The “Best of CES 2014” Awards

After visiting CES in Las Vegas, we made it a priority to find the best products that were being unveiled to the market for this year. We went to CES 2014 not expecting too much other than 4K on an affordable level and more consumer level products that are aimed at home and lifestyle and for the most part, this is exactly what we saw.

For us however, components are more important to us and this is what we want to focus our awards on, so after visiting many various companies and a whole load of exciting booths and suites, we have got together to discuss the very best components that were shown at CES. This can range anything from chassis to power supplies to full systems. We also recognise SSD’s, memory, portable chargers, mobile devices and much more and with this in mind, here are our best picks and lucky winners of the Best of CES 2014 award:

Luxa2 P-Mega 41600mAh Power Bank

We’ve seen the LUXA2 P-MEGA before at Computex 2013 in prototype form, but now that it is coming to retail, we managed to see the final product and with such a unique idea and extreme power, it certainly impressed us from the start. You can see more in our CES coverage article here.

Thermaltake Urban T81 Chassis

We checked out the Urban T81 chassis from Thermaltake and was extremely impressed by some of its features including the double side door and the ability to mount hard drives and SSDs on the side. You can see more in our CES coverage article here.

Tt eSPORTS Level 10 M Hybrid Wireless Mouse

The Level 10 brand has always demanded a premium stance in the market, and for a very good reason with its unique styling and plentiful feature set. Working on the success of the Level 10 M mouse, Tt eSPORTS have taken it one step further by adding wireless functionality. You can see more in our CES coverage article here.

CyberPowerPC Steam Machine

A big thing at CES was the unveiling of Steam Machines from a variety of brands, but CyberPowerPC’s version really impressed us with the styling, design and the ability to add a GTX Titan into the mix. The other highlight is the starting price of $499 USD which was very enticing. You can see more in our CES coverage article here.

CyberPowerPC Fang BattleBox

Another item that CyberPower were keen to show off was their Fang BattleBox. This caught our eye due to its unique styling and the idea behind it, in terms of being transported easily making it a fantastic choice for LAN events and social gaming. You can see more in our CES coverage here.

With our first ever Best of CES award, we’re keen to carry on this tradition with future events so keep your eyes peeled in June when Computex 2014 is the hot topic and we take a look at what’s on offer in Taiwan.

Enermax Display Their Latest Digifanless PSU At CES 2014

We stopped by the Enermax suite at CES 2014 to see what new products they had on offer to the consumer market, and one thing that caught our eye was the new Platimax 1350W power supply. With enough power for even the most extreme systems, whether gaming, mining or rendering, the Platimax will certainly be man enough for the job. It offers, as the name suggests, a platinum efficiency level and a fully modular design for those worries about cable management.

While the Platimax is an extreme product, the one that really grabbed our attention was the Digifanless 550W power supply that as the name suggests is completely fanless, and therefore completely silent. The other aspect of the name gives us an insight into what the PSU can really do for us as a consumer, and that is of course because it is digital. This means that through the supplied USB connector, you can monitor the PSU’s efficiency, power draw and voltages on the rails. They had one of these units hooked up to a complete system and this was only pulling around 350W at 100% load and of course does have a platinum efficiency.

Will you end up buying one of these power supplies for your system?


Enermax Mobile Rack And Card Reader On Display At CES 2014

On our continued tours around the suites at this years CES in Las Vegas and we find ourselves in the Enermax suite. Now typically when we think of Enermax – chassis, fans and power supplies are what spring to mind along with cooling solutions. Well this year sees the range of products that they have to offer grow as we see a small range of storage accessories appearing amongst the rest of the products that they have on show here.

Amongst this range of products we find items that should cater for most users needs these days with sith single and multi-bay options for housing hard drives, memory cards and additional USB ports right on the front of your case. With products like these taking up a fair portion of the market – especially when we note at the wide variety of products that both Akasa and IcyDock have to offer, Enermax are keen to show that their items also pack quality as well as functionality.

The ‘Mighty Series’ as it has been named does offer a large number of items that until now we’ve net seen, with a mixture of both drive bays. card readers, USB hubs for both USB2.0 and USB3.0 specifications available to suit the needs of many enthusiast users. Considering Enermax are shouting out quality with these units, I’ll be getting in touch with Enermax to arrange some samples for review.

Naturally, we urge you to keep an eye out as I aim to get some of these products in for review and to put them through their paces. Hopefully they come up trumps in terms of performance and well as looks and going by my previous encounters – things are looking good. Keep on watching as we keep you up to date with the latest content from this years Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, NV.

Aorus Unveil Powerful Gaming Laptop & New Range Of Peripherals At CES 2014

CES 2014, we stopped by the Aorus suite to check out their latest range of devices that will be hitting the market throughout 2014 and to start things off with a bang we have this truly incredible gaming laptop, the 17″ equipped X7. It weighs just over six pounds, is just under an inch thick and packs enough tech to be legally classed as a tardis! Under the hood you’ll find a Haswell i7, and not one, but TWO Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M GDDR5 equipped 4GB graphics cards, two! Add to that the option for a pair of 512GB SSD’s which can be set in Raid configuration and then a massive 1TB hard drive for extra storage. Not to be out done the system can also be fitted with 32GB of DDR3 RAM, has five USB ports, HDMI, Bluetooth 4.0 and a 1920 x 1080 display… so, much, want. Price is unknown, but expect it to be as extravagant as the specifications.

Next up we have their Thunder M7 gaming mouse, a strange looking beast to say the least. Packing 16 customisable buttons, RGB lighting, 8600DPI sensor and a design that’s based on a race car, you can even see what looks like a V8 engine inside it through the clear plastic panels, very cool indeed.

Next up we have the Thunder keyboard, packed full of features that really set it apart from the crowd. The number pad and wrist rest quickly snap into place thanks to great use of magnets, allowing you to reconfigure the keyboard in mere seconds. Take the number pad off with a quick tug and you can snap it to the other side of the keyboard, it immediately pairs up, lights up and starts working, meaning you can use it as either a number pad on the right, or a huge bay of macro keys on the left. It’s fully back lit, comes with dedicated media controls and features a choice of mechanical key types.

Finally we have the Thunder H7, a true 5.1 gaming headset with tall ear cups, a super comfortable fit and a back lit touch panel in-line controller. In short, the new Thunder line up peripherals are what we think will be some of the best 2014 has to offer.

That’s all from Aorus at CEs 2014 and while we can’t wait to test out these peripherals in our reviews later in the year, more than anything else we really want to put their gaming laptop through its paces.

Lepa Unveil Their Latest Range Of PSU’s At CES 2014

At CES 2014 in Las Vegas, we stopped by the Enermax/LEPA suite to see if they had any new products and they certainly did with a new range of power supplies from many different ranges. First up was the MX F1 series offering a near silent fan, white and black design and affordable price tag to boot.

Also in the mix was the B series range of power supplies

Within this range was a whole stack of units including 450W, 550W, 650W, 700W, 800W and 1000W all with 80 plus Bronze certification, modular design and powerful single 12V rail design.

Next up was the GM series, which as you can guess as the name suggests are their Max Gold range of units. These offer a unique red bumper design and large black fan.

With 5 different flavours including 500W, 600W, 700W, 800W and 1000W, every system user should be catered off and they all come with an 80 plus gold efficiency rating, modular cable design and again that single 12V rail.

Lastly on show, we have the PM series, which as the name suggests, is the Platinum range of power supplies from LEPA.

This range of units is not for the faint-hearted as they start with the lowest being a 1050W, working up to 1375W and finally a 1700W which is only available in the EU due to our higher voltages at the wall. These units claim to surpass platinum status and include modular cables with a flat cable design.

BeQuiet! Display Their Latest SFX and TFX Power Supplies at CES 2014

Stopping by the Be Quiet suite is always fun at shows, as it normally consists of us having a friendly chat and drinking beer. Alcohol aside, we did stop by to see their latest range of power supplies. As we know, they have always developed some of the latest and greatest PSU’s on the market, but now seem them branching out to SFX and TFX based units.

The SFX model that was being showcased was a 300W with dual 12v rails. An 80 plus bronze efficiency rating comes included and of course being SFX includes a very small footprint.

Also if SFX is still to big of a unit for you, they have developed a TFX power supply for those really craving space. Of course, just like the SFX unit, it comes with braided non-modular cables and a small fan.

Again, we have a 300W unit with dual 12v rails and an 80 plus bronze efficiency rating.

They had a large area showing off their power supplies as this is still their core product and rightly so as the biggest PSU manufacturer in Germany currently.

We can only wonder why they have started to develop TFX and SFX power supplies now, and can only assume that maybe an obscure chassis will be arriving to the market in the near future that requires a small form factor PSU?

Sapphire Display Their Range Of Graphics Cards At CES 2014

At CES 2014, we stopped by the Sapphire suite in the Vdara hotel and while they weren’t showing anything new for CES, they did have their new range of Tri-X based graphics cards that were recently released to the market. This included the AMD Radeon R9 290 with the mammoth Tri-X triple cooling solution bolted onto it.

They were also showing off some of the rest of their range including some lower end models with extra connectivity options.

Also, if you weren’t aware, Sapphire have a very large market in the FirePro segment and where showing off their W600 with a total of six mini-DisplayPort connectors, opening the market up for retail, POS and much more.

Also on show was some of their other favoured graphics cards with strong coolers, including their Dual-X solution which as the name suggests incorporates a dual-fan design and cooper heatpipes for the very best heat dissipation.

Other lower end cards were also being displayed to show the full capabilities of what Sapphire have within the market.

The star of the show for Sapphire was definitely the Tri-X based cards, and within this range was the 290 OC and 290X, and while the Tri-X treatment does pack some punch in terms of cooling. The TOXIC edition with Tri-X cooler was the one that had us drooling.

Upstairs, Sapphire were also showing off some custom made systems including the Toxic which of course, included a Toxic based graphics card solution.

The second system was completely focused on silcnce in the Aerocool Deep Silence chassis with a Vapor-X based graphics card, and while we were standing quite close, the overall system didn’t even make a whisper.

Patriot Reveal New Lines Up Of Memory, Storage & Fuel+ Products At CES 2014

Our tour of the CES suites continues today as we have a look at what products are on show this year. Around their suite Patriot have got a variety of products ranging from system memory to USB hubs and power banks for mobile devices. Starting off with their peripherals and accessories we find a couple of USB3.0 hubs on display.

Now when it comes to USB hubs, there really is not that much to go into as after all it is little more than a hub. Patriot have two hubs on display – one which comes with an AC adaptor, making it ideal for charging your mobile devices from as seen above and a slimmer more portable unit that is bus powered. Both of these items naturally are fully backwards compatible, offer four SuperSpeed ports, LED status indicators and above all fill a gap in the market where most of the hubs available are solely USB2.0. Both items are available now and I expect both to be under the £10 barrier.

Moving over to Patroit’s bread and butter products; memory, we find a sample of their product lines on show ranging from OEM grade memory right up to their Viper performance modules as we’ve reviewed previously.

Alongside the full sized system memory we also have a couple of SODIMMs on show – one of which is new to their product lineup.

With many gaming laptops becoming more and more popular amongst power users and enthusiasts, it is surprising that there is not that many memory modules available on the market that is geared exactly for that type of user. Patriot however are stepping forward and have introduced a new set of SODIMMs to their product catalogue under the Viper line. When we look at how well the Viper 3 Mamba 2133MHz performed when I took it for a test spin in our review, I’ve got good hopes for this new set of modules and it will go perfectly with any gaming or workstation laptop.

Moving back over to the accessory side of things, power banks are a popular type of accessory between vendors this year. Fortunately Patriot were one of the early adopters into the power bank world so what we see on offer are units that have been tried, tested and improved over the last couple of years, bringing us to the latest generation of units such as the Fuel plus which offers up one of the larger capacities on the market at anything up to 9000mAh.

In addition to the Fuel+, Patriot also bundle in a Cosmos flash drive that allows for data to easily be transferred between a desktop or laptop system through USB and then the to the phone through a micro-USB port on the opposite end of the drive.

Since the launch of the Fuel+ line of power banks last year, Patriot have expanded the lineup with three more products and now in a whole range of colours to cater for every persons taste – including pink for the ladies…

Moving back over to the storage side of things, we find a whole host of flash drives and memory cards in varying designs, capacities and colours for every need and personality including the Cosmos with its dual USB & micro-USB ports for mobile devices.

The last items we find Patriot displaying around their packed suite are the Gauntlet and Aero external drive enclosures. The Aero, as seen below, is one of their products that I have taken a look at and with a capacity of up to 1TB, is ideal for those of us that want a massive amount of space for storing films and music for example when on the go.

Stay tuned as we have more coverage for you from this years Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Coolermaster Reveal Their New Peripherals At CES 2014

CES 2014, here we are in the incredible suite in Las Vegas that is playing host to a stunning range of new peripherals from Cooler Master and of course their gaming division CM Storm. First up we have the Trigger-Z, a mechanical keyboard that comes in a choice of Cherry MX Brown, Red and Blue, features a powerful internal engine that serves up 75 macros, 5 profiles, on the fly macro recording, and the ability to stay cool with up to 64 simultaneous key presses. The wrist wrest is fully detachable, and the sleek style is backed up by some gorgeous LED back lighting.

Then we have the Mizar gaming mouse which features the ever popular Avago 9800 laser sensor, on the fly DPI adjustments, 7 fully programmable buttons with macro features, dedicated customisation software, full multi colour LED lighting and tough rubber grips on the left and right sides.

The Novatouch TKL really stands out from the crowd, ditching the common choice of Cherry MX mechanical switches, the Novatouch uses “Electrostatic Capacitive Switches”, which are basically Japanese Torpe switches, the feel awesome to type on, but come with one downside, they’re expensive has hell! The keyboard will likely retail around $200, which is pretty high given that it’s not a full size keyboard (TKL stands for Ten Keys Less), it’s not packed with features either, but we don’t care because it really does feel like heaven under your finger tips.

Next up we have the Alcor, a mid budget gaming mouse that packs the Avago 3090 optical sensor, a four level DPI toggle (up to 4000 DPI), Omron switches, multi-colour LED back lighting and 128KB of internal memory. It’s nothing incredibly exciting, but it does look like a solid contender for the mid market and the build quality feels superb, which is always a nice bonus.

We weren’t overly excited by the CM Storm Pitch in ear headphones, but CM Storm have gone back to the drawing board to give their new in-ears a bigger low end thump. Each driver features a dial on the back that allows you to turn the bass level for each driver! Add to that a robust aluminium housing, flat cables and a splitter cable that allows for use on both mobile devices and PC and you’ve got a pretty sweet headset. We did get a chance to try them out at the show and they sounded fantastic, so keep an eye out for these later in the year.

Last but by no means least we have the Sirus S2 headset, which features an impressive 2.2 channel driver configuration, with one 44mm and one 40mm driver in each ear cup, which can handle 50 Ω and 32 Ω respectively. The drivers are backed up by a built-in hi-fi amplifier, in-line remote, interchangeable ear cups (mesh or leather) and robust build quality.

That’s everything from the CM Storm and Cooler Master suite for today, but we’ll have more great coverage from CES 2014 for you very shortly.

Silverstone Unleash Loads Of New Chassis Products At CES 2014

Silverstone love making new products, I struggle to think of any other chassis manufacturer that puts out as many new products as they do! After visiting their suite at CES 2014, it looks like that trend it set to continue in a big way as the company unleashed a massive range of new products of all shapes and sizes.

First up we have a great range of Haswell NUC products, the PT16, PT15 and especially the passive cooled PT21 which features space for a full size 2.5″ SSD, making it an ideal solution for a stealthy media streaming device, HTPC solution or for business use.

The real star of the show is their latest entries to their popular Raven series, the RV05. The chassis features a 90 degrees rotated motherboard mount, 2 x 180 AP181 fan in the base of the unit will help keep things cooled nicely and they even come fitted with dual 3-speed fan control switches. The 5.25″ bays are gone, instead you can mount a slim-ODD behind the motherboard to take advantage of the vertical slot-load cut-out on the front panel. The chassis is significantly smaller than previous Raven chassis, but you’ll still find room for 2 x 3.5″ and 2 x 2.5″ drives, as well as 7 x expansion slots and room for a full size ATX PSU. You’ll be amazed if you see this chassis in person, it’s compact size and unique form factor make it a modern day Tardis and it’ll easily hold a full ATX motherboard and graphics cards of up to 12.3″ expansion cards.

Next up we have the FT05, which features much the same interior of the new Raven chassis, but with clean exterior looks and dual analogue dials for the fan speed controller, as well as a nice touch of style thanks to the anodised steel trim around the bottom.

The RV01 looks like the ideal choice for a SteamBox build thanks to its ability to hold large graphics cards such as the R9 290X and GTX 760Ti by using a GPU adaptor bracket. It features a slot loading slim-ODD bay, room for a pair of 2.5″ hard drives, an SFX PSU and can be displayed in either vertical or horizontal format.

The sleek looking ML04 is much the same as the slim Raven, but features a much cleaner look that may make it more appealing to the HTPC market, but it’s still just every bit as capable for a compact gaming build as its aggressive looking Raven counterpart.

Continuing with the Micro-ATX range, their aluminium fronted ML06 looks super clean and tidy, making it a strong contender for a HTPC build, an area of the chassis market that Silverstone have dominated for a very long time.

Those needing a HTPC build without any sacrifices will want to check out the new GD10, which features support for full size ATX motherboards, ATX PSU, 7 + 1 expansion bays, and more importantly a lockable front panel door, a great option if you want to stop people from turning the system off/on.

The GD09 is very similar to the GD10, but instead features a more open front panel design, Silverstone are great for making variants of each product that are ideal for different end users.

Continuing with the multipurpose theme, here we see the new SG11 and SG12 chassis. OK so we only have the front panel for the SG11, but as with many of the chassis on display here the interior is much the same. Both chassis support a single 5.25″ drive, 2 x 3.5″ drives and a staggering 9 x 2.5″ drives, making them a very desirable choice for NAS, or HTPC builds. the SG11 is to be cheaper thanks to the plastic front panel, but the SG12 features aluminium panels on the front, as well as a very strong handle that make it easy to transport, something that may appeal to the LAN gaming market.

That’s everything from the Silverstone suite for today, but check back later as we bring you even more coverage from this years CES.

Latest SteelSeries Peripherals Shown Off At CES 2014

CES 2014, here we are at the Steelseries suite taking a look at their new peripherals for the start of a new year. First up we have their much anticipated Stratus controller which has been designed to work with iPod, iPhone and iPad iOS 7 games. Since iOS 7 features embedded controller support, developers can now take advantage of these new controllers which bring many of the features and functionality that we’ve come to expect from console controllers. Not only does the Stratus feature dual analogue sticks, a D-pad and four shoulder buttons, but it also features four pressure sensitive face buttons. The Stratus is available for pre-order from the Apple store for $99.

Next up we have a new flagship product, the Sensei wireless gaming mouse. It keeps many of the traits that have made the original Sensei one of the most popular and applauded gaming mice on the market, with the added advantage of cutting the cable. The mouse is ambidextrous, features a laser sensor with configurable CPI of up-to 8200.

Battery life is a tasty 20 hours, but given that it comes with a simple to use charging dock, and the option to hook up a micro-USB cable to use it as a wired mouse (while also charging it), keeping it powered shouldn’t be much of a issue at all. Steelseries have gone all out on this one, and the mouse now features their brand new SteelSeries Switches which feature a 30 million click lifespan.

That’s it for the new product ranges from Steelseries at the show, stay tuned for even more coverage from this years CES 2014 and of course keep checking back over the next few weeks as we follow many of these articles with in-depth reviews of the products from the show.

New Coolermaster Chassis Products At CES 2014

CES 2014, we’re back in the Coolermaster Suite to take a look at their latest range of chassis and cooling products that will be hitting the market in 2014. First up we have the new Silencio 452 (pic above, left) and the Silencio 652 (pic above, right). Both new chassis come with support for micro-ATX and ATX motherboards, a clean looking front panel and are packed with noise dampening material.

The 452 comes equipped with two pre-installed 120mm fans, support for a 240mm radiator in the front and a 120mm radiator in the back, USB 3.0 & SD card reader built in, dust filters and 8 hard drives bays (6 x 3.5″ + 2 x 2.5″).

The 652 is pretty much the same as the 452, but will come with one 180mm fan and one 120mm fan pre-installed, but has support for up to five 180mm fans, support for more hard drives (10 x 2.5″ or 9 x 3.5″).

Project N-Box (pic below) is still a bit vague and appears to be in concept state. It offers a wrap around side panel window, room for ATX motherboards, two vertical 5.25″ drive bays, and a rear compartment for the PSU, storage, cable routing and extra cooling components.

The box like Elite 110 offers up a great solution for the mini-ITX market, comes with a single 120mm fan pre-installed and has support for two more 80mm fans on the side panel. USB 3.0, full ATX PSU and (up to) 210mm GPU support comes as standard, Impressively for its size the system will hold up to 3 3.5″ drives / 4 SSD’s.

That’s everything from the new Coolermaster chassis products at CES 2014, keep an eye on the site over the coming weeks and month when we look forward to bringing you in-depth reviews of the latest products from the show.

BeQuiet Show Off Their Latest Range Of Coolers At CES 2014

BeQuiet! are one of the hottest brands on the market, well known for their high performance and dedication to creating high quality, whisper quiet performance. On display at CES 2014 they’ve got several new models for 2014, including their new Silent Wings 2 and their Pure Wings 2 fans, which have been improved once again to offer better, and quieter performance.

Two new low-to-mid budget solutions have been revealed too, the Shadow Rock Slim and the Shadow Rock 2, they don’t look as fancy as the all black fittings of other BeQuiet! CPU coolers, but BeQuiet! promise they’ll still offer great cooling performance and they still use the same high quality fans.

The Dark Rock 3 is a new premium model and comes fitted with six head pipes, 1 x 140mm fan and mounts to install another 140mm.

Want something truly epic? The check out their new Dark Rock Pro 3, this features a dual radiator design, 12 heat pipes, two pre-installed fans and room for a third fan should you really want to make things super cool.

Thanks to user feedback, their coolers are now 3mm shorter, but BeQuiet has gone to great length to ensure that there is as much surface area as possible, adding little indentations to each fin of the radiator and making the cooler a little wider.

We really can’t wait to put the performance of these new fans and coolers to the test, and I’m happy to say we already have the Dark Rock Pro 3 in the office already, so expect a full review as soon as possible.


Roccat Show Off Their Latest Range Of Peripherals At CES 2014.

CES 2014, here we are at the Roccat suite to take a look at their brand new range of peripherals that will be hitting the market in 2014. First up we have their two new compact keyboards the Ryos TLK and the Ryos TKL Pro. The Pro model features an extremely advanced LED backlighting engine that can give off some dazzeling light shows, while the regular model doesn’t feature a backlight system to help keep the RRP lower.

The two keyboards are fully mechanical just like their big brother, the Ryos MK. The ones on display were both fitted with Cherry MX Black.

Both keyboards look the same (apart from the LED lighting system) and are effectively just the RYOS MK without the number pad, making them a lot more compact, lighter and more suitable for smaller desk spaces, as the original Ryos is a very big keyboard indeed thanks to the over sides chassis and built in wrist rest.

Next up we have the Roccat Kone Pure Optical, easily one of the best mice I’ve ever used, albeit one that was just a little too small for my hands. Roccat must have read the part of my review that said they need to make an XTD edition, because here it is! We can’t wait to review this one, the ideal of the Kone XTD being fitted with an even better sensor sounds too good to be true.

Much like the Kone XTD the new optical model can still be customised with add-in weights.

The Kone Pure is already a great product and is a good seller for Roccat, so rather than replace the product they’ve given it a cool new paint job with the Kone Pre Military editions. It features a 5,000dpi optical sensor with TDCU, it will be available in Desert Strike, Naval Storm and Camo Charge, and Roccat plan to release the Kave XTD 5.1 Analogue headset and a mousepad available in the same design for a bundle deal.

Their Kave XTD 5.1 Analog is the latest model based on the original Kave 5.1.  Running from separate 5.1 jacks and a single USB (for extra power) the headset is ideal for those that want a real surround sound experience from their headset. The addition of a multi-channel volume controller, Zero Noise technology and an incredible durable design make it one of the hottest headset at CES 2014.

The Kave XTD Stereo offers the same build and design, but featuring two powerful drivers, a detachable microphone and great build quality.

The Kave XTD 5.1 Digital is their flagship model, featuring a built in 5.1 sound card and the ability to pair the headset with your smartphone via Bluetooth.

One thing that all these big headsets have in common is incredible build quality. Roccat we’re keen to let us try and twist them out of shape, but they still worked perfectly and didn’t break in the slightest.

Finally we have their great in-ear headphones which feature flat cables, a durable design, perfect for those who need something extremely portable and compact.

That’s everything from the Roccat suite today, but we’ve already got some reviews on the way for you, so stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks when we put them to the test.

Thecus 10G NAS On Show At CES 2014

CES 2014 has been more of a quiet year for Thecus with a somewhat smaller stand to show off their systems, but this is not to say that they are not showing anything new. As you may or may not know I’ve covered a wide range of systems from Thecus, ranging from the entry level end of the market, up to some of the brands higher power models that are aimed at the SMB and enterprise markets. At this years show, we have three new systems on show alongside two older systems, namely the N5550 and N2560 that came out last year.

On the SOHO end of the NAS scale, Thecus have their latest in budget friendly options on show. The N2310 is Thecus’ first NAS to drop an Intel CPU from its specification and in its place an 800MHz AMCC processor is placed and along with 512MB of RAM, the usual array of RAID options, along with Thecus’ latest OS 6 and library of over 200 apps, this system could just turn out to be a little gem of a system. Stay tuned on this as I’m looking to get one in soon for review to see how it fares against the Intel equivalent systems.

Further along the line and moving up to the SMB and enterprise line of systems, Thecus have two systems the are making a debut at CES. These systems, namely the N8810U-G to the left and the N7710-G to the right are slightly higher spec models over the N8810U and N7710 that are also being released into the market at the same time as these two. All of these new systems pack a dual core Intel Pentium G850 2.9GHz processor, 4GB of RAM, full RAID support including JBOD, RAID 0/1/5/6/10/50 and RAID 60 on the rackmount models along with HDMI and VGA ports, free copies of Acronis True Image and McAfee Antivirus and in the case of the -G SKUS the systems come pre-installed with 10GBe network cards for ultra high speed data transfer.

Stay tuned as we still have more coverage for you from CES 2014 in Las Vegas.

Corsair Voyager USB-OTG (On-The-Go) Flash Drive Debut At CES 2014

Portable storage for mobile devices is something that I have covered a few times over the last few months. On the face of it, the drives that are available – such as Corsair’s own Voyager Air 1TB – are a welcomed sight for many mobile users around the world. There is however one slight drawback to all of these portable, wireless storage mediums and this is the size.

Over the last few years we have seen that the size of our mobile devices came right down from the bulky phones that were available in the mid 90’s, but as technology has moved forward, the size of our mobile devices has started to grow once more; albeit at a slower rate. Although these portable storage devices are very handy for say sharing films to two tablet devices in the car for the kids to watch on-the-go, for the most part, it is generally a single user who is going to be carrying one of these around with them and the extra bulk and weight can be an inconvenience to some. This is where the Voyager Go Flash drive comes in to play.

Built around a standard flash drive interface, namely USB, the Voyager Go offers up an additional micro-USB port on the other end of its tiny package for a direct connection to a compatible mobile device. At this moment in time, the compatibility list is rather short and it is also limited to Android devices that support the USB OTG (On-The-Go) interface. That said though, the number of devices that will support this feature is growing quickly and Corsair do offer up a full up-to-date compatibility list on their website. The dual USB port feature also makes the task of transferring data from your desktop to your mobile, such as films, that much easier and quicker thanks to its high speed USB interface on one end.

The Voyager Go is going to be available in capacities ranging from 16GB for $19.99 USD through 32GB for $29.99 and up to a massive 64GB for $49.99. The drives are starting to ship very soon and to be honest, I’m surprised that someone didn’t think of this concept any sooner than this.

Be sure to check out the rest of our CES coverage as we bring you the latest news from CES 2014 here in Las Vegas.

Diamond Release Range Of Gaming Peripherals At CES 2014

CES 2014, Diamond are better known in the industry for their graphics solutions, but now it looks like they’re wanting to dip their toes into the world of peripherals with the release of an all new range of keyboards and mice. First up we have the DX1, a 6000 dpi laser mouse that features extra side buttons that make it ideal for general MMO gaming and FPS titles. It’s ergonomic shape means its only suitable for right handed use, but the build quality and design look great.

Their standard gaming keyboard is nice and compact, making it ideal for chucking in your bag for LAN gaming events. It features red plastic behind the keys that give it a nice bright appeal and should be aimed towards the mid-budget gaming market.

Next up we have their gaming keyboard, although this isn’t the final model it already looks promising and features a choice of Cherry MX switch types and a compact design that make it ideal for gaming, and portable enough to take with you to LAN events. It also features replaceable key caps on the WASD keys, these features a very grippy rubber cap that will help keep your fingers right where you need them.

Also in the Diamond suite were more gaming products, a wide range of video capture devices suitable for a wide range of budgets, some are simple pass through devices while others offer streaming capabilities, HDMI in put and more, all of which are available now on Amazon.

That’s everything from the Diamond gaming products for today, but well be getting them in for review in a few weeks time, so stay tuned for more details on their performance and features.

Enermax Reveal New Air And Water Cooling Products At CES 2014

CES 2014, this year we saw a lot of new products from Enermax as well as a few company favourites that they’re happy to display once again. Most importantly of all was their range of new cooling products that will be available throughout 2014. Starting off we have the Liqmax 120S, a budget friendly solution that comes fitted with a 120mm LED fan, very flexible and durable cooling pipes and a custom CPU block / pump combo.

Next up we have their Twister Pressure fan, a super high pressure 120mm fan which offers impressive airflow performance without being any louder, meaning you won’t need to ramp the RPM up higher to get the great performance.

Keen to show their efforts they had a competitors fan on display (obviously a Corsair fan) that you could use to spin a small windmill fan, as you can see from the spec cards the Twister Pressure has a lower RPM, lower dBA and a much higher airflow rage and static pressure, overall a very impressive fan.

For those wanting a splash of colour in the build, there are their gorgeous LED fans which come fitted with a switch, this allows you to toggle colour and lighting effects. This fan also comes in a 180mm format which can be mounted to both 180mm and 200mm fittings.

The ETS-N30-HE features a new radiator design for improved thermal performance, fitted with a blue LED or standard black fan and looks set to be a nice low-to-mid budget solution for Enermax this year.

The Liqtech 120X and the 240 come with a great new rad and CPU block design that will bring improved cooling performance over the 2013 range of AIO Enermax water coolers.

The 240mm comes fitted with two 120mm fans as standard, but you can of course mount two more in a push-pull configuration for even better cooling performance.

This is just a quick look at what Enermax had to offer, we love the look of their new mid budget AIO water coolers, but keep an eye on eTeknix over the next few weeks when we hope to bring you detailed reviews, where we will take a much closer look at the build quality and performance of each.

Fractal Designs Display Their Chassis And PSU Products At CES 2014

CES 2014, Fractal Designs had a great display this year at the show, they unfortunately didn’t have any new products to display due to technical difficulties, most likely due to some of the severe weather to hit a lot of the US this week, but they decided to convert their suite to a recharge room. The idea is that they got a masseuse offering visitors luxurious back rubs to ease the pain of walking the Las Vegas strip,  a couple of dozen power banks where you could recharge your mobile devices, a bar full of refreshments and a pool table, pretty much everything you want to see when you walk in to a meeting expecting to have to do some hard work, so thank you Fractal Design for letting us kick back and take a load off for a hour.

While they may not have have new products on display, they did have a collection of their top products including the R2, Arc XL and many more.

They also had their PSU range out on display which offer fully wired and semi modular solutions for high end systems, generally targeted at a gaming audience and highly desirable thanks to their clean aesthetics.

Also on display was their popular Node 304 chassis, a great choice for those wanting a clean looking HTPC build.


New products may have been missing, but Velocity, XovicPC and Puget managed to put together three gorgeous looking builds, especially the green one which was finished in the same paint found on a classic American muscle car, I cannot remember which model though but it could have been a Dodge Challenger, maybe one of our readers can correct me?

Fractal said sorry about not having new products, but they’ve promised to have a great year in 2014 with many exciting new chassis products and power supplies, they expect to reveal them in the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned for more new and of course full reviews of the products as soon as they’re available to us.

Captherm Systems MP1120 CPU Cooler Debuts At CES 2014

Now when it comes to tech products that grab my attention, Captherm Systems have done more than just grab my attention. To kick things off, it’s hard to ignore the fact that they have placed a large image of an explosion on the back of their booth with the tagline of ‘The birthplace of the MP1120… Where it all begins’. Now at this point, like you I’m a little baffled as to what this is all about. After all at this point, all I’ve got to go on is what I can see in front of me on the stand.

So what is all this fuss about? Well as it happens this explosive shot is more than integral to the production of what I think is a revolution in CPU cooling technology. Captherm Systems have been busy working away over the last eight years to create the cooler that we have before us and what makes this unit so special is the fact that it is a water based cooler that does not require any form of pump to transfer the heat away from the CPU block to the radiator. To do this, Captherm have worked on the principle that as the relative air pressure is lowered, the boiling point of water is greatly reduced, so much so in the case of the MP1120 that if you were to place the block on your hand, the water that can be seen through the hermetically sealed window will start to boil and rise up to the radiator as steam, where it then condenses and flows back down to the block. A 140mm fan on top of the radiator then helps to transfer the heat away from the unit and thus the cycle is repeated.

What’s more, Captherm state this this cooler has 500x the cooling efficiency of a traditional closed loop water cooling system, and because there is no pump required and that it can potentially run passively, the unit is virtually silent.

Where the explosives come into the mix of this sci-fi creation is with the metal base that is placed on top of the CPU to transfer heat to the system. Captherm place 1x1m square plates of copper, titanium, various grades of aluminium and stainless steel on top of each other and then place on top of that ~500lb of high explosives. The explosion causes the metal plates to bond together into a single hermetically sealed lump and the sample below is what is left after the explosion. This mixture of metals is what gives this remarkable cooler its high level of efficiency and revolutionary cooling capability.

To be honest this product has more than blown me away – even though ~500lb of explosives are used. If I had to give any product from this years show an award for tech innovation, with out I would have to hand it over to the guys at Captherm Systems. Timo Minx gives us a personal insight in to this coolers history in our video interview below:


ADATA SSDs, Memory and Accessories On Show At CES 2014

As part of our CES tour, we are today taking a look around ADATA’s suite in the Venetian Hotel here in Las Vegas, and like a few other vendors, they are keen to show off their latest and greatest technologies to the world. As soon as we enter their suite, we find a test bench setup which is home to a PCIe card that looks rather different to any other PCIe SSD that we have seen before.

On a closer inspection we find that this card is playing home to a next generation mSATA SSD. As seen on the centre of this board, the mSATA SSD is still in development due to the massive heatsink that is placed on top of the drive controller and even though this is an unfinished product, ADATA assure us that the drive is nearing completion and once the heat issue from the controller has been ironed out then we should be starting to see samples appear for review, so we can only look forward to this. The question I hear you all asking though is what makes this drive that much different from any other mSATA drive? Well when we look at mSATA, there is obviously a certain size constraint to stick to, after all the drives are considerably smaller than a traditional SSD. This particular drive is a brand new form of PCIe SSD and with a few tweaks and tunes, it is able to break through the bandwidth limitations of Gen 3 PCIe lanes and speeds of upto 1800MB/s are possible through the new SF3700 controller. Obviously this is not fully refined as of yet, but as and when it is, the market for PCIe SSDs will be opened right up for power users, the enterprise market and laptops alike.

Further along the line we find a number of ADATA’s existing products ranging from memory to mSATA and full SATA SSDs, but there are a couple of products that stand out from the crowd. The first of these is a full 2TB SSD, yes thats a whopping 2TB, labelled under the SX930 product line and this uses the same SF3700 ‘Griffin’ controller that we saw above. Like the image above, this drive is still in development and the drive only has half of its casing in place to make way for a heatsink to cool the controller. Once this technology has been refined however, I do believe that we are looking at the worlds first 2TB 2.5″ SSD.

The second item of interest is this little baby. Now on the face of it, this appears to look like a single NAND flash module that would be installed on to a fully fledged SSD, however the situation could be no more different. What we have here is an entire SSD in an integrated format – yep, thats the NAND, controller and memory all contained within a single package. Now obviously this is not going to appear on the consumer market to buy, but there will be applications within the mobile and tablet markets for this type of drive – thus reducing the size of the product, whilst offering faster speeds and potentially greater capacities.

Further round the ADATA suite, we find that they are now delving a little deeper into the accessory market and as expected this includes power banks for your mobile devices. Now it seems the every man and his dig is produced these banks, but to set themselves apart a little ADATA have got some that are coloured and designed towards the female users, as style is a key factor for some. Besides these a selection of external storage devices and mobile storage devices such as the 1TB DashDrive HV620 that I recently looked at and the DashDrive Air AE400 that I looked earlier last year.

Just around the corner from the SSD lineup ADATA are showing their XPG range of memory, but what we note in particular is the wide array of colours that they are now offering. Many people these days are opting for a colour theme within their system and for memory vendors this can lead to a make or break in terms of sales – after all, if the modules are not the colour, then why would the end user want it for their system. This is where this new bunch of heat-spreaders comes into play. The nine modules that are on show are reportedly only a selection of the colours that will be available so what we now find is that the need to sacrifice memory speed or quality is no longer a choice that has to be made.

Stay tuned as we have far more content for you from our trip to this years Consumer Electronics Show.

Asus ‘PQ321’ Glasses-Free 3D Concept Monitor On Display At CES 2014

It’s safe to say that 4K is here to stay but Asus have not stopped developing with the unveiling of the PB287Q 4K monitor. We’ve had 3D monitors around for a while now, however there have been only a few that could give a glasses-free experience and to be honest they’ve not been the most practical with a very narrow field of view to get the proper 3D experience.  So what do we think that Asus have come up with? Yup, that’s it a Glasses-free 4K 3D monitor. Now the monitor that Asus have on show in their suite is actually labelled up as a PQ321 as seen by the label on the back of the screen, but this particular panel has had a couple of modifications made to its 31.52 PGZO display to give it the 3D capability.

Like the PQ321 that is on display, this 3D ready panel still offers up the same 176º viewing angles and the same feature rich set of display options, but looking at it, it is remarkable to see how well it works, even in the concept stage. In this size, word has it that this display could cost around $3500. A steep price tag for sure.

You’ll have to excuse the lack of clarity in this last picture as it was hard to get a look at the back of the screen due to it being fixed in place. Looking at the inputs, there is little to chose from with little more than a single DisplayPort and what looks to be a pair of 3.5mm ports for audio in/out.

I will stress that this is purely a concept model at this moment in time, but by the looks of things and with the way 4K has been growing in popularity over the last few months, we can only but hope that this concept goes into full production in the not too distant future. I’ve got a strong feeling the just like the PB287Q, this monitor has the capability to revolutionise the 3D experience without the need for specialist glasses. To top it off as well, there is word that there is the potential for the same 3D technology to trickle down into the 28″ panel as well, with word from Asus that it could cost as little as $1000! Lets hope this is a glance into the future of 3D gaming and entertainment.

Diamond Display Their Latest Graphics Solutions At CES 2014

A brand that we’ve never really worked with in the past were at CES 2014, and after meeting with them, this should all change in the near future and that brand is Diamond. For those not in the know, they have a broad product range of networking products, but their bread and butter so to speak has always been graphics cards and after visiting their suite in the Mirage hotel, we got to see exactly what was on offer. This included the R7 240 and 250, as well as the R9 270X and 280X offerings from AMD.

Also in the mix was the BizView 750 card aimed at the business sector, offering some key features that AMD cater for, including Eyefinity but without the un-needed 3D performance that is’t required for a card catered for this market. Instead, this card is aimed at POS, digital signage and other similar functions. A good example is airports, travel agents and restaurants that could display their latest deals or flight times.

Other products that were on show included the MDS3900 dual head mini dock with Gigabit Ethernet which allows a digital display signal to be split for multiple outputs as well as including USB 3.0 and Gigabit functionality. Also on display was the BV550X4 quad output graphics card, which has an extremely small footprint working on a PCI-Express interface, but includes a single output connector with a 4-1 cable allowing 4 outputs to be displayed using the pre-supplied cable. This is a very cost effective way of displaying multiple screens from a single output and keeping costs and heat/noise to a minimum.

Would any of Diamond’s graphics card be something that you’d buy?

More Information Available Regarding Asus’ New 28″ 4K Monitor At CES 2014

If you recall, last night I talked about how both Asus and Lenovo have both brought a 28″ 4K monitor to the market with a seemingly remarkable price tag of sub US$800. Well eager to find out a little more about this panel I decided to pop by the Asus suite in the Trump hotel to get a hands on look at what this monitor has to offer and to see if a 4K resolution in such a small frame size (relative to its resolution).

When it comes to clarity and colour definition, first impressions look amazing. I’ve seem some impressive displays in my life, but even when looking up close as we can see below, it is easier to pick up particles of dust than it is to see individual pixels with a high level of zoom on the camera lens. Apart from the fact that the image is moving – which is pretty obvious considering this is a video stream that it is displaying – if the image were to be left still, and a dummy screen placed beside it, I could probably go as far as saying that at a glance it would be hard to tell the two apart. This is the only real way in which I can describe how good the picture looks.

Looking a further in to the exact specifications of the PB287Q, we note that due to the ultra high resolution, this panel packs a whopping 157 pixels into every square inch of the IPS panel and it features the same Splendid display characteristics but with a bit more refinement, thus the Splendid Plus title. We also note that there are infact three display inputs with dual HDMI ports (both with MHL capability), a single full sized DisplayPort and a legacy VGA input for older display adaptors. The IPS panel offers a contrast ratio of 100,000,000:1 (yes that is one hundred million to one), a brightness of 300cd/m² and a pair of 2W speakers with 3.5mm analogue audio in/out also on hand for older systems.

Having read and now seen this screen first hand, I’m even more excited to hopefully get one of these panels in for review in the near future. Asus say that the panels should be on the market in the early to mid part of February and I’ll tell you what, it’s going to shake up the display line-ups that we are already presented with for sure.

Thermaltake Show Off Digital Power Supplies at CES 2014

CES 2014: As we started the week at CES 2014, we made sure our first port of call was the Thermaltake suite at the Palazzo in Las Vegas and one key highlighted product focus was their latest digital power supplies, and while they may be a bit late to the party, they have been busy perfecting the digital aspect of the units, when it comes to the software side of things to allow consumers to measure every aspect of their power supply including relevant costings and voltages.

Of course, the DPS range of PSUs will come in various wattages, ranging from 750W upwards, with the 850W and 1050W taking center stage in their suite.

In addition, Thermaltake had the Platinum 1250W on show, built into a high-end system, showcasing the white styling that matches with a wide variety of chassis also made by the manufacturer.

Software wise, they had the system hooked up to show how it calculates electricity cost, temperature, voltages and much more. Other features included report functions and the ability to share your system results with friends with a click of a button.

As well as their digital power supply range, Thermaltake were also keen to show off their other products including the Toughpower Grand 850W fully modular unit which uses a similar design and style to their digital counterparts. With an attractive price point and sleek design, we can see this being a big seller worldwide.

Also not forgetting their routes, they have the Toughpower GOLD 750W sitting to the side, giving a generous bang for buck, modular design and flat cables, with only the 24-pin and 8-pin connectors being hardwired, as every system will require these.

We also took a moment to have a chat with Shannon Robb, Marketing Manager for Thermaltake USA to give us a rundown on the products on show, and to give us a quick look at the DPS software, so check it out below:


Luxa2 Power Banks and Mobile Accessories Expands At CES 2014

When it comes to premium mobile accessories that don’t carry a premium price tag, Luxa2 is without a doubt one of the top names to look for. Over the last couple of years we have been watching the range of products expand and develop and her in 2014 the story continues with a lineup that is as strong as ever.

It appears to look like everyone and their dog is producing portable battery packs for mobile devices and Luxa2 are a part of this group, however they are keeping their selves one step ahead of the competition with a range that rivals like no-other.

When I say that Luxa2 are leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else, nothing can prove the point more than the P-Mega – a battery bank with a staggering 41600mAh capacity and six USB ports. Being dubbed as the worlds largest battery bank, it’s not just power capacity that is large. This massive cube offers up three 2A ports for high-speed charging and three 1A ports and this is enough to keep your mobile devices charged fro an entire weekend away. Naturally it does carry a higher price tag in comparison to other battery banks but keep your eyes peeled on eTeknix as I’ll have a review on this Goliath battery bank in the next few weeks.

Now for some people, the P-Mega is just a little overkill, so to cater for a wider audience another pair of units are available with more modest capacities of up to 20800mAh.

Whilst battery banks are convenient, the cables are not and this is where items such as the TX-P1 5000mAh wireless charger comes into play. A number of phones these days such as the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 have the capability to charge wirelessly and this charging bank is just the item to pair with one of these handsets, especially if like me you hate the bulk of cable that you otherwise have to take around with you.

For those of us who are constantly on the go and would like a little style to go with the functionality, guess what – Luxa2 has you covered with a range of charging packs that can either attach to your handbag, suitcase or briefcase, or give a more rugged feel with a rubber surround. For those that also need it, some products also feature a small LED light on the end to help you find things in your bag – you’ll know if this applies to you!

Moving away from portable charging and onto audio, we have a few new and a few existing items on show starting with the Groovy portable speaker system. Connectable via Bluetooth, the Groovy allows you to not only listen to your music as it should be heard, but with its built-in microphone it can also act as a hands-free speaker system for conference call type applications. Next to this is the Groovy T which has a remarkable low price and requires no setup or connections to be made. By simply placing your phone on to of the speaker, the Groovy T simply amplifies the sound that it picks up and makes audio sharing simple and affordable.

Moving along the line we find a few more speaker systems including the Groovy W which we saw last year at Computex which offers both wireless playback and mobile charging and a simple one tough setup with its NFC enabled technology. Beside this is a smaller unit which is new to this years show – the Groovy W Mini. Like its bigger brother, the W mini also features wireless charging for mobile devices, although it does drop the NFC technology. Instead the W Mini allows you to pair a second W mini to the first to give you a wireless stereo speaker system.

On the far end of the table are some of the mobile and headphone mounts – some of which are new to this years lineup. To the left we find a pair of E-One Note headphone stands which feature an all aluminium design and have a simple, sturdy and stylish design to give your headphones just the place to rest when they’re not in use. On the far end of the lineup is the H5 in-car mount which I took a look at earlier this week, however mounted on the wall is a new and improved model that features a sticky suction cup allowing it to mount to virtually any surface with the same firm grip that the H5 offers.


Thermaltake Show Off Updated BlacX External SATA Dock At CES 2014

We are no stranger to Thermaltake’s BlacX line of external SATA docks and this was shown back in the early part of last year when I took a look at the BlacX 5G and BlacX Duet docking stations. One would only imagine where an item such as this could be improved, but surprise surprise it has been and now it comes with Wi-Fi built in. Built on the BlacX 5G platform, the BlacX Urban incorporates a 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n wireless adaptor, which will allow for Wi-Fi tethering in the same way that we have seen on some other mobile storage devices and will be fully compatible with both iOS and Android devices with an App available for each platform in their relevant stores.

Apart from the addition of wireless connectivity, the BlacX Urban still features full USB3.0 connectivity and will support both 2.5″ and 3.5″ drives. Pricing is set at $79.99 USD although UK, EMEA and pricing across the rest of the world may vary a little, however this should be starting to appear on the market very soon as the product hits the shelves in the next few weeks.