SteelSeries Xai Laser Mouse Review

[COLOR=#000000]For most people, a mouse just does a single job, but for others there is no denying the value of having a proper gaming mouse. As games increase in complexity and improve their graphics the demand for evolving precision is being pushed to its limits, to the extent that it is by far the most important peripheral for gaming.

SteelSeries are currently leading this field; they produce not only mice, but keyboards, headsets, headphones, surfaces and some other gaming accessories. They have a tendency to produce very well built products and at a very reasonable price. The Xai is said to be no exception, although it does cost a fair bit more than the older Ikari model.
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[COLOR=#000000]SteelSeries have, as you are probably aware, designed this mouse with the aid of professional gaming teams to make it as suitable for all gamers as possible. They spend lots of money and hours testing their range of gaming accessories to make sure they are the best. We have seen that this does tend to produce good results but sometimes this can lead to the cost being passed onto the consumer making the mice more expensive.

SteelSeries mice are not designed just for gaming however and as such tend to have many features to help improve the everyday productivity of your computer. After all, are you likely to keep 2 mice plugged in, one for gaming and one for general use? Well, maybe you are, but the vast majority are looking for a single mouse which performs well in all scenarios. This means it has to be a good all-rounder, while still excelling in the gaming world.[/COLOR]

Specifications

[COLOR=#000000][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Tahoma]The specifications for this mouse are pretty comprehensive, but does give you some idea of how many features are available on this mouse.[/FONT][/COLOR]

  • [COLOR=#000000]Frames per second: 12.000
  • Inches per second: 150+
  • Megapixels per second: 10.8
  • Counts per inch: 100 – 5.001 (one CPI Steps)
  • Max. Acceleration: 30 G
  • Sensor data path: True 16 bit
  • Lift distance: ~1mm (auto-adjusting)
  • Buttons: 8
  • Cord: 2 m / 6,5 ft (braided to improve durability)
  • Polling: 125 – 1000 Hz (1Hz increments)
  • Gold-plated USB connector
  • Measurements: 125,5 x 68,3 x 38,7 mm / 4,94 x 2,69 x 1,52 in
  • CPI high/low indicator
  • SteelSeries FreeMove Technology
  • SteelSeries ExactSens Technology
  • SteelSeries ExactRate Technology
  • SteelSeries ExactAim Technology
  • On mouse acceleration Technology
  • On mouse LCD display for tweaking profiles through a menu system
  • Large pressure points that reduce friction for optimized glide
  • Driverless, plug-and-play feature for LAN gamers
  • Built-in memory for 5 profiles
  • Operating systems: Win 2000/XP/Vista/7

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AMD Radeon HD 6990 – More details released

[FONT=Tahoma]The AMD Radeon HD 6990, likely to be one of the most powerful GPU’s released in the first Quarter of 2011, will have 2 Cayman GPU’s. The card also features 3072 stream processors and a nice 4GB of memory. They also use a dual 256-bit memory interface, allowing huge bandwidth.[/FONT]

 

The card has a dual-slot cooler with a centrally-placed blower fan. There are of course two GPU’s and so the fan is placed in-between these processors linked by vapour-chamber based heatsinks for powerful cooling. It is likely the card will have two 8-pin power connectors but one of these may be a 6-pin.

]I hear you ask, what about Crossfire. Well, lets be honest, it does already have two GPU’s with the combined power of two high-end single GPU’s, so why would you need the CrossFire set-up? Well, just in case you do have a good reason and want some quad-GPU fun then it does feature a single CrossfireX connector.

 


The more intriguing part of this design, is that the backplate only features one DVI port, it does also contain four mini DisplayPort outputs. This is slightly annoying as you are likely to need adaptors to use your current monitors; however rumour has it that this could provide support for up to 12 monitors.

We must also point out that this card is really quite long, roughly 300mm long in fact (A4 paper size is 297mm). Currently we are only guessing at prices but it is likely to go over the US $500 (Over £300). Of course this is the only rival to NVIDIA’s GTX 580 flagship, so it will be interesting to see if its priced just under and how well it does perform.

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alugraphics gamerPRO Aluminium Mousepad Review

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[COLOR=#000000]When purchasing a mousepad, you will be faced with plenty of challenges as they come in various different styles such as square, curved or rounded and once you’ve made that decision, do you want a small, medium or large sized one? It doesn’t stop there, as you will then have to decide what material you want out of plastic, fabric or metal.

The norm 10 years ago was to buy a cheap rubberised plastic mat and be done with it, but as mice have gained a much bigger market share and have increased in precision and features the surface used has become more of an importance. Due to this, we’ve found mousepads changed over to the ever so more common fabric material as it gives flexibility and is generally made out of space age materials.

Today however sees the dawning of a new day in precision mousepads as we take a look at an aluminium mat from alugraphics called the gamerPRO basic.

The gamerPRO product range incorporates four mousepads in total ranging from the basic that we’re looking at today, ESL version which as we can see simply includes the Electronic Sports League logo, XXL version and XXL ESL version which includes the same as its smaller brother.

Specifications

Absolute precision, optimal gliding properties and an outstanding gaming performance – those are the criteria e-athletes expect from a mouse pad and alugraphics have developed the gamerPRO series in order to meet those high standards.

The innovative HRP surface made from anodised aluminium not only boasts an elegant design, but also provides exceptional manoeuvrability and perfect tracking that lets any e-athlete deliver an amazing gaming performance.

The gamerPRO‘s slim, ergonomic design and its special non-slip base ensure maximum comfort and optimum table grip.

alugraphics manufactures its gamerPRO series exclusively in Germany using only high-quality materials and issues a 10-year warranty on the durable surface.

Details:

– Size: 310 x 230 x 0.8 mm
– Material: anodised aluminium, absolutely scratch-resistant
– Perfect tracking and absolute precision
– Innovative HRP surface
– Minimal friction
– Perfect table grip
– Come with perfectly matching glidePRO mouse glides
– 10 year warranty!

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Daily Hardware Roundup (30/01/2011)

Cases:

  • In-Win IronClad PC Case Review @ RWLabs

Cooling:

  • Zalman CNPS5X CPU Cooler Review @ Tweaknews

Graphics:

Miscellaneous:

  • Despicable Me (2010) Blu-ray Movie Review @ TweakTown

Peripherals:

  • Corsair SP2500 2.1 232W Audio Speaker Kit Review @ Legit Reviews

Power Supplies:

  • Cooler Master GX 750W Power Supply Review @ RWLabs

Storage:

  • A quick look at Kingston’s HyperX Max USB 3.0 SSD @ TR
  • The Intel 310 80GB MiniPCIe SSD COMPLETE Review @ The SSD Review

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play the PlayStation Phone

On the same day as the unveiling of Sony’s PSP2 (codenamed: NGP) Sony Ericsson have launched a new phone called the Sony Ericsson ‘Xperia Play’.


Photo courtesy of Engadget

The Xperia Play will be using the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system and will launch with Orange UK, although it is likely to also launch with the other major carriers in the UK. The question is however, is this a games-console or a phone. Or more importantly, a phone trying to be a games console, or a games console trying to be a phone. This might sound like small differences but it can have a huge impact!

This phone comes loaded with a 5MP camera, 512MB of RAM and a ~1Ghz A9 processor. The main selling point of this phone is having access to the PlayStation Suite, which is likely to be populated with PSOne classics initially. Sony has, however, also invited Android game developers to have their titles certified and included in the PlayStation store itself.

With a processor speed higher than in the original PSP, we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see some of the popular PSP games being re-released for this device, though the lack of a UMD drive might pose a few problems for developers.

It also carries all the standard phone features, Wi-Fi, 3G and expandable memory via MicroSD. The screen however is a multi-touch 480 x 854 LED-lit LCD, which should allow you play games with a very high quality.

Whilst it pales in comparison to the newly announced PSP2, it is certainly a step up from the incumbent Xperia X10 and even the original PSP itself. This phone could be extremely popular, especially if the network providers get their act together and offer it on some competitive tariffs.

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Intel 510 SSDs due out in February

In October last year there were a lot of rumours flying around about the possible specs of Intel’s third-gen SSDs. Now, thanks to Fudzilla, we can give you some updated information.

Supposedly, the new SSDs will be part of the codename ‘Emcrest’ family and will use Intel’s 34nm NAND. The 2.5 inch drives will convert to Intel 510 brand and will allegedly have read speeds of up to 450MB/s and write speeds of up to 300MB/s. To go with this, the drives promise up to 20K IOPs at 4KB read and 4K IOPs at 4KB write. It should also be noted that they will be SATA III 6Gb/s compatible.


The launch is planned for February with the Intel 510 250GB priced at $579 (about £450 inc VAT) and the Intel 510 120GB at $279 (about £215 inc VAT). To add some perspective, the X25-E which has 64GB storage, 250MB/s read speed and 170MB/s write speed, still sells at about $700 (about £540 inc VAT).

All of a sudden I’m feeling pretty excited, bring on February!

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Crysis 2 multiplayer demo confirmed for PC

Way back in 2007 many people were of the opinion that no real gaming rig was complete without a copy of Crysis – Crytek’s PC exclusive sci-fi FPS. It’s no surprise then that when the multiplayer demo for the eagerly anticipated Crysis 2 was released 3 days ago exclusively for Xbox, many PC users were left feeling bit betrayed and left out.

Fortunately, according to the official Crysis Twitter feed; “At this time, Crytek & EA are glad to confirm that we’ll be releasing a pre-launch Crysis 2 multiplayer demo on PC! Stay tuned for details.” Although a release date for the demo hasn’t been given, with a late March release date for the full game, it’s likely that Crysis fans won’t have too much longer to wait.

If you still feel like you just can’t hold on that long, then maybe you’ like to take a look at the newly released multiplayer trailer for the Xbox 360:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tmx-84uKOhA[/youtube]

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Arctic Sound P311 Bluetooth Headset Review



Over the past couple of years, Arctic Cooling have rebranded themselves slowly to ‘Arctic’ to suit their ever diversifying range of products. Rather than dismiss the Arctic Cooling brand entirely, though, they have developed a number of sub-brands for their different types of products such as Arctic Sound and Arctic Power.

Today we are going to look at one of Arctic’s headsets, the P311. Unlike all the headsets Arctic have produced so far, the P311 connects via Bluetooth and is therefore more appropriate for use with an iPhone or laptop rather than for gaming.

Specifications:

  • Packaging Dimensions (LxWxH): 165 x 65 x 230mm
  • Wearing Style: Super-Aural, Neckband
  • Bluetooth Version: V2.1+EDR Class 2
  • Frequency Response: 18 Hz – 22kHz
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.1%
  • Battery: Rechargeable 400mAH; Li-Polymer Battery
  • Talk Time: Up to 20 hours
  • Limited Warranty: 2 years
  • Weight: 32g

How To Turn Off UAC in Windows 7

Windows 7 carried a lot of features over from Vista including design, functionality and more importantly security features. One of these features was the User Account Control or most commonly known as UAC. Enthusiasts in the field simply know it as the dreaded UAC as it can get quite tedious, even when performing the simplest of tasks.

UAC is there to improve the security of your operating system by limiting what privileges your software has for the average user. An administrator will generally have more access but even UAC is limited with them until it’s fully disabled.

Its whole aim is to minimize the amount of malware the system comes into contact with by giving the user the ability to allow or stop certain applications from making changes to the computer. While that sounds fine and dandy, a lot of novice users aren’t going to know the difference with certain applications and it’s going to drum up a whole load of trouble for them as they may allow or disallow the wrong applications.

We personally insist that all forms of UAC are disabled as we believe it’s more hassle than it’s worth and instead a good virus scanner and firewall should be more than sufficient at protecting your system from malware and the like.

There are many different ways of disabling UAC, from stopping it within MSCONFIG, to altering the registry, even using the group policy object editor, but the simplest option is doing it all through control panel, so that’s the one that we’ll show you today.

The first step of disabling UAC is to click on your start menu and to go to your control panel. You may have a control panel icon on your desktop, so you can click on this if you prefer.


Once you are in your control panel, depending on the view that you have (top right drop-down) will depend on how things look, but for this view you will see the section for User Accounts.

Once you click on User Accounts, you will be greeted with the different accounts that your system has. For our system, it has one user called Andy. This is the same area that you would create or change a password, change your picture, account name or type. The bottom option you will see is to Change User Account Control settings.

Once you click on this, you will see a slider of which by default it is set in the 2nd position from the top. You can move the slider to your desired setting and the box on the right will give you a brief run down of the differences with each setting. For the purpose of this guide, we will be setting the slider to its lowest setting to never notify. This will stop all UAC pop-ups and messages from appearing.

Once you press the OK button to confirm, you will ironically be greeted with a UAC pop-up message to ask you if you are sure as to what you are doing. Once you click yes, you may be required to restart your machine when you will notice that UAC is gone forever, oh happy days.

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Daily Hardware Roundup (29/01/2011)

Graphics:

Memory:

  • Corsair Vengeance 1600 MHz CL9 12 GB DDR3 @ techPowerUp

Miscelleanous:

  • Mivizu Croc Leather iPad Folio Review @ OCIA.net
  • NZXT Bunker – Protecting Your Goods at LAN Parties @ Techgage

Peripherals:

Processors:

  • Sandy Bridge: The mobile perspective @ TR

Storage:

Win a Xigmatek HDT-S963 CPU Cooler

eTeknix are unstoppable at the moment, with competitions galore. This time we have teamed up with our friends at Xigmatek to offer you a chance to win a Xigmatek HDT-S963 CPU Cooler.

We recently reviewed this exact cooler on eTeknix, and can find the link here, where we gave it a fantastic rating of a silver award.

Full details on the cooler can be found on the Xigmatek website here!

Entry Details:

  • You MUST be a member of eTeknix. You can register here!
  • You MUST answer the following question and post your response below:

What does HDT stand for on the Xigmatek HDT-S963 CPU Cooler?

Rules and regulations:

  • As ALWAYS spam will NOT be tolerated and offending user(s) will be subsequently dealt with!
  • The winner will be the member picked at RANDOM from the sucessful entries.
  • In the event of a dispute, the judges’ decision is final and no discussion will be open for it!
  • The winner will be notified via their registered email address no later than 14 days from the closing date of the competition!
  • The ONLY prize is ONE Xigmatek HDT-S963 CPU Cooler from Xigmatek and a premium membership for a year to eTeknix.
  • The competition is open WORLD-WIDE and all shipping costs and cost of prize(s) are covered by eTeknix!
  • In any event that the above prize offered is unavailable due to circumstances beyond our control; we reserve the right to offer an equal or greater specification alternative without any hesitation!
  • No entrant details will be passed on to any third-party companies!
  • Prize draws are not open to eTeknix staff, affiliates, suppliers or sponsors!
  • If a user is found to be creating or using multiple accounts, that user will be disqualified from the competition and subsequently dealt with!
  • By entering into this competition, you are hereby accepting the above mentioned terms and conditions of the competition!
  • Last but not least, have fun, enjoy and good luck!

The competition ends on 10th March 2011 at 8:00pm GMT

Attached files

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Daily Hardware Roundup (28/01/2011)

Cases:

Cooling:

Graphics:

  • MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1GB Twin Frozr II Video Card @ TweakTown

Miscellaneous:

Motherboards:

  • Zotac’s H67-ITX motherboard @ TR
  • MSI P67A-GD65 Intel Socket 1155 Motherboard Review @ Legit Reviews

Peripherals:

  • ROCCAT Kova+ Review @ Vortez

Power Supplies:

Processors:

Storage:

  • Zalman N Series SandForce 128GB Solid State Drive @ TweakTown

Sony announces NGP the PSP follow-up

Further to the news article a few days ago, in which the details of the PSP2 were still a bit sketchy; Sony have finally unveiled the hand-held, currently codenamed NGP.

Sony have been blitzing press releases with the words ‘Social connectivity’, which leads to the inevitable ‘this device will have both Wi-Fi and 3G network connectivity, together with various applications’. In essence it is going to be a PSP with applications – but hopefully not another App Store. This connectivity will allow many possibilities for users to connect, discover, share and play with friends, wherever they are.

The NGP will have three motion sensors, a gyroscope, an accelerometer and an electronic compass, which of course feature in the motion-sensing peripheral for PS3. It has a slight oval shape(not much different to the original it has to be said) with two cameras and it will sport two analog sticks. The screen itself has been upgraded however and is now a multi-touch 5 inch 960*544 OLED display which will allow you to interact with games in ‘Three dimension-like motion, through ‘touch, grab, trace, push and pull’ moves of the fingers.’

There will of course be community features which include the LiveArea, allowing users to share the gaming experience with others. It will also be able to connect to the PlayStation Network. This device will also include GPS and will be big on downloads with users being able to access the PlayStation Store with ease and purchase the latest titles. The built in storage is liable to be a flash memory based card.

The first picture of the NGP, courtesy of Engadget.

It must also be noted the CPU is going to be a QUAD-CORE! Maybe this sounds a bit standard though now and you were really expecting Six or Eight cores. I think however a ~1 GHz quad core will be able to do the job quite nicely.

More interestingly, ‘Sony has confirmed that NGP will also be able to access content that is available for Android based devices. Owners of Android portables will also be able to access content on the PlayStation Suite, including a host of PSOne titles. We’ll have more news about the PlayStation Suite shortly.‘ The precise details of this are not transparent but I think this sounds like a really good move forward.

The NGP is due to launch before the end of this year, but no price has been confirmed.

Specs. Note some of the connectivity section haven’t been finalised

CPU
ARM CortexTM-A9 core (4 core)

GPU
SGX543MP4+

External Dimensions
Approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm (width x height x depth) (tentative, excludes largest projection)

Screen
(Touch screen)
5 inches (16:9), 960 x 544, Approx. 16 million colors, OLED
Multi touch screen (capacitive type)

Rear touch pad
Multi touch pad (capacitive type)

Cameras
Front camera, Rear camera

Sound
Built-in stereo speakers
Built-in microphone

Sensors
Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), Three-axis electronic compass

Location
Built-in GPS
Wi-Fi location service support

Keys / Switches
PS button
Power button
Directional buttons (Up/Down/Right/Left)
Action buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square)
Shoulder buttons (Right/Left)
Right stick, Left stick
START button, SELECT button
Volume buttons (+/-)
Wireless communications

Mobile network connectivity (3G)
IEEE 802.11b/g/n (Wi-Fi) (Infrastructure mode/Ad-hoc mode)
Bluetooth® 2.1+EDR(?) A2DP/AVRCP/HSP(? )

Attached files

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Daily Hardware Roundup (27/01/2011)

Cases:

Competitions:

  • Win one of two MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti graphics cards @ TR

Cooling:

Games:

  • LittleBigPlanet 2 PlayStation 3 Review @ TweakTown

Graphics:

  • NVidia GeForce GTX560 Ti Video Card Review @ Ninjalane
  • ASUS GeForce GTX 560 Ti DirectCU II TOP Review and SLI Performance @ HardwareHeaven.com
  • Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 560 Ti graphics processor reviewed @ TR
  • MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC Video Card Review @ Hardware Secrets
  • XFX 6870 Black Edition (Dual Fan) vs Inno3D GTX 560 Ti OC vs GTX 570 OC vs Radeon 6950 OC @ HardwareHeaven.com
  • Sapphire HD 6950 Review @ Tweaknews

Memory:

Miscellaneous:

  • NVIDIA ForceWare 266.58 Performance Analysis @ TweakTown

Motherboards:

Peripherals:

  • Tt eSPORTS Challenger Pro Gaming Keyboard Review @ RWLabs
  • Thermaltake Shock Gaming Headset review @ Tweak

Power Supplies:

  • Antec TruePower Quattro 1200W Power Supply Review @ RWLabs
  • Zalman ZM850-HP Plus Power Supply Review @ OCIA.net

Storage:

  • Samsung SpinPoint EcoGreen F2 1TB SATA2 HDD Review @ RWLabs
  • OCZ RevoDrive x2 100GB PCIe SSD Review @ The SSD Review

JSCO Noiseless Gaming Mouse JNL-101K Review

This is the JSCO Optical Noiseless Mouse; it has been designed to be as quiet as possible. This alone is an unusual feature for a mouse, in fact until now there was only 1 other ‘Noiseless’ mouse available to buy. This mouse has been designed in Korea and is only available via import.

Now I don’t know about you but having grown up with modern technology readily available, I am quite use to the comforting click of a mouse, just like you expect a keyboard to make a small tap with every key press. This is why when touch screen phones came out they added vibrations to give you some form of tactile feedback as this is what people expect and are now used to. With some peripherals, especially keyboards, you need the feedback to be there or else it’s nearly impossible to type at speed. Your fingers don’t bounce off the keys and end up resting on the key creating all sorts of mistakes. That being said with the recently released iPad it is quite possible to overcome this and get used to not having any feedback to the extent that with a bit of practice touch typing at a decent speed is achievable. A mouse that doesn’t click by principal seems a slightly weird concept to me but one that mirrors the technological advances taking place with all sorts of devices.

JSCO only produce mice. They have a range of noiseless devices, a wireless noiseless mouse and some more variations on the standard USB noiseless mouse. It is also possible to get some very interesting designs on these mice. This mouse however is only available in one colour and design.

 

How to change drive letters in Windows 7


Within some point of owning a computer there may be times when you want things “just right”. For me, this is every time I’m situated in front of my screen and I blame my OCD for it as it results in me wanting things symmetrical or in some kind of order or even grouping items together.

Grouping things together is always nice as it generally adds some kind of order to a mess and I like to see my desktop as one perfect example of an organized mess, whereas my storage drive actually has some kind of decorum to it with everything in its place.

This all sounds like a simple, normal process and nothing out of the ordinary, but my OCD really kicks in when I need to have physical drives including SSDs and hard drives utilising adjacent drive letters towards the start of the alphabet, whilst any optical drives come next and finally finishing off with everything else that requires a drive letter. This comes down to USB flash drives, my iPhone, camcorder and any other USB devices and with the amount I have, I honestly believe I could fill “My Computer” with half of the alphabet.

Now Windows wouldn’t be Windows if it didn’t play some nasty tricks on you, and if you (like me) do suffer with Obsessive-compulsive disorder you will honestly feel as if Microsoft are playing a dirty game with you. Especially when they decide to give your drives and devices that require drive letters; randomly picked ones and in various orders.

Before you have a nervous breakdown and start to panic, there is an easy solution and we’re quite surprised that more people didn’t know about this. This of course is the option of changing your drive letters to something more “you”.

We’ve created a simple guide for you to follow if you do need to change a drive letter at some point for whichever reason and we hope that the pictures & step by step instructions aid you in doing this simple task within Windows 7.

It’s a simple process that includes right clicking on the Computer icon on your desktop and choosing the Manage option from the menu.

The Computer Management window will appear and will show you a column of various options including Disk Management of which you will need to select.

Once Disk Management has been selected, you will see all of your various volumes and what disks your partitions are based on.

You can continue then to right click on the partition or disk (depending on type of drive) and choose Change Drive Letter and Paths.


Once you have done that, you will be greeted with a dialog box showing what drive letter is currently used for your devices. Simply click on the Change button to pick a new drive letter.

Another dialog window will open, where you can continue to pick your new drive letter from the dropdown list and press OK. If you can’t see the specific drive letter you require, it may be in use by another drive or device.

You may find that a warning will be displayed telling you that some programs may not run correctly if they rely on drive letters and gives you the choice to continue. If you are sure, you can continue to click Yes.

Once you’ve clicked on Yes, you will notice that the drive letter has been changed to reflect your choices and you can continue to close Disk Management.


 

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TGT say 1GHz is possible with GTX 560 Ti

Another quick byte in regards to the GTX 560 Ti, but this time from Point of View and the TGT overclocking group that brands many of the POV cards. The GTX 560 Ti features a 822MHz standard GPU clock speed which is found to be limited to overclockers due to the PCB used.

All of this has led to TGT developing a new PCB with two 8-pin PCI-Express power connector opposed to the standard combination of having one 6-pin and one 8-pin resulting in more power to rival it’s big brother; the GTX 580 but this also means you should expect a bit more heat dissipation too.

A new PCB will lead to more power, giving an end result of higher temperatures, but for what purpose? TGT believe that the GTX 560 Ti is capable of going past the 1GHz milestone, and to keep temperatures down, we will see the AC triple Zen cooler with a few features including backplate for the best possible results.

The car will see all of the standard features including CUDA and SLI connectivity but now featuring a steroid like attitude.

No official specs as of yet or any word on pricing or availability, but rest assured that when we know, you’ll know too.

Attached files

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Gainward GTX 560 Ti Phantom being developed

Gainward have been in the news a lot lately as Nvidia release more and more graphics cards to soak up the market of thirsty enthusiasts wanting the best of the best. This comes in the form of the Phantom edition cards from Gainward offering up unique features and improved performance with a custom design.

The latest addition this product range includes is the GTX 560 Ti giving users the choice of 1GB or 2GB models. The 1GB card will feature a 835MHz GPU clock speed, 4100MHz GDDR5 memory and 1670MHz shader clock whilst the 2GB model will give a GPU clock speed of 822MHz, a 4008MHz memory clock and 1645MHz for the shaders. Based on these figures and Gainward’s past accomplishments, we are hoping to see some extreme benchmarks with good headroom.

Cooler wise will see the Phantom2 Quadratic cooler with two 8cm GR8 fans, aluminium heatsink block and four heatpipes giving users up to 11°C better temperatures and up to 13.1dB quieter noise when compared against other cards such as a reference GTX 470.


Cards are always showing up at online retailers for just short of 250 Euros for the 1GB version and 371 Euros for the 2GB model.

Once the retailers have completed taking stock of these new cards, we should see a more stable price point and more online stores giving better availability options.

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Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer 1600MHz DDR3 4GB Kit Review

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There are many different segments in the memory market, with modules being aimed at the lower end budget users, mainstream and enthusiast markets including the hardcore overclockers. You will find as you look at these various product types, the style and design changes somewhat dependant on your budget. When you look at the high-end enthusiast based memory, you will see that the overall product design has a slight jenesequa with fancy heatspreaders and the very best components used, as expected.

Brands who adopt the above criteria for their products, are generally the better known manufacturers who have stood the test of time when it comes to the recession and come out on top in this cut-throat market. These include the likes of Kingston, Corsair, Crucial and G.Skill who each have their own unique products to offer.

Crucial however, have taken this one step further by offering the very best components, and the fancy styling but with a bit of a twist, of which they call it the Ballistix brand. Ballistix are a well known part of the Crucial company offering PC enthusiasts high end products with fantastic overclocking ability for many years.

Another sub division of Crucial and the Ballistix brand is their Tracer memory, which offer all of the benefits of the Ballistix product range whilst also giving activity LEDs on top of the modules as well as an illuminated LED effect on the bottom. Stemming off from this however is the Smart Tracer range which includes several new features including the ability to change the colour of the LEDs, switching them on and off, changing the brightness and also changing the activity pattern that the memory performs. The memory also has some improved features including the temperature and voltage features of which we will look into a little bit more as the review continues.

These memory modules are aimed at the enthusiast market, but obviously some users will be a bit reserved about overclocking their memory, but with Crucial having a solid base to work from, all of these fantastic new features and offering up a limited lifetime warranty, what reason would you have not to push your memory to the limits?
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Toshiba teases flashy Android 3.0 tablet

The first Toshiba using a Tegra-2 processor was not that successful, in fact it only lasted a few weeks before being removed from most stores including PC World’s shelves. They certainly haven’t given up and have come back with vengeance to make sure everything works. It will include a 1280 * 800 pixel capacitive multitouch screen and of course it is still using NVIDIA’s dual-core Tegra 2 silicon processor, however now running Android 3.0. It also contains a 5MP camera on the back plus a 2MP for video chatting as well as the more standard HDMI out, USB and an SD slot.


Unfortunately connectivity is a bit limited with only WiFi and Bluetooth available, but the battery has been designed so it can be replaced.


Further details are a bit scarce, but it is liable to cost less than Motorola’s Xoom which is of a similar spec and already available. Check out Toshiba’s teaser site now, ‘unless you’re browsing on an iDevice, that is.’ Toshiba has helpfully reminded us that certain platforms still can’t browse the whole internet.


Image courtesy of AllThingsD

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Daily Hardware Roundup (26/01/2011)

Cases:

  • Silverstone Sugo SG07B-W Micro ATX Case @ TweakPC
  • Cooler Master HAF-X – Big Tower Review @ TecCentral

Cooling:

Graphics:

Miscellaneous:

  • Logisys Laser LED LL-B PC Case Lights Review @ BayReviews.com
  • NZXT Sentry LXE Fan Controller Review @ Hardware Secrets
  • Inside the new Thermaltake headquarters with CEO Kenny Lin @ TweakTown
  • NZXT Sentry LXE Touch Screen Fan Controller Review @ RwLabs

Motherboards:

  • ASUS P8P67 WS Revolution (Intel P67 Express) Motherboard @ TweakTown
  • Gigabyte P67A-UD4 Socket 1155 Motherboard @ Pro-Clockers
  • Gigabyte GA 890GPA-UD3H Rev. 2.1 Motherboard Review @ TecCentral

Power Supplies:

Storage:

  • Intel 310 80GB Mini-PCIe SSD First Tests @ The SSD Review
  • RaidSonic ICY BOX IB-115 HDD Docking Station Review @ RwLabs

KFA2 unleashes yet more anarchy with two custom NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti cards

Previously KFA2 announced their custom designs of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 but have now moved onto the more lucrative and fresh market of the GTX 560’s. As the GTX 560’s are finally with us, NVIDIA’s partners are starting to let rip with various customisations of this board.

The GTX 560 Ti LTD OC card by KFA2 is built onto a completely unique white PCB with a huge aluminium fan stacked on top – as well as a four heat-pipe based cooler linking the two.


It’s not just a small paint-job and new cooling system though, from the ground up it has been re-designed to squeeze the most performance out of the GTX 560’s GF114 GPU while still keeping power consumption fairly low.

For starters, the power input design has been altered by adjusting a six-pin PCIe to an eight-pin which allows two dedicated phases for the memory so the 1GB GDDR5 will never be starved of power. The memory itself has also been upgraded to a very fast 0.4ns GDDR5.

 

There are various other additions including MLCC caps and Sanyo POP-CAPs added, well in all fairness every part of the board has been upgraded from the reference and then with a few extras bolted on.

The main kick of course comes from the small overclock to 950 MHz from 822 MHz (one of the largest overclocks of the GTX 560’s so far), the memory has also been tweaked up a nice 10% giving an effective 4,400 MHz.

 

All in all a nice and very powerful customisation, but why white?

 

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Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 CPU Cooler Review

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AMD and Intel have worked hard over the years to produce CPUs with smaller dies, increased transistor counts and reduced power consumption. Despite these improvements TDP (thermal design power) for desktop CPUs has remained in the 60-80w range as more cores and improved memory controllers are added to the processor package. High performance CPUs and 6-core chips output around 140w and that’s before overclockers get started with increased core voltages and speed boosts. Consumers have always expected ever faster processors but today’s buyers are placing an increased emphasis on noise. It’s no longer acceptable to have a “jet engine” cooler under the desk; in short, computers should be seen and not heard.

An increase in power output and a need to maintain a low noise profile has created some challenges for heat-sink manufacturers. The solutions they have created have ranged from coolers with round fins, flat fins, fins in a flower formation, heat pipes and even closed loop water cooling systems. One design that has dominated the air cooling segment for a few years now is the tower cooler. In general a copper base in direct contact with the CPU transfers the heat to a number of heat pipes with in turn dissipate it to the air via a multitude of flat fins.

Arctic Cooling hit the sweet spot of performance versus price with the “Freezer” series. The Freezer7 is a huge success and today we’re going to find out if Arctic’s new cooler, the Freezer13, can become the new “bang-for-buck” king.[/COLOR]

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti Overview

Well it looks like it’s finally on its way; NVIDIA’s new GeForce GTX 560 Ti is slowly starting to arrive on the European market, with some sellers already listing it as available.

So, as NVIDIA’s answer to AMD’s Radeon HD 6950 what does it have under the bonnet? Well the core is basically a reworked version of the GTX 460’s GF104 core and is called the GF114. It boasts 384 pixel shaders, 64 texture units and has a power rating of 180W; 20W lower than the Radeon 6950. As for speed, stock settings have the card with a core clock of around 823MHz and the shaders at 1646MHz. Meanwhile the 1GB frame buffer runs at about 4GHz and connects to the GPU by means of a 256-bit bus.


Naturally a flock of factory overclocked versions with custom coolers will likely be hitting the market soon after the standard model becomes widely available and if the current juicy rumours are true (some overclocks already kicking the card up to 880MHz/4.2GHz and 1GHz/4.58GHz) that’s definitely something to look out for.

Finally, as far as price is concerned, it looks like the base-level card will set you back about £200. This can rise to about £270 depending on which company you choose for a tweaked version. Currently, your best bet for a supplier would be scan.co.uk with dabs.com, novatech.co.uk and ebuyer.com all offering a selection of pre-orderable cards.

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Universal Memory – The Best of Flash and DRAM

If only there was a way that we could harness the speed of DRAM and combine it with the density and non-volatility of flash memory. Well now you can, thanks to a recent new invention by the North Carolina State University.

This new ‘universal’ memory has been made possible by the use of a double floating-gate field-effect-transistor (FET).The beauty of this is that it allows any memory not being accessed to be powered down, leading to a significant cut in the amount of energy being used. Even better is that it could work for all types of computers from laptops to data servers.

So how does it work? Basically the first gate behaves a lot like DRAM; needing to refresh just as often. Then it’s as simple as upping the voltage a little bit and the data can be transferred to the second (non-volatile) gate; allowing the computer to power down the chip. When the data is needed again, it is quickly transferred back to the first gate and things continue as normal.

At the moment, only the gate structures have been built and tests are being performed to ensure the reliability and longevity of the devices. If they pass testing though, researchers are hoping to make real semiconductor memories incorporating them by as soon as next year.

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Antec releases updated Six Hundred case and Skeleton

Antec have recently diverged into the Audio market, expanding on their range of products which until now consisted primarily of computer cases and cooling systems. They are still eager to impress and improve upon their old range to show that they aren’t just going to forget about their core customers as they move in to the competitive audio market.

Since the beginning of this year they have already released two updates to their current line. The first is the V2 Six-Hundred case, although externally this looks exactly the same as the previous version. Its main new feature is the addition of a hot-swappable 2.5in caddy hidden behind the front panel of the case. There is also an extra bay added at the bottom of the case for another 2.5in drive, giving 11 bays total. Other than that this case is very much like the original and comes with the same fan set-up as before and will be retailing at a very similar price.

The second update that Antec have brought out is a change of colour scheme to their Skeleton case which was originally called “outlandish” by various people. It is now in a classy matt white, which does look very smart. Other than that the skeleton case remains unchanged.


 

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