Sunday, July 14, 2013

Axon XR-2 Cable Sleeve

A few months ago, I’ve picked up some cable sleeves from Axon, I was very satisfied with the product, just as I thought the product could get any better, Axon came out with the all new XR-2 sleeves.


The sleeve is still made out of PET (polyethylene terephthalate), so long lasting elasticity is differently guaranteed.

So far, I've been very pleased with the new Axon XR-2 sleeves. They are shipped completely circular, which makes them much easier to pass the cables though compared to the original version. Good first impression here.

As up to now, I've sleeved few sets of molex and SATA power cables and it is unbelievable how easy the cables can be slide right through.


Note: unlike every other ordinary sleeves, do not melt the ends; it could potentially make passing the cables though harder.

Following suit with the original version, Axon offers Banana Yellow, Purple, Black, Royal Blue, Grey, Sky Blue, Orange, UV Green, UV Yellow, Simple White and Candy Red.  

Pro:
Ø  The gorgeous color can sell itself (Cherry Red is MAGNIFICENT!)
Ø  Easier to install, even for first timers
Ø  Elasticity
Ø  Perfect for single wire sleeves 
Ø  No slips after cutting

Cons:
Ø  Doesn't look as good as the XE-1 for multi-cable single sleeves
Ø  Only 3mm is offered during initial release

Final thoughts:
Current generation sleeve is noticeably easier to work with; no longer need the extra steps to melt the ends of the sleeve before passing cables though them. For single wire sleeve, the new XR-1 works great; however, feeding multiple wires into the sleeves, the original ellipse shaped XE-1 can provide the cleaner and slicker looking outcome. The strong elasticity holds everything in place nice and clean, just be sure use the comparable length and sized heat shanks.


Seller information: www.axonmodding.com

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

AXON Cable Sleeve and Tool Pack


Most of you guys have known me for overclocking, building high power lasers, and occasionally forum spamming. But over the years I’ve hardly posted pictures of my builds anywhere, because I’ve always been somewhat ashamed of it. Cables are always sticking out of everywhere, almost always too lazy to work on cable management of any kind. However, very recently a good friend of mine posted a picture of his custom build for a client, that’s when it hit me. I finally found the inspiration to make the inside of my computer look nicer for a change.

PART ONETools
Package comes FOUR individual tools.

First we’ll be looking at is the Double Ended Universal Molex Removal Tool. To remove molex pins with a small ordinary phillips head screwdriver is pretty simple, bend the two side pins in the molex header will come right off. However, the problem is to aim it right, and get it out of the clear molex headers it'll take me a good min or so, and it takes a lot longer to remove them from a darker colored headers. With this tool, you can simply dock on the pin and pull the wire. It saves the hassle of bending the pin back after removing it with the screwdriver.




A side from the molex header remover, the two pin Molex Mini Fit Pin Extraction Removal Tool is a MUST have tool for cable modification of any kind. It is almost impassable to remove any of the 4/6/8/20/24 pin power cable for the motherboard, video card cables as well as most of the modular power supply headers without this handy tool. Same concept, jam it in and pull the cable.
Note: if the remover is in the right place, shouldn't require Arnold Schwarzenegger's assistance to pull the cable out, or else remove the tool and try it again.





Next up we have the 3/4 pin Fan header remover. Personally, I don't find this as mandatory as the first two. Once again, after years of using the micro Phillips head screwdriver, it's almost quicker to remove them my old fashioned way, but instead of coming out one by one this tool removes all 3 or 4 pins in the header and keeps in order. 




Six-pin Aux power connector?  Haven't seen one of these for quite some time now. It is very useful to remove SATA power connectors with this tool. I also find this tool imperative when it comes to pushing cable into the SATA power connecter socket without damaging the cable.


Pros:
Ø  Lowest price as a package
Ø  Beautifully made
Ø  Easy to use
Ø  Great seller-customer communication

Cons:
Ø  International shipping
Ø  Six-pin Aux connector remover can be bent very easily (see picture above)
Ø  Slippery with sweaty hands 

Final thoughts:
The tools are very handy, extremely easy to use, but could use some rubber padding on the sides to provide more grips for sweaty hands. The first time I used this set of tools it only took me less than 45min to sleeve a full set of SATA power cable for Antec High Current Pro HCP-800/Platinum HCP-1000.

PART TWOSleeves - Axon XE-1
I've always been a fan of the combination Red and Black, since my case is the Thermaltake New Soprano  Black, I'd figured now is the perfect time to sleeve the cables red.





The product speaks for itself, the most gorgeous red. Since the sleeve is made out of PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) the elasticity, and long lasting guaranteed.

Aside from Candy Red, AXON offers options such as Braided Black, Aqua Blue, UV Green, Yellow, White, Grey, and Dark Blue in variety size options such as 2mm, 3mm, SATA rated ect.




Just like all other sleeves, most of the time melting the opening is recommended or it'll just split like the picture shown above.

Combining the right tool and the easy to use sleeves, only took me no more than 45min from opening the package to finish. 




Once again, this is the first time ever sleeving any power cable from start to finish, please give me some feedbacks.

Pros:
Ø  The most gorgeousred imaginable
Ø  Very easy to install, once you get a hang of it
Ø  Elasticity


Cons:
Ø  Comes in ellipse shaped
Ø  Harder shell


Final thoughts:
Since this is the first time sleeving anything from binging to the end, it took me a little while to realize what to do, but once I got the hang of it it's as simple as pie. Unless you don't like pie.A lot of the time with the extra lighting attention and photoshopping, what's shown in the picture by the sellers is different from what you get in real life, but these sleeves comes in the most gorgeous red I've ever seen. The current generation cable sleeving comes in ellipse shaped, will require addition steps to make the sleeves fit right. The elasticity is both pro and con, in many cases, the elasticity will hold the cable in place, but to make the elasticity last, the sleeve itself is also make the sleeves itself very hard.

Seller information: www.axonmodding.com

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Logitech Laptop Speaker Z205


I was cleaning my car and found my old Logitech Laptop Speaker Z205, this is a portable speaker recommended to people on the road all the time but still wanting a decent sound quality with lightweight and compact.



Accessories:
Ø  USB type A to mini B
Ø  Carrying bag



Interface:
Ø  USB
Ø  3.5mm stereo jack


The sound quality is significantly better and louder than almost all laptop speakers are, simply because these are standing up and aiming directly towards the user, but do not expect any bass out of them. Normally I will start to notice distortion around 85% of the max volume.

The clamps are very solid and padded, so nothing is going to be scratched. The unit does not have to be clamped on to the laptop at all time; the clips can also be used as stands when they are not clamped onto anything.

Aside from the ON/OFF switch on the top, unit also comes with a physical volume UP and DOWN button. The volume UP and DOWN button directly controls your system volume.



Pros:
Ø  Logitech build quality
Ø  Amazing sound for its size and power requirement
Ø  Pure Plug n' play (See Other thoughts)
Ø  No driver required for anything Windows XP and up

Cons
Ø  The clip may be too small for some places
Ø  No self powered option available

Other thoughts:
Found this in the back of my Lexus, and I am pretty sure it's been back there since the day my parents came back from China, after almost a two year of beating it took in the back of the trunk and still works like just came out of the box. Sound quality great considering this is an USB powered speaker. This unit is pure Plug n' play, as in even if you are too lazy to install the driver for your sound card it'll still work like a champ.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Thermaltake New Soprano VO900M1N2N

Recently I've picked up a new Thermaltake Soprano case to replace my giant Xaser VI. I've been very pleased with its slick look and overall performance. Since there aren’t many reviews out there for this case, I’d figure what the hell.




Capability:
>  Brushed aluminum front
>  1x 200mm front Blue LED intake fan (800 RPM)
>  1x 120mm rear exhaust fan (1000 RPM)
>  Easy removable front and bottom dust filters
>  Supporting up to standard ATX motherboards
>  TWO USB 3.0 and TWO USB 2.0 ports on front I/O panel
>  (4) 5.25" and (1) 3.5" exposed drive bays
>  (5) 3.5" internal drive bays (with four removable trays)
>  Hot swappable hard drive dock (2.5" & 3.5")
>  Support for preassembled liquid cooling systems



The ONE feature that caught my eyes in the first place was the easy access hot swappable hard drive docking station. Instead of transferring data though USB, this docking station provided the ability to hot swap the drive and transferring data as fast as the internal SATA port that is capable.


Like most PC builders out there, I upgrade and swap components in and out of my main computer all the time. Instead of risking of dropping the good'o standard round 6mm screws in to your power supply or losing it during the installation, Thermaltake decided to use the larger thumb screws on the expansion slots holders, made holding down large video card while the case is standing up much easier.



Unit comes with pre-installed fully washable fan grills, both of them are fairly easy to remove and be cleaned.



All I/O cables are clearly marked and have plenty length to reach it’s header in any motherboard.

Test Rig
Case
Soprano VO9000
CPU
Intel Xeon W5647 @ 4.2GHz
Motherboard
P6X58D Premium
RAM
Kingston KHX1600C9D3T1BK3/12GB
CPU Cooler
Thermaltake WATER2.0 Pro
Internal storage
(7) Seagate 2TB ST2000DM001
GPU
ATi HD6970 Reference
PSU
Antec High Current Pro 850W (HCP-850)
Mouse
TteSPORTS Level 10 M
Keyboard
TteSPORTSMeka G-Unit mechanical gaming keyboard

Temperature:
CPU measured with RealTemp. GPU temperature measured with MSI Afterburner. Motherboard temperature measured with Ai Suite. Tested at room temperature 26°C (70F)


Pros:
Extremely roomy for a mid tower
Easy accuses hard drive duck
Phenomenal cable management
Removable fan filters included for both front and bottom
Excellent built quality
Very elegant and stylish look

Cons:
Not 100% tool-less drive bays
One of the internal 3.5” bay is hard to access
Front door can block out part of the airflow when it's shut

Final thoughts:
On an average of every two years, I switch to a new case, and this is my first non-full-sized tower since 2005. It is very impressive how much room Thermaltake left us in his mid-tower. With the large video card, Thermaltake’s all-in-one water cooler, and the ridiculous amount of hard drives, I was expecting a very crowed interior with cables sticking out of everywhere, but with the cable management was provided; I was able to hide almost all extra cables on the back of the case. Thermaltake have done a fantastic job making the computer relatively silent.

Where to buy:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Corsair Dominator GT CMT8GX3M2B2133C9

 Over the years Corsair’s superior performance, extreme overclocking ability and tech support to back their product up, they’ve become one of the most well-known gaming and performance memory providers in the world. Recently I’ve picked up two pairs of the Corsair Dominator GT CMT8GX3M2B2133C9. They are rated at 2133MHz @ 9-11-9-27 with only 1.5v great for high performance builds.



As always, all the Dominator GT are suing the Dual-Path Heat eXchange Technology also known as the DHX. By extending the circuit board allows more surface area to have direct conduct with the heatsink, this in turn maximizes the heat transfer leading to better overclocking results.



Most all new Dominator memory kits come with an on board Corsair Link socket. Corsair Link is an integrated software system gives end users complete control of their fan speed, lighting and other features on select Corsair products.



Extra cooling fan – The Corsair AIRFLOW fan assembly comes with almost if not all Dual Channel and Triple Channel Kits. The Airflow fan unit contains two 60mm rated up to 3500RPM



Right out of the box, with exactly 1.5v I was able to run the memory at 2133MHz @ 9-11-9-27 with absolutely no problems.



The capability to run 2133MHz out of the box was fantastic, but how much headroom is there left for us overclockers? Since Corsair changes their IC with in the model, the only way to identify them is from the module versions.



We have here is ver.4.13, which is confirmed to be the Samsung K4B2G0846D-HCH9. Although ICs are somewhat important, it’s more based upon the each individual sticks, IC models just helps give overclockers some idea where to start.

After running it with stock settings I decided to take this test few notches higher.
Please note, it is NOT recommended to run above 1.75v on the memory for 24/7. It can permanently damage your CPU and/or memory. Do it at your own risk.





Although IC model is not a guarantee of the capability of its max clock, it does give us a fairly good idea of where to start in terms of voltages and average sub timings. In our case the Samsung HCH9 ICs are known for responding fairly well to voltages when pushing for high clocks.
For this particular set to reach 2400MHz with stability, I had to loosen the timings to 9-12-11-20 with 1.7 VDIMM. To get to 2600MHz it required me to up the voltage to 1.80v but I was very surprised that the timings remained the same.



With only 1.8v on the memory, was able to pass SuperPi 32m at 1300MHz @ 9-11-12-22-1T timing.

Pros
> 2133MHz 1.5v out of box
> Great low-timing to high-clock ratio
> Extra cooling options included in the package
> Excellent overclock on 1155/1156/1366


Cons
> Price


Final thoughts
Overall, the memory is very nicely built. The classic Dominator red and black heatsink keeps it cool during heavy overclocking sessions. Great performance right out of box without overclocking and it's fast enough for most if not all 24/7 tasks plus more.
Capable to be overclocked to 2400MHz with 1.75v and 2600MHz with only 1.8/1.85v with still relatively tight timings.
Very high Price-to-Clock ratio, most of the 2133MHz DDR3 memory are priced between $49.99 – $89.99 and Corsair Dominator GT CMT8GX3M2B2133C9 has a price tag of $109.99. But note, with that price it also includes an airflow fan, which can also be purchased separately between $25.99 and $29.99.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Intel 320 vs. the Kingston SSDNow V100


Right here we have the 3rd generation Intel 320 vs. the Kingston SSDNow V100 serious.

Testing platform:
Motherboard: EVGA X58 4-Way SLi
CPU: Intel Core i7 970
RAM: Patriot 2x4GB PGV38G1600ELK
Video Card: Reference 8800GT 512MB




Intel 320 Serious build up on 25nm NADA flash memory, they come in 6 different capacity | 40GB/$89 | 80GB/$159 | 120GB/$209 | 160GB/$289 | 300GB/$529 | 600GB/$1,069 (Capacity/MSRP)
All Intel 320 serious solid state hard drive comes with stander 3-year manufacture warranty.

The Kingston V serious is built on MLC NADA flash memory, they have 32GB/SV100S2/32G | 64 GB/SV100S2/64G | 128 GB/SV100S2/128G | 256 GB/SV100S2/256G
Kingston also comes with 3-year limited warranty.












Testing software:
ATTO
HDTune
AS SSD Benchmark
Everest (built-in disk bench)

Test #1 – ATTO



Test #2 – HD Tune




Test #3 – AS SSD


Test #4 –Everest (built-in disk bench)
Each individual read test


Average read access in nanoseconds.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Patriot Sector 5 (PGV38G1600ELK)


Recently my main rig went under.Luckily almost everything went on sale this cyber Monday, so I picked up a set of Patriot Sector 5 (PGV38G1600ELK) for my old 1366 rig, here is a quick review of it, enjoy.

Specification:
Capacity– 8GB (2 x 4GB)
Speed– 1600MHz
Timing– 9-9-9-24
Voltage– 1.65v
Features
-          XMP Ready
-          Equipped with advance aluminum heat-dispersing shields
-          100% Tested and Verified
-          RoHS Compliant
-          Tested on Intel P55 chipset

Quick look:

 
Right above is the Sector 5 PGV38G1600ELK it comes with two sticks of 4GB total of 8GB in dual channel setup, great for any 24/7 rig anywhere from office work, video editing to high performance gaming.


I have to be honest, I didn’t think much of those stock aluminumheat spreader came with the memory, it may be a little hard to see, but on top of the ram there is my 16GB microSD card from my cell phone, it’s extremely thin (no thicker than the microSD chip) and feels very cheaply made.

Here is another look at the “cheaply” made stock heat spreader

 
What you don’t feel is from those heat spreader is how efficient they are; in the tests below I will have a thermometer measuring both the room temp and the PCB/IC teem.

Testing Setup:
-          CPU: Intel Core i7 970 @ Stock.
-          CPU Cooler: CoolerMaster Gemini II with 2x Antec Tri-Cool 120mm
-          Motherboard: EVGA 4-Way SLi E762
-          Hard Drive: Seagate 80GB 7200.12
-          Video Card: ATi 4350 1GB
-          OS: Windows 7 64bit 7600 with No Service Pack

Testing software:
-          SuperPi1M and 32M with NO tweaks
-          Lavalys Everest Memory Benchmark

Here we have SuperPi 1M and 32M bench scores.
 (Lower the better)
(Lower the better)
 

The special large heat spreaderdesign made it very air dynamic effective, but at the same time will not get in the way of larger CPU coolers. In the picture below is the temperature of the memory and the room temperature

 (as showing above, CPU temp indicates PCB/IC temp, SYS is room temp)


 
Right here we have the temperature of the memory that’s running SuperPi 32m benchmark at 1866 @ 11-11-11-31-1T-146 @ 1.80v.

(as showing above, CPU temp indicates PCB/IC temp, SYS is room temp)

 
I have been doing some research, and seems like this Sector 5 from Patriot is using the stander Elpidaintegratedcircuits(IC), they are huge fans of power, it require more voltage to achieve higher clocks then others, but at the same time they have better timings at the same clock. It comes’stockat 1600MHz @ 9-9-9-24-1T-128 @ 1.65v, but I was able to overclock it very easily, it’s able to run the memory at 1600MHz @ 8-8-8-21-1T-128 to 1866MHz @ 11-11-11-31-1T-143 @ 1.70v, I am very pleased with its surprising overclocking ability.

After my stander SuperPi tests I felt like there are more I can get out of those bad boys, so I fired up the Lavalys Everest Memory Benchmark and here is some numbers:

(All the numbers below are average of 3 runs that’s no more than 3% a part)

 (Higher is better)


 (Lower is better)

 
Pros:
Price, very cheap after Mail-in-Rebate
Nicely designed heat spreaderkeeps the memory running very cool
Great overclocking ability
Lifetime warranty
Without changing the stock voltage, only 1.65v I was able to taking it to a whole new level (2000MHz 10-10-10-31-1T-143)

Cons:
Elpida IC requiresa lot more voltage to achieve higher clocks then others.


Bottom Line:
At firstIthought it was going to be a huge disappointment, then I got about 4hrs of extensive testing, and I was amazed. It was very easy to overclock, after I put the memory in the slots, took me about 5 min to get the setting right (4hrs time = running SuperPi 32m (avg. about 11min per run + restart), weighting the review, and trying to do homework all at the same time), and now I could not be more satisfied with both its stock performance and overclocking ability then I could ever ask for with the low price. The perfect mixture of black and red gives a little extra icing on the cake; it was worth every penny of it.

 Here is a quick video of the memory.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCxDoMV2iPU