Thrustmaster Ferrari F430 Force Feedback Racing Wheel Review

There are some products that we receive that just put a smile on our face. These are usually something new like the very latest overclocked graphics card or something that is a bit different and we just can’t wait to get testing.

Thrustmaster has certainly created one of these products that we know lots of people will just want to have. The Thrustmaster F430 is based on the steering wheel of, you guessed it, a Ferrari 430 although they have made a few adjustments to the dimensions and positioning of the wheel especially to the gear shifters. They have tried to make it looks the same while incorporating everything you need and expect from a Racing Wheel. On top of that, they have added what we expect to be very impressive force feedback to make it feel as realistic as possible.

The product might surprise you with its size, it is large, and it is quite bulky. Our first impressions are that it is certainly built well as the weight is certainly heavier than we expected.

We do also feel that it looks pretty good, and certainly looks like it means business. There is of course a fairly substantial clamping system to hold this steering wheel in place.

Turning over the steering wheel we can see the groove where it sits on the edge of your desk, as well as a fairly chunky hole in the centre, this is where the clamp is screwed in.

The clamp is made up of two parts, this part goes under your desk – with the feet pointing upwards so that it doesn’t damage your desk.

The second part of the clamp is a fairly hefty screw, which has quite a long thread, and the added handle to help you tighten it up so that the racing wheel just won’t move.

The pedals, although a little less realistic, still look quite good, and have a decent weight so that they don’t tip backwards every time you press the brake down. There is unfortunately no way of clamping the pedals down, so may be liable to move slightly.

The racing wheel does connect via USB, but to power the Force Feedback mechanism it needs a power adapter, unfortunately ours was of the European plug.

Taking a closer look at the buttons, you may be surprised to find that the ‘Engine Start’ button is actually a Multidirectional D-Pad, and then there are in total 10 digital action buttons – although they can’t all be seen.

On the right-hand side we have the Manettino controller, which allows you to change the settings between 5 positions as well – normally set-up for things like Traction Control etc. There are also the 2 sequential gear shift levers which are on the back of the steering wheel. There is also a Force Feedback button and a Manual/Automatic Manettino selection button.

 

The options for the Manettino are meant to be exactly the same as the F430, although this unfortunately needs to be set-up in all the games we played and in fact, some don’t even have this level of detail in the options.

In terms of design, we feel that Thrustmaster have certainly done a good job, and it certainly looks pretty realistic. The build-quality is also impressive, the steering wheel has a decent weight to it, although several of the buttons do not have the same level of quality as the rest of the steering wheel. We did unfortunately feel that the Manettino was not of the quality we expected and didn’t feel that nice to use, and we certainly hope the F430’s version is much nicer!

We focussed our testing on the game that you are most likely to be playing if you have this steering wheel, and while there are others out there, we think F1 2010 is the most likely candidate. The main aspect of this steering wheel is the force feedback that is meant to be one of the best available. There are 3 levels of force feedback (off, low or high) and we found that high level of force feedback is pretty strong and took a fair bit of resistance to fight against it when you throw the car round a corner. While this was maybe a bit too much during F1 circuits where the vibration isn’t as crucial, we certainly think it would be very impressive during rally-style racing as it gives you the vibration and resistance. The system Thrustmaster have used is certainly impressive, and with a bit of fine tuning for each game and to your tastes it will really enhance your gaming experience.

There are lots of other features to this steering wheel, and with the right game you can really set everything up exactly how you want. We found that the ‘Engine start’ multi-directional D-pad is also a very useful feature in games and it allows you to look all the way round your car very easily, as well as being able to use it for many other functions. The other digital buttons can be set-up to perform useful tasks, although in most games will be unassigned by default.

We were also fairly impressed with the comfort and grip of the steering wheel, as you can grip it fairly lightly and know that it won’t slip through your hands when you are power-sliding round a dirt track. On the other hand, even after intensive use the steering wheel is still easy to hold onto and sweat didn’t seem to cause problems. Unfortunately, we did feel that they could of used something better for the Pedals, as these slide around on most surfaces, and on thick carpet the front rises up when you press down heavily, leading you to not being able to push down fully. We feel that this is most the time a small problem compared to how good this steering wheel is to use.

At a fairly high price of £103.16  – although it can probably be had for cheaper – we feel that this is not the best value for money steering wheel on the market, but if you want one of the best it is a price worth paying as this has so many more features and is a lot more realistic than many of its rivals. We certainly feel that if you love racing games, this is probably one of the best products you could buy and it really will enhance your gaming experience and allow you to enjoy gaming to a new level.

 

CM Storm Xornet 2000 DPI Gaming Mouse Review

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CM Storm never sleep and are always releasing new and improved version of their products.

Today is a new and certainly impressive looking mouse although it isn’t specifically an upgrade to a previous product. It is in fact fairly similar to their very popular CM Storm Spawn but with a few key differences, that some might consider make it the little brother of the family.

Primarily, this mouse has a 2000DPI CM Storm Tactical Sensor, which is lower than the 3500DPI of the CM Storm Spawn although admittedly the design, as is the case with claw-grip gaming mice, is very similar. The CM Storm Xornet does however have a lower profile shape and is as such quite a lot flatter across the top of the mouse.

Turning to the mouse itself, which we think looks pretty swish. From the top we can see the CM Storm logo and numerous buttons.

From the left-hand side we can see the forward and back buttons that we now expect on all gaming and even most everyday mice.

The Xornet logo certainly looks good, and you can see that each side features a rubber material to provide lots of grip without sweat building up.

On the top of the mouse there is a scroll wheel which has a very precise feel while not being too clunky. On top of this we have two on-the-fly DPI buttons, so that you can increase or decrease the DPI without going into any software or driver pages.

The bottom of the mouse looks fairly standard, and features the CM Storm Tactical Sensor as seen on other CM Storm mice, but this time in a 2000 max DPI form.

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Normally with most gaming products from a well established brand like CM Storm we would expect to find that their are drivers available for the product. In the case of the Xornet, they just don’t exist.

While there are lots of advantages of being able to tweak every little feature in the software, we are not always convinced whether for a mouse it is truly necessary, and in fact there are lots of advantages to a mouse that has been designed to be used without drivers.

For instance the implementation of the on-the-fly DPI switching on the Xornet makes it all too easy to make this adjustment without breaking out of a game, and we do stop and ask, what else do you want to be able to adjust? Quite frankly, the answer, unless you are a professional gamer, is very little.

In terms of comfort, once you are used to a claw-grip style mouse you will certainly not find this mouse uncomfortable to use. We certainly found that the rubber material on either side of the mouse really helps it to be gripped exactly how you want.

The positioning of the buttons, like the CM Storm Spawn are just about right, although personally I do find the ‘lower DPI’ button to be a bit of a stretch without dramatically changing hand position but this is to be expected and is the same with nearly all mice on the market.

Performance wise, we are always impressed with the CM Storm mice, especially with regards to the tactical sensor, which even in its cut-down version produces impressive results and is unbelievably smooth on all surfaces. A 2000 DPI sensor, while being lower than the new gaming mouse average, it is certainly more than enough for most games and gaming styles.

It certainly doesn’t hinder the performance in most games, although most gamers do certainly seem to favour the higher DPI settings and so may be accustomed to expecting more. We do however find the on-the-fly adjustments perfect for everyday use as well, as it allows us to have the precision while using programs like Adobe Photoshop and the speed when navigating across the desktop, it certainly gives you a good compromise and the best of both worlds.

Although there are gaming mice out there that can certainly rival this mouse, including its popular brother the CM Storm Spawn, we feel that it is certainly a very competitive mouse. It has been designed for professional FPS gamers, and this really shows in terms of the performance and the build quality.

The most staggering point, is that this mouse can be had for around the £20 mark, which is pretty cheap for a mouse that delivers so much more than your standard everyday Microsoft mouse. Admittedly, it doesn’t have the drivers, and has a slightly lower DPI when compared with its brother, the CM Storm Spawn, but it is at least £10 cheaper and as such is certainly extremely good value for money.

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Icy Dock MB981U3-1SA 2.5″/3.5″ USB 3.0 SATA & IDE Hard Drive Docking Station Review

[wpcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]Once upon a time, IDE Hard Disk Drives were all the rage, and if you do still have some of these, soon to be, legacy drives then you will be surprised to see a company creating products that allow you to dock an IDE drive, on top of that, this dock also allows you to use SATA drives too.

While this product in itself is not unique, it is certainly a rarity and something we were very interested to take a look at. Most docks that are readily available on the market currently can usually fit 2.5″ or 3.5″ SATA drives only and sometimes only one or the other of these sizes. This Icy Dock creation takes both IDE and SATA drives of both sizes due to a very cleverly designed adapter.

This product certainly has a bit of style to it, and from the front we can see the Icy Dock branding.

At the bottom of the back we see a power and data connection, but you may notice this section seems to be removable so we will look at this in more detail.

On the top of the device there is a power button, and the two slots for a 2.5″ or a 3.5″ drive, these are both flaps which are spring-loaded but push open very easily. On the right hand side is a push lever to help aid the hard drives out.

This adapter was nicely slotted into the bottom of the device and as you can see there is quite a lot to it. There is the power button, and molex power connector, and a SATA data/power connection on top. At the bottom is the standard 3.5″ IDE connection.

On the one side we have the cut-down 2.5″ IDE connection.

On the top, which we could see from the back of the product is the USB 3.0 connection as well as the power supply for this adapter/product.

After removing the adapter we are left with a fairly large gap in the main product, as you can see the power button pushes through from the top and the hard drives plug directly into the adapter at the bottom.

Of course this device connects via the latest and greatest USB 3.0 interface and as such contains a USB 3.0 cable.

As you might expect this dock needs to be powered and as such there is a fairly hefty power supply which has been split into two parts, very much like a laptop charger.

[/wpcol_1half] [wpcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””]The cables on both parts of the power supply are plenty long enough for you to position the device wherever you want on your desk.

This is the 4-pin molex adapter which is only used when using the 3.5″ IDE drives, and it is fairly short although just about long enough to do the job – another cm in length would of made it easier to plug in.

We now turn to the performance of this dock:

As you can see we have tested a wide variety of drives and did also test a 3.5″ IDE drive, but did at this point find that it is possible to put the drive in upside down – even though then you can’t actually power it up. This is normally avoided by putting in a ‘key pin’ so that the pins can only go in one way round. Unfortunately Icy Dock did not do this with the 3.5″ side of the adapter which did at first cause some confusion.

You can also see from the results that the Icy Dock is not too compromising on the read/write speeds of the drives and does certainly work as expected. Of course, it is not able to utilise the full USB 3.0 speed but this is all due to the hard drives used and there is clearly plenty more data bandwidth left.

In general we do quite like this device, it looks good, works well and has a few good features up its sleeve. It is certainly quite hard to create an all-in-one dock that can cater with the both drive types and both in 2.5″ and 3.5″ form. Certainly Icy Dock have found a fairly cunning way round this by having the detachable adapter.

However, we do partly wonder whether they should of kept the product to just the adapter and not had the whole dock over the top as this would of made more sense. That said, it does give you the best of both worlds, if you only want it for SATA drives you have a lovely docking station and if you are using IDE then you will just use the adapter on its own.

As already mentioned, there is a slightly design flaw with the 3.5″ IDE section which means you do have to be careful to make sure you are putting the drive in the right way up, and also the molex cable being a bit on the short side, at the very least we expect its life expectancy would be higher if it was slightly longer as it would be under such stress to twist round in a short space.

We now turn to price, and we were certainly unsure as to the price we would expect this product to retail at. It is certainly pretty unique, and currently it can be purchased for around £42. While this is a slightly higher when compared to other docking stations on the market it does have a lot more features and is certainly very well built and the dual-functionality makes it very useful in lots of applications as well as using the latest USB 3.0.

This is a brilliantly designed product that will look good and be extremely useful to lots of computer users.

 

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CM Storm Sirus True 5.1 Gaming Headset Review

[wpcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]Headsets are all the rage in the gaming market, and recently we have seen a huge spike in the number of 5.1 and even the occasional 7.1 surround sound headset. Some of the headsets claim to offer a virtual 5.1 surround sound and others, like the Tritton PC510 HDa Gaming Headset we reviewed a while back that offer ‘True 5.1 surround sound’ . The CM Storm Sirus 5.1 Gaming Headset certainly claims to offer the true surround sound experience and for fairly well founded reasons.

Each side of the headset in fact has 4 individual speakers, giving you, front, rear, centre and bass on each side. The positioning of such has been designed so that the front speaker emits sounds just in front of your ear – and as its so close to your ear it only has to be a tiny amount to feel like its coming from several metres in front of you during a game – this is of course similar for the rear speakers and the centre ones.

The headset is a stylish dark grey and black with the CM Storm logo lighting up with an emerald red when powered. The headset is fairly chunky but is fairly light.

The headband is quite wide and has the CM Storm name set-into the darker middle section. The cushioning however isn’t that wide but is pretty thick.

The headset comes with two sets of Ear Cushions, the ones pictured are made of a micro-fiber that is breathable.

The usual looking CM Storm quick start guide is included.

The other set of ear-cups are made of the more typical leatherette material and as such provide better noise cancellation.

One of the main features of this headset is the in-line control which is quite something special and in itself has several features. Primarily, of course it is to adjust the volume control, but with the aid of the button in the centre you can adjust the other 4 channels individually. On top of this you can also mute the headset and the microphone individually.

The normal means of connection for this headset is to use the ‘Tactile Mixing Console’ and plug it in via 2 USB connections, which like all the connections on this headset are gold-plated.

CM Storm have however included a secondary cable, which allows you to plug this headset directly into your 5.1 sound card or onboard surround sound, this does also require a USB port, but doesn’t give you any volume controls over the headset.[/wpcol_1half]

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Once installing the drivers from the CM Storm website we were a little disappointed with the options that were available to us. The first page allows you to alter just the master volume and the front channel – although this does allow for some fine tweaking after the left and right balance to make sure it sounds equal to you.

There is also a page to adjust the volume controls of the microphone and the monitor levels. 

They have also included a very limited settings page, which gives you a few options that quite frankly aren’t going to make much difference to the usability of this headset.

Although the software options might be limiting it really doesn’t detract from how good the headset is. The sound quality is excellent and the surround sound is pretty stunning. We did however feel that the bass wasn’t as punchy as other similar headsets although it did seem to ooze sound quality instead – that said, once you turn it up it is still packing a punch.

We were certainly very impressed with the ‘Tactile Mixing Console’ which allows for on-the-fly changes to the surround sound to make sure it is perfectly balanced to your taste, it also allows quick and easy access to mute the microphone which is very useful while gaming. We did like the rotating volume control which had a nice weight to it and spun easily, but at the same time it allowed you to precisely change the volume level or the level of one of the channels. The led’s also give it a very professional look and it will certainly look good on any desk. Our only concern is with the choice of connectors which we suspect after time may not stay together with the weight of the cable on them.

Turning to the comfort of this headset we were certainly pleasantly surprised, due to the size and bulky looking build of the headset we expected it to be quite heavy and most likely sit awkwardly on your head. That is quite far from the truth even though they are certainly not the lightest headset we’ve tested they exert very little pressure on your head and neck. The fit is also very tight and with the thicker ear pads we found that we could hardly hear any external noises. This certainly bodes well for being fully immersed into a game.

The most important aspect of any headset is the sound quality, and while this is has one of the best ‘true 5.1’ surround sound set-ups i’ve heard delivered from a headset, it is more impressive that it does this with a sound quality that really is second to none. We were not fully convinced by the balance between the bass and the other frequencies in certain scenarios but that did seem to depend on the source more than we were expecting. The bass certainly has an impressive sound, it is a nice rounded tone while remaining quite punchy, although it certainly isn’t too powerful. As previously mentioned, the surround-sound ability of this headset is truly impressive, and it felt the most natural yet, with the sounds feeling like they come from behind you when going through the rear channel and similarly for the all the other combinations.

The only criticism we could find, is that the price is a fairly hefty at around £110 which we appreciate is probably a bit more than most computer or even serious gamers would want to spend on a headset. That said, this headset is nearly a masterpiece in engineering and quality, it looks good, feels good and performs extremely well, but we feel that unless you are desperate to have this headset or are a serious, nearly professional, gamer then this headset has been priced out of most consumers price range.

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Freecom Mobile Drive USB 3.0 XXS Leather Review

[wpcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]The trend of portable storage devices shrinking in size has been occurring since their creation. As the hard drive technology has improved dramatically over the last few years the size has decreased impressively, although the capacity increase is more impressive.

Today we are taking a look at a fairly small, and certainly unique, portable or mobile storage solution. It incorporates the lastest interface, USB 3.0 and our version fits in a decent 320GB, although Freecom do sell a 640GB version.

The packaging is a bit special and looks to be designed by Apple, however this is perfect for sitting on a shelf in a retail store as it does look good.

Freecom have included a Quick Install Guide, although we think this is rather unnecessary, as well as a very short USB 3 cable. Clearly Freecom expect you to have a USB 3.0 port on the front of your case, or even a USB 3.0 hub, else this length cable is truly useless.

The product itself, does certainly have the Leather look, and is literally a 2.5″ hard drive with a Leather surround. The Leather does feel to be of a good quality, and has the Freecom logo inscribed in the bottom left.

There is not really much to this portable drive, just one port to connect the tiny USB 3.0 cable to, but as this is all is required we can’t really knock Freecom.

We now move onto the performance of this drive, and as its USB 3.0 we certainly expect good things, on the other hand, it is using a low-power 2.5″ hard drive and so we expect that the speeds might be limited.

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[wpcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””]This drives performance is certainly not the best, in fact the Seagate GoFlex Ultra Portable drive produced Read speeds of up to 115 MB/s which is quite a big margin over 63.6 MB/s and as such we aren’t that impressed by the Freecom drive.

On the other hand, although we can’t test it specifically we do know for a fact that the Freecom drives draws less power than the Seagate drive so the Freecom drive is more compatible.

Unfortunately, due to the speeds limited by the Freecom Hard drive, using a USB 3.0 interface is less than 3 times quicker than USB 2.0 and while this speed improvement is good, we aren’t sure if its worth the extra cost that they will have certainly had to add to this device to use USB 3.0 instead of USB 2.0.

It must be noted however that the Freecom Mobile Drive does come pre-installed with several pieces very useful premium software which enhance the users experience and allows you to back-up very easily. The back-up software they have used is made by Nero and as such is not Freecoms own.

In terms of the looks we do quite like the Freecom drive, it also feels very nice to hold and carry, however, we aren’t that impressed with the design, more specifically the design of the cable that has been included. It is too short for it to be used in most situations and you end up having to balance the drive in an awkward position so that it can reach a free USB port.

It is of course perfect for using with your laptop, except that you have to carry around this extra little cable, which could easily be misplaced, to use your drive.

We feel that it might of been an improvement if they had included the cable into the drive somehow, so that it was always present. Either that or included a space in the drive to store the cable, just like with the Seagate GoFlex Ultra Portable drive in which the cable fits easily into the back of the included carry case.

As this drive is the size of your standard card wallet and slightly larger than most mobile phones, it is clearly in a different league to the Flash Pen or Memory Stick Drives that offer smaller capacities in a tiny space. If you want something that can store a lot of data at a sensible price point then a Portable Hard Drive is your best option.

The Freecom Mobile Drive is certainly one of the smaller portable hard drives on the market currently, and even in its smallest 320GB form, it offers a lot of data capacity for the size of the drive. On the other hand however, it is we feel an awkward size, in between something small enough to fit in your pocket and something you’d need a carry case for.

While the price of the Freecom Mobile Drive is a fairly reasonable £78.91 for the 320 GB version, we feel as the 640 GB version can be had for £107.92 currently this is certainly very good value for money.

The performance is certainly not the best, but it is definitely a handy little drive to have around, especially if your laptop features USB 3.0 ports and as the drive comes pre-loaded with Nero back-up software it will complement your laptop perfectly.

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SpeedLink Medusa NX 5.1 Headset Review

Today is the turn of a headset, but from a company you have probably not heard of much or even at all, in fact excluding this one recent news story then they have not been mentioned on this site. This is mainly due to them being very focused on their own German market.

That is not to say they are a small company, in fact Speedlink have one of the largest collections of products I have ever seen. To put this into perspective under ‘Headsets’ they have 31 different products – although several are the same model in different colours, this is still a lot of products.

Speedlink have  included a nice, circular, carry bag, and as the headset is fold-able it should fit in easily.

This headset is a full 5.1 headset and so we expect it to have a good collection of cables, as such the Medusa NX has front, rear, centre/subwoofer and microphone jacks.

There is also a USB connector to provide  power for the headset, although SpeedLink do make a fully-USB version of this headset.

As we would expect with this type of headset, there is also an in-line remote with plenty of options. This side has 1 on/off switch and two volume controls for the Centre speakers and the Bass Vibration.

 

The other side of the remote has 2 more volume controls for the Front and Rear channels, each control goes from 0 to 10.

Moving to the headset itself, we find a flexible microphone that includes noise cancelling technology for crystal-clear voice transmission.

Each ear cup rotates 90 degrees outwards and folds inwards making them very easy to store away which is especially useful for gamers who take their own peripherals to LAN parties for instance.

The ear cups are made of a soft fabric style padding which make them extremely comfortable to wear especially for long periods of time.

The headband is also well padded, and is fairly springy to help it fold up into a smaller space, perfect for fitting it into the carry case. They have also made it fairly obvious that its made by speedlink due to the rather large lettering on top.

The first thing we did when we got this headset, after plugging it in, was to sit down and watch a good film. This was to test the surround sound and sound quality aspects of the headset, as well as the general comfort and usability of the headset. We then tested this headset during several skype conversations to check the quality of the headsets’ microphone and the noise cancellation system.

The surround sound of this headset is very impressive, and while not the best we have tried it is certainly in the same league. Due to the use of 4 speakers in each ear cup the headset is able to produce a fairly encompassing sound which during films and games allows you to know exactly where the sound is coming from. It did however feel that everything was very close, as if you had 5.1 surround sound set-up in a very small room, or you were fighting in a broom cupboard, the range and depth of sound was just not there when compared with other headsets. The sound quality was also fairly good with a nice tone and decent balance of bass, although when needed the bass can really pack a punch which is very impressive for this size headset.

We also found that the noise cancellation and microphone worked well together and that during skype conversations we were heard very clearly, although we found it very easy to knock the microphone out of place as it rotates a bit too easily. The flexibility of the microphone is certainly useful as you can literally get it into any position you want.

In terms of comfort we found the Medusa Headset really excels, compared to other full 5.1  headsets it is extremely light and so after a few minutes you do forget you are wearing a headset. The ear pads are just the right size that they support some of the weight without crushing your ear and still block some of the external noises.

The price of this headset makes this one of the best value headsets we have ever seen and tested here at eTeknix. For just £48.60 you can have the full surround sound experience which does have pinpoint precision and impressive sound quality as well as punchy bass and full control over each channel. A perfect peripheral for everyones computer demands, whether a serious gamer or just wanting to enjoy films without annoying the neighbours, and at this price, we really couldn’t knock it.

Seagate GoFlex Upgrade Cables Overview

[wpcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””] We recently took a look at the Seagate GoFlex Ultra Portable Drive which for us came in the latest and greatest USB 3.0 form. However, the whole point of the GoFlex drives is that you can use whichever connection you want, and can, when a new interface is released (like USB 3.0) upgrade the drive. This makes a product very much future proof and is quite frankly a brilliant idea. It also means you can use it with multiple computers using multiple interfaces, and not have to separate drives for each computer.

While this is not a full review, we are going to take a look at the cables that come with the GoFlex range as well as cables that can be purchased separately.

There is obviously not much to these products and as such all look fairly similar with the only difference being the connector on the end of the cable. They all plug directly into the bottom of the Seagate GoFlex Drives and may require you to remove a pre-existing adapter which just clicks in place.

Included is also a warranty booklet and a quick start guide

The cables plug in to the bottom of the GoFlex drives:

Test Product

  • Seagate GoFlex UltraPortable 750GB Drive
Software Used:
  •  HDD Speed
  • Windows 7 Home Edition

 

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[wpcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””]Our results while not a strict benchmark give you some idea of the 4 main interfaces available to most consumers and how the speeds differ quite dramatically. We also found that while USB 3.0 is reported to be up to 10x faster than USB 2.0 we only saw a performance increase of ~4x this is of course most likely due to the maximum capabilities of this drive. That said, we do already know that this drive, when used with USB 3.0 is pretty quick, and beats most variations on the market.

The results of this performance have highlighted the reason why FireWire has struggled to take off commercially and is mainly due to the fact that it always seems to be a few steps behind and a more expensive interface – for instance, both eSata and USB 3.0 gave faster speeds even though the data throughput of FireWire is similar to that of USB 3.0

Now we turn to pricing and value for money, but we must remember that you must have already purchased some form of Seagate GoFlex device for these to be a viable upgrade/exchange. You are also able to purchase a GoFlex drive with the right interface for you, but then may still want a secondary interface for your laptop  for instance.

The Seagate GoFlex FireWire 800 cable retails at £13.18 on Scan.co.uk  where as the USB 3.0 retails at £11.48 on Scan.co.uk  and the cheapest of the options is currently the eSata which retails at £9.47 from Scan.co.uk .

In conclusion we do love the GoFlex range, the GoFlex drives are brilliantly simple and give impressive performance, and as the name suggests they give you the flexibility to chose which interface you want to use and how many (different)  interfaces you want to use allowing any Seagate GoFlex drive to be a brilliant companion for your laptop and computer.

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Antec Soundscience Rockus 3D 2.1 Speaker System

Speakers are a nearly necessary peripheral for your computer, but lots of users for various reasons spend quite a fair bit of money on such systems. We have found that either users buy a fairly cheap pair of speakers (or similar 2.1 system) or they splash out a decent amount of money and buy a full surround 5.1 system. We do as such wonder if there is a market for the more expensive 2.1 speaker systems. When most users think of speakers, we expect they will think of Logitech, or at the very least Creative. Certainly, Antec will be a surprise to most.

Soundscience, is a sub brand of Antec and has been created to produce speakers, audio components, video components and other accessories for PCs and while there range of products is fairly limiting they have certainly come out with a bang and a lot of fireworks with this product. Unlike other companies branching into the audio industry they have come out with a product that is both special and quite unique instead of trying to reproduce and improve products that have been on the market for years. The special feature with these speakers is the 3D feature, as well as being quite a powerful 2.1 speaker system with several inputs available including optical.

The question really is, do Antec and the new Soundscience brand have the expertise to produce great speaker systems that can rival the likes of Logitech and Creative and is this product the first of many amazing products.

Monday Affiliate Roundup

Cases:

Cooling:

Graphics:

  • ASUS GeForce GTS 450 Direct CU Silent Video Card Review @ TweakTown

Memory:

  • Crucial Ballistix 8GB DDR3 2000MHz CL9 Memory Kit Review @ Legit Reviews

Peripherals:

Power Supply:

Storage:

 

Saturday Affiliate Roundup

Cases:

Cooling:

  • Corsair Hydro Series H100 CPU Water Cooling Kit Review @ Legit Reviews
  • Corsair H100 Liquid CPU Cooler vs Corsair H80 and Antec H2O 920 Review @ HardwareHeaven.com

Memory:

Miscellaneous:

Motherboard:

  • GIGABYTE H61N-USB3 (Intel H61) Mini-ITX Motherboard Review @ TweakTown

Peripherals:

Power Supply:

Storage:

  •  Icy Dock MB882HX-1SB 2.5” SATA II SSD Xpander Hybrid Adapter Review @ Hi Tech Legion
  •  Kingston Wi-Drive 16GB Wireless Flash Storage for iOS Devices Review @ TweakTown

Coolit Domino A.L.C. CPU Cooler Review


While we love to bring you the latest reviews of products that have just come to market, sometimes we do need to take a step back and look at products that are already on the market and see why their products are having the success they are.

In this case, we are looking at a product that has been on the market for quite some time, but it is not till quite recently that the competition from Antec and Corsair has re-ignited the Liquid Cooling market. This Coolit Domino, is, if you like, a predecessor to the products we see today and as such we do expect that the newer products will have learnt from any mistakes Coolit may have made, but that’s not to say the Coolit might not offer better value for money or even superior performance.

Coolit are a well known company specialising in cooling systems for computers, encompassing CPU Cooling, GPU Cooling and other thermal products and have always tried to market products that differ from the norm, so lets see how the Domino performs in our tests.

Akasa Internal Cardreader with Bluetooth Review

If you look back several years, we all had Floppy Disk drives which were mostly of the 3.5″ form, and of course all cases had the 3.5″ bays at the front to take a floppy drive. Things have changed a lot since then, but not quite as much as you might expect.

While we all upgraded our optical drives from CD and then to CD-RW and eventually doing the same with the DVD format, the humble floppy disk drive did have a slow and painful death. Why would you need 1.44Mb of storage when you could use a 750Mb CD? Well Akasa have decided to take advantage of the fact that there are still lots of cases out there that have 3.5″ bays at the front, especially their own. However, instead of providing with a Floppy Disk Drive they have upgraded it to something that should be quite a bit more functional for most of you, an internal card reader. Everyone who has a camera or phone, or many other devices, will know the fun of memory cards, and while you can plug most phones and cameras into USB ports it is often a lot easier to take the memory card out and plug it into a card reader.

Akasa have as such provided us with a good array of media card support, they have gone for 6 different slots catering for all the popular brands and sub-brands of memory cards. On top of this, for extra functionality, they have added Bluetooth, which is never a cheap addition. In theory this allows you to connect your phone, headset and other devices directly to your computer without any wires.

We do however know, from experience, that Bluetooth can be very hard to get to work with a PC, and is often quite temperamental, so heres hoping Akasa have got it right.

Wednesday Affiliate Roundup

Cases:

Cooling:

Motherboards:

Peripherals:

Power Supply:

Storage:

Seagate Momentus XT Hybrid Drive Review

There are so many advantages to fitting the latest SSD into your laptop, including greatly improved battery life and performance, but the prices are still astronomical for any capacity compared to their mechanical counterparts. For instance, most people have at least 160 GB storage in their laptop when purchased, and the cost of an SSD replacement for this small capacity will cost you the best part of £200, which is a good share of the price of a new laptop.

There is however several alternatives to this problem, most people have resorted to fitting a more modest 60 GB or 96 GB SSD and then using either Network Attached Storage, Portable Drives or External Desktop Drives to expand their storage capabilities. This is still not a cheap solution and is a large compromise when you want to take your laptop places.

The alternative that we are looking at today however, is a combination of a Mechanical Drive and a Solid State Drive and I do mean this quite literally. You would expect that is the perfect compromise, up to 500 GB of total storage with the performance of an SSD, we certainly hope this is the case.

Saturday Affiliate Roundup

Cases:

Cooling:

Miscellaneous:

  • IOGEAR GUWIP204 Wireless USB Sharing Station Review @Missingremote

Peripherals:

Power Supply:

 

Friday Affiliate Roundup

Cases:

Cooling:

Graphics:

  • EVGA GeForce GTX 570 HD Classified Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
  • Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 Dirt 3 Edition OC Video Card Review @ TweakTown

Miscellaneous:

  • NVIDIA Talks PC Gaming Trends @ Techgage
  • AMD Lynx Platform (Llano A6-3650 CPU, ECS A75F-A Motherboard) Review @ Madshrimps 

Peripherals:

  • NZXT Avatar S Gaming Mouse Review @ TweakTown

Power Supply:

Storage:

  • WD My Passport Essential 500GB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive @ Legit ReviewsMach Xtreme Technology MX DS Turbo 120 GB SSD Review @ Hardware Secrets

 

Xebec Tech Itouchpad Diamond Wireless Keyboard with Track Pad Review

We at eTeknix do like to take a look at as many peripherals as possible, but we are especially keen to take a look at something a bit different and a bit more innovative. Today we have a productive that while it isn’t revolutionary in design or features, is certainly an inventive product, and one that we expect to be fairly popular.

While we have all grown up with the humble mouse and keyboard, with the invention of the laptop they had to find an alternative to the mouse, eventually the track-pad was formed (as well as other, less successful creations). While this was perfect for the laptop, the mouse still ruled for desktop PC’s, but what was to come with the development and increase in popularity of the HTPC or Media Centres. Surely you do want to have to use a desk or table for the computer hidden in your lounge.

Xebec certainly thought there was a market for such a product, and we certainly think they are right. As such they have created a keyboard and track pad very much like the ones you will be used to on your laptop, on top of that they aimed to make it look right at home with stunning looks and bold colour choices.

Wednesday Affiliate Roundup

Cases:

Cooling:

  • Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM CPU Cooler @ BCCHardware
  • Cooler Master NotePal X-Slim Notebook Cooler Review @ TweakTown
  • Contest For Three NZXT Havik 140 CPU Coolers @ Legit Reviews

Graphics:

  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 570 1280MB SOC Review @ APH Networks
  • His IceQX Radeon 6770 Videocard @ Rbmods

Memory:

  • Patriot G2 Series PC3-10666 32GB Kit Review @ TweakTown

Miscellaneous:

Motherboards:

Peripherals:

Power Supply:

Storage:

  • Super Talent TeraDrive CT3 120GB SATA 3 SSD Review @ The SSD Review
  • Kingston HyperX 240GB SATA 6Gbit/s SSD Review @ Techgage

 

Asus WL-330N3G 6 in 1 Wireless-N Mobile Router Review

While routers have never been essential, most people will have at least one in their house, especially with the rapid increase of wireless devices such as laptops, phones, tablets and lots more. Routers allow you to connect to several computers wirelessly or even via ethernet connections, allowing you to create a network with more than one computer. Lots of companies like Virgin Media and other ISPs provide routers with their broadband packages and as such some are installed and never seen again. While this is the simplest solution there are lots of improvements that can be made to a network, for instance, improving wireless coverage, which is where a second router or wireless bridge comes in handy.

ASUS have a very high reputation within the computing industry, especially with regards to motherboards. They do also produce netbooks, displays and various other computer peripherals, and they have been dabbling in networks for a while but without much notable success. We hope that they have with this device put their expertise to good use and have produced a good networking product, as we certainly know that they are capable of this.

The router we are looking at today combines 6 key features, including Access Point, Network Adapter, Wireless Router, Wireless Repeater and a Wi-Fi and 3G device that can share connections between several devices. This is certainly a lot of features, but we have often found this means it is less likely to work, or at least well.

The router is also classed as a Mobile Router, one of the first ever, with a footprint that is smaller than a credit card which should make it very easy to carry as it is pocket sized. They claim it is a full wireless router designed for those on the move, especially businessmen, commuters, students and mobile professionals.

 

Razer Black Widow Ultimate Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

Mechanical keyboards are certainly making a bit of a comeback and they are now a major part of the Gaming Industry. While they won’t replace keyboards for everyday use, their speed, and reassuring click is always going to be liked by Gamers.

Recently we have seen a lot more Mechanical Keyboards being produced, and several gaming-based companies are having a go. This is also not Razer’s first attempt at the Mechanical Gaming Keyboard as they produced the Razer Black Widow previously, so we do expect them to have made plenty of improvements worth of the ‘ultimate’ accolade.

The last mechanical keyboard we saw here at eTeknix was the Tt eSPORTS Meka Keyboard which featured the very popular Cherry MX Black switches. Razer have decided to go down a different route with their BlackWidow Ultimate Keyboard by using the Cherry MX Blue switches, which will hopefully give them the advantage in their bid to create the best mechanical gaming keyboard on the market currently.

Thursday Affiliate Roundup

Cases:

Cooling:

  • Cooler Master NotePal U Stand Notebook Cooler Review @ TweakTown
  • Thermaltake Frio OCK & Jing CPU Coolers Review @ Techgage
  • Akasa Venom Voodoo CPU Cooler Review @ Hardware Secrets

Memory:

  • Corsair Vengeance LP White PC3-12800 8GB Kit Review @ TweakTown

Miscellaneous:

  • AMD FX-8150 ‘Bulldozer’ Hits 8.4GHz and Breaks Overclocking World Record @ Legit Reviews
  • Thermaltake Dr.Power II Universal Digital PSU Tester Review @ TweakTown
  • Root Hacking the HP Touchpad Tablet PC @ Benchmark Reviews
  • Thermaltake DH 202 Touch Review – HTPC with Touch Panel @ HardwareHeaven.com

Motherboard:

  • GIGABYTE G1.SNIPER2 Intel Z68 Motherboard Review @ Legit Reviews
  • ASRock A75M-ITX (AMD A75) Motherboard Review @TweakTown

Peripherals:

Power Supply:

Storage:

Tuesday Affiliate Roundup

Cases:

Graphics:

  • Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 Vapor-X Video Card Review @ Hi Tech Legion
  • ASUS GTX560 Ti DirectCU II TOP Graphics Card Review @ OCIA.net

Miscellaneous:

  • Motorola XOOM Wi-Fi + Verizon Wireless Tablet PC Review @ Legit Reviews

Motherboard:

Peripherals:

Power Supply:

Storage:

Thursday Affiliate Roundup

Cases:

Cooling:

Miscellaneous:

  • Fostex HP-P1 Headphone Amplifier DAC @ techPowerUp
  • Hauppauge WinTV-DCR-2650 USB Dual CableCARD Tuner Review @MissingRemote

Motherboard:

  • MSI Z68A-GD80-G3 (Intel Z68) Motherboard Review @ TweakTown
  • ASUS Intel Z68 ROG Maximus IV Motherboard Reviews @ Legit Reviews
  • Gigabyte G1.Sniper2 Z68 PCI-Express 3.0 LGA1155 @ techPowerUp
  • ASRock Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen3 (Intel Z68) Motherboard Review @ TweakTown
  • ASUS P6X58E-Pro X58 Motherboard Review @ OCIA.net
  • EVGA Z68 SLI Motherboard Review @ Hi Tech Legion

Networking:

Peripherals:

Power Supply:

Storage:

  • Corsair Force GT SSD 120 GB reviewed @ Metku.net
  • Kingston HyperX 120GB SandForce SF-2281 Solid State Drive Review @ TweakTown
  • Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 240GB SATA 3 SSD Review @ The SSD Review
  • Patriot Wildfire 120GB Solid State Drive @ Pro-Clockers
  • Enermax Brick 2.5 inch USB 3.0 External HDD Enclosure Review @ Real World Labs

We apologise to our Affiliates that we have not been able to post all Affiliate news due to an email server error, everything is back to normal now.

Monday Affiliate Roundup

Cases:

Cooling:

  • Phanteks PH-TC14PE CPU Cooler Review @ Madshrimps

Graphics:

  • Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 Vapor-X OC 1GB Video Card Review @ TweakTown

Miscellaneous:

Peripherals:

Storage:

Akasa Flexstor DiskLink USB 3.0 Adapter Review

Recently we have seen several Hard Drive enclosures but today is the turn of something very similar, yet completely different. While that may be a bit of an exaggeration there are certainly quite a few differences. Today we are taking a look at the Akasa Flexstor DiskLink USB 3.0 Adapter, and it that, an adapter not an enclosure.

While you may be very familiar with enclosures, adapters are in lots of ways much simpler, easier to use and much more compact making them brilliant if you want to be able to pack them away in between uses. The Akasa Flexstor DiskLink is certainly no exception with rather tiny dimensions of 68.5 (W) x 42.6 (H) x 14.3 (D) mm, maybe its even the smallest device we have ever taken a look at.

Of course this Akasa Flexstor DiskLink takes advantage of the USB 3.0 Super Speed interface and as such should be able to deliver up to 10* the speed of USB 2.0 making it much better for file transfers and backing-up large amounts of data.

Wednesday Affiliate Roundup

Cases:

Cooling:

Graphics:

  • Gigabyte HD 6770 Silent Cell 1GB GDDR5 DirectX11 Video Card Review @ Hi Tech Legion
  • ZOTAC GeForce GTX 550 Ti AMP! Edition Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews

Memory:

  • Corsair Dominator GT 1.5v PC3-17066 8GB Kit Review @ TweakTown

Miscellaneous:

Motherboard:

Peripherals:

Power Supply:

Storage:

  • Western Digital Elements 2TB USB 2.0 Desktop External HDD @ BCCHardware
  • QNAP TS-559 Pro II Network Attached Storage Review @ APH Networks
  • OCZ Technology RevoDrive 3 X2 PCI-E 480GB SSD Review @ TweakTown
  • SilverStone SST-DC01B Network Data Center Review @ Legit Reviews

Sunday Affiliate Roundup

Cases:

Cooling:

Graphics:

  • ASUS GeForce GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews

Memory:

  • Corsair Vengeance 8GB Dual Channel DDR3 Memory Kit (CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9B) Review @ Overclockers Online

Miscellaneous:

Motherboard:

Networking:

  • Tp-link TL-WR1043ND Wireless N Gigabit Router @ Rbmods

Peripherals:

Power Supply:

Processors:

Storage:

  • Crucial M4 SSD Firmware Update (0009) Posted – Tests Display Definite Performance Increase @ The SSD Review
  • Runcore T50 mSATA SATA 3 (SF-2281) EXCLUSIVE Review – The Worlds First 6Gbps mSATA SSD Hits The Streets @ The SSD Review
  • Intel SSD 320 300 GByte Review @ Hardware-Mag.de
  • Plextor PX-M2 128GB SSD @ Hardwareoverclock.com
  • Corsair Force Series 3 – 240GB SSD Review @ HardwareHeaven.com
  • Apacer Handy Steno AH130 USB 2.0 Flash Drive Review @ Madshrimps
  • Thermaltake Max 5G USB 3.0 HDD Enclosure Review @ Tweaknews
  • Corsair Force 3 vs. Force GT 120 GB Solid State Drive Review @ Hardware Secrets