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Nov 20, 2014

Chaintech and Colorful Release iGame Z97 High-End Motherboard

As odd as it sounds, motherboards intended for gaming aren't necessarily the same as those intended for overclocking, even though some companies, like MSI, like to implement their best OC features on them anyway.

Overclocking means going overboard with clock tweaking and being prepared for a total meltdown. Gaming means (though some may disagree) getting the most performance you can out of your system without actually needing to start messing with the factory settings of the CPU. Especially since the GPUs determine a lot of how well a game runs. You might be safe pushing the chips a bit above the norm, but not to the point where you can set any records. Chaintech and Colorful wanted a motherboard that was equally good at both, however, so they made the iGame Z97 and even gave it water blocks for cooling.

Featuring the LGA 1150 Haswell-ready socket, it offers such things as dual-BIOS, a 16-phase VRM, 8-channel HD audio, three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, four PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots, six SATA III ports, mSATA (one port) and three video outputs (DVI, D-Sub and HDMI). Of course, the video ports will be mostly useless since buyers will no doubt buy an NVIDIA or AMD add-in board or more along with it. Unfortunately, while I do know that Chaintech intends to release the iGame Z97 LGA 1150 motherboard in Europe and APAC markets, I don't have an ETA or the price.

iGame Z97 LGA 1150 motherboard PCI Express slots
Image credits to TechPowerUp

iGame brand propagates

iGame Z97 LGA 1150 motherboard socket

iGame Z97 LGA 1150 motherboard water block

iGame Z97 LGA 1150 motherboard PCI Express slots
Images credits to 3DNews

Meizu MX4 Pro Officially Introduced with 5.5-Inch Quad HD Display, Exynos Octa-Core CPU

The Chinese smartphone market seems to be dominated by local OEMs rather than other brands like Samsung, LG, Motorola, HTC or Sony.

Instead, customers in the Mainland prefer devices made by Xiaomi, Huawei, Lenovo, Meizu, Oppo, Gionee or ZTE. In fact, big handset makers like Samsung lost important chunks of market share to these Chinese OEMs, which are now thinking to go international with their products. One such native OEM, Meizu has just announced its new flagship smartphone, the MX4 Pro. For those out of the loop, this is the sequel to the recently launched MX4 which was launched in China back in September. Meizu MX4 quickly became one of the most popular Android smartphones in China, which is probably one of the reasons that made the company confident that an even better device will be more popular than the original model.

Regardless of how Meizu reached the conclusion that launching two flagship smartphones in a matter of a few months would be a great idea, the fact remains that the new device announced by the Chinese company is likely to become best-seller in the Mainland. Dubbed Meizu MX4 Pro, the new smartphone has been stuffed with the latest technologies available on the market. More importantly, the device has been priced at only $410 (€325) outright, which offers incredible value to the smartphone.

On paper, it may be the most powerful smartphone on the market

First of all, the MX4 Pro boasts a stunning 5.5-inch NEGA LCD display that supports Quad HD resolution, 546ppi (pixel per inch) and 450 nits. The smartphone comes in three variations: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. We’ve already mentioned the price for the cheapest version, so if you want the other two, you will have to come up with $440 (€350) or $510 (€405), respectively. That will be an important choice, as Meizu MX4 Pro lacks microSD card slot. On the inside, Meizu MX4 Pro is a beast. The Chinese company decided to go for Samsung’s Exynos 5430 octa-core chipset, which accommodates a quad-core 2GHz Cortex-A15 processor, another 1.5GHz quad-core Cortex-A7 CPU and a Mali-T628 MP6 graphics processing unit.

In addition, the smartphone is packed with 3GB of RAM and an impressive 20-megapixel rear-facing camera made by Sony, which features 4K video recording, autofocus, LED flash and f/2.2 aperture. Meizu MX4 Pro runs Flyme OS 4.1 which is based on Android 4.4.4 KitKat and it’s powered by a non-removable 3,350 mAh battery. The flagship smartphone will be available for purchase in China beginning December 6, but there are no details on availability outside this country.

Meizu MX4 Pro

Meizu MX4 Pro QHD display

Meizu MX4 Pro display detailed

Meizu MX4 Pro display size

Meizu MX4 Pro front upper part

Meizu MX4 Pro

Meizu MX4 Pro (left side)

Meizu MX4 Pro (left side angle)

Meizu MX4 Pro display

Meizu MX4 Pro (bottom side)

Meizu MX4 Pro (Home button)
Images credits to Meizu

Panram Ninja-V Memory Kits with Up to 16 GB and DDR4-3300 Speed Debut

DDR4 is not something that many people can afford at the moment, not just because of the price of the memory itself, but due to the expense involved in acquiring motherboards and CPUs that can actually use it. Panram has chosen to release a series regardless.

Called Ninja-V, the random access memory line is composed of twelve kits, set apart by both their capacities and their frequencies. More precisely, there are four frequency groups and each group comprises three different kits, or rather two kits and the option to acquire just one, lone module. That means that total capacities for consumers are 4 GB, 8 GB and 16 GB. The latter two involve two and four 4 GB modules, respectively.

The Panram Ninja-V DDR4 RAM series

It is composed of 4 GB modules with clocks of 2,800 MHz, 3,000 MHz, 3,200 MHz and 3,300 MHz in groups of 1, 2 and 3. That means there are three of each, as the table in the attached gallery shows. The 2,400 MHz modules are the only ones with 1.2V voltage (really 1.25V), while the others use 1.35V, which is still a lot less than DDR3. DDR3 RAM usually runs at 1.5V (older type run at 1.65V), with only low voltage versions managing 1.35V at the expense of performance. That's why the best DDR3 kits of today, those of 2,800 MHz or more, all need 1.5V/1.65V or even more via manual tweaking in that regard (during overclocking runs).

It's also worth mentioning that the standard performance level of DDR3 memory is 2,133 MHz, so having over 3,000 MHz at just 1.35V is quite impressive.

The catch

It's the same as before, unfortunately. In order to be able to use DDR4 you need to buy a motherboard based on Intel's X99 chipset, since LGA 2011-3 socket CPUs are the only ones with DDR4 support. That means the Haswell-E Extreme Edition Core i7 chips, as well as whatever overkill Xeon chips Intel has on sale via retail or as part of its enterprise/business sales channel.

Availability and pricing

All the Panram DDR4 Ninja-V memory products should sell soon, if they haven't already been posted by retailers. Unfortunately, the company didn't see fit to mention the prices in its announcement, so you will have to wait until retailers reveal that info themselves. Considering the cost of a DDR4-supporting PC, however, only the rich will be able to afford the Ninja-V anyway, so Panram doesn't stand to lose anything, unless kits from competitors are a lot cheaper, which isn't very likely.

Panram DDR4 Ninja-V 4-module kit

Panram DDR4 Ninja-V kit specs

Panram DDR4 Ninja-V dual-module kit

Panram DDR4 Ninja-V single-module package

Panram DDR4 Ninja-V 4Gb module
Images credits to Panram

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