Thursday, November 22, 2018

Team Group T-Force RGB - DDR4-3000 16GB Night Hawk Kit & Delta S 250GB SSD

Team Group T-Force RGB 

In line with the PC industry movement for the enthusiasts over recent years, component manufacturers have also been endlessly rushing heads over heels into the retail market with RGB offerings.


Team Product Page
https://www.teamgroupinc.com/en/product/night-hawk-rgb-night-hawk-ddr4
https://www.teamgroupinc.com/en/product/delta-s-rgb-ssd


As can be seen from the product pages, the received samples are each the most entry level models from the Night Hawk and Delta S range respectively. There are clearly more capacious and speedier models out there.

Present owners would note that these are currently among the most affordable RGB components from a well known memory/storage manufacturer.


Unboxing

Compact flat boxes with minimal stuffing.










Lights, Camera, Action!

Probably the main claim to fame for these two products other than the pricing, the RGB light show galore. Kindly pardon the camera shake as the morning coffee hasn't properly kicked in yet.








For a little more completeness sake, perhaps some screenshots and stress tests. Of course, longer stress testing allows for more accurate and thorough results so pamper yourself as you deem fit.




CPU-Z






hwinfo64

Reveals these to be Micron based sticks. Interesting these matched pair has serial numbers which are rather far apart.






TPU MemTest64

You can run this till your power bills break the bank... so just a short sample here.




HyperPi 32M

The ol' fave quickie for RAM and mem controller stability





Initial Impressions

After crazy prices the past few years, RAM and SSD prices are finally falling this year end holiday season (hurray!!!) so RGB bling bling at reasonable pricing like these Team Group offerings is yet another good reason to jump in and enjoy yourself. Better don't miss it this time around.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Asus ROG Maximus XI Gene - Intel Z390 Motherboard (Gen. Coffee Lake Refresh)

Asus ROG Maximus XI Gene (Z390) Motherboard















  • Finally, a new Asus Maximus Gene model, the Intel Z390 XI Gene.
  • Last Gene model was based on Z170 chipset from way back 2015 which was surprisingly supplanted by latter budget Strix mATX builds.
  • Amalgamation of both extant Maximus Gene and newer Maximus Apex ideals. 
  • Gene - mATX, feature packed build - onboard buttons/switches, debug LED,  plenty fan headers, forward leaning features eg. Asus DIMM.2
  • Apex - max. overclocking, streamlined 2 DDR4 slots (rated 4600MHz!), single x16 PCI-e slot.
  • Supports the new soldered 8 core i7-9x00K (but still MIA in retail as of now mid-Oct) with retro support for 6 core i7-8x00K greased processors.
  • Supports 32GB “Double Capacity” DDR4 RAM modules
  • Well connected - Intel G.LAN,  Intel AC-9560 wifi, Bluetooth 5.0




Official Asus Specs & Z390 Guide

  • https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/ROG-MAXIMUS-XI-GENE/
  • https://edgeup.asus.com/2018/z390-motherboard-guide-coffee-lake-8-core/




PDF Manual

  • https://dlcdnets.asus.com/pub/ASUS/mb/LGA1151/ROG_MAXIMUS_XI_GENE/E14760_ROG_MAXIMUS_XI_GENE_UM_WEB.pdf




Summary of Z390 in 2018  vs Z370 in 2017 platforms

  • Out of box ready Intel 9th gen 8C16T support
  • Intel chipset USB 3.1 and wifi support
  • 2018 CFL-R K processors are TIM soldered and allegedly hardware fixed for certain Meltdown hacks
  • Higher RAM capacity support with better RAM overclocking potential (Asus internal doc mentions up to DDR4-4700 for the XI Gene)







Unboxing

Impressively large and heavy box for a mATX model.








Bundle 

Not quite overflowing with accessories inside, the motherboard and Asus DIMM.2 card contribute most of the weight.






Horizontal Headers

... cable management fans, rejoice. Plus voltage measuring points for the hardcore fanatics.







PCI-e Slots

Reinforced x16 and open ended x4






SATA Ports

A missed opportunity with upright power and USB3.1 headers, pity. Oh well, hooray to the forward looking 4 x M.2 (NVMe x4)!






Asus DIMM.2, QLED Display, Onboard Buttons

The proprietary Asus DIIM.2 design allows 2 more NVMe SSDs with better cooling.








CPU Socket Region

Note the 10+2 phase power delivery (IR3555) and... 2 x 8 pin CPU 12V plugs, it's the only such equipped model besides the top eATX Extreme model.










 

Test Setup

Asus ROG Maximus Z390 XI Gene | Intel Core i5-9600K@4.8GHz | Corsair DDR4-3466@XMP 16GB Kit | WD Black nvme 500GB SSD | Scythe Kabuto3 | Win 10 x64 1803 (test OS)

Using the onchip Intel HD630 for now cos undecided on which discrete GPU to pair it with.


Open air caseless, SG ambient 29C

* settings are neither refined nor finalised, personal preference is an overall balance of performance, power, heat... and especially noise.

 

Web reports have claimed up to 5.2GHz overclocks for the i5-9600K so the value proposition of this lowest end soldered CFL-r chip is definitely there. Using an air cooling solution here so no heroics, just a modest push to 4.8GHz with pleasantly low load temps. btw, SG currently has nil to very low stock for the higher end soldered CFL-r processors currently... :(

Ordered the Scythe air cooler off Amazon since it seems to be well suited for the Gene XI with its overhanging blow down action. Keeps the nvme SSD and DDR4 nicely breezy and cool, a great testament to the thoughtfulness of the designers of this motherboard.









UEFI Sample Screenshots

Still the best UEFI implementation, imo. Powerfully detailed yet logically easy to use. Other makes are still lagging behind, lacking very useful features like debug LED toggle options, CMOS setting change tracking and text file export etc...  most impressively, the ability to flash a BIOS out of the box to support new processors is unrivaled so far.

For those who love tinkering and overclocking yet are acutely allergic to cold dual boots... the Gene XI, even when overclocked, boots into the OS straight on cold boots. Love it!







 

CPU-Z Bench

Can it catch up with the costlier i7-8700K?




Cinebench R15

Clearly out-performs the stock 6C12T i7-3930K with this modest overclock despite the lack of hyperthreading in the i5-9600K.

 

 

 

HyperPi 32M

Still Intel's forte, AMD's heel.

 



RealBench 2.56

It actually ran completed with the Intel HD630... lol



Looks like plenty of room to move around with such air cooled load temps, vcore and low rpm fan noise. More effort and time invested would definitely yield better clocks and timings.

 

 

First Thoughts

Design-wise, the XI Gene can be quite the powerhouse for use as a gaming station and as the heart of a high end HTPC. It is is featured packed with quality components and thoughtful placement meant for effective overclocking and cooling. The SupremeFX S1220A audio solution has the now less seen optical output in case your home theatre HDMI ARC setup is lacking.

Yes, the XI Gene definitely looks like an interesting mATX model in interesting times when Intel is now playing ball with more cores on its mainstream desktop platforms albeit at not quite mainstream pricing. Of course, AMD must be doing a really good job with their own truly mainstream priced Ryzen moar coars platform this past year.

For die hard Intel fans especially the fps gamers, a nicely overclocked 8 core Z390 setup could really be the ultimate gaming platform.

Performance wise, this platform is looking very good with ready availability of solid motherboards but Intel processor worldwide scarcity and cost seems to be an over-riding dampening concern. While almost full marks may go to Asus for their impressive Gene XI design and enticing local SG promotion, Intel would definitely score less for their 9th Gen processor effort with dismal availability and pricing.




Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Asus ROG Strix Z370-G Gaming (WI-FI AC) - Gen. Coffee Lake

A 1 Day Experience & Impression

Everything done within a day - to check out the enduser experience in ease of use, overclocking and testing.




Asus Official Webpage


Intel Z370 mATX gaming motherboard with Aura Sync RGB LED lighting, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, DDR4 4000MHz support , dual M.2, SATA 6Gbps and USB 3.1









Bundle

 

 





UEFI Sample Screenshots

Depop and other esoteric choices that you make in life - well, simply love the change review list in the last screenshot (afaik, an Asus exclusive).






Test Setup

Asus ROG Strix Z370-G Gaming (WI-FI AC)  | Intel Core i7-8700K@4.8GHz | Crucial DDR4-3000@XMP 16GB Kit | Intel 530 SSD | WD Black HDD | Zalman CNPS10X Quiet | Win 10 x64 1803 17134.48 (test OS)


Open air caseless, SG ambient 29C


* settings are neither refined nor finalised due to imposed test time limit


CPU-Z Bench

Just compare the single vs multi core improvements.






7Zip Bench

Nice big numbers.






Cinebench R15

Talk about a well balanced processor... totally dominates in both single and multi-core tasks, gamers rejoice!






HyperPi 32M

Intel still rules in anything Pi, so much faster than AMD. Note the load temps.





RealBench

Ran just the CPU specific section and left out the GPU portion.






AIDA64

Note AVX in the stress test kicking down the multiplier by using the -2 offset set in the BIOS






Inspectre

Hey, are you OK?





Pros

Very well equiped mATX model - bundled wifi, Intel G.LAN, large heatsinks, dual M.2 slots etc...
Super easy overclock, do-able within a day
Ze superb Asus BIOS (imo, still the best)
Fast single cold POST even when overclocked (hooray!)
Current Inspectre utility says a-OK
Ease of using oc DDR4@XMP
Handles 6 core overclocks very well
Runs relatively cool on air
Improved thermal greasing with impressive evenly spread temps (small load variance)



Cons

Non-soldered processor prone to load temp jumps with added vcore (Intel, Intel, when har... ?)
Imperceptible practical single core performance improvement, already stock turbo@4.7GHz (good job, Intel)
Intel has made overclocking of this top processor more debatable - is the cost performance still worth it?
The Strix G series, though attractively similar, is still not quite of the old Gene build standard - it's seemingly more budget oriented



Summary

More coars yet wickedly fast mainstream platform esp. stock single core performance (many thanks AMD!)
Unmatched Intel DDR4 compatibility and easy use of XMP
Very easy overclocking though many endusers may be happy enough with stock performance esp. gamers
Runs relatively cool with improved thermal greasing, mainstream air cooling possibly adequate for gamers (but no bundled cooler!)
Likely still the top CPU for most gamers at this time

And so, the conclusion for this Asus ROG Strix Z370-G Gaming (WI-FI AC) with i7-8700K@4.8GHz... simply love this smashing setup (despite the dastardly Overlord Intel)! Serious gamers would do well to consider such a powerful portable combo.