AMD Ryzen 7 – what we think…

July 24th, 2017 No comments




Family AMD Ryzen™ AMD Ryzen™ AMD Ryzen™
Line AMD Ryzen™ 7 AMD Ryzen™ 7 AMD Ryzen™ 7
Model AMD Ryzen™ 7 1800X AMD Ryzen™ 7 1700X AMD Ryzen™ 7 1700
Platform Desktop Desktop Desktop
Launch Date 3/2/2017 3/2/2017 3/2/2017
Shop Processors


Total L1 Cache 768 KB 768 KB 768 KB
Total L2 Cache 4 MB 4 MB 4 MB
Total L3 Cache 16 MB 16 MB 16 MB
Unlocked Yes Yes Yes
CMOS 14nm 14nm 14nm
Package AM4 AM4 AM4
Thermal Solution Not included Not included Wraith Spire (LED)
Max Temps 95° C 95° C 95° C
PCI Express Version PCIe 3.0 PCIe 3.0 PCIe 3.0
TDP 95 W 95 W 65 W


# of CPU Cores 8 8 8
# of Threads 16 16 16
Base Clock Speed 3.6 GHz 3.4 GHz 3 GHz
Max Turbo Core Speed 4 GHz 3.8 GHz 3.7 GHz


Memory Type DDR4 DDR4 DDR4
Max Memory Speed 2667 MHz 2667 MHz 2667 MHz
Memory Channels 2 2 2

Key Features

AES Support Yes Yes Yes
XFR Yes Yes Yes
AMD SenseMI Technology Yes Yes Yes
AMD Virtualization Yes Yes Yes


As most of you know some four months ago AMD released their latest Zen architecture CPUs in the form of Ryzen. And, since then the media have been busy reviewing, dissecting and commenting on such. Most of what I have seen has been positive although there’s a rumour that the Ryzen CPU is not so good for Gaming. There were also early issues around thermals, overclocking and supported memory speeds. Well it would appear that AMD have been busy as most if not all of these teething troubles have now been ironed out…

Some may think that pcGameware might be late to the party, but I’d suggest that our timing might be just right. ;o After all the architecture has now matured and BIOS revisions implemented, meaning that the Ryzen platform as a whole is now both more stable and faster than it was at launch. Of course this being pcGameware our primary focus is of course Gaming, but we must be careful how and what we test as after many years of testing and benchmarking it’s easy to choose the wrong/right benchmarks to show the results you want to…

What we will do is look at what we here at pcG would call modern day Gaming with an eye on the future. Well what does that mean James? Well one thing we wont be doing is trying to prove that Ryzen subsystem is simply slower than Intel’s by performing tests at 1080P or lower. Also we wont be performing tests at 4K as that just shows off the GPU performance as there’s (at this resolution) little strain on the Motherboard subsystem.


BUT: Let’s just talk about this ‘CPU/GPU Bottleneck’ thang first…


Simply put (and of course depending on the system) a CPU bottle neck occurs when the GPU is waiting on information from the CPU. This can be achieved by running tests at a lower resolution with lower quality settings and thus achieving higher frame rates. This makes the CPU subsystem work that much harder. Tests that are done at 1080P running at 150FPS+ (for 144Hz monitors etc) are the best examples of this. Tests running at a lower resolution are a waste of time IMHO!

A GPU bottleneck is when the GPU simply cannot process the frames fast enough, meaning that the CPU subsystem is now under little strain. This can be achieved (for example) by running tests at higher resolutions such as 4K as it puts such a large strain on the GPU itself. It’s worth noting, that in my experience when looking at modern day PC Games, we (as Gamers) are GPU bound most of the time and that’s a very important point to remember! 😉


SO: What did you test James?


AMD Ryzen 7 Gigabyte AX370-GAMING K5 Ballistix Elite 3466MHz 16GB


Here at pcG we have three Ryzen 7 CPUs all with eight Cores and sixteen threads. We have the top of the range 1800X, a 1700X and a 1700. The main difference between these is simply clock speeds. Out of the box the clock speeds are as follows 3.6GHz (4GHz Boost), 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Boost) and 3.0GHz (3.7GHz Boost) respectively. To help keep things nice and cool we will also be using a be quiet! Silent Loop 360mm AIO CPU Cooler. These CPUs were paired up with a Gigabyte AX370-GAMING K5 (BIOS F3) Motherboard and 16GB (2x8GB) of Ballistix Elite 3466MHz Memory. A full test system specification can be seen below.


  • Test Rig Setup

  • Case Phanteks Enthoo Luxe Glass Power Supply be quiet! Pure Power 10 700W
    Motherboard Gigabyte AX370-GAMING K5 CPU AMD Ryzen 7
    CPU Cooler be quiet! Silent Loop 360 RAM Ballistix Elite 3466MHz 16GB (x2 8GB)
    Graphics Card Asus GTX 1080Ti “Founders Edition” SSD (M.2) Samsung 960 EVO Polaris 250GB


    BOOT: What happened?

    I had no issues on startup with the Motherboard/Ryzen 1800X/RAM setup and everything including the Samsung 960 EVO M.2 was picked up correctly by the BIOS. The 3466MHz Crucial Elite RAM defaulted to 2133MHz and the CPU was at its default (non turbo) speed of 3.6GHz. Windows 10 Home latest edition was then installed along with the relevant AMD Chipset Drivers, Realtek audio drivers and LAN Driver. The BIOS was also flashed to the latest version (F3) as F1 was found to be installed by default.

    After Gaming very successfully at 3440×1440 with max settings in all Games and after proving stability with CINEBERNCH and 3DMark it was time to to see what the 1800X was capable of when it comes to overclocking. After a little work in the UEFI I was able to hit approx 4.00GHz with the RAM running at 3264MHz. This was done with a x39 multiplier and a Base Clock of 102MHz with the RAM set to run at 3200MHz (with the Base Clock making it run at 3264MHz). The voltage on the CPU was increased by 0.100v via the UEFI and this resulted in a Core Voltage of approximately (as it would fluctuate) 1.3v.


  • AMD Ryzen 1800X

    During overclocking the system behaved itself well and I was able to easily recover from any crash that was caused by overclocking. Higher Core Clocks were achievable but with so much voltage required it simply became a little pointless to venture much beyond the 4.00GHz point. I also could not get the Ballistix Elite RAM to run at its native XMP setting of 3466MHz, anything much past 3264MHz would result in instability with the Motherboard multi-booting and eventually defaulting the memory back to 2133MHz.


  • AMD Ryzen 1700

    Overclocking the AMD Ryzen 1700 was a similar affair, although the 1700 was not happy to go much past 3.9GHz with RAM running at 3200MHz. Again this was all achieved with a CPU Core voltage of around 1.3v. I did run at 3.97GHz and 3264MHz for sometime and in Game and in benchmarking it was fine but there were again issues during cold boots. With a little more work I’m confident this could be made 100% stable.



    Obviously we’re all interested in the performance of these new Ryzen CPUs and below are some benchmarks that allow us to take a look at Gaming performance at both 2560×1440 and 3440×1330 (Ultra Wide).


    Benchmark Intel Core i7-7700K @ 5.0GHz AMD Ryzen 1800X @ 4.0GHz AMD Ryzen 1700X @ 3.9GHz AMD Ryzen 1700 @ 3.98GHz
    UNiGiNE SuperPosition (4K) 14688 14271 14295 14394
    UNiGiNE SuperPosition (1440) 10461 10256 10291 10388
    3DMark Time Spy 8596 8936 8901 8824
    Tomb Raider 3440×1440 91 90 90 90
    Tomb Raider 2560×1440 111 112 111 110
    Cinebench 1104 1776 1752 1764


    Now some might think that the performance data above is the most important aspect of this article and to some degree they’d be right. But there’s more at stake here than the just the raw data above; I say at stake because Intel have ruled the Gaming CPU flag for what seems like years. But things have changed thanks to Ryzen…

    What is important to notice (in the data above) is that there’s no real clear winner and that’s a good thing, especially for AMD. Yes Intel may have the edge in some of the benchmarks, but when all of the cores are utilised the tables are swiftly turned. Just look at the difference in the Cinebench scores where the AMD CPU is approximately 60% faster than the Intel Core i7 7700K. This shows the true potential of Ryzen…

    As you can see once overclocked all of the Ryzen 7 CPUs performed similarly as most would happily run at between 3.9GHz and 4.0GHz. Only the memory proved somewhat troublesome with it either running at 3200MHz on the on the 1800X or 3264MHz on the 1700. This is simply down to what’s called the Silicon Lottery and the quality of the Internal Memory Controller (IMC). As you can see I could not hit the maximum rated memory speed of 3466MHz despite the (supported?) XMP Profile.

    But, the AMD Ryzen platform continues to improve month on month and is now better, faster and more stable than it was at launch. It’s good to see AMD taking Ryzen seriously and working with the Gaming community and manufacturers to further enhance the end user’s experience.


    Final Thoughts


    I have to confess to being far more impressed with AMD’s Ryzen 7 CPUs than I thought I would be. At last Intel has real competition knocking on its door and that’s simply great for us Gamers. AMD have produced a great all round CPU that’s only likely to get better over time as more and more Games take into account the massive potential offered by these 16 Core (with Simultaneous Multithreading (SMT)) processors.

    It is often better to take a look at PC components later in their life-cycle, as we all know early adoption of new technology can sometimes be a little painful. When AMD’s Ryzen CPUs appeared back in March they were found to be good, but they had their fair share of problems too. But some four months later most of the early teething troubles have been ironed out. And, not only that; Ryzen is now faster than it was at launch thanks to numerous BIOS updates and better high speed Memory support.

    Within reason we had no issues with our setup of choice that included a Gigabyte AX370-Gaming K5, Ballistix Elite 3466MHz RAM and a Samsung 960 EVO 256GB M.2 drive. We just couldn’t get the RAM up to its maximum speed of 3466MHz despite the supported XMP setting. But we did manage 3264MHz via a 102MHz Base Clock when using the AMD Ryzen 1700 at 3.97GHz, which is still pretty impressive.

    During Gaming and testing I had no issues with any of the Ryzen 7 CPUs, all were rock solid stable and I witnessed no random crashes. In fact the overclocked AMD Ryzen 1700 was used for all night processing, while farming AFK in Black Desert Online. So yes it’s pretty stable. As you can see from the performance data above the Ryzen 1700 is easily the pick of the crop if you don’t mind a little bit of overclocking as it’s a £100 saving over the 1800X. To be honest the 1700X makes little sense as a purchase IMHO…

    So James, what does all of this actually mean to you and fellow pcGamewarers? It would be easy here to bang on about how good AMD Ryzen CPUs are under certain scenarios and how well Intel CPUs are under certain circumstances. But that’s already been done. In fact it would be easy to bang on about the Zen architecture and the countless Cores available to Windows. I could go on and tell you how you can encode video, stream Games to Twitch and play Games at the same time, but again this has been covered by many sites.

    I know what I want to say and it is this: AMD’s Ryzen lineup really does offer up a compelling alternative to Intel’s Core i7 and i5 Processors. And, that really is good news as competition is good as it drives down prices and that’s something we all want and should support. I’m (that’s me pcG James) what some may call a hardcore Gamer and a power Gamer. I play Games every day on a 34″ Ultra Wide (3440×1440) monitor with maxed out settings, thanks in part to Nvidia’s GTX1080Ti and a Intel Core i7-7700K that runs at 5.0GHz. But…

    As of today I’m jumping ship as I’m really impressed with what AMD have to offer and I can see the potential in Ryzen. I’m also switching as Intel have had their day here on my desktop and it’s simply time for a change, welcome back AMD. 😉

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    Graphics Card Results 2015

    March 23rd, 2015 No comments

    IMPORTANT: This page shows all Graphics Card benchmark results for the year, please note this page only shows the results at the time of press. These results are likely to change as Driver optimisations come into play. Please also note that for each specific Graphics Card review performed by pcG all of our test Cards (NVIDIA GTX 980,970,960 & AMD 290X,280X,270X) are re-benchmarked with the latest Drivers in an attempt to provide an extremely accurate picture at that point in time.


  • 3DMARK (Firestrike)

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    Power Supply Testing – pcG’s thoughts…

    January 5th, 2015 No comments

    Although pcGameware has been around for some time now (at the time of this article it’s almost 4 years!) we have deliberately held back from testing certain Gaming related products, one of these products is Power Supplies. The reason for this has been that we have never really had the equipment to allow us to test PSUs in a similar way to how the rest of the media tests!

    The strange thing is that nothing has changed and I’m not going to tell you that we’ve invested a large sum of money into PSU testing equipment. 😉

    Why? Well that’s because of two main reasons (and no it’s not because pcG James is a tight ass!), the first is that overtime PSUs have become so reliable that from a performance point of view they either really just work or they don’t. If you do see a failure it tends to be based upon time in use more than down to some voltage not being delivered within ATX parameters. This leads me on to my next point, which is that I’m not sure that we (as Gamers) are really that interested in a 45.9mVtt ripple on the 12v rail while the PSU was under 75% load! Especially, as from a Gamers point of view, what it actually means is that you’ll still be in Game and playing quite happily! 😉

    FYI: An ATX Power Supply’s job is to deliver three voltages; 3.3v, 5v and 12v to your PC. Due to the ATX specifications these voltages are only allowed to fluctuate by a nominal amount (see image below). As you can see as long as your PSU stays within these parameters (and most modern ones do) then everything should be just fine. This doesn’t mean that I suggesting that we all go out and by Power Supplies at £19.99! On the contrary, investing in a good PSU is always money well spent as it’s likely to see you through many years and multiple upgrades. What it does mean is that I’m quietly confident that we don’t need to bore you with some of the science behind it all…

    * Courtesy of Intel

    With this in mind we will begin to bring you Power Supply Reviews starting in 2015 and these reviews are really designed not to compete with some of the great PSU reviews out there, but to bolster them and help you make a better decision when buying. What we hope to do is focus more on the product itself, its desirability, it’s cabling, its real-world performance (through real-world testing) and maybe even its software.

    In an attempt to give these PSUs at least a little bit of a workout all PSUs reviewed will be stress tested for one hour running both Unigine Heaven and Prime 95 (Blend) simultaneously to see if we can trip them up in any way. If we’re testing PSU’s over 750W we will also be performing this same test using a CrossFire setup (with x2 AMD R9 290X) in an attempt to further push the limits.

    In addition to this we will also be taking a look at the efficiency of each PSU by taking a look at the power draw at the wall socket. This is where the 80 Plus initiative comes in that you have no doubt seen attached to various PSUs. With Ratings of 80 PLUS through to 80 PLUS Platinum (see table below for more detail).


    A power supply that is actually using 400W to drive your PC components will be pulling approximately 500W at the wall socket if its efficiency is 80 PLUS.

    A power supply that is actually using 400W to drive your PC components will be pulling approximately 450W at the wall socket if its efficiency is 80 PLUS Platinum.


    * Courtesy of Wikipedia

    80 Plus test type 115V internal non-redundant 230V internal redundant
    Percentage of rated load 10% 20% 50% 100% 10% 20% 50% 100%
    80 Plus 80% 80% 80%
    80 Plus Bronze 82% 85% 82% 81% 85% 81%
    80 Plus Silver 85% 88% 85% 85% 89% 85%
    80 Plus Gold 87% 90% 87% 88% 92% 88%
    80 Plus Platinum 90% 92% 89% 90% 94% 91%
    80 Plus Titanium 90% 92% 94% 90% 90% 94% 96% 91%


    Hopefully the information that you have found here has been useful, there’s obviously a myriad of information we could delve into regarding ATX Power Supplies but to be honest it’s something we’re actually trying to avoid… 😉

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    UPDATED: CPU Cooler Testing (Thermals Explained)

    December 2nd, 2014 No comments

    There’s a fact, that not many of you may know and that’s that thermal testing of CPUs (well, anything for that matter) is a nightmare. I wont go into to details here as it may only serve to confuse, but what I will do is show you what the pcG Team did in an attempt to get our data as accurate as possible.

    When we built our three Test Rigs for 2015, we first ensured that we all had the same components, the same fans speed and the same voltages etc. Once this was done we set about calibrating the three Test Rigs, and what we found was not surprising but it was interesting…


    pcG Test Rigs 2015 - closed pcG Test Rigs 2015 - open


    After performing our normal CPU thermal test using our Test Rig at 4.0GHz, that sees us running Prime95 (Small FFT) for 15 minutes and taking the average of the maximum Core temperatures, we found the following. Each Result was different, there was a total of 3.25 degrees between all of the Rigs. To get closer to the truth we decided (during another test) to try each CPU in the same Rig, rather surprisingly the difference was still there proving that not only is there a Silicon Lottery when buying a CPU, there’s a Thermal Lottery too!


    New Build-ALL3-15 Min-4Ghz-Themis


    With this in mind we have calibrated our Test Rigs; this means that when testing CPU Coolers the results from both Mike and Terry need to be adjusted (Calibrated). pcG Terry has a negative 1.5 Degree Delta and pcG Mike has a positive 1.5 degree Delta. This then brings both Test Rigs in-line with James’ Test Rig which is (effectively) the average.

    UPDATE (12/01/15): Due to a new CPU being introduced these Deltas are now as follows: pcG Terry has a negative 0.75 Degree Delta, pcG Mike has a positive 1.0 degree Delta and pcG James now has a negative 0.5 degree Delta.

    This hopefully explains the length that we have gone to in an attempt to give you the most accurate data we can, given our setup. If you want to be super accurate, you will need to apply these Deltas to our results, as we have not as it would only lead to confusion. Also remember that if you were to buy any or all of our Test components, you will also get a slightly different result, maybe even a better one! 😉


    UPDATE (05/12/14):

    In an attempt to ensure that all equipment is validated we have invested in some new thermometers for ambient temperature readings. As you can see these three thermometers are all within 0.1 degrees of one another. This is plenty accurate enough for recording ambient temperatures.

    pcG - Thermometers


    FYI: The thermometers can be found on Amazon if you’re interested.

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    Steam on a pen drive?

    April 2nd, 2014 15 comments

    Now there’s a thought, but you may ask why, or be concerned about how practical it may be, well…

    Having your Steam install on a pen drive means that it’s portable, meaning that you can plug it in to any computer you like. Yes that’s right, any computer, be it in your house or a friend’s house. Of course this means you can play any of the Games you own anywhere you like. It’s also fine to have more than one copy of your Steam Library too, one on your own computer and one on a pen drive.

    And the best part is there’s no new install to do and no setup or configuration, it just works (promise, I’ve been doing if for ages)! 😉

    But to make the whole thing run that little smoother and dare I say faster (and faster’s always good, right!?) you should consider what pen drive you use. Here we have one of the best, a Kingston HyperX DataTraveler 128GB USB 3.0 drive.

    Kingston HyperX DataTraveler 128GB

    This drive is on average twice as fast as a modern HDD, the HyperX drive features a fast READ (225MB/s) and a fast WRITE (135MB/s) speed, meaning that not only is your Steam setup now portable but it’s faster too!

    BEFORE YOU START: As some of the newer games now feature files bigger than 4GB (yes that’s you TitanFall) you should re-format the drive using NTFS. Just simply Right Click the drive you want to format (please make sure you select your pen drive!), select Format and choose the NTFS option within, leave all other options at their default setting. Then click Start…

    So what do you need to do to setup steam on a pen drive? There are three ways that you can start, either:

    (1) Copy your Steam Directory and ALL of its contents to the pen drive. Obviously for this to work you want to make sure you have enough available space on the pen drive. Also you don’t want to fill the pen drive to the limit as performance begins to degrade. Try and always leave around 10% free space.

    (2) If you don’t have the space on the pen drive, you could chop down the Game Data via Steam (using the Delete Local Content option), but to be fair this is probably not the best approach, as your Games are effectively deleted. But if your internet connection is really slow and or you want to transfer a lot of games this still could be the best approach…

    (3) The cleanest and to some degree the simplest option is to just download the Steam Client installer and install it directly to the pen drive.


    By the time you are at this point you should have Steam installed on your pen drive, either with some Games in place or not.

    THE TRICK NOW is to make sure that when you want to run Steam (you don’t run it from your PC) all you do is browse to the Steam folder on the pen drive and locate the Steam Application executable and run it!



    You may get a Error that says Something like Steam is not configured correctly, just accept this and press OK and Steam (clever that it is) will just re-configure itself. Login with your Steam Username and Password as per usual an voilà!

    NOTE: You can only login to Steam once on any system anywhere, if you are logged in elsewhere you will be notified by Steam and have the option to effectively log the other account out and continue to login yourself.

    From this point on you’ll be running everything from the pen drive, all installs will take place here and all un-installs. You’ll also now begin to appreciate the speed increase that this should give assuming that your using a drive like the Kingston HyperX DataTraveler 128GB USB 3.0 (shown above).

    You can now also remove your pen drive take it to a friend’s house and follow the same routine as above. Just make sure you run the Application from the pen drive, no need to re-install Steam!
    Just in case you were thinking of doing something you shouldn’t, this only works for YOUR Steam account, you cannot transfer Games to any other Steam account as that would obviously be prohibited… 😉

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    Toshiba FlashAir 32GB SDHC Card

    April 1st, 2014 No comments

    Here at pcG we take a lot of photographs, so we are always using SD cards and card readers to help us get the job done. So when I heard about a SDHC card that not only had a whopping 32GB of storage and a Class 10 speed rating, and could also be accessed (directly) via WiFi, needless to say that I was interested and a little excited. Well the nice guys over at Toshiba were kind enough to let us take a look at one. So without further ado let me present to you the Toshiba FlashAir 32GB SDHC Card.


    Toshiba FlashAir - box (front)

    Toshiba FlashAir - box (back)

    Toshiba FlashAir 32GB

    Available Density 8GB, 16GB, 32GB
    Speed Class Speed Class 10
    Interface Compliant standard SD Memory Card Standard Ver.4.00
    Wireless LAN Standard IEEE802.11 b/g/n
    Wireless LAN Security WEP, TKIP, AES (WPA, WPA2) WPA2 Default
    Digital Still Camera (DSC) Compatible with SDHC™ Memory Card
    Operating System (for config.) Windows XP/ Vista/7, MAC-PC, Android, iOS
    Browsers Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.
    Applicable Data Formats All kinds of data format (ex: .jpg, .mpg, .raw etc.)
    Power Supply Voltage 2.7 – 3.6V
    Physical Specification:
    Dimensions 32.0 mm (L)  ×24.0 mm (W) × 2.1 mm (H)
    Weight approx. 2g
    Operating Temp. -25°C to 85°C (Recommended)
    Storage Temp. -40°C to +85°C (Recommended)
    Operational and Storage Humidity 95%RH (at 25°C, no condensation)
    Model Numbers:
    8GB 16GB 32GB
    Part Number THNSW008GAA-B(QB8) THNSW016GAA-B(QB8) THNSW032GAA-B(QB8)


    So, what is it exactly? Well other than the obvious (it’s a 32GB SDHC Memory Card), the card also features a Wireless IEE802.11b/g/n access point. The card also features a new “internet pass-through” mode that further simplifies photo sharing. Once a mobile device is connected to the FlashAir card, the internet pass-through functionality enables the device to access the internet via a wireless access point. This removes the need for users to swap between a WiFi connection and the FlashAir card when uploading images to social media sites.

    Once upon a time you had to pull an SD card from your camera and upload pictures to a PC in order to share them, not any more. The Toshiba Wireless products include a built-in wireless LAN chip plus an antenna that makes it accessible to any WLAN-capable PC, smartphone or tablet.

    Toshiba Flash Air - info


    WIRELESS Setup and Usage


    Having placed the card into your device of choice, in my case a camera, it’s just a simple task of looking up a predefined URL (http://flashair/) via the Wireless device of your choice and, Voilà! FlashAir - URL
    FlashAir SD Card - files From here you can now browse through the files and folders on the SD Card and even copy them locally via a simple drag and drop. If you want to see the photo full screen it’s just a simple case of clicking the thumbnail. The image takes a while to appear though, anywhere between 5 and 10 seconds (it could do with being faster!). The strange thing is the copy function seems really quick (a couple of seconds)!? The interface is a little clunky to be honest but it gets the job done. There’s nothing quite like having your tablet next to you while taking photos and watch them pop up one after another on the screen next to you, it really is pretty clever stuff!


    WIRED Setup and Usage


    If you wish to connect to the FlashAir via a computer that does not have Wireless access, but is wired to a Router with Wireless access, then help is at hand. You can download the FlashAirTool form here and install it on the computer that needs access. Once installed you’ll need to connect the FlashAir SD Card directly to the PC so the card can be bound to your router, this will need to be done via a card reader of some sort. FlashAir - Tool Installation
    FlashAir - Tool (Router Setup) Once the software has detected the connected SD card it can then be bound to your wireless router. This is simply a case of supplying your router name and password. Access to the FlashAir SD Card can now be made via the default URL (http://flashair/).


    Final Thoughts


    Overall the Toshiba FlashAir 32GB SD card is an impressive bit of technology, with its built in Web Server and Wifi Access Hotspot. The obvious advantages of an SD card equipped with 32GB of memory I don’t need to promote, but couple this with the Class 10 speed designation and its Wireless access and we’re surely looking at the mother of all SD cards!

    As I’ve mentioned above the downsides are the speed (that’s WiFi speed) as this seems to be a little hit and miss at times, meaning that you’re unlikely to want to browse through too many images at once. This is made more difficult by a slightly clunky web interface, that seems to possibly have speed issues of its own.

    But given the choice, what card would you want? A slower Class 6 8GB card with no Wifi access, or the Toshiba FlashAir with its 32GB, Class 10 performance and its impressive Wifi Hotspot, I thought so… I think my old SanDisk 4GB Class 4 card is destined for the draw! 😉

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    How to setup and keep your SSD running optimally

    August 6th, 2011 Comments off
    SSD’s are not the same as mechanical hard drives and require different configuration & maintenance to keep them in tip top condition.

    Here are my top tips to help:


    Continue reading “How to setup and keep your SSD running optimally” »

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    Portable hard drives – Seagate GoFlex; a new spin on connectivity.

    June 18th, 2011 No comments


    Manufacturer: Seagate

    Available at:



    I have been on the look out for a new portable external drive for a while now; having had many of the larger external 3.5″ drives, the main draw back has always been that they required powering via a huge great big power block.


    Many of the new smaller 2.5″ external drives are now powered solely from the connector cable; making them a whole lot more ‘portable’, but until recently have been limited to fairly small capacities.


    This brings me onto my article today regarding the Seagate GoFlex 1TB Ultra Portable.

    Continue reading “Portable hard drives – Seagate GoFlex; a new spin on connectivity.” »

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    Samsung F3 1TB (RAID 0 & Short Stroking)

    May 23rd, 2011 9 comments


    Carrying on from Terry‘s excellent work on Short Stroking we will now find out the benefits of extending the concept using a Raid 0 setup.

    A Raid 0 configuration gives the best performance using 2 drives, but at the cost of reliability; if one drive fails then data on both are lost.

    For our Gaming rigs we are interested in the best performance; so lets see some benchmarks in this configuration.

    Testing Strategy

    Here we have 2 Samsung F3 1Tb drives that I have setup using the Intel Raid Manager, a Short Stroke drive of 500gb (that’s using the 1st 250gb most performant sectors from each drive) and the remaining slower space (so as not to be completly wasted) was configured as a 1.3gb drive which can be used for other storage; as long as you remember not to use it at same time as our games.

    Samsung F3 1Tb ShortStop Raid0 Intel Raid Manager Configuration

    Continue reading “Samsung F3 1TB (RAID 0 & Short Stroking)” »

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    Hard Drive Short Stroking – Tangible Benefits!

    April 1st, 2011 3 comments


    As part of my new Gaming Rig build I have added two Samsung SpinPoint F3 1TB SATA-II drives, and have been looking at short stroking as a way to get some extra performance for a small cost and have been experimenting with different settings on the drives to produce some comparative output.

    The results of these tests are presented here… suffice to say the benefits of a short stroked drive are definitely there for the taking.

    What is Short Stroking?

    Short Stroking is the process of setting a drives capacity lower than the native size. It can be seen on normal drive speed tests that, as the drive is tested, the read speed drops the further into the disk the head moves. Short Stroking forces the drive to only use the faster outer tracks of the disk, which in turn also reduces the amount of head movement required to read the data, this configuration reduces the amount of speed “drop off” seen when accessing the inner tracks of the disk… this speed benefit of course comes with a price in that the drives capacity is vastly reduced. However with the price of HDD’s these days and the fact that a Gaming Rig should only ever contain the games you are playing currently the reduced size of the drive is an acceptable loss.

    Testing Strategy

    Testing was carried out using HD Tune 2.55.

    I carry out three test runs at each point in my configuration to get a feel for the average speed performance at that point, I will be providing the details of all three test runs at each stage of the Short Stroking exercise.

    I allocated each drive to a purpose, “Disk 1” will be my OS drive, “Disk 2” will be allocated for Games installations.

    Continue reading “Hard Drive Short Stroking – Tangible Benefits!” »

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