One-Shot MSI Z170A Tomahawk Mainboard Review

Arsenal Gaming is a specific lineup of motherboards in MSI’s portfolio. It embraces 7 different models, joined under military-style codenames. The units are targeting primarily gaming community, although the Z170A Tomahawk is a universal solution at an affordable price. As distinct from the comrades, it features a set of controllers & sockets which are considered to be remnants of the past. Let’s find out what kind of advantages this board offers.



CPU & Memory


Motherboard MSI Z170A Tomahawk is developed on Intel Z170 Express chipset. It supports LGA1151-compatible CPUs of the 6th generation (Skylake): Intel Celeron/Pentium/Core i3/Core i5/Core i7. The hardware rests on a 4-layer dark PCB (304x224 mm, ATX) with red PCI-e and RAM slots. The rear panel is differentiated by the availability of a backplate for the CPU socket. The integrated ISL95856 controller is accountable for the providing power to the CPU (3+5 VRM).


The board comes with four DIMM slots for the …

Overclocked Asus Strix R9 380 OC Graphics Card Review

AMD has recently updated its lineup of graphics cards, offering solutions for any taste and budget. Its Radeon R9 380 adapter is an appropriate balance of quality and price. Hence, there is small wonder that all company’s partners rushed into introducing their own versions of the card. The Strix R9 380 OC from Asus is undoubtedly one of the most outstanding interpretations. Let’s see what privileges it boasts.



General Specs


Asus Strix R9 380 OC is based on Antigua Pro GPU (28 nm) that entails 1792 CUDA cores, 32 ROPs and 11 TMUs. In contrast to the etalon model running at 970 MHz frequency, this card features 990 MHz nominal clock frequency. The codename – Strix-R9380-DC2OC-2GD5-Gaming implies that this item comes equipped with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory, operating at 5500 MHz efficient frequency. However, it is assumed that Asus will introduce the version with 4 GB memory to satisfy the needs of a wider audience.


PCB Layout


All hardware base components are …

Intel Debuts with Skull Canyon NUC Mini-PC

Skull Canyon was designed to dispel stereotypes about low efficiency of compact-sized PCs. Intel tried hard to take its mini-PC to the next level. Hence, the company furnished it with a 4-core Core i7-6770HQ CPU (Skylake) with support of Hyper-Threading. It features 6 MB L3 cache, 45 W TDP and runs at 2.6/3.5 GHz frequency. The CPU incorporates Intel Iris Pro Graphics 580 (GT4e) graphics core with 72 computing units and an additional eDRAM of 128 MB (frequency index: 350-950 MHz).



Intel Skull Canyon is housed in a stylish case with skull logo, featuring 216x116x23 mm dimensions & 0.7 liters capacity. The model accommodates a pair of So-DIMM DDR4-2133+ slots, allowing to install up to 32 GB of memory. Storage subsystem might be organized thanks to a pair of M.2 slots which support SSDs with SATA or PCI Express x4 interface.


This mini-PC comes with Intel Dual Band Wireless AC 8260 adapter that is thought to support Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity. The rear panel …
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