MSI Unveils Aluminium Gaming Mousepad

MSI has announced two anodized aluminium-based gaming mousepads which withstand a great deal of stress during intense gaming sessions. The rigorous construction cannot be bent and held in place with four strong rubber feet. Additionally, the L-shaped design allows for maximum flexibility when positioning the mousepad in the most comfortable position. This indent means it’s possible to almost slot your keyboard into the gap which makes for a cleaner workspace.

The aluminium gaming mousepad measures 320mm x 225mm x 2mm with a total weight of 386g. There will be two versions, a smooth surface for quick mouse movements, and a textured finish containing higher friction for precise tracking. As you can see, the different surfaces also adopt a unique aesthetic style. One utilizes a subtle MSI gaming logo while the other revolves around the gaming dragon design.

The official price hasn’t been revealed yet and I’m interested to see how expensive each mousemat is. Personally, I prefer the soft touch on cloth mousepads which use a thick layer of fabric. However, an aluminum design prevents fraying and adds a great deal of rigidity. It should be fairly easy to clean too.

Do you think buying a premium mousemat is worth the price?

Lian-Li DK-01 Aluminium Desk Chassis Review

Introduction


Not all chassis’ are created equal, that much we know already, but there are some that are so far ahead of the rest, its almost rude to call them a chassis at all. Lian-Li is no stranger to the extreme end of the PC market, having already created some incredible products that cost large sums of money, capable of housing everything from rendering workstations, to ultra-high-end gaming systems. Today, however, they’ve gone even further, creating a chassis that breaks from the usual bonds of a box that houses components, by creating a chassis that is also a fully fledged desk!

The DK-01X is big, it’s expensive, it’s packed full of features and it’s got more ultra high-quality aluminium in it than anything else I’ve ever reviewed. It’s also one of the most expensive chassis I’ve ever reviewed, actually it’s also the biggest chassis I’ve ever reviewed; let’s just say there’s a lot of new records being set today.

How expensive is this chassis you ask? A frighteningly expensive £734.99, near as makes no difference $1000 in the US! There’s a good chance that if you’re reading this review, you’re either just fascinated to see what this product is actually like, or you’re actually planning on buying one, either way, it’s going to be fun to test this thing, so let’s get to it!

Specifications are no issue here, as there’s room for the biggest and the best hardware on the market, with virtually no exceptions.

Unboxing of this monster took an hour, although that includes a little extra time to photograph each component. If you’re planning on building one of these things, you may want to set aside a full day. First out of the box, the two legs, which come pre-built and have the feet and runners already installed. They’re quite heavy too, but given what they have to support, that’s no bad thing.

They’re exceptionally well made and finished, with precision cut aluminium and a brushed black finish.

The runners are really nice, with excellent ballbearings that allow the rails to glide effortlessly.

All the screw holes and fittings are pre-drilled and all exposed screw holes are countersunk to provide a clean final product.

Overall, both very nice fittings and it’s nice that they’re already pre-built.

The base plate is a huge piece of aluminium. it’s thick, it’s heavy and it’s incredibly well finished. Admittedly, all the components are incredibly well finished, so let’s just take that for granted with every other component I will be showing you.

The top support arm.

The top panel, this is the one that the glass sits on top of and there are four cut-outs for fitting some rubber grommets that will grip the glass into place.

A thick sheet of tempered glass. This is easily the heaviest component of the chassis and one that proved to be quite a nightmare to get a photograph of.

The main section of the chassis comes pre-constructed with all major fittings already on the inside. This part alone is bigger than most chassis’ you’ll have ever used.

There’s a vast amount of space on the interior, so large motherboards, a huge power supply, ultra-long graphics cards and banks of storage and cooling should prove absolutely no issue for this chassis.

There’s several high-quality dust filters pre-installed, which feed clean air to the three 120mm fans that don each side of the chassis.

The dust filters lift right out without the use of tools, making maintenance a nice and easy task.

Ten expansion slots, each fitted with thumb screws and ventilated covers. There’s more than enough bays here to accommodate a quad GPU setup, or any other expansion cards you may require.

The power supply is mounted on its side and there’s a pair of rails to help lock it firmly into place; you can mount the PSU with the fan facing toward or away from the motherboard.

Behind the motherboard, you’ll find a large CPU cooler mounting cut-out, freeing up space for a thick backplate. All major stand-offs are pre-installed too, which should help make the motherboard installation a quick and easy process.

There’s a total of seven fans pre-installed in the DK-01, all of a high quality and all come fitted with metal fan blade guards to prevent wires from getting snagged; all the fans come with a standard 3-pin header.

Another large dust filter in the front of the chassis, with room for more fans or a radiator should you feel the need for them.

All the hard drive bays are completely removable, as is the optical drive bay towards the front; this is good news for those who want extra room for high-end water cooling components or other mods.

The optical drive bay is a slim-style, but also has room for an extra 2.5″ drive should you need it.

This tray can be slotted onto the front of the main chassis, giving you an extended space for your keyboard and mouse.

It can be installed tool free and just like everything else, it’s made from black brushed aluminium.

Also included in the box, a leather mat, which fits into the keyboard and mouse tray, giving you a much better surface than using your mouse on the aluminium.

The back panel cover is a nice bonus, as you can hide all your cables and plugs inside a rear hidden compartment of the chassis.

There’s three removable covers at the back, which can be used for monitor clamps and cable pass through.

An optional extra is included in the box, a storage area for things such as flash pens, controllers and a few pegs to hang your headsets and other accessories on.

 

If you want to use it, it’s simply a case of screwing it on to the side of the chassis.

Building a large chassis like this needs a lot of components, so you’ll find a plethora of screws, thumb screws, washers, velcro fittings, cable management solutions and more in this rather large component box.

The instructions are a little cumbersome, but looking at it, you’re going to want an extra set of hands to manage a few of the trickier steps.

Lian Li PC-T80 Modular Test Bench Chassis Review

Introduction


Test benches are a vital part of the work we do here at eTeknix. They’re used for our motherboard, processor, CPU cooler, graphics card, hard drive reviews and no doubt many other components we’ve reviewed have been hooked up to a system on one of our test benches. Of course, we’re not the only people in the world with need of a good quality test bench, as there are many professional industries and enthusiast users that need easy access to their components for everything from product testing and design, through to overclocking and modding. With all that in mind, having a modular test bench that is capable of many different tasks can be a huge boost to your productivity and with Lian Li having already created some of the best test benches in the business, we’re eager to see what their latest one is capable of.

As you can see from the specifications below, the T80 is available in two models, silver (PC-T80A) and black (PC-T80X), both of which are made from aluminium, lending to them only weighing 6KG each. Both chassis are capable of holding an impressive array of storage devices and motherboards of up to XL-ATX.

While I normally just list the few components that come in the box, the box was full of a wide range of panels, poles and screws; you have to build the chassis yourself. The instructions are far from clear, with only small pictures and limited descriptions, but as anyone knows, instructions are rarely perfect.

There are lots of screws, thumb screws, rubber strips, rubber washers, retention brackets, feet, motherboard stand-offs and more included.

All the major components are individually wrapped in plastic, which took about ten minutes just to unpack! From left to right, we have the hard drive/cooling mount, the lower plate and the hard drive tray.

Literally every component is movable in some respect, if you don’t need a component, there’s no need to install it to the chassis. Here we have the PSU back plate, expansion slot bracket and a hard drive caddy. The drive caddy features a locking system slide in rails for 3.5″ drives and an extra fitting in the top for a 2.5″ drive.

These are the support poles that run the length of the chassis, but we’ll come back to how these work in a moment.

The left and right side of the chassis, which are funnily enough upside down in this picture, but I didn’t realize that at the time. Each of the key-shaped holes is for mounting one of the bars you see above, while the large cut-away offers you side access to the upper levels of the chassis, as well as forming a kind of handle.

The motherboard tray is huge, with several cut-outs for cables routing and a massive CPU-cooling mounting cut-out. The tray on the right is cut with holes to mount the PSU bracket, as well as the storage caddy; you can mount each in multiple locations to best suit your needs thanks to the extra screw holes.

In Win D-Frame Mini-ITX Chassis Review

Introduction


In Win are back once again with yet another flag-ship chassis to add to their collection. Their new In Win D-Frame Mini isn’t exactly a new model altogether, given that a couple of years ago they launched the full-size D-Frame. It is however a much smaller and user-friendly model, perfect for lugging with you to LAN events thanks to it’s smaller size, lower weight and built-in carry handle.

In Win are no stranger to crazy, ultra high-end and truly unique chassis. Over the last few years they’ve gone from manufacturing humble desktop chassis to creating some of the most desirable and original products on the market. Just take a look at the 904, 901, S-Frame, H-Frame, H-Frame Mini and Tou chassis’ which we’ve reviewed. Quality and originality come at a price and while the D-Frame mini is far from the most expensive chassis In Win produce, it’s still going to need a wallet stuffed with £250 for those looking to invest. So just how much chassis do you get for your hard-earned money? Let’s dive in a take a closer look at what the D-Frame Mini has to offer.

The chassis comes constructed from a series of aluminium tubing and aluminium metal plate. With the added benefit that its design gives it great strength and helps keep the chassis as light as possible. Don’t be too fooled though, this small chassis still packs a fair bit of weight courtesy of the two thick sheets of tempered glass that adorn the sides.

The glass side panels are lightly tinted, but still give you a great view of the chassis interior; which has been carefully designed to best show off the components of your system build.

From the front you can see there is a slightly recessed I/O panel, where you’ll find all the usual ports as well as the power and reset buttons. Behind that are the hard drive mounts, which are suspended from the motherboard backplate like a set of shelves.

Around the back we’ve got the PSU mount, which effectively hangs at the back of the chassis. Once very nice feature is that you can mount the PSU with the power cable at the bottom or the top, as there are two mounting plates on this chassis.

At the top of the chassis is a textured centre bar, this provides a great gripping point for picking up the chassis.

The base of the chassis is just as open as the rest of it. This is a good thing of course as there are two 120mm fan mounts in the base that are prefect for a 240mm radiator. The rubber clips that surround the chassis add some nice flair, but the ones on the base of the chassis also double as the feet.

Lian Li PC-V359 M-ATX Chassis Review

Introduction


Lian-Li have one of the best reputations in the chassis industry, it’s as if this company finds it impossible to make a product that is anything less than incredible. They are the masters of aluminium chassis construction and time and time again we’ve seen them release award-winning chassis products that offer premium performance, style, build quality and features; and they often come with the premium price tag to match. Today looks set to continue their never-ending combo of excellence, as we take a look at their new Micro-ATX super star; the PC-V359.

There is a big demand right now for a chassis that lets you show off your rig, and the common side panel window isn’t always the best option. People love to show of their high-end components; who would want to spend £1000 on a graphics card if you can’t admire its awesome cooler design? The PC-V359 aims to offer a fresh perspective from its unique front panel and top panel window combo.

Capable of holding a full ATX PSU, tall CPU coolers, a 240mm radiator, extra cooling fans, Micro-ATX motherboards, a few hard drives and graphics cards of up to 320mm, the PC-V359 is a very capable chassis, with the added bonus of four choices of colour; so you’ve got plenty of choice to to help tailor your chassis to match your components.

The packaging is pretty standard, a representation of the general design on the front and the specifications (see above) around the sides.

In the box you will find all the usual nuts and bolts required to install your components, as well as an illustrated installation guide.

The chassis is very well protected and comes with peel-off brown paper on the acrylic panels to prevent scratching in transit.

Impressive New Range Of Lian-Li Products On Display At CeBIT 2014

Never one to disappoint with their ultra high-end chassis products, Lian Li rocked up to CeBIT 2014 with a huge range of new products that we can expect to see in 2014, as well as a few established fan favourites from 2013.

The PC-A61WX that you can see above is a lovely ATX / Micro-ATX compatible tower that features room for four 5.25″ drives, 6 x 2.5″ HDD’s and 1 x 2.5″ drives. It features modular rear suspended hard drive bays that allow great flexibility for long graphics cards and extra front mounted cooling.

Pictured below we have the gargantuan PC-V2130WB, not exactly the easiest product name to remember, but this beast can handle up to 12 hard drives, HTPC or E-ATX motherboards, 10 expansion cards, large PSU’s, 360mm GPU’s and even comes mounted on wheels to making moving what could quickly become a very heavy system a whole easier.

PC-V2130WB not big enough for you? Then the double wide PC-D8000 may be ideal. It features 11 expansion slots, 12 hard drive bays, three more 2.5″ only drive bays, HPTX, EATX, ATX and Micro-ATX motherboard support and extensive fan and radiator mounting options. The PC-D600WB features 10 x 5.25″ drive bays, 8 expansion slots, e-ATX, ATX and Micro-ATX motherboard support and 12 hard drives in total, plus it comes fitted with a gorgeous side panel window so you can show off you ultra-high-end rig.

We’ve got more coverage from Lian Li as well as the rest of CeBIT 2014 coming very soon, so stay tuned for more.

ADATA Elite CE700 Qi Wireless Charging Station

Introduction


ADATA is brand synonymous with memory and storage solutions. For more than a decade they have established a strong relationship with their customers that consists of average consumers and business professionals around the world. With constant innovation and a determination to produce only high quality products that will exceed consumer expectations, ADATA will continue to be at the forefront of our culture’s technological growth.

Anyone that keeps up to date with their technology news can already see that most manufacturers are targeting the mobile device segment no matter the relevance to their core product stacks. Mobile devices have become such a critical part of our everyday lives and I for one still have a hard time fathoming how our culture was able to survive without things like email, instant messaging, or even mobile computing. We are a culture that constantly has our eyes glued to our phones and tablets to get through each day.

But how exactly are we constantly powering these devices? Traditionally the standard charge cable is the primary method of choice. But with technology constantly evolving we are always looking to improve the experiences that we have with these products. What is the obvious next step for charging your devices? Wireless charging of course. A freedom from the cluster of cables that we are so used to dealing with. That’s where ADATA comes in and brings us the Elite CE700 Qi Wireless Charging Station.

After a quick opening of the packaging you can see the the contents are pretty basic, but that’s okay because there’s not much needed to use this type of product. The box contains the user guide, micro USB charge cable, and the unit itself.

LUXA2 Groovy Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Review

Introduction


LUXA2 is a name that not many have been introduced to. The current market for mobile accessories has been flooded with brands that are trying to make a name for themselves, but for the last several years LUXA2 has been in a constant pursuit of feature-rich products with modern aesthetic appeal at affordable prices for everyone to set themselves apart. Apple centric accessories has been the company’s forte, but at CES this past month LUXA2 has shown that they have narrowed down their wide array of products that had included iPhone/iPad cases and misc device accessories to a more focused product stack that is nothing short of impressive.

LUXA2 has split their products into three categories: Portable Battery Packs, Audio Solutions, and Mobile Device Holders. Today we are going to look at the first of their entries into the audio solutions market; the Groovy Wireless Bluetooth Speaker.

Out of the box you are provided with a very easy to read user guide, 3.5mm analog cable, micro USB charge cable, two interchangeable leather straps (in both black and tan), and an attractive black leather carrying pouch.

Lian Li PC-A79 Aluminum Chassis Review

Introduction


Lian Li are legends in the PC chassis industry, not only are they famed for their high precession construction and relentless use of aluminium, but also for their huge range of products that support the more extreme end of the PC industry. While sure they make a few mITX cases, as well as some crazy and fun specialist cases, their real speciality are the big chassis suitable for workstations, rendering rigs and extreme performance computing in general.

The chassis we are taking a look at today is undoubtedly aimed at the more extreme end of the market and while many may interpret that as “ultimate gaming rig”, that is only one definition of extreme. This chassis is built to take anything from an mATX motherboard to a dual socket workstation board, huge amounts of storage, lots of expansion cards, lots of fans and just a lot of high-end components in general.

At £299 it isn’t exactly cheap but as you can see from the specifications below you do get some pretty impressive compatibility, not to mention the fact that the huge chassis is made of high quality, light weight aluminium. This maybe a retail product, but it is far from consumer grade tech, and it’s not even close to the sort of prices you would expect to pay for your usual high-end chassis product.

Specifications:

  • Full tower chassis
  • (W) 230mm
  • (H) 618mm
  • (D) 596mm
  • Front bezel Material Aluminum
  • Side Panel Aluminum
  • Body Material Aluminum
  • Net Weight 9.9 kg
  • 5.25″ drive bay (External) 12
  • 3.5″ drive bay (External) None
  • 3.5″ HDD x9
  • 2.5″ HDD x8
  • Expansion Slot 11
  • Motherboard HPTX
  • E-ATX
  • XL-ATX
  • ATX
  • Micro-ATX
  • System Fan (Front) 120mm Fan x3
  • System Fan (Rear) 120mm Fan x1
  • System Fan (Top) 120mm Fan x2 (Optional)
  • or 140mm Fan x2 (Optional)
  • System Fan (Side) 120mm Fan x2
  • I/O Ports USB3.0 x 4
  • e-SATA x1
  • HD Audio
  • Maximum Compatibility VGA Card length: 350mm
  • PSU length: 350mm
  • CPU cooler height: 165mm
  • ATX PSU (Optional)
  • Gross Weight 12kg

The packaging features a clear image of the chassis as well as some smaller pictures that detail the finer features, these include USB 3.0 support, slide out HDD mounts and air filters.

In the box I found a stack of screw on hard drive handles, a multi-language installation guide, a USB 3.0 to 2.0 converter, a huge amount of high quality screws, including motherboard thumbscrews, rubber mounting washers and a handy plastic container to store any extra screws. There is enough fittings here to fully install a dual socket motherboard a full compliment of storage and add-in cards.

Cooler Master Cosmos SE Mid-Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


The original Cooler Master Cosmos is a chassis that almost needs no introduction, it is one of the most famous and coolest chassis on the market, the desirable item that many system builders want. Then we have the Cosmos II, one of the most bad-ass, expensive and expansive chassis on the market. In fact, I think it is safe to say that all of the Cosmos chassis models ever released to this day are some of the best looking and performing cases on the market! So I’m deadly serious when I say that Cooler Masters latest product, the Cosmos SE, has a lot to live up to.

Priced at around £130 here in the UK it is still not a cheap product and is well into the premium and enthusiast end of the price scale. Yet it is still a more affordable option than the popular Cosmos II, not to mention a fair bit smaller and more realistically manageable for use as a day-to-day chassis. It also falls in line with some tough rivals from the likes of NZXT, Fractal, Nanoxia, Corsair and Lian Li, all of whom boast an impressive chassis for the same price as the Cosmos SE, so like many products on the market we will be expecting something unique from Cooler Master that sets it apart from the competition.

As you can see from the specifications below, the Cosmos SE isn’t lacking in features, with extensive radiator and fan mountings, room for loads of storage, long graphics cards, cable management and more.

  • Supercar inspired design with aluminium curve handles
  • Superior liquid cooling support: 120, 240, 280 and 360mm radiator; supports 3 radiators at once – 120+280+360mm
  • Supports up to 8 fans, including 4 installed fans – two front 120mm blue LED fans with LED on/off control, one top 140mm fan and one rear 120mm fan
  • Dual Super Speed USB 3.0
  • Great expandability with the support of up to 8 HDDs/18 SSDs
  • Supports all high-end VGAs up to 395mm/15.5 inches long and CPU coolers up to 175mm/6.9 inches tall
  • Large cable management space – 34mm
  • Multiple removable dust filters (top, front, bottom, side panel) for improved system maintenance

The front of the box features a very cool image of the chassis with the mesh side panel, but I am pleased to say that the model we have in for review features the gorgeous side panel window you can see in the bottom right corner of the box.

Around the back of the box we find a run down of the major features and components of the chassis, such as the aluminium reinforced handles, radiator support and stealth SSD mounts.

In the box I found two brackets that can be used to mount a front radiator, a bunch of cable ties, internal speaker, lock, all the usual fittings and an easy to read instruction book.

In Win H-Frame ATX Chassis Review

Introduction


We’ve had some seriously weird and wonderful chassis come through the eTeknix office over the last few years, but every once in a while something comes along that just makes you wipe your eyes in disbelief. The In Win H-Frame is one of those chassis and while this isn’t the first time we’ve seen one, taking pictures of it at trade shows is hardly the same as finally getting hands on with it, taking it to bits and of course building a system inside it.

In Win are quickly becoming the masters of the concept chassis, limited runs of a few hundred of each and a new one every six month. We’ve seen the D-Frame, which was based upon a Ducati motorbike, the H-Frame that we have here today which was based on… well, I’m not quite sure, then we have things like the Tao, which is made from glass and looks like a cross between a presentation case and a corporate head office. Naturally with this level of design and exclusivity comes a hefty price tag and the H-Frame will set you back a wallet busting £260 (prices taken from Google shopping).

Now of course at that price, the market for this thing isn’t going to be huge, this is not your average consumer grade chassis. The big question is, is it worth paying that much money, does it offer something unique that sets it apart from the competition, especially given this price range also plays host to the Corsair 800D, Lian Li X1000B and the Cooler Master Cosmos II, all of which are big, shiny and pack a mighty feature list.

As you can see from the feature list below, the H-Frame isn’t really going to hold as much as something like the 800D, but I think it’s worth setting out on this review with the idea that it’s not about building a 18 bay Raid rendering rig, it’s about style.

The chassis comes in an off-white coloured box, with a bright and clear image of the chassis from its front left side. If you haven’t seen this chassis before, you can already tell it’s more than a little different to your average black box.

The back of the box is a little more minimalist, featuring a zoomed in shot of the top of the chassis and the H-Frame logo.

In the box I found a zip-lock bag that contained the user manual, as well as all the screws and fittings required to add our components.

ModMyMachine Shoggy Sandwich Black & Slamepad Now Available At Overclockers.co.uk

Since Shoggy presented his sandwich to the community a few years ago, many users wanted to have a black version of the beloved sandwich. The ultimate decoupling for pumps in a watercooling system found a lot of fans around the world. Many companies tried, inspired by the original, to do a black version. None ever reached the original and ModMyMachine and Shoggy searched very long to find the same quality in a black version.

In close cooperation with ModMyMachine the Shoggy Sandwich is now produced in an all black version and can soon be ordered at www.overclockers.co.uk or caseking.de.

ModMyMachine also launched their new mousepad the “Slamepad”

It´s been quiet on ModMyMachine for some time, who have made an interesting return by releasing their own mousepad. What is even more surprising is that they’ve made it from aluminum, something that has driven many manufacturers mad with trying to create their own.

The ModMyMachines Slamepad was not only driven by nice haptics and gaming capability, but to create an outstanding and good looking product, which is now available on the market. Printed Plastic pads are easy to do, now it is time for something a little more special.

Good looking with glossy polished edges and the ModMyMachine logo engraving, the Slamepad is pure luxury in it´s 10 available colours (gold, silver, bronze, champagne, dark red, orange, dark blue, light blue, purple and black). On the rear side there are also no compromises, highest technical anti slip rubber made in Germany. size: 315 x x235 (WxHxD)

Head on over to Overclockers.co.uk for more information.

We have the Slamepad on its way to us already, be sure to keep an eye out for an in-depth review of it in the coming weeks.

Thank you Overclockers for providing us with this information.

Lian Li PC-CK101 “Train” M-ITX Chassis Review

Today we have something very special in the eTeknix office, but I’m guessing that the image above is somewhat of a giveaway in that we’re reviewing a PC chassis that looks like a train, not exactly your average black box that we normally see in our chassis review section, nor is it like any other chassis ever.

Now I’m not the biggest fan of trains, I mean I do like them but I wouldn’t class my self as an avid admirer of them (AKA, I’m hardly a train spotter). Yet when I first saw this case I believe my original words were “Oh my god, that thing looks freaking awesome!” and rightly so, since the model Lian Li had on display featured a motor that allowed it to travel up and down the track, with smoke bellowing from the chimney.

While you can purchase a special edition of this chassis that features a remote control, electric motor and 6 sections of straight track, so you can watch your creation wheel up and down in all its glory, that is unfortunately not the product we are looking at today. I hate to use the term “standard edition” but that is what we have. It features one piece of track that forms a mounting plinth and doesn’t feature the electric motor, remote control or smoke effect… but it is still a model train!

This isn’t the first time Lian Li has done something a little wild either, as we’ve seen before when they created a sea shell shaped case and even one that looks like a spider! Although they’ve never done one as fancy or as detailed as the one we are about to take a look at.

As you can see from the specifications below the chassis features Aluminum construction, supports mini-ITX motherboards and comes fitted with a 120mm fan. It is worth pointing out that while Front and Top fan’s are listed as “none”, it does in fact mean that there is no room to install one in these locations, the chassis supports one fan and it comes pre-installed.

As you can see, the PC-CK101 comes packed in a full colour box with a great image of the chassis on some more realistic looking rail lines. There is also a small picture of the chassis mounted on the included track, but lets not get too far ahead, well get to that soon enough.

In the box I found an easy to understand installation guide that shows you how to dismantle and reassemble the major components. There are also a few included screws and bolts required to get your components installed, a few cable ties, a support bracket to hold the train to the track, a USB 3.0 to 2.0 cable and a 3pin power cable for the PSU.

The last thing in the box (aside from the chassis its self) was the track / mounting plinth. It is cast from aluminum so it is strong and lightweight. It features a small brass panel which reads “Lian Li PC-CK101 2012 Special Edition”.

On the underside you can see two small holes on one of the metal strips near the middle of the base, these are used to screw the bracket to the chassis, which will help keep the train from rolling off the edge.

Lian Li PC-TU100 M-ITX Chassis Review

Today we take a look at one of the latest chassis designs from legendary manufacturer Lian Li. Lian Li have built up an impressive reputation in the PC industry for producing some truly amazing products, their chassis designs have always been known for their premium quality, well-engineered and innovative designs and their extensive use of light weight aluminium. I’ve spent time using Lian Li chassis in the past and they’re always impressive in one way or another which is just one of the reasons I’m looking forward to testing this new chassis today.

The PC-TU100 was on display earlier this year at Computex and its one of the smallest and most unusual chassis around, well ok it’s not that unique, but it does have a funky little carry handle on it that really makes it stand out from most other chassis designs.

Today I will be looking for all the thing we have come to expect of Lian Li, these include light weight aluminium with a premium grade finish, innovative features, good design and hopefully even value for money. The PC-TU100 isn’t at retail at the time of writing but we expect it to be out in the next few weeks, so unfortunately pricing has yet to be confirmed, although expect to pay a small premium due to the materials that Lian Li use in the construction of their chassis.

The PC-TU100 comes in a very small and compact box, not much bigger than the chassis. There is a great image of the chassis as well as a run down of the main specifications, which includes USB 3.0, 2 x 2.5″ HDD rack, Slim ODD bay, fan with dust filter, aluminum construction and SFX PSU mount. The important one here is SFX PSU, these are much smaller than ATX power supplies and this saves on a lot of space, but ATX PSU’s simply are not compatible with this chassis.

There wasn’t a whole lot included with the chassis, but given its tiny form factor there didn’t really need to be. There are the usual screws and bolts for installing your motherboard, PSU and HDD’s, but there is also a handy USB 3.0 to 2.0 adaptor, perfect for those that do not have a USB 3.0 compatible motherboard.

Corsair K95 Mechanical Keyboard Review

In the office today we have something a little special, the Corsair K95 mechanical keyboard and it’s not only the latest in the very cool Vengeance range of products from Corsair, but also Corsair’s new flagship keyboard. We’ve already had great fun testing previous keyboards from Corsair so if this is truly the best they have to offer then I’m really looking forward to testing it out. It was only recently that we took a look at the gorgeous Corsair K70 and I still find that to be one of my all time favourite mechanical keyboards, but can the K95 really be that much better?

Corsair are one of the biggest names in the industry, there is a good chance your current system, a previous system or your next system contains something they’ve made, be that a power supply, cooler or even a chassis. Playing off the success of their hardware business they’ve also created some incredible peripherals in recent years and their headsets, keyboards and in my opinion especially their mice are some of the best around.

The keyboard we are looking at today isn’t cheap, although mechanical keyboards rarely are cheap, this one is set to cost you a whopping £130 and that is a stern investment for any peripheral so today I will be expecting to see all of the Corsair pedigree crammed into this keyboard, flawless performance and premium grade build quality because nothing short of perfection would make me spend so much money on a device like this.

“In the world of high-performance gaming gear, there are few things that match the feeling of using a well-designed keyboard with mechanical key switches. Vengeance gaming keyboards use Cherry MX Red switches, hailed by gamers worldwide to be the best of the best. They combine great key feel with super-fast reaction times and smooth, linear travel with low operating force. Vengeance K95 takes the next step with a 100% mechanical layout – there’s a Cherry MX Red switch underneath every key. So, you’ll get that optimal tactile feedback and responsiveness, no matter your fingers go.” – Corsair

The K95 is well equipped and as you can see from the specifications below this keyboard comes with plenty to keep both gamers and general users happy; the ever popular Cherry MX Red switches are well known to be fast and accurate switches, key-by-key backlighting, 18 macro keys, aluminum construction, 20 Key rollover and a wrist rest should all make for an enjoyable experience.

  • Cherry MX Red Mechanical Switches
  • Key-by-Key Customizable Backlighting
  • 18 Programmable G-Keys
  • Brushed Aluminum Chassis
  • Full Key Matrix Anti-Ghosting with 20-Key Rollover
  • Detachable full length wrist rest

The box is nicely designed with a cool looking shot of the keyboard and a few of the major features listed on the front.

Around the back of the box we have a more detailed breakdown of the keyboards features, but we’ll take a closer look at those shortly.

In the box there was a user manual and some warranty information, oh and of course there was also a great big keyboard in the box!

Next out of the box was the detachable wrist rest, with a full width soft touch design.

Some plastic “push-click” pins hold the rest in place, but there are also two metal screws to give extra security.

There is a light texture to the surface thanks to these little pressed holes, this provides a little extra grip when combined with the soft-touch finish and overall the surfaces feels rather luxurious.

The cable for the K95 features two heavy duty USB 2.0 connections and the keyboard requires that you have a high-power USB 2.0 port to operate it, if you want to use the USB pass through feature you also need to connect both USB cables. The cable is ridiculously heavy and if this isn’t the toughest cable on a consumer keyboard then I don’t know what is. It’s a little unwieldy but at least it should last a life time.

The keyboard is pretty huge, this is mostly due to the extra macro keys on the left side but you best make sure you’ve got a wide desk area should you wish to accommodate it.

It features a fairly low profile overall but it’s about average in terms of height and the keys features a very slow and gentle curve to their ergonomics.

The top right of the keyboard features a very fancy metal scroll wheel for system volume control, a master mute switch and below that (above the number pad) are some dedicated media controls. The keyboard features three more buttons along the top for controlling the lighting features as well as a lock control.

The G keys are situated on their own extension on the left and it features a different finish to the rest of the board that I dare say looks a little cheaper, but it does give a nice visual distinction between the two areas and it still look pretty good in terms of design. The keys are separated into three groups of 3×2 and this makes navigation a little easier, plus there is a decent amount of space between the main keyboard keys and the G keys so you don’t accidentally trigger them, but it’s not so far that you feel your going out of your way to use them.

There was no key cap removal tool included with the K95 but the caps are fully removable non the less. Every key is mechanical with the exception of the top M and media buttons and all feature Cherry MX Red switches with individual LED lighting which can be see here under the WASD key caps.

The key caps are plastic moulded but they feel durable and well finished with just enough curve to provide a good finger resting position when typing or gaming.

The underside of the keyboard features two flip out feet to increase the hight of the board and there are also four small rubber grips to prevent the board from sliding around your desk, although it is quite heavy so I doubt that will be an issue.

The back of the keyboard features a single USB port that you could use for your mouse, headset, or any other USB compatible device really. There is also a BIOS switch that allows you to change compatibility modes as most high end keyboards are often incompatible with most motherboard BIOS screens, that shouldn’t be the case here.

The wrist rest might not be something everyone would want to use so I appreciate that Corsair made it detachable, but in my opinion it completes the design and the keyboard looks easily twice as good with it attached and it doesn’t feel as wide and narrow as it does without it.

The angle of the wrist rest lines up with the rear edge of the keyboard chassis which is below the keys and the keys effectively hover above it, looks pretty cool but also has some practical applications too. The keys and the switches are raised from the chassis of the keyboard, as if there was a lid to go around them and its been left off to show the bare chassis, this makes cleaning super easy but it also gives it a slightly industrial look that I must admit I am fond of.

Setup & Installation

The keyboard is plug and play compatible and works straight out of the box but if you want to use the funky G keys then you’re going to need to download the software from Corsair. Of course this is highly recommended because you don’t buy a huge keyboard with 18 custom keys if you don’t want to use them (if you don’t want them, you should buy the K70 instead). Upon hooking up the keyboard we see the white LED lighting and at first I think it’s a little bright but you can adjust it from off to full in 4 stages of brightness.

The lights not only light up the letters in the key caps but the light bleeds downward and lights up the gaps between the keys and the base chassis below them, it’s a very nice effect and in a very dark room it gives the keys the visual appearance of floating and glowing that looks rather cool.

If that is a bit much for you, you can also turn off / on each key on the keyboard, allowing you to have different zones illuminated on different profiles.

The software gives you complete control over the G key configuration, you can set macros or launch applications and more over each profile. Unfortunately you can’t configure any of the rest of the keyboards functions and all macros have to go on the G keys, although that’s hardly a compromise given there are 18 of them.

You can also set custom names for each profile so you know which is which and you can even save them direct to the keyboard on-board memory.

Performance

Just loading up my game and logging in on this keyboard is a lush experience, the keys feel light and snappy at my fingertips. I decided to tackle an FPS first to test the most important keys of all, WASD! I have to admit I tested this on Battlefield 3 far longer than I had planned to and while I can’t say I did better at my game I certainly had a comfortable experience thanks to the wrist rest, light keys and the K95 didn’t let me down once. Yet this is hardly pushing the limits of the K95 so I fired up WoW and Diablo III for a while, making sure I setting up some macros before hand. I can safely say I think that 18 G keys is too many, I must have used 6 per game at best and I was even able to assign one game per block of 6 keys, meaning I could keep my games on one profile! Still, far too many for my liking, at least for gaming.

Day to day usage however is where the G keys really start to shine, Photoshop shortcuts, email shortcuts, app launchers, text macros and more really make my workflow a whole lot easier and having them in three groups allows me to get through things super quick. I found it a little cumbersome changing profile automatically for software as it doesn’t switch back when you access other apps or your desktop, so having an “all in one” profile is more suitable in my opinion, but then again I don’t need 18 macro keys for any one task, I doubt many people do.

Typing is incredibly quick on this keyboard, the keys are super responsive and the ergonomics of the board present you with a good typing position. The only downside is that when I’m typing at around 70wpm the noise of the key caps striking the keyboard chassis is enough to annoy anyone else in the room after a while, although this is true of 95% of the mechanical keyboard I’ve tested. The upside of course is that you don’t care about the noise because it feels so nice to type, pros and cons I guess.

The media keys are also a welcome feature and since I listen to music all day long on my computer while I work and game, having dedicated keys is vital for me, especially ones that don’t require you to press a Fn key first.

Final Thoughts

You don’t “need” a high end keyboard to enjoy your favourite games, you don’t even need the best equipment to be a winner either, but that doesn’t mean to say that it couldn’t help. The super fast keys of the K95 could cut milliseconds from your reaction times, doesn’t sound like much to most people, but if your a pro gamer then you know that every millisecond counts in the heat of battle. Plus when your sat down on an evening with your favourite game, the last thing you want is for your fingers to feel tired and fatigued from a cheap keyboard and you can feel every penny of the £130 under your fingers tips when typing, reminding you that it was totally worth the investment.

How it performs and feels under your finger tips is easily the most important factor for a keyboard, but I’m not so sure I should give Corsair so much credit here as all that work is being done by the Cherry MX Red switches, a switch that is common place and can be found in many other mechanical keyboards, many of which are half the price of the K95. So what does the K95 do that other keyboards do not to justify the extra price tag?

Many mechanical keyboards are boring rectangles and a mere box to hold the nice switches in place, gorgeous to type on but nothing fancy to look at. The Corsair K95 just oozes luxury with its black brushed aluminium chassis and with the LED lighting reflecting of the texture of the metal it just looks better and better. The only gripe I have is that the G keys look tacked on, maybe Corsair were just trying to make a distinction between the two areas but I think a one piece chassis design would have looked better, even if the current configuration doesn’t look particularly bad.

Because of its metal chassis the keyboard is super strong and should last more than a few years worth of knocks and bumps, plus the keys are very easy to keep clean and maintain. Just remember that Aluminium is easily scratched, so I wouldn’t be putting your car keys next to this thing if you know what’s good for it.

So have Corsair made the best keyboard on the market? No not really, it’s on par with the competition in terms of performance but that is again because of the reliably uniform performance of the MX Red switches, so it’s hard to say one keyboard “feels” better than the other. What corsair have made however is one of the best designed and constructed keyboards on the market, it has a premium feel that is unmatched and a lush aluminium finish that goes a very long way to justifying the high price tag.

Pros

  • Fantastic typing response
  • Huge amount of macro keys
  • Aluminium chassis
  • Well made and durable
  • Premium design

Cons

  • Might be a little expensive for many
  • Only available with MX Red Switches (even if they are very good, it’s nice to have a choice).
  • Macros restricted to G keys

 eTeknix says: “Corsair looked to create their ultimate keyboard and the K95 delivers on that promise, it’s incredible to use and it looks fantastic. It performs as well as any other mechanical keyboard on the market but it’s build quality is in a league of its own.”

Computex: Lian Li Exhibit Their Latest Chassis Ranges

Lian Li had lots of new chassis design on display at Computex, with products that ranged from highly functional to others that were a little crazy and fun, but what about the rest? What about the ones for day to day computers, gaming rigs and other general purpose builds where people just want a nice and tidy aluminum chassis?

The chassis above features a side mount for a 240mm water cooling radiator, a little different but it’s certainly a space saver in an mATX chassis.

The radiator mount can be swung out, allowing both each access to install components, but also allowing for quick and easy maintenance.

There’s plenty of room for cable management too and while it’s a little unrefined it’s more than enough to keep airflow neat and tidy around the front.

The PC-Q35 supports mITX and mATX motherboards, but offers up front mounted storage space with a lockable cover, making this ideal for a NAS, Network or HTPC solution where quick access to storage is important.

It’s also quite sizeable in the back and this gives up plenty of room for cooling and a full size PSU.

For those who need something similar but with even greater space you can opt for the slimmer but taller PC-Q37 which features a similar modular interior and locking front panel.

The PC-D600 is king of the group and offers a full double width chassis with the motherboard mounting in the center, this allows for a window panel on both sides of the chassis, one side can display you water cooling, motherboard and graphics card, the other leaves room for storage.

The extra space can also be used for a huge 360mm radiator, making this ideal for extreme performance builds, or even a rendering rig should you be so inclined.

The PC-V2130 is nothing short of freaking massive, as you can see its targeted at the same market as the new Antec Fifteen Hundred and the Corsair D900, this is for seriously hardcore systems that need a lot of space and if you can’t fit your rig in this beast, there is little else bigger on the market.

It features full front panel fentilation, a locking panel, front access locked HDD bays and 6 5.25″ bays.

It also has very competent cable management, an important aspect when you cramming a huge stack of hard drives and graphics cards into something this size.

Finally we have a massive range of rans, ideal for keeping everything cool and no doubt plenty of room for some monster size water cooling units.

Stay tuned to eTeknix for more Computex coverage in our Computex section.

Image(s) courtesy of eTeknix at Computex

Computex: Lian Li PC-358 & PC-D7000 On Display

When I hear the name Lian Li I think of two things, aluminum and quality, both of which are things Lian Li always offer in massive quantities. They’re world renowned as the industry leader for their super light weight, expertly engineered aluminum chassis designs that have continued to innovate year after year and these new products, as well as some more that we will be looking at later today are no exception to this.

The PC -V358 doesn’t have the best name ever and I’ll have to admit that in these pictures it looks like someone dropped it, but lets take a closer look at whats going on, because this is actually rather clever.

First you will notice the 240mm radiator mounted on the left side, this swings out allowing access to the system from the side, it also makes for super easy mounting on the radiator.

The front end of the chassis flips forward, which also takes the top panel with it, making this quite similar to the Cooler Master HAF XB in a few ways, only the panels are all on swing hinges, it makes accessing various install points very easy and also helps with maintainance too.

The PC-D7000 is some what of a beast and features a double width design, making room for massive ammounts of storage that would be best suited to a network device or anythign system that requires massive ammounts of hard drives with easy access.

There are some internal drive mounts, as well as the front panel mounted ones, with three 120mm fans in the front and three more in the back to keep thing cool.

The motherboard tray slides out allowing for easy installations and access to the darker corners of the chassis interior, very handy when you consider how many cables would be needed to connect every drive bay.

A top fan mount extends the cooling options and also adds an extra dust filter to help with maintainance.

There two chassis might not be on the list for your next gaming rig, but they offer two very unique and highly practical designs that will no doubt make someones life a lot easier and of course they both come finished in luxurious brushed aluminum with a black finish and are super light weight.

Stay tuned to eTeknix for more Computex coverage in our Computex section.

Image(s) courtesy of eTeknix at Computex