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Video card MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 2G: review and testing 

Continuing our familiarity with the various modifications o recently announced AMD Radeon R7 370 the basic features are available in the review of ASUS STRIX R7 370, we will talk about the MSI’s product which is equipped with high-quality element base and proprietary cooler MSI Twin Frozr V. Another difference of MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 2G is ability to switch between three operating modes, allowing a single click to obtain the necessary performance or reduce noise. 

MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 2G

The specs:

Model

MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 2G 

Graphics core

AMD Radeon R7 370 (Trinidad PRO)

Quantity of shader CPU

1024

Supported API and technologies

DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5, AMD Mantle, AMD Eyefinity, AMD App Acceleration, AMD HD3D, AMD CrossFireX, AMD PowerPlay, AMD PowerTune, AMD ZeroCore, AMD Virtual Super Resolution, AMD Frame Rate Target Control, Vulcan, OpenCL 2.0

Basic/dynamic frequency of graphics core, MHz

Mode «Silent»

925 / 975

Mode «Gaming»

980 / 1030

Mode «OC»

1000 / 1050

Memory frequency (effective), MHz

Mode «Silent»

1400 (5600)

Mode «Gaming»

1400 (5600)

Mode «OC»

1425 (5700)

Memory capacity, GB

2

Memory type

GDDR5

Memory bus, bit

256

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

182,4

Memory type

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Max resolution

4096 x 2160

Screening interfaces

1 х DVI-D

1 х DVI-I

1 х HDMI

1 х DisplayPort

Support for HDCP and HD-video decoding

Yes

Max capacity of PSU, W

500

Dimensions from official website (according to our measurements), mm

258 x 132 x 37 (276 х 135)

Drivers

Available drivers MSI or  GPU

Producer website

MSI

Package and content

MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 2G

The printing of the packaging of MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 2G is realized in a design typical for series MSI GAMING: red and black colors, and a series of logo (a stylized dragon). In addition to video card name and the manufacturer here is the information about the presence of the logo «OC Edition», indicating about the factory overclocking of key parameters. 

MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 2G

All important information is located on the back of the box. Most of the space takes the description of the key advantages:

  • Gaming App – a proprietary software that provides quickly switching between three different operating modes: «Silent», «Gaming» and «OC». Each of them will be relevant, depending on the user's current task.
  • Torx Fan - a new fan design, which has replaced the Propeller Blade. It provides 19% higher airflow, a higher strength and lower noise level. The design sports two rows of blades with different designs, which helped to achieve such impressive results.
  • SuperSU Pipe - the use of two copper heat pipes with a balanced arrangement contributes to increased efficiency of heat dissipation.
  • Zero Frozr - fans of cooling system stop spinning when GPU temperature is below 60°C, eliminating the occurrence of even a minimum level of noise during idle or at low loads, and significantly extend the life of fans.

MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 2G

A list of system requirements is located on the back of the packaging. Based on these recommendations, the power supply shall have a capacity of at least 500 W and supports 6-pin power cable PCIe.

MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 2G

In the box with the card we found not only the usual instructions and a CD with software, but also an adapter to connect an analog monitor.

MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 2G

To display an image there is the following set of video outputs:

  • 1 x DVI-I;
  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DisplayPort.

The following resolutions are supported:

  • Digital up to 4096 x 2160;
  • Dial up to 2048 x 1536.

Design and cooling system 

MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 2G

The product is realized in the traditional style of the series MSI GAMING, with a predominance of black and red colors in the design.

MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 2G

In addition to the PCI Express x16 slot, its power is supplied via an optional 6-pin connector. Note that the cooler doesn’t make any difficulties to disconnect the power cord.

MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 2G

In order to implement the technologies AMD CrossFireX the MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 2G uses a single connector for the corresponding bridge that allows you to combine two video accelerators for the joint calculation of graphical effects.

MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 2G

The reverse side of the printed circuit board features mounting screws of cooling systems, one of which is covered by a warranty sticker. 

MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 2G

The basis of MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 2G is graphics chip AMD Trinidad PRO, which is determined by the utility GPU-Z 0.8.5 as the «AMD Pitcairn». It is produced according to of 28-nm process and consists of 1024 stream processors, 32 ROP units and 64 texture units. The GPU operating frequency was increased to 1050 MHz with respect to the recommended 975 MHz.

As for the video memory subsystem, it is realized byGDDR5-chips Samsung's with total volume of 2 GB, which operate at effective frequency of 5700 MHz. Communication between the graphics processor and memory is realized through a 256-bit bus, which is capable of carrying 182.4 GB of information per second.

MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 2G

Branded cooling system is not only quite stylish, but also relatively compact. The video card including installed cooling system occupies two expansion slots and has a total length of 258 mm according to the official website of MSI (276 mm as measured in our lab).

The cooler comprises a radiator, two copper heat pipes coated with a layer of nickel, as well as two axial fans with blades 95 mm in diameter, mounted on the plastic housing.

MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 2G

In case of automatic speed control of fan blades at maximum load, the graphics core is heated to 66°C, and cooler is very quiet just 24% of its maximum capacity. 

MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 2G

Under the maximum fan speed GPU temperature dropped to 54°C. The noise rose to an average level, but remained quite comfortable for extended use. 

MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 2G

In case of load absence the frequencies of the GPU and memory were automatically reduced, allowing to reduce power consumption and heat dissipation of video card in general. In this mode, the GPU temperature did not exceed 52°C because the fans stopped to rotate, and the cooling system has moved in a completely passive mode. Here appears the aforementioned technology MSI Zero Frozr, which provides a silent mode of video caed at low loads.

Read the full review >>>

Video card SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5: review and testing

Following the graphics card SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5, which is representative of a more productive lineup with the support for comfortable gameplay at a resolution of 1440p, we present SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5 that is another graphic accelerator in this series. It features modest performance, but uses an efficient two-fan cooling system SAPPHIRE DUAL-X.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5

Novelty is characterized by a small factory overclocking and 4 GB of memory. Also, the advantages include the possibility of the cooling system in a passive mode under light load.

The specs:

Model

SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5 (11240-04-20G)

Graphics core

AMD Radeon R7 370 (Trinidad PRO)

Manufacturing process, nm

28

Quantity of shader processors

1024

Supported API and technologies

DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5, AMD Mantle, AMD Eyefinity, AMD App Acceleration, AMD HD3D, AMD CrossFireX, AMD PowerPlay, AMD PowerTune, AMD ZeroCore, AMD Virtual Super Resolution, AMD Frame Rate Target Control, Vulcan, OpenCL 2.0

Nominal frequency of graphics core, MHz

985

Memory capacity, GB

4

Memory type

GDDR5

Nominal/effective video memory capacity, MHz

1400 / 5600

Mmeory bus, bit

256

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

179,2

Inner interface

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Screening interfaces

1 х HDMI

1 x DisplayPort

1 х DVI-I

1 х DVI-D

Minimal PSU capacity, W

500

Dimensions from the official site (measured in our lab), mm

211,12 x 111,15 x 36 (225 x 113)

Drivers

Available drivers  SAPPHIRE or GPU

Producer website

SAPPHIRE

Package and content

SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5

The card comes in a compact vertical-oriented package. It is performed in a black color with gray inserts. The front side sports main features of this graphics accelerator:

  • factory overclocking;
  • 4 GB of memory standard GDDR5;
  • optimal operation of modern online games at 1080p;
  • two-fan cooling system SAPPHIRE DUAL-X;
  • intelligent control system of cooling system operation mode (Intelligent Fan Control II).

SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5

The side face of the package contains a list of the minimum system requirements. According to the manufacturer, the power of the power supply must be at least of 500 W when installing a graphics accelerator, and 600 W when using the combination of two video cards in the mode AMD CrossFireX.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5

Package of SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5 consists of:

  • adapter DVI↔D-Sub;
  • Stickers on the computer;
  • ROM with software and drivers;
  • a set of instructions.

This set contains almost all the necessary components to install a video card on the motherboard and connect the monitor. In some cases, you may need a 6-pin PCIe-adapter to connect an optional power supply. Most users do not need it, because almost all modern power supplies are equipped with the data connector.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5

On the interface panel contains the following interfaces:

  • 1 x DisplayPort;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x DVI-I.

Such a set of connectors can be found on a large number of modern graphics cards, because it combines the most popular digital and analog interfaces (using the included adapter).

Design and circuitry 

SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5

Graphics card SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5 is made on black PCB. Its length is 225 mm and height 112 mm (as measured in our lab). As you can see, the graphics processor is equipped with a protective metal frame which prevents it from damage when installing or removing the cooling system.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5

 

SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5

The power subsystem of the GPU is realized according to 4-phase scheme and includes qualitative components (solid capacitors and ferrite chokes). Chip NCP4206 produced by ON Semiconductor is used as a controller.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5

The video card powering is realized due to PCI Express x16 slots and one 6-pin PCIe. It is pretty easy to connect or disconnect it, because the cooling system does not interfere this process.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5

Next to the interface connector panel we found bridge AMD CrossFireX. It allows you to combine two similar video cards for co-processing of graphics.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5

The reverse side of the PCB features a number of elements of the power subsystem and the screws that secure the cooling system and interface panel.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5

The basis of SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5 is a graphics chip AMD Trinidad PRO, which is determined by the utility GPU-Z 0.8.5 as the AMD Pitcairn. It is made according to 28-nm process and includes 1024 stream processors, 32 units rasterization and 64 texture units. The nominal frequency of the graphics processor in increased from 975 to 985 MHz.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5

Memory of graphics accelerator (total of 4 GB) is realized with the help of 8 chips SK Hynix H5GC4H24AJR-T2C with capacity of 4 GB each. They operate on effectively frequency of 5600 MHz and exchange information with the graphics chip via a 256-bit bus with carrying capacity of 179.2 GB/s.

Cooling system 

SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5

This video card is equipped with a dual-slot cooling system SAPPHIRE DUAL-X. Its two axial fans with blades diameter of 86 mm are fixed on a plastic casing that covers the radiator.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5

Fans FirstDo FDC10H12S9-C with the characteristics of 12 V and 0.35 A are applied. Thanks to the support of Intelligent Fan Control II they can completely stop at light load.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5

SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5

The heatsink consists of a copper base and 74 aluminum fins. Two copper heat pipes with a diameter of 6 mm are applied to accelerate the exchange of heat between these components. Special thermal pads are installed along the perimeter. They transfer the heat from the memory chips on the base of the radiator.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5

The heat pipes are in contact with the heat sink fins and the base without the use of solder, but in general their fixation is reliable.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5

Now let's examine the efficiency of the cooling system SAPPHIRE DUAL-X. At maximum GPU load and the automatic control of fan speed the GPU was heated up to 74°C. Propellers were spinning at 45% (1790 rpm) of its maximum speed, and the noise did not stand out against other components.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5

After setting the rotation speed of the fan blades to the maximum (3340 rpm), the GPU temperature dropped to 65°C, and the noise rose above average, but it was still quite acceptable under prolonged use.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R7 370 4G D5

After the transition to the idle mode, the temperature of the graphics core and memory was reduced. This allowed the cooling system to go into a passive mode, thanks to technology Intelligent Fan Control II. GPU temperature did not exceed 45°C, and the card was operated in a completely silent mode.

Read the full review >>>

Review of video card MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

Over the time NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 is one of the best solutions in terms of price and performance for building of midrange gaming system. Its main features are available in the review Inno3D GeForce GTX 960 iChill Ultra, as well as in article dedicated to microarchitecture NVIDIA Maxwell. We are going to review version MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G, which is characterized not only by the presence of factory overclocking, qualitative element base and a proprietary cooling system, but also an increased video memory up to 4 GB.  

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

The specs: 

Model

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

Graphics core

NVIDIA GM206 (Maxwell)

Quantity of CUDA-cores

1024

Supported API and technologies

DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.4, NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0, NVIDIA TXAA, NVIDIA FXAA, NVIDIA MFAA, NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync, NVIDIA Surround, NVIDIA PhysX, NVIDIA 3D Vision, NVIDIA SLI, NVIDIA CUDA, NVIDIA GameWorks, NVIDIA GameStream

Basic / dynamic graphics core frequency, MHz

Mode «Silent»

1127 / 1178

Mode «Gaming»

1190 / 1253

Mode «OC»

1241 / 1304

Memory frequency (effective), MHz

1753 (7010)

Memory capacity, GB

4

Memory type

GDDR5

Memory bus, bit

128

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

115,4

Bus

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Max resolution

Digital up to 4096 x 2160

Analog up to 2048 x 1536

Screening interfaces

1 х DVI-I

1 х HDMI

3 х DisplayPort

HDCP support and HD-video decoding

Yes

Minimal PSU capacity, W

400

Additional power sockets PCIe

1 x 8-pin

Dimensions from the official site (measured in our lab), mm

267 х 139 х 40 (279 х 140)

Drivers

Available drivers  MSI or GPU

Producer website

MSI

MSI has paid much attention to the improvement of standard video card, because, in fact, new product obtained the reference graphics core and video memory subsystem. Its structure contains: the original circuit board, brand cooler and quite interesting ability to switch between three operating modes, allowing you to flexibly control the performance and power consumption depending on the current task.

Package & content

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

The printing of package MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G is made in the typical series MSI GAMING: red and black colors, and presence of a series logo (a stylized dragon). In addition to title of the video card and the manufacturer it is worth noting the presence of the logo «OC Edition», indicating that about factory overclocking key parameters.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

All important information is located on the back of the box. Most of the space takes the description of the key advantages of video card, such as:

  • Gaming App - bundled proprietary software that provides a function to quickly switch between three different operating modes: «Silent», «Gaming» and «OC». Each of them will be relevant, depending on the user's current task.
  • Torx Fan - a new fan design, which replaced the Propeller Blade. It provides 19% higher airflow, a higher strength and lower noise level. The design uses two rows of blades with different designs.
  • SuperSU Pipe - the use of three copper heat pipes with a balanced arrangement contributes to increased efficiency of heat dissipation.
  • Zero Frozr - cooling system fans stop spinning when GPU temperature is below 60°C, eliminating the occurrence of even a minimum level of noise during idle or at low loads, and significantly extend the life of fans.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

A list of system requirements is located on the back of the packaging. Based on these recommendations, the power supply should have a capacity at least 400 W, as well as to support the 8-pin power cable PCIe.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

In the box with the video card we’ve found not only the usual instructions and a CD with software, but also for the power adapter for connecting an analog monitor.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

To display the image the next set of interfaces is provided:

  • 1 x DVI-I;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 3 x DisplayPort.

The following resolutions are supported:

  • Digital up to 4096 x 2160;
  • Dial up to 2048 x 1536.

Appearance & cooling system 

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

New product is made in the traditional style of the series MSI GAMING, with a predominance of black and red colors in the design.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

In addition to the PCI Express x16 slots, its power is provided via the optional 8-pin connector. Note that the cooler doesn’t make difficulties to disconnect the power cord.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

In order to provide technology NVIDIA SLI for 960 MSI GeForce GTX GAMING 4G the manufacturer has provided one connector for the appropriate bridge. It allows you to combine a pair of graphics cards for the joint calculation of graphical effects. Recall that you can see the results of testing NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 in mode 2-Way NVIDIA SLI in review of GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

The reverse side of the graphic adapter is covered by a massive metal support plate, which significantly improves the reliability of the structure and prevents damage of the printed circuit board under the weight of the cooling system.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

The tested model is based on the graphics chip NVIDIA GM206-300-A1 (Maxwell), produced according to 28-nm manufacturing process. It includes 1024 CUDA-cores, 32 blocks of rasterization and 64 texture units. As we have said, the video card features factory overclocking of graphics core, the maximum operating frequency of which is 1241 and 1304 MHz.

Also, the novelty has an increased video memory up to 4 GB using the microchips of company Samsung, which operate at effectively frequency of 7012 MHz. Communication between the graphics processor and memory is realized through a 128-bit bus, which is capable of carrying 115.4 GB of information per second.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

The cooling system has not very large dimensions. The video card including installed cooling system occupies two expansion slots and has a total length of 267 mm according to the official website of MSI (279 mm as measured in our lab).

The cooler features a radiator, three copper heat pipes coated with a layer of nickel, as well as two axial fans with 95 mm blades, mounted on the plastic case.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

In case of automatic speed control of fan blades at maximum load, the graphics core is heated to 64°C, and cooler works virtually silent for 40% of its maximum capacity.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

Under the maximum speed of fan blades rotation the GPU temperature dropped to 52°C. This noise exceeded the average level, but in a closed PC case it did not stand out too much compared to other components.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

In case of load absence the frequencies of the GPU and memory are automatically reduced, allowing you to reduce power consumption and heat dissipation. In this mode, the GPU temperature did not exceed 45°C because the fans stopped to rotate and cooling system transferred into a fully passive mode. Here technology MSI Zero Frozr is activated, which provides a silent operation mode at low loads.

tags: msi   geforce gtx 960   gddr5   full hd   cuda   nvidia sli   maxwell   gm206   samsung   pci express 3.0   directx 12   
Read the full review >>>

Review of video card MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

Over the time NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 is one of the best solutions in terms of price and performance for building of midrange gaming system. Its main features are available in the review Inno3D GeForce GTX 960 iChill Ultra, as well as in article dedicated to microarchitecture NVIDIA Maxwell. We are going to review version MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G, which is characterized not only by the presence of factory overclocking, qualitative element base and a proprietary cooling system, but also an increased video memory up to 4 GB.  

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

The specs: 

Model

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

Graphics core

NVIDIA GM206 (Maxwell)

Quantity of CUDA-cores

1024

Supported API and technologies

DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.4, NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0, NVIDIA TXAA, NVIDIA FXAA, NVIDIA MFAA, NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync, NVIDIA Surround, NVIDIA PhysX, NVIDIA 3D Vision, NVIDIA SLI, NVIDIA CUDA, NVIDIA GameWorks, NVIDIA GameStream

Basic / dynamic graphics core frequency, MHz

Mode «Silent»

1127 / 1178

Mode «Gaming»

1190 / 1253

Mode «OC»

1241 / 1304

Memory frequency (effective), MHz

1753 (7010)

Memory capacity, GB

4

Memory type

GDDR5

Memory bus, bit

128

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

115,4

Bus

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Max resolution

Digital up to 4096 x 2160

Analog up to 2048 x 1536

Screening interfaces

1 х DVI-I

1 х HDMI

3 х DisplayPort

HDCP support and HD-video decoding

Yes

Minimal PSU capacity, W

400

Additional power sockets PCIe

1 x 8-pin

Dimensions from the official site (measured in our lab), mm

267 х 139 х 40 (279 х 140)

Drivers

Available drivers  MSI or GPU

Producer website

MSI

MSI has paid much attention to the improvement of standard video card, because, in fact, new product obtained the reference graphics core and video memory subsystem. Its structure contains: the original circuit board, brand cooler and quite interesting ability to switch between three operating modes, allowing you to flexibly control the performance and power consumption depending on the current task.

Package & content

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

The printing of package MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G is made in the typical series MSI GAMING: red and black colors, and presence of a series logo (a stylized dragon). In addition to title of the video card and the manufacturer it is worth noting the presence of the logo «OC Edition», indicating that about factory overclocking key parameters.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

All important information is located on the back of the box. Most of the space takes the description of the key advantages of video card, such as:

  • Gaming App - bundled proprietary software that provides a function to quickly switch between three different operating modes: «Silent», «Gaming» and «OC». Each of them will be relevant, depending on the user's current task.
  • Torx Fan - a new fan design, which replaced the Propeller Blade. It provides 19% higher airflow, a higher strength and lower noise level. The design uses two rows of blades with different designs.
  • SuperSU Pipe - the use of three copper heat pipes with a balanced arrangement contributes to increased efficiency of heat dissipation.
  • Zero Frozr - cooling system fans stop spinning when GPU temperature is below 60°C, eliminating the occurrence of even a minimum level of noise during idle or at low loads, and significantly extend the life of fans.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

A list of system requirements is located on the back of the packaging. Based on these recommendations, the power supply should have a capacity at least 400 W, as well as to support the 8-pin power cable PCIe.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

In the box with the video card we’ve found not only the usual instructions and a CD with software, but also for the power adapter for connecting an analog monitor.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

To display the image the next set of interfaces is provided:

  • 1 x DVI-I;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 3 x DisplayPort.

The following resolutions are supported:

  • Digital up to 4096 x 2160;
  • Dial up to 2048 x 1536.

Appearance & cooling system 

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

New product is made in the traditional style of the series MSI GAMING, with a predominance of black and red colors in the design.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

In addition to the PCI Express x16 slots, its power is provided via the optional 8-pin connector. Note that the cooler doesn’t make difficulties to disconnect the power cord.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

In order to provide technology NVIDIA SLI for 960 MSI GeForce GTX GAMING 4G the manufacturer has provided one connector for the appropriate bridge. It allows you to combine a pair of graphics cards for the joint calculation of graphical effects. Recall that you can see the results of testing NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 in mode 2-Way NVIDIA SLI in review of GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

The reverse side of the graphic adapter is covered by a massive metal support plate, which significantly improves the reliability of the structure and prevents damage of the printed circuit board under the weight of the cooling system.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

The tested model is based on the graphics chip NVIDIA GM206-300-A1 (Maxwell), produced according to 28-nm manufacturing process. It includes 1024 CUDA-cores, 32 blocks of rasterization and 64 texture units. As we have said, the video card features factory overclocking of graphics core, the maximum operating frequency of which is 1241 and 1304 MHz.

Also, the novelty has an increased video memory up to 4 GB using the microchips of company Samsung, which operate at effectively frequency of 7012 MHz. Communication between the graphics processor and memory is realized through a 128-bit bus, which is capable of carrying 115.4 GB of information per second.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

The cooling system has not very large dimensions. The video card including installed cooling system occupies two expansion slots and has a total length of 267 mm according to the official website of MSI (279 mm as measured in our lab).

The cooler features a radiator, three copper heat pipes coated with a layer of nickel, as well as two axial fans with 95 mm blades, mounted on the plastic case.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

In case of automatic speed control of fan blades at maximum load, the graphics core is heated to 64°C, and cooler works virtually silent for 40% of its maximum capacity.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

Under the maximum speed of fan blades rotation the GPU temperature dropped to 52°C. This noise exceeded the average level, but in a closed PC case it did not stand out too much compared to other components.

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 4G

In case of load absence the frequencies of the GPU and memory are automatically reduced, allowing you to reduce power consumption and heat dissipation. In this mode, the GPU temperature did not exceed 45°C because the fans stopped to rotate and cooling system transferred into a fully passive mode. Here technology MSI Zero Frozr is activated, which provides a silent operation mode at low loads.

tags: msi   geforce gtx 960   gddr5   full hd   cuda   nvidia sli   maxwell   gm206   samsung   pci express 3.0   directx 12   
Read the full review >>>

Motherboard ECS Z170-CLAYMORE: review and testing 

ECS products is quite a rare visitor in our test lab, however, we could not miss the opportunity to get acquainted with the top-end model based on flagship chipset Intel Z170 for the new family of processors Intel Skylake (Platform Socket LGA1151). 

ECS Z170-CLAYMORE

Motherboard ECS Z170-CLAYMORE is part of a series of ECS LEET Gaming, created specifically for gamers. Solutions of this lineup are characterized by high build quality, support for advanced technologies as well as excellent equipment, which includes a network controller and a reliable quality audio subsystem.

The specification:

Producer and model

tags: ecs   realtek   m.2   intel   usb 3.1   pci express 3.0   sata express   usb 3.0   ddr4   atx   intel z170   socket lga1151   uefi bios   celeron   asmedia   pentium   intel core   
Read the full review >>>

Motherboard ASUS H170M-E D3 based on Intel H170: review and testing 

Less than a month after the announcement of a new family of processors Intel Skylake for platform Socket LGA1151 and flagship chipset Intel Z170, when Intel introduced another chipset Intel H170, intended for the midrange. The new product is the successor to last year's new Intel H97. It offers similar opportunities with high-end Intel Z170, which will enable manufacturers to produce well-equipped motherboard models at a more reasonable cost.

Unlike Intel Z170, the new chipset supports only 16 lines PCI Express 3.0, and one SATA Express and two USB 3.0 ports less. Additionally, there is no possibility of distribution lines between slots PCI Express 3.0 x16. According to the company Intel Overclocking features should be limited by the GPU overclocking.

As a result, comparison table of the two chipsets is as follows:

 

Intel Z170

Intel H170

Chipset lines PCI Express 3.0

20

16

Distributions schemes of CPU lines PCI Express 3.0

х16 / х8+х8 / х8+х4+х4

х16

Max quantity of SATA 6 Gb/s ports

6

6

Max quantity of SATA Express (x2) ports

3

2

Support for technology Intel RST intended for drives (M.2 x4 and SATA Express x2)

3

2

Maximum quantity of USB 3.0 ports

10

8

Overall number of USB (USB 2.0 + USB 3.0) ports

14

14

Let us move on to a detailed description of the product ASUS H170M-E D3, which is a little more affordable version of the ASUS Z170M-E D3 and designed for the building of compact average models.

ASUS H170M-E D3

The specs: 

Producer and model

Read the full review >>>

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2G on NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 video card: review and testing

In August 2015 the company NVIDA has pleased fans by announcement of a new graphics card, which is designed to be a solution for the mid-level gaming systems for Full HD-resolution. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 will take its place among the novelties in the architecture of NVIDIA Maxwell (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti) and more productive NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2G

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2G

The company is positioning its new product as a substitute for video card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650. As you can see, under medium graphics settings and resolution of 1920 x 1080 the new model should demonstrate a stable 60 frames per second in today's games, while NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 is three times behind.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2GOther distinctives feature of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 from NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 are the support of useful functions API DirectX 12 (Volume Tiled Resources, Conservative Raster, Raster Ordered Views), a doubling of GDDR5-memory and twice the best performance.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2G

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2GAlso the producer has focused on the performance of video card in MOBA games, where it shows a decrease of response time almost twice that is important in network battles, as the battle depends on character of the speed of response.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2GUsing proprietary software GeForce Experience, you can optimize system performance of your favorite MOBA game due to one click, thereby reducing response time by increasing the frame rate, as well as to choose the optimal graphics settings.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2G

Also this software allows to keep the gameplay to the computer or broadcast the video on the popular Internet services.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2G

The base of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 is a graphics chip NVIDIA GM206-250, which includes 768 CUDA cores, 48 texture units and 32 units rasterization. The amount of video memory is 2 GB, which operates at a frequency of 6600 MHz. The memory bus is 128-bit.

Summary comparative table of graphics cards spec NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960:

Model

NVIDIA GeForce

GTX 750 Ti

NVIDIA GeForce

GTX 950 

NVIDIA GeForce

GTX 960

GPU

NVIDIA GM107-400

NVIDIA GM206-250 

NVIDIA GM206-300

Manufacturing process, nm

28

Quantity of CUDA-cores

640

768

1024

Quantity of texture blocks

40

48

64

Quantity of rasterization blocks

16

32

32

Basic / dynamic clock frequency, MHz

1020 / 1085

1024 / 1188

1126 / 1178

Video memory

Type

GDDR5

Capacity, GB

2

2

2

Nominal / effective clock frequency, MHz

1350 / 5400

1650 / 6600

1752 / 7010

Bus size, bit

128

128

128

Carrying capacity, GB/s

86,4

105,6

112,16

Additional PCIe power sockets

-

1 х 6-pin

1 х 6-pin

As you can see, we have a little cut version of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960, which has received less computing power, but a slightly higher dynamic graphics core frequency and more affordable cost.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2GLet’s move on to a detailed study of the trends on the example of the video card MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2G:

Model

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2G

Graphics core

NVIDIA GM206-250

Quantity of CUDA-cores

768

Supported API and technologies

DirectX 12 (Shader Model 5.0), OpenGL 4.4, NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround, NVIDIA PhysX, NVIDIA TXAA, NVIDIA FXAA, NVIDIA MFAA, NVIDIA 3D Vision, NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync, NVIDIA SLI, NVIDIA CUDA, NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0, NVIDIA GameWorks, NVIDIA GameStream

Nominal/dynamic frequency of graphics core, MHz

Mode «Silent»

1026 / 1190

Mode «Gaming»

1102 / 1279

Mode «OC»

1127 / 1317

Memory frequency (effective), MHz

Mode «OC»

1663 (6650)

Modes «Gaming» and «Silent»

1653 (6610)

Memory capacity, GB

2

Memory type

GDDR5

Memory bus, bit

128

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

106,4

Bus

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Max resolution

Digital up to 4096 x 2160

Analog up to 2048 x 1536

Screening interfaces

1 x DVI-I

1 x HDMI

3 x DisplayPort

Support of HDCP and HD-video decoding

Yes

Minimal capacity of PSU, W

350

Additional power sockets PCIe

1 x 6-pin

Dimensions according to official website (measured in our lab), mm

270 х 137 x 37 (287 x 137)

Drivers

Available drivers MSI or GPU

Producer website

MSI

MSI has paid much attention to the improvement of standard video card, because the new solution has got only reference graphics core and video memory subsystem. It includes: the original circuit board, corporate cooler, enhanced power system and a very interesting switch option between the three modes, allowing you to manage the performance and power consumption depending on the current task.

Package and content

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2GThe package of GeForce GTX 950 MSI GAMING 2G is realized in typical style for the series MSI GAMING: red and black colors dominated and also a logo of series (a stylized dragon). In addition to video card and the manufacturer, it contains the logo «OC Edition», indicating that the factory overclocking of key parameters.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2G

All important information is located on the back of the box. Most of the space takes the description of the key advantages:

  • Gaming App a proprietary software with switch option between operating modes: «Silent», «Gaming» and «OC». Each of them will be relevant, depending on the user's current task.
  • Torx Fan - a new fan design which replaced the Propeller Blade. It provides 19% higher airflow, a higher strength and lower noise level. The design uses two rows of blades with different designs, which helped to achieve such impressive results.
  • SuperSU Pipe - the use of two copper 6 mm heat pipes with a balanced arrangement to increased efficiency of heat dissipation.
  • Zero Frozr - cooling fans stop spinning when GPU temperature is below 60°C, eliminating the occurrence of even a minimum level of noise during idle or at low loads, and significantly extend the life of fan.

We also note a number of advantages, the description of which did not fit on the package:

  • Military Class 4 - product features high quality electronic components with high performance and reliability (ferrite chokes, and solid tantalum capacitors).
  • Twin Frozr V - new proprietary cooling system that provides lower noise and better cooling compared to the reference cooler.
  • MSI Predator – due to utility you can save any game play in full screen mode. Utility MSI Predator is positioned as a free alternative to the highly popular program Fraps.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2G

A list of system requirements is also located on the back of the box. Based on these recommendations, the power supply should have a capacity of at least 350 W, as well as to maintain a 6-pin power cable PCIe.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2GIn the box with the video card we found not only the usual instructions and a software CD, but also adapter from DVI to D-Sub.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2GThe following set of video outputs is used to display an image:

  • 1 x DVI-I;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 3 x DisplayPort.

The following resolutions are supported:

  • Digital up to 4096 x 2160;
  • Dial up to 2048 x 1536.

Appearance and circuitry

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2GThe video card MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2G is realized on the original printed circuit board with a black matte finish. The logic arrangement of the key components is quite familiar: all memory chips are soldered around the GPU, and power system components are located on the left side of it.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2GPower features a reinforced five-phase scheme: four phases are responsible for the power of the graphics core, and one is designed for video memory subsystem. It uses high-quality components corresponding to the concept of MSI Military Class 4.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2GThe power system of core is implemented on a digital PWM controller NCP81174 produced by ON Semiconductor, which has some protection from excessive supply voltage, as well as energy efficiency.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2GIn addition to the PCI Express x16 slot, here is an optional 6-pin connector. Note that the cooler doesn’t cause discomfort to disconnect the power cord.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2GIn order to provide technology NVIDIA SLI the MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2G uses a single connector for the appropriate bridge. It allows you to combine a pair of graphics cards for the joint calculation of graphical effects.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2G

The reverse side of the PCB is notable for two memory chips, some of the electrical components and fixing screws of the cooling system, one of which has a special sticker.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2G

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2G

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2G

The news product is based on the graphics chip NVIDIA GM206-250 which is produced according to 28-nm process technology. It consists of 768 CUDA cores, 48 texture units and 32 ROP units. In nominal mode (mode «OC») basic graphics core frequency is increased from 1024 to 1127 MHz and dynamic averages 1317 MHz instead of 1188 MHz reference.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2GMemory of test video card (total 2 GB) is realized using four chips Samsung K4G41325FC-HC28 with capacity of 4 GB each. According to the documentation, their nominal effective frequency is 7000 MHz, but in our case it was reduced to 6650 MHz, which allows them to hope for a good overclocking potential. Communication between the graphics core and memory is realized through a 128-bit bus, which is capable of carrying of 106.4 GB information per second.

Cooling system

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2GThe tested model with including installed cooling system MSI Twin Frozr V occupies two expansion slots and has a total length of 270 mm according to the official website of MSI (287 mm as measured in our lab).

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2G

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2GThe cooler consists of a sufficiently large radiator that uses 44 aluminum nickel-plated plates, two 95 mm axial flow fans designed by Torx Fan, and a plastic housing, which covers the entire structure.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2GThe fans are manufactured by Power Logic and are labeled «PLD10010S12HH». They are based on sliding bearings with increased service life. Their rated operating voltage is 12 V, and the current is 0.4 A.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2GTo improve the heat exchange efficiency two 6 mm heat pipes are used. They are in direct contact with the surface of the graphic processor. They are covered with a layer of nickel, which is used to minimize the effectiveness of the drop due to the oxidation of copper. Contact of heat pipes with improved copper base is realized by means of solder. It is also used in places of contact with the edges of the radiator pipes.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2G

Separate low-profile heatsink is applied for heat dissipation from elements of the power subsystem.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2G

In case of the automatic speed control of fan blades under the maximum load, the graphics core is heated to 65°C, and cooler works at the same time 43% of its maximum capacity. The noise level was very low. It absolutely did not stand out against other components.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2G

Under the maximum speed fan blades GPU temperature dropped to 53 ° C. At the same time the noise rose to an average level, but remained quite acceptable for long-term daily use.

MSI GeForce GTX 950 GAMING 2G

In case of load absence the frequencies of the GPU and memory were automatically reduced, allowing you to reduce power consumption and heat dissipation of video card in general. In this mode, the GPU temperature did not exceed 38°C because the fans stopped to rotate and cooling system turned into a fully passive mode. Here the aforementioned technology MSI Zero Frozr is activated. It provides a silent mode of video card operation at low loads.

Read the full review >>>

Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-Gaming 7: review and testing

An updated series of devices for gamers GIGABYTE G1 GAMING includes not only the mid-level model, such as the GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-Gaming 3, but the flagship cards. And one of them will be described in this review. GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-Gaming 7 has a very good equipment, including the traditional advantages of this series: gaming network controller supplemented company Intel; a good sound system, as well as a number of overclcking opportunities that will help you get an extra performance boost in games.

GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-Gaming 7

The specs:

Producer and model

Read the full review >>>

Video card SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5: review and testing 

We continue to introduce new graphics cards based on the GPU AMD Radeon R9 380. This time we will get acquainted with the novelty produced by the company SAPPHIRE. It is a model SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5. Graphics cards of this manufacturer are often allocated due to an affordable cost, efficient cooling subsystem and balanced characteristics. 

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

Also the product is characterized by the qualitative element base with solid-state capacitors and effective Black Diamond chokes, as well as the cooling system SAPPHIRE DUAL-X, using axial fans with double ball bearings and system Intelligent Fan Control (IFC-II), which guarantees quiet operation at low loads.

The specs:

Model

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5 (11242-07) 

Graphics core

AMD Radeon R9 380 (Antigua PRO)

Manufacturing process, nm

28

Quantity of shader processors

1792

Support for technologies and API

DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5, AMD Mantle, AMD Eyefinity, AMD App Acceleration, AMD HD3D, AMD CrossFireX, AMD PowerPlay, AMD PowerTune, AMD ZeroCore, AMD TrueAudio, AMD Virtual Super Resolution, AMD Frame Rate Target Control, Vulcan, AMD FreeSync, OpenCL 2.0, AMD LiquidVR

Nominal frequency of graphics core, MHz

985

Memory capacity, GB

4

Memory type

GDDR5

Nominal/effective frequency of video memory, MHz

1450 / 5800

Memory bus width, bit

256

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

185,6

Internal interface type

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Screening interfaces

1 х HDMI

1 x DisplayPort

1 х DVI-I

1 х DVI-D

Minimal capacity of PSU, W

500

Dimensions (according measuring in our test lab), mm

237,35 x 126,15 x 37 (249 x 127)

Drivers

Available drivers SAPPHIRE or GPU

Producer’s website

SAPPHIRE

Package and content 

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

Graphics accelerator is shipped in a vertical cardboard package, which is almost completely painted black. Its front side contains a logo of the series SAPPHIRE NITRO and sufficiently large image of the robot. At the bottom the main advantages of the new item are listed:

  • factory overclocking;
  • 4 GB of memory;
  • optimal operation of modern games at a resolution of 1440p;
  • two-fan cooling system SAPPHIRE DUAL-X;
  • intelligent control system of mode (Intelligent Fan Control II).

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

The side of the box lists the minimum system requirements for optimal performance. Thus, the capacity of power supply unit must not be less than 500 W when installing a graphics accelerator. If you use the combination of two video cards in the mode AMD CrossFireX, this requirement increases to 850 W.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

Inside the package the graphics card is securely fastened using cardboard, foam and anti-static bag. This provides a high safety of the device during transportation.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

Supplied set of SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5 includes:

  • adapter DVI↔D-Sub;
  • sticker on the computer;
  • set of instructions.

This kit contains basic components for installing the video card and connection a digital or analog monitor. In some cases, you may need a 6-pin PCIe-adapters for connecting additional power supply, but most modern power units must be equipped with them initially.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

To display an image the following set of interfaces is provided:

  • 1 x DisplayPort;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x DVI-I.

Taking into account the complete adapter for analog connector D-Sub, this set of connectors is optimal. It will allow to connect virtually any monitor or TV with a resolution of 4K Ultra HD.

Appearance and circuitry 

 

 SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

Video accelerator SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5 is realized on the black circuit board with height of 127 mm, and length of 249 mm (as measured in our lab). In the center you can find the graphics processor which is equipped with a metal frame to protect against chipping and damage during building.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

GPU power subsystem is made according to 5-phase scheme. It uses proprietary chokes Black Diamond, which remain at the maximum load by 10% cooler and 25% more efficient of standard counterparts. This ensures a high reliability and energy efficiency of the graphics card. There is also installed a reliable solid-state capacitors with an increased service life.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

The controller is realized ON Semiconductor NCP81022.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

In addition to PCI Express x16 slot two additional 6-pin PCIe SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5 are used for power. Nothing prevents connection or disconnection because the latch of connectors are located on the back side of the PCB.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

A small switch is closer to the interface connector. It is designed to switch between the two chips BIOS, one of which implements UEFI-mode for faster download of new versions of the OS.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

The reverse side of the printed circuit board contains several elements of the power subsystem. Also, you can see that the PCB contains connectors for bridges AMD CrossFireX, as this technology is implemented on the software level.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5 works on the basis of the chip AMD Radeon R9 380 (Antigua PRO), which is determined by the utility GPU-Z 0.8.5 as the AMD Tonga. It is produced by 28-nm process technology and includes 1792 stream processors, 32 rasterization units and 112 texture units. The nominal frequency of the graphics processor is increased from 970 MHz to 985 MHz.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

The card is equipped with 4 GB of memory, realized with the help of 8 chips SK Hynix H5GC4H24AJR-T2C with capacity of 4 GB each. They operate on the effectively frequency of 5800 MHz, although the reference rate for AMD Radeon R9 380 is 5700 MHz. Exchange of data between memory and the graphics chip is carried out through a 256-bit bus with a capacity of 185.6 GB/s.

Cooling system 

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

Used Cooling System SAPPHIRE DUAL-X occupies two slots for expansion cards. Its front part is covered with a plastic lid. It features fixed 100 mm axial fans.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

The fans Apistek GAA8B2U operate at a voltage of 12 V and a current of 0.45 A, that provides the final output of 5.4 W. They are equipped with double ball bearing including protection against the ingress of dust. This design can significantly increase the life cycle of the fans.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

The second part of the cooling system includes four 6-mm copper heat pipes and radiator of longitudinally spaced plated plates. Large copper plate contacts with the GPU through a thin layer of thermal paste. Heat is removed from the memory chips and the power subsystem elements. Special thermo between them and the bottom of the radiator are applied.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

Heat pipes are soldered to both edges of an aluminum radiator, and to a copper substrate. This improves heat distribution and improves the efficiency of the cooling system. However, they are coated with nickel.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

In case automatic control of fan speed under maximum load, the GPU heated up to 72°C. fans worked at 57% (1528 rpm) of its maximum speed, creating a subtle noise that allowed completely comfortable.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

After setting the rotation speed of the fan blades to the maximum value (2868 rpm), the noise rose above average, but still remained affordable even for prolonged use.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 380 4G D5

In idle mode the frequency of the graphics core and memory was reduced, and the cooling system switched to the passive mode (due to the technology Intelligent Fan Control II). In this state, the GPU temperature did not exceed 50°C. Any noise is absent.

Read the full review >>>

Motherboard ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO: review and testing 

It is not a secret that ASUS has updated its flagship lineup of motherboards for gamers ASUS ROG in connection with the announcement of a new family of processors Intel Skylake (Platform Socket LGA1151) and the flagship chipset Intel Z170. And the first model of the updated line, which will be described is ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO. The solution is aimed for demanding users and experienced gamers who want to get a model with balanced performance, high quality, well equipping and moderate cost.   

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

The specs: 

Producer and model

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO (rev 1.01)

Chipset

Intel Z170

CPU socket

Socket LGA1151

Supported CPUs

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron 6th gen

Memory frequency

3800* / 3733* / 3600* / 3500* / 3466* / 3400* / 3333* / 3300* / 3200* / 3000* / 2800* / 2666* / 2400* / 2133 MHz

(*OC)

Memory support

4 x DDR4 DIMM-slots with memory support up to 64 GB

Expansion slots

 

2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16 / x8+x8)

1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x4)

3 x PCI Express 3.0 x1

Disk subsystem

Intel Z170 chipset supports:

1 x M.2 x4 Socket 3 (M.2 2242, M.2 2260, M.2 2280, M.2 22110)

2 x SATA 6 Gb/s

2 x SATA Express (each compatible with 2 х SATA 6 Gb/s)

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

ASMedia ASM1061 controller supports:

2 x SATA 6 Gb/s

LAN

1 x Intel WGI219V (10/100/1000 Mb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec SupremeFX 2015

8-channel sound

Power

1 х 24-pin ATX connector

1 x 8-pin ATX12V connector

Fans

2 x CPU fan connectors (4-pin)

4 x system fan connectors (4-pin)

1 x water cooling tank connector (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum heatsink on the chipset

Aluminium radiators on the elements of power system connected with a heat pipe

Extenral I/O

1 x PS/2 Combo

1 x HDMI

1 x DisplayPort

1 x LAN (RJ45)

2 x USB 3.0

1 х USB 3.1 (Type-C)

1 х USB 3.1 (Type-A)

4 x USB 2.0

1 x Optical S/PDIF out

5 x audio jacks

1 х button «USB BIOS Flashback»

Internal I/O

2 x USB 3.0, each with support of two USB 3.0

2 x USB 2.0, each with support of two USB 2.0

1 х ROG_EXT

1 x EXT_FAN

4 x SATA 6 Gb/s

2 x SATA Express

1 х socket TPM

1 x diagnostic LED-indicator

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 х connector to connect temperature sensor

1 x «CMOS reset»

1 х «Power» button

1 х «Reboot» button

1 х «MemOK!» button

1 х socket Thunderbolt

1 x 4-pin socket for connection of tank of water cooling system

1 х switch to mode «LN2»

1 х socket to connect temperature sensors

BIOS

128 MbFlash ROM UEFI AMI BIOS

PnP, ACPI 5.0, SM BIOS 3.0, DMI 3.0, WfM 2.0

Packaging

User’s manual

Warranty card

Disk with drivers and utilities

1 х tool ASUS CPU Installation Tool

1 х set ASUS Q-Connectors

6 x SATA cables

1 х bridge 2-Way NVIDIA SLI

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions

ATX

305 x 244 mm

Producer website

ASUS
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available on  support page

Package and content 

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

The motherboard comes in a cardboard box with a flip-up lid with the design of corporate style of lineup ASUS ROG. In addition to the names of the manufacturer and model of the device the front side features a series of logos at the bottom, showing the support for Windows 10, NVIDIA SLI and technology AMD CrossFireX, as well as the display image with a resolution of 4K Ultra HD.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

On the reverse side of the flip-up cover with a viewing window you can find a description of ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO advantages:

  • SupremeFX 2015 - preinstalled audio codec offers support for high quality eight channel sound thanks to the DAC ESS ES9023P and audio capacitors Nichicon. In order to avoid the negative impact of electromagnetic interference shielding technology is used. Also note the presence of an amplifier TI R4580I, able to improve the audio playback on headphones with an impedance of 600 Ohms. Proprietary software comes bundled with Sonic Studio II, allowing to activate a virtual reproduction of sound in 7.1 format, as well as offering a wide range of audio settings.
  • Intel Ethernet - preset network controller has an increased capacity and consumes less CPU resources than competing solutions.
  • LANGuard - LAN-port uses a special guard to help prevent damage to the system due to static electricity or shock during an electrical storm.
  • ROG GameFirst III - technology designed to optimize Internet traffic in order to increase the priority of online games, which should reduce the delays and, accordingly, make the gameplay more comfortable. You can also select a priority “media-streaming”, VoIP or file sharing.
  • ROG KeyBot II - a unique technology that allows you to record macros and create function keys, even for conventional keyboards.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

The reverse side of the package in addition to a brief technical specification of new item and diagramming interface panel contains a mention of the support for SupremeFX 2015, Intel Ethernet, as well as digital power subsystem Extreme Engine DIGI+.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

Package of ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO includes:

  • six SATA cables;
  • set ASUS Q-Connectors, which greatly simplifies the process of connecting of the case's front panel;
  • sticker with the logo of ASUS ROG;
  • bridge NVIDIA SLI;
  • tool ASUS CPU Installation Tool;
  • door hanger.

Design and features 

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

Motherboard ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO features quite original and stylish decor, which is important for a gaming solution. The familiar black color is added by the splashes of red color on the chipset and the protective casing on the interface panel.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

As for the layout of on-board elements, all is performed at the highest level: all key connectors and ports are concentrated on the edges of the printed circuit board, SATA ports are parallel to PCB and-DIMM slots are equipped with latches on one side. As a result, the design and layout of the ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO deserve only the highest grade.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

The reverse side of the motherboard meets us not only by the usual base plate of the socket and fastening screws of the radiator, but also two support plates placed under the components of the power subsystem processor. Additionally, they serve as low-profile radiators.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

The bottom of the printed circuit board ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO has the following connectors: connecting bock of audio connectors on front panel, block «TB_HEADER» (for the implementation of the interface Thunderbolt), the button “Clear CMOS”, “Enable” and “Reset”, the port TPM, and the connecting block of the front panel. Additionally, we note two pads to activate the ports USB 2.0, one of which is connected with the connector ROG_EXT, and one USB 3.0. Total number of USB 2.0 ports is eight: four internal and four on the interface panel. As for USB 3.0, there are only six: four internal and two external. All of them operate through a set of system logic.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

The possibility of organizing a disk subsystem is presented by connector M.2 x4 Socket 3 (supports SSD-drives M.2 2242, 2260 M.2, M.2 M.2 2280 and 22110), four ports SATA 6Gb/s and two SATA Express where each is compatible with two SATA 6 Gb/s. There is support for arrays RAID 0 SATA, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10. In this case, there is one restriction: if connector M.2x4 Socket 3 operates in mode «SATA», the two SATA 6 Gb/s (on the scheme «SATA6G_12 ") will be disabled.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

Mainboard ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO is equipped with four DIMM-slots for modules RAM standard DDR4, which for convenience are equipped with latched on one side only. RAM can operate in dual channel mode. Its implementation is realized by installation either in the first and third or second and fourth slots (or takes all available ports). Modules operating at frequencies up to 3800 MHz in overclocking mode are supported. The maximum amount of memory can be up to 64 GB, which is enough for almost any tasks.

Additionally note the module for connecting remote panel with ports USB 3.0, button «MemOK!», which allows you to automatically pick up the necessary parameters of the RAM to the successful launch of the system and diagnostic LED-indicator.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

The cooling system of this motherboard has three major aluminum radiators, one carries out the removal of heat from the chipset Intel Z170, while the other two connected by a heat pipe cover the elements of the power subsystem processor.

In the process of testing we’ve recorded the following temperature:

  • heat sink for cooling chipset – 31.1°C (during acceleration - 33°C);
  • upper radiator of cooling elements of the processor power subsystem – 37.1°C (during acceleration – 38.8°C);
  • lower heat sink of cooling elements of the processor power subsystem - 36°C (during acceleration – 37.5°C).

These results clearly indicate the higher efficiency of the cooling system, indicating the proper selection of materials and design.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

CPU power is carried out by a reinforced 10-phase scheme for cores and additional nodes. Converter is based on a digital PWM controller ASP1405I with built power control subsystem Extreme Engine DIGI+. All components have a high degree of reliability: durable Japanese solid capacitors, effective MOSFETs and chokes NexFET MicroFine, providing stable operation even at high amperage. The main 24-pin and additional 8-pin connectors are used to provide supply voltage. 

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

The possibility of expanding the functionality of the motherboard ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO is presented by six slots:

  1. PCI Express 3.0 x1;
  2. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16 mode or x8);
  3. PCI Express 3.0 x1;
  4. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x8 mode);
  5. PCI Express 3.0 x1;
  6. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x4 mode).

Due to the support for technologies NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX this configuration offers the user to organize the graphics subsystem of the two or three cards. The location of the slots will allow to easily connect two video cards with three-slot cooling system. And you have access to one connector PCI Express 3.0 x1.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

If you decided to take advantage of the graphics core integrated into the CPU, you have two video outputs: HDMI and DisplayPort operating by the chip ASMedia ASM1442K.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

Multi I/O opportunities are based on chip NUVOTON NCT6793D, which controls the operation of the system fan, port PS/2, and provide monitoring. 

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

Correct operation of the two USB 3.1 ports on the interface panel is provided by the chip ASMedia ASM1142.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

Two additional SATA 6 Gb/s ports are realized due to the controller ASMedia ASM1061.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

To support network connections there is a gigabit LAN-controller Intel WGI219V. Proprietary technology ROG GameFirst III provides the distribution of network resources and prioritization of traffic.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

Sound subsystem of motherboard based on the 8-channel HDA-codec design SupremeFX 2015, which supports the audio formats 2/4/5.1/7.1 and has a number of proprietary features.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

Interface Panel of model ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO includes the following ports:

  • 1 x PS / 2 Combo;
  • 1 x LAN (RJ45);
  • 2 x USB 3.0;
  • 4 x USB 2.0;
  • 1 x USB 3.1 (Type-C);
  • 1 x USB 3.1 (Type-A);
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DisplayPort;
  • 1 x Optical S / PDIF out;
  • 1 x button «USB BIOS Flashback»;
  • 5 x audio ports.

This configuration can be safely described as excellent, because here are not only everything you need, but even more: two digital video output, a large number of ports USB (including two high-speed USB 3.1), as well as easy connection of multi-channel speakers and support the periphery PS/2. Additionally note the function of the firmware update BIOS from a USB flash drive using the corresponding button.

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

 

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO

ASUS MAXIMUS VIII HERO features wide opportunities for the organization of the cooling system inside the case. There are seven 4-pin fan connectors, two of which are for cooling the CPU, one is designed to connect the water block, while the other four are for system fans.

Read the full review >>>

MSI Z170A GAMING M5 motherboard: review and testing

As you know MSI has decided to divide the whole range of gaming motherboards on three lineups: MSI Z170 Arsenal GAMING, MSI Z170 Performance GAMING and MSI Z170 Enthusiast GAMING. The first is designed for casual players that do not require special advantages. The second one provides a number of important features. The third one pleases gaming enthusiasts due to improvements to each subsystem.

In turn, lineup MSI Z170 Enthusiast GAMING is divided into several series: MSI Z170 GAMING M3, MSI Z170 GAMING M5, MSI Z170 GAMING M7 и MSI Z170 GAMING M9.  It is easy to guess that the higher the index number, the greater the benefits of various integrated into the model.

MSI Z170A GAMING M5

So we can say that the motherboard MSI Z170A GAMING M5 is designed for fans of computer games that are looking for a balance between the high functionality and the ultimate cost.

Novelty has an excellent network subsystem, which will be appreciated by fans of online battles, high-quality sound subsystem that allows you to catch the steps of the enemy before it appears on the screen, as well as ample opportunities for the organization of graphics and disk subsystems.

However, but firstly let's consider the detailed technical specifications of the motherboard MSI Z170A GAMING M5:

Producer 

MSI

Model

Z170A GAMING M5

Chipset

Intel Z170

CPU socket

Socket LGA1151

Supported CPU

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron 6th gen

Memory frequency

3600* / 3200* / 3000* / 2800* / 2600* / 2400 / 2133 MHz

(*OC)

Memory support

4 x DDR4 DIMM-slots with memory support up to 64 GB

Expansion slots

3 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16 / x8+x8 / x8+x4+x4)

4 x PCI Express 3.0 x1

Disk subsystem

Intel Z170 chipset supports:

2 x M.2 32 Gb/s (M.2 2242, M.2 2260, M.2 2280)

2 x SATA 6 Gb/s

2 x SATA Express (compatible with 2 х SATA 6 Gb/s)

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

LAN

1 x Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2400 (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec Realtek ALC1150

8-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power

24-pin ATX connector

8-pin ATX12V connector

Fans

2 x CPU fan connectors (4-pin)

3 x system fan connectors (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminium radiators on the processor power subsystem elements

Aluminum radiator on chipset

Extenral I/O

1 x PS/2 Combo

1 x HDMI

1 x DVI-D

1 x LAN (RJ45)

4 x USB 3.1 Gen1

1 х USB 3.1 Gen2 (Type-C)

1 х USB 3.1 Gen2 (Type-A)

2 x USB 2.0

1 x Optical S/PDIF out

5 x audio jacks

Internal I/O

1 x USB 3.1 each with support of two USB 3.1 Gen1

2 x USB 2.0 each with support of two USB 2.0

2 x SATA 6 Gb/s

2 x SATA Express

1 х socket TPM

1 х COM

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

2 x sets of front panel connectors

1 х switch «Slow mode»

1 x CMOS reset

1 x diagnostic LED-indicator

BIOS

128 Mb Flash ROM UEFI AMI BIOS

PnP 1.0а, ACPI 5.0, SM BIOS 2.8

Packaging

user manual

warranty card

disk with drives and documents

4 x SATA cables

1 х bridge 2-Way NVIDIA SLI

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions

ATX

305 x 244 mm

Producer website

MSI
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available at support page

Read the full review >>>

Video cardSAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5: review and testing

Company SAPPHIRE Technology, widely known as one of the largest manufacturers of video cards and one of the main partners of AMD, of course could not stay away from the announcement of a new lineup of graphics cards AMD Radeon R9 300, and has present own versions.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5

One of them is SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5, which in comparison with the reference AMD Radeon R9 390 used proprietary cooler Tri-X, provided factory overclocking up to 1010 MHz, and the qualitative element base and a number of other improvements, which will be discussed in this review. Let’s start from detailed performance characteristics of new item:

Model

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5 (11244-00)

Graphics core

AMD Radeon R9 390 (Grenada PRO)

Quantity of shader processors

2560

Supported API and technologies

DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5, AMD Mantle, AMD Eyefinity, AMD App Acceleration, AMD HD3D, AMD CrossFireX, AMD PowerPlay, AMD PowerTune, AMD ZeroCore, AMD TrueAudio, AMD Virtual Super Resolution, AMD Frame Rate Target Control, Vulcan, AMD FreeSync, OpenCL 2.0, AMD LiquidVR

Graphics core frequency, MHz

1010

Memory frequency (effective), MHz

1500 (6000)

Memory capacity, GB

8

Memory type

GDDR5

Memory bus, bit

512

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

384

Bus

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Max resolution

4096 x 2160

Screening interfaces

1 х DVI-D

1 х HDMI

3 х DisplayPort

HDCP support and HD-video decoding

Yes

Minimal PSU capacity, W

750

Dimensions from the official site (measured in our lab), mm

308 x 127 x 42,3 (315 х 125)

Drivers

Available drivers   SAPPHIRE or  GPU

Producer website

SAPPHIRE Technology

As you can see, the actual overclocking of the graphics core is only 10MHz compared to reference 1000 MHz, so you should not expect for a significant increase in performance compared with the reference version. The key advantages of the new product are an original cooling system and updated electronic components.

Package and content

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5

Graphics card SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5 comes in a large cardboard box decorated with original and stylish printing. In addition to a small viewing opening on the front side you may note names of the manufacturer and model of the device, the volume and type of installed video memory, support for proprietary cooling system Tri-X, as well as the presence of factory overclocking.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5The reverse side contains a small schematic representation of the graphics card, as well as a list of its benefits:

  • Tri-X – a proprietary cooling system, with three axial fans form  air flow directed to the key components of a video card, which promotes more effective cooling.
  • Dual Ball Bearing Fans - fans with double ball bearings have a greater smoothness and an increased service life.
  • Cooper Heatpipes - five copper heat pipes of different diameters for better heat dissipation are the base of the heatsink.
  • Copper/Aluminum heatsink - the radiator is made of aluminum with a copper base.
  • Black Diamond Chokes - chokes feature 10% lower temperature during operation and 25% higher efficiency.
  • DVI-D, HDMI + 3 DP ports - a set of external interfaces includes a large number of various digital ports.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5

A list of system requirements is located on one side of the box. Based on the recommendations, the power supply in such a system should have a capacity at least of 750 W and two 8-pin PCIe.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5

The delivery set of the graphics card SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5 contains the standard documentation, CD with software and a nice bonus in the form of cable HDMI.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5

To display the image on the test Powered by the next set of interfaces:

  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 3 x DisplayPort.

Design and circuitry

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5

Model SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5 is realized on the original black circuit board with a standard arrangement principle. Applied circuitry includes extremely high quality components: solid capacitors with extended service, advanced chip IR3553 and effective chokes Black Diamond Chokes. This increases the stability and reliability of the graphics and also prolongs its life.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5Powering of the product is realized via reliable 8-phase scheme: 6 phases are responsible for the power of the graphics core and 2 are designed for video memory subsystem.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5

Chip IR3567B is used as a digital PWM controller of power subsystem.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5In order to power the graphics card there is a PCI Express x16 slot and two 8-pin PCIe, located on the side of the board. Note that the cooler doesn’t complicate the disconnection or connection of the cable PCIe.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5

The reverse side of the PCB doesn’t contain significant elements. We should also note the complete absence of connectors for bridges AMD CrossFireX, as this technology is implemented at the software level. Also do not forget that starting from the version of the driver AMD Catalyst 15.7 WHQL, you will be able to combine a bunch of novelty with the AMD Radeon R9 290.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5

The basis of SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5 is a graphics chip AMD Grenada PRO, which is determined by the utility GPU-Z 0.8.5 as the AMD Hawaii. It is produced by the norms of 28-nm manufacturing process and consists of 2560 unified shader pipelines, 64 ROP units and 160 texture units. The GPU operating frequency was increased to 1010 MHz with respect to the recommended 1000 MHz.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5Memory of model SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5 (total 8 GB) is realized with the help of 16 chips SK hynix H5GC4H24AJR-T2C with capacity of 4 GB each, which run on the recommended effective frequency 6000 MHz. Communication between the graphics processor and memory is realized through a 512-bit bus, which is able to pass 384 GB of information per second.

Cooling system

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5The video card including installed cooling system Tri-X occupies two expansion slots and has a total length of 308 mm according to the official website (315 mm measured in our lab).

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5

A cooler consists of a massive two-section heatsink with 55 and 70 aluminum plates transversely arranged and three 86 mm axial fans mounted on the plastic case.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5The fans are produced by company FirstDO and are labeled as «FDC10H12D9-C». Rated voltage of operation is 12 V and the current strength is 0.35 A, which gives the final output of 4.2 W.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5The uniform distribution of heat over the whole area of the radiator is provided by five copper heat pipes of different diameter: one 10 mm and two 8 mm and two 6 mm. Note that the heat pipes are not covered by a layer of nickel, which is designed to reduce the drop in the efficiency of cooling system during the operation, due to the oxidation of metals.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5They are secured by solder and tight fit between the fins of the radiator.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5

The main cooling system is directly in contact with the power elements of the power subsystem and video memory chips using thermal interface, which should positively affect the overclocking potential.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5

In case of the automatic speed control of fan blades under the maximum load, the graphics core is heated to 74°C, and cooler, as indicated by the monitoring works at 50% of its maximum capacity. Noise was very quiet.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5

Under the maximum speed of fan blades the GPU temperature dropped to 64°C. In this case the noise has exceeded the average level and became uncomfortable for continuous operation near the PC.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5

In case of load absence the frequencies of the GPU and memory are automatically reduced. As a result they allow to reduce the power consumption and heat release. In this mode the GPU temperature did not exceed 44°C because the fans stopped to rotate and cooling system operates in a completely passive mode.

SAPPHIRE NITRO R9 390 8G D5

Read the full review >>>

Video card ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING) on AMD Radeon R7 370: review and testing 

Along with the flagship video cards AMD Radeon R9 Fury X and AMD Radeon R9 Fury, as well as high-level models of the series AMD Radeon R9 300, AMD has updated the budget segment of own product, which along with last year's series of AMD Radeon R7 200 received a new name - AMD Radeon R7 300. One of the innovations is the graphics card AMD Radeon R7 370, which will be offered for a suggested price of $ 149 for the modifications to the reference design.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

It received a renamed and graphics core slightly modified from last year's adapter AMD Radeon R7 265, which now has the name of AMD Trinidad PRO instead of AMD Curacao PRO. In turn, this has already been renamed GPU AMD Pitcairn PRO with old one AMD Radeon HD 7850.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

At the same time it doesn’t have any significant structural changes: the chip also includes 1024 stream processors, 64 texture units and 32 units of rasterization. As for the video memory subsystem, two versions of the video card were announced: 2 or 4 GB and effective frequency 5600 MHz.

 

AMD

Radeon R9 380

AMD Radeon R7 370

AMD Radeon R7 265

AMD Radeon HD 7850

Code name

AMD Antigua PRO

AMD Trinidad PRO 

AMD Curacao PRO

AMD Pitcairn PRO

Quantity of stream processors

1792

1024 

1024

1024

Texture units

112

64 

64

64

ROPs

32

32 

32

32

GPU frequency, MHz

970

975 

925

860

Video memory effective frequency, MHz

5500 / 5700

5600 

5600

4800

Video memory capacity, GB

2 / 4

2 / 4 

2

2

Video memory interface, bit

256

256 

256

256

Like in the case with the previously discussed graphics cards in a new lineup, another difference of AMD Radeon R7 370 from its predecessor in the face of AMD Radeon R7 265 is the increased frequency of the graphics core from 925 to 975 MHz.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

Let’s move on to a more detailed study on the example of video card ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING).

Model

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

Graphics core

AMD Radeon R7 370 (Trinidad PRO)

Quantity of shader processors

1024

Supported API and technologies

DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5, AMD Mantle, AMD Eyefinity, AMD App Acceleration, AMD HD3D, AMD CrossFireX, AMD PowerPlay, AMD PowerTune, AMD ZeroCore, AMD Virtual Super Resolution, AMD Frame Rate Target Control, Vulcan, OpenCL 2.0

Graphics core frequency, MHz

1050

Memory frequency (effective), MHz

1400 (5600)

Memory capacity, GB

4

Memory type

GDDR5

Memory bus, bit

256

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

179,2

Bus

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Max resolution

4096 x 2160

Screening interfaces

1 х DVI-D

1 х DVI-I

1 х HDMI

1 х DisplayPort

HDCP support and HD-video decoding

Yes

Minimal PSU capacity, W

500

Dimensions from the official site (measured in our lab), mm

214 x 125 x 42 (226 х 128)

Drivers

Available drivers  ASUS or  GPU

Producer website

ASUS

Like all video cards in series ASUS STRIX, the novelty has received quite a large list of changes compared to the reference specifications. So, in addition to the original PCB, proprietary cooling system and improved element base, there is a factory overclocking. The graphics core is clocked at 1050 MHz (increase of 7% compared to the recommended 975 MHz). Video memory operating at the reference effective frequency of 5600 MHz.

Package and content 

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

Graphics card ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING) comes in a fairly large cardboard box and decorated with original and stylish line of the graphic printing with logo ASUS STRIX. In addition to the names of the manufacturer and model of the device here you can find information about the use of its proprietary cooling system DirectCU II with technology 0dB FAN, which provides 30% lower temperature compared to the reference cooler and in passive mode at low loads.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

The reverse side of the box is traditionally reserved for the slightly more detailed description of the advantages of new item. Also, there is a schematic diagram of the interface panel, and the mention of the features of proprietary utility GPU Tweak II with the functions of the online Online Streaming.

As for the benefits, they include:

  • DirectCU II - proprietary cooling system which compares favorably with the direct contact of heat pipes with a graphics core, 220% greater area of heat dissipation and 40% higher thermal conductivity that allows a 30% reduction in the temperature and decreases three times the noise level compared to reference cooler. 
  • ASUS Auto Extreme with Super Alloy Power II - model ASUS STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING is one of the world's first graphics card built in a fully automated line, which guarantees consistently high quality and ensures the rejection of aggressive chemicals in the production process. In addition, it is based on using high-quality electronic components (Super Alloy Power II), allowing further improves the reliability of the new item.
  • 0db FAN provides silent operation of video at low loads.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

A list of system requirements is located on one side of the box. Based on the recommendations, the power supply in such a system must have a capacity at least of 500 W and provide at least 24 A on +12V line. Also tested model requires the connection of 6-pin cable PCIe.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

Supplied set of the graphics card ASUS STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING includes the standard documentation, CD with software and a nice bonus in the form of bridge AMD CrossFireX.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

To display the image the next set of interfaces is provided:

  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x DVI-I;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DisplayPort. 

Design and circuitry 

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

Model ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING) is realized on a compact black PCB. Used electronic components correspond to the branded concept Super Alloy Power II and include only high-quality components: solid and tantalum-polymer capacitors, advanced MOSFETs and ferrite core chokes. This increases the stability and reliability of the graphics in general, and prolongs its lifetime.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

Power of new product is made according to 4+1-phase scheme where four phases are responsible for the power of the graphics core, and one is designed for video memory subsystem.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

Chip uP1608TK is applied as a digital PWM controller of power subsystem.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

In order to power the graphics card there is a PCI Express x16 slot and one 6-pin PCIe, located on the side of the board. Note that the cooler doesn’t complicate the disconnection or connection of the cable PCIe.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

To implement the technology AMD CrossFireX on ASUS STRIX R7 370 a single connector for the corresponding bridge is used. It allows you to combine two video accelerators for the joint calculation of graphical effects.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

The reverse side of the printed circuit board contains mounting screws of cooling system and some electrical components.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

The base of ASUS STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING is a graphics chip AMD Trinidad PRO, which is determined by the utility GPU-Z 0.8.5 as the AMD Pitcairn. It is produced by the norms of 28-nm manufacturing process and consists of the 1024 unified shader pipelines, 32 ROP units and 64 texture units. The GPU operating frequency was increased to 1050 MHz with respect to the recommended 975 MHz.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

Memory of model ASUS STRIX R7 370 (total 4 GB) is realized due to the use of 8 chips SK hynix H5GC4H24AJR-T2C with capacity 4 GB each, which run on the recommended effective frequency of 5600 MHz. Communication between the graphics processor and memory is realized through 256-bit bus, which is capable of carrying 179.2 GB of information per second.

Cooling system 

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

The video card including installed cooling system ASUS DirectCU II takes up two expansion slots and has a total length of 214 mm according to the official website (226 mm as measured in our lab).

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

The cooler consists of a compact radiator with 38 longitudinally spaced aluminum plates, and two 75 mm axial flow fans mounted on the plastic case.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

The fans are produced by company EVERFLOW and are labeled as «T128010SH». Rated voltage of operation is 12 V, and the current is 0.25 A, which gives the final output of 3 W.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

The uniform distribution of heat over the whole area of the radiator is provided by two copper heat pipes with diameter of 8 mm. Fins and heat pipes are covered with a layer of nickel, which is designed to reduce the drop in the efficiency of cooling system during the operation, due to the oxidation of metals. ASUS DirectCU cooler use scheme of direct contact of heat pipes to the surface of the GPU through a small layer of thermal paste to accelerate removal of excess heat.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

To cool the power elements of the power subsystem there is a separate low-profile heatsink with thermal interface. But memory chips don’t have any additional cooling.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

In case of the automatic speed control of the fan blades and under maximum load, the graphics core is heated to 75°C, and cooler works while 43% of its maximum capacity. Noise subjectively was quiet and comfortable for everyday use.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

Under the maximum speed of fan blades rotation the GPU temperature dropped to 59°C. This noise exceeded the average level, but in a closed PC case it did not stand out too much compared to other components.

ASUS STRIX R7 370 (STRIX-R7370-DC2OC-4GD5-GAMING)

In case of load absence the operating frequencies of the graphics core and memory were automatically reduced, allowing them to reduce power consumption and heat. In this mode, the GPU temperature did not exceed 39°C because the fans stopped to rotate and cooling system operates in a completely passive mode. Here the above-mentioned technology 0dB FAN is activated, providing silent operation of video at low loads.

Read the full review >>>

MotherboardASUS Z170 PRO GAMING: review and testing  

Continuing our acquaintance with the motherboard to work with the new family of processors Intel Skylake (Socket LGA1151 Platform), realized on the basis of the flagship chipset Intel Z170, we will talk about the model of the lineup ASUS PRO GAMER. ASUS did not create a separate lineup of gaming motherboards for the new family of processors, but renamed ASUS Gamer intp ASUS PRO GAMER including a model on the platform Socket LGA1150, for example, ASUS Z97-PRO GAMER.

ASUS_Z170_PRO_GAMING

As for ASUS Z170 PRO GAMING, it is a logical continuation of earlier branded gaming solutions with a number of significant improvements, new proprietary technologies as well as more modern equipment, such as support for interface USB 3.1.

The specs: 

Producer  

ASUS

Model

Z170 PRO GAMING (rev 1.04)

Chipset

Intel Z170

CPU socket

Socket LGA1151

Supported CPUs

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron 6th gen

Memory frequency

3400* / 3333* / 3200* / 3100* / 3000* / 2933* / 2800* / 2666* / 2600* / 2400* / 2133 MHz

(*OC)

Memory support

4 x DDR4 DIMM-slots with memory support up to 64 GB

Expansion slots

 

3 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16 / x8+x8 / x8+x8+x4)

3 x PCI Express 3.0 x1

Disk subsystem

Intel Z170 chipset supports:

1 x M.2 Socket 3 (M.2 2242, M.2 2260, M.2 2280, M.2 22110)

4 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 x SATA Express (compatible with 2 х SATA 6 Gb/s)

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

LAN

1 x Intel WGI219V (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec SupremeFX

8-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power

1 х 24-pin ATX connector

1 x 8-pin ATX12V connector

Fans

2 x CPU fan connectors (4-pin)

3 x system fan connectors (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on chipset

Aluminum radiator on the elements of the processor power subsystem

Extenral I/O

1 x PS/2 Combo

1 x HDMI

1 x DisplayPort

1 x D-Sub

1 x DVI-D

1 x LAN (RJ45)

4 x USB 3.0

1 х USB 3.1 (Type-C)

1 х USB 3.1 (Type-A)

2 x USB 2.0

1 x Optical S/PDIF out

5 x audio jacks

Internal I/O

1 x USB 3.0 each with support of two USB 3.0 (19-pin)

3 x USB 2.0, each with support of two USB 2.0

1 х ROG_EXT

1 x EXT_FAN

4 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 x SATA Express

1 х TPM

1 х COM

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 х connector for temperature sensor connection

1 x CMOS

BIOS

128 Mb Flash ROM UEFI AMI BIOS

PnP, ACPI 5.0, SM BIOS 3.0, DMI 3.0, WfM 2.0

Packaging

User’s manual

Warranty card

Disk with drivers and utilities

1 х tool ASUS CPU Installation Tool

4 x SATA cables

1 х bridge 2-Way NVIDIA SLI

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions

ATX

305 x 244 mm

Producer website

ASUS
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available on  support page

Read the full review >>>

Video cardASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING) on AMD Radeon R9 380: review and testing 

Continuing familiarity with the lineup of graphics cards AMD Radeon Rx 300, after talk about the AMD Radeon R9 390, which is a kind of modification of the AMD Radeon R9 290, we will move to a more affordable solution, namely, the AMD Radeon R9 380.

GeForce GTX 970 4GB GDDR5 inno3D iChill Ultra  AMD Radeon R9 285 2GB GDDR5 HIS Mini IceQ X2 OC  GeForce GTX 960 2GB GDDR5 ASUS TURBO OC  Radeon R9 390 8GB GDDR5 ASUS STRIX OC

By analogy with the previous model, the novelty was renamed and slightly modified graphics core from last year's adapter AMD Radeon R9 285, which has received a new name AMD Antigua PRO instead of AMD Tonga PRO. At the same time there were any significant structural changes: the chip also includes a 1792 stream processors, 112 texture units and 32 units rasterization. As for the video memory subsystem, there are two versions of the video card: one with 2 GB of working on the effective frequency 5500 MHz, and the second with 4 GB and frequency of 5700 MHz.

 

AMD

Radeon R9 390

AMD

Radeon R9 290

AMD 

Radeon R9 380 

AMD

Radeon R9 285

Code name

Grenada PRO

Hawaii PRO

Antigua PRO 

Tonga PRO

Quantity of data-flow processors

2560

2560

1792 

1792

Texture units

160

160

112 

112

ROP

64

64

32 

32

Graphics processor frequency, MHz

1000

947

970 

918

Video memory effective frequency, MHz

6000

5000

5500 / 5700 

5500

Video memory capacity, GB

8

4

2 / 4 

2

Video memory interface, bit

512

512

256 

256

As you can see, another difference of AMD Radeon R9 380 from its predecessor AMD Radeon R9 285 is the increased frequency of the graphics core from 918 to 970 MHz. For the rest, any critical differences in performance between them are absence. Separately, we note that AMD declares the GPU energy optimization achieved by improving the manufacturing process. This allowed further increase the frequency of the cores.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

Let’s turn to a more detailed examination of the product on the example of the video card ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING).

Model

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

Graphics core

AMD Radeon R9 380 (Antigua PRO)

Quantity of shader processors

1792

Supported API and technologies

DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5, AMD Mantle, AMD Eyefinity, AMD App Acceleration, AMD HD3D, AMD CrossFireX, AMD PowerPlay, AMD PowerTune, AMD ZeroCore, AMD TrueAudio, AMD Virtual Super Resolution, AMD Frame Rate Target Control, Vulcan, AMD FreeSync, OpenCL 2.0, AMD LiquidVR

GPU frequency, MHz

«OC»

1010

«Gaming»

990

Memory frequency (effective), MHz

1375 (5500)

Memory capacity, GB

2

Memory type

GDDR5

Memory bus, bit

256

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

176,6

Bus

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Max resolution

4096 x 2160

Screening interfaces

1 х DVI-D

1 х DVI-I

1 х HDMI

1 х DisplayPort

HDCP support and HD-video decoding

Yes

Minimal PSU capacity, W

500

Dimensions from the official site (measured in our lab), mm

271 x 139 x 42 (284 х 139)

Drivers

Available drivers ASUS or GPU

Producer website

ASUS

Like all video card in series ASUS STRIX, the novelty has received quite a large list of modifications compared to the reference specifications. So, in addition to the original PCB, proprietary cooling system and improved element base, there is a factory overclocking. In mode «OC» the graphics core (used for testing) operates at 1010 MHz (increase of 4% compared to the recommended 970 MHz). Video memory operates at speed of 5500 MHz recommended for version of 2GB.

Package and content 

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

Graphics card ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING) is shipped in a quite large cardboard box decorated with original and stylish printing with logo of lineup ASUS STRIX. In addition to manufacturer and model of the device here you can find information about the use of proprietary cooling system DirectCU II with technology 0dB FAN which provides 20% lower temperature compared to the reference cooler and radial type in passive mode at low loads.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

The reverse side of the box is traditionally reserved for the slightly more detailed description of the advantages of new item. Also there is a schematic diagram of the interface panel, and the mention of the features of proprietary utility GPU Tweak II with features of Online Streaming, and switch between the modes «Gaming» and «OC».

As for the advantages, they include:

  • ASUS Auto Extreme with Super Alloy Power II - model ASUS STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING is one of the world's first graphics card built in a fully automated line, which guarantees consistently high quality and ensures the rejection of aggressive chemicals in the production process. In addition, it is based on using high-quality electronic components (Super Alloy Power II), allowing further improves the reliability of the new item.
  • 0db FAN provides silent operation of video at low loads.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

A list of system requirements for the computer is located on one side of the box. Based on the recommendations, the power supply in such a system must have a capacity at least 500 W and provide at least 24 A on +12 V line. Also tested model requires the connection of one 8-pin cable PCIe.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

The delivery set of the graphics card ASUS STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING contains standard documentation and software CD.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

To display the image the next set of interfaces is provided:

  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x DVI-I;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DisplayPort. 

Design and circuitry 

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

Model ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING) is realized on the original circuit board painted in black color, with a standard arrangement principle. Used electronic components correspond to the concept Super Alloy Power II and includes only high-quality components: solid state capacitors, advanced MOSFETs and ferrite core chokes. This increases the stability and reliability of the graphics in general, and also prolongs its life.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

Power is realized according to reinforced 6+2-phase scheme where six phases are responsible for the power of the graphics core and 2 are designed for video memory subsystem.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

PWM controller of power subsystem is carried by chip ASP1300.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

In order to provide the power supply the test product includes PCI Express x16 slot and one 8-pin PCIe, located on the side of the board. Note that the cooler slightly complicates the disconnection of the cable PCIe.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

The reverse side of the printed circuit board, originally protected by a massive base plate, doesn’t contain significant elements. We should also note the complete absence of connectors for bridges AMD CrossFireX, as this technology is implemented at the software level.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

The base of ASUS STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING is a graphics chip AMD Antigua PRO, which is determined by the utility GPU-Z 0.8.5 as the AMD Tonga. It is produced by the norms of 28-nm manufacturing process and consists of 1792 unified shader pipelines, 32 ROP units and 112 texture units. The GPU operating frequency was increased to 1010 MHz with respect to the recommended 970 MHz.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

Memory of model ASUS STRIX R9 380 (total 2 GB), is realized by 8 chips Elpida W2032BBBG-6A-F with capacity of 2 GB each, which run on the recommended effective frequency 5500 MHz. Communication between the graphics processor and memory is realized through a 256-bit bus, which is capable of flowing 176.6 GB of information per second.

Cooling system 

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

The video card including installed cooling system ASUS DirectCU II takes two expansion slots and has a total length of 271 mm according to the official website (284 mm as measured in our lab).

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

The cooler consists of a massive heat sink, which uses 45 longitudinally spaced aluminum fins and two 95 mm axial fans mounted on plastic case.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

The fans are produced by company FirstDO and are labeled as «FD10015H12S». Rated voltage of operation is 12 V, and the current is 0.55 A, which gives the final output of 6.6 W.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

Three copper heat pipes of different diameter are used for uniform distribution of heat over the whole area of the radiator. Two of them are 8 mm and one 10 mm. Fins and heat pipes are covered with a layer of nickel, which is designed to reduce the drop in the efficiency of cooling system during the operation, due to the oxidation of metals. The scheme of direct contact of heat pipes to the surface of the GPU through a small layer of thermal paste to accelerate removal of excess heat is applied.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

To improve the efficiency of heat transfer the pipes are securely soldered to the edges of the aluminum radiator and copper base.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

A separate low-profile heatsink with thermal interface is used to cool the power elements of the power subsystem. But memory chips are devoid of any additional cooling.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

In case of the automatic speed control fan blades at maximum load, the graphics core is heated to 76°C, and cooler operates at 44% of its maximum capacity. Noise was quiet and comfortable for everyday use.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

Under the maximum speed fan blades GPU temperature dropped to 72°C. This noise exceeded the average level and became uncomfortable for continuous operation near the PC.

ASUS STRIX R9 380 (STRIX-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-GAMING)

In case of load absence the frequencies of the GPU and memory are automatically lowered, allowing them to reduce power consumption and heat release. In this mode, the GPU temperature did not exceed 54°C because the fans stopped to rotate and cooling system operates in a completely passive mode. The above-mentioned technology 0dB FAN is activated, providing silent operation of video at low loads.

Read the full review >>>

Video card ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING) on AMD Radeon R9 390: review and testing

In summer 2015 AMD has announced flagship graphics cards AMD Radeon R9 Fury X and AMD Radeon R9 Fury, as well as performed rebranding ofwell familiar AMD Radeon R9 290X and AMD Radeon R9 290, which received a number of improvements, new names and significantly reduced price tags. So, the former AMD Radeon R9 290X will be available as an AMD Radeon R9 390X priced at $ 429 instead of $ 549, and AMD Radeon R9 290 renamed to AMD Radeon R9 390 and is available for $ 329 instead of $ 399.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

Since this review we learn the video card ASUS STRIX R9 390 ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING), a modified version of AMD Radeon R9 390, then talk about the performance characteristics of high-end model will be postponed for another time, but for now we will focus on performance of less cheaper solution.

In comparison with the AMD Radeon R9 290 novelty was renamed AMD Grenada PRO, but in fact the familiar graphics core AMD Hawaii PRO, which includes the 2560 stream processors, 160 texture units and 64 blocks of rasterization. As for the video memory subsystem, its capacity was increased from 4 to 8 GB, and effective operating frequency increased from 5000 to 6000 MHz.

 

AMD

Radeon R9 290X

AMD

Radeon R9 290

AMD

Radeon R9 390

Code name

Hawaii XT

Hawaii PRO

Grenada PRO 

Quantity of data-flow processors

2816

2560

2560

Texture units

176

160

160

ROP

64

64

64

Graphic processor frequency, MHz

1000

947

1000

Video memory effective frequency, MHz

5000

5000

6000

Video memory capacity, GB

4

4

8

Video memory interface, bit

512

512

512

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

After looking at the above comparison, it becomes clear that the GPU AMD Grenada PRO is a direct successor of AMD Hawaii PRO and is based on the same microarchitecture (AMD GCN 1.1), but according to the AMD, the new core has been significantly modified. Thus, the architecture of the subsystem power management was modified And thanks to the optimization of the production process GPU operating frequency was increased (from 947 to 1000 MHz) with a slight increase in the level of TDP. However, under a similar load and higher performance, power consumption of the new chip must be lower than its predecessor. Significant improvements of video memory should have a positive impact on productivity in the mode of 4K Ultra HD, which we will examine in the relevant section.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

And now we offer go to a more detailed review of the video card ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING).

Model

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

Graphics core

AMD Radeon R9 390 (Grenada PRO)

Quantity of shader pipelines

2560

Supported API and technologies

DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5, AMD Mantle, AMD Eyefinity, AMD App Acceleration, AMD HD3D, AMD CrossFireX, AMD PowerPlay, AMD PowerTune, AMD ZeroCore, AMD TrueAudio, AMD Virtual Super Resolution, AMD Frame Rate Target Control, Vulcan, AMD FreeSync, OpenCL 2.0, AMD LiquidVR

Graphic core frequency, MHz

«OC»

1070

«Gaming»

1050

«Silent»

1030

Memory frequency (effective), MHz

1500 (6000)

Memory capacity, GB

8

Memory type

GDDR5

Memory bus, bit

512

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

384

Bus

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Max resolution

4096 x 2160

Screening interfaces

1 х DVI-D

1 х HDMI

3 х DisplayPort

Support for HDCP and HD-video decoding

Yes

PSU minimal capacity, W

750

Dimensions from the official site (measured in our lab), mm

300 x 137 x 40 (314 х 150)

Drivers

Available drivers ASUS or  GPU

Producer website

ASUS

Since we have almost completely rebalanced modification of AMD Radeon R9 390, we cannot talk about any correspondence to reference model. We can only directly comparable operating frequencies. In this case, the graphics core of graphics card ASUS STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING in mode «OC» (where testing was carried out) can boast the presence of factory overclocking up to 1050 MHz (increase of 5% compared to recommended 1000 MHz). Video memory runs at recommended the 6000 MHz.

Package and content

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

Graphics card ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING) comes in a fairly large cardboard box and is decorated with original and stylish line of the graphic printing with logo ASUS STRIX. In addition to the names of the manufacturer and model of the device, note the use of a proprietary cooling system DirectCU III including technology 0dB FAN, which provides 30% lower temperature compared to the reference cooler and radial type in passive mode at low loads.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

The reverse side of the box is traditionally reserved for the more detailed description of the advantages of new item. Also, there is a schematic diagram of the interface panel, and the mention of the features of proprietary utility GPU Tweak II with the functions of the Online Streaming and to switch between modes «Gaming», «OC» and «Silent».
As for the benefits, they include:

  • ASUS Auto Extreme with Super Alloy Power II - model ASUS STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING is one of the world's first graphics card built in a fully automated line, which guarantees consistently high quality and ensures the rejection of aggressive chemicals in the production process. In addition, it is based on using high-quality electronic components (Super Alloy Power II), allowing further improves the reliability of the new item.
  • Backplate - the base plate substantially increases the rigidity and decreases the risk of curvature of the printed circuit board with the time of the weight of the cooling system.
  • 10 mm Mega Heatpipes – radiator of cooling system includes five copper heat pipes, two of which have a diameter of 10 mm, which provides a more efficient heat transfer from GPU.
  • STRIX LED - video card is equipped with red LED-indication that will appeal to fans of modding and owners of buildings with a transparent side panel.
  • Triple Wing-blade 0db Fans - three fans with a special shape of the impeller provide a more powerful air flow, thereby increasing the efficiency of the cooler.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

A list of system requirements for the computer is located on one side of the box. Based on the recommendations, the power supply in such a system must have a capacity at least of 750 W and provide at least 24 A on +12 V line. Also tested model requires the connection of two cables PCIe: one 8-pin and one 6-pin.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

Delivery set of the graphics card ASUS STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING containsthe standard documentation, CD with software and adapter for power.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

To display the image the next set of interfaces is provided:

  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 3 x DisplayPort.

Design and features

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

Model ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING) is performed on the original black circuit board with a standard arrangement principle. Used electronic components correspond to the branded concept Super Alloy Power II and include only high-quality components: solid and tantalum-polymer capacitors, advanced MOSFETs and ferrite core chokes. This increases the stability and reliability of the graphics and prolongs its life.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

Power is realized via enhanced 8+2-phase scheme where 8 phases are responsible for the power of the graphics core and 2 are designed for video memory subsystem.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

Chip ASP1300As is applied as digital PWM controller of power subsystem.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

The graphics power uses slot PCI Express x16 and two slots PCIe (8- and 6-pin), located on the side of the board. Due to the large dimensions of the cooler it is difficult to disconnect cables PCIe.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

The reverse side of the printed circuit board originally protected by a massive base plate, doesn’t have significant elements. We should also note the complete absence of connectors for bridges AMD CrossFireX, as this technology is implemented at the software level. Also do not forget that you will be able to combine a bunch of novelty with the AMD Radeon R9 290 starting from the version of the driver AMD Catalyst 15.7 WHQL.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

The base of ASUS STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING is a graphics chip AMD Grenada PRO, which is determined by the utility GPU-Z 0.8.4 as the AMD Hawaii. It is produced by the norms of 28-nm manufacturing process and consists of 2560 unified shader pipelines, 64 ROP units and 160 texture units. The GPU operating frequency was increased to 1050 MHz with respect to the recommended 1000 MHz.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

Memory models ASUS STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING (total 8GB) is realized using 16 chips SK hynix H5GC4H24AJR-T2C with capacity of 4 GB each, which run on the recommended effective frequency 6000 MHz. Communication between the graphics processor and memory is realized through a 512-bit bus, which is capable of flowing 384 GB of information per second.

Cooling system

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

The video card including installed cooling system ASUS DirectCU III occupies two expansion slots and has a total length of 300 mm according to the official website of the (314 mm as measured in our lab).

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

The cooler consists of a fairly massive radiator, which uses 47 longitudinally spaced aluminum plates, and three 88-mm axial fans with an improved form of blades mounted on a plastic casing.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

The fans are produced by company Everflow and are labeled as «T129215SU». Rated voltage of operation is 12, and the current 0.5 A, which gives the final output of 6 W.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

In order to provide uniform distribution of heat over the whole area of the radiator there are five copper heat pipes of different diameter, two 10 mm and two 8 mm and one 6 mm. Fins and heat pipes are covered with a layer of nickel, which is designed to reduce the drop in the efficiency of cooling system during the operation, due to the oxidation of metals. The cooler ASUS DirectCU uses the scheme of direct contact heat pipes to the surface of the GPU through a small layer of thermal paste to accelerate removal of excess heat.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

To improve the efficiency of heat exchange pipes are soldered to the ribs of aluminum and copper heat sink base.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

Also note that the primary cooling system is directly in contact with the power supply subsystem components using thermal interface. But memory chips don’t have any additional cooling.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

In case of automatic speed control of the fan blades, at maximum load, the graphics core is heated to 90°C, and cooler works while 55% of its maximum capacity. Noise while subjectively was below average and was comfortable for everyday use.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

Under the maximum speed fan blades GPU temperature dropped to 80°C. In this case the noise exceeded the average level and became uncomfortable for continuous operation near the PC.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

In case of load absence the operating frequencies of the graphics core and memory are automatically reduced, allowing to reduce power consumption and heat. In this mode the GPU temperature did not exceed 56°C because the fans stopped to rotate and cooling system operates in a completely passive mode. The above-mentioned technology 0dB FAN is activated. It provides silent operation of video at low loads.

ASUS STRIX R9 390 (STRIX-R9390-DC3OC-8GD5-GAMING)

Read the full review >>>

MotherboardASUS Z170-A: review and testing

5th August 2015 Intel has announced a new family of processors Intel Skylake for the platform Socket LGA1151, as well as the flagship chipset Intel Z170. Of course, all the key players in the motherboard market has prepared their models and began to actively demonstrated them.

ASUS Z170-A

In this review we will learn the features of the motherboard ASUS Z170-A produced by renowned Taiwanese company. Based on design and equipment, a novelty is a high-level solution, which received an excellent sound system, high-quality circuitry, support for two ports USB 3.1, as well as a number of proprietary enhancements. But let’s start from the technical specification.

The specs:

Producer  

ASUS

Model

Z170-A (rev 1.03)

Chipset

Intel Z170

CPU socket

Socket LGA1151

Supported CPUs

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron 6th gen

Memory frequency

3400* / 3333* / 2133 MHz

(*OC)

Memory support

4 x DDR4 DIMM-slots with memory support up to 64 GB

Expansion slots

 

3 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16 / x8+x8 / x8+x8+x4)

3 x PCI Express 3.0 x1

1 х PCI

Disk subsystem

Intel Z170 chipset supportd=s:

1 x M.2 32 Gb/s (M.2 2242, M.2 2260, M.2 2280, M.2 22110)

4 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 x SATA Express (compatible with 2 х SATA 6 Gb/s)

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

LAN

1 x Intel WGI219V (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec Realtek ALC892

8-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power

1 х 24-pin ATX connector

1 x 8-pin ATX12V connector

Fans

2 x CPU fan connectors (4-pin)

4 x system fan connectors (4-pin)

Cooling

Алюминиевый радиатор на чипсете

Aluminum radiator on the elements of the processor power subsystem

Extenral I/O

1 x PS/2 Combo

1 x HDMI

1 x DisplayPort

1 x D-Sub

1 x DVI-D

1 x LAN (RJ45)

2 x USB 3.0

1 х USB 3.1 (Type-C)

1 х USB 3.1 (Type-A)

2 x USB 2.0

1 x Optical S/PDIF out

5 x audio jacks

Internal I/O

2 x USB 3.0, each with support of two USB 3.0 (19-pin)

2 x USB 2.0, each with support of two USB 2.0

4 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 x SATA Express

1 х socket TPM

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x S/PDIF out

1 х button «MemOK!»

1 х module «TB_HEADER»

1 x power button

1 x CMOS

1 x switch «TPU»

1 х switch «EZ_XMP»

BIOS

64 Mb Flash ROM UEFI AMI BIOS

PnP, ACPI 5.0, SM BIOS 2.8, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0

Packaging

User’s manual

Warranty card

Disk with drivers and utilities

1 х set ASUS Q-Connectors

1 х tool ASUS CPU Installation Tool

3 x SATA cables

1 х bridge 2-Way NVIDIA SLI

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions

ATX

Producer website

ASUS
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available on support page

Read the full review >>>

Review of motherboard GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-Gaming 3 on Intel Z170

5 August 2015 is a significant date on the calendar in the IT-industry. After all, this day brought not only the announcement of the sixth-generation Intel Core processors under code-named «Intel Skylake», but also we have an introduction of a new platform Intel Socket LGA1151 and a new chipset Intel Z170. We will devote a separate review for processor family Intel Skylake, but in this material on the example of motherboard GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-Gaming 3 we offer a more detailed look at the possibilities of the chipset Intel Z170.

GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-Gaming 3

Conceptual scheme of platform Socket LGA1151

GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-Gaming 3

Conceptual scheme of platform Socket LGA1150

First of all let’s consider the conceptual scheme of platform Socket LGA1151. The general structure has not changed: the board still contains two major components (CPU and chipset), the data exchange between them is done by a bus DMI. However "the main thing is in the details." Indeed, the analysis of the individual units of the scheme shows that the platform Socket LGA1151 is a big step forward compared to the Socket LGA1150. Firstly, the chipset Intel Z170 had the transition to the use of interface PCI Express 3.0, which has twice higher the bandwidth than PCI Express 2.0. Moreover, the new standard will be used for communication with external devices (expansion slots and the controller), and for "dialogue" with the processor. In other words, performance of bus DMI 3.0 also increased about twice compared with DMI 2.0. Such upgrading at chipset ensures that during operation any part of this scheme will not be the bottleneck and will not limit the performance of its individual components.

Another important development was the increase the number of lines PCIe in the chipset to communicate with peripherals. Intel Z97 features 8, while Intel Z170 has 20. Such a large amount should help the developers of motherboards in terms of implementing a set of interfaces for multi-graphics configurations, and the use of third-party controllers. Also don’t forget that the processor also has its own 16th lines PCIe 3.0, that will give us a grand total of 36 lines. In other words, any board equipped with the flagship chipset Intel Z170, theoretically, be able to support modes 4-Way NVIDIA SLI/AMD CrossFireX in format х8+х8+х8+х8.

As for the supported connectors, the Intel Z170 also took the lead of its predecessor. For the needs of the user here are 10 USB 3.0 port versus 6 in Intel Z97. The number of available slots USB 2.0 and SATA 6 Gb/s has not changed - 14 and 6, respectively. Also, here is support for interface SATA Express and drives M.2 PCIe (NGFF SSD). Moreover, by increasing the number of lines and the transition to PCIe 3.0 standard now the motherboard can contain not one, but two or three corresponding slots. Also, minor changes were made for supported technologies. Thus, the Intel Rapid Storage options has added full support for PCIe-storage, and will have access to technology to improve sound quality (Intel Smart Sound).

In general, the chipset Intel Z170 has a rather large functionality.

Read the full review >>>

Processor Intel Core i5-6600K based on Intel Skylake: review and testing

Less than two months from the release of the processors family Intel Broadwell, and we have a new six generation of Intel Core with code name «Intel Skylake». Such haste was a forced measure. Firstly, the family of Intel Broadwell appeared later than planned. Secondly, it is intended mainly for mobile devices, and two desktop models (Intel Core i7-5775C and Intel Core i5-5675C) were not able to meet the needs of all PC owners.

Intel Core i5-6600K

In short, Intel revealed the family Intel Skylake. Today, August 5 we have an announcement, and flagship models Intel Core i7-6700K and Intel Core i5-6600K were revealed. Unfortunately, the manufacturer does not provide details of the new microarchitecture, so we have the information from the official press release.

Intel Core i5-6600K

Long before the advent of Intel Skylake solutions it was clear that they would lose compatibility with the CPU socket Socket LGA1150. Too many changes in the structural and electrical plan were intended to do. Therefore, absolutely new platform based on Socket LGA1151 and chipset Intel Z170 was revealed. Its main feature is that Intel has finally renounced the use of obsolete PCI Express 2.0 interface, and moved to a higher level - PCI Express 3.0. This solution significantly increases the speed of data exchange within the system (at least twice), and therefore, eliminates the so-called bottleneck in any direction. This is especially true for the area "chipset - processor." Here, the connection will now be carried out via a bus DMI 3.0 with theoretical bandwidth of 8 GT/s.

The second important feature is the introduction of standard memory DDR4. It is important to note that DDR3 support is also available. The processors Intel Skylake feature built two respective controllers, but only in dual-channel design. The four channels will continue to be the prerogative of the solutions of the family Intel Haswell-E.

Intel Core i5-6600K

The manufacturer didn’t forget about the overclocking abilities of the new processors. In addition to unlocked multiplier (for solutions with the index «K» in the end of the name), the top model will also be available to choose the base frequency processor cores up to 1 MHz. Before that it can be set only with a limited number of coefficients: 1.00; 1.33; 1.66 and 2.55, in some cases. Clearly, now that acceleration of the bus should become more easy and popular process because theoretically it should be easier to select appropriate settings to achieve stable operation of the entire computer. Also frequency dividers of RAM were reduced (from 200/266 MHz to 100/133 MHz), which will provide the best results during the optimization of the parameters of this subsystem. In short, enthusiasts should stay happy. However, it is not clear what is under the hood of the processor. Hopefully, the thermal interface is no worse than that of the line Intel Devil's Canyon.

Intel Core i5-6600K

And this moment is quite important. After all, despite the transition to finer 14-nm process, TDP value in flagship family of Intel Skylake has a remained at a relatively high level - 91 W. However, it is still much better than competing solutions from AMD, where TDP varies between 125 - 220 W. It is also pleased that the manufacturer did not reduce the frequency of processors in favor of reducing their energy consumption and heat dissipation, as was done with the line Intel Broadwell. Intel Core i7-5775C with its 3000 MHz in nominal and 3700 MHz in turbo mode looked like a rather weak against the backdrop of Intel Core i7-4790K, where the corresponding figures were 4000 and 4400 MHz, respectively.

Here picture is much better - leader of a new family of Intel Core i7-6700K is comparable to the Intel Core i7-4790K, and only in turbo mode it is inferior at 200 MHz. With regard to other indicators (number of cores/threads, cache size, number of lines PCI Express 3.0), then there is parity of both processors. The same applies to models of Intel Core i5-6600K and Intel Core i5-4690K. Here, even the frequency is the same formula - 3500 MHz in nominal and 3900 MHz in turbo mode.

Intel Core i5-6600K

Given the introduction of a new microarchitecture and support for memory standard DDR4, all this in theory should give a good performance gain with respect to the models of the previous generation, but the company Intel was quite restrained in their calculations. In the transition to Intel Devils' Canyon on Intel Skylake we are promised to have increased speed at only 10%. Frankly, we expected 15-25%. For owners of the platforms Intel Haswell and Intel Ivy Bridge the growth should be more significant - 20% and 30% respectively. But let's not forget that we are talking about the "press-release" figures. In reality, the values may differ both in smaller and bigger side.

Intel Core i5-6600K

As for the lineup, then today it includes only two processors: Intel Core i7-6700K and Intel Core i5-6600K. By the end of the third quarter of this year there will be quad-core model with locked multiplier and energy-efficient version. Versions Intel Core i3, and Intel Pentium are expected in September (according to unofficial information). By the way, on August 18 in San Francisco there will be forum and a new microarchitecture features will be revealed. Hopefully by the time we will be able to get a top model Intel Core i7-6700K and provide a more comprehensive report on its capabilities. And now we limit ourselves to test its younger brother, a processor Intel Core i5-6600K, which is also quite interesting. As its recommended price of about $ 100 lower than that of Intel Core i7-6700K, and accordingly, in terms of "price/performance" theoretically it should look more attractive.

Intel Core i5-6600K

Since in the presentation Intel constantly compares Intel Core i7-6700K with Intel Core i7-4790K, it is logical that Intel Core i5-6600K will be main opponent to the Intel Core i5-4690K.

The specs:

Model

Intel Core i5-6600K 

Intel Core i5-4690K

CPU socket

Socket LGA1151

Socket LGA1150

Clock frequency (nominal/in turbo mode), MHz

3500 / 3900

Multiplier (nominal/in turbo mode)

35 / 39

Reference frequency, MHz

100

L1 cache, КB

4 х 32 (instruction set)

4 х 32 (data set)

L2 cache, КB

4 х 256

L3 cache, MB

6 

L4 cache, MB

No

Microarchitecture

Intel Skylake

Intel Haswell

Code name

Intel Skylake 

Intel Devil's Canyon

Quantity of CPU cores/threads

4 / 4

Instruction support

MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE4.1, SSE4.2, EM64T, F16C, BMI, AES, AVX, AVX2, FMA3

Supply voltage, V

-

-

Max calculated capacity (TDP), W

91

88

Temperature tolerance, °C

-

72,7

Manufacturing process, nm

14

22

Technology support

VT-x, VT-d, TXT, TSX, Turbo Boost 2.0

Built-in memory controller

Max memory capacity, GB

-

32

Memory type

DDR4 / DDR3L

DDR3

Supported frequency, MHz

2133 (for DDR4)

1600 (for DDR3L)

1600

Quantity of memory channels

2

Max quantity of modules per one channel

2

Built-in graphics core 


Intel HD Graphics 530

Intel HD Graphics 4600

Quantity of executive unit

48

20

Rasterization modules

8

4

Texture blocks

16

8

GPU clock frequency (nominal/ in turbo mode), MHz

350 / 1150

350 / 1200

Max quantity of supported displays

3

Support for instructions and technologies

DirectX 11.2, OpenGL 4.3, OpenCL 2.0, Shader Model 5.0, Intel Quick Sync Video, InTru 3D, Intel Insider, Intel Wireless Display, Intel Clear Video HD

DirectX 11.2, OpenGL 4.3, OpenCL 1.2, Shader Model 5.0, Intel Quick Sync Video, InTru 3D, Intel Insider, Intel Wireless Display, Intel Clear Video HD

Package, delivery set and design

For testing we have a laboratory (engineering) sample of CPU Intel Core i5-6600K, so the traditional description of the box and the cooling system is not available. While it is possible that the top models are supplied without regular cooler.

Intel Core i5-6600KIntel Core i5-6600K

The physical dimensions of the models Intel Skylake and the size of their heat-spreading lid were not changed; the design of the slots for the CPU also remains the same. Nevertheless, there is not forward or reverse compatibility between terminals Socket LGA1151 and Socket LGA1150, as the representatives of the family of Intel Skylake happened quite a few changes in the electrical level. Moreover, another contact is added on the rear side.

Intel Core i5-6600K

Left - Intel Core i7-4770K (Intel Haswell), right - Intel Core i5-6600K (Intel Skylake)

In any case, the company Intel has changed the location of the lock key. Now they are almost at the corner of the PCB.

Also, many readers probably have a question at the expense of compatibility cooling systems for platforms Socket LGA1151 and Socket LGA1150. Nothing changed in this respect - the cooler, which was used during the experiments with processors Intel Haswell, was successfully applied during the test of the hero of this review.

Performance analysis

Intel Core i5-6600K

In normal operation (technology Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 is off) the speed of Intel Core i5-6600K equals 3500 MHz, at the reference frequency it is 100 MHz and multiplier "x35". At the time of readout core voltage was 1,194 V. Quite a lot, considering the fact that the Intel Core i5-4690K to operate at the same frequency required about 0.1 V less. This once again confirms the view that Intel has some problems with the transition to 14-nm.

Also It is interesting to note that all the diagnostic utility determines the TDP value of new item of 95 W, not 91 W as stated by the manufacturer. Recall that the for Intel Core i5-4690K the figure is 88 W.

Intel Core i5-6600KIntel Core i5-6600K

When activated the proprietary technology Intel Turbo Boost 2.0, the speed of Intel Core i5-6600K occasionally rose to the declared level 3900 MHz. Mostly the processor operated at a frequency of 3600 MHz. The voltage at the same time was 1,304 V and 1,193 V respectively. For comparison, to ensure stable operation at a frequency of 3900 MHz Intel Core i5-4690K processor was sufficient voltage at 1,198 V. That is, once we get the difference at about 0.1 V.

The very same algorithm of Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 did not have significant changes: turn off the cores at the maximum rate and the presence of several intermediate states - all that we have seen in previous generations of processors Intel.

Intel Core i5-6600KIntel Core i5-6600K

With regard to energy saving mode, then here are some developments. As before, when it is activated the processor speed is lowered to the level of 800 MHz, but unlike other solutions, it can rise up to 1000 MHz. Supply voltage varies within 0.846 - 0.869 V.

Intel Core i5-6600K

The structure of the cache memory for both processors (Intel Core i5-6600K and Intel Core i5-4690K) is completely identical:

  • L1 cache: each of the 4 cores has 32 KB for data with 8 channels of associativity and 32 KB for instructions and with 8 channels of associativity;
  • L2 cache: each core has 256 KB with 4 channels of associativity;
  • L3 cache: 6 MB for all cores with 12 channels of associativity.

Note that the company Intel decided not to equip the members of the family Intel Skylake by 128MB L4 cache. Perhaps they decided that the technology is still unpopular today, but requires additional expenses for its realization, takes up too much space on the chip and increases the heat of the processor. Block eDRAM can significantly increase the performance of the integrated graphics, but this aspect would not worry people buying CPU for $ 250 - 350.

Intel Core i5-6600K

Due to the family Intel Skylake users got affordable platform of standard DDR4 memory on board. Although new items can operate without problems with modules DDR3L, since the crystal has integrated both memory controller. In the case of Intel Core i5-6600K the guaranteed supported frequency of modules for standard DDR4 and DDR3L is 2133 and 1600 MHz respectively. Both controllers operate in dual-channel mode, each channel can serve two modules. The maximum amount of memory has not yet been reported.

Intel Core i5-6600K

Read the full review >>>

Motherboard ASUS H81-PLUS: review and testing

Motherboard ASUS H81-PLUS is one of the entry-level solutions from the company ASUS. It offers a wide list of benefits: affordable price, the traditionally high quality of performance and the element base, support for modern interfaces, as well as a number of other improvements and proprietary technologies.

ASUS H81-PLUS

It is based on youngest chipset (Intel H81), which is accompanied the low final cost at $ 70 - 75. Let's look at a more detailed specifications of motherboard ASUS H81-PLUS:

Producer 

ASUS

Model

H81-PLUS (rev 1.03)

Chipset

Intel H81

CPU socket

Socket LGA1150

Supported CPUs

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron 4th gen

Memory frequency

1600 / 1333 / 1066 MHz

Memory support

2 x DDR3 DIMM-slots with memory support up to 16 GB

Expansion slots

1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16

2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

3 x PCI

Disk subsystem

Intel H81 chipset supports:

2 x SATA 6 Gb/s (yellow)

2 x SATA 3 Gb/s (dark-brown)

LAN

1 x Realtek 8111G (10/100/1000 Mb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec Realtek ALC887

8-channel sound

Power

1 х 24-pin ATX connector

1 х 4-pin ATX12V connector

Fans

1 x CPU socket (4-pin)

1 x system fan connector (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on chipset

Extenral I/O

1 x D-Sub

1 x COM

1 x LPT

1 x LAN (RJ45)

2 x USB 3.0

2 x USB 2.0

3 x audio jacks

2 х PS/2

Internal I/O

3 x USB 2.0, each with support of two USB 2.0

2 x SATA 6 Gb/s

2 x SATA 3 Gb/s

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x S/PIDIF Out

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x CMOS

BIOS

64 Mb Flash ROM UEFI AMI BIOS

PnP, ACPI 2.0a, SM BIOS 2.7, DMI 2.0, WfM 2.0

Packaging

user manual

warranty card

disk with drives and documents

2 x SATA cables

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions

ATX

305 х 188 mm

Producer website

ASUS
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available at support page

Read the full review >>>

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