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  • jkabtech 12:17 pm on May 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A515-51G, , Review   

    Acer Aspire 5 A515-51G Review 

    Highlights It boasts of an Intel Core i5-8250U CPU and Nvidia MX150 GPU CPU performance is good but the 4GB RAM makes Windows 10 very sluggish The Aspire 5 A515-515G-571Z is priced at Rs. 51,500

    Intel recently announced its 8th gen Core CPUs for laptops and desktops, which were highlighted in new launches at IFA 2017. Laptops based on these new CPUs have already started trickling into the market, and Acer is one of the first companies to start selling them in India.

    The Aspire 5 series has gotten the refresh, and Acer has launched multiple SKUs with slight variations in terms of specifications, all priced aggressively at around Rs. 50,000. The model on test today is the Aspire 5 A515-515G-571Z, which has the best configuration of the lot. Along with Intel’s new CPU, the laptop also boasts of Nvidia’s new budget-minded MX150 GPU, which makes this a very interesting multimedia solution at this price. Let’s see what you get for you money.

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  • jkabtech 8:17 pm on May 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , 15, , , , , Review, ,   

    iBall Compbook Marvel 6 Review: Windows 10 Laptop Under Rs. 15,000 

    Highlights This laptop costs less than Rs. 15,000 but is capable of basic tasks It offers a large screen, full-sized keyboard, and licensed Windows 10 The body flexes and bends easily, and storage is constrained to 32GB

    A little over a year ago, we reviewed the iBall Compbook Exemplaire, a 14-inch notebook that cost less than Rs. 15,000. We found it to be underpowered and flimsy, but ultimately worthwhile, because there really isn’t a lot of choice at this price level, and at least you could get basic work done. There still isn’t much choice – and we still feel that there’s a gap in the market where netbooks used to reign. Sure, tablets can be fun to use and easy to watch movies on, but typing, browsing the Web, and multitasking are still largely off the table. iBall was smart enough to take the guts of a tablet and put them into a clamshell with a usable keyboard and screen, without pushing costs up too high.

    Now, we have with us the successor to that product, the new iBall Compbook Marvel 6. It looks very similar, but benefits from newer technology. The price is still the same, so we hope that iBall has managed to iron out some of the problems with the Exemplaire and give us a machine that’s even better value for money.

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  • jkabtech 8:17 pm on May 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Review   

    Netgear Orbi Review 

    Highlights Netgear Orbi is a mesh router system designed for large homes and offices It’s the easiest way to blanket an area with fast, reliable Wi-Fi It comes at a premium but delivers on its promise

    Mesh Wi-Fi networks have been all the rage ever since Eero introduced its first router system last February. These Wi-Fi systems are designed for large houses or offices that would typically need to be served by multiple routers or Wi-Fi range extenders. Simply put, they use multiple “nodes” that can communicate with each other, saving you the hassle of running wires or setting up and maintaining multiple devices, while ensuring a seamless end-user experience when you move from one part of the building to another.

    Another important distinction with mesh networks is that all nodes powering the network can talk to each other directly, which means you can extend your network in any direction. Rather than a “hub and spoke” model in which every satellite needs to be within the range of the “main” router, you can daisy-chain nodes to each other. This is especially helpful if you need to cover large areas indoors and outdoors or deal with walls and floors that typically block Wi-Fi signals. Of course, you still need to have a base unit that will have your Internet line connected to it so you can connect to the outside world.

    If your Internet connection is in one corner of the house and you don’t get the Wi-Fi signal at the other end, mesh networks can potentially solve this problem. They are also great for seamlessly extending your network in the future

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  • jkabtech 4:17 am on May 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , i7-8700K, , , , Review, Z370-A   

    Intel Core i7-8700K ‘Coffee Lake’ and Asus Prime Z370-A Review 

    Highlights Intel’s new mainstream Core i7 CPU has six cores with Hyper-Threading It launches just nine months after its predecessor, the Core i7-7700K The Asus Prime Z370-A isn’t overloaded with features but performs well

    The story of Intel’s 8th generation Core CPU rollout has been full of twists and turns. The product that we are testing today represents a major strategy shift for Intel, as it deals with fresh competition from AMD after nearly a decade, potential new competition from ARM-based manufacturers, the continuing general shift away from PCs, and the collapse of multiple efforts to widen its scope of operations.

    The Intel Core i7-8700K is the company’s top-of-the-line 8th Generation Core processor, and is aimed at gamers and enthusiasts. As expected, it’s unlocked for easy overclocking and promises to significantly outperform its predecessor, the Core i7-7700K. What’s new is the 50 percent increase in the number of physical cores, and a surprising split in the product line that changes what “8th Generation” actually means. We’ve got the whole story, and we’ve put this new processor through a battery of tests, so you can decide whether this will be your next big upgrade.

    Intel Core i7-8700K architecture and positioning
    The biggest news about the 8th generation is that there will be more CPU cores at every level. Core i3 processors move up from dual-core to quad-core, and all Core i5 and i7 models now have six cores instead of four. Hyper-Threading is now restricted to the Core i7 line, and so for the i7-8700K, six cores means 12 simultaneous threads. We’re happy that both prices and thermal envelope ratings remain roughly the same compared to the previous generation.

    But there’s more to it than that. This CPU family, codenamed ‘Coffee Lake’, only exists because of repeated delays to Intel’s planned 10nm ‘Cannonlake’ process shrink that was supposed to launch last year. Last year, Intel has had to improvise with the ‘Kaby Lake’ generation to keep the yearly refresh cycle going. Kaby Lake was the first to break Intel’s tick-tock cycle of alternate-year refreshes and process shrinks, leading to a third 14nm generation as a buffer. However, Cannonlake is still not ready to go mainstream.

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  • jkabtech 8:17 pm on May 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Corsair, , NX500, Review   

    Corsair Neutron NX500 SSD Review 

    Highlights The Neutron NX500 is Corsair’s top-of-the-line consumer SSD Corsair has massively overprovisioned capacity to improve performance The primary advantage of the PCIe card form factor is the large heatsink

    By their very nature, SSDs deliver performance beyond what any spinning hard drive is capable of. Data is stored and retrieved using electrical impulses rather than mechanical heads that need to be moved into position over magnetic platters. However, not all SSDs are created equally. There are vastly different grades of the NAND flash that is used for storage, and different ways to connect SSDs inside computers. The most common models are designed to be swapped in for standard hard drives, and use exactly the same connectors – they’re even the same physical size even though they don’t need to be, just to maintain compatibility. Their performance is constrained, but they’re still miles ahead of hard drives.

    If you want to do even better, you can bypass the SATA storage subsystem and all the legacy protocols designed for slower hard drives altogether. You can make an SSD talk directly to the motherboard and CPU using the PCIe bus. Typically used for graphics cards and high-speed connectivity devices, PCIe forms the backbone of all modern computers, linking components and ferrying data and instructions between them. This kind of SSD represents the pinnacle of performance for consumer desktop PCs.

    That’s exactly where Corsair is aiming with its new NX500 series. These SSDs are meant for enthusisasts, gamers, and high-performance junkies who are willing to spend whatever it takes to get the best possible performance. It takes on Samsung’s mighty SSD 960 Pro and Evo, as well as Intel’s SSD 600p series and the Kingston KC1000 that we recently reviewed.

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  • jkabtech 4:17 am on May 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Aorus, , Gigabyte, i7-7740X, , Review   

    Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 7 and Intel Core i7-7740X ‘Kaby Lake X’ Review 

    Highlights Kaby Lake-X CPUs aren’t very different from mainstream Kaby Lake ones You get higher speeds and overclocking headroom but still only four cores The X299 Aorus Gaming 7 has almost every feature you could want or need

    Intel’s high-end desktop (HEDT) strategy has been overhauled after a long time. For the past few years, Intel has taken the architecture that served for the previous generation of processors and beefed it up with more cores, more connectivity and higher power and thermal thresholds. However, the increasing gap between mainstream and high-end launches, and fresh competition from AMD’s Ryzen and Threadripper lines, has forced Intel to make a change. The result is that we not only have last year’s Skylake architecture coming back in the form of Skylake-X as expected, but also this year’s Kaby Lake turned into Kaby Lake-X at the same time. Both have been clubbed into one family of products called Core X-series.

    We’ve covered the differences and similarities between the two in our exhaustive guide to Intel’s Core X-series, which you can read right here. You can also check out our review of the 10-core Skylake-X Core i9-7900X for more detail. In short, Skylake-X is the more powerful of the two, following the standard template, while Kaby Lake-X is a curious new twist that’s sandwiched in between mainstream CPUs and the new many-core models. Its value proposition is somewhat confusing, and its target market is incredibly niche. Today, we’re looking at the more powerful of two models, the Kaby Lake-X Core i7-7740X to see what the other side of Intel’s new strategy is all about.

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  • jkabtech 8:17 pm on April 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 1300X, Review,   

    AMD Ryzen 3 1200 and Ryzen 3 1300X Review 

    Highlights The Ryzen 3 CPUs both have four cores without multithreading The Ryzen 3 1300X has much higher headroom for overclocking Both models are priced at under Rs. 10,000 (before taxes)

    It has been a busy year for AMD, with multiple major launches across the CPU and GPU spaces. After being as good as dormant for several years, AMD took the high-performance and mainstream desktop PC markets by storm in the first half of 2017 with its Ryzen 7 (Review) and Ryzen 5 (Review) desktop processors. With twice the number of cores as Intel’s offerings, and by not restricting major features to only the highest-end models, AMD was able to pull the carpet right out from under Intel’s feet in a significant number of tests. As if that wasn’t enough, AMD also tossed its ultra-high-end Ryzen Threadripper CPUs with up to 16 cores into the mix just because it could. Enthusiasts haven’t had it this good, with this much choice, in a really long time.

    But there’s also the value-oriented end of the market, where people can’t allocate more than Rs. 10,000 of their budget to just a CPU. These are the chips that go into the majority of computers for ordinary, everyday people – at offices, in homes, in schools, and everywhere that people have to make do with the amount of performance they can afford. This is the target market for AMD’s Ryzen 3 processors, the most affordable of its new lineup.

    It sounds like the perfect space for AMD to use exactly the same formula in – offer buyers more cores and better multitasking without compromising on features or connectivity, and they should flock to you. Ryzen 3 processors do in fact have four cores where Intel’s Core i3 models have only two – but there’s a catch. AMD hasn’t yet shipped Ryzen chips with integrated graphics, so you have to spend more on a discrete graphics card. This is something that could raise the overall cost of a PC considerably, negating all the benefits of the CPU. We’re going to test both models, the Ryzen 3 1200 and the Ryzen 3 1300X, to see whether AMD can shake up the budget market and take the value crown back from Intel.

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  • jkabtech 8:17 pm on April 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Review   

    Acer Aspire VX 15 Review 

    Highlights The Acer VX 15 features the latest Core i7 CPU and GTX 1050 GPU Gaming performance is good and but the display isn’t the best The keyboard is comfortable the the laptop runs silently

    In 2017, Acer is focusing its efforts on two of the most rapidly growing segments in the tech industry: gaming and VR. For gaming, the company has recently unveiled a brand new line of gaming laptops and monitors, while in VR, it plans to get in on the ground floor in the commercial space through its StarVR effort and is among the first OEMs to have a Windows 10 Mixed Reality headset coming later this year.

    However, there’s still some time before Acer’s latest gaming machines make their way to India so for now, we’ll be taking a look at one of its more affordable options: the Acer Aspire VX 15. Priced under Rs. 90,000, the VX 15 seems to hit the sweet spot in terms of price vs performance. Let’s see how good of a value proposition it really is.

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  • jkabtech 4:17 am on April 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Review   

    Kingston A400 SSD Review 

    Highlights The A400 is currently one of the lowest priced SSD lines in India It is available in 120Gb, 240GB, and 480GB capacities Kingston also offers higher performing models at the same price level

    If you aren’t using an SSD in your laptop or desktop PC in 2017, you’re definitely missing out. There’s very little reason not to insist on one, even if your budget is absolutely rock bottom. At the lower end of the market, 120 or 240GB of storage space is enough for casual users, and the speed benefits of an SSD outweigh the capacity advantage of a spinning hard drive. Your PC will boot and go to sleep quickly, programs launch without making you wait, and better responsiveness makes you more productive overall.

    Kingston is one of several companies that offer reasonably capacious SSDs at the lowest possible prices. It competes with WD, Adata, Samsung, Zotac and Transcend in the Indian market, but interestingly, has a two-pronged strategy. There’s the A400 series and the UV400 series, both of which have very similar specifications and cost pretty much the same, but do have some differences that we will get to later.

    Today, we’re going to test the Kingston A400 240GB model to see if it delivers on its promise, and what you can realistically expect from it.

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  • jkabtech 8:17 pm on April 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 1600X, Review,   

    AMD Ryzen 5 1600X Review 

    Highlights The Ryzen 5 1600X is the most powerful of the Ryzen 5 family It has six cores with simultaneous multi-threading for 12 usable threads It lacks integrated graphics and does not come with a bundled cooler

    AMD’s Ryzen 7 launch earlier this year went off pretty much without a hitch. A lot was riding on it, considering that before this, AMD hadn’t managed to put out a CPU worth getting excited about in nearly a decade. The Ryzen 7 family targets relatively high-end buyers, and we were promised that the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 lines, with fewer cores and lower speeds, would follow in due course. So far, the company has kept all its promises, and so we now have with us a Ryzen 5 1600X CPU for review.

    This is the most powerful and highest priced of the four Ryzen 5 models currently available. It is carefully calibrated to take on Intel’s Core i5 CPUs, hitting them in their biggest weak spot. The target audience is mainstream users and enthusiasts who want it all, but who still see the merits of saving money where they can. We’re going to see how it stacks up against the mighty Ryzen 7 1800X which we tested at launch time, and whether Intel should be worried about losing its grip on this extremely important market segment.

    AMD Ryzen 5 1600X specifications and features

    The Ryzen 5 lineup is based on the same Zen architecture as the Ryzen 7 models, and we have a complete guide to all the underlying technology and the AM4 platform for you to read. In short, Zen is an all-new design which targets power and efficiency, and pulls off a stunning 52 percent improvement in performance compared to previous offerings. AMD has been very clever with its design choices, particularly the use of a scalable interconnect called Infinity Fabric and modular core complexes which allow Ryzen models with different numbers of cores to be manufactured easily.

    All Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 chips have two core complexes, with four physical cores each capable of executing two threads at once. Ryzen 7 models have eight working cores, whereas Ryzen 5 models have either four or six, with the rest disabled. This is an industry-standard practice called binning, and it allows AMD to ship processors which might have minor defects in specific areas, or simply disable functioning logic to meet market demand at any given price point. The six-core Ryzen 5 1600X has three active cores per complex, and quad-core models have two each, rather than a single complex with four active cores.

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