The best mid-budget wireless gaming headset

Turtle Beach Ear Force Z300Turtle Beach Ear Force Z300

  • Quality construction
  • Excellent virtual surround with Dolby DTX Headphone: X
  • Bluetooth support
  • Less comfortable than Steelseries H Wireless over long periods
  • Poor wireless range with USB receiver

Turtle Beach has the console headset market pretty well sewn up, but its position in PC audio is of a relative outlier, particularly compared to familiar, reliable names such as Creative, Logitech… you know, the companies who were making headphones before you got your first PC. For context, then: the Turtle Beach Ear Force Z300 is a wireless PC variation on its excellent PX4 and Stealth models for PS4 and Xbox One, respectively.Turtle Beach Ear Force Z300

It boasts a specific surround technology from Dolby called DTX Headphone: X, which is particularly good at tricking your ears into hearing a broad vertical space in addition to a wide stereo pan. When using these to listen to a 7.1 surround mix that makes use of that tech, the effect is wonderfully cinematic.
In fact it’s that surround sound quality, coupled with the Z300’s excellent construction, that has us singling it out from the crowd at the $150 mark (give or take a few bucks). The circumaural cups do a brilliant job of filtering out external noise while also minimising heat levels thanks to a breathable material cover over its cushioned pads. It’s extremely adjustable, and the wide design of the headband allays any sensation of its weight digging in to the top of your head.Turtle Beach Ear Force Z300

Compared to our absolute top pick, the Steelseries Siberia 800, there is a noticeable difference in comfort levels during long sessions (largely down to the softer materials used in the Steelseries model’s contact points). There’s less between them in surround quality, though. Turtle Beach has been building surround cans for consoles for years now, and knows the algorithms needed to trick your ears into perceiving a wide space.

What’s more, it’s a really unfussy piece of hardware. Setup requires connecting a single, memory stick-sized USB receiver, and… that’s it. No long, dangling wires from the receiver to your PC as with so many other wireless setups. There are volume, mic volume, EQ options and compression on/off buttons on the earcups themselves, but the design doesn’t look busy or crowded.Turtle Beach Ear Force Z300

Bonus feature: it’s Bluetooth compatible, so you can hook it up to your smartphone or tablet in addition to your PC. However, that plus point actually leads us onto a flaw in the Z300’s overall package. Wireless range using the USB receiver isn’t great—the bar’s set high enough that you expect to be able to continue listening anywhere in your home, and that wasn’t true for us in this case. Via Bluetooth it’s much better though, so if you have a Bluetooth receiver for your PC it’s a good idea to use that format.

Perhaps the above issue makes this a slightly controversial pick, but in addition to the tank-like build and surround sound chops of the Z300, there’s also a really handy 15-hour battery life to win you back over. As with the SteelSeries Siberia 800, we found the manufacturer wasn’t lying on the spec sheet, and that a fully charged pair really does last longer than you’d ever want to use them for in one session—comfortably three or four sessions, actually.

Competition is fierce at this price point; relative superiority between one manufacturer’s prize fighter and another is slim. But Turtle Beach is wise to pack its strengths in the console market into this PC headset, and though it’s not a perfect offering in terms of range, the surround experience will blow you away in-game. The Turtle Beach Z300 is the best wireless headset we’ve used at a mid-budget price.

Intel’s Core i7-5960X processor

Haswell Extreme cranks up the core countcpus-top

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, when they aren’t.

The last generation of Intel’s Extreme CPUs lost much of its luster earlier this year when the Devil’s Canyon chips arrived in mid-range desktops with higher clock speeds and sometimes superior performance. It didn’t help that the Core i7-4960X and friends were saddled with the older X79 chipset, whose selection of USB and SATA ports left much to be desired.ports-socket

Happily, Intel has been cooking up a new high-end platform that should remove all doubt about who’s top dog. The CPU is known as Haswell-E, and it brings with it an updated companion chipset, the X99. Together, this dynamic duo offers more of absolutely everything you’d want in a high-end rig: more cores, larger caches, and a huge increase in high-speed I/O ports. Haswell-E is also the first desktop CPU to support DDR4 memory, which promises faster transfer rates than DDR3.
We’ve been waiting impatiently for Haswell-E’s arrival for most of the year. At last, it’s finally here. We’ve had the top CPU in the lineup, the Core i7-5960X, up and running in Damage Labs for a while now—and we’ve tested it more ways than is probably healthy. Read on for our in-depth assessment.

The E is for Extreme
Compared to the prior-gen Ivy Bridge-E chips, the new Haswell-E silicon is an upgrade on just about every front—except maybe one. Both chips are built using Intel’s 22-nm fabrication process with tri-gate transistors. Intel is on the cusp of releasing 14-nm chips for use in tablets and laptops, but these big chips probably won’t move to the new process for another year.die-shot

The most notable change in Haswell-E is embedded in its name: the transition to newer CPU cores based on the Haswell microarchitecture. Compared to Ivy Bridge, Haswell cores can execute about 5-10% more instructions in each clock cycle—and possibly more if programs make use of AVX2 instructions for fast parallel processing. Haswell also brings its voltage regulation circuitry onto the CPU die, which can allow for faster, finer-grained control over the delivery of power around the chip.cpus-top
Those improvements are welcome, but Intel hasn’t left anything to chance. The Core i7-5960X packs eight cores, and its L3 cache capacity is a beefy 20MB. That’s two more cores and 5MB more cache than the prior-gen Core i7-4960X, which should be enough to ensure the new chip’s performance superiority in multithreaded workloads.cpus-bottom

To feed all of those cores, Haswell-E can transfer tremendous, almost unreasonable amounts of data. One of the key enablers here is DDR4 memory, which offers transfer rates of 2133 MT/s on these first products—up from DDR3 at 1866 MT/s in Ivy-E—and promises to scale up from there. Haswell-E has four memory channels, so it’s starting with 68 GB/s of memory bandwidth. In theory, that’s 20 GB/s more than the last gen. That’s also, coincidentally, the same amount of memory throughput the Xbox One has dedicated to both its CPU cores and graphics.

Speaking of graphics, one of the big selling points for these Extreme platforms is PCI Express bandwidth for use with multiple graphics cards. Haswell-E doesn’t disappoint on that front, with 40 lanes of PCIe 3.0 connectivity coming directly off the CPU die. The CPU can host multi-GPU configs with 16 lanes dedicated to two different graphics cards—or up to four graphics cards with eight lanes each. That’s the same basic config as in the last gen, with a few tweaks. One change is the ability to host a 5×8 setup, if the motherboard is built to support it. Indeed, the Asus X99 Deluxe board in our test system has five PCIe x16 slots onboard. I’m not quite sure what you’d do with five graphics cards at once, but it is apparently a possibility now.

All of this beefy hardware makes for a complex chip. Haswell-E is certainly that, at roughly 2.6 billion transistors and 356 mm². The quad-core Haswell chip is only 177 mm², or about half the size, and that’s with integrated graphics. You can see the difference in the dimensions of the packages used for the socketed processors below.

Yeah, this is big and substantial hardware. Here’s a look at the three new Haswell-E-based CPU models alongside their quad-core Haswell cousins.

The Core i7-5960X gives up some clock frequency to cram eight cores into its 140W power envelope. Those base and boost clocks of 3.0 and 3.5GHz are down quite a bit from the 3.6/4.0GHz speeds of the Core i7-4960X. Even with Haswell’s per-clock performance improvements, those lower frequencies will have consequences in workloads that don’t scale up to 16 threads perfectly.

As usual, Intel charges a big premium for its top-end processor. You’re probably better off buying the Core i7-5930K for over 400 bucks less, as long as you can live with “only” six cores (and 12 threads via Hyper-Threading.) The 5930K has the added advantage of slightly higher clock speeds, too. Then again, I’m not sure how much stock clocks matter since all of the X- and K-series parts shown above come with unlocked multipliers for dead-simple overclocking.

One product you’ll probably want to avoid is the Core i7-5820K, which Intel has ruined by disabling a bunch of the PCI Express lanes. I swear, if there’s a way to tune a knob or dial in order to gimp a CPU for the sake of product segmentation, Intel’s product people will find that knob and turn it, no matter what. In this case, the Core i7-5820K loses the ability to host a dual-graphics setup with 16 lanes to each PCIe slot. Have fun explaining that one to your friend who popped $389 for a CPU and about the same for a fancy X99 motherboard, only to find that it’s no better—not even in theory—than a 4790K for dual-GPU setups. This issue is more pressing now that AMD relies on PCI Express bandwidth for transferring CrossFire frames between GPUs.

We have in the past considered CPUs like the Core i7-3820 to be a nice entry point into Intel’s higher-end platforms. That ends here. The 5820K’s hobbled PCIe removes a major rationale for the X99 platform’s adoption among PC gamers. Unless you really know what you’re doing, stay away from it.

The best gaming laptop

Asus ROG G752VT-DH72laptop

If you’re accustomed to seeing the most expensive product finishing in first place, our top choice is going to be a shocker. Asus’ G752VT-DH72 isn’t the quickest notebook in our round-up. Frankly, it’s not even the best-built. But it demonstrates a genius in component balance that’d be easy to overlook, if not for the seven other machines we’re comparing it to.

Let’s start with that GeForce GTX 970M under the G752VT-DH72’s hood. Though obviously not the fastest discrete module available, Asus connects it to a 17.3” IPS panel with G-Sync support and a 75Hz refresh rate. So, even when the GPU can’t maintain 75 FPS, synchronization in the display subsystem keeps the output smooth. Once you spend time in front of G-Sync (or FreeSync), it’s hard not to notice the artifacts associated with turning v-sync on or off. Particularly at 1920×1080, the technology lets you get away with a less powerful graphics module, ultimately saving some money.
The rest of the platform falls into place nicely. Intel’s Core i7-6700HQ operates at a modest 2.6GHz and only includes 6MB of shared L3 cache. But the quad-core CPU is still a screamer (even if we would have preferred the -6820HQ, which Intel claims is similarly-priced). Sixteen gigabytes of DDR4-2133 memory split across two SO-DIMM slots are fairly standard. If you find yourself needing more, a panel on the chassis’ undercarriage pops off to reveal a pair of vacant slots.laptop

Asus smartly built a tiered storage subsystem consisting of Samsung’s 128GB PM951 and a 1TB HGST Travelstar. The SSD, equipped with triple-level-cell NAND, is nowhere near as fast as the flagship SM951. However, it does communicate over a four-lane PCIe link using NVMe. Asus offers another configuration with a 256GB SSD and 24GB of RAM for an extra $200, but enthusiasts looking for more capacity can manually upgrade the 128GB version too (the aforementioned panel also reveals an empty M.2 2280 slot).

We certainly get what Asus is trying to do here. By keeping the G752VT-DH72’s SSD small, yet functional, and its graphics powerful, but not overkill, the company can sell this thing for about $1,650. Six other systems in our round-up cost more. Plugged into the wall, G-Sync keeps the action enjoyable. Away from it, Nvidia’s Battery Boost technology throttles you back to 30 FPS by default. Just don’t expect a ton of game time on the road. Our loop of Unigine Valley at 1920×1080 only lasted 43 minutes before the G752VT-DH72 shut itself off, landing in last place.

A somewhat meager battery is but one compromise you make in going the budget route. Asus hasn’t done much to improve its audio over the last Republic of Gamers notebook we reviewed, either. High frequencies lack crispness, while lows sound muddled. Tweaking around in the Sonic Studio II app helps, but you’re going to want a good headset.

I’m also not a fan of the updated chassis; it employs more angles, less soft-touch material, and a brushed silver/copper color scheme. Fortunately, none of the surfaces attract finger oils. The top panel does flex quite a bit, and our sample had noticeable gaps between the screen and bezel. There is a smoked plastic window across the undercarriage, which gives you a nice view of Asus’ cooling solution. However, it was already pretty scratched up on the unit we received.laptop

Though several of the G752VT-DH72’s competitors serve up more peripheral connectivity, we didn’t feel like we were missing anything crucial. Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, mini-DisplayPort 1.2, four USB 3.0 ports, one USB 3.1 Type C port with Thunderbolt 3 support, digital and analog audio I/O, an SD card reader, and a dual-layer DVD±R/RW drive cover the bases well. You also get a built-in Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC 7265 adapter with Bluetooth 4.0, plus an integrated 1.2 megapixel webcam.

Naturally, gamers will want to use the G752VT-DH72 with their own mice. But the oversized trackpad suffices in productivity apps. Its right- and left-click buttons have just the right amount of travel and depress uniformly. We prefer this to buttons that are raised on one side. Asus’ keyboard is similarly executed well, though its red backlight doesn’t match the new silver/copper color scheme as well as the old black/red design. Function keys along the top make it easy to adjust backlight intensity, disable the trackpad, switch display outputs, or put the notebook to sleep.

Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming Motherboard

 gigabyte-z170xThe problem with being on the cutting edge of Intel’s CPU technology is that the latest CPU cores are always reserved for its mainstream CPU interfaces. It takes another half-generation for high-end models to get replaced, and the replacement is often a full generation behind mainstream counterparts. The notion that Intel can spend a product cycle or two perfecting its cores before unleashing them on the server market makes sense from a business standpoint, but it typically leaves enthusiasts to choose between faster mainstream technologies or higher-core-count server-based parts.
Since most games make little use of a fifth core (let alone a seventh or eighth), it makes sense to pick a quad-core CPU with the best per-core performance and highest possible clock. Both of those features are exclusive to the top CPUs of Intel’s “mainstream” class, which today is represented by the Core i7-6700K. On the other hand, Intel’s “professional” platforms provide the best connectivity for multiple graphics cards. Since mainstream users don’t need more than a single PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, Intel equips its mainstream platforms that way. And since users who would pair the fastest-possible quad-core processor with three or four of the fastest-possible graphics cards are only a tiny fraction of the overall market, Best Intel motherboard virtually ignores these builders.
The workaround for connecting multiple graphics cards to the Core i7-6700K and other Skylake-based desktop processors is to use a repeating switch, as already discussed in our EVGA Z170 Classified review. Labeled “Multicast” by the switch’s manufacturer, this part takes advantage of CrossFire and SLI’s need to send identical data to every card by repeating sixteen controller lanes to two sets of sixteen device lanes. Too expensive for mid-budget performance enthusiasts, this part is usually bundled with other high-end features to create a premium package. Though high-end in every respect, EVGA had a tough time filling-out its Z170 Classified with a broad-enough features set to match our expectations for the $400+ premium market.Gigabyte_Z170X-Gaming-G1
Unlike its above-mentioned competitor, Gigiabyte z170x motherboard-Gaming G1 has no trouble presenting enough features to qualify it as a “premium class” product by nearly any definition. Advancements begin with Intel’s DSL6540 Thunderbolt 3 controller, which replaces the ASM1142 USB 3.1 controller found on the Z170 Classified while simultaneously adding a myriad of connection possibilities.big-picture-with-text_update
Gigabyte also added an 802.11ac MIMO Wi-Fi controller with up to 867mbps bandwidth, while retaining dual Gigabit Ethernet capability. The company also didn’t drop the ASM1142 from its controller set, instead it was moved to a PCIe-based (via SATA-E) front-panel device. text_update

A motherboard is a circuit board designed to support the functionality of other components. It isn’t a performance producer, but rather a facilitator. Meaning the motherboard is responsible for unhindered performance and support of other components. A gaming motherboard should be designed to support gaming functionality. Including better support for GPUs, higher quality audio, higher quality networking, overclocking support, and even aesthetics that gamers might appreciate.

It’s no secret that gamers also like fancy things, they customize characters in almost every game from WoW to GTA: V, so why wouldn’t they want to customize their motherboard? The GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming G1 takes aim at the high-end gamer, let’s see what GIGABYTE has done for ‘The Gamer.’

 

We even see a pair of G1/4 fittings to connect the Z170X-best gaming motherboard G1 is 22-phase voltage regulator to an open-loop liquid cooler.

AMD Wraith CPU Cooler

Three-Coolers_w_755Never has a stock CPU cooler garnered as much attention as AMD’s Wraith. Manufacturers usually don’t even mention these bonus items, but AMD’s new CPU cooler has changed all of this. Is the Wraith really a game changer?

AMD named its new CPU cooler the Wraith, probably in an effort to conjure up the image of something that’s both cold and quiet. The company’s marketing team is incredibly confident in its latest thermal solution. Perhaps too confident. But we’ll get back to that once we go over some of the comments made by Don Woligroski, AMD’s global marketing manager of desktop CPUs and low-power APUs (and a former Tom’s Hardware senior editor), during a briefing call last week.Intro_w_755
For now, AMD’s FX-8370 is the only processor that comes bundled with the Wraith. The processor’s price doesn’t change as a result of the addition. Instead, any remaining FX-8370 processors with the old stock cooler are getting a discount. AMD’s other 125W CPUs don’t get the Wraith (for now). Whether they ever do will likely depend on the Wraith’s success with its FX-8370. At any rate, at least AMD’s 95W processors get an updated CPU cooler.

It’s nice to see that the company is finally paying some attention to its bundled CPU coolers, which typically get the short end of the stick outside of the system integrator arena. AMD’s goal was seemingly to provide just as much cooling headroom as absolutely necessary for the lowest possible price. Acoustics never appeared to be a big concern, which is why enthusiasts deride the stock experience so often.

The Wraith is noticeably larger thanks to its increased surface area. As usual, AVC (Asia Vital Components Ltd.) is the OEM that actually builds the coolers for AMD. Consequently, there’s nothing new and exciting to be reported about how the Wraith is constructed, since we know the manufacturer’s work from AMD-, Cooler Master-, and AVC-branded products.Fan-and-Cover_w_755

AMD’s Wraith weighs in at 455g, which is a whopping 125g more than the old stock CPU cooler. It also has larger dimensions. It stands 8cm tall, is 10.4cm deep and has a width of 17.8cm measured from the end of one heat pipe to the end of the opposite heat pipe. The heat sink consists of two parts, which are stamped together. It contains a total of four 6mm pipes made of a copper composite material. These are supposed to distribute waste heat evenly across the aluminum cooling fins that are also stamped in place.conclusion

Once the Wraith’s cover is removed, we find an old friend: the QFR0912H by Delta. This model has a 92mm fan that’s 25.4mm thick and runs at up to 3200 RPM with 5 to 13V, consuming a maximum of 2.64W. At its peak voltage of 12V, we measured the RPM at exactly 3100. This particular fan costs less than $5 if purchased in large quantities, which doesn’t exactly make it an expensive offering. However, it’s not cheap either, and is most certainly a step up from the fan that was included on AMD’s previous stock CPU cooler.

AMD-Logo_w_197AMD’s logo can be found hidden behind the Wraith’s cover. The logo lights up once the Wraith becomes active, but when it’s off, it is barely noticeable. This effect is achieved using a special coating, which is applied on the letters in a raster pattern.

Finally, a circuit board with its three SMD-LEDs and corresponding resistors is found behind the cover. It is connected via a thin 12V power cable, which is hidden between the cooler and its cover during assembly.

LG G5 And ‘Friends’ Available From U.S. Carriers Early April

LG-G5-Software_w_600We were sufficiently impressed with what LG is doing with its new G5 flagship smartphone to give it one of our MWC 2016 awards. We’re not as enamored of LG’s decision to call its various G5 peripherals and accessories “Friends,” but in any case, you can snag yourself the phone and many of its pals from U.S. carriers starting in “early April.”

Outlets include the bigs — AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile — as well as U.S. Cellular, Best Buy, Best Buy Mobile Stores and B&H.

LG was vague on the exact dates of the G5’s availability, and it was further unclear on when exactly the Friends will be available. In a press release, the company said, “Select companion devices and sales channels will also be available starting in April.”

The companion devices include the LG 360 VR headset (our “eyes-on” coverage here), a device that seems to fall somewhere between the Gear VR and Google Cardboard devices in terms of quality; the LG 360 Cam; the LG Rolling Bot, which is about as off-the-wall an accessory as we’ve seen; a camera attachment called the LG Cam Plus that gives you several hardware controls; a second battery and charging cradle; and the Harmon Kardon-tuned LG Tone Platinum Bluetooth earbuds.LG-360-VR-4_w_600

We had a chance to fiddle with some of the above when we visited LG at Mobile World Congress. In our brief time, we weren’t exactly blown away by the quality, but LG is definitely on to something here: It knows that a smartphone is no longer just a smartphone. To stand out in the market, consumers need more incentive, and the G5’s clever modularity plus LG’s see-what-stick-to-the-wall accessories show that LG understands that.

Top 8 Best Rated Gaming Ram

G.Skill F3-14900CL10S-8GBXLFor meeting overclocking requirements, users need a top-caliber gaming RAM. As a rule of thumb, gamers must have a solid idea of what gaming RAM to buy before considering the type of motherboard to purchase. When shopping for a gaming RAM, buyers need to check the computing capacity, as well as heat-dissipating technology and low latency. There are gaming RAMs that even offer a fan unit for better airflow to the subsystem. Other considerations include the compatibility to Intel platforms and availability of support to Intel Extreme Memory Profiles for overclocking requirements. To take the guesswork out of buying, buyers can learn the best-rated gaming RAMs on the market, before beginning to shop.
1. Corsair VengeanceCorsair Vengeance

For overclocking results on current and future Intel and AMD platforms, buyers can never go wrong with Corsair Vengeance. The top-rated gaming RAM offers a low 1.5 supply voltage for energy efficiency and compatibility with Intel processors. Its aluminum heat spreaders aid in dissipating heat and add a tough look. Buyers can find Corsair Vengeance in a variety of colors. The individually screened DRAM chips are responsible for giving ample headroom for stable overclocking. Users do not have to worry about multiple BIOS settings because with the gaming RAM they can enable the Intel Extreme Memory Profile standard to automatically optimize memory overclocking.
2. Kingston Technology HyperXKingston Technology HyperX

Faster speeds and great overclocking capability have drawn many buyers to Kingston Technology HyperX. The well-reviewed gaming RAM carries the tradition of excellence of Kingston DDR memory technology, satisfying the high standards of PC enthusiasts with low latency, faster speeds, relatively low power consumption, and higher data bandwidth. To provide a solution for stability, high frequency, and low latency, the high performance modules have been tested to run at DDR3-1600 at a low latency timing of 9-9-9-27 at 1.65 volts. The gaming RAM allows users to conveniently overclock the platform either by selecting the preset profile in the BIOS or manually configuring frequency and timings. HyperX features the Intel Extreme Memory Profiles or XMP technology to satisfy both beginning and seasoned overclockers.
3. G. Skill Ripjaws SeriesG. Skill Ripjaws Series

Users can double the bandwidth to eliminate data bottleneck as well as complement the dual channel-based chipsets with the G. Skill Ripjaws Series. The five-star rated gaming RAM features the 100-percent tested G.Skill DDR3 memory modules to satisfy seasoned users in gaming or daily applications. The G. Skill RAM, which is rated at 1600 MHz 9-9-9-24, provides ample computing capability to the Intel P67/Z68/P55 and AMD 790 Series/890 Series platforms. And with an effective heat spreader, the G. Skill RAM provides a stable performance.
4. Corsair DominatorCorsair Dominator

Users value the five-star rated Corsair Dominator for its solid performance and reliable overclocking solutions. As the gaming RAM operates at a very fast 1,866MHz at ultra-low latency of 9-10-9-27 and 1.5 volts, both enthusiast and overclocker can depend on its performance and compatibility with AMD and Intel Dual Channel systems. The Corsair gaming RAM features the exclusive Dual-Path Heat eXchange or DHX technology for extreme heat dissipation. And it even has a fan unit with two 60-millimeter tachometer-controlled fans for impinging airflow to the memory subsystem.
5. Corsair XMS3Corsair XMS3

Excellent heat management and overclocking versatility make Corsair XMS3 a worthy purchase. The popular product comes with a heat spreader and operates at a cool 1.65 volts to provide optimal internal temperatures and overclocking efficiency. It is also compatible with dual-channel DDR3 Intel Core i5 and Core i7 platforms. Corsair XMS3 offers up to 12.8 GB/s per channel memory to deliver reliable performance. And supporting the Intel Extreme Memory Profiles or XMP technology, the gaming RAM satisfies the overclocking requirements of even the extremist users.
6. Patriot PGS24G6400ELKPatriot PGS24G6400ELK

Another top-rated gaming RAM is Patriot PGS24G6400ELK. With the modules running at 800 MHz, users can enjoy high-performance gaming machines. Also, each memory module operates at a very low latency of 5-5-5-12 and sports aluminum heat shields for enhanced thermal diffusion. Users benefit from this gaming RAM’s performance and platform capability with up to 6.4 GB/s memory bandwidth per channel, providing a powerful work and gaming experience.
7. Adata XPG Gaming AX3U1600GW8G9-2GAdata XPG Gaming AX3U1600GW8G9-2G

Gamers and power users make a worthy investment in the five-star rated Adata XPG V.1 Series. The AX3U1600GW8G9-2G model offers improved heatsinks for the excellent heat dissipation the extremists need. The best-rated model comes in blue, red, and black. The JEDEC regulations and DDR3-1333 standards-approved gaming RAM features memory chips with Printed Circuit Board and aluminum heatsink, and they can reach the maximum speed of 2,133 MHz to maximize the potential of a computer’s power.
8. G.Skill F3-14900CL10S-8GBXLG.Skill F3-14900CL10S-8GBXL

Thoroughly tested to meet very high standards, G.Skill F3-14900CL10S-8GBXL is one of the best gaming RAMs out there. To provide generous computing capability to Intel platforms, the G.Skill model is rated at 1,866 MHz 10-11-10-30. This gaming RAM comes complete with high-quality heat spreader and supports the Intel Extreme Memory Profiles (XMP) technology to meet the requirements of novice to experienced overclockers.

Razer sends wireless ManO’War headset for gamers into battle

headphoneRazer today announced the addition of a new wireless gaming headset to its growing line of audio products. It’s called the ManO’War and according to Razer, it’s less susceptible to interference and audio dropouts than the competition.

If that’s been a problem with other wireless headsets you’ve tried, the ManO’War might be worth a look. It automatically scans channels on the 2.4GHz band to locate and attach to the clearest one, and uses an “advanced coding algorithm” for what Razer promises is lag-free performance.
Through the use of multiple wireless antennas, Razer says the ManO’War has a wireless range of up to 39 feet (12 meters). If that’s not enough, Razer offers an optional extension dock that boosts the wireless range to 46 feet (14 meters). Razer claims 14 hours of continuous usage on a single charge.

The ManO’War uses custom tuned 50mm Neodymium magnet drivers to deliver virtual 7.1 channel audio. They’re enclosed in leatherette cushioned ear cups that cover your entire ear to help block outside noise.

There’s a unidirectional digital microphone boom concealed in the left ear cup that you can pull out when needed and push back in when you’re through. This too uses an optimized algorithm, in this case for more natural sounding and clear voice reproduction.  image

Razer didn’t forget the requisite bling, which comes in the form of Chroma lighting. There are pre-loaded lighting options to choose from, or you can play around with your own schemes with 16.8 million color options. Of course this is for the benefit of others, since you won’t see the headset when it’s in use.

The ManO’War is intended for PCs and comes with a wireless USB transreceiver to plug into your desktop or laptop. However, Razer says it also plays nice with the PlayStation 4. Razer said it will make available a limited number of ManO’War headsets in its web store and at Best Buy on April 17.

SteelSeries Apex M500 Successor To 6Gv2

steelseries-apex-Another day, another keyboard with Cherry MX Red switches aimed at eSports. SteelSeries announced the Apex M500, which it billed as the successor to its 6Gv2. The two certainly have the same price ($100), and both have Cherry Red switches (although the 6Gv2 has a Cherry Black option) and sport a simple, compact all-black design.steelseries-apex-

One key difference is that the Apex M500 has lighting whereas it predecessor doesn’t. The M500 has blue per-key LEDs, and there is a modicum of lighting features you can employ in the SteelSeries Engine (SSE3) software, such as brightness and breathing.

SteelSeries also stated that SSE3 affords full per-key programming, unlimited profiles, and the ability to create macros (including on-the-fly).

The Apex M500’s standard layout is designed so that you can swap in aftermarket keycaps, too.steelseries-apex-

Make/Model SteelSeries – Apex M500
Model Type Standard, – 104-key
Switch Type Cherry-  MX Red
Actuation Force  –  45cN
Lighting Blue LED,  -per-key
Additional Ports    -N/A
Cable Type    –     2 meter
Key Rollover  –      NKRO
Software-              SteelSeries SSE3
Weight –              2.742 lbs (1.241 kg)
Dimensions –       5.37 x 17.34 x 1.56 inches (136.43 x 440.56 x 39.52 mm)
Misc.  –                Three-way cable routing

Intel starts baking speedy FPGAs into chips

Intel is packing Altera Arria 10 FPGAs with Xeon E5-2600 v4 processors in a multichip module

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With rivals Nvidia and AMD both offering graphics processors, Intel is now deploying screaming co-processors of its own in the form of FPGAs.

FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays) are extremely fast chips that can be reprogrammed to do specific tasks. Intel last year acquired Altera for $16.7 billion as it started thinking beyond CPUs and stressing co-processors for demanding computing tasks.

Intel recently started shipping server chips paired with FPGAs as part of a pilot program. The company is packing Altera Arria 10 FPGAs along with its Xeon E5-2600 v4 processors, code-named Broadwell-EP, in a multichip module. The Xeon E5 chips were introduced last month.

Over time the FPGA technology will be integrated in the “same piece of silicon die as the CPU,” an Intel spokesman said.

The shipment announcement was made at the ongoing Intel Developer Forum in Shenzhen, China.

FPGAs are being used by Microsoft to deliver faster Bing results and by Baidu for image search. FPGAs are less flexible than GPUs and execute tasks based on functionality programmed into a chip. FPGAs can be faster than GPUs on specific tasks, but are also very power hungry.

Intel plans to put FPGAs in cars, robots, servers, supercomputers and IoT devices. The chip maker has provided examples of how FPGAs could be programmed for genomics, or how the chips could tackle specific functions in a car. Integration of the FPGA into a chip will bring down power consumption and provide a direct path of communication with the CPU.

FPGAs are also being used in communications equipment, a market that Intel is chasing as 5G deployments are expected to grow exponentially. Intel’s components and equipment could also be the backbone of many IoT installations, which already use FPGAs to connect devices with cloud services.