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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Eurocom offers Linux based, fully upgradeable, high quality Laptops and Notebooks for back to school

Eurocom is now shipping Linux based Notebooks and Laptops, perfect for students heading back to school.

Students can save by choosing Linux based operating systems, combined with a 10% discount as part of the Eurocom Education Program.

For students who require more performance and capability Eurocom also offers NVIDIA Quadro based Mobile Workstations for engineering and design students, combined with Intel Core i7 and Intel Xeon processors.

Purchasing through the Eurocom Education Program gives students the equipment they need to achieve their greatness with a 10 percent discount.

Eurocom systems support Linux operating systems, we install these operating systems on systems that support them, and we recommend Ubuntu or Linux.

Why Eurocom?
The upgradability of a Eurocom system is an attractive feature for anyone from engineering to graphics, to mobile application and game developing students. The freedom to upgrade parts is unique to Eurocom. Not limited to just memory modules and storage drives, it also includes the ability to swap out for a better graphics card, or even boost the processor.

At Eurocom, the customer has a great deal of choice when ordering their new laptop or notebook. Users can choose between a variety of processors, storage drives, memory, displays, keyboards and even operating systems for their little Monster.

Eurocom notebooks are perfect for new or current post-secondary students to build a comprehensive portfolio of work to take with them as they start their chosen career. They’re small, lightweight but have maximum power, proving that size doesn’t matter.

“If you buy a notebook from Eurocom as a high school graduation gift, it’s built to last past University graduation” Mark Bialic, Eurocom president.

Why Linux?
Linux based operating systems are a great alternative to Windows operating systems because they are less prone to virus attacks, are very secure, while having a stylish and intuitive interface. Linux distributions like Ubuntu give users a streamlined experience that they can really make their own.

With Ubuntu or Mint users become part of a massive, open source community that provides support through millions of other fellow users. 

Recommended Systems:
EUROCOM M3
Shocking performance, buttery smooth frame rates, long battery life and ultra-portability. A perfect fit for those who want to conquer today’s mobile gaming world. The EUROCOM M3 is the most powerful 13.3 inch notebook ever made!
Display: 13.3-inch (33.78cm); FHD 1920x1080; MATTE; 700:1; IPS Wide Viewing Angle Display; Backlight LED; eDP
VGA Technology: on-board NVIDIA GTX 765M with 2GB of DDR5 VRAM; Optimus 2.0
Chipset: High Performance Intel Mobile HM87 Express (Haswell)
Processor: up to Intel® Core™ i7-4930MX Processor Extreme Edition with HD Graphics 4600
Memory: up to 16GB DDR3L-1600/1866; two SODIMM sockets; Dual Channel
Storage: up to 3.5TB of storage; 3 physical SATA3 (6Gb/s) drives; 2x mSATA3 + 1x HDD/SSD
Keyboard: Backlit keyboard with 3-levels of intensity
Audio System: Sound Blaster Cinema; High Definition Audio; 2 built-in speakers and microphone
Ports: USB 2.0; 3x USB 3.0 (1x powered AC/DC); HDMI 1.4a out; VGA; Headphone; Mic; RJ45/LAN
Communication: 1Gigabit LAN; WLAN; Bluetooth
Weight: 2kg / 4.4lbs (with battery)
Dimensions: WxDxH 330x227x31.9mm; 13.2x9.98x1.28-inch
Battery Life: up to 300 minutes; 62.16WH battery
Security: Embedded TPM 1.2 (optional)

EUROCOM Electra 2
Display: 15.6-inch FHD 1920-by-1080; Matte (Non-Glare) Backlight LED; optional IPS available
VGA Technology: on-board NVIDIA GTX 850M (Maxwell); 2GB of DDR3 VRAM; with NVIDIA Battery Boost and
GPU Boost 2.0
Chipset: High Performance Intel Mobile HM87 Express (Haswell)
Processor: up to Intel® Core™ i7-4940MX Processor Extreme Edition with HD Graphics 4600
Memory: up to 16GB DDR3L-1600/1866; two SODIMM sockets; Dual Channel
Storage: up to 3.5TB of storage; 3 physical drives; 1x mSATA3 + 1x HDD/SSD + 1 HDD/SSD (via ODD bay)
Optical Drive: internal Blu Ray Burner or DVD-RW or 2nd HDD/SSD
Audio System: Sound Blaster Cinema; High Definition Audio; 2 built-in speakers and microphone
Ports: USB 2.0; 2x USB 3.0 (1x powered AC/DC); eSATA (USB 3.0 combo); HDMI 1.4a out; VGA/CRT port for external display; Headphone; Mic-in; RJ45/LAN
Communication: 1Gigabit LAN; WLAN; Bluetooth
Weight: 2.4kg / 5.28lbs
Dimensions: 374 x 252 x 14-26.8mm / 14.96 x 10.2 x 0.56-1.07inch
Battery Life: up to 300 minutes; 62.16WH battery
Security: Kensington Lock and Embedded TPM 1.2 (optional)

EUROCOM Shark 3
Display: 15.6-inch FHD 1920-by-1080 pixels; Matte (Non-Glare); LED Backlit Display; 95% NTSC op
Security: H/W based TPM 1.2 Data Encryption and Fingerprint Recognition
Keyboard: Backlit keyboard with three levels of brightness; 1.40±0.2mm full travel keys
Chipset: Intel HM87 (Haswell) Mobile Express Chipset
Processor: Intel 4th Generation i7 Processors; up to Extreme i7-4940MX
Memory: up to 24GB; 3 RAM sockets; DDR3L-1600/1866
VGA Technology: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M (Maxwell); 2GB DDR5; Optimus; Turbo Boost 2.0
Storage: up to 4 drives; 2x HDD/SSD (SATA3)+ 1x mSATA (SATA3) + 1x HDD/SSD via ODD bay (SATA2);RAID 0/1
Card Reader: 9-in-1 MMC/RSMMC/SD/miniSD/SDHC/SDXC/MS/MS Pro/MS Duo
Optical Drive: DVD-RW or Blu Ray-RW; exchangeable with 4th HDD/SDD
Webcam: 2M FHD 1920x1080; 30fps; with Samsung HD sensor
Audio System: Sound Blaster Cinema; two built-in 2W speakers; built in microphone; S/PDIF Digital Output
Connectivity: 1 Gigabit LAN on-board; WLAN and Bluetooth
Ports: HDMI 1.4a out; VGA/CRT out; 1x eSATA/USB 3.0; 3x USB 3.0; 1x USB 2.0; S/PDIF; Headphone; Mic; Line-in; RJ45 (LAN)
Weight: 2.7kg (5.94lbs)
Dimensions WxDxH: 374x250x16.3-42.7mm (14.06x10x0.65-1.71 inch)

Apotop’s Wi-Copy Offers Multiple Solutions For On-the-Go

Apotop, maker of creative electronics and peripherals, has a unique multi-use mobile helper. The Wi-Copy is a multi-use mobile device that provides computer-less file copying, wireless streaming, and backup power.

With the Apotop Wi-Copy, you can share a single internet connection with multiple devices simultaneously, transfer files between an iOS or Android device and a USB/SD without an Internet connection (using the free App), stream up to five HD movies simultaneously to multiple iOS or Android devices (using the free App) and use the built-in rechargeable 5200mAh battery for up to 14 hours of continuous usage.
Featuring an ultra-compact design and requiring no computer to transfer between SD cards and USB flash drives, the Wi-Copy allows for a multitude of mobile solutions. Now you don’t need to use your computer to copy files for a friend or coworker.

The Wi-Copy allows you to use your phone to transfer files between storage devices. Photos taken using digital cameras or important work data can be stored and backed up instantly. You'll never have to carry your laptop along or worry that your large files can't be transmitted.

Enjoy videos without going online and using bandwidth. Wirelessly connect your smart phone or tablet to an SD card or USB flash drive via a dedicated App and backup photos to the storage media. You can also use your smart device to wirelessly access music, videos, pictures and documents. High transmission bandwidth even allows multiple users to access the same content so you can share multiple videos and documents with friends or coworkers.

At the same time, enjoy the Wi-Copy as a full power bank where you can charge your mobile device anytime. The unit is equipped with a 5200mAh battery which can be used for 14 hours. It even supports fast charging.

Lastly, the Wi-Copy is a wireless router. Your worries about not having a wireless hotspot in hotels is over. The Wi-Copy conveniently converts a wired internet connection into a mobile hotspot allowing connections from smartphone, tablets and laptops.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

EVERCOOL new wireless speaker‏

EVERCOOL Thermal Corp., Ltd. the professional and well-known cooler and fan brand release brand-new wireless speaker.


BT-100 is designed by all-black capsule covered in a shell of iron, the speaker conveys the clearest sound with 2pcs 40mm 3 W driver units.Approximately 8-hour battery life is perfect for a long use or outing.

Portable Bluetooth speaker takes your music outdoors. BT-100 system offers exquisite sound with a convenient setup.

Buit-in microphone allows you to take an incoming call seamlessly when music is playing. NFC function support. You only need to tap NFC area of device to pair with speaker.

Monday, August 18, 2014

SilverStone Raven SST-RV05B-W Full-Tower Chassis Review



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In our time here at TweakTown, we have seen SilverStone release the Raven Series from its birth, and have had the pleasure of seeing each and every design implementation and change along the way. We have seen the Raven Series grow from a chassis that was stylistically ahead of its time with the RV01, and it took the market by storm. Throughout the series, Silverstone has played with which side of the chassis the motherboard was on, and changed the styling all the way through the series. The RV04 only displayed vague hints at the original design and concept brought forth, but it was still eye catching and worthy of purchasing. We have also seen SilverStone change storage racks as new designs evolve in the market; they have moved away from the ninety degree orientation that made the original Raven such a hit.

Just when we thought that there weren't too many places that SilverStone could have improved on, even if selecting the best components of all of the designs, they come forth with a new Raven that does just that. This time, SilverStone has made a much less complicated interior, and brought back more of the original styling. However, things are completely different, even down to how the door mechanisms work. Typically, redesigns are based primarily on the previous design, and with the latest chassis to grace the Raven Series, we find that every bit of the design is different, and it's somewhat ingenious once we see how it all comes into play.

The reason we have you here today is to look at the SST-RV05B-W from the Raven series that we just received from Silverstone. This is a full-tower design that returns the ninety degree motherboard orientation, but there is another "angle" to this design as well. With all four feet planted firmly, this Raven also sports an aggressive forward lean to it to go along with the aggressive restyling of the exterior. This all makes for one of the best looking Raven designs we have seen. For the fans of the Raven Series, this is a chassis that conforms to all the latest in a feature set, while still offering that styling that you love. For those who have never seen a Raven chassis prior to this, this is a great time and place to start, because in our opinion, SilverStone has outdone themselves with this latest implementation.

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The chart provided by SilverStone shows that there are two flavors of this design. There is the SST-RV05B, which is the Raven 05 in black paint. There is also the RV05B-W, or the windowed version in black, which is the version that we have here. Both designs are based on steel framing and structural components, while the trim at the top, down the front, and even on the sides and bottom, is all made from ABS plastic, in black of course, to match the painted steel. The front I/O is at the top, and under a rubber cover. There you will find two USB 3.0 ports, and HD audio jacks, all between the power and reset buttons. The PWR_LED is a wide, chevron shaped light across the front bezel of the case. Of course, in this design we have a large window in the left side of the chassis, which affords a full view of the interior as well.

Speaking of the interior, we have a motherboard tray oriented to the right at ninety degrees, and even with less space than many other Raven cases, it can still house Micro-ATX, ATX, and SSI-CEB motherboards. There are no optical drive bays in the traditional sense, but they have added a tray to the right side that allows for the use of a slot load optical drive. As for storage drives, there is a removable cage that houses a pair of 3.5" drives, and behind the motherboard tray, we also have two locations to support 2.5" drives. The bottom of the chassis is the intake, and there are a pair of 180mm Air Penetrator fans supplied on the floor. A huge bonus to the design here is that once these are removed, there is room for a pair of 140mm fans, or a trio of 120mm fans, and of course, that also means internal water cooling support. There is one other location where a 120mm fan can be added if desired, and that is at the top of the chassis.

There are some limitations to this design. SilverStone states that you need a CPU cooler that is 162mm or less to fit inside of the chassis. They also state that video cards can be no longer than 12.3" with the fans still in the chassis, and even less if you plan to water cool. One restriction they do not mention is behind the motherboard tray; there is limited room there for wiring. So, for a clean looking installation, you may want to ponder a PSU with individually sleeved cables, or even SilverStone's own Strider Gold S Series, which comes with flat, ribbon style cabling.

Availability seems quite high at the moment, as we were able to locate this chassis anywhere we looked. Although, it struck us as a bit odd that whether you opt for the windowed side panel or not, it seems both models demand the same price. The best deal we found was the $115.99 listings via Amazon.com, as most other locations only go up from there. Considering what the previous models are still fetching currently, this is also the most cost efficient Raven design we have ever tested. While we do typically like to hold our opinion on value until the end, we will go right on ahead and say that the SST-RV05B-W not only offers all of the best of the current market, but it also harks back to the original design, and proves its worth once the build is complete.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sapphire Radeon R9 290X 4GB Vapor-X OC Overclocked Video Card Review



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Coming off of some cheaper mid-range video cards, we move to the other end of the scale to see what's going on with AMD's highest-end single GPU offering, the R9 290X 4GB. We've always loved this card since its inception, and we think it has done a marvelous job of taking on the current generation of games.

The particular version we're looking at today comes from Sapphire and sits in as part of the Vapor-X series, a series that we've always loved, and one that has carried with it some awesome performance improvements when compared to the reference versions from AMD.

The Vapor-X Series has been an impressive one, and while Sapphire does offer some great improvements to clock speeds when it comes to comparing it to the reference version of the card, we're going to kick it up a notch and take the clock speeds even higher to see just what kind of performance we can get out of this single GPU beast from Sapphire.

We already know so much about Sapphire and the R series of video cards from AMD that it really feels like there's not a whole lot more that needs to be said here. So, saying that, let's just leave it here and move forward to see what's going on with the package of the Sapphire R9 290X 4GB Vapor-X OC.


Package - What comes inside the box


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Taking a look at the box, we have the black and blue color scheme that helps us recognize the card is part of the popular Vapor-X series. In the top right corner, you can see the model and series, while across the bottom we have some of the main features, which include the fact this card is an OC Edition and carries with it the Vapor-X cooler in a Tri-X setup. You can also see the fans are dual ball bearing as well for added quality.

Turning the box over, you can see that Sapphire offers a bit of a blurb on the left side with a picture of the card. On the right side of the box, you can see some of those main features mentioned on the front. Looking closely, you can see that most of the focus is on the cooler, with the main highlights covering the Vapor-X cooling technology, the Tri-X triple fan setup, and the Intelligent Fan Control (IFC) to help keep noise levels down when the card isn't under a huge amount of load.

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Moving inside the box, you can see the bundle is the standard Sapphire one, which includes a Quick Install Guide, a leaflet on Sapphire Technology Club, a driver CD, two dual Molex to 8-Pin PCIe power connectors, and an HDMI cable.

Along with all that, you can see that Sapphire has included a mouse pad, something that we also saw in the Vapor-X version of the R9 290 4GB. We're not really a huge fan of this addition. Sure, anything extra is nice, but the quality of it isn't great, and it just feels thrown into the bundle. The quality of it is just leaps and bounds away from the quality of the card that Sapphire has put together.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

ASUS Republic of Gamers Striker Platinum GTX 760 4GB SLI Review



ASUS ROG 760 STRIKER (4)
It isn’t very often that the ASUS Republic of Gamers brand brings a graphics card to a fairly mainstream price point. However, with the ASUS ROG Striker Platinum GTX 760 that’s exactly what ASUS did – well, kind of. As you might expect it certainly will cost you a bit more than a “bog-standard” GTX 760, 20% more in fact, but you do get a fair bit more for your money. The stand-out difference is that your RAM gets doubled from 2GB to 4GB, but there’s also a hefty GPU overclock and a custom ROG-styled cooling solution. This features a full aluminium backplate, the new Direct CU II design with 10mm heat pipes and the ASUS CoolTech fan design. ASUS have also upgraded the power delivery components over the standard GTX 760 reference design with their DIGI+ VRM black metallic capacitors, an 8 phase Super Alloy Power implementation and extra POSCAPs behind the GPU to filter power further.
ASUS_760_Striker_slides1
Being an ROG product it wouldn’t be cool without some extra gadgets and trinkets so ASUS have added a colour-coded ROG logo which changes colour depending on the GPU load.
ASUS_760_Striker_slides2
Looking at the raw specifications we can see exactly how the GTX 760 Striker Platinum fares against a normal GTX 760. More importantly for us though, is how SLI GTX 760 Striker Platinums do against a GTX 780 Ti. ASUS were kind enough to send us a pair of these GTX 760s and they recommended taking on the GTX 780 Ti : a pair of these GTX 760 Striker Platinums costs $600 compared to the $700 of the GTX 780 Ti.
ASUS_760_Striker_specs
Packaging and Bundle
The usual ROG theme is offered on the packaging and the term “Gaming Graphics Card” is used with this product: for once ASUS isn’t really targeting overclockers with this product.
ASUS ROG 760 STRIKER (1)
Around the back we get some more details about the product with a labelled exploded diagram, similar to the slide we’ve already shown you.
ASUS ROG 760 STRIKER (2)
The bundle is fairly modest with a speed setup guide, driver and utility DVD, SLI cable (which we’re actually using for once!) and a dual 6 pin to 8 pin power adapter.
ASUS ROG 760 STRIKER (3)

Via eTeknix

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tt eSports Poseidon ZX TKL Mechanical Keyboard Review

Technical Specifications
Fully Back-Lit (Blue)
Tt eSports Certified mechanical switches
Faster Response switches
Anti-Ghosting and Windows Disable key
Media Keys

Pros
Small and light
Extra keycaps with keycap puller
Tactile feedback
Sturdy build quality
Adjustable LED brightness

Cons
Unable to macro keys

A very simple keyboard with not much functionality


Introduction
Today we will be taking a look at a mechanical gaming keyboard made by ThermalTake. ThermalTake has always been associated with PC cases, PSUs and water cooling unit, but they ventured into gaming peripherals awhile back and its line of gaming peripherals now follow under the label of “Tt eSports”. I personally have used their “black element” gaming mouse and I felt that it was pretty impressive. I would say that its ergonomics is even on par with the Razer’s Deathadder which garnered much gamer’s affection in terms of comfort. And now, they have come up with their latest “TenKeyLess” mechanical gaming keyboard. The Poseidon ZX (which I will refer to as ZX) comes available in two switch type, the Blue switch edition and the Brown switch edition. I’ve gotten myself the Blue Switch as it is my personal preference. Is this mechanical keyboard on par with the other gaming keyboards that are already in the market? Can they contest keyboards made by Filco, Ducky, Razer or SteelSeries? We won’t know until we’ve tried it! Let’s GO!


First Looks
When you take the ZX from the shelf, you will first notice how small the box is compared to the other giants right beside it. It looks really neat and compact that you will really wonder if your keyboard is really in there. On the front of the box, you will see the full view of the keyboard, accompanied by the Tt eSports logo on the top right hand corner and the switch information on the bottom right hand side of the corner. One thing to note, however, is that the ZX does not use the conventional Cherry MX switches, and we will go in depth about it later on. The switches are certified by Tt eSports with a 5 year warranty to it which is really good, as people usually want to be assured that they are not getting a cheap mechanical keyboard that will break in say, a month of usage time. This is a good move by ThermalTake as it reassures its customers about the quality of the switches. The back of the box will show the keyboard in full view again, this time furnished with information about the media keys, the LED brightness adjustment and the Windows Disable Key. It also states that this keyboard requires Windows operating system, and deciding to test if they have made a misprint on the box itself, leaving out Mac operating system, I decided to try the keyboard on my friend’s Macbook. And to my surprise, it is really not compatible with Mac! Mac users, sorry but you will have to look elsewhere for a mechanical keyboard!

Front and back of the box
                                                           
The small sized keyboard in bubble wrapping


Unboxing

As you open up the box, the ZX lies in a bubble wrapping to protect it, nothing special about it. But one thing to really take note is that it has a really small form factor and it occupies the whole box, which is why the box is so small and compact. As you unload the contents, you will find an extra set of red “W, A, S, D”, arrows, Tt eSports keycaps, a keycap puller and a quick start guide. There is no driver CD included as there are no software to macro your keys anyway.
Stuff that are inside the box
"TKL" Mechanical keyboards that does not have the NumPad

In the aesthetic department, the ZX is not really as sleek and nice-looking as the Razer Blackwidow Tournament Edition, but it looks simple and straightforward. I kinda like the design of the ZX as it isn’t too flashy; neither does it look like your normal day-to-day keyboards. Removing the numpad is a wise choice, even though they were not the first to pioneer it, as we seldom find the need for the numpad unless you are an accountant who will dance you fingers all around the numpad. That being said, you seldom find games that requires the Numpad so I guess this is a reasonable move as it frees up your desktop space and adds in the portability factor. The keyboard has a slight gradient, and it’s a bit higher at the top part of the keyboard, probably to make typing easier and more comfortable. The back of the ZX also comes with “feets” that props the ZX up to an optimal height for comfortable typing.

Back of the keyboard with the "legs"


The blue LED back-lights

Plugging the USB into your PC will breathe life into the ZX with its Blue LED back-lighting. At first I thought it was a bit too bright in the dark, but after tuning the brightness down by 2 levels, I was just plain happy with it. The keys are evenly lit and every key has a fair share of the lighting, making it look really cool. The keycaps have a smooth matte finish to them and it felt really comfortable to the touch.


Not Your Usual Cherries
And now, for the most important component of the mechanical keyboard, let’s take a look at the switch.  The ZX does not use the conventional Cherry MX switch but instead uses the Kailh switch, which is a complete high end China clone of the Cherry MX switch. More information could be found on Google, but the general gist of it is that they function in the same way except that the Kailh switches do not use gold plated connection points. The Kailh switches are able to use keycaps and O-ring dampeners made for Cherry switches, while potentially slashing a huge price cut from the original Cherry switches. You may wonder about the quality of the Kailh switches, but Tt eSports has got it backed up with a 5 year warranty on the switch, so no harm trying I guess?

 Top section of the switch
O-rings on one of the keycaps

The blue switch edition of the Kailh switches takes after the Cherry MX blue switch which is a non-linear, clicky and tactile switch. It produces a loud and audible click upon actuation. Comparing it to the Razer Blackwidow Tournament Edition 2013 Edition which is using Cherry MX blue switches, I can say that there is little to no difference in the typing experience. The feedback felt exactly similar to the Blackwidow and I was very impressed with this clone switch. Uncapping one of the keycap will reveal the top structure of the Kailh switch and it is designed in the same fashion as the Cherry MX switch, making Cherry MX keycaps compatible with the Kailh switches.

Test Run
To write an unbiased review on the ZX, I tried typing and gaming on it for a week before penning my thoughts down.
I really liked typing on the ZX as each key actuates effortlessly and I could type on it for hours. The only drawback is that there is no wrist rest included, and your palms will be on the surface of your desk as you type, which is definitely not a deal breaker, but would be a plus point if it is included. Like the Cherry MX blue switches, the ZX produced a lot of noise as I was typing, and when I typed faster on it, it became a loud “noise” factory, disturbing my family. I bought O-rings that are used in mechanical keyboards to reduced travel distance and noise produced and it felt and sounded much better and softer. The noise produced is still there, but it’s bearable. The media keys (activated by pressing the Fn and F1 to F7 keys simultaneously) were particularly useful as I did not have to expand my media player when I was in the midst of typing or gaming, and I am still able to switch tracks, and increase/decrease the volume. There is also a key that switches the keyboard from a normal mode or to gaming mode by disabling the windows button, so that gamers do not accidentally press the windows button by mistake which might in turn cost them a match. The keys were very responsive and gave the right amount of tactile feedback that I was seeking.
Media keys from F1 to F7

Verdict
Priced at SGD$109, the Poseidon ZX is a very basic mechanical gaming keyboard that offers all the key requirements for gaming but is lacking in terms of macros. The USB cord of the ZX is not detachable, which in my personal opinion is a right choice as I have had bad experiences with Razer’s Blackwidow tournament edition being loose and having poor connection. It really saves a lot of space because of its TKL form factor, so people with a small desk would find this the right size to get. The keys itself feels really good when typing, and were responsive. If you just need a basic mechanical keyboard, then this is the right one for you. However, if you need the macro functions, then you will be much better off with other keyboards like the Razer Blackwidow Tournament edition. Overall, I feel that this keyboard is a good entry-level mechanical keyboard for gamers who are on a tight budget but still wants a good mechanical keyboard.


Lian Li PC-Q36 Mini-Tower Chassis Review



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Lian Li has always been a huge player in the small form factor case segment, but while many of the designs we saw in the past were a tad on the boring side visually, in the last year or two, things certainly have been different. Anyone who pays attention knows of the train they built to house a computer, and the changes that have happened in their full-tower designs we have seen more recently. Also, when it comes to their smaller case designs, Lian Li has flipped the script since the introduction of their mini-suitcase cases; we have started to see them break the mold of previous designs.

Among the various designs we have seen in the Lian Li SFF lineup, the older designs of course have limitations, as many SFF chassis are plagued with. While these designs were sexy with all the brushed aluminum they featured, many users out there wanted more out of the designs. Access is usually another problem associated in SFF designs, but we promise you that Lian Li has done as much as possible in this latest design to make installation a breeze, and even pleasurable.

Another great aspect of this latest design has to be the view. Most cases offer some sort of a side panel window to view the hardware, but with horizontal motherboard trays in a lot of these designs, who wants to see the blunt edge of the motherboard, and maybe a view of just the video card? Well, Lian Li addressed this issue as well, but in ways you may not think of right out of the gate. However, once you see it in practice, it just seems like an obvious fit for the way they have designed this chassis.

It is nice to see Lian Li stepping away from the status quo and trying their hands at entirely new designs that make the end-user's life a bit more enjoyable. Of course, being Lian Li, this new PC-Q36 still features plenty of brushed aluminum to admire, but this isn't a typical Lian Li chassis.

Stick with us as we cover all aspects, features, and the practicality of this PC-Q36 mini-tower chassis. While this chassis may seem like a few others on the market at first glance, when it comes to aesthetics and attention to detail on the interior, you will be hard pressed to find anything out there like the PC-Q36 you are about to see.

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The provided chart covers every aspect of the PC-Q36, and what it has to offer. This mini-tower chassis is contained within the space of 246mm of width, 324mm of height, and it is just shorter in depth at 320mm. Of course, the chassis is comprised almost entirely of aluminum, but there are also two acrylic panels found in this design, a smaller acrylic section in the front, and the entire top of the chassis is made of 5mm thick acrylic. An added bonus with this design is that you can not only get the natural and black anodized aluminum versions, but there is also a black and red version, as well as one in champagne gold.

In the chassis there is a single optical drive bay, and it happens to be a slim optical bay at the bottom of the front bezel. There is a cage capable of housing a pair of 3.5" storage drives inside of it mounted just above that bay, and it also provides room for a single 2.5" drive to hang from the side of it. This design will only house Mini-ITX motherboards, and as such, the rear of the chassis offers only two expansion slots. There are some other limitations to this design as well. The PC-Q36 will only hold a maximum of 300mm of video card length, the PSU is limited to 200mm in length, the CPU cooler has a height limit of 170mm. While there is room for a 240mm radiator, if you do opt for one of this size, then you should realize the use of a video card is out of the question.

To keep this chassis cool, there is one fan pre-installed by Lian Li, and that is the 120mm fan used as the exhaust on the back panel. Both sides of the chassis are also vented to support a pair of 120mm fans, and this is also where the radiator can be supported. We did notice that the chart shows room in the front for a fan, but you will soon see this is an error, as the front panel will not support a fan.

Availability is nonexistent at the time of writing this review. While news of this chassis and its release were seen over a month ago, no matter where we tried to hunt down the PC-Q36, we could not even find a pre-order listing, or a coming soon listing. However, pricing information was provided to us, and we have a MSRP of $149.99 to go off of. While this chassis does share a few design elements of a well-known BitFenix layout that is already doing quite well on the market, we can assure you, this chassis is quite different. Even though there appears to be small similarities, almost all of those aspects have been changed in some way, or in many other instances, Lian Li has done things that take this PC-Q36 to a whole other level of use.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

AVADirect Quiet Gaming PC Review



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AVADirect isn't a name you hear every day when discussing gaming systems. AVADirect is more known for its professional systems, including government contract systems and high-end workstations, which I'm sure we'll see reviews of on here soon enough.

We're most interested, however, in AVADirect's Quiet Gaming PC. The name seems to be somewhat of a misnomer. It's not all that common to combine the words "quiet" and "gaming." I speak from experience. I've seen numerous gaming PCs come through the lab, and none are what I would call "quiet." My test system for monitors sports a pair of reference ASUS Radeon R9 290Xs, and I usually have the fans cranked to 70+ percent to keep them from throttling. It's not quiet by any stretch of the imagination.

Without giving away too much of the review, I can confirm that the Quiet Gaming PC from AVADirect lives up to its name by being the quietest gaming PC we have tested in our labs. Without further ado, let's dive into the meat of this review.


Specifications, Configurations and Pricing


We're looking at a top-notch system in terms of components and performance. The heart of the system is provided by Intel's latest Haswell processor, the i7-4790K. The 4790K is the refresh of the 4770K and comes with a stock clock of 4.0GHz and a max Turbo speed of 4.4GHz. These are blistering speeds, but our review found that it doesn't seem to overclock quite as well as the older 4770K. The 4790K is otherwise identical to the 4770K for all intents and purposes, save for the support of VT-d. A brief note: VT-d allows for direct pass-through of I/O when virtualizing systems. At PDXLAN, we saw a virtualized system playing four copies of Battlefield 4 with just one CPU, motherboard, and RAM. The GPUs were passed through to each VM, along with one USB controller for each VM.

AVADirect has done a good job in choosing a CPU cooler for this system. It's important to pick a cooler that is capable of running at a low noise level, while still providing acceptable temperatures. AVADirect equipped our Quiet Gaming PC with ZALMAN's FX100 Ultimate.

Forming the backbone of the system, GIGABYTE's G1.Sniper Z97 motherboard is a gaming oriented motherboard. With features such as Killer E2200 gaming networking and an onboard Creative Sound Core3D quad-core audio processor, this motherboard makes for a great backbone in a gaming machine.

Slotted into the backbone, four 4GB sticks of Kingston Genesis HyperX LoVo 1600MHz RAM makes for a system total of 16GB. These DIMMs run at CL9-9-9 at just 1.35 volts. They are covered in green heat spreaders to keep RAM temperatures down.

Graphics are provided by an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 3GB video card. In our system, we have a GIGABYTE GV-N780OC-3GD, which makes use of GIGABYTE's WINDFORCE 3X cooler. It features a base clock of 954MHz with a boost clock of 1006MHz. We're happy that AVADirect has chosen to install Windows 7 upon the two-drive RAID 0 array of Kingston HyperX 3K SSDs. Each drive features a capacity of 120GB, so the combined array is 240GB in size.

Housing all of these components is the NZXT H630 Glossy White chassis. The inside of the side panels of this system feature foam to help keep noise inside, and the system features numerous adjustable fans on the inside - we reviewed it back in 2013.

AVADirect offers a plethora of customization options, ranging from different cases to different custom multisleeved cables. Our system spec'd out to $2792.50 plus tax and shipping. Not exactly easy on the wallet, but is it worth it? Keep reading and you'll find out.

Check out the full review at our affiliates site: Tweaktown

Monday, August 11, 2014

Feel the Curve: Reviewing the LG G Flex

Just like that new pair of pants that makes you feel a bit more skinny or those new glasses that give you a touch of classiness, the LG G Flex smartphone improves your style and keeps you fashion forward.

What Is the LG G Flex?

Like its name describes, the LG G Flex is the first curved and flexible smartphone in the U.S. It is equipped with a top-of-the-line OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display, six-inch-curved screen, 2.26 GHz quad-core processor and a long-lasting 3,500 mAh battery. However, its greatest features is that the case and battery are flexible. Its contoured design can bend up to 180 degrees so that it can withstand pressure when it is face up or face down. The G Flex also features a 13-megapixel camera that can produce crisp nighttime and action shots.

Why Is Curved Better?

To start, the curved design gives the user a more comfortable handling as it snuggles into your hand and hugs the curve of your face. That curvature, according to LG, enhances the sound quality because the microphone is closer to your mouth. It also helps minimize glare and reduces reflections, which is especially ideal for outdoor users. You no longer need to move your mobile phone through several angles just to see what's on the screen.
As the next best thing, there are a few curved and flexible phones on the market. The idea is that almost every task is now done with a little more fluidity and ease, according to LG. The G Flex curves from north to south while the Samsung Galaxy Round curves from east to west. In a review by CNET, they explain that there is not much of a difference and it comes to personal preference in viewing or typing comfort between the two; however, the G Flex can fit in your pocket better, making sitting and walking around more comfortable. Furthermore, this design is especially nice for those who don't like the belt-hooked carrying cases.
But most importantly, its bending capabilities enable it to withstand some situations where a standard flat mobile phone or even the Galaxy Round would be crushed or damaged. For example, the curved design protects it if it is accidentally sat on, stepped on or pushed against.

What Is Its Best Feature?

Its slick, fashionable look is a big hook for consumers, but it may not be its best feature. The back of the G Flex, for example, has a self-healing coat that can remove minor scratches. And, as almost every mobile phone user knows, this would be an often-used feature. Plus, it might do away with those bulky cases.
But overall, the physical flexibility and durability of the G Flex may be what attracts mobile phone users in the long run. Although it can't be twisted or bent inward, its outward flexibility can withstand 88 pounds of pressure. And this isn't a one-time feature. Consumer Reports conducted an experiment on the phone's durability and found that it took 30 pounds to flatten the phone. They then applied 30 pounds of weight 1,000 times, and found the phone to work just the same. Even when they upped the weight to 88 pounds and repeated the test, they explain that the phone "worked like new—just like LG had claimed." So, this phone is sure to stand up to the average person's minor mishaps, making it its greatest feature.