The Vizo Luxon Advanced HDD enclosure is a very versatile case which gives the user complete choice what type of internal and external connection is used. The rounded corners and nice black, blue or silver exterior make this a great addition to your desktop and the performance of both USB 2.0 and eSATA is good no matter what drive is used.
Based on the award-winning SteelPad S&S, SteelSeries has created a new mouse pad that comes with a completely new surface that is optimized to give the best compromise between low friction and best precision. We tested this $35 mousepad that comes with included Teflon and a carrying bag to see if it is really an improvement.
The Verbatim Store 'n' Go U3 is a Smart Drive with the U3 Launchpad included on the memory stick. The addition of the software and improved performance cost the end user around $10 USD more, when compared to the basic Store 'n' Go 4 GB variant available. We benchmark the Verbatim U3 Smart Drive and let you know if the performance and software are worth the small price premium.
The ASUS M2A-VM is ASUS' first board using the new AMD RS690G chipset. It comes in the small MicroATX form factor and is all passively cooled. This makes the board an ideal candidate for a quiet Media PC system. The integrated VGA with DVI/Analog output has enough power to do video playback and play an occasional game.
AMD's 690 Chipset Series is the first new product since the AMD/ATI merger in October last year. The RS690 is designed to be a low-cost, power efficient Athlon64 chipset which can be used in notebooks and desktop PCs. It features integrated VGA with support for HDMI and DVI - at the same time. With motherboards retailing in the $60 range this chipset has great potential on the budget market.
The Saitek Pro Gamer Command Unit is a very unique device and may look like something out of a Sci-Fi movie, but it actually gives you control over games without the use of a traditional keyboard. It puts all functions within reach of your left hand. This makes gaming a lot more comfortable and faster. We tried it with First Person Shooters and Real Time Strategy games to see if the Pro Gamer Command Unit is just as advanced as its futuristic looks.
While most manufacturers focus on looks when building a budget 2.1 sound system, Speed-Link went with a clean design and put more resources into delivering better sound quality. For a mere 70 EUR you get a solid 2.1 sound system, that works good in both games and for listening to music.
The I-Rocks IR-9300 Combo is a HDD enclosure with USB 2.0 and Firewire. It features completely passive use and two LEDs on either side of the enclosure. It may be a bit bulky when compared to some from Coolermaster or Akasa but does work well. The USB 2.0 connection is not very fast, but the speedy firewire option makes up for this, while reducing the CPU utilization as well.
Danger Den is one of the most established players in the watercooling business. Their new Tyee GPU Waterblock has been designed specifically for the ATI Radeon X1800/X1900 Series and can cool GPU, Memory, Voltage Regulator and CrossFire Encoder Chip with just one block. Even though its installation is a bit complex, it shouldn't be a problem for more experienced users.
The Verbatim Store 'n' Go PRO series is geared toward business men and women who need fast and large storage devices with the security to safeguard confidential information. The blue 2 GB variant may not look very out of the ordinary, but the inside is what counts. It certainly sounds good, with read speeds of ~24MB/s and write speeds of ~13MB/s and an included security suite.
Xigmatek is a new company churning out computer cooling components. We took a look at one of their heatsinks not so long ago, and now, we have their S80 on our testbed. This is not a normal HSF by any means - it is a fusion of both air and water cooling, using dual 80 mm radiators and a 72 l/hr pump to cool your CPU. How does such an interesting concept perform? Can watercooling packed into such a small form factor be any better than standard air cooling?
While most GeForce 8800 GTX cards are all based on the same product, with the exact same specs, EVGA has taken the 8800 GTX a step ahead. They cherry picked cards that can run high GPU and memory speeds and engineered a card that is running at higher clocks right out of the box. In our testing we see about 10% increased performance, especially at high resolutions with demanding games.
OCZ's ProXStream is an extremely capable power supply that offers up to 1000 Watts of output. As you would expect it comes with four PCI-E power connectors and is CrossFire/SLI ready. In our testing we come to the conclusion that this PSU will be able to power any system you could think of while still maintaining stable output voltages at all times.
The A-DATA Super Info SD card comes with a little LCD readout that can display volume name and remaining capacity. This is a very useful feature because it allows you to check what is on the card without inserting it into a computer. The performance of the card is good as well, transfer rates are in the 12 MB/s range with access speeds of only 1.3 ms.
Soundgraph has updated their own VFD series with a new display which is not only twice as big, but one could say twice as good as well. The one aspect which did not get bigger, but in fact, smaller is its price. While the original Soundgraph VFD had a price tag of ~$100 the new Ultra Bay sells for $95. The new graphical LCD is a great choice to display any type of font, while the new buttons make navigating even easier than before. This is the display that makes any case into a home theater enclosure with some excellent software to control it.
Sharkoon has released a refresh of their 1337 Gaming Mat series. The new pads have grown considerably and carry the XL label. The big downside of the original 1337 Gaming Mat was its small size. The new XL mouse pads still have the great quality and performance of their smaller variants, while keeping the price down - perfect for low sensitivity gamers.
The I-Rocks Superman Returns series is an officially licensed set of input devices and accessories. The collection includes a keyboard, optical mouse, card reader and USB 2.0 hub. All of these have fairly low price tags and come in various colors, fitting the Superman theme. We take a look at the optical mouse and the card reader to figure out if the price/performance ratio is down to earth or out of this world.
OCZ's XTC Memory Cooler is a plug-on cooling module for your motherboard's memory modules. With people pumping more and more voltage through their memory, temperature becomes a concern and often limits the maximum overclock. In our testing we saw about 20°C decrease in memory temperature and increased overclocking capability.
The Pertelian X2040 is a multi purpose display, which can display IM messages, media information, stock and Ebay items among other things. Its software is based on an ever growing number of plugins, allowing the user to add further functionality to this LCD. The device is very well constructed and the display is quite bright. We give the display a try and set up a few plugins, to evaluate how useful such a secondary display can be.
OCZ's Dual 1GB SD-Card is a hybrid approach to giving you the optimum connectivity on an SD card. You can use the card either like any regular SD card or after removing a little cap like a USB stick. The card is rated at 80x speed which is about 12 MB/s. OCZ is selling the 1 GB version for about $40 which is a good price considered the added functionality of the product.
The Sharkoon Rush Laser mouse brings high DPI laser technology down to an affordable price range. For a mere 20 Euros you get up to 2000 DPI with variable on-the-fly switching, solid feel and build quality as well as a little pouch to get your weapon of choice to and back from a LAN party safely. We take the mouse for a spin and let you know if we feel the rush.
Where would computers be without coolers? Nowhere... High-end systems put out heat just like an engine, and they need to be cooled just like an engine. Water cooling is becoming a more popular format to keep these systems in line, but what if you don't want or can't afford a water system? High-end air coolers are the only next option. XIGMATEK is now starting to fulfill this need with coolers like the 055 which we'll look at today.
The Biostar V7603GS21 V-Ranger is based on NVIDIA's GeForce 7600 GS but comes at a higher memory clock. In addition to that Biostar added some changes to the PCB to allow software to change the GPU and memory voltages, which allows much better overclocking of the card. In our testing we could increase the core clock by 63% and the memory clock by 20% which made the card play in a completely different performance league.
Today we will be taking a look at the recently launched and highly anticipated SteelSound 3H gaming headset, which should bring some quality audio to the low-/midrange headphone market. The headset can be folded together nicely to take up very little space in your LAN party backpack, for a very competitive price of $50.
The A-DATA Vitesta DDR2 1066+ 2 GB memory kit is an excellent choice for overclockers who are looking to maximize their clock rates and performance. Even though it is specified to run at CL5, we had no problems running at CL4 above DDR2-1000 - CL3 is possible as well at reduced clock rates. What makes this versatile memory kit even more attractive is its fair price of $365.