A Unique Blend of Lighting and Customization
The ROG Strix Flair is a mechanical gaming keyboard from the ASUS Republic of Gamers division that offers Cherry MX RGB switches, customizable lighting with underglow effects, a unique pop-out badge that can be swapped for a custom logo or text, dedicated media keys, USB passthrough, and programmable macro support. All of these features carry a premium price tag, and with a list price of $179.99 (though our Cherry MX Red version has been selling for quite a bit less) it sits in the upper range for gaming keyboards. Is it worth it? That is always the question, and we will try to answer it here.
“Flare up your game with ROG Strix Flare – a mechanical gaming keyboard that's got everything you want and more. Feel the satisfaction of every keystroke with world-renowned Cherry MX switches. Enjoy instant access to dedicated media keys on the upper left while gaming. And experience an unparalleled level of personalization with a customizable badge illuminated by Aura Sync RGB lighting. Boast your gaming flair as you dominate the battlefield.”
Features from ASUS ROG:
- German-made Cherry MX RGB mechanical key switches that deliver satisfying mechanical feel with optimal actuation – The choice of professional gamers and enthusiasts
- Customizable illuminated badge – Boast your ROG pride or show your flair with a personal or team insignia
- Dedicated media keys and volume wheel positioned on the left for instant in-game audio control, a USB passthrough for easy connection and a detachable soft-touch wrist rest
- Individually backlit keys and vibrant underglow powered by Aura Sync RGB lighting technology
- Map macros on-the-fly to our fully programmable keys, adjust settings with enhanced ROG Armoury II software, and store profiles on the keyboard’s onboard memory
The clear insert with the ROG badge can be swapped for additonal customization
A New Take on the Budget Legend
It is not hyperbole to call Cooler Master’s Hyper 212 family some of the most important CPU air coolers in the industry, with the 212 EVO dominating sales in the DIY segment for years now based on Amazon rankings. In the last five years I have reviewed a number of coolers here at PC Perspective, and feedback from readers almost always includes mention of, and requests for comparison to, that Hyper 212 EVO. I have tested this venerable cooler more than once over the years, but it has proven to be such a vital part of any CPU air-cooling discussion that it demands to be part of every cooler review lineup. Today we will benchmark that cooler yet again using the current test platform, and compare it to a new generation of Hyper 212: the Black Edition.
The Hyper 212 Black Edition coolers, available with or without an RGB fan, add a level of style that had been missing from the 212 EVO, trading exposed copper heat pipes and bare aluminum heatsink fins for a polished, all-black finish. Naturally style means nothing without performance, and with the RGB Black Edition we are still looking at a single tower heatsink design with four heat pipes that are designed to make direct contact with the CPU, and air is still being moved via a single 120 mm fan.
Features from Cooler Master:
- Sleek Finishing - Anodized gun-metal black with brushed aluminum surface finish to the top cover for a more refined look
- Precise Air Flow with Nickel Black - Stacked fin array ensures least airflow resistance which allows cooler air flow into the heatsink. The nickel plated jet black also enhances radiation cooling performance
- Direct Contact Technology - 4 heat pipes with exclusive Direct Contact Technology providing effective and excellent heat dissipation
- The New SF120R RGB Fan - Certified to sync with Motherboard RGB software or controlled by our controller. The wide speed range can be fine-tuned for maximum cooling performance or silent operation
- Optional Push-Pull Fan Configuration - To avoid dynamic losses and help accelerate heat exhaust, an additional fan helps pulling heat away faster from heatsink
- RGB in the Palm of Your Hand with Included Wired RGB Controller - A compact size RGB LED controller that allows you to easily customize your RGB devices without the need for either an RGB capable motherboard or software. You can have the colorful rig you’ve always wanted with just the touch of a button
Subject: Storage | February 12, 2019 - 03:48 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: team group, delta TUF RGB, ssd, RGB, QLC, S2258
Team Group and ASUS have ... collaborated ... to bring you a new TUF branded SSD with all the RGBs you could want. Inside is 64 layer 3D TLC NAND from Micron, attached to Silicon Motion's SM2258 controller, which tells you just about all you need to know about the performance. If you aren't familiar with how that particular combo performs compared to the competition then the Guru of 3D will be more than happy to show you.
What this drive does do differently is provide you with a 12V RGB header to allow ASUS' AURA software to colourize your storage. If your SSD is mounted plain sight and not contributing to the light show in your case, this might be a good way to feed your need for more RGB light bleed.
"Today, we have a relatively new product from Taiwain based company Team Group to review. Part of their new collab with Asus' long lived 'TUF' lineup, this SSD brings beefy looks, RGB, and solid specifications to the 240GB, 500GB, and 1TB storage points. Let's check it out."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- WD Black NVMe SSD (2018) 500 GB @ TechPowerUp
- Patriot Scorch 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD Review @ NikKTech
- Crucial P1 NVMe M.2 SSD @ Modders-Inc
Macros and RGB for $39
We’ve previously looked at the top of the HyperX mouse line with our Pulsefire Surge RGB review, and the Core model we're checking out today sits at the entry level in the HyperX lineup, though it still offers full customization for buttons and RGB lighting. Is this $39.99 wired gaming mouse a good value? We will try to answer that here.
First we'll check out the specifications for the full HyperX mouse lineup:
|Pulsefire Core||Pulsefire FPS||Pulsefire FPS Pro||Pulsefire Surge|
|Lighting||RGB||Red||RGB||RGB - 360|
|Switch Reliability||20M Clicks||20M Clicks||20M Clicks||50M Clicks|
|Optical Sensor||Pixart 3327||Pixart 3310||Pixart 3389||Pixart 3389|
|Max Resolution||6200 DPI||3200 DPI||16000 DPI||16000 DPI|
|Max Speed||220 IPS||130 IPS||450 IPS||450 IPS|
|Polling Rate||1000 Hz (1 ms)||1000 Hz (1 ms)||1000 Hz (1 ms)||1000 Hz (1 ms)|
|Weight (without cable)||87g||95g||95g||100g|
|NGenuity Software Enabled||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
Pricing and Availability: $39.99, Amazon.com
As you can see the Pulsefire Core offers a mix of features between the FPS and FPS Pro models, and still provides NGenuity software control. The first technical difference to point out is the optical sensor (Pixart 3327), which at a max of 6200 DPI sits between the FPS and Surge, and also provides a faster 220 IPS speed than the FPS models. Mouse switches are rated for the same 20 million clicks as the FPS as well, though you will need to move up to the Pulsefire Surge to get the Omron brand switches and their 50 million clicks.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 5, 2019 - 07:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: tempered glass, Cougar, panzer g, RGB, atx, thin red line
If you lack fingerprints, or are simply in love with cleaning tempered glass then Cougar's Panzer G with glass on the front, sides and top is worth a look. For cooling it comes with three 120mm RGBearing fans at front, which can be swapped with two 140mm fans or their radiator equivalents, with the same able to fit at the top, along with a rear and bottom 120mm. Cougar also seems to have grasped the popularity of 2.5" drives as it holds four, compared to two 3.5" bays and the latter can hold the smaller form factor for a total of six 2.5" drives.
"The Cougar Panzer G is an upgraded version of the original Panzer which combines the benefits of the Panzer-S having additional fans with even more glass panels all around. All that without a crazy big price difference make the Panzer G quite the intriguing choice for those who are fans of understated looks and maybe a more professional work environment."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Fractal Design Meshify S2 – Meshify Gets a Define S2 Mash-Up @ Bjorn3d.com
- Swiftech H240 X3 AIO @ TechPowerUp
- DeepCool Captain 240 PRO @ Guru of 3D
- CRYORIG C7 Cu CPU Cooler Review @ NikKTech
Subject: Memory | February 4, 2019 - 03:25 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: watercooling, ddr4, ddr4-3200, RGB
It took a bit of time but it was inevitable, some manufacturer was bound to add watercooling to their DDR4. Thermaltake's 32GB DDR4-3200MHz WaterRAM RGB kit incorporates an RGB waterblock which attaches to the top of the DIMMs and can be incorporated into an existing cooling loop. It certainly does cool the RAM, as KitGuru measured 38.1C without the block, 36.2C by adding the block and below 30C when hooked up to a full watercooling loop.
As for the effect on performance, check out the full review.
"The important thing here is that you don’t have to replace the heat sinks on the RAM modules with the attendant risk of damaging the ICs, and neither do you have to add a manifold as Thermaltake has done all the engineering for you."
Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:
- G.SKILL Trident Z Royal 4000 MHz CL17 @ TechPowerUp
- Patriot Viper Steel 4000 MHz DDR4 @ Guru3D
- Team Group T-Force Xcalibur RGB 16GB DDR4-3600MHz @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | January 29, 2019 - 01:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: MK730, CK530, tenkeyless, Gateron, cherry, mechanical keyboard, cooler master, input, RGB
Cooler Master have released two new mechanical TKL keyboards, the CK530 featuring Gateron Red, Blue or Brown switches and the MK730 with Cherry switches of the same flavours.
The CK530 features an aluminium body and is designed to fit into a bag so you can take it with you on the road. The RGBs behind the keys can be programmed on the fly, with each separately programmable to show your choice of the 16.7 million available colours. You can switch between 6KRO and NKRO in case you are using legacy applications, and macros can be quickly and easily programmed, as well as letting you switch between profiles to enhance your experience. Those with a fetish for keycaps will be pleased to know CM used standard sizes so you can easily swap out the originals for your preferred type.
You should be able to find it for sale on Amazon for $70.
The MK730 looks similar but offers additional features to the ones mentioned above, such as a magnetically attached soft PU leather wrist rest for easing those aching wrists. It connects with a removable USB-C cord, to ensure it isn't bashed when you are moving it around. The Cherry switches on this model are hidden behind double-shot PBT keycaps, with the same uniform design to make replacing them with your preferred variety simple.
The MK730 will set you back a bit more, $120 on Amazon.
Subject: General Tech | January 21, 2019 - 02:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, gaming mouse, RGB, corsair, ironclaw, PMW3391
For gamers that wear large sized gloves there are many rodents that don't nestle comfortably in their palms, especially the travel sized ones. For them there is a new mouse on the market, the Corsair IronClaw which is large enough for comfort (130x80x45mm) but not to a point which will make it uncomfortable for others. The PMW3391 sensor matches the quality you expect from a gaming mouse and Corsair's iCUE software lets you program the buttons and RGBs as you would expect as well as incorporating hardware monitoring graphs.
"Oh wait, there's one more. Our third mouse review this week is the IronClaw RGB mouse. Designed with a comfortable fit and some pretty iCUE related features this critter might be just what the doctor ordered at 59 bucks."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- CORSAIR HARPOON RGB Wireless Gaming Mouse Review @ NikKTech
- A4Tech KBS-29 Left Handed Natural Keyboard @ OCC
- 1STPLAYER Bullet Hunter MK6 Keyboard @ TechPowerUp
Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 17, 2019 - 02:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: cooler master, MasterAir, GM100, aircooling, low profile cooler, aliens, RGB
The MasterAir G100M is quite the cooler, with a look we haven't seen from CM in recent memory and is a mere 143x143x74.5mm in size with the fan attached. This lets it fit into SFF systems, though as Modders-Inc discovered, the round shape means you should install your RAM before the cooler and avoid modules with larger heatsinks. It is rated for AMD and Intel CPUs of up to 130W TDP but testing showed that is a maximum and it is not really equipped to handle overclocked enthusiast processors, which only makes sense considering what it is actually for.
"Reminiscent of the Jupiter 2 from the 1960's version of the TV series Lost In Space, the Cooler Master G100M is affectionately called the UFO cooler. The G100M is a low profile cooler designed to fit into smaller cases especially mini-ITX."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- be quiet! Dark Rock PRO TR4 @ Guru of 3D
- SilentiumPC Fera 3 RGB @ TechPowerUp
- Alphacool Eisbaer 420 CPU Liquid Cooler Review @ NikKTech
Subject: Memory | January 14, 2019 - 02:51 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: G.Skill, ddr4-3466, X399, Threadripper, amd, RGB, TZRX
Threadripper's architecture loves high frequency RAM, though it can be a bit picky at times and you will have a far better experience sticking with vaildated RAM ... though you certainly don't have to.
G.Skill have just announced a 32GB kit of four DDR4-3466 modules, with timings of 18-22-22-42 and plenty of RGBs. On the Threadripper 2950X system they used as an example, the DIMMs were perfectly happy running at the default of 1.3V. They will be available relatively soon and you will be able to spot them thanks to the TZRX branding they will sport.