In recent years, closed loop liquid coolers have risen in popularity, bringing some of the highlights of liquid cooling to consumer segment. The latest in a long line of coolers, Cooler Master has unveiled their MasterLiquid Pro 120 and 240 liquid coolers with a daring new design. The two replace the current Nepton 120XL and Nepton 240M with potentially improved performance and durability.
The headline change is the new and improved pump with dual chambers. By moving critical pump parts to a separate chamber and exposing them only cool liquid, lifespan is improved. Cooler Master has also built the pump using ‘silent driver’ technology that they claim will lead to quieter operation. Another change is to the waterblock, where the coolant is now sprayed onto the middle. This spray down design isn’t actually anything new though as we’ve seen in previous Cooler Master coolers like the Nepton 240M.
The final and most noticeable change is to the radiator. Instead of the usual triangular fins, Cooler Master has moved to rectangular ones. This should lead to improved fin/radiator contact and better airflow at a cost to surface area exposed to the fan. The fans are also improved to MasterFan Pro Air Balance 120-mm models. The Pro 120 carries a $99.99 price tag, while the Pro 240 will sell for $119.99. It remains to be seen if the redesign will get around Asetek’s patents.
Picking the right cooler for your system can be a daunting task as there are virtually endless amounts of solutions out there. Every size, shape, colour, fan configuration and beyond that you can think of. It becomes more demanding when it comes to smaller system builds, where space is at a premium and budget is tight, especially if you’re running your system under load and the stock CPU cooler just isn’t up to the job; if your chip even came with one to begin with.
3 direct contact heat pipes with a base that is engineered to minimize CPU contact gaps – providing excellent heat conduction.
Option for adding 2nd fan with quick-snap fan brackets to increase cooling performance.
A mere 17 dBA (minimum speed) is accomplished by utilizing a silent 92mm PWM fan with a wide RPM range.
“The Hyper TX series has evolved along with the requirements of mainstream CPUs. The launch of Hyper TX3i marks another milestone with Cooler Master’s Improved Direct Contact technology, further improving cooling performance.” – Cooler Master
Taking inspiration from previous TX3 models, the TX3i is expected to be one of Cooler Masters most affordable and capable (relative to price) coolers to date. With a triple heatpipe design, low-noise 92mm fan, and support for all major Intel sockets, as well as a super compact form factor that should mean zero conflicts with memory modules, expansion cards or the vast majority of chassis designs.
The three heat pipes measure in at 6mm and make direct contact with the CPU, it’s a cheap way of doing things, but so long as it work, that’s not a problem. The fan if a 4-pin WPM model and can spin between 800RPM and 2200RPM, so it should be pretty quiet at idle, but may be a little noisy when pushed, but we’ll find out soon enough.
The packaging is pretty straight forward, with a clear image of the cooler and fan design, as well as a quick rundown of the main specifications.
Around the back and side, the full specifications, as well as dimensions of the cooler.
In the box, you’ll find the cooler (obviously), the usual documentation, a tube of thermal paste, screws, 3M pads, and extra fan clips to mount a second fan (not included).
Cooler Master released their newest series of keyboards, the MasterKeys Pro series. The new MasterKeys Pro is available in two versions so you get just the size you need, want, and prefer, whether you like a full sized keyboard or rather a TKL without the num pad. Both versions feature the same functions and customizability, so pick which is best for your gaming needs. The full-sized version is called the MasterKeys Pro L and the TKL version is called the MasterKeys Pro S.
The Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro has a minimalistic design, but don’t let that fool you. The keyboard features full RGB backlighting with multiple effects and full customizability. On top of the extra bright LEDs, you find the Cherry MX switches of your choice, whether that might be red, brown, or blue switches.
It appears like a very simple keyboard when looking at it, but the MasterKeys pro is anything but simple. It is built with a 32-bit ARM processor which increases the possibilities when it comes to on-the-fly macro recording as well as general features. Most keyboards rely on software solutions to handle things and you can use Cooler Master’s software tool to configure and set up your keyboard to match your needs, but you don’t have to. You can do everything software-free too via the on-the-fly system built into the MasterKeys Pro keyboards.
“The MasterKeys Pro offers multiple lighting modes. Presets include Color Wave, Breathing, and other responsive effects. You can choose between red, brown, or blue switches to match your tactile preference,” said Kevin Yang, Peripherals Product Manager. “And you get all the features, whether you prefer a full size keyboard or a tenkeyless design. In addition to easy-to-use software, we are working on a Software Development Kit (SDK) to truly help Make It Yours.”
Cooler Master needed to completely redesign the interior of the MasterKeys to fit both the original Cherry MX switches as well as the much bigger and brighter LEDs used here. The end result looks stunning and should provide you with a stable partner for your online battles. The sleek lines, refined symmetry, and a heavy-weight quality build will help you keep things clean and simple. Speaking of clean and simple, the full-sized L version comes with hidden positioning grooves on the bottom of the keyboard, giving you 180° cable management and the ability to keep your keyboard and desktop sleek and organized regardless of arrangement preference.
The keys themselves have a soft-to-touch and long-lasting UV coating for a great experience and long-lasting effect that won’t result in missing letters and discolored keys.
Both the MasterKeys Pro L and MasterKeys Pro S are available in Europe from today, March the 15th, for a recommended retail price of €169 and €139 respectively. If all that peeked your interest, then you should check out our full review of the MasterKeys Pro S for an in-depth analysis and verdict.
After many months of waiting, AMD has finally unveiled their dual Fiji graphics card. Though not called FuryX2 as we originally expected, the name Radeon Pro Duo is just as fitting. For now, AMD still has not revealed the full specifications but the most important one, price, is a lofty $1,499 USD. For 2 Fiji GPUs and 16TFLOPs of performance, it may well be enough to entice the VR developers AMD is targeting.
As expected of the most powerful single card GPU yet, the power requirements are massive. The 2 GPUs draw power over 3 PCIe 8pin power connectors for up to 525W of power. Memory bandwidth is doubled but the memory remains split as with CFX or dual-GPU cards, with 4GB of HBM1 each over a 4096bit bus. In total, the card has 8192 Shader Cores, 512 TMUs and 128 ROPs with 4DP display connectors. Cooling is provided by a Cooler Master CLC unit with a 120mm extra-thick radiator.
Targetted towards VR and game developers, it makes sense as it offers the performance necessary to the run the most demanding of titles, especially in their unoptimized form. Furthermore, the use of AMD’s affinity multi-GPU, LiquidVR and DX12 will all serve to limit the impact of having 2 separate GPUs. This should allow for better scaling than we usually see with CFX and other solutions.
By targeting VR developers, AMD is able to get away with the hefty price tag, just as Nvidia was able to do the same with their Titan series. This may limit the market though some AMD fans and prosumers won’t mind too much. The price is only $200 more than 2 Fury X’s but it will use up fewer slots and be less of a hassle to arrange the cooling for it. The late launch however, is more of a problematic issue as Polaris and Pascal are fast approaching. It remains to be seen if AMD’s gamble will pay off.
Cooler Master are one of the biggest and best in the industry, not only for their high-end chassis such as the Master Case Pro 5, but also their power supplies, coolers and most importantly today, their peripherals. Dropping the CM Storm branding, their latest keyboard, the Masterkeys Pro S TKL, falls in line with their “maker” series of products. Last year so very little new products from CM and we knew they were cooking up something big. They came back after a long period of silence with a completely redesigned and focused product line, and their “make it yours” philosophy.
All the new products we’ve seen from Cooler Master have been beyond impressive, so I’m really eager to see what their new premium-grade mechanical keyboard has to offer. There are two models available, the full-size MasterKeys Pro L and the TKL MasterKeys Pro S, which is the one we have in the eTeknix office today.
“Get the best of both worlds with the MasterKeys Pro L and Pro S: the brightest LEDs and the best tactile feeling that gamers have come to love. We completely redesigned the interior to fit both Cherry MX switches and big, fat, LEDs that can radiate 16.7 million colors. You also get on-the-fly macros, profile support, and easy-to-use software – all in a sleek, minimalistic design.” – Cooler Master
The new keyboards come with all the premium features you would expect, such as customisable RGB lighting, Cherry MX switches, macro support, anti-ghosting and N-key rollover and more. Most importantly, at least in terms of the RGB lighting, is that cooler master customised the PCB, allowing for larger and brighter LEDs, without compromising on the use of Cherry MX switches.
• Brilliant RGB lighting with 16.7 million colors
• Exclusive Cooler Master design makes each LED pop out and shine
• Multiple lighting modes
• Change and customize colors with or without software
• Presets include Color Wave, Breathing, and responsive effects
• Cherry MX switches
• Guaranteed to endure at least 50 million keystrokes
• On-the-fly macro and profile support
• On-board processor and profile keys let you save macros and backlighting settings without hassle
• 100% anti-ghosting with N-key rollover
• Ensure each keypress is correctly detected regardless how many other keys are being pressed
• Detachable cable
• Cables won’t get in your way or clutter your desktop
• Hidden underside positioning grooves gives you 180° cable management (only for Pro L)
The packaging is very nicely designed, showing off the RGB lighting in all its glory, as well as touting the use of Cherry MX switches.
Around the back, a little breakdown of the build, showing the PCB, switches, casing and key caps.
In the box, you’ll find everything you need to get you started. This includes a high-quality micro-USB braided cable, which fully detachable from the keyboard, a key cap removal tool and a nice and colourful user’s guide.
The Cooler Master 212 series has long been regarded as one of the best CPU coolers on the market, making it an extremely popular choice for system builders. Is it the best performing cooler on the market? No, not really, but it’s been hard to compete with the kind of performance improvements it gives over stock CPU coolers, and it does it for a very reasonable price. Now, Cooler Master have taken their most popular cooler and made it better than ever, by improving the hardware, they’ve managed to give it a performance boost and reduce the noise from the cooler, and that’s obviously a very welcome improvement on a cooler that was already doing rather well.
“The latest in the extremely popular Hyper 212 series, Cooler Master’s Hyper 212X is based on the same patented CDC Quad heatpipe array as the 212 EVO but features several improvements that boost performance and further reduce noise. Thanks to our brand new Smart Engine and POM bearing, the 212X is incredibly durable and will virtually last a lifetime.” said Cooler Master
Equipped with four direct touch heat pipes, an aluminium fin array, improved fan blades, a new bearing and more, the 212 cooler has never been so good. So let’s jump in and take a closer look at what it has to offer.
High-performance Copper heatpipes with a fusion bonded copper powder wick.
Patented CDC technology – 4 direct touch heatpipes creating a gap-less contact surface
Aluminum Fin Array with New Tunnel Effect layout for improved heat dissipation.
4th Generation Bearing – MTBF of 160,000 hours thanks to highly durable POM components.
Redesigned Fan-blades that create vortices to boost airflow without creating more noise.
Smart Fan engine – stops the fan when blocked to prevent damage, and automatically restarts the fan when it has been cleared.
Universal mounting system for all Intel and AMD platforms.
The packaging is nicely designed, with a clear image of the cooler and some of the main features detailed at the bottom.
Around the back, a quick run down of some of the main specifications, but nothing we don’t already know.
In the box, you’ll find the cooler, the universal backplate and a small box of components.
The component box is really nicely laid out, with the user manual, some extra fan brackets, the mounting support and a handy pack for all the screws.
This little sorter box makes it super easy to see the components you need and even comes with a full tube of thermal paste, allowing for multiple applications of the cooler.
Among our recent upgrade to 10 Gbit networking here in the eTeknix review section wasn’t just the awesome 12-port smart switch that we saw a little while ago, D-Link also supplied me with a DXE-820T dual-port 10 Gbit Ethernet Network card to be able to connect with the switch in full speed. After all, what good does a 10 Gbps switch do when my test rig doesn’t have the same kind of performance.
The D-Link DXE-820T is a dual-port 10 GBASE-T RJ-45 PCI Express high-performance adapter designed for the high-speed PCI Express bus architecture. This adapter offers the increased bandwidth needed in modern environments as well as being a reliable and functional PCI network card. It has been specifically designed to allow throughput at rates up to 40 Gbps, thus eliminating the bottleneck that exists with current 32 and 64-bit PCI bus architectures.
The DXE-820T requires a PCI-E v2 x8 or x16 slot for enough bandwidth, but you don’t need to provide any extra power connectors or other things besides your network cables, naturally. The card is capable of a transmitting distance of up to 100m with Cat 6A or higher in 10 GBASE-T mode and up to 100m with Cat 5 type cables in Gigabit mode. This makes the placement of the switch a lot easier.
The DXE-820T features TCP, UDP, and IP checksum offloading functionality, which transfers the checksum processing tasks from the computer’s own CPU and onto the network card itself. The DXE-820T’s ability to handle the checksum processing means that the CPU’s processing power can be used for other tasks while still achieving 20 Gbps network speeds. It also means that the network card needs some extra cooling in the form of an active fan as well as a passive heatsink.
The adapter also features an onboard screening of 802.1Q VLAN tagged Ethernet frames, allowing you to assign multiple subnets to each server and isolate devices within each VLAN from the rest of the network for better traffic control and security. With support for advanced features such as 802.3x flow control, jumbo frames, and SNMP for network management, the DXE-820T can easily interoperate with your current networking equipment.
With two ports at your disposal, you can increase the network throughput even further than the 10 Gbit per second on each port. With Smart Load BalancingTM, the DXE-820T can configure multiple adapters to work as a team, sharing traffic and ensuring data reliability. This both creates a faster network and provides fault tolerance resulting in a stable and efficient network.
The low profile design allows the deployment in space restricted areas and D-Link also included a low-profile slot cover right away. The card itself is powered by Broadcom’s BCM57810 chip.
The card naturally supports Jumbo Frames for optimized setups and it allows for values up to 9K. The DXE-820T is compatible with all major operating systems with drivers available for both user systems and server systems such as Windows Server 2012 or Solaris 11.
High-Speed data transmission at rates up to 40Gbps allow for seamless data transfer.
10GBASE-T technology supports distances to 100m over CAT6A or better copper cable.
Advanced Features: 802.3x flow control for traffic management, 802.1Q VLAN tagging for increased security, and checksum offloading to reduce CPU processing burden.
Bandwidth Management: NIC partitioning enables administrators to manage bandwidth for greater network efficiency.
Packaging and Accessories
The DXE-820T NIC card comes in a very neutral box that only really reveals that we have a D-Link product inside. But it’s a network card and it isn’t like you would put the box in the display after installing the card anyway, so simply is good.
We do find a little sticker on the rear of the box that reveals what is inside, the model number along with serial, mac address, and hardware version.
There is both a driver disk and a quick installation manual inside the box, and D-Link also included a low-profile bracket for use in small-form-factor systems. Everything you need to get going with that extra speed.
Case modding has become very popular again and it isn’t just something that a few select sponsored people do. A lot of people take it upon themselves to make their existing or new rigs just a little more fly. If you should be among those people, then you might want to pay attention to this as you could end up being one of the people walking away with 30,000 USD in cash and prizes. Cooler Master has launched the Case Mod World Series 2016 which is sponsored by ASUS, Avexir, Dremel, NVIDIA, and OCZ. Those are all some familiar names with some quality products.
The Case Mod World Series is designed to connect modders everywhere and 2016 is the seventh time it is being held where Cooler Master expanded the scope of the series to include local meet and greets, and modding sessions. The participants will be judged in four equally weighted areas that are complexity, design, originality, and overall look. The judgement will be done by the sponsoring companies as well as an international panel of judges: Ermanno Bonandini from Italy, Ronnie Hara from Brazil via Japan, Richard Keirsgieter from The Netherlands, Antony Leather from The UK, Richard Surroz and Brian Farrell from the USA.
“Modding has exploded in recent years and is taking root in every corner of the globe. The Case Mod World Series is about fuelling that growth. It’s about igniting the modding spirit – the maker spirit – on the web and right in your community,” said Michelle Wu, Global Community Manager. “This year, we will be running local events to involve modders everywhere. Together, with the generous support of our sponsors, we hope to enable the modding community the world over. ”
The registration is open now and will run until June the 12th, 2016. You need a Cooler Master Forum account to get going, but it is free and the Case Mod mini-site has all the details in that regard. The Info Hub will keep you updated with posts along the way and as previously mentioned, you can win a lot of prizes.
There are three categories with three places in each. The first place winner in the Tower Mod contest will walk away with $3000 USD in cash, any Cooler Master case of their choice, a V1200 PSU, MasterAir Maker 8 cooler, QuickFire Xti keyboard, Sentinel III mouse and Sirus headset. The motherboard is sponsored by Asus and is a Maximus VIII Formula while the GPU power comes from two GTX 980 Ti cards. Along with that, the first place winner gets OCZ SSD, Avexir Memory and a Dremel 8050 Micro tool. You can also see the full list of prizes for the different categories on the mini-site.
CES 2016: Keeping with Cooler Masters “Maker” philosophy, their latest keyboard at CES 2016 is one of their best so far. Following on from their popular QuickFire series of keybaords, the new ones come with a wide range of Cherry MX switch choices, so you should have no issues finding the ones you truly love. There’s also full RGB lighting, and Cooler Master have worked hard to find the best possible RGB lights they can find. Equipped with the brightest RGB LEDs around, the keyboard is a joy to look at, and of course, with RGB, you have 16.7 million colours to pick from for any switch.
The internal redsign of the keyboard means that we not only get better lighting, but also more direct, as it doesn’t bleed through to the other keys, giving you much more defined colour patterns when customising the visuals. All the usual features are here too, such as on-the-fly macros, profile support, desktop software customisation and it all comes bundled in a very durable and slim chassis. Stay tuned for more information on the Masterkeys Pro L and Pro S in the coming weeks here at eTeknix.
CES 2016: Cooler Master may have been in a little hot water last year over pump designs, but that’s old news and something they’ve easily worked around with their a new cooling design of their own making. The new water cooler still has a fairly straight forward radiator design, but now features super flexible tubing, as well as a very unique pump design.
As you can see, it has a clear top, giving you a great view of the liquid chamber in the pump. The demo hardware was running dry to show off the hardware, and CM also said that while there’s only a single LED here, it will be fully LED lit when it comes to market. This is going to look great when it’s done and we cant wait to test it out when it is completed.
Then we have their new fan series, gone are all the previous brandings, now focusing on three ranges, AirFlow, Balance and Air Pressure. Obviously, the usual sizing variants will be available, but they’ll com ewith all black fittings, a sleek design and anti-vibration rubber mounts for the screws.
The new Masterair Maker 8, which features a sleek design for high-end air cooling. It uses a 3D vapor chamber in the base, a thick tower and a push/pull fan configuration for excellent cooling performance.
It’ll support 120mm and 140mm fans via removable clip-on brackets, allowing for quick and easy fan changes/maintainance.
It’s also very colourful. The LED lighting is actually from the fans, but there’s a cool lighting pass-through design that helps illuminate the top cover and the area around the heat pipes.
This is a stunning looking cooler and once again we can’t wait to see it in the eTeknix office and put it through its paces.
Air cooling not your thing? Expect to see this range of custom loop cooling hardware on the market very soon too!
CES 2016: As we take our tour of the Cooler Master suite at this year’s show, I had to stop and admire their latest power supply. PSUs are nothing new, but this one is a real winner, with a brushed aluminium exterior design that looks unlike anything I’ve seen before. The Masterwatt 1200 is a beautifully designed unit, delivering up to 1200W of power with a mighty impressive 80 Plus Titanium efficiency rating.
It also makes use of the new CM Connect Software and app, allowing you to fully monitor and control the efficiency, power delivery and stats of the unit. And as you can see below, it’s a great looking mobile app with an intuitive layout and connect via USB 3.0, meaning you don’t even need to power the PC to get access.
Equipped with the latest 135mm Silencio FP fan, it’ll be whisper quiet, fully modular cables, as well as an updated connector and cable design that can handle higher loads. To top it all off, it’ll come with a fantastic 7-year warranty. Keep an eye out for this one latest this year, because it could be one of the best PSUs we’ve seen for a long time!
CES 2016: We’re here at the Cooler Master suite at CES 2016 and be prepared, as they’ve got a lot of fantastic products to show us this year! First up, their new Master Concept chassis, which represents the best of the best of what CM can do these days. It’s a big chassis too, easily on par with the Cosmos II, and it’s clearly inspired by it too. The case comes with FreeForm Modular System, allowing you to remove and rebuild all major components on the interior, move things around, you can even detach those big exterior rails, mod them, make your own, rebuild; if you want freedom in terms of design, this is where you’ll find it. Of course, like a concept car, this is just CM showing what they can do, perhaps even what they’re aiming for with future entries in the MasterCase series! Only time will tell.
Their latest range of chassis products doesn’t disappoint either, with the Master Case Maker 5 being the new king. Of course, CM are also looking into more affordable versions of their highly modular chassis, and you can expect to see the smaller and more affordable versions hitting the market later this year. We loved the Master Case when we reviewed it, so we’re eager to test more products in this range later this year.
The modular nature of the chassis means there are a lot of customisation options available too. Here we can see a range of aftermarket parts that are available for their chassis, such as the range of side panels, including standard, windowed, silent and tempered glass.
Modular top panels, giving you closed, open, silent and more.
As well as a range of storage bays, radiator mounts, GPU support brackets, SSD mounts and more to play around with.
Picking the right keyboard is a fairly complex battle these days, there’s a huge range of products out there and so many well established (and relatively new brands) that all have shiny and attractive products. Even then, the prices and configurations can vary wildly from model to model, even though they all do the same basic things, so which one is the right one for you? We don’t actually know! What I can tell you are some of the best keyboards we’ve tested recently here at eTeknix, round-up some of their best features and help you find one for your budget, and one that ticks all the right boxes for you in terms of features.
We’ve got one fantastic collection, as you can see in the image above. There are mechanical, membrane, plunger and Romer switches, different sizes, prices and more in our keyboard pile. We’ve tried and tested every single one of them and would happily go out and spend out hard-earned cash on any of them, but we would love to know which one you would want to buy? Let’s jump right in and take a quick look at what each one of them has to offer.
Ozone Strike Battle
The Ozone Strike Battle has long been my favourite keyboard. It’s quite a contradiction for me too, as I love a big keyboard, full of features and packed with macro keys, but the TKL design of the Strike Battle was something I fell in love with quite quickly. It has virtually no bezel on the body, so the desktop space it occupies is incredibly compact, leaving more room for your mouse and other desktop treasures.
This is also one of the lightest keyboards I’ve ever seen, at least for a mechanical, which combined with the small size means that it’ll fit in your backpack with ease, making it a great weapon of choice for travelling to LAN gaming events. It’s also exceptional value for money, especially for a keyboard that features the well tried and tested Cherry MX Switches. The only downside of the lightweight design is the keys are quite clanky, something that I personally fixed with a set of O-ring mods.
One of the more expensive models on the market is the Razer Blackwidow, but it’s one that is loved by gamers all over the world. Razer is a great gaming brand with a huge range of products, and the Blackwidow Chroma is certainly a stand out product in their range. The backlighting on this is some of the best RGB lighting I’ve seen, with really vivid colours that will excite those who love a bit of customisation.
In terms of the performance, the BlackWidow is a slight diversion from the usual Cherry MX boards we see, as Razer developed their own brown and green variant switches. They’re finely tuned for gaming and offer even better durability, but subjectively, they’re at least just as great as any other premium switch. The angular design and slick build quality are certainly standout features, making this a great addition for any desktop gamer, Razer fan or otherwise.
Another expensive model here, although when you’re looking at the best of something, prices are often going to sweep to the higher end of the spectrum more often than not. The G910 is the latest and arguably the greatest keyboard from Logitech. It comes packed to the brim with exciting features that make it well suited to PC gaming, from a range of dedicated macro keys, ARX dock, multimedia controls, custom shaped ergonomic key caps, two detachable wrist-rests, per-key RGB lighting and more.
What really stands out here, however, is the Romer-G mechanical switches, a hybrid of traditional mechanical and plunger switches, which feature a light action, a tactile bump and a lower actuation point for super fast response times. They tick all the boxes for an almost greatest hits of different switch types, all bundled into a single package.
G.Skill may have made a great reputation in the memory market, but recently they’ve taken the peripherals market by surprise, with the release of the rather amazing KM780, a fully featured mechanical gaming keyboard that has every feature you could ever hope for and more. The build quality is exceptionally good, with a huge black brushed aluminium chassis, a durable rubber grip wrist rest, dedicated macro keys, dedicated multimedia controls, RGB lighting and so much more. It’s certainly one of the more unique looking keyboards too.
They are an unproven name in the peripherals market, but with such great looks and build quality, as well as a fully Cherry MX switch layout, it’s not hard to guess how well it performs. Additional features, such as the detachable wrist rest, optional gaming key caps, USB and HD audio cable pass-through and lovely RGB lighting make this a great keyboard for gaming and day-to-day desktop use.
The TteSports Poseidon Z is quite a simple looking beast and quite frankly, it is. It has all the basics and little else, but what it does have, it does really well. The compact design is great for those who want to free up a bit of desktop space, and the slimmer design means it’s much easier to transport too.
Build quality is rock solid, there’s some LED backlighting for a little extra flair, but at the end of the day, that’s about all you get. The keyboard is equipped with Kailh mechanical switches, which come with the advantage of being a lot cheaper to buy, making it a great mid-price entry to the mechanical keyboard market and a big step up for those coming from a membrane switch keyboard. It’s great for gaming, but the simple design means it wouldn’t look out of place in the office either.
Another entry from Thermaltake, with their super affordable Commander, what’s so special about this one? It’s incredibly cheap! Using the more common membrane switches and cheaper construction, it’s now about to blow you away, but there’s a lot of keyboard here for very little money, with the added bonus that it also comes bundled with a gaming mouse!
If you’re looking for an affordable entry into PC gaming, then this is certainly the best place to start. It’s keys are light and responsive, the design looks great and there’s still some nice features, such as the LED lighting and multimedia key shortcuts to add to the already excellent value for money.
Much like the Poseidon Z, the Quick Fire XTi is a little back to basics in terms of features. The no-fuss design is certainly something that appeals to me and it’s also a proven choice for many pro-gamers too. The slim design doesn’t take up too much space, but what really makes this keyboard stand out is the build quality. Cooler Master keyboards are one of the things that will still be around in a thousand years time, they’re incredibly durable, which is great if you’re prone to rage quitting.
Fully equipped with Cherry MX switches, and one of the few keyboards on the market that offers MX Green as a switch type, this is simply one of those keyboards that once you try it, you won’t want to stop typing on it, ever. It’s a joy to use, looks nice and sleek and the price is pretty reasonable too given the build quality. A great option for LAN gamers, at home gamers, the office or anywhere for that matter. I also love the red and blue lighting, which can be combined to give you pinks and purples, but it offers up some lovely warm colours that certainly add to the appeal.
Cougar have been cropping up more and more this last year, with an absolutely fantastic range of gaming mice and keyboards. One of the ones that stoop out for me was the Cougar 700K as it’s one of the best looking mechanical gaming keyboards on the market, and also one of the more unique ones at that. With detachable wrist guards, a fantastic ergonomic layout, brushed aluminium chassis, dedicated macro keys, dedicated multimedia controls and an on-board macro engine, it’s certainly versatile.
There’s a range of Cherry MX switches on offer, so it’s easy to find the one that best suits your needs, although I personally think the MX Red is especially good on this model. It’s a little expensive, but with such great build quality, as well as a cool bonus features such as the USB and audio pass-through, it’s a competitive option for those wanting a fully featured mechanical gaming keyboard.
The Roccat ISKU FX is, in my opinion, one of the absolute best membrane keyboards on the market. It’s got super fast and low set keys that are an absoulte joy to work on, but with all the bells and whistles you would expect from a high-end mechanical gaming keyboard. There’s full RGB lighting, dedicated multimedia keys, dedicated macro keys with on-the-fly recording, three rather handy thumbster keys, a built-in and durable wrist rest, and so much more.
It’s a little greedy in terms of required desktop space, but for this money, you’re going to struggle to find so many features anywhere else. It also comes with the benefit of the rather sublime Roccat Talk desktop software, which allows extensive settings customisation, as well as syncing features with other Roccat products.
Not a fan of membrane keyboards? Don’t worry, you can still get all those lovely gamer focused features of the ISKU FX from Roccat in a more premium model, the RYOS MK Pro. Now, I’m sure Roccat would like me to class this as an entirely different keyboard, but just look at it, it’s very similar to the ISKU FX, just with a fully mechanical switch setup and a slightly thicker, heavier and more durable design overall.
It’s just as featured packed as the ISKU, but with better build quality and world-class Cherry MX switches, as well as USB and HD audio pass-through, making it a great choice for those who love their mechanical keyboards, so long as you can spare the extra financial investment, of course.
We finish up with another budget friendly offering, the membrane switched Octane from Cooler Master. It’s a pretty humble keyboard, but the design looks great with the matte black finish key caps, a little LED lighting, and as a very welcome bonus, a set of basic multimedia keys on the top row.
For gaming on a tight budget, the Octane is hard to beat, but its value is even further improved by the bunded 3500 DPI optical mouse, making it great for those who need a complete setup. Both the keyboard and mouse feature 7 colour LED lighting, giving you some scope for desktop customisation, and the membrane switches are remarkably pleasant to type on overall.
Picking the right gaming mouse can be a tricky task as there are virtually countless brands on the market offering a staggeringly huge range of mice in seemingly every shape, colour, size and budget you can think of, so where do you even get started?
We’ve had a dig around for some of our favourite gaming mice, albeit with a slight focus on more recent models, giving you a good impression of what’s currently available on the market and with any luck, help you find the one that is right for you. Of course, which is best is a matter of personal opinion, one may have a better sensor, but you may prefer the look or grip of another, it’s about finding what’s best for you and your requirements.
As you can see from the list below (and the image above), we’ve got quite a selection of great gaming mice at our disposal, and we’re confident that no matter which you choose, you’ll be very happy with it as these are all great products in their own respects. We’ve got a wide range of budgets covered too, from around £20 to well over £100! Let’s get on with the fun stuff and take a closer look at what each of these gaming mice has to offer!
CM Storm Xornet II
Ozone Argon Ocelote World
CM Storm Sentinel III
Logitech G502 Proteus Core
Corsair Scimitar RGB
TteSports Ventus X
G.Skill Ripjaws MX780
CM Storm Xornet II
A lightweight and compact mouse design that is well suited to fast-paced gameplay, the Xornet II is a great little gaming mouse. The compact design lends well to fingertip and claw grip play styles, making it a great weapon for twitchy FPS shooters, but it’s also very well suited to younger gamers who naturally have a smaller grip and hand size, so it’s a popular option for the Minecraft generation. The buttons are light and responsive too, which is great for frantic MOBA sessions.
With a smooth optical sensor, with three programmable DPI levels, as well as an adjustable lift-off height, fully programmable buttons and a little bit of full RGB flair, it’s a versatile tool for gaming and day-to-day desktop use, at a price that’s certainly attractive; it’s actually one of the cheapest in our round-up today.
Zowie has a very respectable reputation in the pro gaming scene, offering a range of mice that are loved by gamers at home and in the eSports industry. A lightweight and nimble design, as well as large slipmats, give the FK1 exceptional glide and agility, combined with comfortable ergonomics, responsive switches and a zero fuss design that lends well to competitive gameplay.
The flawless deployment of the Avago 3310 Optical Sensor is pixel perfect, something that’ll benefit both work and gameplay, but we find this mouse is at its absolute best in games like CS:GO and we’re certainly not the only gamers to think so.
There’s no desktop software, the DPI selector is on the base of the mouse, offering up 450/1150/2300DPI and the ergonomic left-and-right handed design can be toggled back and forth directly on the mouse, so no need to worry about setup, you can just plug it in and get right on with the action.
Another mouse with an eSports pedigree, the Ozone Argon is a great gaming mouse, but we like their special edition which was designed by legendary pro gamer Ocelote. Equipped with a pin point accurate Laser sensor, a switchable ambidextrous design, on the fly DPI switching, grippy side panels and 9 fully programmable buttons, the Argon has all the features you could likely ever need or want from a gaming mouse.
The stylish and lightweight design is certainly appealing, but you can also benefit from a weight tuning system that allows you to customise the glide and balance of the mouse to best suit your play style. While not the cheapest or most expensive mouse here today, you will struggle to find better value for money than what Ozone have to offer here.
Cooler master is the only brand we have in this list twice, so you can be certain that there’s a good reason for doing so. Their recently released Sentinel III is their latest and greatest Sentinel gaming mouse yet, with practically every aspect of the mouse having been improved upon, especially the build quality, without ruining what we loved about the original.
The Sentinel III ticks all the right boxes for a desktop mouse, with an accurate sensor, fully programmable buttons, comprehensive software, a built-in OLED display for DPI and profile readout, weight tuning system, on-board memory, full RGB lighting and more, making it as versatile for office work, as it is for competitive gaming; a solid all-round mouse.
There are a lot of things I can say about this mouse and every single on of them is positive. Without a doubt, the G502 is one of the best gaming mice in the world today and comes with all the latest features you would expect from a flagship gaming mouse.
Equipped with what may very well be the best sensor we’ve ever tested, the accuracy of the G502 is unmatched. With extensive customisation options available via the desktop software, 11 fully programmable buttons, a sniper mode button, on-board memory for saving your profiles, full RGB lighting, a weight tuning system, as well as the iconic unlockable scroll wheel that has been a popular feature for Logitech mice and so much more, there isn’t a thing that the G502 wouldn’t be perfect for.
It’s a little more expensive that some other options, but the saying that you get what you pay for rings loud and clear here, and I think it’ll be a long time before we see a better mouse on the market.
The world of MMO and RPG gaming can be quite demanding, with complex commands and more often than not, a control setup that uses virtually every key on the keyboard and mouse. The help gain more control and speed over the competition, the Scimitar deploys a fantastic mechanical keypad on the side of the mouse, giving you a frightening amount of flexibility for deploying macros, cooldown timers, shortcuts and more, giving you the edge over the competition when you’re in the middle of a complex raid mission.
On top of the monstrous amount of buttons, it’s also a fantastic looking mouse, with some of the coolest RGB lighting that you’ll find on any gaming mouse. Snappy and responsive switches, comprehensive software features, built-in memory and a fantastic sensor make the Scimitar a powerful weapon for control-intensive gaming.
One of the more affordable mice on our list today, the Ventus X is a great all-round mouse that may not have all of the crazy features of some of the products we’ve suggested so far, but it certainly has all the basics right.
A smooth sensor, snappy and response switches, comfortable ergonomics, a new grip coating and durable rubber grip side panels, weight tuning system, LED lighting, hand ventilation, macro engine and more make it suitable for a wide range of gaming and work applications, it also looks pretty stylish too.
The laser sensor may not be the highest grade on this list, but you’ll find it gives silky smooth results right across the range, giving you excellent accuracy. Combined with the effortless glide and tunable weight, it’s easy to use even after many hours of gaming.
G.Skill may be relatively new to the peripherals market, having spent years making award-winning memory products, but the MX780 is proof that they’re able to deliver the same relentless high-quality and performance in a new market. The MX780 is not only one of the best-looking mice we’ve ever seen, it’s also packed full of fantastic features, such as the removable side panels that allow you to tweak the ergonomics, or turn it from a right to left-handed mouse.
All the high-end features you would expect are here, RGB lighting, high-quality sensor and switches, weight tuning system and more, all topped off by the fantastic laser sensor, making this a great gaming mouse for a wide range of users, play styles and more.
The Tyon is an easy mouse for me to recommend, as it has been my mouse of choice for a year now and I’ve no intention of swapping it out anytime soon. The sensor is great, offering up to 8200 DPI and the rather fantastic software from Roccat is, in my opinion, the best on the market.
Customising the mouse with macros, RGB lighting effects, the sensor performance and more is easily done and with the addition of a dual switch fin on the top, a button on the wing, extra buttons next to the LMB and RMB, as well as an analogue thumb controller, the Tyon is an unrivaled mouse for FPS gaming; especially for games like Battlefield, where those extra buttons are great for controlling vehicles.
Razer is one of the most recognisable gaming brands in the world, proving a popular choice for gamers at home, as well as many members of the eSports community. Razer claimed their new Mamba mouse was one of the most advanced mice ever created and while it comes with the price tag to reflect this, it delivers on features and performance that help justify the investment.
Capable of being used wirelessly and wired, with incredible RGB lighting effects, a fully programmable button layout, one of the best sensors you could ever imagine on a mouse and so much more. Capable of performing at up to 16,000 DPI, there’s no doubt this sensor can provide you with everything you need and more. However, the best features, at least in my opinion, is the adjustable click responses on the left and right mouse buttons. Wants them fast and light or clicky and heavy? Not a problem, just turn the screw and get them just how you like them.
As a review site, we need to keep our testing equipment above or at least on the same level as the hardware that we test in order to provide you with relevant reviews and in that regards we’ve just upgraded our network test are with new 10 Gbps equipment. Among the new devices is the D-Link DXS-1210-12TC 10 Gigabit Ethernet Smart Switch that I’m taking a closer look at today.
In order to test this switch I need two systems with 10 Gbps capabilities and four CAT7 cables and below you see all but the one network card as that is onboard in one of my test systems. In my opinion, we have been stuck at Gigabit level for way too long and 10 Gigabit Ethernet is slowly starting to make an entry. It is starting to become more affordable which allows SMBs and enthusiasts to enter an area of the market that previously was limited to enterprise and large corporations.
D-Link’s DXS-1210 series is composed of several 10 Gigabit Ethernet Smart Switches and they are a cost-effective 10 solution capable of servicing a wide range of network needs in any business. Some of the switches in the series focus primarily on SFP+ connections which aren’t optimal for my test scenario. I still test a lot of normal Gigabit equipment and my switch needs to stay compatible to those. Luckily D-Link also has this one with eight 10GBASE-T RJ45 ports and two 10Gbps SFP+ ports. Additionally, since it has two combo ports for use with either RJ45 or SFP+ connections.
The DXS-1210-12TC uses a default 19″ rack format which makes it easy to deploy in server cases and D-Link also included rubber feet in case you should run in placed on a desk or shelve somewhere. The 10GBASE-T copper ports utilize RJ45 interfaces and support 10 Gigabit speeds over CAT6a/CAT7 LAN cabling for up to 100m. That makes it easy to deploy no matter how far apart your systems are. The 10GbE fiber ports can be connected to other 10GbE ports with low-cost Direct Attach Copper (DAC) cables or with SFP+ optical transceivers over multimode or single mode fiber optic cabling.
D-Link made sure that there’s plenty of overhead when it comes to transmission capabilities in the DXS-1210-12TC. It is capable of up to 240Gbps switching capacity, double what is needed, and has a maximum packet forwarding rate of 178.56 Mpps.
A device like this will naturally consume quite a bit of electricity as it has to perform flawlessly at any time and needs the power to do so, but D-Link applied their Green technologies in order to improve on this area without sacrificing operational performance or functionality. The DXS-1210-12TC features smart fans that don’t run at full speed when it isn’t needed, internal heat sensors that monitor and detect temperature changes in order to adjust the fans. The switch can also toggle ports into sleep mode automatically and it is built with hardware parts that in themselves are energy-efficient. The DXS-1210-12TC will still draw between 42.65 watts in standby mode and up to a maximum of 90.81 watts.
Feature wise you’ll find anything you’ll want in a smart switch starting with a complete lineup of L2 features. The DXS-1210-12TC supports port mirroring, Spanning Tree Protocol, and Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP). DXS-1210 switches also support Auto Surveillance VLAN (ASV), and Auto Voice VLAN, which are best suited for VoIP and video surveillance deployments. The DSCP markings on Ethernet packets enable different levels of service to be assigned to network traffic. As a result, these voice and video packets take precedence over other packets. In addition, with bandwidth control, network administrators can reserve bandwidth for important functions that require a larger bandwidth or might have high priority.
The DXS-1210 series also features an extensive list of safeguards against traffic flooding and other malicious attacks. It supports 802.1X port and host-based authentication as well as external RADIUS server authentication. It also features Access Control List (ACL) for enhanced network security as well as ARP spoofing prevention. The DHCP server screening feature can also detect rogue DHCP server packets from user ports in order to prevent unauthorized IP assignment.
Maintenance is an easy job when it comes to the DXS-1210-12TC smart switch where it also features a few extra functions to make the admins life easier. It includes loopback detection which is used to detect loops created by a specific port and automatically shut down the affected port. There is also a cable diagnostic feature that’s primarily designed to rapidly discover errors and determine a cable’s quality.
The switch has a smart discovery protocol built in which makes it easy to set up and manage through D-Link’s Network Assistant Utility and it will detect all switches within the same L2 network. This allows extensive switch configuration and basic setup of discovered devices, including password changes and firmware upgrades. The switch also supports D-View 7 and Command Line Interface (CLI) through Telnet. D-View 7 is a network management system that allows for the central management of critical network characteristics such as availability, reliability, resilience, and security.
• Power saving via the following features: Link Status detection, LED Shut-Off, Port Shut-Off, System Hibernation
• Access Control List
• IP-MAC-Port Binding
• Clientless MAC/Web access control
• D-Link Safeguard Engine
• Port Security
• ARP Spoofing Prevention
• D-Link Network Assistant Utility or Web-based GUI
• CLI through Telnet
• Auto Surveillance VLAN
• Loopback Detection
• Cable Diagnostics
• Static Route
• Auto Voice VLAN
Package and Accessories
Equipment like the D-Link DXS-1210-12TC smart switch doesn’t need a fancy package, it is what is inside that matters.
There is a small sticker in one corner of the box that shows what is inside and the feature highlights.
Inside the box are several leaflets about security and conformity as well as a Getting Started Guide and a Driver and Manual disk.
Included is a mounting system for use as a 19″ rack unit as well as four small rubber feet for those who wish to use it placed on a surface. Screws for the 19″ mounts are included too and so is a cable tie system for the power cord. You wouldn’t want to jank that out by accident.
Naturally there’s also a power cable for the region where you purchased the switch. The switch supports from 110V to 240V, so the only difference here is the plug on one end.
It has been a couple of months now since Asetek won over Cooler Master’s appeal in the long-time going legal battle in regards to patent infringement in the all-in-one liquid coolers. Shortly after this victory for Asetek we foresaw some issues for AMD’s liquid cooled Fury X graphics card that uses a Cooler Master system and we were right. A couple of days ago we brought you the news that Asetek had made a Cease & Desist orders to AMD in regards to the Radeon Fury X graphics card.
AMD is naturally not taking this lying down and have officially responded to the issue. They, AMD, argue that the jury in the Asetek versus Cooler Master case didn’t mention the specific cooling solution used in the Radeon R9 Fury X models as infringing on the Asetek held patents.
“We are aware that Asetek has sued Cooler Master. While we defer to Cooler Master regarding the details of the litigation, we understand that the jury in that case did not find that the Cooler Master heat sink currently used with the Radeon Fury X infringed any of Asetek’s patents.”
AMD and Asetek have without a doubt entered some sort of discussion in this matter and it is also clear that AMD will battle this outcome in order to keep their flagship GPU on the market. While it all looks a bit grim right now, it isn’t as bad as it could be. First of all, AMD shouldn’t be hit by with any financial burdens even if they should be found using a patent infringing cooling system. If it’s the case, it should be Cooler Master’s problem again. It could however still be removed from the market as it is, but the way the legal system is built, that could take a long time. And with such a long time to work it out, AMD has plenty of time to find another cooling solution and make a revision of their cards before any legal proceedings can be entered.
It will still be interesting to see how this plays out, whether an agreement will be reached or AMD will revise the Radeon R9 Fury X’s cooling solution.
Asetek produces the majority of closed-loop liquid coolers including the Corsair H110, Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate and many more! Arguably, they created the concept for a sealed unit and all-in-one block, tubing and radiator design. As a result, Asetek has sued or threatened legal action against any other company utilizing a closed-loop configuration without their consent. For example, a judge told Cooler Master to pay 14.5% in royalties to Asetek as their Seidon, Nepton, and Glacer products infringed the company’s patent.
Theoretically, this means that the Fury X could be removed from sale as the pump is made by Cooler Master and utilizes a Swiftech rebrand pulled from US markets. Some of you might remember the H220 and H320 from Swiftech, which were absolutely stunning coolers, but the company decided to remove them from sale to avoid any expensive lawsuits. Swiftech eventually manufactured the the H220-X and H240-X but these are still very hard to get hold of in certain regions.
In an interview with GamersNexus, Asetek revealed their current legal proceedings and confirmed they had made Cease & Desist orders to AMD:
“Asetek’s attorneys have recently sent cease and desist letters to Gigabyte, demanding that it cease selling Giga-Byte’s GEFORCE GTX 980 Water Force (sold under at least model number GV-N980WAOC-4GD) because it contains the Seidon 120M found by the court to infringe Asetek’s patents.”
“Asetek’s attorneys have also written a cease and desist letter to AMD, demanding that it stop selling its Radeon R9 Fury X product, because it infringes Asetek’s patents. Our attorneys have had some difficulty obtaining a Gigabyte GV-N98TXTREME W-6GD, but we expect to receive and analyze one very soon for infringement.”
Additionally, they went onto discuss the Cooler Master lawsuit, and illegal activity in question:
“There is no licensing agreement in place with Cooler Master, nor do we plan to offer any in the foreseeable future. Asetek sued Cooler Master and CMI USA, Inc. (Cooler Master’s US affiliate) for infringement of Asetek’s US Patent Nos. 8,240,362 and 8,245,764, and the jury found that the Cooler Master products at issue infringe Asetek’s patents and awarded damages to Asetek. The judge also entered an injunction prohibiting Cooler Master and CMI USA from importing or selling the accused products in the US, and the judge awarded enhanced damages because of continued sales after the jury’s verdict. The injunction states ‘[a]s used herein, Infringing Products shall mean the following Cooler Master products: Seidon 120M, Seidon 120XL, Seidon 240M, Seidon 120V, Seidon 120V Plus, Nepton 140XL, [Nepton 280L], Glacer 240L, and products not more than colorably different from them.’”
The legal outcomes so far have set a pretty strong precedent illustrating Asetek’s valid patents for closed-loop liquid coolers. It’s not an idea situation for other companies trying to enter the market, but the only option is to discuss the matter with Asetek to pay royalties. Nevertheless, it will be a disaster if the Fury X is removed from sale until an Asetek pump replaces Cooler Master’s illegal design.
Picking the right mouse can make or break your gaming experience. I’m a strong believer that a really great mouse won’t really make you a better gamer, at least not right away, but it can enhance your experience greatly. From having the right ergonomics to leave your hand feeling comfortable, even after a full days work and a late night of gaming, is certainly something you should be looking for in a mouse. Having a smooth and accurate sensor, so you don’t screw up those edits in Photoshop, or miss those headshots in your favourite game, that’s also pretty important. The latest mouse from CM Storm, the Xornet II, promises to great ergonomics, a great sensor and so much more.
“The Xornet II is built from the ground up for gamers who choose to battle it out using a claw grip style. Renowned as the best gaming mouse design for claw grip, every inch of this mouse has been crafted to prevent cramping and provide maximum comfort. Powered by an improved optical sensor, on-the-fly DPI settings, full 16.8 million color illumination, and lift of distance tuning and calibration, the Xornet II stands out among the competition as a comfortable, accurate and affordable weapon to add to your arsenal.”
The new design and upgrade hardware certainly sound promising, and several great mice, such as the Alcor and the Mizar already to their name, I’m eager to see what this mouse can do.
“The Xornet II uses an Avago 3320 optical sensor which is nearly flawless for control and speed, meaning your enemies stay in your crosshairs. And that’s not all. You’ll be prepared for any situation thanks to 3 preset DPI controls (500 – 3500) that can be changed on-the-fly. Go from performing surgery with a shotgun (500 DPI) to lightning fast reaction time shots (3500 DPI). Or open up our new easy-to-use software to find the perfect DPI setting to match your playstyle. An RGB LED in the scroll wheel quickly lets you know your current DPI setting.”
The features are sounding promising, with a good quality Avago 3320 Optical sensor, customisable three setting DPI, RGB lighting and more.
The packing has a nice image of the Xornet II on the front, as well as detailing the optical sensor, lighting and claw-grip design.
Around the back, we’ve got the main specifications, but of course, we’ll take a much closer look at these features in a moment.
In the box, you’ll find a user manual, as well as a hard-wired Xornet II mouse.
Cooler Master is one of the leading peripheral manufacturers with a history spanning over 20 years. The latest addition to their product line-up is the Sentinel III ergonomic gaming mouse designed for first-person-shooter players who adopt a palm grip. Additionally, the mouse sports a 32-bit ARM processor, 512KB on-board memory, and customizable OLED display. Leo Cheng, Product Manager at Cooler Master said the mouse is:
“Designed for right-handed palm grip players, the Sentinel III includes a new sensor and expanded on-board memory”
“The new and improved OLED display also allows you to rename your profiles in addition to knowing your exact DPI settings and/or uploading custom logos. This is the first step in making the Sentinel III truly yours.”
The Sentinel III’s Avago 3988 sensor offers supreme accuracy and the DPI can be set to 400, 1200, 4000 and 6400. Additionally, the mouse doesn’t incorporate any hardware acceleration and includes five removable 4.5g weights. The main buttons are also rated for 20 million clicks and the Sentinel III’ body opts for an extremely comfortable matte UV coating.
Cooler Master’s software suite allows you to create macros, adjust the LED illumination and change a number of other advanced features. If you run out of programmable buttons, the ‘Storm TactiX’ setting can assign secondary functions to your mouse, triggered swiftly in-game simply by holding the function aka ‘TX’ button. This increases the button count from eight to fifteen and greatly enhances the overall level of customization.
Cooler Master went quiet for quite some time over the last two years, leaving many in the industry to wonder what was going on. Of course, Cooler Master hadn’t given up on the industry, they were working hard reinventing their entire product line, getting back to their roots and creating the “maker” series of products. We’ve already seen their incredible Master Case chassis, as well as their new gaming mouse, and there’s a huge amount of other products on the way, from headsets, chassis, power supplies, coolers and more.
Today I’ll be taking a look at something a little smaller, but still a very vital component in the building of literally every PC. The Cooler Master MasterGel Maker is the all-new thermal paste that looks set to take on the big boys in the high-performance cooling world and with the likes of Noctua, Gelid and a few others already dominating the market, CM has a hard battle to fight here.
The MakerGen is certainly promising in terms of specifications, at least as exciting as a tube of paste can be, of course. Made with nano-diamond particles, the MasterGel Maker should offer great conductivity, but I guess we’ll find that out in our testing.
“MasterGel Maker is developed for users needing the best thermal conductivity for high performance CPUs, GPUs or even chipsets. The non-curing and non-electrical conductive traits help avoid any short circuiting and provide protection and performance for long-term use. The non-abrasive added Nano Diamond particles allow the MasterGel Maker to be extremely lightweight and easy to spread or remove while avoiding auto-oxidation or erosion overtime.”
Going against the MasterGel Maker today are some of the best-known thermal pastes on the market, including the current top-dogs Gelid GC Extreme, Noctua NT-H1 and the also relatively new but very impressive Thermal Grizzly Kryonaugt.
Thermal Grizzly Kryonaugt
Akasa Pro-Grade 460
Gelid GC Extreme
Arctic Silver 5
The MasterGel Maker Nano comes nicely packaged with an easy to use syringe, as well as a spreader for easy application.
Even better, the paste comes with a grease cleaner, ensuring that you get a spotless CPU before applying new paste.
First, here’s a quick QA from Cooler Master to tell you a little more about the MasterGel Maker.
Q: Do the nano-diamond particles leave scratches on the cooler base or CPU IHS?
A: No, the particles in the MasterGel Maker are too small to leave any scratches.
Q: Why do I need to clean the CPU before applying the MasterGel Maker?
A: When removing a CPU cooler, the old thermal grease is left over. It needs to be removed to improve thermal conductivity, which leads to lower temperatures.
Q: Do I need to use the plastic brush for spreading the grease?
A: No, but it is recommended. You can also press the CPU cooler on the grease and twist it a bit to make sure it spreads over the IHS.
Q: How many applications does one tube last when using the pea size method?
A: It is difficult to precisely determine the number of uses one tube can have. However, if the amount for each time is very close to ‘pea size,’ users should at least be able to apply the thermal grease over 10 times.
Q: How long can the thermal compound be used once opened, but sealed correctly after use?
A: Every circumstance is different depending on various factors, such as the environment. Usually the thermal grease can be preserved for two years without opening. We highly suggest users keep thermal grease in a dry and clean place, and avoid direct sunshine once opened.
The legendary CM Storm by Cooler Master Sentinel mouse is back and it’s better than ever! The latest high-end gaming mouse from CM Storm takes everything we knew and loved about the Sentinel II, but improves on each aspect to make the Sentinel III the perfect weapon for modern gamers.
“The OLED display puts the Sentinel III in a class of its own. You can upload any logo or re-name your profiles across the display to represent different settings and/or your team logo. The Sentinel III also radiates any color you choose. Two different areas can glow any color that piques your fancy. With 16.8 million color options, you can tinker till you drop or completely switch off all LED lighting.”
The iconic ergonomics and palm grip design are still present, but the old laser sensor has been swapped out for a new Avago 3988 Optical Sensor, there’s a built-in OLED display, RGB lighting, TactiX shift button, higher quality switches, a more powerful 32bit ARM processor, more internal memory, higher quality switches, better software, weight tuning system, LOD tuning, fully-programmable buttons, easily changeable feet, the list just goes on and on!
“Not having enough keys on your mouse is a pain. Storm TactiX solves this problem by letting you assign secondary functions to your mouse. During a game, simply press one button to trigger secondary functions for every mouse button. This essentially increasing your button count from 8 to 15.” Said CM Storm.
As you can see from the specifications below, all the basics are covered and more. The mouse weighs in at 155g, although the weight-tuning system allows you to bring that up by an additional 22.5g (5 x 4.5g) to suit your own taste.
The packaging has a nice picture of the mouse, although why it’s only showing off the LED lighting and not the OLED display is strange, as that’s a major selling point I think CM would be eager to show off.
Around the back, we see a few more images showing the OLED display, weight tuning and buttons.
In the box, you’ll not find much in the way of extras, but you will find this rather lovely looking mouse, which comes hard-wired with a high-quality black braided USB cable, as well as a gold-plated connector.
Cooler Master and their gaming division CM Storm have just pulled the covers off of their latest gaming mouse, the Xornet II. The new mouse is set to take the budget conscious gamers by storm, with a price of just £19.99 it’s certainly affordable, but don’t be fooled, this mouse packs a great range of features despite its wallet-friendly price tag.
Unique, ergonomic claw grip design
High precision Avago 3320 optical sensor
On-the-fly DPI Control
Rugged rubberized side grips
Highest grade Omron switches
RGB lighting mouse wheel
AP Software to adjust assignments and settings
Picking the right gaming mouse can be tricky, but with a good sensor, an ergonomic design, RGB lighting and customisation software, the Xornet II looks like a strong competitor in a very busy market.
“The Xornet II fits your hand like a glove. We kept the small, lightweight design of its predecessor that our fans have come to love and packed it full of improved features,” said Leo Cheng, Product Manager at Cooler Master. “The Xornet II is built for gamers who choose to battle it out using a claw grip style.”
We’ve already reached out to Cooler Master about this mouse, so you can expect a full review of the Xornet II in the very near future. Will the Xornet II be your next gaming mouse? Let us know in the comment section below.
Chillblast is one of the most prestigious custom-PC builders in the industry and offers peace-of-mind with an unparalleled 5-year warranty. This impeccable customer service and sensible component selection makes each system a worthwhile investment and reassures the less technically-minded customer. In the past, we’ve reviewed a number of intriguing designs including the cube-sized Fusion Nano 960 and value-orientated, Fusion Barbarian. Today, we are looking at the company’s top-tier Skylake system which features the mod-friendly, Cooler Master MasterCase 5 chassis.
The Fusion Master Skylake incorporates an i7 6700K overclocked to 4.6GHz, 16GB Corsair 3000MHz DDR4 RAM, GTX 980 graphics card, 512GB Samsung M.2 PCIe SSD and the highly-rated Cooler Master V750 power supply. Additionally, the CPU’s manual overclock is tamed by a Nepton 240M all-in-one water cooling unit which dissipates in an efficient manner. Chillblast also opted for a 2TB SSHD data storage drive which combines the affordability and some speed benefits from a traditional SSD. I’m also pleased to see the Asus Z170 PRO motherboard which provides exceptional voltage control, and overclocking headroom without costing too much. In total, the Chillblast Fusion Master Skylake is a well-rounded, high-end gaming system and perfect for UHD resolutions.
Name: Chillblast Fusion Master Skylake Gaming PC
Case: Cooler Master MasterCase 5 Gaming Case
Motherboard: Asus Z170 PRO GAMING Motherboard
Processor – Intel Core i7 6700K Overclocked to 4.6GHz
Processor Cooler: Cooler Master Nepton 240M CPU Cooler
System Memory: 16GB Corsair (2×8) 3000MHz DDR4
Main Boot Drive: 512GB Samsung SM951 M.2 PCIe Solid State Drive
Warranty: 5 Years including 2 Years Collect and Return in the UK
Packaging and Accessories
The system is bundled in a humongous outer box containing thick brown paper which surrounds the chassis’ main packaging. This keeps the inner box perfectly in position and prevents the system from moving around during transit. I have to applaud Chillblast for going the extra mile here as they could have just used the case packaging to cut costs. Thankfully, their attentive and professional approach means cosmetic or mechanical damage should be virtually eliminated.
On the side, there are two large stickers indicating the fragile nature of this system and directions for the courier. With such a massive parcel, these small touches help to prevent any major accidents and demonstrate the company’s careful planning.
The MasterCase 5 is supported by two extremely durable polystyrene blocks which feel remarkably strong and quite difficult to tear. Each side is labelled front and rear, which makes it surprisingly easy to reassemble the case in its original packaging. Unfortunately, there was a slight rip to the top cover but this didn’t result in scratches or small mishaps.
Once the case has been removed, the user is greeted with a precautionary message from Chillblast. This is just a simple safety procedure as a foam insert surrounds the main components to stop any cables or fittings becoming misaligned. I’m a huge advocate of using these internal foam supports as they often ensure the system arrives safely. Rather interestingly, the foam piece must have received a small degree of impact, as the taped section had come undone and started to peel away. As a result, this emphasizes how vital it is to use these foam sections when sending out an expensive, and heavy system.
The accessories are included in a plain, cardboard box and divided into sections using polythene bags. There is also a wonderful troubleshooting guide which provides a checklist in-case the system has difficulty booting. Chillblast decided to use close-up colour images to help diagnose any malfunctions and make the user more confident when fixing system problems.
In terms of accessories, there is a UK power cable, driver discs, component manuals, SLI bridge, additional power connectors, cable-ties, and a host whole of other fittings. I’m overjoyed when custom PC companies bundle all the retail accessories together and presume you might need these extras in the future when upgrading the internal components. Thankfully, Chillblast provides everything you need to change the stock setup.
It has been a long court battle between PC component manufacturers Asetek and CMI, also known as Cooler Master, and despite a few victories in favour of Asetek, it seems the case is yet to reach an end! We first brought you the news that Asetek were taking Cooler Master to court over multiple patent infringements three years ago. Skip ahead to December last year, Cooler Master was found guilty in the Asetek patent suit, awarding them damages based on 14.5% royalty rate. However, CMI demanded a new judgment as a matter of law and a new trial.
Unfortunately for CMI, the court has denied their demands, but rather than simply throwing out the case, the judge awarded Asetek enhanced damages of 25.375% royalty rate on CMI’s revenues for sales of the infringing products, dating this back to the start of 2015, whilst also blocking CMI and its parent, Cooler Master, from selling certain infringing products in the US.
The only thing in favour of CMI at the moment is that they’re able to appeal the matter, but perhaps they won’t be as motivated to do so given the recent turn of events.
Hopefully, the matter will be resolved in the near future, allowing fans to get hold of the products they desire without too many headaches.
Gaming headsets are an important part of most people’s gaming setup, be that on a mobile device, games console or desktop computer. Sure, headphones and headsets can often bring you closer to the games audio, allowing you to get lost in the digital world of your choosing, but they’re also great for being able to turn the volume up, without bothering everyone else within range; such as a sleeping SO. They’re also a fairly importantcomponent in team chat, something that’s vital in many team-based shooters, MMOs and MOBA style games.
“Gamers love to travel. Whether you’re trudging through a war torn battlefield, farming creeps in the jungle, or going on a business trip to close that deal, the Pitch Pro in-ear headset is all you need. Great sound, high-quality microphone, and compatible with nearly all smartphones, desktops, and laptops – bundled all in a package that fits in your pocket.” – CM Storm
Of course, where the Pitch Pro differs the most from many headsets is the size, these are ear buds, rather than over-ear, meaning they’re extremely portable. For anyone that travels with a gaming laptop, plays games on their phone, tablet, or takes their PC to LAN gaming events, having something compact and portable is certainly going to be appealing; it’ll be interesting to see how they perform given the compact size.
The specifications are promising, big drivers, at least for a set of in-ear buds, an omni-directional microphone, good sensitivity, a 1.2m cable and gold-plated jackplugs. Now, let’s go and take a closer look at exactly what you get for your money from this new headset.
The headset is compact, so too is the packaging. A tidy little presentation box that gives you a good view of all the major components.
The box opens out, giving you a little technical information on the frequency response compared to that of the original Pitch headset.
In the box, you’ll find a nice assortment of goodies. There’s a warranty card, 3.5mm 4-pole to dual 3.5mm 3-pole adapter for desktop use, a split adaptor, two extra sets of different size ear buds, with a third set coming pre-installed on the drivers, and finally, a protective carry pouch.
The adaptor is of a good quality and vital for use on a desktop computer that requires separate channels for the microphone and headphones. The headset is designed to work with mobile devices as standard, meaning you can use it to make hands-free calls on your phone and similar devices.
The headset comes with a hard-wired microphone, which also features a built-in control button, perfect for answering calls without having to reach for the handset.
The drives are quite large, but surprisingly lightweight thanks to the main chamber being constructed for lightweight aluminium. They’re also pretty stylish, mixing matte finish and chrome finish materials, as well as that lovely red highlight on the back with the CM Storm logo.
The cable designed to be tangle free thanks to its flat design and soft rubber coating. Overall, the cable is lightweight but feels remarkably durable; pretty much what you would want from such a unit. The connector on the headset is gold-plated, just like the connectors on the included cable adapters.
The ear-buds are quite tricky to remove and install, but removing them does mean you can clean and maintain them easier, as well as swap them out for different size buds to help tailor the fit to your own preferences.
Cooler Master officially launched their new V-series power supplies today and they look to be quite impressive. The V Series power supplies feature the most stable and efficient power supply unit in its class thanks to exclusive 3D circuit design and Silencio FP technology.
The new V-series power supplies are available in three different designs, one with 550W, one with 650W, and one with 750W. The three new units come with a fully modular design that includes flat cables. The V-series comes with Gold and Platinum ratings, but these three new units are all Gold. Cooler Master managed to put all this technology into a compact form factor that will fit pretty much any chassis that can take ATX power supplies.
The Silencio FP fan technology enhances the possible airflow and reduces vibrations at the same time. In return, you get an even more stable power supply.
The V550 and V650 come with the usual 20+4-pin and 4+4-pin motherboard connectors while the V750 features an extra 4+4-pin. The two small units feature two PCIe 6+2-pin connectors and the V750 again doubles that. When it comes to SATA, Molex, and Berg connectors, it looks a bit different. The V550 features six SATA power, three MOLEX, and one Berg. The V650 and V750 have eight SATA power connections, six Molex, and 1 Berg/Floppy connector.
The three new units will be available in Europe at the beginning of October 2015 for an MSRP of £89.99, £99.99, and £109.99 respectively for the V550, V650, and V750.
Cooler Master is one of most recognisable and well-respected names in the PC component market. Over the years, Cooler Master has created some of the best power supplies, coolers and chassis around, not forgetting their gaming division CM Storm, which has delivered some very impressive headsets, keyboards, mice and much more too! With all that in mind, I am very excited to see another Cooler Master product in the office today, their brand new V750 power supply, which promises premium performance in a tidy and compact form factor.
“V Series power supplies feature the most stable and efficient power supply unit in its class thanks to exclusive 3D circuit design and Silencio FP technology. The V Series has fully modular flat cables with energy-saving 80PLUS Gold/Platinum ratings all delivered in a compact design smaller than most Power Supply Units (PSUs) in its class. The V series family is available in V550, V650, V750, V850, V1000 and V1200 watt variants perfect for gamers, enthusiasts and even system builders.” – Cooler Master
The V750 uses a unique 3D circuit design, Cooler Master’s own Silencio FP fan technology, fully modular flat cables, 100% Japanese capacitors and much more. The overall quality is reflected in the fact that this tidy, 150 x 140 x 86, form factor still delivers 750W of power at an 80 Plus Gold efficiency
There are three models available, the 550W, 650W and the 750W. We have the 750W at our disposal today, but all models come with 100-240Vac, good active PFC, >100,000 hours MTBF and are backed up by a reassuring 5-year warranty.
The box is very similar to previous Cooler Master designs and features a nice picture of the PSU, as well as a quick run down of the major features; 750W, Japanese Capacitors, 5-year warranty, Silencio fan and 80 Plus Gold.
Around the back, a run-down of the included cables and performance, but we’ll take a closer look at those ourselves in a moment.
In the box, you’ll find a nice cable storage bag, a collection of cable ties, four mounting screws and the mains adaptor.