Podcast #270 - AMDs new GPU lineup, SteamOS, the Steam Box, and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 26, 2013 - 02:41 PM |
Tagged: video, valve, SteamOS, Steam Box, steam, razer, R9 290X, R9, R7, podcast, Naga, corsair, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #270 - 09/26/2013

Join us this week as we discuss AMDs new GPU lineup, SteamOS, the Steam Box, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

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  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, and Morry Teitelman

 
Program length: 57:42
  1. Week in Review:
  2. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Ryan: A pair of coconuts supporting a beautiful
    2. Jeremy: Portable OS
    3. Allyn: Remote Mouse
    4. Morry: AT&T U-Verse
  3. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  4. Closing/outro

 

Just Delivered: Razer Naga (2014, Left Handed) + Mini Review

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | September 21, 2013 - 12:13 AM |
Tagged: razer, Naga, Lefties

So, after a few years of regular use, I wore out my Razer Lachesis. I am a lefty who never sold out to the right-handed world of computer peripherals. Joysticks do not count, I am naturally right-handed with those for some reason... scissors too... but that is beside the point. Most of the mice out there, for me to use at least, are ambidextrous and thus symmetric.

razer-naga-2014-left-06.png

The Razer Naga (2014) is the first truly left handed mouse that I have owned. These are my impressions over my first day of usage.

Being a left-handed mouse Razer decided that it would, by default, switch the left and right mouse buttons. This can be changed in the drivers by first assigning your right mouse button to a left mouse button and then assigning your left mouse button to a right mouse button. Not the other way around.

The reason for this user experience seems to be, since all changes in the driver are applied immediately (without "ok" or "apply" buttons), Razer did not want users to accidentally lose every left mouse button. Imagine fixing that problem without a left mouse button. I would have prefered the app to, instead, fire a popup telling users to bind something else to "left mouse button" before removing it. Greying out the box is confusing and users might think they cannot, ever, rebind that button. That is just a minor complaint.

A slightly bigger issue is how they included a tilt-wheel without allowing the drivers to bind ScrollLeft and ScrollRight events. This can easily be fixed with a Razer Synapse update but why was that not included at launch? They are aware of the problem, too, as their support pages suggest users bind scroll wheel tilt to keyboard left and right. A great alternative for web browsers, but will not work in Photoshop or word processors.

Yes, you can make a custom profile for each application to input whatever horizontally scrolls them; better yet, just let us bind left and right scroll commands. Do it Razer! Dooooo it!

Weird quirks in the drivers aside, I really like the mouse. Each of the buttons, both in the side and on the top, are crisp. The build quality is solid. The body is comfortable. My only (physical) complaint is that the mouse body tends to get quite warm if you hold it for a couple of hours. That is, it feels warmer than other mice I have used. Otherwise it is basically what I have been looking for over the last decade.

So many buttons to bind!

Source: Razer
Author:
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Razer

Introduction and externals

Razer maintains a distinct sense of style across their product line. Over the past decade and a half, Razer has carved a spot in the peripherals market catering to competitive gamers as well as developing wholly novel products for the gaming market. Razer has a catalog including standard peripherals and more arcane things such as mice with telephone-style keypads geared toward MMORPG players as well as motion sensing controllers employing magnetic fields to detect controller position.

01.jpg

The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth 2013 Edition comes out of the box ready for use without additional software provided or assembly required.  The keyboard uses a standard layout with five macro keys attached in a column on the left of the board. Rather than dedicated media buttons, media and keyboard specific functions are accessed by pressing a combination of a function key located to the right of right alt and the function keys on the top row.

02.jpg

The headphone and microphone jack are present on the side of the keyboard.

Continue reading our review of the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth Keyboard!!

Razer Naga (2014 Edition) Is Even For Southpaws.

Subject: General Tech | August 8, 2013 - 11:40 PM |
Tagged: razer, Naga, Lefties

Update (8/9/2013 2:45AM): Apparently, without advertised on-mouse memory, it looks like you cannot use this mouse (or at least, the 12 buttons) on Linux or any other place Synapse 2.0 will not be useable. I guess, keep that in mind. Although, apparently, some people have been able to write their own drivers for the older Naga or remap keys based on device ID. Who knows, I would like to hear something from Razer about this, though.

I am going to share a bias with you: I favor my left hand.

I know. I know. I have been sinister. I have a hand in my wallet, that being my own left one, but I hope you can move past my mistakes in life. I also hope peripheral manufacturers will not. I hope manufacturers will instead continue to produce accessories which cater to my differences.

Imagine my surprised when I noticed the Razer Naga, recently refreshed for 2014, will be available in a left-handed model at launch? Now, imagine my surprise when I noticed that I, somehow, missed the left-handed version of the prior Razer Naga as well?

The Razer Naga is a mouse with many thumb buttons and is primarily designed for MMO and MOBA players for the binding of many commands. This year, each of the twelve thumb buttons will be based upon mechanical switches for increased durability and precision. Long-term readers, or those who click links in articles, would know that I enjoy mechanical keyboards.

It does seem somewhat odd, however, to have such high quality switches for your thumb buttons without also upgrading the left and right click. I have a history of mice which, near the end of their life, improperly report that their buttons are no longer being held down. This makes playing as the medic, where you need to hold fire while healing or ubering teammates, quite annoying when you abruptly stop providing invulnerability. As far as I can tell, the two main buttons are the typical variety for Razer and not mechanical.

Another feature: this is about the only, more than three button, mouse that I have found (and I have looked) with a tilt-wheel. For someone who uses Photoshop and other image editors on a regular basis, this is a big deal to me.

The new Razer Naga MMO gaming mouse is available now for $79.99 in both right-handed and left-handed configurations at launch.

Press blast after the break.

Source: Razer

Razer Blade Haswell Gaming Notebook is Damn Sexy, Powerful

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 12, 2013 - 08:47 PM |
Tagged: E3, razer, blade, haswell, gtx 765m, geforce

With the launch of Intel's Haswell processor, accessory maker-turned notebook vendor Razer announced a pretty slick machine, the Blade.  Based on a quad-core, 37 watt Core i7 Haswell CPU and a GeForce GTX 765M GPU, the Razer Blade packs a lot of punch.

razer1.jpg

It also includes 8GB of DDR3-1600 memory, an mSATA SSD and integrates a 14-in 1600x900 display.  The design of the unit looks very similar to that of the MacBook Pro but the black metal finish is really an attractive style change. 

razer2.jpg

The embedded battery is fairly large at 70 Whr and Razer claims this will equate to a 6 hour battery life when operating non-gaming workloads.  With a weight just barely creeping past 4 lbs, the Razer Blade is both portable and powerful it seems.

razer3.jpg

The price tag starts at $1799 so you won't be able to pick one of these up on the cheap, but for users like me that are willing to pay a bit more for performance and style in a slim chassis, the Blade seems like a very compelling option.  There are a lot of questions left to answer on this notebook including the thermal concerns of packing that much high frequency silicon into a thin and light form factor.  Does the unit get hot in bad places?  Can the screen quality match the performance of Haswell + Kepler? 

We are working with Razer to get a model in very soon to put it to the test and I am looking forward to answering if we have found the best gaming portable on the market.

Razer takes a moment to Vent, announces Razer Comms

Subject: General Tech | April 26, 2013 - 02:46 AM |
Tagged: razer, Comms, Teamspeak, Ventrillo

The Steam overlay makes text communication easy between any combination of friends in game and out. Despite the popularity, just about every team has a voice over IP (VoIP) solution to coordinate within a match. Talking is simply superior to typing while simultaneously attempting to not get yourself killed, crashed, or otherwise not-winning. Teamspeak and Ventrillo are the two most popular solutions for clan voice communication; while both are free applications for clients, some uses require server license fees over and above the actual server cost itself.

Razer found a niche it wanted to fill.

razercomms.jpg

Razer Comms is a free service, currently in beta, for text and audio chat. Using the overlay metaphor, the application tries to be very unobtrusive to the game it rests upon. The service apparently uses good-quality codecs, according to the little hear-say I overheard the last couple of days. They also advertise that the service, since it is not owned by the clans which use it, will hide each user's IP address. While there is very little you can do to someone by knowing their IP address, and most of that could be circumvented by powercycling your modem, it does have some limited advantages.

In terms of a business model, unless the service develops some way of gaining revenue, the only way I can rationalize Razer funding this project is boosting their brand power. Razer already has some level of infrastructure from their Synapse projects and it is possible that the company is willing to eat the loss with the expectation of increased hardware sales. If this service will continue to be both free and ad-free, I cannot see any other reason for Razer to bother besides: eat the loss, make gamers happy, and wait for them to want a new mouse or tablet.

I can also see a slim chance, a very very slim chance, that Razer hopes to contiuously expand this service into a full gaming platform as Valve did with Steam. A fun thought, but nothing I would actually expect at this point.

Razer Comms is currently only available for English Windows users, although other languages will arrive soon.

Source: Razer

Razer's Ultimate keyboard

Subject: General Tech | January 22, 2013 - 06:18 PM |
Tagged: input, mechanical keyboard, gaming, razer, blackwidow ultimate

With a name like Razer Blackwidow Ultimate, this new mechanical keyboard has a lot to live up to.  It comes with the Razer Synapse software familiar to many, which allows you to program the LED lights behind the keyboard for mood typing as well as programming up to 10 profiles with different keys and macro key settings.  It has headset and microphone jacks for those not using a USB headset and USB-Passthrough for those that do.  R&B Mods like the overall performance and look of the keyboard but were a bit taken aback by the $135 asking price.  It also seems strange that Razer does not advertise the type of mechanical switch this keyboard uses.

RandB_razerulta.jpg

"Mechanical keyboards are high demand these days as more and more people have realized how nice they are to game on with their quick response time and keys. Today we are going to review the Razer Blackwidow Ultimate mechanical keyboard, it will be tested in various situations and also see if it is better than the competition that we have tested in the past."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

2012; the year of the mouse?

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2013 - 07:03 PM |
Tagged: gaming mouse, CMStorm, steelseries, roccat, logitech, razer, madcatz

Gaming peripherals were a very large market in 2012, with Cherry switches suddenly becoming a household name and with gamers actually arguing over the best type of switch for keyboards.  That was not the only big change for gaming peripherals as this year has seen many companies make a serious effort to make a name as a provider of gaming mice and established companies adding new features to their existing products.  If you have had trouble deciding which mouse best fits your needs, this roundup at MadShrimps might be of help.  They've included the CMStorm Sentinel Advance II, the Cyborg R.A.T. 7, SteelSeries' Sensei RAW, the Roccat Kone XTD, Razer's Imperator 2012 and the Logitech G300; one of which should suit your gaming needs.

MS_mouses.jpg

"In this group test I will focus on a specific feature and gaming goal to reduce the variables as we go on a quest to find some of the best First-Person-Shooter wired mouse out there. To properly gauge the performance of my new gaming rodents I spend several weeks with each to get to know the ins and outs, their features and deliver a good dose of my personal opinions on these mice."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: MadShrimps

CES 2013: Razer Edge Back Again. Fiona Always Was Edgy.

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2013 - 02:58 AM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, razer

Last year Project Fiona was presented by Razer and we felt as awkward about it as it looked.

This is a new year and it looks like Razer took a bit of feedback from critics of yester-CES. The design itself looks quite similar than it did except that the controller-handles are now detachable. The Edge can operate in four different modes: tablet, keyboard, the controller-handles, and “home console” mode.

The Home Console mode allows you to dock your tablet and access it using 3 USB ports, HDMI, and 3.5mm audio in/out. You can use it as a desktop or as a home theatre PC. Also with Steam’s Big Picture Mode it sees the big picture as a potential Steam Box.

The technical specifications are slightly more solid than last year:

  • Intel Core i7 (2 core, 4 threads) @ 1.9GHz Turbo to 3.0GHz
  • Intel HD 4000/NVIDIA GT 640M LE
  • 8GB DDR3
  • 126/256GB SSD
  • Intel WLAN (B/G/N + Bluetooth 4.0)
  • 10.1” IPS 1366x768 10-point touchscreen
  • Windows 8

So what do you think? While I expect it will be out of my budget and I would probably just barely survive on 256GB due to recent 20-25GB games -- I think it looks pretty good.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Razer

Razer Announces Updated Orochi Mouse For Mobile Gaming

Subject: General Tech | November 27, 2012 - 01:31 PM |
Tagged: razer orochi, razer, PC, mouse, mobile, laptop, gaming

Razer has been on an updating kick this month with a number of its gaming mice being refreshed with better hardware and support for Synapse 2.0 (cloud syncing) software. This time, Razer is turning to its mobile lineup and giving the Orochi an upgrade for a 2013 release.

Razer Orochi 2013 Mobile Mouse.jpg

The ambidextrous mouse can be used in a wired or wireless configuration. While the original Orochi featured a 4000 DPI laser sensor, the updated model upgrades the sensor to 6400 DPI. Further, Razer has bumped up the Bluetooth radio to one rated at Bluetooth 3.0 specifications. Powered by two AA batteries, Razer has reportedly improved battery life by a significant margin. The company rates the mobile gaming mouse at up to 30 hours of continuous gaming, and three months of normal use.

 

Razer Orochi Chrome.png

The refreshed mouse maintains the traditional LED-lit scroll wheel, mouse buttons, and two side buttons of the original Orochi. Interestingly, it comes in a shinier "chrome" colored variant in addition to the standard black blade addition.

The refreshed Orochi 2013 is available for pre-order now for $69.99. According to the Razer website, the blade edition will ship in 1-2 weeks and the chrome variant will ship in a little over a month.

Source: Razer