Phanteks Reveal RGB LED Motherboard to Chassis Adaptor

Does it bother you that your new RGB equipped motherboard is flashing on colour, but your chassis is showing something completely different? Then worry no more, as the latest accessory from Phanteks looks to solve all your colour synchronisation problems with one simple addition; the Phanteks RGB LED Adapter (PC-CB_RGB4P).

“With the current trend of motherboard’s customizable RGB LED lighting control, Phanteks today announced the Phanteks’ RGB LED Adapter for compatible motherboards that features RGB headers.” – Phanteks

Their new RGB LED adapter is a pretty simple solution to the problem, as it’s really just a cable that links the chassis lighting to that of your motherboards. The RGB adapter is compatible with the Aura (certified by Asus) series of boards, but will also work with any other RGB motherboard that includes a 4-PIN RGB header in the 12v GRB format. Simply attach this cable to the header, hook it into the compatible Phanteks chassis lighting and all your RGB delights from your motherboard will extend through the chassis lighting, helping you create a more unified effect. This also means that you’ll be able to control your chassis lighting from within your motherboards customization software.

The RGB LED Adapter is currently compatible with  the Phanteks Enthoo Luxe, Mini XL and P400. Of course, it’s expected that more models will be supported in the near future as and when they launch.

To make the deal even sweeter, you can get a free RGB LED Adapter if you purchase a compatible Phanteks chassis and motherboards that feature the RGB header before March 1st. Don’t worry though, as with prices of just 2.90EUR / £2, it’s not going to be expensive to pick one up yourself.

Do you have an RGB equipped motherboard in your chassis and do you like the idea of synchronizing the lighting between this and your chassis? Let us know in the comments section below.

Diamond Wireless Video Stream HD 1080P HDMI Review

Introduction


A great desktop or AV setup should simply work, with as few controls needed as possible, as few cables as needed, so that you can power it up and get on with the work or entertainment you desire, with as few problems as possible. Whether you’re wanting to take your work and throw it up on the big screen for a presentation, send your video output to a projector, take the movie or website you’re working with from your desktop to the living room, it doesn’t matter, you just want to be able to do it in a few simple clicks. The Diamond wireless display transmitter is one device that promises to be able to let you do just that, but is it any good?

“Wirelessly stream HD video and internet content to your HDTV. Now you can enjoy your home computer content and stream movies from sites like Hulu®, Netflix®, Boxee®, iTunes® and YouTube® from the comfort of your own living room. There is no need to buy bulky set top boxes that limit what you can watch. Simply connect your PC to your high definition television and watch quality digital content supporting 1080p resolution. It’s your TV and your PC wirelessly!”

I’ve had a little experience with wireless display technology in the past and it was woefully inefficient. There were lag issues, display quality problems, stutter, range issues, resolution limitations and more. However, that was a fair few years ago and wireless technology has improved greatly since then, so I’m eager to see how this device holds up.

  • Watch ANYTHING from your PC or laptop on a large flat panel TV
  • Simple and Easy installation
  • Supports 1080p Full HD
  • 5.1 Digital Audio
  • 3.5 MM 2 Channel Stereo
  • MULTITASKING – Watch TV while working on your PC or laptop
  • Stream presentations wirelessly to your HDMI or VGA projector
  • Stream photos, music library or Internet radio from your PC or laptop to your HDTV home theater
  • Up to 30 foot range
  • HDMI cable included

In the box, you’ll find everything you need to get you started. The power cable, a USB transmitter, the receiver box and a HDMI cable.

The USB adaptor is simple enough and will connect to your computer easily enough, the higher and more insight of the transmitter you can get it, the better.

The receiver box is nice and compact, a lot smaller than most streaming devices and it shouldn’t be hard to integrate into your home entertainment setup, or pop next to a device such as a projector. It’s also small enough that you could keep it stored in your laptop bag. On the end, you’ll find a VGA port, great for keeping it compatible with older projectors and displays.

Down the other side, you’ve got a power input port, Mini-USB, HDMI (1080p and 5.1 Digital Audio support) and a 3.5mm jack for external 2 channel audio.

Two indicator lights on one end, to show signal and power.

The aerial can be moved to help you find an optimal signal.

It can also be removed should you need to and it features a standard WiFi antenna port, so you may even be able to add your own aerial if you really wanted to, or simply replace it should you break the original.

Diamond USB 3.0 to Multi Display Adapter Review

Introduction


There’s no doubt in my mind that if you’re using a computer, you’re using a display of some sorts; a PC isn’t much use without one. Having a single display is fine for most people, it’s more than enough for working, gaming and whatever else you need. However, what if you need to expand your display setup even further? There are other display outputs on your GPU, or at least most graphics cards have more than one output. However, what if you find yourself in a situation where you have no more outputs available? If you have 1-3 displays setup for your system, or you run your spare output to a bigscreen TV or projector, you’ve got no room left to add another display to your setup, without adding another video card into the mix.

Of course, the real market for this device is for notebooks and tablets with a single display output. Most ultrabooks only have a single display output, if they have one at all! So being able to have a cost-effective connectivity solution could be a great solution for expanding your workspace.

The Diamond USB 3.0 to DVI/HDMI/VGA does exactly what it says on the box, it allows you to turn a USB 3.0 port into a video output, giving you as many more display ports as you could need, at a significantly lower price point than adding an extra dedicated GPU. Of course, there are some shortfalls to this, such as the solution may not be ideal for gaming, but for work and content creation, it could be the flexible solution you need.

Specifications and features

Product weight 0.10 lbs.
Package weight 0.65 lbs.
Product Dimensions 3.2(L) x 1.9(W) x 1.0(H) Inches
Package Dimensions 8.6 x 6.4 x 2.1 Inches

Connectors

DVI (Native)
DVI to HDMI (with included adapter)
DVI to VGA (with included adapter)
USB 3.0 Micro

Chipset

DisplayLink DL-3500

Number of Displays Supported

1 per BVU3500 adapter

Max resolution

2048 x 1152 and 1080P

HDCP

Yes, Protected video playback HDCP 2.0

In the box, you will find a USB 3.0 cable, the USB to DVI adaptor, a DVI to VGA adaptor and a DVI to HDMI adaptor; virtually any monitor you can think of should be able to connect with ease.

The main unit is simple enough, with the USB connection on the end and a small LED indicator on the top.

The DVI port is self-explanatory and what is nice to see is that all the connectors are gold-plated, so they should last a lot longer without corroding.

On the underside, you’ll find a small sticker with the product model number (UGA250000S REV.A) and four small screws should you need to open the device for repairs, which is very unlikely.

Both of the connectors are of a very high quality and come with metal thumbscrew fittings to ensure your cables don’t drop out; with the exception of HDMI, which is a self-supporting cable.

The HDMI connector may not screw into place, but the mount does swivel and twist, which should further ensure that your cable doesn’t get pulled from its fitting.

Asus PCE-AC68 802.11ac Dual-Band PCI Express Wireless Adaptor Review

Introduction


Following on from my review on Asus’ top performing wireless AC router, the RT-AC68U that we looked at not too long ago, it is only worth us taking a closer look at what makes this next generation wireless adaptor tick. Unless your laptop or desktop system has built-in wireless, there is one of two main options out there for you to choose from in order to add the freedom to your system that is wireless networking. The first of these methods is to get a USB based device which is a simple device with very little setup required – literally plug it in, install the driver and you’re away. In addition a USB adaptor is compatible with both notebook and desktop systems and they are not overly expensive either. Like most things though there is a downside to going down the USB path; whilst they are able to deliver some highly respectable levels of performance, the antenna is either very small, or internal to the adaptor and therefore signal strength can be an issue.

The second main path to go down when going wireless is go with a PCI Express add-on card; obviously there is the immediate downside in that you’re not going to shoehorn one of these into your notebook system – so it’s USB only on that one I’m afraid, but for the desktop system there are a couple of perks in going down this route. The first of these is that you don’t lose another USB port on the rear or front of your case, but more importantly the antennae are bigger and on the PCE-AC68 there are three of them with a magnetic base plate on offer to maximise the signal strength and speed of your connection to the router. Sounds good huh?

Inside the box alongside the brightly coloured card Asus give us a VIP warranty note, driver CD and quick setup guide, three external antennae, a magnetic base plate with a long SMA extension cable and a half-height PCI back plate.

Icy Dock ‘Black Vortex’ MB074SP-B 3.5” 4-in-3 Cage Review

Introduction


Over the last couple of years I’ve reviewed a fair selection of products from the Icy Dock catalogue, ranging from external drive enclosures such as the Blizzard and the MB559U3S SuperSpeed to a variety of SATA backplanes and drive bay adaptors including the FatCage MB155SP-B, MB971SP-B and MB994SP-4SB-1 Quad 2.5″ Backplane. Overall it’s a fair statement to say that they have a wide variety of angles covered and the tastes of many users fulfilled with their products, whether it be through the design or the functional capability. With so many items on offer, we are a little amazed to see that Icy Dock have once again come up with a new product and this time round the product is in principle a cooled multi-bay drive adaptor. Taking up three optical drive bays, the Black Vortex MB074SP-B is able to house four 3.5″ hard drives in an open air frame design, offering a quick and simple access to one or more drives whilst offering the benefit of active cooling through a front mounted 120mm fan.

Aside from a traditional 3.5″ hard drive, the Black Vortex is also compatible with a number of Icy Dock’s own 2.5″ to 3.5″  EZ-Dock and EZ-Adapter product ranges, allowing more than just a hard drive to be installed into the chassis. With so many drive bay adaptors and mounting solutions now available on the market from a number of vendors, the question stands to ask if we have enough options already available to cater every persons need, or does this unit really offer up the functionality that some users are after to mount and keep their drives cool.

Like any other Icy Dock product, the packaging is very informative with plenty of information about the cage on hand; detailing the units specifications, features and design. Inside the box things are a little more concise with a simple user installation guide and two sets of screws for fitting the brackets to each of the four drives and securing the framework into your chassis.

 [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ue1hnszk35E[/youtube]

Latest Club 3D SenseVision MST Hub Technology On Display At CeBIT 2014

Here we are once again at the wonderful Club 3D booth at CeBIT 2014, we’ve already brought you coverage of their superb Poker Series ’14 graphics cards and now we’ll be taking a look at their new SenseVision ranges.

Sense Vision comes in the form of Club 3D’s Multi Stream Transport (MST) Hubs and allows you to stream video to multiple displays via a single Display Port connection. We actually reviewed one of their most recent models a few months ago and you can read that detailed review right here.

The new hubs as well as some prototype ones that we take a closer look at in the video below allow you to expand your desktop with relative ease, outputting video, audio, USB power and more from a single Display Port. This can be from your compatible graphics card or from any other compatible device such as the Microsoft Surface Pro 2, which can its self power up to three external displays, allowing you access to a highly versatile desktop environment without the need for a full system.

Below Club 3D talk us through their latest MST Hub products that will be hitting the market in 2014, enjoy the video and stay tuned for more coverage from both Club 3D as the rest of CeBIT 2014.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fapmW0yZPjk&feature=share&list=UUb9tDXXfM-REtXni2MOpwgA[/youtube]

Club 3D Display Graphics Products And Power Supplies At CeBIT 2014

While we love taking a look at the ultra-high performance ranges of graphics cards, it’s often easy to forget that their the play things of a small part of the market as your average consumer typically buys into the low and mid ranges. On Display are three mid range cards, the AMD Radeon 280X which has been treated to a new cooler, the R9 270 which now features the popular Coolstream cooler, great for reducing noise and temperatures when compared with the stock AMD offerings and the HD7800 series, which also features Coolstream and is still a popular choice for those wanting to power three displays via Eyefinity.

Further down the range we also have the entry-level cards and while they may not be power houses suitable for modern games, the HD 6450 series cards are perfect for HTPC users as they can operate multiple displays at high-resolution while operating completely silent, this also makes them perfect for professional or business computers. The Radeon R7 250 offers a little more power and features a semi-passive cooler while also being suitable for lower end systems, HTPC / Media centre builds and business use.

Also on display you’ll notice a wide range of adaptor cables, while they may not be the most exciting products on earth they’re still very important. Club 3D have been earning a solid reputation for their connectivity devices, especially their MST hubs while we discussed earlier today in an interview with Club 3D and having devices such as their DisplayPort hubs, as well as a range of connectors means you should have no issue hooking almost any display type or configuration into your Club 3D graphics card or similar compatible device.

Finally we have two of their new power supplies which come in semi-modular and non-modular formats, offering great value for money for the mid range markets and high end gaming markets. Club 3D were kind enough to spare us some extra time to talk about all of these products and their uses in yet another great video interview which you can check out below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OJ-AlCmagU&list=UUb9tDXXfM-REtXni2MOpwgA&feature=share&index=2[/youtube]

We’ve got plenty more coverage to bring you this week from CeBIT 2014, so stay tuned for even more updates from many of the top manufacturers at this years event.

Silverstone SST-EP02 USB3.0 to SATA Adaptor & SST-MS07 HDD/SSD Case Review

Introduction


In the consumer market, there are a number of manufacturers that cover more than one market segment and this in most situations ranges from chassis to coolers and power supplies, fans and also solid state drives and memory as well. Silverstone is a good example of a vendor that covers a broad range of market segments with their sleek and stylistic chassis, solid power supplies, fans and so forth, but what they have in their catalogue as well as this main spread of products is one of the widest range of accessories out there when compared their competitors. These accessories range from simple fan adaptors, to fans and dust filters, mobile accessories, notebook coolers and on top of that; drive adaptors and accessories for solid state and hard drives externally as well.

The two items that I’m looking at today are just a small sample of what is on offer and like a number of individual products, these are designed to be paired together, resulting in one complete accessory, although they can also be bought separately if desired.

We’ve seen countless times before and mainly at the big trade shows that external storage is a vital sector of the market as we are demanding larger and larger capacity drives that are easy to take from one place to the next with very little effort needed. In a nutshell the customisable enclosures have to be drop dead simple to use and inexpensive to purchase at the same time whilst also offering a decent amount of performance. They may not seem like a worthwhile item to stock in a shop or to manufacture as a whole, but take them away and you’ll soon see the demand for them grow.

Both the EP02 and the MS07 each come in a simple package, with the MS07 no more than just the cover in a plastic pack with a card backing while the EP02 comes packaged in a windowed box to show off the adaptor whilst the cable and manual sit behind. Both boxes give a quick run down on the key aspects of each item including their dimensions, weight and compatibility whilst the design is just as we would expect from Silverstone – simple and to the point.

Diamond Unveil Their Latest Connectivity Devices At CES 2014

As we take a look around the various suite and stands at CES, we always want to expand the number of vendors that we work with and this year sees us meeting up with the team at Diamond Multimedia. Now going by just the name alone we would expect Diamond to be showcasing products for the home entertainment market as well as the business sector, however as we find, presumptions such as this should not always be made.

It turns out that Diamond make quite a large number of wireless products as well as various other connectivity devices for the home along with the graphics cards that Pete took a look at during our suite tour.

Wireless range extenders – as I’ve detailed in the past – are one of the easiest ways of filling in any wireless dead spots in the home, especially those which have solid walls as I’ve personally found out. Whilst some range extenders simply do little more than just extend the range of the network coverage, Diamonds wide range of items pack a variety of additional features to add extra functionality and convenience along the way.

The WR300NR range extender as seen to the left in addition to extending a wireless network, also packs in the full functionality of a wireless router with two Ethernet ports on its underside of WAN and LAN connections. For for some users who are always on the go, carrying around a bulky router is simply not practical and this compact unit packs everything into a single unit for convenience and portability.

In addition to wireless range extenders, another way of connecting to locations together in the home is over a powerline network. Since the early days of powerline – where I had little faith in the technology (to be perfectly honest) – the number of vendors offering up powerline kits has expanded considerably, especially as the technology has been refined and made more reliable. Diamond had two powerline kits on show in their suite; the HP500AV which offers up a 500Mbps link speed for a simple point-to-point connection and the HP500WEK (as seen below) which, in addition to the specs of the kit above, also features a wireless range extender to give the benefit of powerline technology to both wired and wireless devices.

The last networking device we see on show stands out from the crowd – not because of its functions, but due to its bright red colour. It’s safe to say that Diamond want this router to stand out from the crowd and whilst it is not available on the market as of yet, the WRD7000 packs all the features that we would expect any wireless router to pack these days, along with two USB3.0 ports for connecting external storage devices or printers to the router for sharing across the network.

Moving along from the network devices and accessories, Diamond also have a host of display adaptors to show off, including a USB to DVI adaptor which easily allows for a secondary display to be connected to the likes of a ultrabook or laptop with a single display output.

Whilst VGA outputs are a rare sight on most desktop systems these days, we still tend to find them cropping up on tv’s and projectors and when we look at the latter – in most cases projectors are mounted to a ceiling and bridging the gap with a cable is not always practical. The ‘WPCTVPRO’ solves this conundrum with a simple two-piece kit that comprises of a wireless enabled VGA adaptor and a USB adaptor for the host device to connect to. Like the USB adaptor above, this adaptor is sutable for virtually any desktop system, whether it has a display output on it or not.

Moving away from display adaptors and back over to network adaptors, I find yet another item that pulls my attention as something a little different. Alongside a USB to Gigabit LAN adaptor, Diamond also have an Ethernet adaptor combined with a SuperSpeed USB3.0 hub giving the benefit of a Gigabit Ethernet port on ultrabooks or systems such as a Macbook Air, but also an additional set of USB ports for connecting cameras, and storage drives to. Like everything else that I’ve seen here from Diamond Multimedia, it is simple yet practical.

The last item that I found in the Diamond suite has certainly stirred my interest. Whilst the concept of a laptop docking station is not new – Dell for example have been providing their own proprietary units for a number of years now – many users today, turn to laptops as their main workstation and by the time we take a secondary monitor, network, and other peripherals into account, the number of cables that we need to connect up becomes quite an inconvenience. Add on the fact that ultrabooks are becoming more and more popular and we also realise that there is not the same range of connectivity options on hand to work with. This is where the DS3900 comes in to play. Through a single USB3.0 connection, this docking station provides four USB2.0 ports, Gigabit LAN, HDMI, DVI on the rear and on the front, two USB3.0 ports and dual 3.5mm ports for microphone and headphone connections; all in all, everything that most users will need to get their desk connected – all through a single USB cable. This is something that I’m eager to get in for review and I’ll certainly be contacting Diamond after the show to get a sample arranged.

Stay tuned as we have still more content for you to see from our sweep around the Diamond Multimedia suite and the rest of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Netgear A6200 Dual-Band USB Wireless AC Adaptor Review

Introduction


Just over a week ago I took a look at one of Netgear’s latest Smart WiFi routers to roll off the production line and into the real-world. The R6250, like many of Netgear’s latest routers, offers up the latest in WiFi technology with Gigabit wireless connections and also beamforming+ technology to ensure the connected devices get the fastest and best signal as possible. When we look at the latest wireless standard – 802.11ac – at this moment in time, there isn’t actually that many devices on the market that can connect using the AC standard. Whilst a number of devices can ‘see’ the AC networks (which run at 5GHz), in most instances they will actually be connecting through the 802.11n standard as that is the fastest they can go.

For the most part, running at wireless-n speeds is going to be fast enough for the average household and considering the fact that pretty much everything runs to this standard these days, many people don’t feel that there is a need to go that bit further. For those the do want to take things up a notch and push towards the world of Gigabit wireless, the AC standard is where the speed is. As we’ve seen recently, the routers the support AC are readily available in the market place and now we are starting to see the add-in wireless adaptors crop up too. As a result I have taken the opportunity to start testing routers that we have in for review at the new AC standard, and the A6200 wireless adaptor from Netgear is what I will be using.

When we get on to the testing stage of this review, some will note that the performance results look very similar to those found within the R6250 review and you would be right – they are. The simple reason for this is because of the router that I opted to use for the testing of this adaptor, on both the 5GHz band, but also on the 2.4GHz band. In the same way that I used this adaptor to test the R6250 router, I was also recording down the performance for the A6200 at the same time as this was the only router that I had to hand that would be able to deliver the bandwidth required.

Inside the box and alongside the wireless adaptor, Netgear include a few bits of paperwork including a quick setup guide, along with a CD with the drivers and Netgear Genie software and a USB dock come extension lead.

The A6200 is one of Netgear’s premium wireless adaptors offering up both the fastest possible speed and features.

TP-Link TL-PA551KIT AV550+ Gigabit Powerline Kit With AC Passthrough Review

Introduction


In the grand scheme of networking vendors, TP-Link is not going to be the first brand amongst the big players that one would normally think of, but this is not to say that they are a small company. For a number of years, the Shenzhen based company has been making networking products ranging from un-managed switches, through to routers, wireless adaptors enterprise level managed switching gear. With the recent introduction of powerline technology, its only to be expected that powerline adaptors are going to be a part of their growing catalogue of products.

The 500Mbps kit that I’m going to take a look at today is not the first powerline kit to come out of the TP-Link production line, with a 200Mbps kit already available, but this kit sees faster speeds with a [up to] 500Mbps link speed and Gigabit Ethernet on each plug. Another feature that the TL-PA551 offers up is AC pass through which as simple as it sounds, allows the plug to still be used whilst the powerline does its work.

For those of you out there that follow my reviews, I hope you recall the time when I was very hesitant about powerline technology but with this view very much reversed, it seems I’ve grown a soft spot for it, as it can easily link different areas of a house together with ease and with no fuss – with some kits on offer that eliminate WiFi black spots or remove the need for wireless extenders altogether. This kit though with its AC pass through and Gigabit Ethernet ports is already looking to me to be a great option as it has the prospect to give a more than adequate throughput speed whilst still allowing the plug to be used for another electrical device.

TP-Link off this particular model in two SKUs, the first is a single plug which can extend an existing TP-Link powerline set-up even with 200Mbps models as they are full backwards compatible. The second variation and the one I have here to look at is a starter kit with two plugs and two cables. Also included is a set-up CD with the Powerline Utility, a user manual and a leaflet for some of TP-Link’s other products.