Thursday, 26 July 2012

Gigabyte Osmium & Krypton Gaming Gear!

Up now are two of Gigabyte’s latest gaming peripherals, the Krypton mouse and the Osmium mechanical keyboard. As always Gigabyte like to name their equipment weird science fiction titles.

  • Interface: USB
  • Tracking system: Advanced Gaming Laser Sensor
  • Resolution: Real 8200dpi
  • FPS(Frame rate per second): 12000 frames/second
  • Maximum acceleration: 30g
  • Maximum speed: 150 inches/ second
  • Switch Life: 10 million times
  • Onboard memory: 32KB GHOST™ Macro Engine
  • Certificate: CE/ FCC/ BSMI/KCC
  • Cable Length: 1.8m nylon braided / Gold-plated USB connector
  • Dimension: (L)128.0*(W)67.0*(H)41.5 mm
  • Weight: 110g ~149g adjustable
  • Accessory: Weight Adjustment Case(includes 10 weights)/ Metal Weight Removal Device/ interchangeable Mouse Chassis(Speed+Control) / Spare Teflon Feet Pads
  • Support OS: Windows XP/ Vista/ Windows 7
The mouse comes in quite an elegant package; however it is very unfriendly if you’re the type who likes to keep their packaging nice and tidy. You literally have to rip off the external cardboard print wraparound to get to the actual units box.

Lifting the cover off reveals the mouse just sitting there in its plastic case. The inner roof of the lid is protected with black hard foam. Lifting the mouse out reveals the bottom half which contains a small case for the CD and a larger box with a lid which contains the added accessories like weights, mouse base plate and a little tweezer-like picker used to move around the weights (a somewhat useless addition).

The mouse comes with a feature which allows you to change the bottom of it depending on which surface you’re on to allow for smooth mouse operation. By default it comes with the standard 'Control Base' which utilizes an ultra smooth Teflon foundation found in literally every other high performance mouse. You'll also find a 'Speed base' which features an abrasion free ceramic foundation focused on quick movements and immediate reaction.
There is also the option to put in weights in the mouse in a more specific way. There are weight slots along the back and down the sides as well, so if you like a bit of weight on the sides of the mouse, this will come as a big feature for you! Basically it allows you to shift the center of gravity of the mouse to suit your gaming style.
The mouse is ambidextrous and features a button on the mouse which automatically switches the profile to suit the left hand, pretty nifty! There are enough lighting effects on the mouse to keep any sleep deprived gamer entertained for minutes on end.

The mouse looks all cool and comes with plenty of features but unfortunately performance wise, I could never get used to it. It just did not sit on my hands comfortably wether I clawed or palm gripped it. It just did not feel right in my hands no matter how long I tried for. I think it may have been a matter of hand size though. I’m guessing here that small handed users might find it more comfortable to use than some of us other larger handed gentlemen.

Overall though the mouse is not too bad, yes it was outrageously uncomfortable for me but should be pretty good for many others.

Mouthful of words indeed it is. Let’s take a look at the list of its features:
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • Activation: Cherry Red Mechanical Switch
  • Switch life: 50 million times
  • Key Profile: Standard
  • Travel distance: 4mm to the bottom
  • Pre-travel: 2mm to actuation point
  • Peak force: 45g
  • USB Hub: USB3.0 + USB2.0
  • Report Rate: 1000Hz
  • Audio: Microphone-in/ Earphone-out
  • Weight: 1500g ±10%
  • Dimension: 454(L)* 257(W)*45(H) mm
  • Cable length: 2.0m ±10%
  • Colour: Black
Let's have a look at some of the keyboards main features:
* Superior Cherry MX Mechanical Key-switch
* Supports USB 3.0 SuperSpeed (Via Motherboard)
* Absoloute Anti-Ghosting Multi-Key Press capability
* 45g Key Force
Now, this is a mechanical USB2 keyboard but features a USB3.0 hub. Basically you need to connect the USB2.0 cable coming from the keyboard to any port and the USB3.0 cable defined by the blue socket connector to a USB3.0 port which purely acts as a pass through for the USB slot on the keyboard. This allows you to use the USB port on the keyboard at full potential speeds. In regards to the cabling, one negative is the fact the cables are all braided together. So basically coming out of the keyboard you have one thick cable which branches out to 2x USB cables, and 2x audio jack cables, A bit unnecessary as many people will just be using one of the cables.
Looking at the keyboard, it is a pretty one! There are G keys along the top which are programmable within the software with two rollers which control the key light brightness of the backlit keys and a volume controller. A quick note about the backlit keys, they are BRIGHT! They are the brightest I’ve seen in any keyboard and are simply awesome. So bright they are it actually glows out and illuminate the sides of the keys giving off an amazing effect. On the right hand side there is also a lit Aivia logo which also doubles up as a button. When pushed it changes the colour of the logo and also switches any profiles you have set up. Each profile is colour coded allowing you to stay in control of your keyboard and know what you have active.
The keyboard is a breeze to use. The Cherry MX keys are very comfortable to use and is lightning quick to react! I’m really impressed with this one as I’m not too much of a fan of mechanical keyboards. It is a bit loud but I’m told by others it is quieter than ones they’ve played with and are impressed by the sound on it, clearly i am nitpicking a bit. The supplied wrist rest is durable and a solid piece of plastic. it easily attaches and detaches so you don't need to sit their for a period of time trying to take it off or on.
Overall i am impressed with the keyboard. The previous Aivia's were a bit of a let down with their build quality and overall design but it seems like Gigabyte have learned and learnt fast! I'd expect many gamers to be impressed with the Osmium and would forward to future Gigabyte gaming peripherals!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Thermaltake Level 10 GT Battle Edition Case

So Thermaltake have created a case that has quite the long name. Some may say a bit too long and i'd have to agree. I mean when someone asks you what case you have, by the time you say 'I have a Thermaltake Level 10 GT Battle Edition', the other person would have already snoozed off.

So the first striking thing about this case is its colour. It's green. Now, one might find the green all monstrous and somewhat Hulk like which would be a slightly fair point. The case is definitely big, but where the Hulk excels in strength is where the Level 10 GT fails. The case is pretty lightweight which is from the plastic made shell. Looking at the design, it would've been magical if Thermaltake added steel parts to it. All the green parts are all plastic and is a massive let down. Even the handle up on the top is plastic and even had some issues with the way it is placed. The corners of it jagged out of line which diminished the smooth complete look of the handle.
So taking the case out of the box was a bit of a surprise with its light weight, but then revealed was the bag/case covering the case. A nice velvety material with the Thermaltake logo and Level 10 GT branding printed on one of the sides in white. A small but nifty touch to the packaging. Removing the black cover reveals the full sized green mammoth of a case. With jagged edges, army inspired design and extruding areas the case does what a lot of others don't, stand out. The front and top of the case features a mix of its power buttons, USB/eSATA and audio jacks. A total of 6 USB ports with 2 of them USB3.0 gives the user plenty of connectivity on the front. Probably one of the most connections I've seen in a while.

Moving down the case gets you to the hard drive area. You'll find yourself 5 bays which i believe are meant to resemble rockets or bullets (correct me here people). A push of the button beside the numbering unlocks the cage and allows for it to be pulled out. Be aware though, once you pull it out you cannot unsee what lays before you. You'll find yourself holding a pretty ugly green plastic case. What makes this a bit more of an issue than other plastic holders is the larger area covered by plastic. It disappoints me really to see Thermaltake design a drive mount with so little thought. 
Personally i am quite a fan of Thermaltake and have owned/own all their Xaser series cases which have amazing design ideas put into them, so when i see something that i feel is going backwards, it really does let you down. Looking around the cage however you will find some interesting illustrations and instructions for the hot-swappable bay which definitely lifts the overall army feel of the case, a nifty little touch! The overall colour could have used a bit more work though. I would've liked to have seen either a better green colour or some army camouflage. The plain green colour is very different from usually but doesn't have a very strong aspect to it.

Sure, standing out is always a good thing, but i guess what all people would want to know is its performance and practicality. Just note, the case comes locked so you can't open it till you find the keys which are subtly located at the back. Once you remove the keys (read the manual for this one) you can get to unlocking the side panel. Opening the door reveals the mounted fan with directional flaps and the roomy but somewhat enclosed motherboard area. The drive area is pretty well closed off besides a few holes. It does mean it would look good for people who like to show off their rigs. You have a nice complete isolated area to work with. The grommets on the Level 10 are very firm and are probably the best quality grommets i've come across. I've had a lot of cases in the past where the grommets would easily come off, and if you've experienced this you'd know how much of an effort and struggle it is to put them back on, so the Level 10 gets a big plus for it's cable management system. Opening the rear reveals more of the Level 10's fantastic cable management system. Most cables are pre-tied and ready to be plugged in. Sure you may need to change a few cables around and you can easily do it with the Level 10. One problem i did kind of have is trying to trace the cabling back to its source so if you do plan on rewiring some of the cabling, be prepared. The drive bay is interesting. It's all hot-swappable-like where you plug the drives into pre-built mounts and attached the cables to the mounted ports. The power ports come with a special made 5-port cable with an extension at the end of it. Now, this could cause a problem and make things worse and here's why. 
When plugging in a hard drive, you are going to run a SATA line anyway (which typically has 4 ports on it) so creating something like this means you need to find somewhere else to hide the extra power ports on the cable, whereas if you'd ran the whole cable directly to the mounted ports you could tuck the extras into the empty drive bays. Another issue is line amperage on PSU's. Unless you have a 1200watt+ PSU chances are a single SATA power rail isn't going to supply enough amperage to power 5 hard drives through the one cable.
The case does come with 3-led fans which have their speed control and light switch on top of the case. The fans aren't too bright but the airflow in them was surprisingly good and you'll find it provides very good cooling solution. Long graphic card owners beware though, there isn't too much space in there for long graphics cards. The GTX690 for example at first glance does not look like it would fit in. There isn't much you can do either. The drive cage is locked into place and unmovable.
Overall, the case is pretty good. Regular LANners would love the ease of carrying this around with its handle and large windowed area and plenty of fan space allows for great cooling. This really is a solid gaming machine. Sure, it does have a few flaws including the a bit steep price tag but it offers the owner something special and unique. It gets my Silver Best Choice award for a few reasons, 1, It's uniquely designed, 2, it has the 'cool'factor, 3, Solid cooling at no extra cost.

By Sahin Selvi

The benchmark results may differ from user to user depending on what background software you are running and versions of benchmark software. These results aren’t portrayed to be seen as exact performance figures but merely as a rough estimate on the performance of the machine. These results are in no way bias to any company or person and are here to provide the end user in depth details and to provide extra assistance of potential purchases. All information on this page is subject to copyright. Please do not copy any parts of this article.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Centre Com Budget Gaming System

Many people these days are after a quick, small and affordable gaming computer that will give them decent performance for the price they paid, at Centre Com we acknowledge this and hence built a budget gaming system and reviewed it!
Our goal was simple, build a gaming rig that would cost the buyer $799 ready to go. And here is what we came up with.

All up, quite a budget system that offers a decent gaming CPU coupled with enough memory and a fantastic budget graphics card. I think a lot of people underestimate the 7800 series graphics cards. In terms of price vs performance, the 7800 really do offer a bang for your buck!

The system is quite simple and is suitable for those looking at getting a gaming system to lug around LAN events. It’s quite small and lightweight making it perfect for distance travels. Looking inside it isn’t the prettiest. The back panel of the motherboard doesn’t really have any room to thread cables even though it has grommets to do so.

Let’s take a look at how the gaming side of things went with a few benchmarks. It should be noted that the first thing I did with the graphics card was push the clock up to 1050Mhz which is roughly the limit of it without having to play with voltages. So if you do grab one of these units or buy these cards, feel safe in pushing up to 1050MHz

3DMark and Unigine gave pretty normal results. The Budget Gamer scored as the 7850 would in comparison to the other cards.

Looking over the games Max Payne 3 came in at a pretty low score; however you need to remember these are the maximum settings available in game. Knowing Rockstar, their games really push limits of even the greatest cards so this card getting an average of 25 at its highest settings is somewhat a good result for it. Lowering a few of the shader and anti-aliasing options do offer great improvement and FPS of up around 50 which is a much more comfortable quality.

Split/Second was a strange one, normally 25fps would sound like a pretty low score, but with this game it was smoother than expected. Once again however this really is at maxed out settings and a simple cutting down to High settings will see you roughly double the average FPS.

Check out the videos below to get a glimpse on the systems performance! These were captured with either one of the AverMedia Capture Cards!


Temperature wise was quite surprising to say the least. With a stock cooler and just a rear exhaust fan I can honestly say I was worried it wasn’t going to work. I have been surprised before but the surprise with this was well above anything I’ve experienced before! With Prime95 running for a solid 20 minutes the temperature would max out at around 65-69 degrees. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a GREAT result but it is a GOOD result. It was a bit on the loud side but you can expect to get that on a stock cooler. The 7850 was equally surprising and performed well with load temps during BF3 up around the 70 degree mark.

So if you’re looking at getting a budget gaming system this could be one for you. If you’re not too fussed about maxing out settings in every game you play and just want a decent performing machine without a whole lot of quality loss this one could really be for you. At an amazing price you really can’t go wrong.

By Sahin Selvi
The benchmark results may differ from user to user depending on what background software you are running and versions of benchmark software. These results aren’t portrayed to be seen as exact performance figures but merely as a rough estimate on the performance of the machine. These results are in no way bias to any company or person and are here to provide the end user in depth details and to provide extra assistance of potential purchases. All information on this page is subject to copyright. Please do not copy any parts of this article.