- We have got our hands on ASUS R9 Fury Strix - which is a bit of an improved stock R9 Fury. How does it compare to competition? It's about 6-8% slower than Fury X which in itself is a bit of disappointment in our eyes, being slower than GTX 980 Ti and out of stock everywhere. ASUS R9 Fury Strix is trading blows with GTX 980, winning in many tests at higher resolutions (4K) but loosing majority of tests in 1080p. Price difference is around $50-70. ASUS Strix version is quiet and looks nice and at least it brings parity with GTX 980 in some sense which is not bad in its own. Unfortunately overclocking is very limited without proper voltage control. Future driver updates may change the picture a bit though.
We have expected a bit more but at least Fury series will not let Nvidia relax on its throne!
- Blizzard revealed new World Of Warcraft expansion: "Legion". So what is WoW Legion? It's a return of a Burning Legion, it does look like a first expansion a bit, in terms of novelty at least.
What's really new?
- New hero class - demon hunter. Yeah - that Illidan-kind looking night-elven outcasts. Illidari they are called to be exact. They have some nice looking abilities that should change the game when you run them. It looks like there will be two specs for them only - tank and DPS.
Artifacts - new weapons of some sort. They start simple-looking but grow with you and change both visibly and in specs.
New area on the map - The Broken Isles. That is where new Legion invasion happens. New denizens - satyr, drogbar, Kvaldir and others...
Blizzard says they are reinventing many features, with new dungeons, new PVP features and more things to come.
HDD - learn how to treat and protect it. Hard-Disk-Drives are still found in almost all machines today, even though SSD is fighting for a place under the sun remove HDD from perspective slowly. Even computer with SSD drives still enjoy slower but bigger and cheaper HDDs for bigger files or those that you need often. Backups and movie collections are usually found on big HDDs.
How to make sure your HDD is working fine and prevent it from transforming into dead paperweight? Avoid drops and other physical damage. There are moving parts in HDDs - discs and reading/writing heads. When HDD is off all moving parts are "parked" and can withstand some abuse (not much), but kick a spinning drive and watch it die.
Keep HDD cool. Usually nobody cares about HDD cooling, but it's important for happy long life of your HDD. Most hard drives are installed in the front part of the case, and most cases allow at least one fan (as intake) in that front part, make sure you have it installed. You can get nice quiet 120mm fan for under $10, it will help bring cool air to other components as well.
Avoid power outages, frequent powering on and off, static discharges, invest in UPS (uninterrupted power source). Defragment data and watch SMART readings from HDD - in case of any errors make a backup immediately.
Beware of Clicks Of Death! If you hear your HDD clocking - make a backup and prepare to throw away this HDD. Still have no SSD drive in your PC? Invest in one, at least 120GB version, you will love it! Also having two separate drives in your system allows for easier backups of critical data. That is on top of super speed of SSD.
Intel Skylake - it's here finally and we can now give you an insight at its performance.
First - there is no (almost) performance increase over last get Hawell processors. If you compare new i7 6700K to older i7 4790K - there is no difference, 4790K even looks better in some benches compared to new CPU. Overclocking has not changed much, other than allowing fine tuning with base-clock frequency in addition to changing multiplier (not a new feature, more of a comeback). There is not much of an efficiency improvement, TDP is higher a few percent.
So why did Intel even bother releasing Skylake? It's the features that we get, new features of the Z170 chipset and socket 1151. We get 20 PCI-e 3.0 lanes connecting everything to CPU, up from same 20 PCI-e 2.0 before (which are twice slower). Now we are talking about ability to add 14x USB 2.0 and 10x USB 3.0 ports some of which will be USB 3.1 type-C connectors. Plus with those fast PCI-e 3.0 lanes we can imagine multiple M.2 NVMe SSDs with same 6x SATA 3.0 ports (or SATA-express among them). 3- or 4-way SLI and CF is possible on Z170 now, not only on X99 boards. Haswell-E and X99 are still a choice of top-level enthusiasts (with bigger pockets) but Skylake brings a lot of new features and improvements if not speed, that were only available on higher-end chipsets. Oh, and DDR4 memory - it's not much more expensive than DDR3 now, why not step up to it?
We will be adding Skylake based machines on our Intel-PC page in the near future, expect to see both i5-6600K and i7-6700K overclocked and ready to rock!