Plextor SSD M5 Pro 128GB

The double-threat of new memory and a new controller. Bold move, Plextor

SSD, PlextorThe overwhelming majority of SSDs on the market now are based around LSI’s SandForce SF2281 controller, but there are also quite a few powered by Marvell’s 88SS9174 chip. Both of these bits of silicon have been around for a while, so it’s about time we saw some new hardware for either or both companies rather than just firmware updates.

First out of the blocks with new hardware is Marvell with the new 88SS9187 Monet controller, which may or may not be the hardware lying under the Indilinx Everest 2 branding in OCZ’s Vertex 4 and Agility 4 drive families. In any case, the first drives we have seen flaunting this new silicon come from what many might see as a surprising source – Plextor – in the guise of its new M5 Pro range. A quick glance at the specs reveals that the controller isn’t the only thing that’s new; these also support the latest 19nm Toshiba Toggle NAND, making them the first consumer drives to do so.

Plextor’s M5 Pro range includes two other capacities: the 256GB version and its flagship 512GB drive. It quotes performance figures of up to 540MB/s reads across the board, and while the write performance for the 128GB drive is quoted at up to 340MB/s, both the 256 and 512GB drives get up to 450MB/s. In tests with the ATTO benchmark, 128GB backed up the official read figures, posting a score of 545MB/s. Write performance was a little lower than Plextor’s figures at 326GB/s

Slap happy

As benchmarks show, the Plextor M5 Pro can stand up to SandForce drives in outright performance. And when it comes to handling incompressible data writes, it doesn’t just hold its own against the likes of the SandForce controlled Patriot Pyro SE – it takes it out into a darkened alley and gives it a good slapping. Not quite as effectively, it has to be said, as the Corsair Performance Pro, but a slapping none the less.

But the new controller isn’t the only thing special about the Plextor M5 Pro. The NAND it uses is pretty special too – 19nm Toshiba fancy Dan Toggle NAND no less. This is the first consumer drive and the first drive we have seen that uses the latest Toshiba NAND, and we’re pretty sure it won’t be on its lonesome for very long.

The 128GB drive uses 256GB of DDR3 cache, and just in case you’re wondering, the 256MB version supports 512MB, while in the 512GB drive it goes up to a truly whopping 768MB.

It’s a brave step for a company to launch a new drive that features not one but two new technologies, but it seems that Plextor has pulled it off with the M5 Pro. And the combination of the new Marvell controller and the latest 19nm Toggle NAND gives it performance that puts it amongst the fastest 120/128GB drives we’ve tested. It’s also reassuring to see that Plextor has plenty of faith in the M5 Pro series backing it as they do with a five-year warranty. When you also consider the fact you’re getting both of these new technologies at around $1/GB, you really can’t argue with its credentials.

Technical analysis

The new Marvell 88SS9187 controller can more than hold its own against SandForce controlled drives. It’s faster than the previous generation Marvell controller (in the Corsair Performance Pro) in all but one of the AS SSD benchmarks, too.

Sequential read performance

SSD, Plextor

Sequential write performance

SSD, Plextor

4K random write performance

SSD, Plextor

Vital Statistics
Price $210 approx..
Manufacturer Plextor
Web www.plextor-digital.com
SKU PX-128M5P
Capacity 128GB
Controller Marvell 88SS9187
Memory 19nm Toshiba Toggle NAND
Interface SATA 6Gbps

Gigabyte Z77X-UP5TH Motherboard Review

Another excellent premium Z77 mobo from the Taiwanese giant

motherboard, gigabyteWhat do you get for the motherboard that has everything? Gigabyte’s answer is to add a pair of Thunderbolt connectors to the rear of its massively feature-rich mobo for all the super-speed I/O goodness they bring. This is the top Z77 board form gigabyte, and has pretty much everything a full-spec $418 mobo should.

Thunderbolt connections are the bastard children of PCIe and DisplayPort, enabling fast, two-way streams of both traditional data and video to be piped down the same cable. As an added bones, you can daisy-chain devices to a single connection – like stringing out external hard drives all the way to a DisplayPort monitor.

Gigabyte adding a pair of these new I/O connectors to its board may just seem like willy-waving, but it means the Z77X-UP5TH has an extra two display outputs, as well as all the speedy data-shunting capabilities. This Z77 board then comes with the ability to run three screens without resorting to discrete graphics, and without sacrificing other I/O capabilities thanks to daisy-chaining.

Thunder road

Still, right now the benefits of Thunderbolt are rather ephemeral. There aren’t many DisplayPort panels around at the reasonable prices we’ve come to expect from the recent IPS boom, and unless you’re jamming an SSD into an external Thunderbolt caddy, you’ll struggle to get full use from the bandwidth the new connection offers.

It’s a worthwhile nod to future-proofing though, and this advanced I/O deserves to do well. I remember wondering whether I really needed to go for USB connections on a mobo upgrade in the years before it became a necessity, and being so glad I did.

But although Thunderbolt is a headline-grabber for this mobo, it’s not the only thing in its favor. Gigabyte seemed to lose its way a little in the wilderness, but has come out in force for the 7-series boards, offering serious performance once again.

Gigabyte has played about with the power components around the CPU socket, and by changing the MOSFETs, it has made that part of the board cooler. This means it can cope with more juice, and a little more overclocking fun too.

It loses out slightly in the OC race compared with the similarly priced Asus board over the page, but in a bit of a switch around, where Asus used to be the gaming brand, the Gigabyte board offers faster benchmarks in both Shogun 2 and Batman: Arkham City with the same setup.

Obviously though, we have to consider the price tags of these premium boards. When you can pick up a perfectly functional Z77 for almost $322 less, you have to make some pretty compelling arguments to encourage people to spend more. The performance and incredible feature-set of this board though do a pretty good job.

This isn’t board for the gamer on a budget – this is for the person putting their PC together with more professional, productive leanings. And who wants to hit the highest gaming frame rates, too.

Technical analysis

It’s a close run thing between the premium Gigabyte and Asus boards, with each offering different benefits. The Asus board is a better overclocker and seem to be able to shift things across the Thunderbolt connector more quickly, but the gaming performance of the Gigabyte board is simply incredible.

CPU rendering performance

motherboard, gigabyte

Gaming performance

motherboard, gigabyte

Thunderbolt performance

motherboard, gigabyte

Vital Statistics
Price $418 approx..
Manufacturer Gigabyte
Socket Intel LGA 1155
Chipset Intel Z77
Graphics support 1x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1x PCIe 3.0 x8, CrossFireX and SLI
Memory Dual-channel DDR3
Next-gen I/O 2x SATA 6Gbps, 4x USB 3.0, 2x Thunderbolt

GTX 660 DirectCU II Graphics Card Benchmark

GPU, Asus, Graphic card
Well, it’s all feeling rather 2010 around here. Nvidia has transported me back to when we couldn’t figure out which shower of self-serving idiots to form our government so we just left them to figure it out, a time when Chilean miners starred in their own low-res reality TV show, and a time when we finally found out how destructive a weapon the vuvuzela could be.

Why am I feeling so nostalgic? Because Nvidia has decided to release a new graphics card that’ channeling the spirit of one of the worst releases of its last few generations. When I look at the new GTX 660 Ti, all I can see is the frankly offensive spectre of the GTX 465 looming over it.

That was a card housing a pared-to-the-bone version of the then top GPU, offering limited performance for almost the same price as the far superior GTX 470. Two years later and the same can be said of the GTX 660 Ti and impressive GTX 670.

That’s a shame, as I’ve been waiting for the mainstream-oriented GTX 660 Ti to hit the shelves since I first saw the Kepler architecture way back in March this year. Nvidia  brought the top-end GTX 680 out first, aiming squarely at AMD’s top GPUs, and to start with it had the edge.

As time has moved on though, the AMD Graphics Core Next architecture – exemplified by the surprisingly excellent HD 7970 GHz Edition – has proven to be a tough nut to crack. As the AMD driver sets have matured and more Compute-focused game engines have emerged, such as those powering DiRT Showdown and Sniper Elite, the Radeon cards have taken the ball and ran with it.

Nvidia was hoping to fight back with the GTX 660 Ti, and in the volume end of the market that’s where you want your graphics cards to take the crown. That’s where the bulk of the graphics card upgrade money is spent, and it’s the segment that can make or break a GPU generation.

This Asus GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II Top is the Taiwanese company’s heavy overclocking card and, as such has come to market with seriously tweaked clocks, a bespoke PCB and cooling solution, and a chunky price premium on top.

GPU genes

So what makes up this new mainstream GPU, then? Well, it’s the same Kepler GPU that has made up the bulk of Nvidia’ 600 series cards. Therefore, it’s the GK104 chip, the same as in the GTX 690, GTX 680 and GTX 670. In fact, it’s an almost identical chip to that in the most recent Kepler card, the GTX 670, but with a few key parts turned off or turned down.

It’s still rocking seven of those SMX modules, so comes with a total of 1,344 CUDA cores, all now running at the same speed as the base clock. It also has the same 112 texture units, but crucially is missing eight ROPs for a reduced total of 24.

The GK104 GPU in the GTX 660 Ti is kept company by the same 2,048MB GDDR5 video memory, running at a breakneck 6,008MHz, though the bus betwixt chip and VRAM is a rather reduced 192-bit affair. Compared with the 256-bit bus used by the rest of the Kepler top-table GPUs, that’s a little weak.

The close connection between the chips in the GTX 670 and this GTX 660 Ti explains why there’s only $80 difference between the $402 RRP for this latest card and the $482 you can pay for a reference GTX 670.

In the grand scheme of things though, that $80 makes all the difference. When you’re talking about the overclocked SKUs of the GTX 660 Ti, like this Asus Top edition, then we start to hit a price parity with the GTX 670 the new Nvidia card can’t hope to replicate in terms of gaming frame rates.

To be fair though, Asus’s impressive cooling solution meant it could really push the clockspeed of the Nvidia GPU. The base clock for a standard GTX 660 Ti is 915MHz and Asus has upped this to 1,059MHz. In practice, however, that translates to a general boost clock, in game, of around 1,215MHz.

Sadly, even that heavy overclock up to the frame rates that you’d expect from a $482 graphics card. And that’s the real problem with this GPU.

Competition

So, what of those frame rates? How does the card Nvidia says will bring next-gen tech to a ton of gamers actually perform? It performs exactly as your might expect to chopped-up GPU to – not very well.

This Top edition has all the advantages of Asus’s  overclocking nous, but even that can’t push this sliced-up GPU towards the performance of its immediate competition. And that competition is intense. On the Nvidia side you’ve got the GTX 670 at the same price as this Asus card, on the AMD side there’s the HD 7950 at around $418.

Nvidia claimed that the real competition was with the HD 7870, but that can be picked up for around $337 these days,

“PUT IT UP AGAINST THE CHEAPER 7950 AND THINGS LOOK GRIM”

which still considerably cheaper than even the reference GTX 660 Ti at $402.

Let’s give Nvidia the benefit of the doubt for a second though and look as its ‘new’ GPU against the HD 7870. Yes, it’s an overall win, with the bulk of titles favoring the green side, but the more compute-focused games like DiRT Showdown and Sniper Elite favor the GCN Pitcairn core in the HD 7870.

Put it up against the HD 7950 though, and things look grim. Even against this seriously over-stretched version of the GTX 660 Ti, the cheaper card has the edge. Only in Shogun 2 can the Nvidia card claim a win – in everything else the HD 7950 is all you need. It also has the performance chops to really work a high-res monitor.

It’s downright embarrassing when the GTX 660 Ti faces up to its own big brother, the GTX 670. As we’ve said, the Asus Top edition is the same price as a stock GTX 670 at $482 and is a long way off it in terms of gaming frame rates. The GPU, Asus, Graphic cardsynthetic Heaven benchmark is generally a good yardstick of overall graphical power and at this the top-end GTX 660 Ti comes up woefully short.

Sad face

You know, sometimes it can be really fun writing a negative review of a product, but occasionally a product is so disappointing there’s not an ounce of enjoyment to be had from hoofing it like a lame beggar. We’d expected the GTX 660 Ti to be a serious contender for our favorite GPU of all time. After all, when you combine the goodness of the Kepler architecture (GPU boost, impressive power juggling, and pretties like TXAA and Adaptive Vsync) with a mainstream price tag, how could it fail?

Well, talk to Nvidia and you’ll find out. It can certainly fail if you don’t bother designing a GPU aimed at the mainstream and instead just hack up the existing chip you’ve been using for your top-tier gaming cards since March.

The ageing GK104 is a fine GPU when it’s being fed with a decent memory bus and hasn’t 

“NVIDIA NEEDS TO STEP OUTSIDE AND SMELL THE GLOBAL RECESSION”

been pared to the bone. Hacked up, as it is in the GTX 660 Ti, it’s not much good to anyone unless it’s significantly cheaper than we’re seeing at launch.

At $321 this overclocked Asus Top edition would be a great graphics card, but when it costs the same as the far superior GTX 670, it’s completely irrelevant. Even the EVGA GTX 660 Ti SC with its $402 tag is too expensive, losing out to the slightly faster HD 7950 at the same price.

It’s not like this is a new precedent either. I’m referring again to the familiar situation that arose when Nvidia was getting into the mainstream segment of its first generation Fermi cards.

After the GTX 470 came the GTX 465. It was using the same GF100 GPU Nvidia was putting in its top-end cards, but with a lot of the chip’s innate goodness cut out. Nvidia also positioned it only slightly cheaper than the much faster GTX 470. It was roundly panned as a pointless release and was superseded in around a month by the fantastic GTX 670 and its new GF104 GPU.

We can only hope the same thing happen here and we’ll see a new Kepler GPU, specifically designed for the mainstream segment, in a GTX 660 without the Ti moniker – and for a more mainstream price. Seriously, when did  $402-$482 become the mainstream pricing for graphics cards?

After a run of really very good graphics cards, Nvidia needs to step outside and smell the global recession. Bring me my real mainstream Kepler card, not this pretender to the throne.

Vital Statistics
Price $482 approx..
Manufacturer Asus
GPU Nvidia GK104
Base clock 1,059MHz
Boost clock 1,137MHz
CUDA cores 1,344
ROPs 24
Memory bus 192-bit

Advance Technologies ATFX-XPredator Desktop PC

Chassis, Gaming PCThe very first thing to catch your eye on this Advance Technologies build is the striking XPredator chassis, all stormtrooper white with black grills getting all up in yours. It also has a huge Perspex side panel, which reveals the second thing to catch your eye – the water-cooling setup.

This isn’t the only build in the test to feature liquid as an aid to chilling out your chips – the Cyberpower machine has a closed-loop water cooler – but this is the only one to use a separate pump and reservoir setup. That means the setup can be expanded if you decide you want to include a loop for the graphics card, or even stick another reservoir in between to provide extra cooling for both.

Sadly though, the extreme (and extremely pretty) water-cooling setup in this machine hasn’t translated into a serious over clock on the CPU inself. In fact, the ATFX rig ships with the slowest clocks of all the i5 machines in the test, sitting on its laurels at a mere 4.3GHz.

That means Advance Technologies garners the slowest CPU benchmark of all nine test PCs here. That’s a big disappointment considering how intense the setup looks. With a little light tweaking – a simple bumping of the multiplier in the BIOS – we were able to get a rock-solid 4.7GHz out of the 3570K.

LUCIDE DREAMING

It’s swings and traffic circles though, as it’s the only machine here to opt for an AMD graphics card over and Nvidia one, and in the benchmarks that really makes a difference. The overclocked HD 7970 may not have the edge in the HEaven synthetic test, but in the four gaming benchmarks it pulls out a very obvious lead.

The only fly in the ointment here is Advance Technologies questionable decision to ship the setup with the Lucid Virtu tech plumbing the CPU and GPU together in-game. In Just Cause 2 and Metro 2033 it made no difference in performance, but it gave a little boost to DiRT Showdown.

The Shogun 2 test was a different matter, showing a massive performance boost, but that was tempered by the terrible graphical errors that accompanied it – something we couldn’t live with, and would lead to us immediately turning off the Lucid Hyperformance mode.

SMART RESPONSE

That perhaps explains why no-one else wanted to get with the Lucind lovin’, but on the flip side Advance Technologies was also the only SI to actually enablethe Intel Smart Response Tech with the small SSD. Pairing the SSD and HDD together meant it felt almost as responsive as a full SSD system, and had the same boot time too.

So it’s a bit of a mixed bag for the ATFX rig then; steller gaming benchmarks but weak CPU performance. With some BIOS tweaking you can sort that out, but should really have to when you’ve put down a grand for a PC? We’re not entirely sure about that chassis either. From a distance it looks the business, but up close it feels like a budget options. It doesn’t have a reset switch, either. Weird. But still, a great looking, strong gaming machine, with a good balance of components.

Vital Statistics
Price $1,605 approx..
Manufacture Advance Technologies
CPU Intel Core i5 3570K @ 4.3GHz
Motherboard Gigabyte Z77X-D3H
Memory 8GB Corsair Vengeance
Graphics Sapphire HD 7970 OC
SSD 60GB Corsair Force 3
HDD 1TB Segate

How to Add Facebook Like Box to Blogger Blogspot Blog

1. Go to facebook developers web page

2. Customize as you wish and follow my image instruction.

3. Copy the obtained code.

4. Login to Blogger Dashboard>Design.

5. Click On Add a Gadget.

6. Select HTML/JavaScript

7. Give a title Like Us and Paste the code here.

8. Save it. Refresh Your Blog.

  1. Go to Blogger Dashboard > Design > Edit/Page Layout.
  2. Choose Add a Gadget > HTML/JavaScript.
  3. Paste below code after replacing my username woth yours.

Now replace BloggingHub with your username.

Customization (Optional)

  • If you want to show stream then find this stream=false code and change it to true.
  • If you don’t want to show Header then change this code header=true
  • To change height and width find these width=292 and height=290 two codes.
  • If you don’t want to show faces then change this show_faces=true value to false.
  • Now save your changes and you are done…

I hope that this tutorial will helped you alot in adding “Facebook Like Box” to your blogger blogspot blog. To learn more about Blogger that How to Add Facebook Like Button? follow the links.