Enermax MAXPRO 500w Power Supply Review

Introduction


Enermax makes some of the best PSUs money can buy, that much is no secret. Only recently we reviewed the Enermax DIGIFANLESS 550W PSU and we honestly think it’s one of the best power supplies we’ve ever tested! It set the bar pretty high and while the unit we’re testing today is a little further down the price ranges, I’m still eager to see if it delivers the same uncompromising performance we’ve seen from Enermax products in the past.

The MAXPRO is designed to be a little more cost-effective, so it strips away the premium packaging, there are no modular cables and it only offers standard 80 Plus efficiency, which doesn’t sound that great, but from what we’ve been told, it makes up for this with rock solid build quality and great performance. Designed for demanding systems, the MAXPRO will run stable & safe 24/7 @ 40c operation, which is certainly better than most. IT comes with all the safety regulations you could hope for, a high-quality 12cm fan for virtually silent operation, it’s Haswell ready and much more.

As I said before, the packaging is pretty basic, but at the end of the day, a box is just a box and that’s a little extra cost saving for the consumer.

In the box, you’ll find the mains adaptor, a simple user’s manual and some mounting screws; not much, but it’s literally all you’re going to need.

Turtle Beach Impact 500 TKL Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

Introduction


It’s been a very interesting time for Turtle Beach, with the revealing their new desktop peripherals at CES 2015, we’re now very excited to have them in the eTeknix office. We’ve already looked at their new gaming nice, the GRIP 500 and the GRIP 300, as well as their full-size mechanical keyboard, the IMPACT 700. Today, we’ve got their first Ten Keys Less (TKL) keyboard, the Impact 500.

“The Turtle Beach IMPACT 500 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard for PC and Mac combines precision and power in a minimalist, tenkeyless keycap layout for minimum distance and smaller keyboard footprint. For that sharp, tactile feel, the Impact 500 features Cherry Blue MX mechanical switches that deliver gold-standard responsiveness. Six-key rollover with full anti-ghosting means fast-moving fingers can control games without the fear of missed moves and dropped instructions. And a rubber-coated, steel reinforce chassis provides rock-solid stability in a small footprint occupying less space on your desktop.”

TKL keyboards are very popular with LAN gamers, as they’re much easier to chuck in your bag and transport. They’re also great for those who don’t rely on the number pad, as their compact size frees up a huge amount of space no your desk, which means more room to move your mouse, so they’re perfect for those with limited desk space too.

The Impact 500 TKL comes equipped with the very popular Cherry MX switches, in this case, we have Cherry MX Blue on our sample.

In the box, you’ll find the keyboard, a detachable braided USB cable and a quick start guide.

The keyboard design is pretty straight forward, but not so basic that it is boring, as there’s no doubt that this is still a very nice looking keyboard.

The keyboard is a little heavy, as is the case with most mechanical keyboards. It feels pretty rugged and very well made overall, so it should stand up to lifetime of abuse from those long gaming sessions and LAN events.

The 500 has a slight slope to its design, with a slow curve on the key layout from front to back; this should provide you with a comfortable typing position, but it can be raised further with the kickstands at the back.

The key caps are of a very good quality and they don’t bottom out on the chassis of the keyboard, giving you nothing but the tactile sensation of the MX Blue switch when you’re typing.

There’s an Fn-Shift function on the Impact 500, this gives you access to some basic multimedia, volume and windows lock keys along the top of the keyboard.

There’s also a small LED light on the Windows Lock/F9 key so you can see when this feature is enabled.

To keep the exterior bezel to a minimum, the CAPLK and SCRLK indicators are located just above the INS and HOME keys, further helping to save desk space, without compromising on key spacing or the need to make the chassis bigger.

The arrow keys are located quite close to the corner, but since the keyboard is rather slim here, you won’t need the use of a wrist rest. The keys are slightly recessed into the body of the keyboard too, giving you an even slightly lower design overall.

The trim around the keyboard is nice and clean with no ports or anything on show.

 

There’s a cable track on the underside of the keyboard, allowing you to take the USB cable out the left, right or back of the keyboard.

The Mini-USB connector is recessed under the keyboard, so it’s unlikely you’ll accidentally pull the cable out of its fitting.

Here you can see the cable attached to the keyboard; nice and simple.

There’s four rubber grips on the underside of the IMPACT 500, so it won’t slide around your desk while you’re gaming. There’s also two small rubber grips on the kickstands so you don’t lose the grip when using the extra feet.

Turtle Beach Grip 500 Laser Gaming Mouse and Drift Mouse Mat Review

Introduction


At the start of this year, we visited Turtle Beach at CES 2015 and one thing in particular caught our attention, keyboards and mice! Turtle Beach has a long history of creating gaming focused headsets for a wide range of formats, but until now, that’s pretty much all they’ve done. Now, just a few months after they were first revealed, Turtle Beach are looking to tackle the PC gaming market with a range of keyboards and mice.

“The Turtle Beach Grip 500 laser gaming mouse is an ergonomically engineered, illuminated 7-button scroll wheel mouse that uses premium components such as Avago 9800 laser sensors and Omron switches to deliver steady, precise gaming control. It packs a number of powerful features, including the ability to customize performance, change illumination settings, program all seven buttons and the scroll wheel, plus create up to 50 complex macros with up to 100 commands each and then assign them to any button. They can then be saved into five different colour-coded profiles, loaded into on-board memory and changed on the fly.”

It certainly has all the hallmarks of a good gaming mouse, with all the features you would expect, but what we really want to see, is how it feels and how it performs, so let’s get right to it and take a closer look.

For the purpose of this review, Turtle Beach also sent me one of their new DRIFT mouse mats, I don’t typically review these, as they’re really down to user preference, but it seems like it’ll be a nice match for the GRIP 500 mouse.

For those looking at this mouse at retail, there’s a cut-away section that allows you to test the buttons, scroll wheel and feel the finish on the mouse.

In the box, you’ll find the GRIP 500, which comes hard-wired with a lightweight cable and the instruction booklet; not the most comprehensive bundle, but it’s really all you need.

The cable is of a good quality, no gold-plated connector, but honestly, you really don’t need it to be gold anyway.

The main panels of the GRIP 500 have been treated to a grippy soft-touch rubber. This is quite common on gaming mice these days, as it gives improved grip, a stealthy aesthetic and it’s often quite resilient to scratches and easy to keep clean.

Down the left side, you’ll find three switches, which just like the rest of the switches, are fully programmable. They’ve got a nice light tactile click to them that gives them a nice responsive feel.

The rear of the mouse sweeps out a little at the base on both the left and right sides, giving a nice ergonomic shape that fits the palm of your hand well.

There’s a slight curve to both the left and right mouse buttons, providing a stable finger resting position and combined with the grip coating, the mouse feels just as adept at both palm rest and claw grip play-styles.

There’s a single toggle switch behind the scroll wheel that can be used for DPI, or anything else you wish since it’s also fully programmable. The scroll wheel is very low set in the mouse body, but it is quite big and features a very grippy coating and ridges that make it very easy to manipulate.

A small Turtle Beach logo at the back, which will look nice when powered up thanks to some internal LED lighting.

The 500 GRIP, contrary to its name, glides exceptionally well on both soft and hard gaming surfaces, that’s to its slip-mats and its relatively lightweight design.

Turtle Beach Stealth 500X Xbox One Headset Review

Introduction


One of the main problems with wired headsets is the wire, having it trail from your headset to your console, or even from the headset to a controller adapter can be a real pain. The wire can limit your freedom and even snag on your clothing. If you suffer from any of these issues, then there’s only one perfect solution for it; a wireless headset.

The Stealth 500X is the latest wireless headset from Turtle Beach. It has been designed to work with Xbox One without the need of a controller adapter and it’ll even work on your Mac or PC should you want to update its firmware, download extra profiles and other settings.

“No controller adapters, no cables, just completely wireless DTS Headphone: X 7.1 Channel Surround Sound that puts you in the center of the action. Designed for Xbox One, the powerful Ear Force® Stealth 500X delivers incredible interference-free wireless audio and chat through a comfortable, functional headset design. The Stealth 500X also includes a mobile cable for making calls, mobile gaming or for connecting a phone to get text or call notifications while gaming.” – Turtle Beach

The headset comes equipped with a pair of powerful 50mm drivers, a removable omni-directional microphone, intelligent channel-hopping wireless, DTS Headphone X, a 15-hour rechargeable battery and a whole lot more. To cater to much of this, the headset comes with a USB base unit for the wireless transmitter, a mobile 3.5mm cables, a USB charging cable and a 6ft TosLink optical cable.

The base unit isn’t the prettiest bit of tech ever, but it is very practical and it’s small enough to snug into your AV setup without causing too much distraction. Although you may want to keep it within reach, as there are a few handy controls down the side for picking presets.

Around the back, you’ll find that the main USB cable is hard-wired. What I am happy to see is optical pass-through, perfect for having it setup to run through your home AV system and the headset without having to swap any cables.

The 500X is fairly typical of Turtle Beach design, light weight, durable, while matte black plastics make up the bulk of the construction of the headset. There’s some green trim on the drivers to liven up the design and there’s some nice green stitching on the headband material.

Each ear cup has some control buttons on the back. Here you can see the microphone and chat controls, although there’s also a volume dial on each side and a microphone mount. I’m not sure about the microphone mounting, while it will be great for folding the up out of the way once installed, it looks a bit rubbish having that plastic bit stuck on the side of the headset.

On the underside, you can see a 3.5mm jack which can be used for hooking the headset up to your mobile device. On the right, there’s also a mini-USB port for charging the headset.

The headband has lots of padding on it, with a nice level of grip to it, so it should be comfortable and stay firmly in place for those long gaming sessions.

As with most modern headsets, the drivers are rotatable. This will help provide a good fit over your ears and help with wearing them around your neck between games.

The boom microphone is flexible and has a soft foam tip to help reduce unwanted noise.

The Craziest Car Stereo You’ve Ever Seen

CES is nothing but a distant memory amongst many of us, but there still are loads of gadgets, gizmos and interesting products still coming out of the woodwork.

Take this one for instance, probably the most ridiculous car ‘stereo’ you’ve ever seen. The Hertz Audio Fiat 500 “Pole Dance” is essentially a Fiat 500 with more speakers fitted in it than your average concert arena. The car is absolutely loaded with nothing but speakers – from the dashboard to the doors, to the walls, to the boot.

meade916 who posted the video bellow on YouTube says “No, i don’t know if it actually drives” – I would certainly like to find out!

Source: meade916 on YouTube

Rumors Indicate That March Update For Win8.1 Could Bypass Start Screen Automatically

It seems that there are some interesting news about the upcoming Windows 8.1 update scheduled for March. Wzor.net reported that it could bypass the Start screen by default and boots directly to the desktop. Windows 8.1 already allows users to bypass the Start screen, of course, but users have to enable that option themselves. Booting to the desktop automatically would roll back one of the most controversial changes introduced in Windows 8.

There have been reports from The Verge that users “can’t always replicate the boot to desktop changes,” so it’s unclear if Microsoft’s backpedaling will stick. Booting to the desktop automatically could be reserved for machines that lack Metro-friendly touchscreen interfaces. Microsoft is reportedly implementing several other changes aimed specifically at keyboard and mouse users, and booting to the desktop certainly makes sense for that audience. That should probably be the default behavior for any system that isn’t a tablet or convertible.

Other tweaks include more scaling options for high-PPI displays, allowing OS elements to be blown up to as much as 500% of normal size. There are currently sizing options up to 500% in the control panel, though the layout of the interface is slightly different from what’s pictured in Wzor’s screenshots. Windows 8.1 still has scaling issues on high-PPI displays. Making the OS and applications work better with higher pixel densities should be a priority for Microsoft, especially with a wave of cheaper 4K monitors destined to hit desktops in the coming months. We’re starting to see more and more Windows notebooks and tablets with high-PPI displays, too, but the software support just isn’t there yet.

Thank you Tech Report for providing us with this information

MechWarrior Online Releases Stupidly Overpriced, $500 Mech Skin

I’ve seen my fair share of crap DLC over the years, some over priced, some that simply were not fun, but this latest one from the creators of Mech Warrior Online is beyond insanity. They actually expect people to pay a staggering $500 for a gold mech, keeping in mind that this doesn’t offer you any special abilities, weapons, boosters, stats, not a damn thing, it’s just a texture replacement.

Even huge online games such as DOTA and LOL don’t have things priced this stupid, at least not officially and the fact that Mech Warrior doesn’t have the biggest player base to even get away with an offer like this. The game isn’t even official out until this fall, and this price tag just stinks of money grabbing and it saddens me that the developers ever through this was a good idea.

Literally the only thing worse than a company charging $500 for a mech skin in a free-to-play game is anyone who is stupid enough to waste such a large amount of money on something so pointless. Micro transactions are one thing, and the usual $5 to $30 packages would typically satisfy most who stuck with the game for some time. Yet the introduction of new packages priced at $240 and $500 are an insult to the gaming community as some free-to-play games are quickly becoming the most expensive games ever!

I’d love to hear our readers feedback on this one, so feel free to sound off in the comments section below.

Thank you Forbes for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Forbes.

CM Storm Ceres 500 PC, Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3 Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


Today we take a look at one of the most important CM Storm products in years, not only because it is the first time they’ve released a product that is for consoles, but also because it marks a big shift in the industry where all these huge peripheral companies are supporting pro gaming, eSports and LAN events, which are common stomping ground for console gamers. CM Storm have been equipping their teams with CM Storm branded hardware for years, but when it comes to console gaming, they haven’t got a thing to offer them, that is of course about to change.

The Ceres 500 is CM Storms first multi format gaming headset, giving support for Xbox, PlayStation and of course PC in one happy package. It’s almost been a year since I reviewed the PC-only Ceres 400 and I remember being impressed with their performance given that they were priced at just £40 here in the UK. If the Ceres 500 can take things to the next level from the Ceres 400 then we should be in for a great review.

Specifications are pretty decent here and large 40mm drivers should provide plenty of punch, connectivity is handled by a mixture of 3.5mm jacks/USB and there are a few extra features thrown in such as an in-line controller and removable microphone.

The packaging looks pretty neat and tidy, with a side panel cut-out allowing for a sneaky peak at the side of the left ear cup.

The back of the box is packed with information about the ear cup padding, folding design and the multiple connection options that allow for multi-format use.

In the box I found a 3.5mm to RCA pass through cable, as well as a quick setup guide and user guide.

GTA Online Players To Get $500,000 In GTA$

As a compensation to the players who have had to deal with Grand Theft Auto Online’s technical issues, Rockstar has announced that they will be giving half a million GTA$ (the in-game currency) into the players’ GTA Online bank accounts in two “payments”.

Although they still have to maintain an economic balance in the current game world-wide economy, they will be providing the GTA$ is two deposits of $250,000 each. An announcement regarding the deposit dates  is to be published next week, along with the first deposit ( hopefully ). Rockstar officials have also said that the second deposit of a quarter of a million is to be made available next month.

“For players who experienced cloud server errors, connection issues, and lost game progress and characters in these first days of GTA Online, we hope this GTA$ helps to facilitate a fresh start or makes your continued life in Los Santos and Blaine County extra sweet.”

Here are a few details on who will get the deposits and how it will work;

· You must play or have played Grand Theft Auto Online at any time during the month of October 2013 in order to qualify for the GTA$500,000 deposit in your in-game bank account.
· Players will first have to install a forthcoming GTAV title update which we expect to happen next week. That title update (1.04) is expected to fix the remaining instances of issues that have caused vehicle purchase loss and will also enable the functionality through which we’ll be providing this GTA$ stimulus cash to players.
· We will announce at the Rockstar Newswire when each deposit is made.
· Each of the two GTA$250,000 deposits will be made by Rockstar and should automatically appear in the in-game GTA Online bank accounts of eligible players. Beyond downloading the forthcoming title update mentioned above, there should not be any additional special action required by eligible players to redeem.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing this information.

Image courtesy of NextPowerUp.

Netgear XWNB5201 500Mbps Powerline WiFi Access Point Review

Until a few months ago, I had quite a large reservation against the principle of powerline technology and up until this point I was hard fought when it came to recommending it. Thankfully though Netgear was able to change all this with the XAVB5201 kit and since then I’ve been totally converted and I can at last put my trust in the technology.

To move on from the simple principle of wired networking, where else is there to go? well the obvious answer is to eliminate the wires and this then in a way questions why one would want to use a powerline kit. Well in many instances wireless has its downfalls mainly due to signal coverage and speed and this is hence why signal boosters and wireless repeaters are available on the market. Truth be told though, wireless extenders still have their pro’s and con’s, the main one being loss of speed and increased ping. When I looked at Netgear’s WN1000RP, it did great in improving the range of my wireless network, but there was a notable drop in speed at the same time which is something that most repeaters do suffer from in varying degrees.

So this is where Netgear’s powerline WiFi Access point comes into play. Simply put it gives the best of both worlds with a point-to-point wired powerline, but also on the remote end, the plug also houses a wireless module that allows users to connect, well – wirelessly. By having the remote access point connected to the powerline directly, there is – in theory – no major loss in wireless performance.

Accompanying the two plugs that make up the powerline kit, Netgear also bundle in a pair of CAT5e patch leads, an installation guide, resource CD and conformity paperwork.