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ASUS VivoBook S15 (S510U) Review - The 15-Incher On Budget

Check out on this review article to learn more about ther ASUS VivoBook S15 (S510U)!

AMD Ryzen 5 1600 and Ryzen 5 1400 Performance Review - It's finally here!

Why pay more for Intel i5 when the Ryzen 5 can give you more?

August 31, 2014

Weekly Byte : 24/8/14 ~ 31/8/14

By: Jack Lee

First of all , I would like to take some time out and sincerely wish Malaysia and Malaysians a Selamat Hari Merdeka. Thank you . Now bringing you back to your regularly scheduled Weekly Byte.

In today's tech news, Lizard Squad assemble , Coolest the coolest cooler , Hyperlapse race winner , and many more!

Hello , ladies and gentlemen! This is Jack from Tech-Critter and welcome to another Weekly Byte , your weekly byte sized summary for everything tech related. Another eventful week within the tech industry , so without further ado lets jump right in!

Apps are spies now ?!?!:
Despite the common assumption that apps cannot interfere with each other easily , the trio of researchers Qian , Qi Alfred Chen and Morley Mao of the University of Michigan have proved otherwise. They have confirmed that they were able to steal a multitude of private information through using one app to interfere with another. While their studies was based on the Android OS , the trio believes that other operating systems including desktop ones like Mac and Windows are vulnerable too. They have published a well written and very detailed report which can be found here. The trio have also presented their findings at the USENIX Security Symposium in San Diego on Friday (22nd of August) to alert the public so major props to them, nice work guys!

Employees of NSA and GCHQ working against their respective agencies?:
NSA and GCHQ's many efforts to crack the Tor  (short for The Onion Router) network ( a popular way of anonymously acessing the internet without being spied on , and it also acts as a gateway to hidden websites known as the "deep web" where some activities of questionable legality happens.) is not unheard off . Well , according to Tor Network's executive director Andrew Lewman , the agencies' employees seem to be working against said agencies' best efforts to crack it by anonymously tipping him off about known flaws and vulnerabilities. More information on this can be found on the original interview by BBC here.

Microsoft's "DeLorean":
Cloud gaming , the revolutionary concept that allows people without a high end PC to play games with breathtaking graphics by streaming it from a dedicated server that runs and processes the game for you. Multiple companies have taken a stab at it but it hasn't been working out due to the latency and lag of it , no matter how fast your internet connection is. Microsoft has reportedly came up with an idea that might just solve this , and push the concept to the next level. How do they do this you might ask , Microsoft has released a paper detailing their testing of DeLorean , their predictive system that guesses a players input based on their previous plays and behaviours in game and then pre-loads it to reduce the lag. It also has a compensation technique to change the pre-loaded frames if the system's prediction was wrong. Do you guys actually see this working , read up more and decide on your own here.

Google's Project Wing:
Similar to plans that Amazon initially had , Google is trying it's hands on flying delivery drones. Although the said drones remain banned in the US by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) due to safety and privacy reasons , Google seems to have made progress elsewhere around the globe. Most noticeably in Bhutan , where drones are delivering medical supplies to remote clinics in Namibia. Have a look of your own here.

Lizard Squad , who are they?:
A mysterious hacker group has started making waves within the tech industry's little brother , the gaming industry out of the blue this week. They have allegedly attacked Sony's Playstation Network by overwhelming it with a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack , and have simultaneously issued a plane bomb threat which diverted the flight of Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedly via the group's Twitter account. Other than that , the group has also publicly targeted popular video game streaming site Twitch. What on earth is this mysterious group aiming to achieve? where have they originated from? These questions remains unanswered to this day , read up more here and here.

This watch is literally shocking:
Pavlok has came up with a watch that gives you a tiny electric shock to motivate you on whatever it is that you're trying to achieve , which is based on the Pavlovian behavioural conditioning that uses positive and negative reinforcements hence the naming scheme. This watch has an expected release date somewhere in 2015 , at the meantime check it out via their site here.

Coolest is the coolest cooler:
Coolest , the cool and trendy all in one cooler took the crowdfunding approach via Kickstarter , and it has worked out really well for the creator Ryan Grepper , luring a large amount of backers , it has raised over $13,285,226 , surpassing Pebble smartwatch's milestone of $10,266,845 and claiming the title of Kickstarter's most succesful project. Read up more about the Coolest on their kickstarter page here.

Intel releases Haswell-E:
High-end PC gamers and enthusiast rejoice! Intel has released a new line of processors which is most likely their last before moving on to next generation chips codenamed Broadwell. The flagships of this new line are the eight core Core i7-5960X , the six cores Core i7-5930K and i7-5820K , which Intel boast to have a 20 percent performance increase compared to their Haswell predecessor. Intel has also released a new chipset the X99 which is also targeted towards high-end pc gamers and enthusiast too. Read up more here and here.

Rovio Chief Executive stepping down:
Makers of the popular mobile game Angry Birds , Rovio's chief executive , Mikael Hed will be stepping down at the end of this year , reasons being that the company is not doing so well after its successful Angry Birds game. The story behind is rather interesting albeit a bit lengthy , readers that are interested can read up more about it in this well written article done by The New York Times here.

MSN Messenger's 15 years reign coming to an end:
MSN messenger , which I'm sure most of us remember using fondly in the past , has finally coming to an end. After Microsoft bought MSN Messenger's (also known as Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger) rival , Skype , MSN messenger has lost a significant chunk of their user base in 2013. Now , their final stronghold , which is in China will  also be shut down , signalizing the end of the service's 15 years run. Users of MSN messenger in China will now be transferred to Skype. Rest well , MSN messenger , for you have charmed us all with your services that started since 1999 , you will be remembered. Read up more about this here.

Apple's iWatch won't be released possibly until 2015:
Apple's wearable , the iWatch which will most likely be shown at the latest iPhone Event dated September 9th , reportedly won't be shipping until 2015 with a hefty price tag of $400 ( most of the current smartwatches range from $150 ~ $300). All of this is sourced from which has successfully predicted the iPhone Event's date , links to all of this can be found here , here and here. Is any of this true , who knows? Only time will tell.

Alienware's new Area-51 PC design is revolutionary:
Alienware's flagship line of pc aptly named Area-51's newest refresh , will have a brand new form factor , favouring a trapezoid shape rather than the conventional rectangular shape. This approach in design seems to offer alot of benefits at a glance without compromising it's elegant look. Have a look at it on their official site here.

Hyperlapse race has a winner?:
Instagram's Facebook division has released Hyperlapse , their new app for recording time-lapses with a smooth and cinematic experience compared to the conventional time-lapses. Instagram has seem to won the race despite Microsoft having a video showcasing their own version of Hyperlapse first because Instagram was first to released their app publicly. Both have chosen the same name for their respective version of this technology although who adapted it first remains unclear. Read up more about this here and here.

Well , that's about it for this week folks ! I hope you guys have a nice weekend, once again this has been Jack bringing you the Weekly Byte. Stay tuned next week for more tech news, thanks for reading!

Unboxing & Review: BitFenix Comrade

By: Low Chern Lin

Throughout the years, countless people who is on a tight budget for their PC build and decided to spend less on the chassis to have the extra cash to be allocated for higher end components. Most will ended up with a less desirable budget chassis that doesn't support long graphics card and decent cable management. The guys at BitFenix introduced their budget oriented chassis, the BitFenix Neos as the game changer in the scene of budget oriented chassis.

In today's review, we will be reviewing another budget oriented chassis from BitFenix, a big thanks to BitFenix and Inter-Asia Technology for providing us the BitFenix Comrade - our celebrity for today's review. Priced at the same as the BifFenix Neos (RM169), let's check out what does the Comrade has to offer.

Selamat Hari Merdeka Malaysia!

By: Jack Lee

The Independence Day is an annual celebration by the whole world and Malaysia is no exception. All countries honour their respective independence days, celebrating it as a national holiday. Thus, on the 31st August every year, it is marked as the Malaysian Independence Day, more commonly known as Hari Merdeka.

It might not have been the smoothest or happiest year for all of us, with a lot of tragedies, misfortunes and shortcomings happening, but we as Malaysians will get through it together. The darkest hour is just before dawn and there will only be brighter and better days to come. As the saying goes, united we stand, divided we fall. We should set our difference aside and show our dear country support when it needs it.

In conclusion, we - the whole of Tech-Critter would like to wish Malaysians and Malaysia Selamat Hari Merdeka! We also urge that readers, stop, look back, and appreciate how far and how high our country and us the rakyat has achieved through the years, and strive for a better future together!

August 29, 2014

Unboxing & Review: ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II OC

By: Cyclone Chuah

We're lucky enough that ASUS has provided us another unit of AMD Radeon R9 290X, This time is the Asus R9 290X DirectCU II OC 4GB. For some who might did not know this, the GPU comes with overclock out of the box compare to reference design offering better performance.

Retail SRP for the Malaysia is RM2299.00 , I personally think they would be a good alternative if one finds 290X Matrix Platinum pricing steep.


Packaging & Contents

Here's the front view of the box. Featuring their DirectCU II heatsink which offers better heat dissipation compare to reference design.

Backside of the box, you might have notice, ASUS has include a Color kit consisting Red or Gold Color. You'll find more details below.

As we proceed with the packaging, we found ourselves quite a premium looking box.

Asus did a good job separating the box with protective foam, it's quite neat too as you as see here.

The accessory box contain a quick start manual guide, a dual 6-pin PCIe to 8-pin PCIe adapter, and 2 sets of stickers.

We have the red stickers installed on the GPU, isn't she a beauty?

Graphic Card

Top view of the GPU, you can customize the GPU using red or gold sticker, in this review we're using the red color of which ASUS' signature color scheme for their DirectCU II cooler.

The backplate of the GPU not only looks good, but it strengthens the graphics card PCB to prevent sagging issue.

As you can see here, this GPU requires only two PCIe slot for your system, giving better compatibility for AMD Crossfire setup on mATX form factor motherboards.

To power up this GPU, you will need a 8pin and a 6pin PCI-Express power connector.

While looking at the rear end of the graphics card, there's a switch located at lower left of this picture. The switch allows you to switch in between quiet mode and performance mode. But in our test, both offers nearly zero performance difference, where quiet mode offers lower noise but in the cost of higher temperature while performance mode has lower temperature but louder fan noise.

The video output is pretty standard, it comes with 2 Dual Link DVI, 1 Display Port 1.2, and a HDMI 1.4a Port.

Performance Test
Test Rig Configuration

CPU Cooler
Noctua NH-D14
Intel CoreI7 4770K @4.0 GHz
MSI Mpower Z87
Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8GB @1600 MHz
Primary Hard Drive
OCZ Vertex 4
Power Supply
Seasonic X660
CM690 Advanced II

We will be using AMD Catalyst 14.4 WHQL driver for our game performance test. Game performance test configuration are 1920x1080 Resolution, 4x Anti Aliasing, with graphic option set to very high or ultra.

ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II OC did great in our list of games, Payday 2 and Dota both have FPS limit built into their game, so they can't go above 135/120 FPS.


In our test, Benchmark such as Heaven Unigine or 3DMark, we've reach average of 86C°, which has the same temperature result from some graphically demanding game like Battlefield 4 or Crysis 3, But Metro Last Light reaching temperature of 94C° which is quite surprising compare to other games that only reach peak of 90C°.

While games like Payday 2 or Dota 2, has average 70C° mainly due to lower performance requirement and FPS limit.

Final Thoughts
Overall, Asus R9 290X Direct CU II OC is one of the better card on the market compare to reference version. The option to allow us to customize the graphic card with or without the red/gold sticker is plus for people that going for color theme design. However, i personally feel the switch for quiet/performance bios lacks explanation for it's function.

Asus DirectCU II Heatsink with two fan performs splendidly keeping the temperature low while under load. There's also a Bios switch that allows you to switch between Performance mode or Quiet mode, but there's no performance difference between this two bios. The only different would be the Noise/Heat Ratio, Quiet mode has lesser fan noise, higher on load temperature(94C°) while Performance mode has louder fan noise, lower on load temperature(89C°). Do note there's no throttling involved, so even if the card reaches 94C°, the performance will not decrease.

While the performance gain over the reference design is not much, but it does makes different when throttling is involved on the AMD reference card.

  • Option for color customization(pure black/red/gold)
  • Comes with a metal plate to strengthen the PCB
  • Dual Bios
  • No throttling
  • Factory overclocked

  • Lack information on Dual Bios switch
  • Slightly expensive.
  • Fan can be quite noisy when using performance bios

Event Coverage: Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Launch Event

By: Jack Lee

Hello ladies and gentlemen! This is Jack from Tech-Critter bringing you coverage of Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 launch event at The Gardens Theatre, Mid Valley!

Unboxing & Review: ASUS Z97 Pro

By: Low Chern Lin

After few decent experience with the ASUS' mainstream Intel Z97 Chipset based motherboards - Z97I-PLUS and Z97-Deluxe (NFC & WLC), we're back with another of ASUS' mainstream Z97-Pro, many thanks to ASUS Malaysia in provision of the ASUS Z97-Pro motherboard for today's review.

The ASUS Z97-Pro shares many similarity with the Z97-Deluxe, but with some advanced features taken away but with a lower SRP of RM899 in return.     

August 25, 2014

Unboxing & Review: ASUS Radeon R9 290X Matrix Platinum

By: Low Chern Lin

We're back with another graphics card review and this time we're getting our hands dirty with a ASUS Radeon R9 290X Matrix Platinum graphics card, courtesy of ASUS Malaysia. ASUS's Republic of Gamers (ROG) Matrix Platnium graphics card is renown for its striking appearance and outstanding overclocked performance that has always been the wet dream among majority of PC gamers and enthusiast around the globe to actually own one. 

ROG products usually comes with a hefty price tag that burns a hole in our wallet and the price tag of RM2649.00 is much expected for the R9 290X Matrix Platinum. Now, let's get on with our review and see what the R9 290X Matrix Platinum is capable of.  

August 24, 2014

Weekly Byte : 17/8/14 ~ 24/8/14

By: Jack Lee

In today's tech news, giant flying puppets , sitting on thin air , Google searching for the answer to the universe and many more!

Hello , ladies and gentlemen! This is Jack from Tech-Critter and welcome to another Weekly Byte , your weekly byte sized summary for everything tech related. Same as last week , the tech industry seems to be buzzing with news this week too so lets dive right in!

Google's self-driving car prototypes:
Google has rolled out self-driving car prototypes that is a cute two-seater with a front that looks like a smiley face.This pleasant looking car initially came with only buttons that controlled the self-driving software , but due to The California Department of Motor Vehicles issuing rules that states drivers must have "physical control" of a vehicle Google will now include steering wheels , brake and accelerate pedals and the likes into newer prototypes.
Read up more about this from the original article here.

Samsung Gear 3 might have a curved screen:
Rumours suggest that the 3rd iteration of the Samsung Gear will have a curved AMOLED screen that will be more rectangular than square in shape. Is this actually true , there isn't any official statement from Samsung about this , but we will know soon enough since the Samsung Gear 3 is planned to be launch at IFA 2014 which is happening in a few days.

New USB  type will take over by storm?:
Have any of you ever got frustrated due to not getting the USB plugged in on the first attempt? Or maybe the 5Gbps USB 3.0 just isn't cutting it for you anymore? Well have no fear because USB Type-C is here. Finalized just earlier this month , the USB Type-C (USB 3.1) will have a top speed of 10Gbps which doubles the top speed of USB 3.0 that was released in 2008 , and can be plugged in both ways so you can get it right the first time now! USB Type-C will be used universally and will simplify the way we work with devices , the only thing left is the time it will take to take over the current USB in terms of popularity. What are your thoughts on this , how long do you guys think it'll take? Read up more on this here.

Smarter and greener lightbulbs:
Eco-friendly lightbulbs are nothing extraordinary, but larger manufacturers seem to favour using apps to control the brightness of the bulbs. Gimmy Chu , Tom Rodinger and Christian Yan seems to have a different approach towards this subject. They reckon the Nanoleaf Bloom that is invented by them is a better alternative. The Nanoleaf Bloom is a dimmable lightbulb containing 33 omni-directional LED lights that lets you adjust the brightness with your existing ON/OFF switch. Their project which is crowdfunded via popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter can be found here.

Windows 9 preview coming sooner than we think:
Windows 9 which is codenamed "Threshold" will be the successor of Windows 8 which was released a mere two years ago. It might coming sooner than we think , Tom Warren , a well-known Microsoft watcher from The Verge states that the company is planning to unveil the new revision of Windows at a media event on September 30th, of course the date might be subjected to change but multiple sources confirmed that they would make a preview of it late September through early October. Read up more on this in an interesting write up by Tom Warren here.

#Icebucketchallenge apparently not only for humans:
The popular ALS Ice Bucket Challenge which goal is to raise awareness of the disease is apparently not only for humans. Samsung's Galaxy S5 took up the challenge and nominated the iPhone 5S , the HTC One M8 and the Nokia Lumia 930 which happen to be lacking the water resistant feature that the Galaxy S5 has. Will the phones step up to the challenge? If so , how well will they fare against a bucket of ice cold water? The original video and tweet from Samsung Mobile UK can be found here.

Disney patented drones to pilot giant puppets and become a flying gigantic TV screen:
As the title above stated , Disney recently patented a few patents that might potentially allow drones to work together and  pilot humongous puppets. Another patent also shows that a bunch of drones that carry lights around can group together and change colour to act as a giant TV screen. Does this sound like something straight out of science fiction? Will Disney achieve this seemingly unlikely feat? More on this here.

Potential facelift for power banks:
The QBracelet , which is the brainchild of new startup Q Designs gives a facelift to power banks , bulky charging cases and the likes a facelift by having the form factor of a wearable bracelet as the name of the product suggests. It achieves this by using an innovative way of charging your phones known as Qi charging . More about Qi charging can be found here and more on the QBracelet can be found here.

Google's "Knowledge Vault" seeking the answer to essentially everything:
Google's "Knowledge Vault" , which Google researchers will present a paper on next week in New York uses machine learning to automatically learn , grow and update itself. But of course , this comes at the cost of privacy since your data would probably be gathered amongst many others as the "Knowledge Vault" attempts to learn and grow. More about this can be found here.

"Chairless Chair" lets you sit anywhere anytime:
A Swiss startup that goes by the name Noonee has came up with an exoskeleton of sorts that lets you sit down anywhere at anytime. Aptly named the "Chairless Chair" , this exoskeleton will theoretically let you sit on , well , thin air. Using a locking mechanism to hold the position of the exoskeleton to your liking , it will direct the load on your back and transfer it directly down into your heels. More information can be found that Noonee's official site here.

Moto 360 rumoured to be priced at 250 USD:
The Moto 360 smartwatch showed up on Best Buy under the listed price of 250 USD for a brief moment before being taken down. What do you guys think of the potential pricing of the smartwatch , is it too steep for what it offers or is it a great deal? More info about this can be found here.

Creator of pop-up adverts apologises:
Ethan Zuckerman , the inventor of the Internet's most dreaded way of advertising which is known as the "pop-up" apologises for it. He is incredibly sorry for coding it , but states that his initial intentions for it were good. More background story about this can be found here.

Another eventful week for the tech industry , but I think that is all that happened this week! I hope you guys have a nice weekend, once again this has been Jack bringing you the Weekly Byte. Stay tuned next week for more tech news, thanks for reading!

August 22, 2014

Unboxing & Review: Plextor M6E M.2 2280 256GB PCI Express SSD (PX-G256M6e)

By: Clement Thien

So, you think your SSD is fast? if you've hooked up an SSD to a SATA port, think again. Sure, the boot and loading speeds have shortened vastly compared to a HDD but let's face it, even the latest SATA3, 6Gbps interface is already bottlenecking current gen SSDs.

Which is why we have the Plextor M6E PCI-Express SSD that connects via the PCI-E interface of your motherboard in order to be rid of the bandwidth limitations of the SATA interface. To top it off, the M6E connects via the new M.2 slot that is available in the latest Intel Z97 chipset motherboards offering speeds up to 10Gbps in a very small package.

Mighty thanks to Plextor for supplying the M6E M.2 2280 for today's review. This 256GB unit retails for RM819 and is also available in 128GB and 512GB models. With that said, lets go catch this speed demon already.

August 21, 2014

BitFenix Releases New Prodigy M Colors

By: Clement Thien

New colors and window side panel options take customization to the next level

(BitFenix Design Lab, August 21, 2014) – The BitFenix Design Lab has always been listening intently to the feedback from the community, and nowhere has this been more evident than the release of the Prodigy M chassis. The micro ATX variant of the Prodigy, Prodigy M is the result of direct feedback from users who wanted the same styling and sophistication of Prodigy, but desired the capability of installing micro ATX motherboards. Today, BitFenix is announcing not one, but two releases inspired by community feedback: Prodigy M Color and Prodigy M Window Side Panels.

Prodigy M Color

Offered in both Midnight Black and Arctic White variants, Prodigy M made a big splash when it was introduced last August. Featuring an all-new layout, it maintained the styling and size of the original Prodigy, but added micro ATX motherboard support. Since its release, users have been wondering if it would be getting the same color options as the original Prodigy, and starting today, Prodigy M fans will finally be able to get their hands on four new vibrant colors: 
  • Fire Red 
  • Atomic Orange 
  • Vivid Green
  • Cobalt Blue 
Bold yet minimalistic, the new color versions of Prodigy M are perfect for those who want the same award-winning case, but with a dash of color to light up any decor. With the new Prodigy M color options, users now have more choice than ever when building their dream PC.

Prodigy M Window Side Panels

In addition to the new case colors, BitFenix is also releasing another long-awaited accessory for Prodigy M users: the Prodigy M Window Side Panel. Featuring a large acrylic window, users can easily see the hardware inside the system while maintaining the Prodigy M's sleek styling.

Best of all, this handsome accessory will also be available in six colors to perfectly match your Prodigy M:
  • Midnight Black 
  • Arctic White 
  • Fire Red 
  • Atomic Orange 
  • Vivid Green 
  • Cobalt Blue 
The new Prodigy M colors and Prodigy M Window Side Panel Accessory will be available in August.

Prodigy M
SofTouch™, FyberFlex™ Composite, Plastic, Steel
Colors (Int/Ext)
Black/Black, Black/White, Black/Red, Black/Orange, Black/Green, Black/Blue
Dimensions (WxHxD)
250 x 404 x 359mm
Motherboard Sizes
5.25” Drive Bays
x 1 (removable)
3.5” Drive Bays
x 5 (3 + 2 modular)
2.5” Drive Bays
x 9 (5 + 2 + 1 +1 )
Cooling Front
120mm  x 2 (120mm x 1 included) or 140/180/200/230mm x 1(optional)
Cooling Rear
120mm  x 1 (included) or 140mm x 1(optional)
Cooling Top
120mm  x 2 (optional)
PCI Slots
x 2
USB 3.0 x 2, HD Audio
Power Supply
PS2 ATX (bottom, multi direction)
FyberFlex™ Composite handles, SofTouch™ surface treatment, filtered intakes, tool-free drive locking

Midnight Black
Arctic White
Fire Red
Atomic Orange
Vivid Green
Cobalt Blue

Prodigy M Window Side Panels
Steel, Plastic
Colors (Int/Ext)
Black, White, Red, Orange, Green, Blue
Dimensions (WxHxD)
269 x 356 x 19mm
Compatible With
Prodigy M

Midnight Black
Arctic White
Fire Red
Atomic Orange
Vivid Green
Cobalt Blue

For more information on Prodigy M, please visit

About BitFenix

BitFenix is the result of the collaboration of several veterans in both the technology and gaming industries. From the same minds behind some of technology’s most venerable products, BitFenix creates hardware and peripherals that grant the user the utmost control, strength, and performance to complete their computing tasks. Combining a deep understanding of gaming and other high-demand computing applications with superior engineering and design know-how, the BitFenix Team is dedicated to creating the go-to computing products and peripherals for those who refuse to quit. For more information, check out