PC Specialist Announce Stunning Liquid Series Range

PC Specialist has quickly forged a reputation as one of the best system integrators on the market and constantly strives to provide the best possible user experience. Custom water cooling looks spectacular and offers excellent overclocking headroom but it can be extremely daunting for novices. As a result, many people opt for closed-loop-coolers like the H110i GT because of the simplicity. Unfortunately, the majority of these Asetek-based units are bland and struggle to evoke a premium finish. Today, PC Specialist has launched their brand new liquid series designed to cater towards customers wanting a gorgeous custom loop without the headache of sourcing compatible parts.

The new range covers both Z170 and X99 chipsets which allows you to select a system which suits your power requirements. Pricing starts from £1291.00 and includes a standard three-year warranty. The basic Z170 system opts for Mayhems X1 UV Blue coolant, an i5-6600K overclocked up to 4.6GHz, 8GB HyperX Fury 2133MHz RAM, EVGA GTX 970 SC, 1TB mechanical hard disk and Corsair RM850. Of course, you can customise the specification and improve the CPU, memory capacity and more.

In addition to the generous warranty, you can purchase a service pack for £149.00 which includes:

  • Collection & Return of Liquid Series PC
  • Full drain of the loop
  • Flush and clean the loop (including Pumps, Blocks, Reservoirs & Fittings)
  • Replace all tubing & refill loop with new coolant.
  • 24 Hours Leak & Stress Test

The liquid series implements the highest level of expertise and component selection. For example, braided cables are deployed to form an absolutely stunning aesthetic design. Here we can see some of the creations you can expect under the liquid series brand:

If you’re interested in a liquid series system please visit this link to browse the extensive catalogue and perhaps make an order. In the next few days, a review sample will be arriving and I cannot wait to analyse the system in extensive detail. So far, I’m really impressed with the range and believe it’s a great addition to PC Specialist’s impressive line-up.

eTeknix 2015 Christmas Buying Guide – Treat Yourself or Someone Else!

The time for holiday festivities is almost upon us and as the modern tradition of consumerism continues to grow, it becomes harder and harder to pick the right gifts for people every year, or perhaps it’s just me who struggles? Either way, we’ve sat around a Christmas fire, or just a general fire in November and December, getting into the gift buying state of mind and picked a range of our favourite products which we’ve reviewed here at eTeknix throughout 2015, as what better products to recommend than the ones we’ve had in our own hands and tested!

We’ve got a huge range of budgets covered here today, although I think it’s fair to assume that given we play around with graphics cards and a lot of enthusiast friendly products, there are some real wallet busters here too. Of course, you can use this guide to find some of the best products of the year to treat your family, friends and more, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t just spoil yourself too!


Rock Band 4 Band in a Box

Get ready to rock out this Christmas and no doubt many other days. Pick up the guitar, drum sticks, or just butcher your favourite song on the microphone. Rock Band 4 – Band in a Box is a fantastic gift and it’s a great thing to deploy at parties too, certainly beats the usual Karaoke chaos! It comes with the guitar, microphone, drums and the game for $249.99. To save costs, the standalone game with the guitar is just $129.99. In the UK, the Band in a Box is £219.99, while the guitar and game is just £109.99.

Check out the full review here.


Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX Chassis

The Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX Mid-Tower chassis is by far my favourite chassis of 2015, it just oozes high quality inside and out, with capabilities for high-end water and air cooling and so much more. It is available from Overclockers UK for £139.99 and is available in both Gun Metal and black.

Check out the full review here.


Raijintek Styx Micro-ATX Aluminium Chassis

What a fantastic little chassis this is! Built from beautifully finished brushed aluminium and available in a wide range of colours, this would make a great gift for someone building a new gaming system this Christmas. The Raijintek Styx chassis is available from Overclockers UK for just £64.99.

Check out the full review here.


be quiet! Silent Base 800 Chassis

Another expensive chassis on our list, but one of the best we’ve seen this year. If you’re wanting to build someone, or yourself, a gaming PC that not only looks great but is as silent as you could ever hope for, the Silent Base 800 Window is the way to go. It is available from most popular retailers for 149,90EUR/119 GBP/149,90 USD ex. VAT.

Check out the full review here.


Corsair Strafe RGB MX Silent Red Mechanical Keyboard

Featuring the innovative Cherry MX Silent Switches, the Corsair Strafe RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is simply amazing to use. It’s packed full of features and is by far the quietest mech we’ve ever tested. A little expensive, but I’m sure anyone would be happy to unwrap this at Christmas. The Strafe is available for £139.99 from Overclockers UK, while the MX Red and the MX Brown are priced at £129.95. If you want the non-RGB version, you can find the MX Red and the MX Brown at £99.95 each.

Check out the full review here.


Thermaltake Commander Gaming Gear Keyboard and Mouse Combo

The TteSports by Thermaltake Commander Keyboard and Mouse Combo is a great gift for Christmas, it’s affordable, has a nice range of features and you get a keyboard and a mouse in a single nice and tidy (and easy to wrap) box! With prices around £23.99 it’s hard to say no to such a great deal! Readers in the US can pick one of from Newegg for an equally impressive $29.99.

Check out the full review here.


CM Storm Quick Fire XTi Mechanical Keyboard

RGB mechanical keyboards are everywhere this year, but the XTi from Cooler Master is my personal favourite so far. It’s no-fuss and bold design is great for home and office, gaming or work, with the added bonus that it’s incredibly durable and has some of the nicest lighting tones I’ve seen so far, even if it does only allow for a mixture of red and blue! You can pick up the XTi from Box for just £134, although there’s also a deal that includes a free mouse here!

Check out the full review here.


Corsair Scimitar RGB MOBA/MMO Gaming Mouse

The Gaming Scimitar RGB MOBA/MMO Gaming Mouse is packed full of features that will put a smile on any PC gamers face. With RGB lighting, excellent performance and a customisable keypad on the side, it’s one of the best mice we’ve ever tested. better yet, it’s only £69.95 from Overclockers UK.

Check out the full review here.


Logitech G502 Proteus Core Gaming Mouse

The Logitech G502 is a prime example of how great a gaming mouse can truly be. This is without a doubt the best mouse sensor we’ve ever tested and the rest of the mouse isn’t exactly lacking in features either. I’d be tempted to buy this one for myself this Christmas, but you could always treat someone else with it too. It’s available directly from the Logitech website (with free shipping) for just £69.99.

Check out the full review here.


G.Skill MX780

A relatively new entry on the peripherals market, the G.Skills MX780 is a fantastic gaming mouse, with a switchable left or right handed grip that makes it ideal for a wide range of gamers. With a retail price of just $59.99 it is exceptional value for a Christmas gift, and given its spec, it’ll go head to head with many of the best mice on the market.

Check out the full review here.


Corsair Void Headset

We were absolutely blown away by the Corsair Void series, some of the best sounding, most comfortable and best-looking headsets we’ve ever seen! They would make a great gift, but be careful, if you try them out before you give them away, you may want to keep them. The Corsair Void USB 7.1 RGB Headset is available from Overclockers UK for just £79.99. This is £10 cheaper than the Wireless headset which is £89.99, I prefer the wireless and think it’s not much more to pay for the extra tech, but you’re own preferences will obviously determine which model you prefer.

Check out the reviews for the USB 7.1, Wireless 7.1 and 2.0 headsets here.


Astro A40 TR + Mix Amp Pro

Eager to get the best of the best gaming headset for you or your loved one? Then make no exception, the Astro A40 TR Headset with Mix Amp Pro is the way to go. This is one that’s sure to leave a dent in your wallet, but as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. Available from the Astro store for £200, plus around £48 for the optional Mod Kit, the Astro is expensive, but the sound quality, features and comfortable fit are priceless.

Check out the full review here.


Crucial BX200 SSD

SSD prices are dropping constantly and there really has never been a better time to invest. If it’s for your own system, you can give yourself a great upgrade without spending a fortune, but the smaller drive sizes make excellent gifts to those who could do with a performance upgrade on their system. The Crucial BX200 comes with an MSRP of £234.49 ($299.99) for the 960GB model and £66.49 ($84.99) and £116.99 ($149.99) for the smaller 240GB and 480GB models, plus the small boxes are super easy to wrap up as a gift.

Check out the full review here.


QNAP TS-251 2-Bay NAS

Give the gift of a connected home this Christmas, from streaming your movies around the house, to backing up those important files, there are a lot of benefits to owning a NAS. Not the cheapest of gifts, but it’s one of those products where if you buy cheap, you’ll likely regret it in the long run. The QNAP’s TS-251 Turbo NAS can be found at NewEgg for $384.99, at Scan UK for £295.32, or through Geizhals starting at €284.

Check out the full review here.


Sapphire Nitro R9 380X 4GB Graphics Card

AMD have created a mighty powerhouse with the R9 380X and the Sapphire Nitro is one of the finest examples. It’s fast, sleek and affordable, more than enough power for 1080P ultra gaming, or 1440p high gaming, making it a great addition to anyone who wants the latest PC games for Christmas. The Sapphire Nitro R9 380X is currently available from OverclockersUK for £199.99. NeweggUS currently has this card listed for $229.99.

Check out the full review here.


Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Graphics Card

Spend a little more, get a lot more, the GTX 970 is a superb card, but one that may be getting a little expensive for those looking for a Christmas gift. With enough power to play anything on the market and even delve into high-end resolutions, it’s a strong contender for something to put under the Christmas tree, or even put on your own wish list. The Gainward Phoenix GTX 970 is currently available in the UK from SCAN for £273.56 and for an estimated $360 in the US.

Check out the full review here.


Nvidia GeForce GTX 980ti 6GB Graphics Card

It wouldn’t be Christmas if we couldn’t all hope and dream, but the Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 980Ti is currently one of the best cards on the market and we would be crazy not to suggest the best of the best. Available in the UK for the £599.99 it’s certainly not cheap, although we’ve seen some great deals bringing it down below £500, so it’s best to shop around. Just imagine the look on your partners face when they unwrap this monster on Christmas day!

Check out the full review here.


DDR4

Getting a little more back to reality and reasonable prices, DDR4 memory is dropping in price quite nicely now. It was super expensive at launch, but now you’ll often find DDR4 kits at equal or lower prices to their DDR3 equivalents. That makes them a great upgrade for Christmas, but make sure you have a DDR4 motherboard to go with it!

Check out our latest memory reviews here.


Shield Android TV

Snapped up a 4K TV in the Black Friday deals? The Nvidia Shield Console is the most powerful Android device on the market, and it’s the perfect media player for Plex, 4K content on Netflix and more. Even better, it’s also a very powerful gaming system, with many AAA games available to play, as well as game streaming features that will leave you wondering why this device doesn’t cost more than £149.99! You can buy the Shield TV and accessories directly from Nvidia here.

Check out the full review here.


Thermaltake Water 3.0 Extreme S

Think someone could do with a cooling upgrade for their system, or perhaps even parts towards a new system build this Christmas? Treat them to an AIO water cooler and they’ll be able to reduce the noise from their system and unlock its overclocking potential! The Thermaltake Water 3.0 Extreme S is a little expensive, but it’s still a competitively priced AIO at just £81.98 and would make a great gift, especially if you’re just going to treat yourself.

Check out the full review here.


Alpenfohn Atlas

The Atlas is one of the coolest coolers we’ve seen this year, a tiny form factor with big performance and virtually silent acoustics. Building a system for someone or upgrading your own, this is one cooler you’ll want to consider and given that it’s available from Overclockers UK for a very reasonable £42.95, it’s another great addition to our buying guide.

Check out the full review here.


be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim

Need a premium cooler but don’t want to pay a premium price this Christmas? The be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim is more affordable, but still packs some impressive performance figures. It’s available from Scan.co.uk for just £30.52 + shipping here in the UK and from Amazon.com for $49.90 + $9.80 shipping in the US.

Check out the full review here.


Inateck Mercury Box Bluetooth Speaker

Love your music on the go, when you’re out at the park, or anywhere for that matter? The Mercury box offers up a huge sound from such a tiny box. Built from aluminium and featuring a waterproof design, it’s one of the best mobile speakers on the market, great for listening to music wherever you are! Available from Amazon.com for just $48.99 and readers in the UK can get it from Amazon.co.uk for £49.99.

Check out the full review here.


OnePlus 10,000mAh Mobile USB Power Bank

The perfect stocking filler, a 10,000 mAh mobile battery. This has enough juice to charge most mobiles several times, and it’ll even recharge high-end devices such as iPads with ease too. Perfect for travelling, and best of all, it’s super lightweight and affordable. The power bank is £13.99/$14.99/€15.99 and you can order it directly from OnePlus.

Check out the full review here.


Gaming Systems

Nothing says I love you like a kick-ass gaming PC. Of course, budgets vary wildly from hundreds to even thousands of pounds/dollars, but that’s the joy of buying a PC, or building your own, there’s so much to choose from! With so many awesome system integrators around these days, you can’t go far wrong. Chillblast, CyberPower, PC Specialist, Vibox, Freshtech or Overclockers UK.

Gaming in the living room? Why not invest in a CyberPower Syber Steambox! Prices start at £485 and go right up to £1905, giving you a great choice to suit your needs, and your budget.

A whole lot of gaming for not a lot of money from Chillblast, with their very competitive Fusion NightHawk, a great option for those looking for their first gaming PC at just £599.

Got a little more budget to play around with this Christmas? The super fast gaming systems from PC Specialist that feature ASUS Maximus VIII hardware also come with the gorgeous Gladius mouse! Systems in this category start at £890 for the i5 and GTX 960 model, all the way up to £1670 for the i7 and GTX 980 Ti.

Another mid-budget powerhouse, this time from Vibox with their Element X. At just £649, this MSI R9 380 and AMD FX-6300 powered computer is great for gaming and would make a great gift this Christmas.

Time to bring out the big gun’s and really treat yourself? Or perhaps you just want your friend or family member to open a present they’ll never forget? The FreshTech Solutions Stealth Gaming PC is an absolute beast, powered by some of today’s latest and greatest hardware. Of course, it’s not cheap at £1412, but this is not your run of the mill gaming PC.

Overclockers UK offer a range of gaming systems, and general day-to-day PC’s just like another other, but with the big advantage that they’re also a normal PC component retailer. If you want to build your own system, customise a build or pick a pre-built system, you’ll find lots to play around with here.

Check out our full range of system reviews here.

PC Specialist Azure (LGA 1151) Gaming PC Review

Introduction


PC Specialist has an illustrious reputation for creating some of the most reliable and thought-provoking builds in the custom PC industry. Their latest creation, code-named Azure, is based on Intel’s brand new Z170 chipset and includes the flagship, i7-6700K Skylake processor (review here). While the CPU has a stock clock of 4.0GHz, there is ample headroom for a hefty overclock with assistance from the Corsair 240mm liquid-cooling solution. PC Specialist opted for the Asus Z170-A motherboard (review here) which offers excellent voltage regulation, dynamic fan control and an intuitive BIOS interface. Only the best components are used throughout, such as NVIDIA’s top-tier GTX 980Ti graphics card and Kingston’s HyperX Predator 3000MHz DDR4 memory.

In terms of storage, the Azure is bundled with a 480GB SSD boot drive and 2TB mechanical for data storage purposes. The PC is powered by an 850W Corsair RM power supply and neatly presented in the Corsair 780T case. Previously, we reviewed the X99-based Vortex 440 which performed superbly and exceeded our expectations. Therefore, I’m hoping the Azure will be cool, quiet and leading the benchmark figures whilst retailing at a respectable £1499 price point.

Specifications

Packing and Accessories

The chassis arrived in a gargantuan box and contains precautionary labels to prevent the courier from adopting a haphazard approach. I was genuinely surprised with the box’s size which provides superb protection during transit. The packaging itself also utilizes a thick grade of cardboard and encompasses the case to withstand any sudden impact.

Once opened, the case is revealed and cushioned by a cloth cover to stop accidental scratches from occurring. If the case was packaged without any padding, the chassis could rub against the box and become damaged. This is especially true with delicate windowed side panels.

From another angle, we can see the flexible foam supports which add a great deal of rigidity and keeps the case perfectly aligned. I have to commend PC Specialist for using some of the strongest foam inserts I’ve ever seen. For example, I intentionally bent the inserts to see if they would snap under pressure, but they withstood this rigorous testing procedure rather well.

The accessories are bundled in a lovely Welcome Pack which evokes a professional feel from the presentation alone.

Included in the Welcome Pack is a setup guide, component documentation, driver disks, extra SSD mounts, power cables, and much more! Everything is separated into segments which makes it easier to find specific parts.

The accessories can be easily stored away in the original packaging and has enough room to house future purchases such as a DisplayPort cable. While the box is too large to fit in a small drawer, it does prevent you from losing any accessories and keeps everything in a neat package.

CPU-Z

GPU-Z

PC Specialist Lafité Notebook Review

Introduction


When I found out I’d be reviewing this laptop from PC Specialist I decided to check out their site and do some homework to see what I was getting.  Having no hands on experiences with Intel’s new Broadwell chips previous to this meant I finally get a chance to see what all of the Broadwell fuss was out, or perhaps to discover it was just marketing hype. After a while of making the cheapest and most expensive builds possible to curb my curiosity my very own review unit had arrived. Reading the spec list I was given ahead of the arrival, features like “5th Gen i5 Broadwell CPU”, “1080p 13.3″ screen”, “250GB SSD” were all ticking the right boxes to me, but when I seen how remarkably thin the chassis was on the website photos it was then my interest peaked.

The question is though, is it as good as it looks or is it all style and no substance? Let’s get this unboxed and find out!

Specifications

  • Name: PC Specialist Lafité
  • Case: PC Specialist Lafité Silver Aluminium Chassis
  • Processor: Intel® CoreTM i5 Dual Core Processor i5-5200U (2.20GHz, 2.7GHz Turbo)
  • System Memory: 8GB Kingston SODIMM DDR3 1600MHz (1 x 8GB)
  • Main Boot Drive: 250GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD, SATA 6Gb/s (upto 540MB/sR | 520MB/sW)
  • Graphics card: Intel® HD Graphics 5500
  • Battery: Lafité Series 4 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (6,300mAh)
  • Optical Recovery MediaWindows 8.1 (64-bit) DVD with paper sleeve
  • Optical Drive: None
  • Wireless: Gigabit LAN & Wireless Intel® AC-3160 M.2 + Bluetooth
  • Screen: 13.3″ Matte Full HD IPS LED (1920 x 1080)
  • OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit
  • Warranty: 3 Year Standard Warranty (1 Month Collect & Return, 1 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour)
  • Price: £599 as configured Delivered.

Opening the outer box reveals shows the majority of the notebook inner box is surrounded by extremely strong air padding

Removing the air padding reveals the inner box, it may be plain, but there’s no chance of damage in transit here.

The contents merely a few items, including AC Adapter, SSD Manual and PC Specialist handbook

Up close on the power supply.

CPU-Z

GPU-Z

System Buying Guide

Introduction


Picking the system that is right for you can be tricky. Sure you can head down to your local retailer, or favourite online store and pick all the parts you need, put it together yourself and I’m sure you would be very happy with the results; so long as you’ve done your research. First-time builders can be put off by the task of building their own system, which is understandable as you may have a lot of research ahead of you. Finding parts that are compatible, both in terms of specifications and size, can be a tricky task. Finding components that are a good performance match can also be tricky. Have you got the right speed of RAM, is your CPU going to bottleneck the performance of your graphics card, will your CPU cooler handle overclocking and more. These are just some of the troubles you can face.

Learning about building your own PC is no bad thing, in fact, I fully encourage you to do so, it can be a lot of fun! However, if like many of us you work Monday to Friday, maybe you have kids to take care of, or other hobbies, finding the time to not only research a system, but to also build and maintain it can be tricky. Fortunately, there are countless other options out there. You can walk into a high street retailer and walk out with a new PC, but as many of you know, many high street stores don’t have the best reputation for selling good PC’s at the right price.

PC Specialist are quickly becoming one of the most popular system integrators in the UK and we’ve had a lot of great things to say about their systems in the past. Buying from a system integrator makes life a lot easier as you can pick the parts you want, have parts recommended to you, it comes pre-built and crazily enough, we’ve even seen some systems that are cheaper to buy from PC Specialist, than they would be to build them yourself! Time is money and so long as you have money, you can certainly save time by having a system built for you, but which one is right for you?

This guide is updated monthly. Last updated: 19th May 2015

eTeknix 2014 Christmas Tech Buying Guide

Christmas time is almost here and as we wrap up warm over winter, we’re also wrapping up on a year of incredible products here at eTeknix HQ. We’ve had hundred of reviews this year, but no doubt many of you are eagerly writing your letters to Santa, or at least dropping hints to your parents, partner or friends for what you want for Christmas. Of course, there’s no doubt a fair few of you who are eager to treat themselves to something cool this Christmas. We’ve scratched our heads and had a really good think about what some of our favourite bits of technology are from this last year, and if you’ve still got some money left after the manic Black Friday sales, perhaps some of these products will be perfect for you.

While I admit that I couldn’t fit all of our favourites onto this list, its certainly a killer list of great products and they’ve all won awards from us here at eTeknix for one reason or another. If you’re after a headset, a chassis, a new keyboard, graphics card, or other cool gadget, you’ll find something that’s right for you in our guide.


Astro A38 Wireless Gaming Headset

The Astro A38 headset really stood out for me, not only is it one of the more stylish looking headsets I’ve ever reviewed, but the sound quality is nothing short of incredible. They’re a little expensive, but you certainly get what you pay for and Astro have yet to create a product that was anything less than stunning. They’re a perfect gift for yourself or someone else and ideal for those who love to listen to music and play games on the go, and the wireless technology and NFC pairing makes them very user friendly.

Check out our full review here – £144 from Astro Gaming


NZXT H440 Mid-Tower Chassis

A great PC deserves a great chassis and the H440 is certainly one of my all-time favourites. It’s not the biggest, and it may not even be the best chassis ever, that much is subjective, but it’s certainly got a lot of great features.  From the PSU shroud that helps keep cable management looking neat and tidy, to the comprehensive set of dust filters, thick sound dampening material lined panels and the large side panel window; you’ll find a lot to love about this chassis.

Check out our full review here – £89.99 from Overclockers


Thermaltake Core V71 Full Tower Chassis

Not all chassis’ are created equally, the Core V71 packs an incredible range of features that make it an ideal choice for high-end systems. The Thermaltake Core V71 looks great, but the real magic comes from its extreme flexibility. It has class leading radiator and fan mounting support and there’s no doubt that you’ll be able to build a stunning air-cooled system thanks to its array of 200mm pre-installed fans, or an incredible custom water cooling loop thanks to its modular interior. If you need extreme performance without spending crazy amounts of money, this chassis needs to be at the top of your list.

Check out our full review here – £131.34 from CCL Computers


Cooler Master Novatouch TKL Keyboard

Treating yourself to a high-quality mechanical keyboard is a solid investment for anyone who uses their computer a lot. Mechanical keyboards are expensive, but their overall build quality and performance goes a long way to justifying the cost. The NovaTouch TKL isn’t your average mechanical and features something called Hybrid Capacitive Switches that offer a truly premium and luxurious typing experience. If you want to treat your fingers to a more enjoyable typing experience, try out this keyboard!

Check out our full review here – £149.99 from Overclockers


Zowie FK1 Gaming Mouse

I have yet to use a Zowie mouse that wasn’t impressive and the FK1 is by far one of their best. While this mouse only offers minor revisions over its previous model, such as a slightly larger body and an improved sensor, it’s performance is second to none. It’s ambidextrous, has one of the best performing sensors available, great ergonomics and a stylish design. If you’re serious about your gaming and want something that offers eSports levels of performance, then you’ll love what the Zowie FK1 has to offer.

Check out our full review here – £49.99 from Overclockers


Nvidia Shield Android 5.0 Gaming Tablet

Mobile gaming is something that never really excited me, but Nvidia have really pulled out all the stops with their Shield Tablet. It’s powered by the incredibly powerful Tegra K1 graphics chip and it’s one of the fastest tablets on the market. It recently received an update that added the latest Android 5.0 operating system, as well as enabling Nvidia’s GRID cloud gaming service and all this comes on top of features like in-home game streaming, 4K video output, wireless controller support and a whole lot more. The Shield Tablet is easily one of the most versatile portable on the market.

Check out our full review here – from £239.99 at Overclockers


Nvidia GeForce “Maxwell” GTX 970 Graphics Card

Nvidia are on our list once again, first they dominate the mobile gaming market, now they’re showing their worth once again in the desktop GPU market. While we admit that the GeForce GTX 980 is an incredible graphics card, you’ll not be disappointed by their GTX 970 as it offers most of the performance of its bigger brother at a much more affordable price tag. This card is packed with the latest features, it looks fantastic and for gaming, it’s one of the best cards you can buy right now. If you want to welcome your computer into the world of high-end PC gaming, this is a great place to start.

Check out our full review here (Asus Strix GTX 970) – from £247.99 at Overclockers


Asus Rampage V Extreme LGA 2011-3 Motherboard

Intel really set a new standard for PC performance this year with the launch of their consumer X99 chipsets. It’s not a cheap upgrade right now, but a new support for the latest high-end CPUs, DDR4 memory and a wave of new features make this motherboard perfect for the enthusiast and professional markets. The Asus Rampage motherboard series has long been a popular choice and the V Extreme is certainly one of the best available right now.

Check out our full review here – £329.99 from Overclockers


Gigabyte Z97X Gaming5 1150 Motherboard

Extreme motherboards are one thing, but they’re a little out of the reach of your average consumer. The Gigabyte X97X Gaming 5 series of motherboards offers a lot of exciting features that make them a great choice for high-end gaming PCs, without the colossal price tags that you’ll find with enthusiast grade products. We loved this motherboard when we review it and while the black and red colour scheme is getting a little bit repetitive in the gaming market, it’s still a great looking board that is perfect for a wide range of systems.

Check out our full review here – £109.99 from Overclockers


Gigabyte Brix Ultra Compact System

A lot of the fame and glory goes to big gaming rigs with multiple graphics cards, loads of hard drives, water cooling and all that other crazy stuff, but this system turns all that on its head. The Brix may be small, but it packs enough power to be worthy of our Extreme Performance award! When space is limited, this little rig will fit on the back of your monitors VESA mount and it packs enough performance to get through a heavy workflow with ease. It’s a little expensive, but for a full-fledged PC that’s small enough to fit in a backpack, it’s a bargain!

Check out our full review here – £503.96 from Scan


PC Specialist Vortex 440 System

If you’re looking to upgrade to an X99 equipped system, then it’s likely that you’ll also be investing in DDR4 memory, a new CPU and a whole host of other components, so why not take all the fuss out of the process and invest in one of the best systems we’ve reviewed this year, the PC Specialist Vortex 440. We loved this system, partly because it was packed full of high-end hardware, but also because it was incredible value for money. Despite what the high price tag may suggest, the Vortex 440 actually worked out cheaper to buy than it would to build it yourself; now that’s a deal we can get behind!

Check out our full review here – around £1500 (customisable) from PC Specialist


OCZ Arc 100 240GB SSD

There’s a lot of SSD hard drives on the market right now and there are so many great ones that it’s now very easy to find one suitable for your system. The OCZ ARC 100 really stood out for us as it offers excellent performance, solid reliability, lots of features and it’s also competitively priced (per GB). Upgrading to an SSD is a great way to give your system a new lease of life, your system will boot faster and all of your games will benefit greatly from the speed boost. There is a cheaper 120GB model available, but the 240GB is the best balance of storage and value, making it a great choice for a boot drive.

Check out our full review here – £94.99 from Overclockers


Asus RT AC68U Dual Band Wireless Router

A really great router is something a lot of people overlook, it can be daunting spending a lot of money on tech like this, but the rewards soon pay for themselves. With more and more devices becoming internet connected, it’s likely that you’re not reaching the full potential of your devices networking capabilities. If you’re wanting to stream movies around your house from a NAS, play games online, while browsing the web from smartphones, tablets, consoles and other devices, then you’re going to see huge benefits from a router that can handle the most demanding workloads without sacrificing performance. The Asus RT AC68U looks great and offers a simple way to improve your home network. It’s expensive, but you certainly get what you pay for.

Check out our full review here – £166.98 from Overclockers


Crucial 32GB 2133MHz Quad Channel DDR4 Memory Kit

DDR4 memory marks the first major update to RAM memory formats in desktop systems in years, but it comes with a steep price tag. However, should you choose to make the leap for your high-end X99 platform build, then you should really consider the Crucial 32GB 2133MHZ kit. If you’re not too bothered about the aesthetics, this memory really does impress in terms of performance and offers excellent value for money vs many of the other DDR4 products on the market.

Check out our full review here – £319.99 from Overclockers


So, what will you be asking Santa for this year?

PC Specialist Vortex 440 System Review

Introduction


It has been an exciting few months for PC enthusiasts. We’ve seen the arrival of Intel’s new flagship Haswell-E CPUs, high-performance DDR4 memory and Nvidia’s Maxwell GTX 980. Those three things combined have the potential to produce one hell of a system and that’s exactly what we have on our hands today with PC Specialist’s Vortex 440. The basis for this custom PC is Intel’s X99 platform paired up with some truly enthusiast-grade Kingston 3000MHz DDR4 memory, Intel’s six-core i7 5820K with a hefty overclock and Nvidia’s flagship GTX 980 graphics card. NZXT’s H440, which gives this system part of its name, keeps everything looking sleek and tidy. Corsair are in charge of power delivery with their new RM series 850W power supply, and cooling, with their tried-and-trusted H100i liquid CPU cooler. To appeal to gamers and speed-demons alike an SSD and HDD combination provides a good balance between system responsiveness and storage for games and other media. As you might expect the price you have to pay for all that hardware is fairly steep, £1599 to be exact, but as we’ll see later on this is surprisingly good value for money and gives you a lot of performance.

Specifications

  • Name: PC Specialist Vortex 440
  • Case: NZXT H440 Mid-Tower Black/Red
  • Motherboard: ASUS X99-S ATX
  • Processor: Intel “Haswell-E” Core i7 5820K @ 4.375GHz OC
  • Processor Cooler: Corsair H100i 240mm all-in-one liquid cooler
  • System Memory: 16GB Kingston Hyper X Predator DDR4-3000MHz Quad Channel (4 x 4GB)
  • Main Boot Drive: 240GB Kingston HyperX 3K SSD
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): Toshiba 2TB 7200RPM HDD
  • Graphics card: Nvidia “Maxwell” GTX 980 4GB Maxwell
  • Power Supply: Corsair RM850 80 Plus Gold
  • Optical DriveNot included
  • Wireless: Not included
  • Monitor: Not included
  • Peripherals: Not included
  • OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit
  • Warranty: 3 Year Labour, 1 Year Parts and 1 Month Collect & Return (upgrades available)
  • Price: £1599 as configured

Packaging & Accessories

Packaging may be an after-thought to many buyers but the packaging a system integrator chooses is crucial to the end user experience. Bad packaging equals a broken PC – not something you want to be faced with when buying a new PC. With that said I am pleased to report that PC Specialist’s Vortex 440 comes excellently packaged with soft cell foam and an adequately sized box.

Inside the system expanding foam ensures that the internal components aren’t dislodged during transit. In the past we have been sent a PC (from a system integrator I won’t name) who learnt the hard way that internal expanding foam is essential. When the system arrived the graphics card had ripped the PCIe slot off the motherboard , killing both the motherboard and the graphics card in the process.

The accessory box includes all of the documentation and manuals for all of the system components as well as motherboard, graphics card and PSU accessories. To inform users about their purchase PC Specialist provide a guide with their systems.

A Closer Look

The aesthetic characteristics of the Vortex 440 are dominated by the NZXT H440 which comes in red and black. PC Specialist put their own logo at the top of the front panel to give the case a bit of sneaky customisation.

The entire case is coated in a soft-touch black, the top I/O offers dual USB 2.0 and 3.0, audio ports and power/reset buttons.

The side reveals a beautiful window showing off the internal components. One thing that I noticed was that PC Specialist use a white motherboard when the case is red and black – strange huh? Especially considering the default NZXT H440 comes in black and white – the same colour scheme as the ASUS X99-S motherboard used. Personally I would like to see PC Specialist ship the system with the white H440 or use a red motherboard instead.

The back reveals the plentiful I/O of the ASUS X99-S and the Nvidia GTX 980. The rather large blank space on the rear I/O derives from the fact the ASUS X99-S is a cut-down version of the ASUS X99-A which has a WiFi antennae at that particular location.

The obverse side of the case is plain black lined with the red trim and some ventilation for the front fans.

The bottom of the case helpfully uses four non-slip rubber feet and a removable dust filter for easy system maintenance. Despite being one of the cheapest parts of the build, the case is probably the most important for determining the user-experience.

NZXT’s H440 was praised for its ability to make tidy builds thanks to the bottom PSU shroud and the PC Specialist Vortex 440 makes great use of this. Corsair’s RM850, which has all-black cables, and PC Specialist’s exemplary cable-management job results in a tidy build.

Nvidia Game24 London Event Coverage

To celebrate the launch of their brand new GTX 970 and GTX 980 Maxwell graphics cards Nvidia hosted a global event called “Game24”. Game24 started on September 18th at 6pm PDT (Pacific Daylight Time) in Los Angeles and ended 24 hours later. The idea behind the Game24 event is to be a global celebration of PC gaming and so Nvidia hosted parties at 7 major cities across the world where they gave away free Nvidia goodies, showed fans some of the latest PC gaming titles and gave demonstrations of things Nvidia are doing for PC gaming. We went along to a Game24 event to see what all the fuss was about.

During that 24 hour period each of 7 cities got their opportunity to have some of the limelight and host the event for a few hours. London, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Stockholm, Taipei and Tokyo all took part. Being a London-based journalist I took the time to head on down to the Nvidia Game24 London event. Nvidia’s venue was pretty hard to miss as they had taken over the Old Truman Brewery situated at 91 on London’s infamous Brick Lane. We turned up at 6:30pm and the queue was pretty hard to miss: a lot of dedicated gamers had arrived for the show. Interestingly, I couldn’t see many people in AMD Red, it seemed that AMD’s PR campaign to get people to where red actually resulted in less people wearing red than normal. Typically I’d expect to find quite a few people wearing red just as a random variation of clothing choice but honestly I could see less than 10 people during the whole night who wore red clothing.

Upon entering the venue it felt a little like a nerdy night club but the most obvious thing that struck you was that “wow this is busy!”. Gamers had turned up in significant numbers to what was only a fairly small venue and event.

Nvidia didn’t waste any opportunities to put their branding up over every bit of available wall space, I’d imagine most people left this event with a sudden urge to buy an Nvidia graphics card!

At the centre stage Nvidia had brought in a DJ and put up a massive screen. Throughout the night they did some giveaways here chucking freebies into the excited crowd. Towards the end they also gave away a Nvidia Shield Tablet to one lucky winner.

It wouldn’t be a Game24 event without some games right? Dotted around each corner of the room were booths where Gamers had a chance to play around on some current gaming titles.

One of those was the hugely popular World of Tanks MMO where the PCs were running it with all the settings cranked up to the max on Nvidia graphics cards, of course.

Another one of the booth areas was running Dying Light which is a first-person action survival horror game. Most of the Gamers on these booths seemed to stick around for a bit longer than most and given the great visuals I’m not surprised.

The overall event had significant support from Nvidia’s partners. Names on the support list that stand out to me include ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI, Overclockers and PC Specialist – brands we’ve worked closely with on numerous occasions.

At one of the two entrances a custom-built Parvum Systems machine greeted Gamers. There weren’t any specifications on display here but we can see it was using a Gigabyte Z97MX-Gaming 5 motherboard with an Intel Core CPU (probably the Core i7 4790K), a Corsair H80i and Nvidia’s latest Maxwell GTX 980 graphics card.

Moving around to another booth and we found systems running the latest Metro title, Redux. These systems were kitted out with pretty significant hardware because as everyone knows the Metro series of games are not kind to your graphics cards!

Nvidia may be big on PC Gaming but let’s not forgot the Shield Tablet. While this is primarily geared as an Android gaming platform you can stream PC games to it from your PC using Nvidia’s GameStream technology.

Nvidia’s G-Sync is one of the main reasons why they changed the display output configuration of their Maxwell GPUs. For those who don’t know, the GTX 980 offers three DisplayPort outputs because each G-Sync monitor needs a DisplayPort output. If you want to run G-Sync surround you therefore need three DisplayPorts. At Game24 London there was a G-Sync demo on offer for passing Gamers to give them a visual representation of what G-Sync does. The strange thing about G-Sync is that you have to see it in person to experience it, you can’t really benchmark or record it.

Nvidia were also giving other tech demos of new features with their Maxwell GPUs such as VXGI (Voxel Global Illumination), DSR (Dynamic Super Resolution) and MFAA (Multi-Frame Sampled AA). We wrote more about these new features in our GTX 980 review which you can see here.

On a large screen we found a ‘Scan Computers‘ systems running Project Cars, this was one of the most popular games on offer with a huge queue to have a go at it.

The system that was driving Project Cars on the big screen was equally as impressive as the game itself: Tri-SLI GTX 980 graphics cards on an ASUS ROG Rampage V Extreme with an Intel Core i7 5960X and some quad channel DDR4 memory.

Two of our favoured system builders Overclockers UK and PC Specialist also had some systems there.

The PC Specialist system was running two GTX 980s in SLI, an ASUS Rampage V Extreme motherboard with an 8 core i7 5960X CPU and 16GB of Kingston’s high performance HyperX Predator 3000MHz memory. That was all housed in a Corsair Carbide Air 540 chassis.

Overclockers UK had an equally impressive system sporting two GTX 980s in SLI, an ASUS X99 Deluxe motherboard, an Intel Core i7 5960X CPU and 16GB of Corsair’s premium Dominator Platinum memory. This was all housed inside Phantek’s Enthoo Primo White Edition case. From what I can tell this system was running a single player demo of Watchdogs.

The final noteworthy part of the night was Nvidia’s goodie bag giveaways at the end. Every gamer who attended received an Nvidia T-Shirt, mousemat and lanyard. Okay so it isn’t the best bundle in the world but remember this was a free-entry event for everyone that attended.

Did you get a chance to make it along to Game24 London? If so, what did you think of it?

Win an Awesome PC Specialist Vanquish 270X Gaming PC Worth £579 Winner!

It’s that awesome time of the week again and easily one of the best parts of my job, today I get to tell you which one of our lucky readers will be celebrating Christmas early this year. I am of course talking about the PC Specialist competition and today one of you will be finding out that you’ve won this gaming PC, how cool is that! We’ve had a huge amount of entries to this competition and while we would love to let you all win, there can be only one!

If you would like to know more about the prize we’re giving away, then check out our full review of the Vanquish 270X right here.

Specifications

  • Name: PC Specialist Vanquish 270X
  • Case: Corsair 230T with Red LEDs and Side Window
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 3
  • Processor: Intel Pentium G3258 “Anniversary Edition” Dual Core at up to 4.7GHz w/ OC
  • Processor Cooler: Titan Universal CPU Cooler with Arctic MX4 thermal paste
  • System Memory: 1 x 8GB DDR3 Kingston HyperX Beast 2133MHz
  • Main Boot Drive: Seagate 1TB Hybrid Solid State Hard Drive with 8GB SSD Cache
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): Not included
  • Graphics card: Powercolor AMD R9 270X 2GB
  • Power Supply: Corsair VS 450W
  • Optical DriveSuper WriteMaster DVD RW
  • Wireless: Not included
  • Monitor: Not included
  • Peripherals: Not included
  • OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit
  • Warranty: 3 Year Warranty (1 month collect & return, 1 year parts, 3 year labour)
  • Price: £579 (accurate at the time of writing)

First of all I would like to thank PC Specialist for providing us with this system to giveaway to our readers, always a pleasure to have such cool prizes and I’m sure you guys love prizes like this too! So without further delay, let’s see who our lucky winner is…

Steven Montgomery of Sheffield!

Well done folks, we hope you enjoy your shiny new prize and we look forward to you sharing a photo of yourself alongside your new loot. Don’t feel too bad if you didn’t win this time around, we’ve got a LOT of great prizes coming to the site very soon and several other great competitions currently running which you can enter here. Keep those entries coming in and good luck to all!

PC Specialist Booth at Insomnia i52

Time to check out the booth of the awesome PC Specialist, they’ve rocked up with their latest gaming rigs for lucky punters to try out. They’ve got loads of high-end gaming PCs as well as a wide collection of high-end gaming laptops running many of the latest games for you to stop by and try out.

Obviously PC Specialist sell systems which can be made to order, but this booth is a great chance to find out how well they perform and see what this company is all about. They’re also running some competitions on the booth, so if you get chance to stop by, we highly recommend you do.

That’s everything from the PC Specialist booth for now, but check back later as we will have more great coverage from this weekends event.

PC Specialist Vanquish 270X System Review

Introduction


Intel’s Pentium G3258 Anniversary Edition CPU release has been very exciting for the PC market, the main reason is that you can now get high-end desktop performance for the price of an entry level system. This is because the bulk of applications and games are still largely dependent on the performance of 1-2 CPU cores, so with the potential to get around 4.5-4.8GHz on both its cores the Pentium G3258 can offer Core i7 4790K-like performance in one to two threaded applications. Today we are testing PC Specialist’s Vanquish 270X system which they have configured and built especially for us! This system features a Pentium G3258 CPU overclocked to a whopping 4.7GHz and that’s paired up with a Powercolor R9 270X 2GB graphics card and 8GB of RAM. All in all this means there is more than enough grunt in this system to drive all the latest gaming titles maxed out at full 1080p or even as high as 1440p depending on the game, as well as to do a wide variety of other productivity and home tasks. What’s even more impressive is that the components used are really cost effective, so this build comes in at just £579! PC Specialist have made very sensible component choices to keep the pricing in that sweet spot zone: they’ve opted for the unlocked Pentium, AMD’s R9 270X, an SSHD, Gigabyte’s entry level Z97 gaming series motherboard and Corsair’s affordable 230T chassis houses it all. Below you can see the full specifications of this build:

Specifications

  • Name: PC Specialist Vanquish 270X
  • Case: Corsair 230T with Red LEDs and Side Window
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 3
  • Processor: Intel Pentium G3258 “Anniversary Edition” Dual Core at up to 4.7GHz w/ OC
  • Processor Cooler: Titan Universal CPU Cooler with Arctic MX4 thermal paste
  • System Memory: 1 x 8GB DDR3 Kingston HyperX Beast 2133MHz
  • Main Boot Drive: Seagate 1TB Hybrid Solid State Hard Drive with 8GB SSD Cache
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): Not included
  • Graphics card: Powercolor AMD R9 270X 2GB
  • Power Supply: Corsair VS 450W
  • Optical DriveSuper WriteMaster DVD RW
  • Wireless: Not included
  • Monitor: Not included
  • Peripherals: Not included
  • OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit
  • Warranty: 3 Year Warranty (1 month collect & return, 1 year parts, 3 year labour)
  • Price: £579 (accurate at the time of writing)

Packaging & Accessories

PC Specialist’s Vanquish 270X system comes very well packaged with soft cell foam to absorb shock and vibration in transit as well as some protective plastic to prevent dust and scratches.

In terms of accessories you get PC Specialist’s welcome pack which has all the additional manuals and documentation that came with all the components in your system. There’s also a welcome guide written by PC Specialist that they advise you to read before using your new PC.

CPU-Z

Jumping into CPU-Z and we can see that as promised our Pentium G3258 (which CPU-Z is mistakenly reading as the Pentium G3420) is clocked at 4.7GHz using 1.35 volts. This core voltage is a little high for 24/7 operation, I maybe would have preferred to see 1.3 volts and a slightly lower clock speed.

The memory is just a single DIMM so we have to use single channel mode, that memory is clocked at 2133MHz.

GPU-Z

On the GPU side we have Powercolor’s R9 270X which comes clocked fairly high and has bags of overclocking headroom if you want to push things further.

PC Specialist Cosmos II 15.6″ Notebook Review

Introduction


When it comes to finding a decent-spec notebook you will be overwhelmed with options. If you’re after something slim and stylish you’re likely to be stung for a hefty premium by Apple, Sony, Samsung and so on. If you’re after something with a decent amount of CPU and GPU horsepower then you’re likely to be dragged into the depths of gaming notebooks (like those made by ASUS, MSI, Alienware and so on) even if you don’t want to game. So where do you go if you’re looking for something in between? Something that has style and is fairly slim but still has a fair amount of performance to allow you to be productive and game? Well PC Specialist are always a good place to start because you can customise just about any base notebook to have anything you want. Today we have a mid-range PC Specialist Cosmos II notebook in for testing and it looks like an epic all-rounder. With a dual core Haswell Core i5, an Nvidia GTX 850M 2GB graphics card, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB SSHD it has a great balance of performance, functionality and most importantly value. The design may be a little plain-Jane for the style conscious notebook buyer but if you’re happy for simplicity then this could be the ideal notebook for you. Below you can see the specifications of our PC Specialist Cosmos II notebook as we have it configured. You can change and configure just about every aspect of the Cosmos II if for whatever reason you need more or less of something.

Specifications

  • Name: PC Specialist Cosmos II
  • Case: Cosmos Series
  • Motherboard: Generic Intel HM86
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 4210M dual core processor
  • Processor Cooler: Generic low profile integrated notebook cooling solution
  • System Memory: 1 x 8GB Kingston HyperX Impact 1600MHz
  • Main Boot Drive: 1TB Seagate Hybrid Gen3 5400RPM SSHD w/ 64MB Cache
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): Not included.
  • Graphics card: Nvidia GTX 850M 2GB DDR3
  • Power Supply: 120W AC adapter
  • Optical Drive:Generic 8X DVD-RW/24X CD-RW
  • Wireless: Intel N135 802.11N 150mbps and Bluetooth
  • Monitor: 15.6 inch matte Full HD LED widescreen (1920 x 1080)
  • Peripherals: Integrated chiclet-style keyboard and 2 button touchpad-mouse
  • OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit
  • Warranty: 3 Year (1 month collect and return, 1 year parts, 3 years labour)
  • Price: £697 including delivery and VAT as configured. (Pricing links on final page of review)
  • Weight: 2.6kg

Packaging & Accessories

PC Specialist are no strangers to building and shipping systems and notebooks to customers so I wasn’t surprised to see our review sample come in virtually bomb proof package. Not only is the notebook box well protected inside another outer box, but you also find the notebook comes with more foam protection inside the inner box.

The notebook box comes with a convenient carry handle, if you ever need to move all the parts around or send it back to PC Specialist for repairs then you should definitely keep hold of this.

Included is a 120W AC adapter, 5600 mAh battery, UK power plug, a user guide, a driver & utility DVD and a Nero12 essentials trial version disc.

The included adapter is manufactured by Chicony Power Technology and is good for 120W of output which is required for this notebook.

The required battery provides 62.16 watt hours and is Lithium-Ion.

CPU-Z

GPU-Z

PC Specialist Booth At Insomnia i51

PC Specialist are one of the hottest system integrators on the market today, they’ve been gaining in popularity year after year and we’re always happy to see them at the shows we visit. They’ve got loads of powerful gaming rigs on display, but the best one of all is this 4K gaming monster, there wasn’t a price on the rig, but given their custom building nature, I’m sure they’ll happily build you one for a couple of thousand pounds.

The 17.3″ 1080p Vortex X880 gaming laptop comes fitted out with a high end Nvidia GTX 765M and the powerful Intel Core i7-4700MQ processor, making it a great weapon for those who want to game on the go. Sure it’s expensive at £1349.00, but you certainly get what you pay for.

The Optimus V is a little more affordable at just £799.00 and still features the same powerful CPU + GPU combination of the Vortex X880, but with a smaller 15.6″ screen, 8GB of ram and while it’s not exactly ugly, it’s not as pretty looking as the Vortex.

The Skyfire X14 is a bargain at just £649.00, packing the i5-4200MQ CPU, GTX 760M GPU, a 14″ LED display and 8GB of Hyper X memory, more than enough to enjoy many of today’s top gaming titles.

The Vanquish Mini is one of their more popular systems and its easy to see why, at just under £800 it’s packed with a high-end Intel Core i5-4670, GTX 760, 120GB Kingston SSD and the gorgeous Corsair Obsidian 250D chassis, it’s a great choice for those who need a compact gaming rig for the living room or for LAN gaming events.

Not that anyone here really cares about the gaming rigs, the booth is packed full of people eager to play the madness that is Goat Simulator, and after a five minute go on it myself, it’s easy to see what it’s so popular.

Finally we have the Infinity Trion, a budget friendly gaming rig that is ideal for mid range gaming and overkill for running games like Minecraft, but for just £375 you get great value from its AMD A8-6600K Quad Core APU and 8GB of Kingston Dual-DDR3 memory.

That’s everything from the PC Specialist booth for today, but check back shortly as we’ll have more great coverage from this weekends gaming event here in Coventry.

Cooler Master Booth At Insomnia i51 LAN Gaming Festival

Here we are at the Cooler Master and CM Storm booth at Insomnia i51 LAN gaming festival, there is loads to see and do at the show, for both gamers and day visitors who just want to come and join in the fun. Cooler Master are giving visitors a great opportunity to get hands on with many of their latest and greatest gaming peripherals, as well as try their hand at winning some prizes.

Their gorgeous Aluminium series Mech keyboard is always a popular choice and their typing challenge is a great way of putting the mechanical keyboard through its paces; type out the pattern on the screen in a fast enough time to win some cool prizes over the course of the weekend.

The quickest time can win the keyboard, which is worth £150, daily prizes of Recon gaming mice, and plenty of smaller prizes such as these cool new T-shirts, lanyards and stress balls.

The CM STorm Trigger Z, equipped with Black Cherry switches is really nice, featuring some sleek back and unlit keys, which is available at the show for just £79.99.

Their latest range of gaming mice are here too, including the awesome Recon, Reaper and Mizar hooked up to their Skorpion mouse cable bungee.

One of my favourite keyboards on show is the Stealth, blank key cap tops with some subtle markings on the front edge give the keyboard a sleek and rather unique design.

The QuickFire Ultimate offers stunning red LED backlighting, mechanical keys and a rugged design that make it ideal for gaming.

The Quick Fire XT offers a slightly more cut-down edition, offering the great gaming performance of mechanical keys, but the lack of LED backlighting offers a much more budget friendly price tag of £59.99.

A rack of Cosmos SE chassis are fitted out with high-end gaming rigs, each equipped with a range of Cooler Master and CM Storm peripherals so you can sit down and play Titanfall and Goat Simulator till your heart is content.

Those on a tighter budget can check out the Devastator bundle, a low-cost gaming keyboard and mouse combo. We especially like the membrane keyboard as it’s got a typing sensation similar to that of Cherry MX black switches.

That’s everything from the Cooler Master booth for today, but we’ll be back shortly with even more great coverage from the show. We’ll also be following up with Cooler Master in the coming weeks to bring you reviews of the new products they had on display.

Multiplay Insomnia i51 LAN Gaming Event Exhibition

We’re back once again at the Insomnia i51 gaming event here in Coventry, enjoying the rather stunning Ricoh arena that Multiplay have chosen for the event. We thought you would love to see some of the things that go on here at the show now that the event is at a new home so let’s take a look at what else you can find on the exhibition show floor.

Xbox One is here this year with their gaming 4×4, which has a huge rack of fold out hi-def screens and Xbox One consoles, great for trying out a big of Titanfall… although not as great as playing it on some of the epic gaming PC’s that are littered around the hall, that is of course if you can get past all the people waiting to play Goat Simulator, which has proven more popular than anything else this weekend, crazy!

As if one gaming bus wasn’t enough, Gamersbus.co.uk are here too, giving the Razer gaming bus a run for its money and offering loads of great titles to play on the inside. Unlike the Razer bus, you can actually rent this bad boy out for your own parties, very tempting.

The latest Square Enix title is a big hit this weekend too, with many gamers eager to get hands on with Nosgoth, so much so that I couldn’t even find a seat for a go myself, but from what I’ve seen, the game is shaping up rather nicely and I can’t wait to check it out in-detail later this year.

One of the most important exhibitors at the show is Special Effect, they’ve done countless great deeds to help those who have suffered physical disabilities, finding innovative ways to allow them to still enjoy the world of computer games. It’s an eyeopening experience to try out some of these purpose build controller yourself. Multiplay as well as many of us here at the show do our part to help them raise the funds they need to support their cause.

Vacant Mind Gaming are here too with this somewhat unique gaming rig, they offer custom builds for those who want something very different from your average gaming chassis. Can’t say I’m all that keen on this design, but I can see the appeal of something a bit different.

Apparently people still want to play Flappy Bird… although I will admit it plays better with a mouse than it does a touch screen.

Pull up a seat at the Chillblast stand and race your heart out on this gorgeous Logitech G25 racing wheel and triple Eyefinity gaming setup.

Oculus Rift is on show once again too, always great fun for a bit of mind-blowing FPS action and with the headset on and goggles on your face, it’s easy to forget the chaos and noise of the show around you.

We’ve still got plenty of great coverage from some of the coolest booths here at the show, so stay tuned for more coverage throughout the day.

eTeknix @ Multiplay Insomnia i51 LAN Gaming Event

The Insomnia i51 LAN gaming event in Coventry UK, hosted by Multiplay, is in full swing this weekend and the show just wouldn’t be the same without the eTeknix team stopping by to see what’s happening. There is more going on at the show than ever before this weekend and that is especially thanks to the brand new location for the event, having moved from the Telford International Centre to the stunning Richo Arena, which is located at the heart of the UK, making at an ideal location for gamers all over the UK. The new arena a grand football stadium and comes packed with facilities to handle larger crowds, offering up a Casino, plenty of bars and accommodation that make it a handy addition to the 24-hour a day party that Insomnia is legendary for.

Aside from the LAN gaming tournaments, legendary eSports teams competing against each other and a couple of thousand gamers brining their own rigs into the vast gaming halls, there are lots of things to see and do at Insomnia, so let’s walk the show floor and take a look at a small taste of what is on offer this year.

There is a huge range of manufacturers, retailers and gaming brands in the exhibition hall, offering loads of competitions, games to play, products to try out and more.

Gamers are well catered for, but Razer have pulled out all the stop by brining their own mobile gaming bus, a popular attraction here at the show, so much so that I couldn’t even get a go!

A returning favourite of ours, the retro gaming zone, everything from Atari to Sega Dreamcast classics are up and running here, lots of screens, retro controllers and a great way of wasting time. If I wasn’t working, I could sit here all day playing Goldeneye.

There are little pods everywhere, this one is courtesy of Razer and is fitted with a half dozen Xbox’s for gamers to kick back and battle their friends in games such as Fifa, all while using a range of awesome Razer peripherals of course.

PC gaming is well catered for also, with tournaments, demonstrations and more awesome peripherals to get hands on with alongside the Razor team.

The Minecraft presence at the show is as strong as ever, a popular attraction for the younger members of the audience, although there are plenty of adults who get in on the action too.

There is still a load of great stuff going on here at the show, so we’ll be back shortly with even more coverage of the booths and exhibitor show floor very shortly.

Cooler Master & PC Specialist @ Insomnia i50

Here we are at the last day of Insomnia i50 and what better way to end the show than with a look at the stunning booth from Cooler Master and system integrator PC Specialist. Both companies are side by side and have a pretty epic setup on offer, with many high end systems, games to play, prizes to be won and more.

The cooler master booth is heavily populated by Cooler Masters CM Storm gaming brand, while the PC Specialist booth is kitted out with CM hardware.

There are a number of high performance gaming systems on display, and all visitors are welcome to pull up a chair, play some games and really put these rigs to the test.

Not only do you get to play great new games like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag on high end gaming rigs, you also get to test out products like the CM Storm Recon and QuickFire mechanical keyboard, all of which are proving popular here at the show.

It’s a great place to chill out for a while, clock up a few laps on racing games, or just take a nosy around the systems that PC Specialist sell on their site. Plus there are loads of prizes and free gifts to be had.

A full range of headsets, mice and keyboards are here for you to pick up, inspect and test. It is a great opportunity as this is often something you simply cannot do in retail outlets or when shopping online.

The Ceres 500 is CM Storms first attempt at a console headset, we loved it when we reviewed it and after a few goes of Battlefield, we can confirm that we still love it!

The Cosmos SE is here too, still the best option for those that can’t afford the money or the space for the epic Cosmos II chassis.

Light em up! Mechanical keyboards take the stage and CM Storm have kitted them out with a range of different switches for you to try out.

CM also have their own game to play, the Keyboard Olympics! Perfect for testing the skills of the gaming elite here at the show.

Strike the keys in the order displayed and set the best time to win a range of goodies.

Set an average time and win a small prize, win the top spot and you can win some seriously cool hardware!

That is all from the CM & PC Specialist booth right now, but keep an eye out for more coverage over the weekend. If you’re at the show, we recommend you stop by the CM and PC Specialist booth, even if it is just to swipe some free stuff and play on their gaming rigs.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/0RcmYZGN3rI[/youtube]

Nvidia Announce GeForce GTX BattleBox Program – 4K Gaming Systems

Nvidia have recently announced their new GTX BattleBox program. As part of the program Nvidia is teaming up with system builders across the world to bring Nvidia powered systems capable of ultra high resolution 4K gaming. In the UK Nvidia has teamed up with Scan, PC Specialist, Chillblast, Cyberpower, Dino PC and ComputerPlanet. In the USA Nvidia has teamed up with Digital Storm, Falcon Northwest, Origin and Maingear. Worldwide they have teamed up with over 30 system integrators.

These elite gaming PCs will bare the “BattleBox” branding and come with an Intel Haswell CPU, 4K Monitor and a dual Nvidia GTX 780 configuration or higher. They are designed to be able to push 4K gaming to the very limits. “Systems will be branded with special “BattleBox” insignia, in addition each system will be kitted out with an exclusive NVIDIA SLI bridge with an illuminated GeForce GTX Claw; this has been asked for by gamers since we revealed its existence alongside the GeForce GTX TITAN” says Nvidia.

More details can be found here (UK) and here (USA).

Image courtesy of Nvidia

PC Specialist £1000 Gaming PC Giveaway Winner Announced

It’s taken us a while but we have finally managed to go through all of the entries for our PC Specialist gaming PC giveaway that was run last month here.

Now we have to firstly admit, that there was some simply amazing entries and a lot of thought and effort went into each and every post. We did find a lot of “my grandmother’s dog is dying, so having this computer will cheer me up” posts, which we can only “sympathise” with but we wanted something that stood out, and the entries certainly weren’t short of that.

Some that really stood out for us were the guy who put his computer in his bed, and brushed his teeth with it, as well as the entry that was completely in Binary, which when translated gave a simple entry, but the method of execution was simply amazing, so kudos to you.

The one that stood out the most however was from member Roley Martin, purely because he made a rap video with an old style 8-bit backing track.

The video can be seen below and his entry, though it didn’t say a lot, the video pretty much did all of the talking.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idghDbn0pg8[/youtube]

Link to the forum entry can be found here.

At first it seemed as though it was a generic entry, but as the video went on, we heard the eTeknix name and really got into the song and was simply blown away.

Congratulations Roley Martin, and we can only apologise that there can only be one winner, as we appreciate everyones efforts in this competition, but remember we have a lot more competitions currently open here.

All winner(s) have been contacted requesting address details for your prize(s) to be shipped out directly.

PC Specialist Vanquish X200 Gaming Rig Review


When it comes to reviews we often see graphics cards, motherboards, chassis and many other components come through the office, but it has been a while since we reviewed all of these things together, which is why today we will be taking a look at something a little special, a £899.00 custom built gaming rig from PC SpecialistPC Specialist have a rock solid reputation behind them, a quick google will find you literally thousands of five star consumer reviews, reports and generally lots of nice things to be said about the team that work there. This is of course a good thing as with any industry, reputation matters and its that reputation that grabbed our attention, we want to see what all the fuss is about!

“Each and every one of the tens of thousands of computers and laptops we have manufactured has been custom built to our customers’ specifications. With our massive economies of scale we scour the world to bring you the best quality components from the biggest brands, such as Intel, AMD, Corsair and ASUS. When using our customer friendly and surprisingly easy-to-use website you’ll see how we concentrate our efforts around you and in turn provide an excellent service, excellent prices and excellent after sales technical support.”

Because they don’t sell off the shelf systems, PC Specialist aim to see you exactly what you need at as fair a price as possible, something that generally just can’t be achieved on sites like Amazon or in retail outlet stores. Given that we are a tech site I know a good percentage of you will be thinking “well, I can build this much cheaper myself!” and that’s great, personally I encourage that, I too build my own systems, but not everyone can, not everyone wants to either. When your buying a hand made system from PC Specialist you’re getting several things that add to the value, such as guaranteed component compatibility, technical support, a warranty, convenience and in the case of this system a professionally applied overclock.

  • Name: Vanquish X200
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 3570K @ 4.4GHz
  • Mobo: ASUS P8Z77-V LX
  • RAM: 8GB Kingston Hyper-X Beast 2400MHz
  • SSD: 120GB Kingston HyperX 3K
  • HDD: 1TB SATA III 6Gb/s
  • GPU: 2GB AMD Radeon HD 7870
  • ODD: 24x DVD-RW
  • PSU: Corsair TX650V2
  • Cooler: Corsair H40 + Arctic MX4 Paste
  • Case: Corsair 200R
  • Price: £899.00 inc VAT & Delivery

As you can see from the specification above, the Vanquish X200 is no slouch, packing a powerful setup and compared to many other retailers it’s still offering good value for only £899.00 given that its pre-built, overclocked and comes with support.

The system comes in a fairly standard box via courier, nothing fancy but certainly enough to get in to you safely, so lets dive right in and see what PC Specialist have hidden within the box.

In box I found a welcome pack, a box about the same size as your average PC keyboard.

In the welcome pack you will find all the individual user guides and setup manuals for the included components, all the required driver back up discs, the spare screws and components from the chassis and the PSU power cable.

Win a £1000 PC Specialist Gaming System

You may want to sit down for this one, as it’s a HUGE giveaway that can’t be missed. We have teamed up with our friends over at PC Specialist to give one lucky eTeknix reader the chance to win a custom built Intel Core i5, powered by Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 Ti graphics system worth £1000.

COMPETITION CLOSED

Winner Announced As – Roley Martin

The full specs of the system are as follows:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 3570K
  • Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V LK
  • RAM: 8GB Kingston Hyper-X Beast
  • SSD: 120GB Kingston HyperX 3K
  • HDD: 1TB SATA III 6Gb/s
  • GPU: 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 660Ti
  • ODD: 24x DVD-RW
  • PSU: Corsair TX650V2
  • Cooler: Corsair H40 + Arctic MX4 Paste
  • Case: InWin GT1 Gaming Case

To enter this competition, we have broken things down into three steps to make it easier than ever:

So that we get bigger and better competitions each time, why not also share this competition page on your own social media (Facebook, Twitter etc…)

Rules and regulations:

  • The competition is open WORLDWIDE!
  • The competition ends at midnight GMT on 15th April 2013 and winners will be notified within 7 days of the closing date
  • In the event of a dispute, eTeknix staff hold the final say and no discussions will be entered into
  • Delivery is not in the hands of eTeknix and can take some time to arrive
  • In the event that the prize is unavailable, eTeknix reserve the right to offer an alternative of equal or greater value
  • By entering this competition, you adhere to the above rules and regulations
  • Winner(s) will be announced on our competition winners page