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.

Raijintek Styx Windowed Micro-ATX Aluminium Chassis Review

Introduction


We’re big fans of Raijintek here at eTeknix, time and time again they’ve delivered stunning products at very attractive prices and that’s something I’m hoping to see yet again with their latest product, the Raijintek Styx.

The Styx features the very popular Micro-ATX form factor, meaning it’s great for a compact gaming system or workstation, as it’ll hold a high-end motherboard, water cooling, an ATX power supply and two graphics cards, giving it a lot of room for everything from a budget build, right up to a high-performance gaming monster. It also features a range of colours, as well as aluminium construction, so there’s no doubt that it’ll look great in a wide range of environments.

“STYX, RAIJINTEK’s new aluminum Micro-ATX case in 2015, has a remarkable elegant appearance design and high compatibility with your PC system. STYX is compatible with regular/ standard ATX Power supply, max. 280mm VGA card, 180mm height CPU cooler. STYX provides best cooling solution, 120mm fan pre-installed at rear, optional 2*120mm fan on top /side, optional 120mm fan at bottom and max. 240mm radiator cooling on top/side. Moreover, STYX offer a drive bay for Slim DVD on side. Entirely black coated inside, aluminum color hair-silk anodized appearance, STYX satisfies not only your request of looking for elegant taste, but simultaneously satisfies the joy of installing a performing case.” – Raijintek

All the basics are taken care of, with room for a good amount of storage drives, as well as a slim ODD, graphics cards of up to 280mm and CPU coolers of up to 180mm.

Cooling support is great, but keep in mind that a top mounted radiator could conflict with a multi-GPU configuration, so be sure to doubt check compatibility before doing so.

Check out this brief introduction from Raijintek, which shows you some of the great features you can expect to find in their new Styx chassis.

The Raijintek Styx immediately impressed, with gorgeous brushed aluminium panels on all sides, giving it a sleek and premium look. The left side panel is a blank panel, as the motherboard is mounted inverted, so this would be the “rear” panel behind the motherboard. The side panels are held in place with four small screws on the side, not the easiest to get into in a hurry, but at least you don’t have the large screws sticking out at the back.

The right side panel has a lot more going on, with a slim ODD slot on the bottom-front edge, which is discrete enough that you may not have seen it, had I not mentioned it. There’s also a nice side panel window, which is positioned so that you can see the motherboard, CPU cooler and rear fan mounting.

The front panel looks just as gorgeous as the side panels, with a nicely placed power button with LED trim at the top and a small Raijintek logo at the bottom; I must admit, this would look great sitting next to a TV unit as a HTPC.

There is all kinds of stuff going on around the back! At the top, you’ll find two routing grommets, which can be used to expand the water cooling or simply as a cable passthrough. There’s also a PSU cable pass-through here, as the PSU mounts towards the front of the chassis. Below all that, you’ll find five ventilated expansion slot covers, which come fitted with a clip-on screw guard.

The top of the Styx improves on the (fairly) similar Metis Mini-ITX chassis design, adding a large filtered air vent, perfect for water cooling, fans, or just improving the passive airflow.

On the base, even more ventilation for bottom mounted cooling, as well as the very important PSU mounting space. There are four rubber feet, which will help reduce vibration, but also provide a nice bit of ground clearance for the PSU exhaust.

Raijintek STYX Now Available at Overclockers UK

Raijintek was very successful with the METIS line of Micro Towers and it’s hard to see it going any other way with the STYX. Getting one of the new Raijintek STYX cases isn’t as hard as it was before as Overclockers UK announces that they’re stocking the entire line-up.

The STYX is built on the same basic principle as the METIS, it’s just larger and can accommodate Micro-ATX motherboards on top of Mini-ITX motherboards while keeping similar aesthetics with its brushed aluminium chassis. It is available in six colours as well as with or without sidepanel window. A bigger chassis also allows for more cooling and you can mount two 120mm fans or a 240mm radiator in the top of the case and one on the side. There’s also support for a 120mm fan on the rear and one at the bottom of the chassis.

You can mount graphics cards with a length of up to 280mm and CPU coolers with a height of up to 180mm in the Raijintek STYX. It is designed for use with default ATX power supplies and also offers plenty of storage bays. There is an opening for use with a slimline slot-in optical drive and support for three 3.5-inch and six 2.5-inch drives, allowing you to add plenty of storage to the system. The chassis also comes with front audio and two USB 3.0 ports.

You can pre-order one of the 12 available Raijintek STYX chassis now and get one as soon as the become available. The non-windowed version will cost you £62.99 while the one with a window will cost £2 more, a minor premium for those who want to be able to see inside their chassis.

Full AMD CPU Roadmap Leaks

AMD is either orchestrating a hype campaign or they really can’t keep their secrets. This time around, the CPU roadmaps for both desktop and mobility have been leaked out to 2016. These roadmaps clarify a number of rumors and leaks over the past while as well lay out AMD’s long-term strategy.

For the desktop segment, 2015 is pretty much more of the same. Piledriver continues to drive the performance segment on AM3+ while Puma cores hold the low end. Kaveri gets a rebrand to “Godavari” making previous rumors around Godavari moot.

An important confirmation is the use of 14nm throughout the product stack. 14nm will bring AMD to parity with Intel Skylake. While Intel is set for 10nm in 2016, there have been signs that there will delays with that process. 14nm also means continued usage of Global Foundries, maybe with Samsung as a secondary supplier since the designs can now be easily be ported between the two firms.

Zen looks to be AMD’s go to architecture for 2016, covering everything from the performance to low power segments. It’s ability to replace the low-end Puma cores likely means the architecture is well power optimized and efficient. Scaling from 2-8 cores, some rumours are also pointing to simultaneous-multithreaded making an appearance, meaning up to 16 active threads are possible. It does look like rumours of a true 16 core consumer CPU were wrong though. The top end chip is codenamed Summit Ridge while the mainstream APUs are Bristol Ridge, complete with HSA 1.0. The small form factor and budget range will be served by Basilisk. Both Summit Ridge and Bristol Ridge are on the new FM3 socket while Basilisk is BGA.

On the mobile side of things, it much of the same. In 2015 Carrizo gets an update to Excavator cores, likely a minor tweak of the current Steamroller. For 2016, Bristol Ridge serves the performance and mainstream segments at 15-35W while Basilisk targets low power at 5-15W. Ultra low power moves from Amur with ARM A57 cores to Styx which sports up to 2 K12 cores to hit about 2W.

With all this information out already, it looks like May 6th will an important day not just for AMD fans but for PC fans in general. I doubt there will be much left to leak on the CPU side from AMD until then. 2016 looks like it will be a very interesting year if AMD can finally start competing with Intel using Zen.