Attitude 1 Almaz Multi-Format Headset Review

Introduction


I’ve been eager to see what the next product from Attitude 1 would be, it has been 8 months now since I reviewed the Attitude One Tunguska 7.1 headset and while it did have a few minor issues, I was really impressed with its overall sound quality and performance for a budget headset. The one we have in the eTeknix office today is a aimed a little higher up the market, with a price tag of around £100 there is no doubt that this is targeted at the premium market, but at that price we hope it has the features and performance to match.

At this price range you’ve no shortage of great options, with many rival brands new and old offering products that are nothing short of incredible, feature packed, stylish and usually a one or two unique features. Attitude 1 are a fairly new brand to the market and they’ve got everything to prove to win over the end user, so it will be interesting to see what the Almaz has to offer in an already very competitive market.

As you can see from the specifications below we have large and powerful 40mm drivers, an omnidirectional microphone, multi-length cables (more on those in a moment), and a set of gold-plated connectors.

The box is nice and clean-looking with a big photo of the headset on the front, looking good!

The cover flips open to give us a nice look at the headset, microphone and a quick run down of some of the features, but we’ll take a better look at those in a moment.

Tucked away behind the headset is a smaller box filled with all the major cables and accessories, as well as an easy to follow user guide.

In the box you’ll find a borderline crazy number of cables, two for iDevices, two for Android, Hifi cable (standard 3.5mm) and a high quality 6.3mm adaptor.

All the cables are given a soft rubber treatment that should help keep them tangle free. Both the android and iDevice cables feature a flat design and come fitted with an in-line controller. The standard stereo cable is wonderfully long at 7 meters. You’ll also notice a soft carry pouch under the swath of cables in this picture.

The pouch is perfect for keeping the headset scratch free when you chuck them in your bag, and I assure you they fit in there perfectly, I just left them poking out for the photograph.

Finally we have the in-line microphone which features a flexible boom, master mute switch and can be plugged directly into the side of the headset.

AMD Continues To Tease R9 295X2 On Twitter

AMD recently revealed their new Radeon R9 295X2 dual GPU that will offer significant performance boosts when compared to the current R9 290X offering. Unfortunately we don’t know what the graphics card even looks like, nor do we know how much it is going to cost! With AMD teasing us with this information slowly overtime, they’ve left them self open for a beating from Nvidia, who fully detailed and launched the monstrously expensive, but ridiculously powerful Titan Z last week.

AMD have taken to twitter to tweet a sneaky image of part of the GPU. While some reports think that the Radeon logo, as well as the bolts around the outer edge suggest that it is water cooled, given that it’s often the design of water cooling blocks, I think otherwise. I think we’ve looking at the back edge of the card from a top down perspective and the the rest of the card is obscured from view. I will however admit that I hope it is water cooled, the R9 290X wasn’t exactly a cool running card, two of them on the same PCB may actually melt through the Earth’s crust.

Will it compete with the Titan Z in terms of performance, or will they just beat Nvidia when it comes to price vs performance? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Twitter.

Silverstone NB04 Notebook Cooler Review

Introduction


Notebook coolers are a product that I know end users don’t often get excited about, and that is pretty understandable given that they serve a more practical purpose, rather than a function that you can enjoy. They do however provide a vital role when it comes to mobile computing and with more and more people using an ultra book, gaming notebook or similar style system as their main computer, there are one or two shortfalls that need to be navigated to fully enjoy them.

When you’re out and about, your system is in a low power state and you’re just doing some web browsing, then things are typically nice and cool inside your system, it doesn’t have to work too hard. When you’re at home with your rig, or perhaps you have a high-end laptop instead of a desktop that you only use at home or in the office, then there is a good chance that you’ll be running it from mains power, with all the settings dialled up to 11, playing games and plenty of other high-end tasks, this is when your system starts to break a sweat. Having some extra cooling under your system can have a massive impact on the overall system temperature and lower temps can often translate to better performance, as well as improve the lifespan of various components. Let’s not forget noise, laptop fans are often small with ultra high RPM, so offloading much of the work to a larger and quieter fan in a notebook cooler can bring benefits to your ears too.

The NB04 doesn’t sound especially cheap £28 for the black and £33 for the silver coloured model from Scan.co.uk, and it is about 20% more expensive than many competing products so it will be interesting to see what it has to offer to help justify the extra investment. Taking a look at the specifications below gives me an impression that much of the cost is due to the aluminium construction, as many competing brands often favour a plastic chassis design. The cooler includes a single 200mm fan that can run up to 800 RPM.

It comes nicely packaged in a white box which is nothing too fancy, but it does come with a clear image of both the black and silver models on the front as well as a run down of the major features and specifications.

Around the back you’ll find international translations for the features, as well as a more details specifications list (see above).

Kingston DataTraveler microDuo 16GB USB2.0 Flash Drive Review

Introduction


In many of my flash drive reviews I have mentioned that USB flash drives are so common these days that they are literally being given away to us and it is only once we move above the 16GB marker and over to USB3.0 compatible drives that we start to see the price rise up along with the performance. The basic recipe for a flash drive has barely changed – if at all in many years and this is simply a USB plug mounted on to a small PCB with a controller and some flash storage on the other end. Apart from the advances in performance, capacity and the maturity to the USB3.0 platform – a flash drive has always been a flash drive, but this has started to change as we are now seeing a new breed of flash drive come on to the market that is targeted for the mobile user as opposed to just the desktop and notebook user.

This new type of USB standard is called USB On-The-Go or USB-OTG for short. With mobile devices now becoming more integral in our lives, the need to have more storage to hand is greater than ever. For a couple of years now we have seen wireless hard drives flowing of the shelves and whilst they offer up a simple solution for expanding your storage capacity, they are not exactly small and they are not necessarily the cheapest way to solve the problem. An alternative solution to expand the storage capacity on a number of devices is to insert a microSD card, but once again this is not always possible with many products not having microSD card readers on them. Across every mobile device however there is one option that is available to work with – USB.

MicroUSB is virtually standard on every mobile device that one can get today and with the Android OS now as feature rich as ever, support for the next generation of USB storage is starting to be rolled out, giving users a hassle free way of accessing their data on the go. The DataTraveler microDuo that I’m looking at today is Kingston’s first native USB-OTG flash drive and this support is provided through a microUSB port on one end of the drive whilst a full-sized USB jack on the other end allows the drive to be used in the traditional manner in a desktop or notebook system.


On the front of the microDuo packaging, Kingston are keen to accentuate the OTG capabilities of the drive, showing its dual USB port connectivity for desktop and mobile devices.

Aerocool GT-S White Full Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


There is a big market out there for PC products that are unique, that have that certain X-factor that really makes them stand out. This is especially true in the gaming market, where custom rigs and flamboyant chassis design often prove popular with those building their own gaming system, there is often a desire to have something awesome next to your desk that you would want to show off to your friends. Aerocool have already produced some pretty epic chassis designs over the last few years, just look at the X-Predator, the BX500 and the Dead Silence Cube, they obviously know how to make a great product that can stand-out, question is, can the do it again?

The GT-S White Edition has been designed to look like a blend of PC case and sports car, maybe even a little bit of Transformer thrown in their for good measure. There is a black edition of the case available, but Aerocool were kind enough to send us the white edition, of course specifications remain the same between each colour choice.

As you can see from the specifications below, the GT-S is a very capable chassis, it has room for a wide range of motherboards all the way up to XL-ATX, which you’ll need if you’re wanting to take full advantage of the 10 expansion slots, making this a tempting choice for quad-GPU configurations. Those looking for plenty of storage will not be disappointed either thanks to a large set of 5.25″, 3.5″ and 2.5″ drive bays.

The packaging is really nicely designed and gives us three clear photos of the chassis design with a sports car inspired theme.

Around the back of the box you’ll find a run down of the major features and selling points of the GT-S, these include support for multiple long GPU’s, tall CPU coolers, heavy-duty design, tool free hard drive bays and pre-installed fans.

In the box you will find a user’s manual that will guide you through the installation process and features of the chassis, and you’ll also find a USB 3.0 to 2.0 adaptor, screws / bolts, cable ties and a 5.25″ front panel adaptor.

Tucked in the side of the packaging was also this white front panel, this goes on the front of the case and we’ll take a look at what that looks like in our build section.

It is very easy to install and uses five strong magnets to hold it in place.

Oculus VR Snap Up Valves Michael Abrash

While many reacted badly to Facebook buying up Oculus VR earlier this week, both companies could do with some good news, and now it looks like they have it. Plucked from the ripe tree that is Valve, home of lord Gaben, Oculus VR have bagged themselves a new Chief Scientist in the form of Michael Abrash.

Abrash has a rich history in the gaming world, having worked with everything from id Software to the Xbox, but most importantly he was a key figure behind the research and technologies for Valve’s VR headset, giving him key experience that can help Oculus take things to the next level.

Oculus VR now have a considerable cash flow at their disposal, they can throw money at problems to get the staff and research they need to make a great product. Sure it’s at risk of Zuckerberg making a Farmville game for it, but as long as the company is retaining its ability to act independently and makes sure moves such as securing key industry experts to improve its development, then it should still be an awesome bit of hardware.

Thank you Tweak Town for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Tweak Town.

Plextor M6S Availability In Q2 Announced

Following the announcement of the new M6 series of solid state drives during IFA last year, Plextor have been busy working away behind the scenes to get the range ready for launch. On top of this they have been continuously tweaking and tuning the three M6 lines in order to optimise their performance and increase reliability. Earlier in the year the M6e was announce – a PCI Express mounted M.2 drive that takes performance to levels that a traditional SATA connection is simply not able to offer. Keep an eye out on eTeknix as I have a full review on the 512GB model this drive coming up very shortly.

The next step for Plextor is the mainstream consumer SATA based M6S and today Plextor have announced that the drives will be available to buy during the second quarter of this year in capacities ranging from 128GB right up to 512GB. Like the rest of the M6 range, the 7mm thin drive packs a Marvell 88SS9182-BNP2 controller along with an array of Toshiba 19nm NAND. Performance wise users can expect to see speeds of up to 520MB/s read and 440MB/s write on offer along with random IOPS figures of 94k read and 80k write to suit.

What’s more the M6 series drives are focussed on the cost of owner ship with reduced power consumption being just one of the key elements that Plextor thought about when they designed the drives. Following in the footsteps of my review on the M5 Pro Xtreme in the early part of the year, along with my experience of the M6e as you’ll soon see, I’ve got a good set of hopes and aspirations for this drive and what it has to offer to the SATA based group of users.

Source & image courtesy of Plextor

Corsair H105 Hydro Series All-In-One 240mm Water Cooler Review

Introduction


Water cooling has rapidly become the #1 choice for high end performance systems, be that custom loops that cost hundreds, even thousands of pounds to create, or simple and easy to use all-in-one units that just bolt right into your system. No matter which format you choose, it is common knowledge these days that water cooling units can beat air cooling into oblivion when it comes to improving system temperatures, reducing noise and improving overall system performance. Having a good water cooler can allow for extreme overclocking, or even just help keep your stock system running cooler and quieter, while also helping improve the lifespan of components such as your CPU. Put simply, water cooling is awesome.

Corsair have long been dominant in the all-in-one water cooling market, their Hydro series is very successful thanks to its high end performance, not too crazy price tags and clean and tidy overall design, all of which have proved popular with system builders. Their latest effort is the H105, a 240mm design that features room for four fans (two included in the box), a sleek pump design and great flexibility thanks to its extensive CPU support and ease of use.

Water cooling can be trick, but all-in-one units are no more difficult to fit than a tower air cooler, just screw it to your CPU, screw the fans and the radiator to the chassis, hook up the fans and you’re good to go. Can something so simple really be so great? With a price tag of around £90 / $110 / EUR 122, we certainly hope so.

The specifications are pretty straight forward, a 240mm radiator that can hold two 120mm fans on each side, support for all major AMD and Intel socket types of recent years and a promise of high end performance, what’s not to love about that! So let’s get right to it and see what else the H105 has to offer.

The packaging is what we have come to expect from Corsair, and the box is packed with specifications (see above), as well as a list of socket support and other technical information.

On the interior you’ll find everything is neatly packed and protective wrap on major components such as the pipes which help keep it safe in transit.

Everything you need is in the box; a retention bracket, multi-socket back plate, Y-split fan cable, an instruction booklet, washers, a wide selection of screws and bolts and two extra top rings (red and blue) that can be installed to add an extra touch of colour.

Intel 9-series Z97, H97 & X99 Chipset Specifications Finalized

Final details of the new Intel 9-Series chipsets has appeared online, giving us the first full look at what we can expect from the chipset platforms. The upper end of the new sets will be the LGA1150 package, and a sole chipset for the LGA2011-3 HEDT platform. This means that we will be getting two new chipsets for LGA1150, the first being Z97 Express and the other being H97 Express. Z97 will be the focus for top-end hardware platforms, so will obviously come with support for the current Haswell line up, the upcoming Haswell refresh and Devil’s Canyon processors. There boards will feature up to three PCI-Express 3.0 slots wired to the CP in configurations of x16/NC/NC, x8/x8/NC, and x8/x4/x4. The Z97 chipsets will feature support for overclocking and while the H97 is similar in most respects, it will lack overclocking support and the PCIe configurations of the Z97 chipset.

Both the new chipsets will come with a range of up to date features, this includes support for super quick PCI-Express M.2 storage, six SATA 6Gb/s ports (with AHCI and RAID support), Rapid Storage Technology, Smart Response Technology, but only the Z97 will feature Dynamic Storage Accelerator. The H97 will offer Small Business Advantage (SBA) exclusively. With both chips packing 8-lane PCI-E gen 2.0 root complexes which will run onboard devices, 14 USB ports and six USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports.

Ready to kick things up a notch? Good! The X99 Express hardware is designed for the upcoming Haswell-E HEDT platform and feature the next-gen LGA2011-3 socket, which is unfortunately incompatible with current LGA2011 chips, but it looks like the upgrade may be worth it. X99 chipset motherboards will support up to five PCI-E 3.0 X16 slots wired to the CPU, this will allow for x16/NC/x16/NC/x8, x16/NC/x8/x8/x8, or x8/x8/x8/x8/x8 configurations. This means you’ll be able to have a PCIe SSD as well as a quad-GPU configuration in your system. If that isn’t enough for you, then you’ll also find a staggering 10-port SATA 6 Gb/s with RST and SRT support coming from the storage controller and SSD TRIM will be supported on RAID 0 configurations. The 8-lane PCI-Express gen 2.0 root complex will be used to run onboard devices like it does in the Z97/H97 hardware, and comes with support for 14 USB 2.0 ports and 6 USB 3.0 ports.

Expect to see the new chipsets and motherboards hit the market Q2-Q3 this year.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of TechPowerUp.

Corsair Graphite Series 730T & 760T Full Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


Corsair have gone from strength to strength over the last few years, releasing premium grade chassis products that have proven extremely popular with system builders around the world. Their Graphite series is one of the hottest ranges on the market and has already been very successful for Corsair, so we were very excited to hear that not one, but two new entries for the Graphite series are being released and even more excited when I found out I would be able to put them both to the test.

The Graphite 600T, the previous top dog of the range, is still one of the best chassis on the market, it features sleek looks, an easy access side panel and high component compatibility, all of which make it a premium choice for those looking to build a high-end gaming rig. The new Graphite 760T looks set to top it in almost every way and the clue to that is that its product name features a bigger number, usually a good indication of an upgrade. In addition to this we also have the Graphite 730T, which is a slightly cheaper edition of the 760T that is pretty much identical in terms of specifications, but lacks the side panel window and fan controller, a mild downgrade which will save you around £30 overall.

We have both the 730T and the 760T at our disposal today and while they share a pretty similar design and feature set, we thought it would be great to see them alongside each other and figure out which one is better value for money. As you can see from the specifications below, both cases are packed with features that make them ideal for any high-end gaming rig, you’ll find room for several large graphics cards, loads of storage, extensive cooling options and a whole lot more.

Both cases come packaged with the usual Corsair markings on the box, as well as a bit of information about the cases design and features, but we’ll be taking a much closer look at all of this ourselves in a moment.

Around the back of each you’ll find a detailed diagram of all major components and fittings.

Both cases came packed with a soft cloth cover over the case and thick foam padding, none of that cheap Styrofoam rubbish.

Each case came with identical extras; a few cable ties and a collection of high quality screws and bolts, more than enough to get all major components installed.

EVGA Tegra NOTE 7 Launched, Worlds Fastest 7″ Android Tablet

EVGA have just launched their fast as lightening Tegra NOTE 7 into Europe, with immediate availability in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, with more European countries to follow soon. This is great news for performance junkies as it packs some seriously impressive hardware that sets it a fair bit ahead of the competition in this size category.

“The EVGA Tegra NOTE 7 tablet is the perfect travelling companion – combining a lightning-fast mobile processor with a brilliant 7-inch (17.8 cm) HD display in a sleek, comfortable design. Play the latest games at full speed. Capture stunning photos. Watch HD video for up to ten hours. And listen to your favourite music with booming, room-filling NVIDIA PureAudio. It’s mobile freedom at the speed of life.” Said EVGA in a recent press release.

As you can see from the rather extensive feature set below, there isn’t much that the new tablet can’t do and when it comes to working or gaming you’ll be enjoying the benefits of the new Nvidia Tegra 4 processors. The new processor features a quad-core design for the high end stuff, while also having a 5th core that can be used to conserve power when you don’t need the tablet to run at full power. The onboard GPU features 72 cores that will be able to make easy work of even the most demanding mobile applications.

Input is taken care of by the a high quality touch scree and the addition of the only chisel tip stylus on the market, which is said to be 3x more responsive that other stylus solutions. This allows for natural writing on the screen and will no doubt prove handy for those using the device for work as well as gaming tasks.

  • Patented stylus system allows for highly sensitive variable stroke width
  • 3x more responsive than other available stylus solutions
  • Only Chisel-tip stylus on the market
  • Intuitive note taking, annotation, capturing, and sharing
  • Edit PDFs: write, save, share
  • Full lasso selection for easy editing
  • Grab images in any app, and easily share
  • Stylus support, plus finger and palm recognition

The tablet also features the new Nvidia Chimera technology, this enables always-on HDR and give s the NOTE 7 the title of being the only HDR camera in a tablet. Something that should look pretty epic thanks to the 1280×800 IPS display which is backed up by Nvidia Prism 2 display processing, which modulates the display backlight and per-pixel colour values to extend battery life up to 40%

Nvidia Chimera computational photography for Always-On HDR:

  • World’s first HDR camera in a tablet: Capture exactly what your eye sees
  • Tap-to-Track: Choose any object to track so it’s in focus when you’re ready to take the shot
  • Slow-motion: Gear down the action for drama and effect

Nvidia PureAudio for the deepest, richest tablet audio:

  • Front facing stereo speakers with a bass reflex port for true stereo sound
  • Extended frequency response 380-12 kHz – compared to typical 800-5 kHz range
  • Premium Tegra 4 audio processing for louder, cleaner, richer sound

Incredible Value:

  • The fastest, loudest, most fun tablet you can find – at an affordable price
  • Compose and create on the fly using the incredibly intuitive Nvidia DirectStylus and bundled apps
  • Astounding front-facing Nvidia PureAudio stereo sound with unique bass reflex port
  • 5 MegaPixel Always-On HDR camera
  • World’s first Always-On HDR tablet, capturing scenes exactly as your eye sees them
  • World’s first Tap-to-Track tablet, allowing automatic tracking, focus, and exposure of the object
  • VGA front camera for video chat
  • World-class Nvidia engineering (mechanical design, software, electrical, quality, over-the-air updates)
  • 7-inch (17.8 cm) 1280×800 IPS display
  • Compatibility with Built for NVIDIA Tegra wireless game controllers means console-quality gaming is available through the tablet
  • Over-the-air (OTA) update support to keep your Tegra NOTE 7 up to date

Additional Specs:

  • 16GB storage + MicroSD card slot
  • Wi-Fi 802.11n
  • 4100 mAh battery for up to 10 hours HD video playback
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • GPS, 9-axis motion with gyro, accelerometer, compass
  • Micro HDMI to connect to HDTV
  • Ambient Light sensor for backlight control
  • USB 2.0
  • 1GB RAM

I look forward to seeing more of this tablet in the coming weeks as I must admit I have a soft spot for new hardware that claims to be the fastest around.

Thank you EVGA for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of EVGA.

Facebook Drops Oculus Rift Bomb, Internet Fights Back!

Facebook have swooped in to pick up some serious hardware real estate this week, shelling out a staggering $2bn for virtual reality headset creators Oculus. While this new source of financial support is great news for Oculus and their Oculus Rift VR headset, many of the financial backers, consumers and even a few games developers are not happy and the fallout is hurting both Facebook and Oculus in a big way.

For starters there has been a wave of cancellations for Oculus Rift pre-orders, so much so that the pre-order cancellation page has hit the top of reddit’s /r/gaming and after a while even made the front page. Of course this is hollow as we don’t have numbers for real cancellations, but the evidence certainly stacks up that there are a lot of angry people out there in relation to the sale of the company, so many comments sections full of stuff that I simply cannot repeat here… It’s pretty much all too offensive for publication.

Oculus Rift founder Palmer Luckey took to Reddit to put peoples concerns to rest (see quotes below), unfortunately I don’t think many people are listening as all they hear is “facebook! facebook! facebook!”, which is ironic as it’s on Facebook that most of these ex-Oculus fans are doing most of their complaining.

“There are a lot of reasons why this is a good thing, many of which are not yet public. There is a lot of related good news on the way. I am swamped right now, but I do plan on addressing everyone’s concerns. I think everyone will see why this is so incredible when the big picture is clear.”

“It is an acquisition, but we will be operating independently. Our ongoing relationship really is more like a partnership.”

“We have not gotten into all the details yet, but a lot of the news is coming. The key points: 1) We can make custom hardware, not rely on the scraps of the mobile phone industry. That is insanely expensive, think hundreds of millions of dollars. This deal specifically lets us greatly lower the price of the Rift. 2) We can afford to hire everyone we need, the best people that fit into our culture of excellence in all aspects. 3) We can make huge investments in content. More news soon.”

“Oculus continues to operate independently! We are going to remain as indie/developer/enthusiast friendly as we have always been, if not more so. This deal lets us dedicate a lot of resources to developer relations, technical help, engine optimizations, and our content investment/publishing/sales platform. We are not going to track you, flash ads at you, or do anything invasive.”

“Almost everyone at Oculus is a gamer, and virtual reality will certainly be led by the games industry, largely because it is the only industry that already has the talent and tools required to build awesome interactive 3D environments. In the long run, though, there are going to be a lot of other industries that use VR in huge ways, ways that are not exclusive to gamers; the current focus on gaming is a reflection of the current state of VR, not the long term potential. Education, communication, training, rehabilitation, gaming and film are all going to be major drivers for VR, and they will reach a very wide audience. We are not targeting social media users, we are targeting everyone who has a reason to use VR.”

“This acquisition/partnership gives us more control of our destiny, not less! We don’t have to compromise on anything, and can afford to make decisions that are right for the future of virtual reality, not our current revenue. Keep in mind that we already have great partners who invested heavily in Oculus and got us to where we are, so we have not had full control of our destiny for some time. Facebook believes in our long term vision, and they want us to continue executing on our own roadmap, not control what we do. I would never have done this deal if it meant changing our direction, and Facebook has a good track record of letting companies work independently post-acquisition.”

Pre-orders being cancelled, a poorly timed reveal and a lot of heat and backlash from the community is not good for any product. Fortunately for the hopeful (like myself), the cash injection has secured the future of the product for some time and I’m not going to cancel my pre-order any time soon.

Developer Notch has stated Facebook “creeps me out” and said that Minecraft will no longer be coming to the Rift, at least in 1st party support form, there are already mods out there, but they’re sub-par in terms of overall quality. I expect a couple more developers will follow suit, but perhaps time will see them return if the company can prove that it will act independently and not morph into a Farmville accessory as many people are currently fearing.

I’m not sure this is a bad thing for the hardware or Oculus or even consumers, but once again only time will tell who is right and I really do hope I am right. We have a comments section below for good reason, get venting your thoughts on this one as we would love to know your what you think about this deal.

Tritton Kama PlayStation 4 / Vita Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


Time after time I have been blown away by the high quality headsets that come from the Mad Catz camp. They’ve got several great ranges to their name such as Tritton, Cyborg and their own branded stuff, but no matter which I’ve tested, I’ve always come away smiling. Their headsets range from the spectacular 7.1 Warhead, which will set you back around £250! To the award-winning mid-ranges such as the 720+ for a little over £100, all the way down to the model we’ll be taking a look at today, the Tritton Kama.

The Kama is the budget end of the Tritton range and it’s a tempting bargain at a mere £20. A lot of retailers sell it closer to £30, but you don’t have to be a genius to know how to use Google Shopping search and grab yourself a better deal. What I want to find out today is just how much of the high quality and performance that we’ve come to know and love from the brand has been lost (if any) from the focus on affordability. Based around their popular Kunai series of headsets the Kama should have a strong head start, especially given we’ve reviewed no less than three different models of the Kunai and all of them have been award winners.

At the budget end of the range we’re not expecting record-breaking performance from the Kama, but Mad Catz have surprised us before with their budget friendly models and it certainly would be nice to see something similar happen today. As you can see from the specifications below we have a decent length cable, 40mm drivers and a standard 3.5mm connector (4-pole). So let’s get right to it and take a closer look at what else the Kama have to offer.

  • Cable Length: 3.3ft/1m
  • Speaker Diameter: 40mm
  • Ear Coupling: Supra-aural (On-ear)
  • Magnet Type: Neodymium
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz–20kHz
  • Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): <1%
  • Resistance: 16 ohms
  • Audio Input Type: 3.5mm Connector

The packaging features a nice clear image of the headset on the front, detailing the support for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.

Around the back we have a few details about the specifications (see above) as well as some information about the in-line controller, but of course we’ll be taking a closer look at that in a moment.

The only thing you’ll find in the box is the headset, which comes hard-wired. Obviously you don’t need anything else and extras will no doubt have been avoided to keep costs down.

PAPAGO! P2 Pro Dashcam Review

Introduction


The usage of dash cams hasn’t boomed yet. It’s still some what in its infancy. There are many different versions that can be found on retailers like Amazon or Ebay that are really cheap and don’t really provide the necessary quality and feature sets to really make them relevant. But that’s about to change. Let me introduce you to Papago!.

Papago! has been in the GPS industry for over a decade. With all of the experience they’ve gained they have built a very strong following in countries like Taiwan, China, Russia, South East Asia, Japan, and Australia. And with their recent expansion into the United States they’re not only looking to follow others to bring another novelty dash cam into the market, they’re looking to dominate it.

Pulled directly from their website, “PAPAGO! Inc. has devoted itself to offering better services and driving technology for every consumer”. So let’s see how well they live up to that devotion.

Papago! was gracious enough to send us their P2 Pro Dash Cam. As you can see from the images below, the packaging is very simple and clean. No fancy marketing graphics. Just straight to the point.

Once the box is ripped open you can see that it includes the user manual, adjustable windshield mount, screws to secure the dash cam, power cable, and of course the dash cam itself.

Breaking News: Facebook Buys Oculus Rift In $2 Billion Deal


Facebook have just blown the lid off of one of the biggest stories we’ve had all week! Oculus Rift is now under the ownership of Zuckerberg and his team at Facebook.

The deal has just been announced as Facebook and Oculus reached a deal worth a total of $2 billion, this includes $400 million in cash payouts, with the rest being padded out with Facebook shares, as well as some additional earn-out in opertunities in cash and stock based on them reaching certain milestones, which could add another $300 million to the deal. This is obviously HUGE news, with Oculus Rift now in a position where funding and further development shouldn’t be an issue.

“This is really a new communication platform,” Zuckerburg said. “By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.”

“We are excited to work with Mark and the Facebook team to deliver the very best virtual reality platform in the world,” Brendan Iribe, co-founder and CEO of Oculus VR, said. “We believe virtual reality will be heavily defined by social experiences that connect people in magical, new ways. It is a transformative and disruptive technology, that enables the world to experience the impossible, and it’s only just the beginning.”

So there you have it, the future of Oculus Rift is still going to be one awesome gaming device, but now with the financial backing and support of Facebook, the future is even brighter for the VR headset and at $2 Billion, Zuckerberg clearly thinks it’s worth the investment.

Thank you Oculus for providing us with this information.

AUDI Show Off Self Driving Car With Thanks to Tegra K1 From Nvidia

At the Nvidia GTC 2014 event in San Jose, Audi have teamed up with Nvidia to show their self-driving car through use of the Tegra K1 which helps with the form factor of the device.

They are marketing it as a self-piloted car and as it drove on stage, everyone was looking for a driver, but he was no where to be found, as seen from the picture below.

We got to see the start of self-driving cars and how much space and mechanics were needed.

They then showed what it has become today with thanks to the Tegra K1.

You can see where the device slots into the rear of the car, discreetly.


If I can find a way to work from the rear of the car while it drives me around to business meetings, I may have to switch from BMW to Audi.

NVIDIA Show Unreal Engine 4 and its Lighting Effects

At GTC 2014, Nvidia wanted to show the true capabilities of their recently announced Titan Z GPU by showing off Unreal Engine 4 and what it has to offer in terms of lighting effects. After showing a short piece of rendered gameplay and stripping it down, you can see how lighting plays a very big factor in building the complete picture. Without the lighting effects included in Unreal Engine 4, it looks like a half-finished product. Adding the lighting back in, will give you the finished product as you see above, opposed to the picture below.

We also have a video below showing off Unreal Engine 4 where you can see the potential of the engine 4 for yourself.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhziHYlM7Bo[/youtube]

Nvidia Announce Titan Z GPU at GTC 2014

Jen Hsun Huang has just unveiled the latest GPU from the green team that pushes them beyond what Titan has to offer. It was made clear that Titan was and still is the most extreme graphics card on the planet, which makes it hard for a company to move forward. Nvidia have managed to do just that and the Titan Z has been born.

The card as you can see follows on the same sexy styling that the Titan brought to us.

Jen Hsun Huang holds the card in his hand and explains what the specifications of the card are.

A closer look of the card shows off that fantastic design and cooling solution.

With 5,760 CUDA cores, 12GB of memory, 8 TeraFLOPS and a price point of $2999.

Hopefully we can grab some more information on the Titan Z very soon, but be warned; it’s not for the faint hearted.

Nvidia Announce its Next-Generation “Pascal” GPU

Today at Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference, they have unveiled their latest next-generation GPU; Pascal. The announcement gives a very brief amount of information on what’s on offer, but we can see that some of the new Nvidia technologies open up the features within.

These include NVLINK offering 5 to 12X PCIe 3.0, 3D Memory which helps to increase bandwidth and with the module itself being 1/3 of the size of a PCIe card.

We are at GTC all week, so be sure to keep checking our coverage while we find out what Nvidia have to offer in the market.

Nvidia GPU Technology Conference Keynote Live Update

eTeknix are currently in San Jose at the 2014 Nvidia GPU Technology Conference with Jen Hsun Huang; Co-founder and CEO of the company. In typical Nvidia style, this event has generally opened up the pathway for the latest products from the green team including Kepler. Could today be another moment in history for Nvidia with a big announcement of the latest next-generation Maxwell cards to join the current GTX 750 Ti model that is currently in the market?

We will be updating this page as the conference goes on so please feel free to keep refreshing to get the very latest information from eTeknix while we bring coverage from the 2014 GPU Technology Conference.

10:05am: Unreal Engine 4 is shown

9:50am: Jen Hsun unveils the Titan Z

9:33am: Google Brain consists of 1000 CPU servers, 2000 CPUs, 16000 cores and used 600 kWatts of power

9:28am: Machine learning is a hot topic at GTC 2014

9:25am: Nvidia unveil Pascal introducing Unified memory, 3D memory and NVLINK

9:23am: Will call the new technology after Blaise Pascal

9:20am: The second technology to be announced is 3D Chip-on-Wafer integration to open up more bandwidth on GPU’s

9:16am: Nvidia announce NVLINK for Multi-GPU scaling

9:12am: The Ecosystem is important to Nvidia in many applications

9:10am: Jen Hsun talks through GTC as an event and what it means for the company and how it has grown in terms of supercomputing, CUDA and machine learning

9:08am PST: Jen Hsun Huang has taken to the stage to introduce GTC and its history

9:00am PST: The hall is filling up as we all eagerly await the start of the keynote

Corsair Obsidian 450D Mid-Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


We’ve heard that good things come in small packages, and today Corsair look eager to put that saying to the test with the release of their latest Obsidian series chassis, the 450D. The new chassis comes in the form of a mid-tower, sitting it quite nicely around the middle of the Obsidian range, which offers up everything from the mini-ITX compatible 250D right up to one of the greatest chassis ever made, the epic 900D. With a price tag of £91.99 the 450D is obviously not cheap, but the Obsidian series isn’t known for its low value, it’s known for its premium quality and the only way the 450D stand a chance in this market is by keeping up with the high standards that Corsair have made us accustomed to.

There is a big demand these days for feature packed PC cases, they need to be flexible to build what ever kind of system you want, while also offering a few extra features that make it suitable for future expansions. Water cooling is incredibly popular these days with system builders, especially for those looking to build an overclocked gaming rig. Having a chassis that can handle tall air coolers, as well as large radiators, pumps and other high-end cooling components is essential, especially so in a chassis that costs closer to £100. This all of course needs to be match by robust build quality, as many of you are no doubt familiar with just how heavy all that water cooling can get.

As you can see from the specifications below the chassis is packed with features; it’ll handle mini-ITX, Micro-ATX and ATX motherboards, plenty of storage in its modular bays, with the option of adding yet another bay (sold separately). Then you’ve got some class leading cooling options with extensive fan and radiators support in the top, bottom, front and back, as well as plenty of room for large graphics cards.

The box is pretty standard, featuring a nice high contrast representation of the overall design, as well as a quick run down of what comes included in the box, such as the dual AF140L front intake fans, aluminium front panel, side panel window and modular hard drive bays.

Around the back you’ll find a tear down image that shows all the major fittings and components.

There wasn’t much included in the box, just a few cable ties, some screws, bolts and a quick guide, but it is everything you’ll need to get your system put together and all major components installed.

ASUS B85-Pro Gamer Motherboard Revealed

ASUS have just announced their new B85 gaming motherboard, a stripped out edition of their higher end gaming boards such as the ROG series. You still get all the features you’ll need for a good gaming system, it just won’t be as over the top or expensive. That means those looking for a more cost effective solution should be very excited about this board. More great news is that this board will be dropping the black and gold theme that Asus have been using, their new z87 and B85 range of boards will be utilizing the black and red that has become rather popular recently.

The B85 ATX isn’t exactly lacking in features and features an 8-phase VRM for its LGA 1150 socket. There are four DDR3 DIMM slots, 1 x PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, PCI-Express 2.0 x4, three legacy PCI, and two PCI-Express 2.0 x1. There are four SATA 6Gb/s and two SATA 3 Gb/s ports, as well as the usual DVI, D-Sub and HDMI. Like we said, nothing crazy and over the top, but more than enough for a solid mid-high spec gaming system.

Interestingly the board also features the Intel I217V GbE controller, SupremeFX Audio  that sports a 115 dBA SNR CODEC, electrolytic capacitors, a TI-made 300Ω headphones amp, and ground-layer isolation, which are very impressive features to have on any motherboard, especially on one that’s supposed to be more wallet friendly.

Finally you can expect Gamer’s Guardian, ESD dampening circuits, DRAM over-current protection, black solid-state capacitors, Ai-Suite 3 and a whole other host of goodies. Final pricing is unknown, but you can bet it’ll be right along side (or lower) than the MSI B85 Gaming and the ASRock B85 Fatal1ty Killer.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of TechPowerUp.

Sony Release More Details & Specifications For Project Morpheus

Sony recently announced their entry to the world of virtual reality gaming and much like the current fan favourite, the Oculus Rift, the Sony Project Morpheus looks set to change how we game. The virtual reality (VR) system is built from the ground up to work with the PlayStation 4 and marks Sony’s ideals for next-gen immersion. SCE will continue development of Morpheus looking towards a future commercial launch.

“At SCE we view innovation as an opportunity to build on our mission to push the boundaries of play,” said Shuhei Yoshida, President of SCE Worldwide Studios. “Project Morpheus is the latest example of innovation from SCE, and we’re looking forward to its continued development and the games that will be created as development kits get into the hands of content creators.”

Morpheus enables developers to create experiences that deliver a sense of presence – where players feel as though they are physically inside the virtual world of a game. Presence is like a window into another world that heightens the emotions gamers experience as they play. Morpheus features a visor style head-mounted display and works seamlessly with PlayStation Camera to deliver a unique VR experience right before the player’s eyes. Inertial sensors built into the head mount unit and PlayStation Camera accurately track head orientation and movement so as the player’s head rotates, the image of the virtual world rotates naturally and intuitively in real-time. Furthermore, in supporting games, the player can use a PlayStation Move Motion Controller as an object, such as a sword. Morpheus will reproduce the player’s hands and sword within the game so the player feels like they are physically fighting off enemies with their sword in the virtual world.

Morpheus adopts 3D audio technology uniquely developed by SCE, there are other 3D audio technologies out there, but I doubt Sony wanted to fork out extra for the patents. In addition to sounds coming from front, behind, left and right, Morpheus re-creates stereoscopic sounds heard from below and above the players, such as footsteps climbing up stairs below them, or engine noises of helicopters flying overhead. Sounds that players hear change in real-time depending on their head orientation, creating a highly realistic audio environment within an immersive 360-degree virtual world.

Developers will be able to create Morpheus content for PS4, a platform which has sold over 6 million units only after 3 months and a half of its launch, and is continuing to show strong momentum. The Morpheus dedicated SDK is currently under development and will become available when ready. Attendees at GDC were able to enjoy an exclusive technology demo of EVE Valkyrie, a multiplayer dogfighting shooter that uses virtual reality to give the player the sense of being a real pilot in an EVE Online spaceship, Thief, which allows players to explore the dark shadowy world of the stealth action title, “The Castle” that shows various VR interactions utilizing PS Move, and “The Deep”, where players can observe the waters from inside a shark proof cage.

Specifications

  • Component Processor unit, head-mounted unit
  • Display Method LCD
  • Panel Size 5 inches
  • Panel Resolution 1920×RGB×1080 (960×RGB×1080 per eye)
  • Field of View 90 degrees
  • Sensors Accelerometer, Gyroscope
  • Connection interface HDMI + USB
  • Function 3D audio, Social Screen

*Specifications and designs are those of the prototype and are subject to change.

The VR world is about to get very busy as many top manufacturers start to fight it out on the wearable tech battle field. Will it be a fad and die out? Who knows, but one thing we do know is that it’s going to be really cool to try all this technology out.

Thank you Sony for providing us with this information.

iRocks Spirit Cocoon Illuminated Mouse Review

Introduction


Gaming mice are great at stealing all the glory, they’re often packed with high-end features and functions that put regular desktop mice to shame. Of course all is not lost for the humble desktop mouse, for not everyone needs 19 buttons, 1000 macros and ultra high DPI laser sensors, many people just want a mouse that looks great, feel nice to use and performs reliably. Enter the i-rocks Spirit Cocoon, a fairly standard looking mouse if I ever saw one, apart from the fact that it is finished in a chrome effect of course, and while it is for all intents and purposes a regular mouse, it does have a trick up its sleeve, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

If I’m honest I’d never even heard of i-rocks before, this mouse landed on my desk as a bit of a surprise and it also came with a fair amount of enthusiasm from i-rocks that there was more here than meets the eye. Naturally I had to investigate what could be so interesting about this mouse, and while I suspected it was the chrome plating it’s really got more to do with got some very funky lighting effects that will leave you in a trance.

  • Interface: USB
  • Adjustable Resolution: 450 / 900 / 1800 / 3500 dpi
  • Adjustable Report Rate: 125 / 250 / 500 / 1000 Hz
  • 3D backlight ON/OFF and Lock Switch
  • Power Consumption: Max 100 mA (without backlight) / Max 150 mA (with backlight)
  • Dimension: 103 x 60 x 39 mm
  • Cable Length: 180 cm

As you can see, the Spirit Cocoon comes neatly boxed in a clear presentation box, unfortunately there is a plastic dome over the mouse that ruins attempts to photograph it well, but it does give you a relatively clear view of the general shape and its chrome finish.

On the underside we have a quick run down of the specifications (see above).

In the box you’ll find a super fluffy and soft protective pouch, a quick installation guide and the mouse, which comes hard-wired with a braided USB cable.

Netgear VueZone VZSX2800 Wireless Surveillance Camera Kit Review

Introduction


If I was to go out onto the street and ask people what they thought surveillance was, I’d imagine a high percentage of those asked would answer with CCTV or constant video recordings for security. Now for the most part, this is what surveillance is however there are other applications for remote cameras, where the surveillance is not necessarily for security. Take lorries and HGV’s for example, most of them today have a surveillance system built into the cab with a camera situated on the rear of the vehicle so that the driver can easily see what is behind him, whilst in other situations, cameras are used for monitoring wildlife and animals to save them from the disruption of a person being present in the area.

Another area of use for remote cameras could be for monitoring a baby or young child in their bedroom once they have gone up to bed. Baby monitors are a highly popular product with today’s generation of parents with new borns and infants, with the piece of mind factor there for users to see that their child is safe and well. Now whilst there are dozens of applications for cameras and monitoring applications, the biggest use for them is we all know in today’s world is security. With dozens of different types of cameras and numerous environments that they are built to work in, choosing a product that is suited for your needs and user level is a somewhat daunting task and consequently home security is a rather empty market in respect to commercial use.

Netgear’s VueZone camera system that I’m looking at today is designed specifically for the consumer market. With such a wide variety of situations where cameras could be of an assistance, the totally wire-free system and the ability to record in low light conditions makes this system ideal for the home user, where the speed of installation and simplicity to operate and maintain is far more important than what it is at the commercial level.

Packed into the box, Netgear have packed in a lot of kit and alongside the key components that the system needs to operate, the VZSX2800 bundle has two cameras, one of which is able to record video at night though the use if an infra-red light. Besides the cameras we get four semi-circular magnetic mounts for the two cameras (to allow quick and simple changes in areas covered), screws and rawlplugs for fitting the camera mounts and infra-red lamp where necessary and a quick setup guide to get you up and running in no time. Netgear quote that this system should take no time at all to get setup and running, so let’s have a look and see if things are just as simple as they say they are.

Silverstone SST-PB03 AA Emergency Battery Pack Review

Introduction


In our highly connected digital worlds, keeping on touch with everyone around us is virtually mandatory and as a result we find ourselves demanding more and more battery life from our mobile devices and smart phones. Naturally there is only so much power that can be crammed in to the shell of a smart phone and short of having a very bulky handset, the only real option for many of us is to stick near to a power source where we can give our phones a quick boost of power, although this is both inconvenient and unpractical. To keep us going, portable battery packs that allow us to charge our phones on the go have started cropping up through multiple vendors, making them a commodity for those of us that use our phones a lot whilst out on the go – myself being a prime example.

When it comes to selecting the right battery pack for your budget or needs, the number of options to choose from is huge and the vendors themselves know this. With the demand so high and the number of competing items growing at a rapid rate, every manufacturer is doing the best they can to set their products apart from the rest of the crowd, whether it be through design to suit a particular set of users, or through features and functionality by adding in additional features and accessories such as carry bags, torches, larger capacities and wireless charging capabilities. Whilst all off these products have a variety of designs and capacities, they all have internal batteries and when these come to the end of their working life, there is no option but to buy a new pack. Silverstone however believe they have to the solution to the problem of battery life, simply by removing the battery out of the equation, leaving the user the freedom to select their own batteries and thus the freedom to get a larger capacity of battery for a longer charge time,

Built into a metal casing with a plastic inside, Silverstone’s PB03 barging pack features a small LED light and also doubles up as an AA battery charger. With the cost of portable battery packs spread out across a fairly wide range of budgets, the real question to ask is whether you are better off in getting the PB03 and your own set of batteries, or should we stick to the plug and play units that require no user interaction apart from charging?

It goes without saying that we don’t expect there to be much included in the box alongside the battery and this is just the case with a short USB cable included for charging the battery pack (when rechargeable batteries are used) or connecting a mobile device that has a microUSB port.

Anidees AI-4 M-ATX Silenced Chassis Review

Introduction


Small chassis are all the rage recently, with many system builders flexing their desire to build a compact gaming rig that still packs a might punch. With so many new cases on the market in the smaller leagues such as the BitFenix Prodigy series, Coolermaster Elite 130, Antec ISK-600 and almost countless other options, it can be hard to know which is the right chassis for your own build. Sure you may all think of the big names such as Corsair, NZXT, Antec, Thermaltake, etc. when you’re picking your parts, but today we though we would bring you a chassis from a name that may not be so familiar, a break from the norm if you will.

Anidees have been on the market for years now in Europe, but they’ve not had much attention here in the UK or even in the US yet. We’ve seen their products before and were thoroughly impressed with their build quality and sleek design, so hopefully we’ll see something similar today in the compact design of the AI6BS Midi Tower. With support for large graphics cards, three pre-installed fans, plentiful sound dampening material on the interior, dust filters, USB 3.0 support, aluminium finishings and more, there is no doubt that this is targeted at the premium end of the market. The packed specification list is impressive for a chassis of this size, but at around £90 shipped, you get what you pay for.

Features

  • Understated design with brushed Aluminium on the front and top panels
  • Mini tower with mid towers features, support 340mm graphics card and 168mm CPU cooler
  • Front IO USB3.0 x 2, USB2.0 x 2
  • Three speed fan controllers on top and support up to three nanotech fans
  • Three Nano tech fans included (120 x 2 in front, 120mm x 1 in back), Ultra long lifetime 50,000 life hours, IP5X dust proof
  • 3.5 and 2.5 HDD Compatibility up to 4 devices
  • Moveable dust filter in the front
  • Anti-vibration rubber for FAN and HDD

Specification

  • Colour: Black
  • Material: Steel body / AL, Plastic, Mesh bezel
  • Motherboard: M-ITX, M-ATX
  • 5.25″ Drive Bay: 2
  • 3.5″ Hidden: 4
  • 3.5″ Exposed: None
  • 2.5″ Drive: 4
  • I/O Panel: USB3.0 x 2, USB 2.0 x2, Audio x1, MIC x1, 3 Speed Fan Controller
  • Expansion Slots: 5
  • Power Supply: PS2(Optional)
  • Removable HDD Cage: Yes
  • Dimensions: 415(L) x 185(W) x 433(H) mm
  • Graphics Card Lenth: 340mm
  • CPU Cooler Height: 168mm

The AI4 comes neatly packaged in a fairly standard box, nothing special here other than the specs on the side (see above), so let’s move on.

In the box you’ll find a simple operator’s manual, it’s pretty basic in terms of instructions, but everything appears to be pretty straight forward anyway. You’ll also find all the screws and bolts needed to install all major components.