We announced the Obsidian Series 700D full- tower case last month and gave the 2nd member of our PC case family its world debut at CeBIT during the first week of March. You've probably seen some of the industry blog coverage of the 700D and you may have read the press release. It's been a crazy couple of weeks since then, and I finally have the chance to share some background on the decisions that went into defining the follow-up to the original.
The Obsidian Series™ 800D full-tower case was a huge success. It nabbed several major press awards, and has become the go-to platform for case modders and system integrators' high-end configurations. It was clear that we needed to add a new model to the series. As it turned out, picking the features for the next version was pretty easy, too.
Hey everyone, I hope March has been treating you well. We're still getting rained on here in California which is a bit of a downer. Don't forget to "Spring forward" for daylight savings on Sunday morning — assuming your location observes it.
It was a pretty slow week for reviews. I think a lot of sites are recovering from CeBIT while also trying to cover the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Vortez is a new hardware review site in the UK. We sent them a CMG4GX3M2B1600C7 Dominator™ GT DDR3 memory kit and in return, we received a silver award. Here's what they had to say:
"For those looking for a high performance DDR3 dual channel kit the Dominator GT on test here would be a fine choice. Its high speed and low latencies lend themselves to great performance and the fact that you can increase that capability through a decent overclock is all the more commendable."
CDR Info reviewed our smallest product, the Flash Voyager® Mini 32GB USB flash drive and gave it their greatest honor — the Editor's Choice award. Here's a sample of what they had to say:
"What we also require from such a tiny flash drive is a good build quality and of course, a good performance. The Flash Voyager Mini had them both. "
Finally, we're always interested in seeing what you guys are doing with Corsair hardware. We found this "Corsair Dream PC" on the front page of [H]ardOCP. Great job by "Putz" with this one. Here's what Steve from [H]ardOCP had to say:
"Long time [H] forum member "Putz" decided to build a new rig and used just about everything Corsair makes in the process. The result is an extremely clean system with impressive specs that anyone would be proud to own."
That's it for me this week. Have a great weekend everyone!
Corsair has provided a utility that helps users create the Ultimate Bootable USB Flash Drive. One outstanding feature of this tool is that it is very simple for end users to add advanced functionality to the tool once the basic installation is complete.
A drive like the Flash Survivor® GTR, pictured below, can become a wonderful tool in a few easy steps. An ISO image is an image of an optical disk and this tool has the ability to boot from a bootable ISO image thus eliminating the need to burn a CD or DVD. Following the directions in this guide, the user simply downloads the desired ISO file, extracts it to the USB drive, edits three lines of text, and the tool is ready to use.
There are many options that an user can add to the basic version of this tool. Most Linux distributions can be downloaded as ISO files. With this tool, users can boot to Linux from their drive which amounts to a pocket sized portable operating system.
Corsair has long been recognized as having some of the best technical and customer support in our industry and we take great pride in this fact. We use a large variety of tools and techniques to provide these services to our customers. One of these tools is Memtest86+ which can be downloaded here: Memtest86+.
Memtest is a standalone program that requires no operating system to run. It can easily be run from a variety of media including a bootable USB flash drive. A bootable USB flash drive is an extremely useful and versatile tool. Corsair provides a utility users can utilize to make their flash drives bootable. The current version also has Memtest embedded in the installation. The Corsair bootable USB flash tool can be found HERE.
Once you have a bootable USB flash drive, you simply boot your system from the device and Memtest runs automatically. We recommend using the default settings so no setup of Memtest is required. Users have the option of manually selecting their boot device during the BIOS POST process or, they can set the USB device as the first boot device in the BIOS.
Corsair is always testing the latest and greatest in computer hardware to ensure compatibility and performance. While testing AMD’s recently launched Phenom™ II X6 processors, we noticed we were able to reach higher frequencies than previously possible on an AMD platform. The previous Phenom II X4 processors (codenamed Deneb) would reach memory frequencies just above 1600MHz with DDR3. Several overclockers were able to heavily tweak their systems and memory to reach speeds just shy of 2000MHz.
Given the improvements to the memory overclocking on the Thuban processors, naturally we wanted to see how far they could be pushed. Pairing the Corsair Dominator GTX memory with the new AMD Phenom II X6 1090T processor on the ASUS Crosshair IV Formula motherboard allowed for 2000MHz without any major tweaking. Let’s take a look at all the components used.
When making memory modules that are tip-toeing the very edge of what is possible, it takes a lot of time and some very talented people. We're lucky enough to have one of these people in Michal Nowicki. Michal was kind enough to give me a bit of time to discuss our latest and greatest Dominator GTX DDR3 memory module, the GTX4 — with operation guaranteed up to 2533 MHz.
Q: What is your job here at Corsair?
A: I am an Engineering Specialist at Corsair. My day to day responsibilities are focused around DRAM Product Development. Anytime you hear about Corsair memory products reaching another milestone of performance leadership with the Dominator GT and GTX product lines, or a high-density 24GB Dominator DDR3 memory kit, there is very good chance I had a part in the engineering effort to bring those products to end-users.
ASUS held their firstIIIXIII Extreme Overclocking Summit in Santa Clara, California on April 10th and 11th, to overclock the brand new ASUS ROG motherboards and set world records. Three extreme overclocking teams from North America battled it out over two days of tweaking and pushing their systems to the limit using liquid nitrogen. The liquid nitrogen allowed the Intel® Core™ i7 processors to be pushed to frequencies over 6.5GHz on the ASUS motherboards. The event was centered on ASUS’s new Rampage III Extreme and Maximus III Extreme motherboards. It was split over two days, with the first day dedicated to ASUS-provided hardware and the second day open to any hardware the teams brought. The event was streamed live via webcam and broadcast on ASUS’s ROG website.
Over 200 Liters of Liquid Nitrogen
Each team was provided with enough hardware for three complete systems, with additional spare parts as well. Each team received three ASUS Rampage III Extreme and two Maximus III Extreme motherboards along with Intel Core i7 processors to match. Each was also provided six ATI Radeon™ HD 5870 video cards, three kits of Corsair® Dominator GT modules, several SSDs and three power supplies. Along with all the hardware, each team was allotted 60 liters of liquid nitrogen each day. This allowed them to cool the processors and video cards to sub-zero temperatures, nearing the -190°C mark. Each team had to compete in several different benchmark categories including: CPU-Z Frequency, WPrime 1024m, SuperPi 32m, 3DMark06 and 3DMark Vantage on both P55 and X58 platforms.
Moving data is still an arduous task. It's gotten better, though, with the advent of fast flash drives, and there's none faster than the new Flash Voyager® GTR. The Flash Voyager GTR is just awesome. How awesome? In our lab tests, we compared the 128GB version against a major competitor's 128GB "fast" flash drive. Instead of relying on artificial benchmarks, though, we decided to move some real files back and forth and see what kind of speeds we'd get:
The performance speaks for itself. The Flash Voyager GTR is nearly six times as fast when copying documents, and nearly twice as fast with everything else!
This kind of speed means less time waiting for files to copy, and more time using a USB drive as it was intended. Put your favorite movies or your entire MP3 collection onto your laptop in minutes. Make a bootable USB drive with your favorite Operating Systems on it. Copy all your favorite programs to it, some of which can be run from the drive itself! With speed like this, an external hard drive can be reserved for large file storage and left plugged in at home. There's no need to lug around that heavy external drive with its power brick when the Flash Voyager GTR easily outperforms it.
Use it as a hard drive, an OS loader, a media jukebox, or whatever you like—the Flash Voyager GTR will do it with speed to spare.
I just uploaded a video demonstrating the performance advantages of swapping out the hard drive of a Dell Inspiron™ laptop with a Corsair Performance Series P128 SSD. To say I was blown away by the experience would be accurate. I've upgraded to one of our SSD drives on my home computer and always felt like it was faster after the upgrade, but I didn't do any benchmarks or time the boot speed of my machine before and after, so I never really knew how much faster it really was.
After making this video though, I can sum up the difference a SSD drive makes with one word: impressive. Have a look below and you'll see what I mean.
The results were so impressive, I had to double-check our test. I can't remember the last time changing one component made such a dramatic difference in the performance of a machine. So, as a sanity check, we swapped the hard drives between the laptops to make sure we didn't have a faulty system. Nothing changed. The system with our P128 SSD was not just seconds, but minutes faster booting up with these programs installed.
The P128 machine got a 6.7 in the Windows® Experience Index while the system with the standard HDD had a hard disk score of 5.7. This doesn't sound like much of a difference, and actually tells me that you can't learn everything you need to know about hardware just by looking at benchmarks.
Our test method was pretty simple. We didn't modify Windows® 7 at all. We simply installed a few programs that users would install to a new machine and added them to the "Startup" folder in the start menu.
These programs included Opera, Digsby, Google Chrome, iTunes, Adobe Reader and the Dell Dock. Once we had our programs installed, all we needed to do was restart the machine and it would load our desired programs in the same order, every time. And every time, the HDD-based system was over two minutes slower to boot than the system with our Performance Series P128 SSD. If you have any questions about the SSD performance video above, our test method or the products featured in the video, post in the comments below!
Back in 2003, we launched the original XMS Pro Series modules. They gave you information about memory utilization using an LED display on the modules themselves. At the time, this was pretty awesome technology.
Today, we've announced the Corsair AirFlow Pro which is an evolution of this technology. Not only will the AirFlow Pro show you memory activity, but it also shows the temperature of the modules. It's not just a meaningless light show. It's information you can use.
I hadn't seen the AirFlow Pro until just yesterday while I was gathering the photo and video content for this post, and I was impressed. Not only with the lights themselves, but how easy it was to install. Up to six modules can have their temperature and activity individually displayed on the AirFlow Pro. The AirFlow Pro easily mounts onto our existing AirFlow kit and requires no tools. There's just a couple screws to tighten and a single cable that plugs into each memory module.
For a complete listing of Corsair part numbers that are supported, reference this table. As a rule of thumb, if the part number on your modules starts with "CMT" or "CMP," you're good to go.
That's enough talk. To see the AirFlow Pro in action, check out the video below! Let us know what you think. We're pretty excited about this one!