SP610 isn't yet another die-shrunk spin on a familiar controller; it's based on an entirely unfamiliar Silicon Motion SM2246EN chip that gets by on ...

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Date: Friday, 12 Sep 2014 00:42
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Date: Wednesday, 10 Sep 2014 14:40
The Tech Report Podcast

Date: September 10, 2014
Duration: 1:03:06

Hosted by: Jordan Drake

Co-Hosts: Scott Wasson, Geoff Gasior, and Cyril Kowaliski

Special guest: Asus' Raja Gill

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Date: Monday, 08 Sep 2014 20:51

One of the funny things about Intel's workstation- and server-class Xeon processors is that we kind of think we know what's coming before each new generation arrives. For instance, the new generation of chips known as Haswell-EP is making its debut today, yet the Haswell microarchitecture has been shipping in client systems for over a year. The desktop derivative of this very silicon, Haswell-E, was introduced late last month, too.

What amazes me about the new Xeons, though, is how much more there is to them than one might have expected. Intel's architects and designers have crammed formidable new technologies into these chips in order to allow them to scale up to large ...

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Date: Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014 12:01

In many ways, AMD's FX processor series seems to have fallen by the wayside lately. While A-series APUs were refreshed with new Kaveri silicon this past January, the FX family has been trucking along with the same Vishera silicon since 2012. The accompanying 990FX chipset is a year older and begging for a replacement. At this point, one might have expected AMD to let the FX family die a dignified death—then fill in the gaps with high-octane Kaveri APUs.

But that's not ...

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Date: Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014 12:00

As a guy who reviews video cards, it's pretty easy to become cynical about these things. That's been especially true during the past couple of years, as we've seen the same handful of graphics chips spun into multiple "generations" of products. The core GPU technology is a technological wonder, but the endless re-spins get to be tiresome.

When AMD revealed the imminent arrival of the Radeon R9 285 recently, I have to admit, I wasn't exactly thrilled. Yes, the R9 285 would be ...

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Date: Friday, 29 Aug 2014 16:02

I recently reviewed Cooler Master's Elite 110 Mini-ITX case, and while I found it suitable for a mid-range gaming PC, I felt that it might leave the enthusiast builder wanting. Today, I'm taking a look at Corsair's latest enthusiast-oriented Mini-ITX enclosure, the Graphite Series 380T. With a built-in fan controller, enough room for high-end components and their accompanying coolers, and aggressive styling, the 380T seems set to play the Ferrari or Lamborghini to the subdued, subcompact Elite 110. Is there substance under all of that style? I'm going to fill 'er up with some high-performance components and find out.

...

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Date: Friday, 29 Aug 2014 16:01

At long last, Haswell-E is upon us—and it was worth the wait. Intel's latest high-end desktop processor crams up to eight cores and 16 threads into a single socket. It has enough PCIe Gen3 lanes to fuel exotic graphics configurations, and it's backed by quad channels of DDR4 memory. So, yeah, pretty awesome.

And the processor is just one part of the overall package. Haswell-E comes with a new chipset, dubbed X99, that replaces the aging X79 Express Intel has been milking since the Sandy Bridge era. This updated I/O hub brings ...

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Date: Friday, 29 Aug 2014 16:00

For a PC hobbyist who's into building high-end systems with elaborate water-cooling setups and multiple GPUs, it doesn't get any better than Intel's Core i7 Extreme processors. They're pricey, sure, but they're clearly the fastest, most capable CPUs on the planet.

Except, you know, ...

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Date: Tuesday, 26 Aug 2014 03:14
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Date: Tuesday, 26 Aug 2014 02:58
The Tech Report Podcast

Date: August 25, 2014
Duration: 1:03:06

Hosted by: Jordan Drake

Co-Hosts: Scott Wasson, Geoff Gasior, and Cyril Kowaliski

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Date: Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 21:14

More than 18 months have passed since we last looked at one of Zotac's Zbox mini-PCs. In that span of time, Intel has released its Haswell processors, Sony and Microsoft have unleashed their next-gen consoles, and countless lesser gizmos have landed in stores. Many new and graphically demanding games, most of them primed for the next-gen consoles, have also turned up.

So, yeah. It's ...

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Date: Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 16:13

We've been excited about Nvidia's G-Sync technology for nearly a year, since the firm first unveiled the concept to the world at a press event last fall. The basic idea—letting the graphics card tell the display to update itself when the next frame of animation is ready—is simple yet revolutionary. Getting rid of the fixed display refresh interval had an immediate, dramatic impact in those initial demos at Nvidia's announcement.

We liked G-Sync just as well once we got to spend time with it in pre-production form early this year. Heck, I ...

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Date: Tuesday, 19 Aug 2014 04:01

AMD is known primarily for its CPU and graphics products. The company has been selling Radeon-branded memory since 2011, though, and it's now entering the storage market. Put your hands together for the new Radeon R7 SSD:

The drive is the next step in a strategy to increase the number of PC components bearing the Radeon name. And that's mostly what this is—an SSD bearing the Radeon name . ...

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Date: Monday, 18 Aug 2014 03:28
The Tech Report Podcast

Date: August 17, 2014
Duration: 1:24:55

Hosted by: Jordan Drake

Co-Hosts: Scott Wasson, Geoff Gasior, Cyril Kowaliski, and Jeff Kampman

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Date: Monday, 18 Aug 2014 03:03

Like most PC enthusiasts, I like power—and lots of it. It's especially cool when that power comes in a small package. While chipmakers are cramming more and more power into ever-smaller areas of silicon, though, the typical ATX PC case remains pretty darn big—especially considering most people may never use its copious expandability.

I recently reviewed Gigabyte's Brix Gaming BXi5-G760, a barebones mini-PC that packs a big punch. The Brix Gaming is expensive when fully loaded, and its tiny fans are quite noisy, but I was still impressed by the amount of computing power per cubic inch it offers. My ...

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Date: Wednesday, 13 Aug 2014 13:01

The steady decline in SSD prices has been one of the most fascinating trends of the past few years. Shrinking flash fabrication technologies deserve the bulk of the credit for lowering the cost per gigabyte. However, OCZ also played a role by aggressively discounting its SSDs, which fueled a price war that hasn't fully subsided since.

Those discounts surely contributed to OCZ's former financial difficulties. The company filed for bankruptcy last year, and it was subsequently acquired by Toshiba. All things considered, that's probably the best thing ...

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Date: Monday, 11 Aug 2014 22:21

If you just glanced at Nvidia's new Shield Tablet, you might mistake it for any other Android slate. They all sort of look alike—rectangular touchscreens surrounded by simple bezels and backed by slim bodies—and the Shield doesn't break the mold. There's barely even a hint of Nvidia's trademark green on the exterior.

Upon closer inspection, however, the Shield reveals itself to be quite unlike any other Android tablet. Inside the nondescript frame lurks a Tegra K1 SoC whose integrated graphics is born from the same architecture ...

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Date: Monday, 11 Aug 2014 16:01

For some time now, the features of AMD's Seattle server processor have been painted in broad brush strokes. We've known since last year about Seattle's eight ARM Cortex-A57 cores, its 28-nm process geometry, and AMD's plan to deliver it in late 2014. Seattle was the subject of a live demo in May of this year, when AMD disclosed its plan to market the chip as the Opteron A1100.

The specifics of Seattle's architecture have, ...

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Date: Monday, 11 Aug 2014 16:00

Intel hasn't taken too kindly to the revolution in mobile devices that has happened largely without its participation. The rise of smartphones and tablets with ARM-compatible chips onboard has become a major threat to Intel's dominance in the processor business—and this is, after all, a company built on the mantra that "only the paranoid survive."

Thus, for several technology generations, Intel has slowly adjusted its heading to better compete in mobile devices. The firm has used its expertise in chip manufacturing and design to cram PC-like performance into ever smaller footprints. Last year's Haswell ...

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