Anidees AI-06 V2 Silent Mid-Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


Today in the eTeknix office we have the brand new Anidees AI-06 V2 mid-tower chassis, which offers up a big revision of their popular AI-06 model. Taking an already robust chassis, adding in more flexible storage solutions, a card reader, improved cooling support, a larger side panel window (on the relevant model) and more. Today, we have the Silent equipped model, which comes fitted with sound dampening materials on the interior, although windowed and standard solid side panel without noise dampening materials edition are also available.

Equipped with an aluminium finished from panel door, multiple radiator and fan mounts in the front, top, back and bottom of the chassis, removable storage bays, an SD card reader and more, we’re really looking forward to taking a closer look at this chassis, so let’s get it out of the box and see what it has to offer.

  • Rotate door with Aluminum line-finished for elegant look.
  • Moveable front mesh design for ventilation and easy maintenance.
  • Accommodates 120 mm radiator in the rear, 120/140mm radiator in the bottom or 240 mm radiator on the top or front.
  • Dust filters on the front and at the bottom.
  • Rear retaining holes for water cooling kit.
  • Cable management and CPU retaining hole for easy maintenance.
  • Air cooling support 6 fans, 140mm fan*5, 120mm fan*1
  • Supports up to 140 mm fan x 5
  • New Velcro fastener design for better power supply stability
  • USB 3.0*2, USB 2.0*2, SD Card reader, Fan controller on the top
  • Smoky Transparent side window (optional)

As you can see, the silent edition comes with a solid side panel on the left. The panel is held in place by a pair of thumb screws at the back, nothing fancy, but a well-tried and tested design overall.

There’s some branding in the bottom corner here, it’s quite tastefully placed and this means the front panel can be left looking nice clean.

Another heavy panel on the right, looking good in that lightly textured matte black paintwork.

The front panel is really smart, finished with a good layer of brush textured aluminium, giving it a nice premium look and feel.

The door is held shut with magnets on the right side, allowing you to easily open it up to access the front panel component.

In the door cavity, you’ll find a thick layer of noise-dampening materials, which should soak up a lot of unwanted noise from your systems cooling solution. There are three 5.25″ drive bays on offer also, each with an easily removable lock-in cover.

Further down, you’ll find a large ventilated panel for the front mounted cooling.

Around the back, you’ll find a 120mm fan mount, seven expansion slots, two water/cable routing grommets and the PSU cut-out; all pretty standard stuff, but that’s no bad thing.

The covers are reusable and come with some ventilation to help with overall airflow.

The top panel follows the design of the front of the chassis, curving at the edge to create a nice flowing design and featuring even more of that lovely brushed aluminium.

There’s a well equipped I/O panel towards the front, with SD card reader, four USB ports, HD audio jacks, and two nicely designed buttons for the power and reset. What’s also worthy of our attention is that there is a three-way switch, which functions as the built-in fan controller.

the base of the chassis features lots of ventilation for any base mounted cooling, as well as the PSU air intake. The PSU benefits from a slide out filter, but the remaining ventilation uses a simple clip-in mesh.

Aorus Thunder K7 Mechanical Keyboard + Macro Keypad Review

Introduction


Aorus are back on eTeknix again today, following a long hiatus from our last review of theirs, the rather stunning Aorus Thunder M7 Gaming Mouse. In the office today, we have their new flagship gaming keyboard, the Thunder K7, and it’s packed to the brim with high-end features that are sure to excite professionals, gamers and well, many other people too!

  • World’s 1st Mechanical gaming keyboard with detachable Macro keys
  • Superior CHERRY MX Mechanical Key-Switch
  • Absolute Anti-Ghosting Multi-Key press Capability
  • AORUS Macro Engine

Equipped with a split design that allows you to not only detach the number pads completely and turn the main keyboard into an 80% width design, you can also attach the number pad on the left side of the keyboard and use it as a macro pad, or for any other purpose for that matter, and even then, you can also use the number pad all by its self if you really wanted! Of course, a funky modular design isn’t the only thing you can expect from this keyboard today. Equipped with Cherry MX Red switches, N-key rollover, anti-ghosting, LED lighting, macro engine, detachable wrist rest, and more, the K7 is sounding like strong competition for many other high-end keyboards on the market today.

The box for the Thunder K7 is absolutely huge, it may actually be the biggest keyboard box we’ve ever seen, and not by any small margin either!b There’s a huge image of the keyboard don the front, as well as a badge telling us this is the orange light edition, not the blue one in the big picture.

Around the back, a quick rundown of the main features, such as the modular design, Cherry switches, and the powerful macro engine.

The box opens up to reveal just why it’s so big in the first place. The keyboard is exceptionally well padded and the main keyboard, number pad and wrist rest are all separated by thick foam to ensure they stay secure in transit. Each component is wrapped in plastic bags to keep them dust free and there’s a large plastic shell over the top over everything to protect it from damage.

In the box, the keyboard, which comes hard-wired with a good quality USB cable and custom USB 2.0 gold-plated head, as well as a secondary cable for when you’re using the number pad independently.

The detachable wrist rest is pretty durable and has a good width to it. It is worth pointing out, however, that it’s the full keyboard size, so may look ridiculous if you’re using it in 80% mode.

There are some rubber grips on the bottom to keep it in place, but you’ll notice the lack of clips as the whole unit connects to the keyboard magnetically.

Corsair Gaming K70 Rapidfire RGB Gaming Keyboard Review

Introduction


Ready to take your gaming seriously? We’ve got the (mostly) new Corsair Gaming K70 Rapidfire RGB in the eTeknix office today, and while you may be familiar with the K70 part, the keyboard now features the all-new and very much improved Cherry MX Speed switches! But what are MX Speed switches? They use the same underlying format as the extremely popular and lightning fast MX Red switches, but with a 40% reduction in actuation distance, meaning they’re even faster than ever before, making them the shortest response mechanical switches on the market today.

  • Ultrafast mechanical gaming keyboard: ultrafast 1.2mm actuation and light 45g switch force for truly unrivaled response time.
  • 100% Cherry MX Speed RGB key switches: ultrafast performance with the precision and durability of gold contact Cherry MX mechanical gaming key switches.
  • Aircraft-grade anodized brushed aluminum frame: with light weight and rugged durability you need for a keyboard that’s going to see a lot of action.
  • 100% anti-ghosting and full key rollover over USB circuitry: no matter how fast you go your keypresses will always register.
  • Advanced lighting control and large font keycaps: experience dynamic, vibrant multi-color backlighting.
  • The power of CUE: sophisticated macro programming and fast, fluid dynamic multicolor illumination for an enlightened gaming experience.
  • Detachable soft-touch wrist rest: the comfort you need for marathon gaming sessions.
  • Dedicated multimedia controls: the control you need to adjust your audio without interrupting your game.
  • USB Pass-Through Port: Positioned for uninterrupted game play and ready for your mouse or wireless headset adapter.
  • FPS and MOBA keycap sets: Textured and contoured keycaps provide maximum grip and enhanced feel

Every action counts when it comes to competitive gaming, and trimming the fat from the switch means that you’ll be triggering those switches milliseconds before the competition. It’s not a huge advantage, but every little bit adds up and no matter how small it may seem, an edge is an edge.

The packaging is really nicely designed, keeping the usual Corsair colours and showing off the most important features.

You’ll find all the usual stuff in the box, such as the documentation, two sets of gaming caps and a handy key cap puller.

ASUS MG24UQ and MG28UQ Monitor Review

Introduction


ASUS has rapidly become a dominant force in the gaming monitor sector due to the popularity of its ROG range. According to Digitimes, the company has seen a staggering growth rate of 30 percent throughout Europe in 2015. Models such as the PG278Q, commonly referred to the ROG Swift beautifully catered towards users requiring a high refresh monitor and G-Sync functionality. This combination proved to be extraordinarily successful and inspired future products such as the PG279Q. The advent of responsive IPS panels featuring enhanced viewing angles and colour reproduction compared to their TN counterparts, forged a new audience for the ROG series.

Today, we’re taking a look at the company’s latest gaming monitors which opt for FreeSync technology instead of the NVIDIA’s proprietary alternative. As a result, these products provide a fluid user experience at a more digestible price point. The MG24UQ utilizes a 4K IPS panel, 4ms response time and 178 degree viewing angles. This is targeted towards consumers who enjoy stunning image quality and yearn for a high pixels per inch display. In contrast to this, the MG28UQ is based on TN technology and has a 1ms response time. While the colour gamut isn’t as impressive on TN monitors, they have a quicker response time and better suited towards professional gamers. Of course, it’s all about your individual priorities and whether you care more about image quality or responsiveness.

Packaging and Features

ASUS MG24UQ

Firstly, it’s important to note that the press samples I received contain the MG24U and MG28U branding. After performing extensive research, I discovered these are now known under the UQ title instead for retail channels so please disregard the box’s naming scheme. As you can see, the packaging adopts a really bold, stylish design and lists the monitor’s key features.

The monitor’s base and cables are housed within the top section to allow for easy access. On another note, the hardened polystyrene inserts offer superb protection and ensures the display arrives in perfect condition.

ASUS gaming monitors incorporate a number of unique features including:

Rather bizarrely, the information here is incorrect and the PPI rate should read 185.


ASUS MG28UQ

The 28-inch model utilises identical packaging apart from the 1ms response time icon.

Here we can see the larger variant has a lower ppi rate, 1ms response time and USB 3.0 hub.

Cyberpower Infinity X55 Pro Gaming PC Review

Introduction


Cyberpower is one of most respected system integrators worldwide and quickly gained a superb reputation for their commitment to impeccable customer service. The company’s vast buying power means consumers can choose from a massive range of components and construct a system which suits their individual requirements. This level of flexibility is astounding and ensures the end-user receives a product with the best possible specification. Upgrades are listed using high-resolution images and include a brief outline of the pricing variation when selecting various parts. Of course, there are pre-configured options with a default configuration to help simplify the buying process. Cyberpower’s slick website manages to catch your imagination and become fascinated by the company’s custom PC range.

The latest PC to arrive for review purposes is the Cyberpower Infinity X55 Pro sporting an Intel i5-6660K processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM and XFX AMD Radeon R9 390 8GB. Cyberpower has utilised the Corsair H55 all-in-one CPU cooler to achieve a hefty 4.5GHz overclock. In terms of storage, there’s a high-performance 240GB SSD and 1TB mechanical disk. The Corsair VS 650W is a non-modular 80 plus white power supply with enough wattage to easily cope with demanding applications. This impressive specification is housed in the extremely unusual Corsair 600C chassis. Priced at £999, I’m fascinated to see the performance numbers in relation to other products under the £1000 mark.

Specifications

  • Name: Cyberpower Infinity X55 Pro
  • Case: Corsair 600C
  • Motherboard: MSI Z170A SLI Plus
  • Processor: Intel Core-i5 6600K Overclocked to 4.5GHz
  • Processor Cooler: Corsair H55
  • System Memory: Corsair 8GB (2x4GB) DDR4 LPX 2400MHZ
  • Main Boot Drive: Corsair Neutron XT 240GB
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): Western Digital 1TB 7200RPM
  • Graphics card: XFX AMD Radeon R9 390 8GB
  • Power Supply: Corsair VS 650W
  • Peripherals: N/A
  • Monitor: N/A
  • Optical Drive: N/A 
  • Wireless: N/A
  • OS: Windows 10 Home
  • Warranty: 3 Year Labour, 2 Year Parts, 1 Month Collect and Return plus Life-Time Technical Support
  • Price: £999

Packing and Accessories

The system arrives in a humongous outer box which offers exceptional protection during transit. More specifically, the thick cardboard adds rigidity and prevents the system from encountering cosmetic imperfections. On another note, the fragile notice instructs the courier to adopt a careful approach when handling the package.

Once opened, the main chassis box is held in place with supporting foam inserts and the accessories box. As a result, the unit shouldn’t move around in a brash manner.

Prior to turning on the system, a precautionary label is used to cover the power supply and inform the user to remove any internal packaging.

Here we can the huge array of protective inserts which cushions the key components from any sudden impact during delivery. These are absolutely essential additions to ensure the system arrives safely and without any cables being misaligned. Honestly, I’d prefer Cyberpower to use a foam pack instead because of the harder material and more secure positioning.

The system is bundled with a handy troubleshooting guide, component documentation, driver’s disk, PCI brackets where the GPU has been installed, power cord and SLI bridge. Unfortunately, the troubleshooting guide was placed underneath the chassis box which led to some hefty creases.

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InWin 909 E-ATX Aluminium & Tempered Glass Chassis Review

Introduction


Building an extreme gaming rig, enthusiast grade workstation of simply a system that offers some akin to installing a work of art in your office space can be quite an expensive endeavour. The InWin 909, the latest addition to their already quite extensive selection of premium chassis, looks like the perfect chassis for the job, and while it comes with a bit of a hefty price tag, the sheer volume of aluminium and tempered glass, as well as the extensive component support on offer looks set prove that you really do get what you pay for.

Impressively Detailed Craftsmanship

“909 is constructed with solid materials, and its chamfered edge design and sleek anodized aluminium are beautifully crafted to masterfully create a streamlined and smooth enclosure inside/out.” and “features a single piece 4mm brushed aluminium shell and an elegant back panel that hides unnecessary rear I/O cables. The clutter-free design demonstrates the elegant aesthetics of simplicity.”  – InWin

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebJVLcP_ass

Specifications

Equipped with luxurious 4mm brushed aluminium panels, topped off with 5mm thick tinted tempered glass, the InWin 909 is certainly classed as a premium grade product, a far cry from the steel, plastic and plexiglass of seemingly thousands of chassis products available on the market today. Of course, building materials are one thing, but with USB 3.1 Type-C connectivity, LED lighting, dust filters, support for E-ATX motherboards, multiple high-end graphics cards, extensive water and air cooling, and so much more, metal and glass is just the start of what the InWin 909 in all about.

In the box, you’ll find a hefty component bag, featuring the usual documentation, a good assortment of screws and bolts, as well as USB 3.0 header adapters, and motherboard power cable extensions to help accommodate the sizable 909 dimensions.

The InWin 909 is certainly sizable, with a huge tempered glass side panel that covers the not only fairly tall, but quite long chassis. It’s likely that if you’re putting this on, under, or beside your desk, it could stick out quite a bit, so it may be best to get out a tape measure and ensure you even have room to accommodate it, as well as suitable breathing room at the back for ventilation. The glass certainly looks impressive, with a heavy tint that doesn’t give much away, however, if you throw some lighting into the chassis interior, you’ll soon see the benefits.

There’s a nicely designed I/O panel on the left side of the chassis too, giving you access to a master lighting control, three USB 3.0 ports, one USB 3.1 Type-C, HD audio jacks, a power button and LED indicators. This is great if you plan to put this chassis up on top of your desk (where we/InWin think it belongs) but it could be impractical if you have it on the floor, as the ports will be awkward to reach.

Another huge glass panel on the right side, meaning that no matter which angle you view the InWin 909, it’s going to look pretty stunning. Just keep in mind, immaculate cable management is vital here, as everything will be on show, so make sure you use the cable tidies that are included in the component bag.

The front panel is formed from the same piece of aluminium as the top and bottom of the chassis, giving it a flawless flowing design that just emanates quality. The black brushed detailing brings out all the little details in the metal work too and it is topped off with a lovely In Win logo strip on the bottom half.

Each of the side panels is mounted on a rubber coated peg and held in place by four aluminium thumb screws for easy access.

Around the back, there’s all kinds of ventilation, fan and radiator mounts, but aside from the PSU cut-out at the bottom, you’ll notice a complete lack of slots for the expansion cards and the motherboard as they’re set further inside the chassis; we’ll show you how in just a moment.

Creative SoundBlaster X Pro-Gaming H5 Headset Review

Introduction


Creative are on of the most iconic and instantly recognisable brands on the market when it comes to audio. Having created some of the most popular and best-performing consumer audio products for the PC market over the last few decades, I’m sure many of you, if not all of you, have owned or used a Creative product at one point or another. So when I heard that Creative felt they had one of the best gaming headsets on the market and that it would cost less than £100, I simply had to try it out.

CLEARER, LOUDER, HARDER, BETTER!

“The Sound BlasterX H5 radiates with comfort in every element of the design. It’s made up of reinforced steel headband and aluminium architecture. Sound BlasterX H5 features an ergonomically-tested design that guarantees comfort over long stretches of gaming sessions, and withstand the rigours of gameplay. Specifically designed for our pro-gaming teams, the H5 Special Edition is distinctly branded with a BlasterX label on both side-plates. Fans could use this chance to take their loyalty to a whole new level. Every time they put them on, it’s a way of showing their appreciation for great sound and comfort, and what they consider as the ultimate weapon for their gameplay!” – Creative

There are a few key design aspects that are going to be important with this headset, such as the fact it was designed for eSports. This means you can expect leather ear pads and a semi-closed back design, helping block out all that unwanted, game distracting, ambient crowd noise. We’ll also be expecting the detachable noise-reduction microphone to be pretty robust and focused on your voice, not the voices of the crowd.

 

“Experience your game the way it’s meant to be heard. The Sound BlasterX H5 is equipped with large, responsive 50mm FullSpectrum drivers that deliver astounding sound. Rated at 118dB/mW, the Sound BlasterX H5 is among the loudest gaming headsets of its class. Feel the tremor of every bone-shattering explosion and hear the rattle of gunfire in your gameplay, like no other.” – Creative

The packaging for the H5 is pretty stylish, with a clear bowl-shaped lid on the top showing us a fairly uncompromised view of the actual headset.

Around the back, there’s a little run down of some of the features, as well as the included accessories.

In the box, you’ll find the headset, obviously, as well as a detachable microphone, 3.5mm 4-pole to dual 3.5mm 3-pole extension cable and a 3.5mm 4-pole in-line controller cable.

ASRock E3V5 WS (Intel C232) Super Alloy Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging


Today’s motherboard review lands right in the middle of everything. Not because it’s all over the place, but because it has a lot of usage scenarios and support for pretty much any setup. You could use ASRock’s E5V5 WS motherboard in a gaming system as well as in a server setup as both of those setups are fully supported, but its real area of operation is to act as the base for a powerful workstation.

The ASRock E5V5 WS uses an LGA 1151 socket and the board is compatible with both E3-1200 v5 processors such as the one I’ll be using later on in this review, but it also supports normal 6th Generation Intel Core processors – so basically the entire Skylake and Skylake-S line-up. As backbone behind the CPU that you end up using is the Intel C232 chipset that is perfectly tuned for workstation environments and a motherboard like this. Memory wise you can use normal DDR4 DIMMs as well as ECC UDIMM memory modules with a speed of up to 2133 MHz in the four DIMM slots with 15μ gold contacts for a total of up to 64GB RAM.

The gold contacts in the memory slots aren’t the only quality feature in this motherboard. The E3V5 WS motherboard is part of ASRock’s Super Alloy series and comes with premium 50A power chokes and is made of a high-density glass fabric PCB. It also features ASRock’s full spike protection that protects from sudden surges, lightning, and electrostatic discharges (ESD).

The network connection isn’t controlled by the average low-performance controller either and we find an Intel PHY i219LM controller on this motherboard. The Gigabit Ethernet controller supports Wake-On-LAN, supports 802.3az energy efficient ethernet and PXE. The Ethernet controller is one of the parts that is protected by the Full Spike Protection. The second part with protection is the USB. The ASRock E35 WS features two USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports on the rear panel and you can connect another four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports via headers. All of these are protected by the ASRock Full Spike Protection. The audio is also protected by this and we find a 7.1 channel HD Audio controller, the Realtek ALC892. It features Blu-ray audio support and uses ELNA solid audio capacitors. Last but not least, you also find legacy PS2 connectors for both your mouse and keyboard.

 

Internally we find good expansion options too. Since we are dealing with an Intel-based motherboard, we also get IRST for RAID setups across the six SATA3 6 Gb/s connectors. Supported modes include the normal RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 modes.

There are two PCIe Gen3 x16 slots that support both Nvidia Quadro and AMD FirePro workstation graphics cards as well as consumer graphics cards. There is also full support for the use of AMD’s CrossfireX technology for multiple graphics card usage. As I mentioned earlier, you can make a great workstation with this motherboard. There are three more PCIe Gen3 x1 slots available for further expansion and neither of them will be blocked by the use of two-slot graphics cards. Even with a CrossfireX setup, you’ll still have access to the three x1 slots.

Quality hardware and components are just one side of the story, we also need a good BIOS and proper software to have the best experinece. The E3V5 WS comes with both of those features too. The UEFI BIOS has the easy EZ mode dashboard besides the advanced setup pages, which contains multiple readings of the system’s current status. You can check the most crucial information of your system, such as CPU speed, DRAM frequency, SATA information, fan speed, etc.

Even better, you can reach the tech support purely from the systems BIOS, as long as the system has an internet connection. You can also install LAN drivers onto your windows installation directly from the BIOS.

The ASRock OMG (Online Management Guard) technology allows you to establish an internet curfew or restrict internet access at specified times for your kids. Stay in control of their surfing times without yelling. This probably isn’t the most used function in a workstation system, but it could be used to shut down any connection attempts outside of office hours. Another useful feature is the USB Key function that can replace the password question when you log into windows. Do it by plugging a USB drive in instead.

The well-known ASRock XFast RAM and XFast LAN are also built into this motherboard. The XFast RAM feature allows you to fully utilize the memory space that otherwise can’t be accessed in 32-bit systems, among others. XFast LAN is a quality of service protocol that prioritizes the important traffic so you don’t have to wait for loading times. ASRock Live Update and APP Shop also help to make the maintenance easier.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers product page and can as such be subject to changes in future revisions of the product.

Key Features:

  • ASRock Super Alloy
  • Server-Grade LAN chip support
  • Supports the Intel Xeon E3-1200 v5 Processor & 6th Generation Intel Core Processors (Socket 1151)
  • Supports DDR4 2133 & ECC UDIMM memory modules
  • 2 PCIe 3.0 x16 and 3 PCIe 3.0 x1
  • Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX
  • 7.1 CH HD Audio (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec), ELNA Audio Caps
  • 6 SATA3 and 6 USB 3.0 (2 Front, 4 Rear)
  • Supports Full Spike Protection, ASRock Live Update & APP Shop
  • Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit, 8.1 64-bit, 7 32-bit, 7 64-bit, Server 2012 R2 64-bit, Server 2012 64-bit, and Server 2008 R2 64-bit support

Packaging and Accessories

A quality motherboard also deserves a great look package, and the E3V5 WS got that. The front makes no secret about the boards power.

On the rear of the box, you will find a detailed photo of the motherboard itself as well as feature highlights and specifications.

Inside the box is a user manual, a driver disk, two SATA cables, and an IO shield besides the motherboard itself.

Gladiator Computers BATTALION 800 Gaming PC Review

Introduction


Gladiator Computers is the name given to Aria’s custom PC division and provides consumers with a wide range of options to suit various budgets. Just in case you’re unfamiliar with Aria, they’re one of the leading PC hardware stores and have an excellent reputation among customers. Currently, the company’s TrustPilot rating is scored at nine out of ten which evokes a sense of confidence when investing in a pre-configured PC. Of course, you can customize each model and select between various cases, memory configurations, CPU coolers and lots more! As a result, it’s incredibly easy to make savings on various components if you’re not overly concerned about colour coordination. On the other hand, consumers who demand a visually appealing system can add LED lighting or other extravagant extras.

Today, we’re taking a detailed look at the BATTALION 800 featuring an Intel i5-6500 processor, 16GB DDR4 2133MHz memory, Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3 motherboard, 120GB Samsung 850 Evo boot drive and the Zotac GTX 970 Gaming Edition graphics card. Furthermore, Gladiator Computers have employed a very reputable air cooler to find a great balance between thermal dissipation and noise output. There’s also a quality non-modular power supply with an efficiency rating of 80+ White. I’m interested to see how this will impact on cable management especially given the budget chassis in the basic bundle. Priced at £889.99, the system is targeted towards mainstream consumers utilizing a single 1920×1080 display. Let’s see how it performs compared to other machines sporting a similar specification.

Specifications

  • Name: Gladiator Computers BATTALION 800
  • Case: Game Max Destroyer Windowed
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3
  • Processor: Intel i5 6500 3.20GHz Base, 3.60GHz Turbo Quad Core CPU
  • Processor Cooler: Raijintek Aidos Direct Contact CPU Cooler
  • System Memory: Corsair 16GB DDR4 Vengeance LPX 2133MHz
  • Main Boot Drive: 120GB Samsung 850 EVO Series Solid State Drive
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): 1TB Seagate Barracuda Hard Drive 3.5″ SATA III
  • Graphics card: Zotac GeForce® GTX 970 Gaming Edition 4GB
  • Power Supply: Corsair VS550 550 Watt 80+ White Rated ATX
  • Peripherals: N/A
  • Monitor: N/A
  • Optical Drive24x LiteOn Internal DVD-RW Drive
  • Wireless: N/A
  • OS: N/A
  • Warranty: 4 Year Standard Warranty (2 Month Collect/Returns, 1 Year Parts, 4 Year Labour)
  • Price: £889.99

Packing and Accessories

The system is dispatched in an extremely large outer box which offers superb protection against damage during delivery. On the top, fragile tape has been used to instruct the courier about the item’s delicate nature. This should reduce the possibility of the delivery driver throwing the package around. I do think there needs to be side handles because the box’s large surface area is difficult to lift from an angle.

Inside the package is a huge collection of packing peanuts to prevent the chassis box from moving around. While these inserts can be irritating if they manage to scatter all over the floor, this is a small price to pay for the superb level of protection.

The chassis box utilizes thick cardboard which feels pretty sturdy and provides an additional layer of cushioning.

Despite the case’s budget focus, there’s been a great deal of attention paid to the packaging including durable foam supports. The top cover also ensures that there’s very little chance of cosmetic damage occurring during the unboxing processing.

Gladiator Computers have positioned a sticker over the power supply’s AC connector to prevent you from booting up the system with the foam pack still installed.

The foam insert is absolutely essential because it prevents each component from becoming dislodged. Furthermore the cushioning should allow fan headers and other cables to remain in their optimal position. When it comes to packaging, foam packs are possibly the most important safety aspect and it’s great to see them used in this custom configuration.

In terms of accessories, the system is bundled with a thank you note, installation guide, driver/software disks, a funky door hanger and loads of documentation.

Other notable mentions include a power adapter, retail component packaging, CPU cover (required for warranty purposes), front bay cover where the optical drive is positioned, tasty Haribo sweets, various adapters and an assortment of fittings.

 

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Roccat Kova Optical Ambidextrous Gaming Mouse Review

Introduction


Roccat is one of the biggest gaming brands on the market, offering a huge range of peripherals that have been winning over consumers at home, pro gamers in the eSports community and beyond. Their gaming mice, keyboards and headsets are often regarded as some of the best in the business, and from what we’ve seen in previous reviews here at eTeknix, they certainly know how to impress.

“Armed with the latest proven ROCCAT® technological innovations, the successor to the ROCCAT® Kova is equipped to the teeth. The new ROCCAT® Kova[+] unites powerful technology with intelligent software and an advanced V-shaped design for left or right-handed use.” – Roccat

“Put what you’ve learned to use and combine new experiences so skillfully that your thinking and actions are always one and the same.” Dr. Erik J. Dale, ROCCAT Scientist

The Kova comes equipped with all the right features for competitive gaming. You’ll find a high-quality optical sensor, which offers up lag free tracking with high IPS and acceleration capabilities, so we’re expecting great things from this in our testing section.

  • 3200dpi optical Sensor
  • 130 ips maximum speed
  • 30G acceleration
  • 1000Hz polling rate
  • 16-bit data channel
  • 2m USB cable
  • Width 6.4 cm , Height 3.8 cm , Length 12.8 cm , Weight 98 g

First of all, let’s check out this quick product feature trailer from Roccat, as it’ll walk you through some of the unique aspects of the Kova.

The packaging is typical Roccat, keeping the same box shape and general design we’ve seen on all their mice for years now. There’s a clear image of the product, as well as a rundown of all the major specifications.

Around the back, a bit more technical information, but let’s move onto the fun stuff and get it out of the box!

In the box, you’ll find the mouse, which comes hard-wired with a 2-meter black braided cable, as well as all the usual documentation.

Seagate NAS 8TB (ST8000VN0002) Hard Disk Drive Review

Introduction


Just as you wouldn’t use a low-end graphics card for high-end usage, you shouldn’t use the wrong hard disk drive in your storage system either. There is a reason for every product and you should always pick the one suited for the task at hand, especially when you deal with your storage. Today I’m taking a closer look at Seagate’s impressive 8TB NAS HDD and we will take a look at how well it performs.

As said, when you pick your storage, you need to pick the right one for the task and not just grab anything you can find. This is particularly important when we talk about systems that have to run continuously and in environments with a lot of drives closely packed together. The Seagate NAS HDD goes beyond the standard desktop drives in this regards as it is built exactly for these scenarios.

Vibrations can damage your drives and the can also have a direct impact on your drives speed, and the more drives you install close to each other, the more vibrations you’ll get. The Seagate NAS HDDs are rated for usage in systems with up to 8 bays which gives you an impressive raw capacity of 64TB. The Dual-plane balance system enhances drive performance in aggressive NAS workloads for better vibration tolerance.

The Seagate NAS 8TB drive comes packed with 256MB cache, which is double that of the 6TB model. It uses the default SATA3 6GB/s interface that makes it compatible with pretty much any NAS system. The performance isn’t without either as it comes with a rating of 150 IOPS and above and a sustained sequential read performance up to 230MB/s, an exceptional performance for a mechanical drive. The pure capacity is pretty nice too considering the default 3.5-inch form factor and it has an areal density of 1333Gb per square inch. The average seek read and write latencies are rated to be 8.5ms and 9.5ms, or lower. The whole thing is rounded off with an 180TB per year workload rating, a 1 million hour mean time before failure, and a 3-year warranty.

The great performance comes from Seagate’s years of experience that the put into the hardware and also the firmware that controls the drive. NASWorks is optimized for use as storage drives and it has been tuned to deliver higher performance, a better reliability and interoperability with popular NAS enclosures, and it has the RAID Recovery feature that prevents the NAS from a full RAID rebuild if the RAID degrades. Extended error recovery controls correct data without the need for full drive rebuilds.

Performance isn’t everything, but as we’ve seen above, that part is well covered. There are two further factors that need to be considered before you decide which drives to use: Acoustics and power consumption. A drive that consumes a lot of power can quickly drive up the total cost of ownership and it’s also bad for the environment. The Seagate NAS 8TB drive has an average power consumption of 9W during active operations and an idle power consumption of 7.2W. When in sleep or standby mode, the drives will consume as little as 0.6W. The 8TB NAS HDD doesn’t make much noise either and is rated for just 2.6 bels during operation and 2.5 bels when idle.

Seagate also offers the optional +Rescue Data Recovery Services for extra peace of mind. With this extra service, Seagate has your back and can recover the data from a possible failed drive. Whether the error is due to mechanical failure or accidental damage, most data can be recovered when done right. It is a fast and easy recovery process where your data can be restored in 15 days or less. This is also a field that Seagate is very successful in with an approximately 90% success rate in data recovery.

So if you need drives for backup and disaster recovery, multimedia server and storage, file and print server sharing, archival, remote access, virtualization, or a private cloud storage, then this might be just the right drive for you.

Feature Highlights

  • 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1TB capacity options
  • Seagate NAS HDDs are built and tested to provide industry-leading performance for small NAS systems.
  • NASWorks technology supports customised error recovery controls, power management and vibration tolerance for optimal performance and reliability with workloads up to 180TB/year workload rate limit (WRL).
  • NAS error recovery controls optimise drive health by helping to ensure drives are not dropped from the NAS and sent into a RAID rebuild.
  • Improved vibration tolerance and emission in multi-drive systems with dual plane balance.
  • Advanced power management supports multiple power profiles for lowpower, 24×7 performance.
  • Quiet drive operation enhances the customer experience in living room or office environments.
  • Optional 3-year Rescue recovery service plan protects against data loss from viruses, software issues, or mechanical and electrical breakdowns in a NAS or RAID environment.

Specifications

Package and Accessories

Tesoro Ascalon Spectrum Optical Gaming Mouse Review

Introduction


Tesoro is one of the coolest gaming brands around, and while you may not think of them first when shopping for a new peripheral, they’ve proven to us here at eTeknix time and time again that they can create competitive, unique and affordable products that would make great additions to any desktop gaming setup. With that in mind, I’m very happy to see their new Ascalon Spectrum Gaming Mouse in the eTeknix office today. It may not be the most high-end mouse ever, but if previous Tesoro reviews are anything to go by, it will no doubt have a few cool tricks up its sleeves.

Equipped with a high-quality 6400 DPI optical sensor, 7 fully programmable buttons, macro recording, and a fast 32bit ARM Cortex CPU, the Ascalon is tuned for competitive gaming, ticking off all the major features you could ask for in a good gaming mouse.

Key Features:

  • 6400 True DPI
  • 1000 Hz Ultra Polling Rate
  • Detection 200 ips, acceleration 50g
  • 7 Independently programmable buttons
  • Adjustable DPI Control, Polling Rate, Liftoff distance and Shooting Speed
  • Cursor Capture Technology
  • User-Friendly UI
  • Instant Recording
  • 512KB onboard memory
  • 32bit ARM Cortex Premium Processor
  • Adjustable RGB LED control
  • Human ergonomics for the most comfortable grip and antimicrobial soft-touch finish
  • Compatible with Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 / 10

The packaging is pretty cool, with a clear shot of the mouse design on the front, as well as a cool image of what looks like a sword in the background; makes sense, since all Tesoro peripherals are named after mythical weapons.

Around the back, you’ll find a nice breakdown of all the major features, such as the RGB lighting as the button layout.

In the box, you’ll find all the usual documentation, which looks as nicely designed as the rest of the packaging, giving a nice premium vibe overall.

Mionix Castor Optical Gaming Mouse Review

Introduction


Mionix are one of my all time favourite gaming brands, as they’ve created some of my own personal favourite peripherals over the years. Of course, I’m not the only one who thinks this, as Mionix products have won many awards around the world and that fills me with confidence that their latest gaming mouse, the Mionix Castor, is going to be something special.

Equipped with a fast processor, ergonomic design, fully programmable buttons, RGB lighting and more, the Castor is certainly well equipped, so let’s take a closer look at what it has to offer. First up, however, here’s a quick product video from Mionix, it’s a little strange, but I’d love to know what on Earth they’re pretending to play here; any guesses?

Technical Specifications

  • 32bit ARM Processor running at 32Mhz
  • Right handed truly ergonomic design
  • Supports palm, claw and fingertip grip
  • Grip friendly soft touch rubber coating (4 layers)
  • 6 fully programmable buttons
  • 3 steps in-game DPI adjustment
  • 2 integrated LEDs in 2 colour zones
  • Up to 16.8 Million LED colour options
  • Color shift, Solid, Blinking, Pulsating and Breathing effects
  • On-Board memory 128 kb built-in memory
  • Large black PTFE mouse feet
  • Gold Plated, Full speed USB 2.0 connection with Plug and Play
  • Cable 2m long PVC cable with cable reinforcer

Sensor Specification

  • PMW – 3310 gaming grade IR-LED optical sensor
  • Up to 10000DPI
  • MAX tracking speed of at least 5.45m/sec (215 IPS)
  • No positive or negative hardware acceleration
  • Adjustable Lift Off Distance

Software Features

  • Up to 5 Profiles saved to the in-built memory
  • Adjustable X / Y Axis
  • Polling rate adjustable in four steps up to 1000Hz
  • Live record macro manager
  • Up to 16.8 million color LED options
  • Customize RGB manger
  • Pulsating, Blinking and Breathing LED effects
  • Color Shift lighting mode
  • Angle Snapping adjustable in 15 steps
  • Angle Tuning adjustable from -30 to 30 degrees
  • LOD Calibration tool
  • S.Q.A.T – Surface Quality Analyzer Tool
  • Lift-off distance (LOD) Calibration feature

Dimensions & Weight

  • 122.46×70.42×40.16 mm / 4.82×2.77×1.58 in
  • Netto (w/o cable): 93.8 gr
  • Netto (cable incl.): 141.5 gr

The Castor comes packaged in a very compact presentation box, with a nice image of the mouse on the front and not much else, apart from a few technical details around the sides/back.

Opening up the box, we see that the mouse has been well protected by a custom shaped cardboard interior, which will help greatly in keeping it safe while it’s being shipped to you.

The Castor comes hard-wired with a durable black braided cable with a USB header.

BIOSTAR RACING H170GT3 (LGA1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction


BIOSTAR might not be the most recognizable motherboard brand in western markets but their pedigree for creating reliable products is worthy of praise. When compared to MSI, Gigabyte and ASUS, the company struggles to entice consumers with unique aesthetic designs. Furthermore, the BIOS and software package has been sorely lacking and in dire need of change. Thankfully, BIOSTAR have acknowledged these criticisms and decided to forge a brand new range based upon a racing theme to please petrolheads with an avid interest in enthusiast hardware. Each RACING motherboard sports a chequered flag PCB and stylish LED illumination while introducing a new BIOS layout. Clearly, this is a major departure from BIOSTAR’s previous products which evoked a fairly mundane appearance.

The BIOSTAR RACING H170GT3 is based on the mATX form factor and supports up to 64GB DDR4 with a maximum speed of 2133MHz. Intel’s H170 chipset blocks multiplier overclocking which means you have to resort to your processor’s default turbo frequency. Of course, there’s been some controversy surrounding BCLK overclocking on H170 and B150 motherboards to unofficially achieve boosts fairly close to traditional multiplier overclocking. Sadly, Intel has voiced their displeasure regarding this phenomenon and pressurized manufacturers to disable BCLK overclocking via a BIOS update. As a result, we have to rely on stock figures to determine the motherboard’s performance. Previously, I’ve seen some astounding results when it comes to storage with BIOSTAR products, and I’m interested to see if this trend continues.

Specifications

Packing and Accessories

Here we can see the absolutely stunning packaging which contains a carbon fibre inspired cover and vibrant text. This coincides with the RACING focus and feels quite reminiscent of a luxury sports car’s interior.

On the opposite side, there’s a detailed diagram showing the motherboard’s layout and explanation of its unique selling features. Once again, this is presented a superb manner and makes you inquisitive about the product’s specification.

In terms of accessories, the motherboard includes a user’s manual, Vivid LED DJ instructions guide, SATA cables, driver disk, and I/O shield.

Corsair RM1000x 1000 Watt 80 PLUS Gold Fully Modular Power Supply Review

Introduction & Packaging


Corsair have been known to produce some of the best power supplies in the business and today, they look set to continue that trend with the release of their high-end RM1000x. Not everyone needs 1000w of power, of course, but when you do, it’s likely that you’re also the kind of system builder who demands the best performance from your components. Previous high-end PSUs from Corsair have reaped some of the best results we’ve ever seen, with ripple so low we thought there was an issue with our testing equipment, so to say we’re a little eager to see what this one can do would be quite the understatement.

“Corsair RMx series power supplies give you extremely tight voltage control, quiet operation, Gold-certified efficiency, and a fully modular cable set. Built with all Japanese 105°C capacitors, they’re a great choice for high-performance PCs where reliability is essential. 80 PLUS Gold efficiency reduces operating cost and excess heat, and Zero RPM fan mode ensures virtual silence at low and medium loads. And, the fully modular DC cables make builds and upgrades easy, with clean, great-looking results.” – Corsair

https://youtu.be/596KPO56l-8

Equipped with all the usual safety features you would expect, as well as 80 Plus Gold efficiency, all Japanese capacitors, a ZeroRPM mode, a powerful 135mm fan, fully modular cable design and more, the RM1000x certainly ticks all the right boxes and to sweeten the deal, Corsair has given it a 7-Year warranty! That last part fills me with a lot of confidence.

1000W is a lot of power, more than enough to power an extreme workstation or gaming system with enthusiast overclocks and multiple graphics cards. As you can see, that 12V rail can push a very mighty 83.3A, more than enough power for 

The packaging is very nicely designed, with a big and clear shot of the PSU on the front and that stand-out black and yellow Corsair branding.

Around the back, a quick technical rundown of the efficiency, hybrid fan mode and connectors.

There’s quite a lot of stuff in the box, with a durable protective bag for all the modular cables, a soft bag with the PSU inside, heavy-duty power cable,  cable ties, screws, and all the usual documentation.

Turtle Beach Star Wars Battlefront SandTroopers Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


Turtle Beach are back with their second Star Wars branded headset today, with the release of their Star Wars Battlefront Sandtrooper Gaming Headset, a multi-platform stereo headset that comes well equipped for the multi-platform gamer. Of course, some of you may also remember we recently reviewed another Star Wars headset, the Turtle Beach X-Wing headset. The X-Wing was the more budget friendly model of the Star Wars/Turtle Beach deal at £29.99. While the Sandtroopers isn’t overly expensive, it’s certainly the more premium of the two at £69.99.

“The Star Wars Battlefront Sandtrooper is a feature-rich universal gaming headset for Star Wars fans and collectors. The Battlefront Sandtrooper offers crystal clear multiplayer chat when connected to the PlayStation®4 controller and other console controllers, and the 3.5mm connection makes it perfect for mobile/tablet devices. Fans will experience amazing sound through booming 50mm speakers, and the headset also includes in-line controls for Mic Mute and Volume, plus an adjustable, high-sensitivity boom mic that can be removed when watching movies and listening to music.” – Turtle Beach

Equipped with powerful closed-back drivers, a detachable microphone, lightweight design, multiformat support, in-line controls and, of course, that sleek new Star Wars inspired detailing, the Sandtrooper is certainly sounding like a competitive headset, so let’s move on and take a closer look at what it has to offer.

Full-Range Audio
Booming 50mm Neodymium speakers deliver sound the way Star Wars was meant to be heard.

Convenient Controls
In-line controls conveniently place Mic Mute and Master Volume right at your fingertips.

Crystal Clear Chat & Audio
Use the high-sensitivity adjustable boom mic for in-game and online chat, and then remove it when listening to music and watching movies.

The packaging is typical Turtle Beach design and has plenty of cool graphics on the front showing off the design, as well as the Battlefront/EA branding which the headset was designed for.

Around the back, a little technical information, but nothing we won’t be able to see for ourselves when we get it out of the box.

In the box, you’ll find all the usual documentation, a detachable boom microphone and some backplates for the drivers; It all comes very nicely packaged too, which is always a welcome bonus.

Under the top tray of components, you’ll find the headset and it’s cables all neatly tucked away and well protected.

Inateck Headphones Roundup Review

Introduction


Picking the right headphones can be quite tricky, but with a great range of versatile and reasonably priced headphones in their range, it seems the Inateck has got you covered. Today we’ll be taking a look at three of their latest sets, all of which come targeted at a slightly different part of the market. Hopefully, we’ll be able to help guide you in which ones offer the best performance, features and value for money to suit your own needs.

Inateck produces a huge range of products, such as mobile accessories, USB hubs, hard drive docks, laptop bags and so much more. They’ve had great reviews in the past and their brand continues to grow in popularity, so I’m looking forward to testing out these headphones today. In the eTeknix office, we have their new Aries Dynamic Driver In-Ear Headphones (BH1101), the Taurus Wireless Sport Headset (BH1001) and the more affordable Wood In-ear Hi-Fi Headphone BH1105’s. They all have some a little unique about them too, so it’ll be interesting to see which  ones offer up the best options and performance overall given their respective price ranges and target audiences.

Aries Dynamic Driver Headphones

“Built in modern aluminum-housings and classic premium genuine wood, Inateck Aries BH1101 likes more like a work of art. 22 cored anti-oxidized cooper wire can better extend its service life. Furthermore, the PU Aluminum Foil cable makes it sturdy and tangle free.”

Wood In-ear Hi-Fi Headphone

“What is the most important thing to headphones? A well-rounded and clear sound! BH1105 is not only superbly balanced but also offers awesome bass, trebles and ear protection. The Zebra Wood pumps up your sound to an orchestral-like level. Bring a concert with you wherever you go.”

Taurus Wireless Sport Headphones

“Inateck Sport Bluetooth headset-BH1001 provides a comfortable, curved fit. Its magnetic design allows the two ear buds attract with each other, forming a circle that could hang on your neck to avoid falling down or losing when you finished exercising.”

The packaging on the headsets/headphones is pretty simple, with a minimal waste box and some stylish representations on the front.

Around the back, quite simple again and a few major specifications on the Aries and Taurus boxes.

Silverstone AR07 & AR08 CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


SilverStone is back on eTeknix again today, with their new AR07 and AR08 CPU coolers. Both coolers are designed to be affordable, quiet, stylish and pack great value for money performance. We’re going to be putting both of them on our test bench today, and while we’re expecting the bigger AR07 to offer up better performance, we’re still eager to see what the smaller and more affordable AR08 is capable of.

“The Argon series coolers are designed to provide the best cooling solution for your CPU. To improve performance even further, unique and exclusive heatsink fin designs such as interweaving diamond edge and arrow guides are included. For users looking for a no-nonsense top performing cooler without the premium price, the Argon AR07 is the perfect choice.” – SilverStone

Both coolers come equipped with a triple heat pipe design and a high-quality fan tuned for silence. The AR07 has three 8mm thick pipes, a 140mm PWM fan and the AR08 uses 6mm pipes with a 92mm PWM fan.

Argon Series AR07

  • Great balance of silence and performance
  • Unique interweaving diamond edged fins for improved performance
  • Exclusive arrow guides distribute airflow evenly among heat pipes
  • Three Ø8mm heat-pipes and aluminum fins for excellent heat conducting efficiency
  • Heat-pipe direct contact (HDC) technology
  • Includes compact 140mm PWM fan for excellent cooling and low noise
  • Anti-vibration rubber pads included for additional noise dampening

Argon Series AR08

  • Great balance of silence and performance
  • Unique interweaving diamond edged fins for improved performance
  • Exclusive arrow guides distribute airflow evenly among heat pipes
  • Three Ø6mm heat-pipes and aluminum fins for excellent heat conducting efficiency
  • Heat-pipe direct contact (HDC) technology
  • Includes compact 92mm PWM fan for excellent cooling and low noise
  • Anti-vibration rubber pads included for additional noise dampening
  • Intel Socket LGA775/115X/1366/2011 and AMD Socket AM2/AM3/FM1/FM2 compatible

Both coolers come nicely packaged with all the main specifications detailed around the box, as well as lots of images showing the fan, fin stack, block, heat pipes design and more.

In the box, you’ll find fan clips, a universal backplate for Intel and an AMD bracket, mounting arms, 3M pads, as well as all the required screws and some thermal paste. Both coolers come with a very similar mounting kit, the only exception being that the AR07 comes with larger fan retention clips.

Corsair SF600 80 Plus Gold Fully Modular SFX Power Supply Review

Introduction & Packaging


The world of Small Form Factor (SFX) power supplies has been a fierce battleground over the last few years. Gaming systems have been getting smaller, the HTPC and Steambox markets are growing in popularity and the demand for a tiny PSU that can keep the system small, but still deliver the high-performance grunt required by modern gaming GPU/CPU combos is at an all time high. Enter the new Corsair SF600, the latest contender on the market and judging by the specifications, it may be the best one we’ve seen to date.

“SF Series power supplies bring legendary Corsair performance and reliability to the SFX small form factor standard. They have the features found in full-size high performance power supplies, with certification for 80 PLUS Gold efficiency, superior voltage regulation, Zero RPM mode for virtually silent operation, and 105°C All Japanese capacitors for better reliability.” – Corsair

Equipped with 600W of power, more than enough for any high-end and overclocking gaming rig with a single GPU, 100% Japanese 105c capacitors, a zero RPM fan mode for ultra quiet performance at lower loads, fully modular cables and that super compact SFX form factor, the SF600 is certainly an attractive unit. To make the deal even sweeter, it comes backed up by Corsairs confidence inducing 7-year manufacturers warranty!

The packaging is very nicely designed, keeping in theme with other current Corsair product ranges and featuring a clear product image and the main specifications prominently displayed.

Plenty of technical information around the back too, showing off the efficiency and fan speeds at various load scenarios.

In the box, you’ll find two protective bags, one for the cables and another containing the PSU. There is all the usual documentation, a mains power cable, cable ties and screws; everything you need to get you setup and ready to rock.

MSI Z170A GAMING M5 (LGA1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction

Since the release of Intel’s Z170 chipset, MSI has unveiled a fantastic, feature-rich motherboard range which caters to contrasting user demands. For example, the Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON is an excellent choice for consumers wanting a stylish black colour scheme and great reliability at an affordable price point. In contrast to this, the MSI Z170A XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM Edition‘s gorgeous aesthetic design makes it one of the most innovative LGA1151 motherboards on the market. Of course, the iconic dragon styling on many MSI products have become a popular choice among the core gaming demographic. This red and black theme compliments mainstream hardware and retails at very competitive prices across various performance tiers.

The MSI Z170A GAMING M5 is a mid-range motherboard sporting an attractive design and impressive specification. More specifically, the product is capable of housing two PCI-E M.2 storage devices and has support for USB 3.1 Gen2 connectivity. Not only that, the motherboard includes a one year premium XSplit license and Nahimic audio enhancements. As you might expect, many of MSI’s leading technologies are incorporated such as DDR4 Boost, Game Boost and much more. Given this particular model’s astonishing software suite and military class components, I expect to see it rival higher priced offerings rather well. Could this be the best value Z170 motherboard thus far for high-end users? Let’s find out!

Specifications

Packing and Accessories

MSI always does a phenomenal job when it comes to packaging design and the Z170 GAMING M5 is no different. The bold colours and stunning product snapshot contrasts extremely well. This is one of the most eye-catching motherboard boxes I’ve seen and showcases the motherboard’s beautiful appearance.

On the opposite side, there’s a brief synopsis of the motherboard’s key selling points such as support for 3-way crossfire, 2-way SLI and Audio Boost 3.0. This is presented in a slick manner and doesn’t alienate the end-user with technical jargon.

In terms of accessories, the motherboard comes with a user’s guide, driver’s disk, metal case badge, I/O shield, SLI bridge, registration details, basic installation guide and four SATA cables. Please note, the press sample I received was previously used by another media so there’s only 3 SATA cables displayed in the photograph. Rest assured, the retail version will include four and be packaged without the need for an elastic band.

Corsair Gaming M65 Pro RGB Optical Mouse Review

Introduction


The Corsair M65 is one of the most popular gaming mice on the market today, but as popular as it may be, Corsair thinks they can make it even better! We’ve already seen a few models of the M65 here at eTeknix, such as the old Vengeance M65, the tweaked RGB version and now the biggest change, the removal of the old laser sensor, and in goes the new high-end 12K DPI optical sensor.

Optical is certainly the way to go for competitive gaming, it has long proven to be more accurate, more often than not, smoother, and suffer less problems with acceleration, so here’s hoping the new sensor from Corsair will be up to the job. Although, given the performance of other Corsair mice in the last year or so, we’re expecting it to be pretty spectacular. Add to that the full RGB lighting, and plenty of other cool features and the M65 Pro is already sounding very promising.

The packaging is nicely designed, keeping in theme with other Corsair Gaming peripherals.

Around the back of the box, details on some features such as the 8 programmable buttons, sniper button and high-precision switches.

The box also opens out, giving us a nice sneak peek at the overall design.

In the box, you’ll find the usual documentation, as well as the mouse, which comes hard-wired with a high-quality black braided cable and a custom moulded USB header.

ASUS Sabertooth Z170 S (LGA1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction

ASUS have compiled a comprehensive Z170 motherboard range which caters to different sections of the consumer market. For example, the GAMING PRO line-up offers superb functionality and impeccable stability at an affordable price point. ROG products evoke a more premium feel and includes a stunning software suite for power users. The Sabertooth brand revolves around a stringent testing procedure to ensure each motherboard exhibits unprecedented reliability. The extreme thermal testing and deployment of TUF components prioritizes long-term durability. As a result, it’s a great option for consumers who demand a very high-end motherboard and have no intentions of upgrading in the near future.

Typically, motherboards opt for a red and black colour scheme because it’s the most popular option among the core gaming audience. Some time ago, ASUS unleashed the limited edition Z97 Sabertooth Mark S which utilizes an innovative white PCB and military camouflage. It’s quite rare to see motherboard sporting a white theme and while there is some competition from the MSI Krait series, ASUS is the only manufacturer to offer a pure white PCB.

The Sabertooth Z170 S is the spiritual successor to the Z97 Sabertooth Mark S and features a very unusual design philosophy. When adopting such a wacky colour scheme, it’s bound to have a polarizing reception and I’m fascinated to hear feedback on ASUS’ aesthetic choices. Looking beyond the visual aspects, I’m expecting to see some very impressive numbers given the premium electronics and DIGI+ Power Control.

Specifications

Packing and Accessories

The motherboard’s box is characterized by a white finish and contains camouflage highlights. This provides a great insight into the product’s unconventional styling and creates a web of intrigue. On the front, information regarding the 5 year warranty is displayed in a clear manner.

Moving onto the opposite side, there’s a detailed description of the product’s thermal radar monitoring made possible by the TUF ICe processor. On another note, the packaging outlines the rear I/O connectivity and basic motherboard layout.

Included in the package is a user’s guide, M.2 screws, driver’s disk, case badge, certificate of reliability, stickers and a gorgeous white I/O shield. As someone who loves the technical details of motherboards, it’s fantastic to read the reliability assessment document. Here, you can browse information regarding a huge array of tests such as moisture resistance, thermal shock, solder bath, salt spray and more!

There’s also four SATA cables, a Q Connector, CPU installation tool, back I/O dust cover and SLI bridge. The Q Connector is a really handy tool which eliminates the frustration factor when attaching front panel headers. Furthermore, the CPU installation tool is designed to minimize the contact time and pressure between your fingers and the CPU. While it’s not necessary for veteran builders, it could prevent beginners from causing damage during the build process.

Rosewill B2 Spirit HPTX Full-Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


Rosewill is one of the most popular chassis manufacturers in the US, offering up an impressive product range that caters to every part of the market. Recently, Rosewill has moved their products across the Atlantic, giving the wider world a taste of their chassis, power supplies and more! With that in mind, we’re very happy to see their flagship product, the B2 Spirit, in the eTeknix office today.

“Rosewill’s flagship case, the B2 SPIRIT delivers an aesthetic touch with a stealthy appearance, although seeing can be deceiving… Underneath its silent strength is a formidable arsenal with serious expansion flexibility. Whether you are building a massive storage monster, a sophisticated cooling system, or a pure performance beast, the Rosewill B2 SPIRIT has got you covered – with style!” – Rosewill

The B2 Spirit, a name derived from the legendary B2 stealth bomber, is not to be taken lightly. Equipped with room for (up to) HPTX motherboard, a colossal amount of storage drives, extensive cooling, it’s an extremely capable chassis for the enthusiast and workstation market.

“Rosewill B2 SPIRIT is compatible with the largest HPTX mainboard. Two sets of HDD cages support up to 13 HDDs and/or SSDs. You can easily install multiple graphics cards (up to 15.75” long) into the chassis. With strong performance comes great cooling exigency. The B2 SPIRIT supports up to seven 140 mm fans. But if that’s not enough, two 280 mm liquid-cooling radiators can be installed on the top and front.” – Rosewill

The only downside of being able to support such a large motherboard and so much more hardware is the size and weight. The B2 spirit is a thundering 39.24 lb (approx 18kg) and has some rather colossal external dimensions too.

The chassis is huge, no doubt about that part, with a massive matte black side panel and a sizable window that’s perfectly placed to show off the PSU, GPU and CPU cooler hardware.

Down the right-hand side, another large matte black panel, and just like the left, it’s held in place by a pair of thumbscrews at the rear of the chassis.

The front panel is coated in a stealthy soft-touch rubber, giving it a hard-wearing matte finish. There are four 5.25″ drive bays at the top, and they should give you some impression of the overall size of the chassis.

Each bay comes with a clip-in cover to held keep the design nice and uniform.

The bottom half of the front panel has a magnetic door, opening it up shows a good thick panel that should block a lot of system noise, as well as two smaller doors for the front panel cooling.

Each “door” opens out allow you to slide out their individual dust filters for quick and easy maintenance.

While the fans mouse to the same door using quick release clips, meaning you can remove the entire fan housing and clean that easily too! This is very handy, I like this feature a lot as I live in a dust area, so have to clean my fans and filters often.

Around the back, you’ll see again just how tall this chassis is. At the top, you’ll find four rubber grommets for cable/water routing, a 140mm exhaust fan, 10 ventilated expansion slots and the PSU cut-out.

The top panel keeps the same matte rubber finish of the front panel, giving it a nice and uniform appearance. But what’s this? The top panel is closed up and theses a little slider on the side?

That’s right, the B2 Spirit has a deployable roof for the top panel cooling. If you need to fire up your top fans for extra cooling performance, pop the roof open and get extra cooling, if you’re wanting silence, stop the fans and close the top back up again! This is another cool feature, not something we haven’t seen before, but still a welcome addition.

The front panel has a nice and large power button with the reset button to the right of it. The main I/O panel is hidden under a slide-away cover to keep it free from dust and debris.

Behind the cover, you’ll find four USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports and HD audio jacks, so you’ll certainly not be left wanting for connectivity here.

The base of the chassis has four large feet with hard-wearing rubber grips on the bottom. There’s also a 3/4 length dust filter to cater to any bottom ventilation, especially so for the power supply.

Gigabyte P35W v5 Gaming Laptop Review

Introduction


Consumers typically purchase gaming laptops over their desktop counterparts due to portability and requiring hefty processing power on the move. Saying that, it’s exceedingly difficult to offer adequate thermal dissipation in a slim form factor which limits the convenience factor of many flagship gaming laptops. These tend to be rather bulky and difficult to carry around on public transportation where space is quite restricted. Thankfully, efficiency improvements on mobile graphics chipsets and CPUs have enabled manufacturers to create a better balance between performance and size. Granted, the top-tier options with dual GPUs still feel heavy but less extreme alternatives can be surprising portable. For example, the Gigabyte P34W v3 provides a superb gaming experience and weighs a mere 1.81Kg. Back when I reviewed this, the performance to size ratio astounded me. Although, the system’s load temperatures were higher than I hoped and felt like a concession too far.

The latest gaming laptop to prioritize a thin design from Gigabyte is the P35W v5 sporting an Intel i7-6700HQ, ultra fast 128GB NVMe boot drive, and GTX 970M. Unlike the P34W v3, Gigabyte has opted for a 6GB variant of this graphics chip but I can’t see the increased video memory making a substantial difference. On the other hand, some games with high memory utilization might fare better with an improved minimum frame-rate. Another key benefit is the inclusion of DDR4 memory, and a greatly improved battery. As always, you can customize the specification to suit your needs and the standard package utilizes a 1920×1080 display. If this seems a little underwhelming, you can select a 4K panel for an additional fee but this has some drawbacks when it comes to performance. Given the P35W v5’s marvellously thin design, I’m interested to see the thermals under stress and determine if the cooling hardware is up to scratch.

Specifications

  • Name: Gigabyte P35W v5
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-6700HQ (2.6GHz base frequency, 3.5GHz turbo)
  • System Memory: 16GB Dual Channel DDR4 2133MHz
  • Main Boot Drive: Samsung NVMe MZVPV128 M.2 128GB SSD
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): HGST 1TB 7200RPM HDD
  • Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M 6GB
  • Peripherals: N/A
  • Display: 15.6-inch 3840×2160 IPS LCD
  • Optical Drive: MATSHITA DVD-RAM UJ8G2
  • Wireless: Intel Dual Band Wireless AC 8260
  • Battery: Li-Polymer 11.1V, 75.81Wh
  • Weight: 2.3Kg with Battery
  • Dimensions: 385(W) x 270(D) x 20.9(H) mm
  • OS: Windows 10 Home
  • Warranty: 2 Year
  • Price: £1399

Packing and Accessories

Gigabyte has adopted a fairly understated theme to the packaging which showcases the beautiful display and professional aesthetic design. Furthermore, there’s a brief description about the laptop’s unique selling features but I have to say the translation is confusing and doesn’t make a lot of sense. Perhaps, this is because the press sample originates from the factory and I’m sure Gigabyte will update the message for western markets.

The opposite side is almost identical barring another stunning snapshot of the product’s thin profile. This level of uniformity works well and evokes a premium feel. The packaging’s durable cardboard shell and soft inserts protect the item during transit meaning you shouldn’t encounter any cosmetic imperfections.

Included with the laptop is a power adapter, user’s guide, warranty card, driver disk, PowerDVD 12 software, swappable storage bay and light stickers. The swappable storage bay is an ingenious extra which allows you to remove the optical drive and fit an internal 9.5mm SSD instead. This is a great idea because many people use flash storage devices instead of optical media and the ability to easily house a traditional SATA SSD greatly enhances the laptop’s flexibility.

The 4K model contains a removable orange sticker near the lid which can be replaced with either a green or turquoise colour. Gigabyte even provides a complimentary pair of tweezers to obtain a neat finish and customize the theme to your own personal taste. Small touches like this creates the perception every customer’s needs have been attended to.

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Gelid Antarctica Ultra-Quiet Tower CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Gelid are one of the most legendary cooling companies in the world and while you may not think of them first when you’re looking at a new CPU cooler, they’re the top choice for many system builders, enthusiast overclockers, and all of us here at eTeknix for our test benches, when it comes to Thermalpaste. Gelid GC-Extreme has been a popular choice for many years, and it’s with that in mind that we know that Gelid has a fair bit of knowledge when it comes to thermal performance in the PC market.

“The Antarctica comes with a 3D optimized heatsink that offers best-in-class thermal performance. The engineers of GELID Solutions especially designed a set of 5 power heat pipes, aluminum fins with improved profiling and an additional smaller heatsink with a copper core. These elements provide exceptional heat transfer from the CPU to the heatsink. Both heatsinks were created using precise software simulation and calculation during the development stage to ensure efficient air flow distribution at the lowest fan speed possible. The result, the Antarctica fully supports heat transfer of TDP 220W being paired with even very low-speed, virtually noiseless fans.” – Gelid

Their latest CPU cooler, the Gelid Antarctica, comes equipped with support for a wide range of CPUs, features a slim cooling tower to ensure it doesn’t conflict with motherboard VRM cooling or large RAM heatsinks, while being tall enough to provide great cooling performance. This is backed up by a high-quality 140mm PWM fan, which is designed to operate at low RPM, providing great airflow while maintaining whisper quiet performance. To make things even more appealing, it’s also backed up by a reassuring 5-year warranty.

“A silent 140mm fan with the intelligent GELID PWM (Pulse Width Module) control compliments the heatsink. The fan blades are optimized to deliver high air flow at low speed, and the newly designed PWM IC eliminates any clicking noise. The intelligent GELID PWM curve operates the fan in an extended speed range of 450 RPM to 1500 RPM, it constantly keeps the fan silent but accelerates speed whenever additional cooling is needed. With 2 sets of fan mounts, a second fan can be installed to improve the cooler’s outstanding performance even further. Additionally, the multi-award winning high performance GC-Extreme thermal compound is already included in the package.” – Gelid

The packaging is pretty straight forward, nothing too fancy overall, but a nice image of the cooler as well as detailing support for Skylake CPUs.

Around the back, we can see that the cooler supports a huge range of CPUs, right back to 775 and old AMD sockets. There’s also 2011 support, but you’ll need to purchase a separate bracket for it.

In the box, you’ll find all the usual documentation, as well as a bag of fitting components.

There’s a backplate for both Intel and AMD motherboards, two mounting arms, four fan retention clips, high-quality screws, a sticker and a very welcome tube of Gelid’s award-winning GC-Extreme thermal paste; the same paste we use for all our cooling reviews!

Corsair Gaming Sabre RGB 10k DPI Optical Mouse Review

Introduction


Corsair produces some of the most popular gaming mice on the market today, from their MMO ready Scimitar, to their versatile Raptor M45, and many more. The Sabre walks a nice middle ground for Corsair, packaging a few extra gaming-friendly features, such as extra programmable buttons, as well as customisable RGB lighting, a 100g ultra light design, as well as their high-end 10k DPI optical gaming sensor.

“Ultra light weight at just 100g, the Corsair Gaming Sabre Optical RGB 6,400 DPI gaming mouse offers easy comfort and fluid reach balanced by consistently accurate tracking, 1,000 Hz refresh rate, eight configurable buttons, and super-responsive switches. Four-zone 16.8M color backlighting creates a beautiful, personalized look that matches your style.” – Corsair

Picking the right mouse for your desktop can be tricky, but equipped with everything you need for day-to-day work, as well as gaming, be that at home or in the world of competitive eSports, the Sabre is ticking all the right boxes. So let’s jump right in and take a closer look at what it has to offer.

“With advanced ergonomics that comfortably support your entire hand, you can wield the Sabre in a variety of grip styles. The adaptability in grip gives you the adaptability you need to compete in a wide variety of game types from FPS to RTS and MOBA. The 8 programmable buttons can be customized with ease to fine tune your play.” – Corsair

First up, we can see that the packaging is nicely designed, keeping in theme with all the other new Corsair Gaming hardware. All the main specs are detailed on the front, as well as a nice image of the mouse.

Around the back, a more technical breakdown of the features, but we’ll take a closer look at those in a moment.

The box also opens out at the front, giving you a nice look at the mouse design; handy for those picking one up in a retail store.

In the box, you’ll find the Sabre comes hard-wired with a black braided cable and a nice quality USB header.

Overclockers UK Titan Dark Zone Gaming PC Review

Introduction


Overclockers UK is one of the leading stockists of PC hardware and their engineering team produces an impressive range of custom rigs to suit contrasting tastes. Whether you’re looking for a silent air-cooled build, or extreme overclocked PC with premium water cooling parts, there’s something designed for your specific requirements. Often, whenever a new game is released which sells remarkably well, consumers like to pay homage with a system based around its theme. This can be a challenge especially if the game in question doesn’t have a distinctive colour scheme. The Division is an open world third-person shooter set in a bleak vision of New York City ravaged by a smallpox pandemic. This intriguing setting and captivating multiplayer confrontations have proved to be incredibly popular! As a result, The Division became Ubisoft’s fastest selling game on record and attracted a very passionate community.

This success story has given Overclockers UK inspiration for their latest gaming PC entitled the Titan Dark Zone. The system opts for orange braided PSU extension cables and vibrant LED lighting which creates a stunning aesthetic design. Combining the orange tones with black jet black components is quite unusual and a reference to The Division’s box art. Therefore, the Titan Dark Zone is a dream come true for fans of this particular title and features a very potent specification capable of powering VR devices without any concessions. The Intel i7-6700K is professionally overclocked to 4.5GHz using the Alpenfohn Broken 2 cooler. As a result, I expect to see an impeccable performance to noise ratio which surpasses many closed-loop-coolers. On another note, the 16GB 2400MHz DDR4 memory, factory overclocked GTX 980Ti and Samsung 250GB boot drive should be able to provide a sensational gaming experience even on high-resolution monitors. Rather surprising, Overclockers UK have decided to use a non-modular power supply which complicates cables management. On the other hand, the PSU has received a great deal of critical acclaim and showcases the careful decision-making process when designing a system’s specification.

Specifications

  • Name: Overclockers UK Titan Dark Zone
  • Case: Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX
  • Motherboard: MSI Z170A-SLI Plus
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-6700K Overclocked to 4.5GHz
  • Processor Cooler: Alpenfohn Broken 2
  • System Memory: Team Group Elite 16GB (8x2GB) 2400MHz CL16 RAM
  • Main Boot Drive: Samsung 250GB 850 Evo SSD
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): Seagate 2TB 7200RPM HDD
  • Graphics card: MSI GeForce GTX 980ti Armor X2 6GB
  • Power Supply: XFX TS 750W 80 Plus Gold
  • Peripherals: N/A
  • Monitor: N/A
  • Optical Drive: N/A 
  • Wireless: N/A
  • OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
  • Warranty: Three Year (24 Month Collect and Return plus 12 Month labour) Mainland UK and Ireland Only
  • Price: £1549.99

Packing and Accessories

The system arrived in an extremely large box which cannot fit on my photography backdrop. This is the reason why I’ve taken a snapshot in the hallway to emphasize the package’s mammoth size. Overclockers UK always adopt such an attentive approach to packaging and employ durable materials which enhances the level of protection substantially. It’s evidently clear that the company has considered the strain delicate PCs go under during transit and taken every necessary step to dramatically reduce the probability of damage occurring.

Once the top cover has been removed, we can see an ample supply of durable cardboard inserts which holds the system firmly in position.

The Titan Dark Zone is placed in the original chassis box and secured with strong tape. Honestly, I’d be extremely surprised if you received the system with even cosmetic imperfections considering multiple layers were used for protective purposes.

There’s additional support inside the chassis box via two strong polystyrene blocks.

The system’s internal components are surrounded by three Instapak foam pieces. These are essential additions which protect the CPU mounting and prevent the graphics card from applying too much pressure on the PCI-E slot during delivery.

In terms of accessories, OCUK included a Welcome Pack and Windows 10 Home OEM DVD containing the product code. The Welcome Pack outlines the system’s specification, and warranty terms in an easy to understand manner. Personally, I love the overall presentation and solder joints design on the front cover.

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