Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: AUKEY

Confronting the growing lack of laptop I/O

The trend with laptops in the past couple of years has been to drop many of the inputs that were once standard. Ethernet was an early casualty of the Ultrabook design, and now even standard USB ports are missing from the thinnest designs. USB Type-C does offer an all-in-one solution, but laptops with no other connectivity require dongles and adapters to be practical. AUKEY’s USB C Hub is one option to add I/O back to your machine in a single package, and they sent one over so we could check it out.

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In case you haven’t heard of them, AUKEY is a common sight when browsing Amazon, offering a wide range of adapters and accessories. This CB-C55 has now been superceded by the "improved" version which offers media card slots on the side as well, but we are looking at the standard version today.

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Continue reading our review of the AUKEY CB-C55 Multiport USB-C Hub!

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Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Corsair

Overview

While most hardware enthusiasts and gamers today are used to the idea of high-end mechanical keyboards, they might not be aware of the world of custom keycaps.

Just like the difference in key switches, hardcore mechanical keyboard enthusiasts often have many different types of keycaps made with different materials and manufacturing processes. Beyond just customizing the look of your keyboard, different keycaps can cause some noticeable differences in the typing experience.

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With the launch of their new PBT Double-shot keycap set, Corsair is aiming to bring this level of obsession more to the mainstream. I know that there are a lot of terms in that previous line, so let's take a closer look at what makes these keycaps different than the standard affair.

Continue reading about the new Corsair Gaming PBT Double-shot keycaps!

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Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Elgato

Overview

Historically, video capture cards have been a piece of hardware needed primarily by video professionals, either in broadcast tv, video archival, or in our case for editorial content surrounding technology.

However, with the advent of services like Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and Mixer, there's a much bigger audience of consumers looking for solutions that enable them to cheaply and quickly capture gameplay video from PCs and game consoles. Over the past few years, Elgato has seen this niche appear and fully embraced it. 

Starting in 2002 with the Mac-only EyeTV line of TV tuning and capture products (which has since been sold to another company), Elgato is now one of the most popular options for streamers looking for capture solutions, and for good reasons. Elgato capture products are generally known for being easy to use and are quite inexpensive compared to other broadcast-grade solutions on the market. They even launched a collapsible green screen aimed at amateur streamers earlier this year!

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We were extremely interested to see Elgato announce the Game Capture 4K60 Pro capture card earlier this month. With promises to enable capture the full 4K 60Hz signal from HDMI 2.0, we had to pick one up and check it out.

Click here to read more of our take on the Elgato Game Capture 4K60

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Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Various

PC Components

It's that time of year again - buying PC hardware for you or your loved ones to celebrate the holidays! We have compiled a list of components, accessories, and individual picks from our staff to help you find the perfect gift for your tech fiend. And of course, if you feel the desire, its always good to get a little something for yourself. 

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Also, if you want to search for some stuff on Amazon.com for the holidays, tech or otherwise, feel free to click on this link right here to do so!! :D

Processors

AMD Ryzen Threaderipper 1950X - Amazon.com - $799

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This is still one of the most impressive performing processors on the market and it is currently selling for $200 less than the launch price! Check out our full review if you need some justification, but AMD has done a great job pitting itself against the high-end of Intel's processor market.

Intel Core i7-7700K - Amazon.com - $287

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I would have liked to recommend the Core i7-8700K with its additional core count and clock speed, but the truth is, you just can't find it for a reasonable price. It's out of stock at Amazon and Newegg is selling it for over $400. On the other hand, this 7700K has come down in price by $40-70 depending on sales and still offers a great experience for gamers and enthusiasts. In fact, it is again listed as the "#1 selling" processor on Amazon - kind of a surprise!

AMD Ryzen 7 1700 - Amazon.com - $269

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Priced similarly to the 7700K, the Ryzen 7 1700 will be slower in single threaded taskes but has 8-cores (versus 4-cores for the 7700K) and thus will outperform in multi-threaded workloads. 

Continue reading our holiday gift guide!!

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: HAVIT

Keeping a Low Profile

Havit is a Chinese company with a unique product for the enthusiast PC segment: the thinnest mechanical keyboard on the market at 22.5 mm. Their slim HV-KB395L keyboard offers real mechanical switching via Kailh low-profile blue switches, and full RGB lighting is thrown in for good measure. For a keyboard that retails for $79.99 this is certainly an interesting mix, but how in the world does low-profile mechanical feel? I will attempt to translate that experience into words (by… typing words).

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Specifications:

  • 104-key Mechanical Keyboard
  • Customizable RGB backlighting
  • Kailh PG1350 Low Profile Blue Switch
  • 3mm of total travel, 45g of operating force
  • N-Key Rollover
  • Detachable USB Cable
  • Weight: 0.57 kg
  • Dimensions: 43.6 x 12.6 x 2.25 cm

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First impressions of the keyboard are great, with nice packaging that cradles the keyboard in a carton inside the box. The keyboard itself feels quite premium, with a top panel that is actually metal - unusual for this price-point.

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Continue reading our review of the HAVIT HV-KB395L RGB mechanical keyboard!

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Corsair

Is this the new budget champion?

True to their name, Corsair’s new HS50 STEREO gaming headsets offer traditional 2-channel sound from a similarly traditional headphone design. These are certainly ready for gaming with a detachable microphone and universal compatibility with both PCs and consoles, and budget friendly with an MSRP of only $49.99. How do they stack up? Let’s find out!

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Specifications:

  • Driver: 50mm Neodymium
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohms @ 1kHz
  • Sensitivity: 111 dB (± 3 dB)
  • Mic Type: Unidirectional noise-cancelling
  • Mic Impedance: 2.0k Ohms
  • Mic Frequency: Response 100Hz – 10kHz
  • Mic Sensitivity: -40 dB (± 3 dB)
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 160 x 100 x 205 mm
  • Weight: 319g
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Available Colors: Carbon, Green, Blue

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Nothing about these say “budget” when you look at the packaging and first unbox them, and they have a substantial feel to them like a pair of premium headphones - not at all like an inexpensive gaming headset.

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Continue reading our review of the Corsair HS50 STEREO gaming headset!

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Iceberg Interactive

A quiet facade

Iceberg Interactive, whom you may know from games like Killing Floor or the Stardrive series have released a new strategy game called Oriental Empires, and happened to send me a copy to try out.

On initial inspection it resembles recent Civilization games but with a more focused design as you take on a tribe in ancient China and attempt to become Emperor, or at least make your neighbours sorry that they ever met you.  Until you have been through 120 turns of the Grand Campaign you cannot access many of the tribes; not a bad thing as that first game is your tutorial.  Apart from an advisor popping up during turns or events, the game does not hold your hand and instead lets you figure out the game on your own.

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That minimalist ideal is featured throughout the entire game, offering one of the cleanest interfaces I've seen in a game.  All of the information you need to maintain and grow your empire is contained in a tiny percentage of the screen or in a handful of in game menus.  This plays well as the terrain and look of the campaign map is quite striking and varies noticeably with the season.

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Spring features cherry blossom trees as well as the occasional flooding.

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Summer is a busy season for your workers and perhaps your armies.

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Fall colours indicate the coming of winter and snow.

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Which also shrouds the peaks in fog.  The atmosphere thus created is quite relaxing, somewhat at odds with many 4X games and perhaps the most interesting thing about this game.

In these screenshots you can see the entire GUI that gives you the information you need to play.  The upper right shows your turn, income and occaisonally a helpful advsor offering suggestions.  Below that you will find a banner that toggles between displaying three lists.  The first is of your cites and their current build queues and population information, the second lists your armies compositions and if they currently have any orders while the last displays any events which effect your burgeoning empire.  The bottom shows your leader and his authority which, among other things, indicates the number of cities you can support without expecting quickly increasing unrest. 

The right hand side lets you bring up the only other five menus which you use in this game.  From top to bottom they offer you diplomacy, technology, Imperial edicts you can or have applied to your Empire, player statistics to let you know how you are faring and the last offering detailed statistics of your empire and those competing tribes you have met.

Next, a bit about the gameplay mechanics.

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Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: YouTube

YouTube TV for NVIDIA SHIELD

When YouTube TV first launched earlier this year, it had one huge factor in its favor compared to competing subscription streaming services: local channels. The service wasn't available everywhere, but in the markets where it was available, users were able to receive all of their major local networks. This factor, combined with its relatively low subscription price of $35 per month, immediately made YouTube TV one of the best streaming options, but it also had a downside: device support.

At launch YouTube TV was only available via the Chrome browser, iOS and Android, and newer Chromecast devices. There were no native apps for popular media devices like the Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or Apple TV. But perhaps the most surprising omission was support for Android TV via devices like the NVIDIA SHIELD. Most of the PC Perspective staff personally use the SHIELD due to its raw power and capabilities, and the lack of YouTube TV support on Google's own media platform was disappointing.

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Thankfully, Google recently addressed this omission and has finally brought a native YouTube TV app to the SHIELD with the SHIELD TV 6.1 Update.

Check out our overview of the YouTube TV on SHIELD experience.

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Manufacturer: Intel

Overview and CPU Performance

When Intel announced their quad-core mobile 8th Generation Core processors in August, I was immediately interested. As a user who gravitates towards "Ultrabook" form-factor notebooks, it seemed like a no-brainer—gaining two additional CPU cores with no power draw increase.

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However, the hardware reviewer in me was skeptical. Could this "Kaby Lake Refresh" CPU provide the headroom to fit two more physical cores on a die while maintaining the same 15W TDP? Would this mean that the processor fans would have to run out of control? What about battery life?

Now that we have our hands on our first two notebooks with the i7-8550U in, it's time to take a more in-depth look at Intel's first mobile offerings of the 8th Generation Core family.

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Click here to continue reading our look at performance with Intel 8th Generation mobile processors!

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Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Marseille

Overview

When we first saw product page for the Marseille mCable Gaming Edition, a wave of skepticism waved across the PC Perspective offices. Initially, an HDMI cable that claims to improve image quality while gaming sounds like the snake oil that "audiophile" companies like AudioQuest have been peddling for years. 

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However, looking into some of the more technical details offered by Marseille, their claims seemed to be more and more likely. By using a signal processor embedded inside the HDMI connector itself, Marseille appears to be manipulating the video signal to improve quality in ways applicable to gaming. Specifically, their claim of Anti-Aliasing on all video signals has us interested.

So for curiosities sake, we ordered the $150 mCable Gaming Edition and started to do some experimentation.

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Even from the initial unboxing, there are some unique aspects to the mCable. First, you might notice that the connectors are labeled with "Source" and "TV." Since the mCable has a signal processor in it, this distinction which is normally meaningless starts to matter a great deal.

Similarly, on the "TV" side, there is a USB cable used to power the signal processing chip. Marseille claims that most modern TV's with USB connections will be able to power the mCable.

While a lot of Marseilles marketing materials are based on upgrading the visual fidelity of console games that don't have adjustable image quality settings, we decided to place our aim on a market segment we are intimately familiar with—PC Gaming. Since we could selectively turn off Anti-Aliasing in a given game, and PC games usually implement several types of AA, it seemed like the most interesting testing methodology. 

Continue reading our look at the new Marseille mCable Gaming Edition!!

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: HyperX

A Tale of Two Form-Factors

HyperX (a division of Kingston) entered the mechanical keyboard market a year ago with the Alloy series, which began as a pair of 104-key designs with the Alloy Elite and Alloy FPS. Both keyboards feature Cherry MX keys, with the FPS sporting a minimalist design with a compact frame to save room on a desk. Now a TKL version of the FPS has arrived - the FPS Pro - to compliment the 104-key version already at the PC Perspective offices, and in this review we will test out both versions of this gaming keyboard.

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Both keyboards feature adjustable red backlighting

Features from HyperX for the Alloy FPS:

  • Compact design frees desktop space — waste less time reorienting the mouse
  • Solid-steel frame for stability, giving you supreme confidence in your controls
  • Ultra-portable design with detachable cable is great for LAN parties and tournaments
  • Cherry MX mechanical keys for tactile feedback and reliable keypresses
  • Convenient USB charge port allows you to charge other devices
  • Game mode, 100-percent Anti-Ghosting and full N-key rollover features ensure your inputs are correct
  • HyperX red backlit keys with customizable, dynamic lighting functions
  • Additional colored, textured keycaps spotlight the most important keys

Now take virtually the same feature list (minus the additional keycaps) and subtract the number pad, and you have the Alloy FPS Pro, an “ultra-minimalistic tenkeyless design ideal for FPS pros”, according to HyperX. This reduction in size and number of keys is accompanied by a reduction in price, and the Alloy FPS Pro will be 20% less expensive than the 104-key FPS when it launches in late August. How do these mechanical keyboards stack up? Read on for our full review!

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Continue reading our review of the HyperX Alloy FPS and FPS Pro mechanical gaming keyboards!

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Clutch Chairz

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Clutch Chairz

The Throttle Series Gaming Chair is the king of Clutch Chairz gaming line, hosting the largest chairs in the cornucopia of offerings. The Throttle Series chairs are built to accommodate what I like to refer to as "normal-sized" gamers, being those of us more weathered enthusiasts in our 30-to-40 somethings with kids at various states of schooling. The series is built with larger profile seats and seat backs to better accommodate "normal-sized" people with its steel skeleton covered in soft leather and memory foam for premium comfort. That premium comfort comes with a premium price with the Throttle Series Gaming Chair MSRP coming in at $469.99.

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Courtesy of Clutch Chairz

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Courtesy of Clutch Chairz

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Courtesy of Clutch Chairz

As shown in the pics, the Throttle Series chair comes with two support pillows, an upper pillow with straps for neck support and a lower large pillow for lumbar support. Both support pillows are made from the same memory foam material as the chair. The chair itself has an adjustable seat back that goes between 90 and 180 degrees, as well as allowing for rocking without fear of tipping. Its armrests are adjustable in 4 dimensions and the seat can be height adjusted as well. From the detailed dimensions shown (all in mm), you get a better picture of just how large a Throttle Series chair is and the superb upper limits it can support.

Continue reading our review of the Clutch Chairz Throttle Series Gaming Chair!

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction and Specifications

Corsair has released a premium version of their VOID headset with the VOID PRO family, which includes wired and wireless option boasting major improvements to the previous designs.

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“We made it better. Building upon the success of CORSAIR’s VOID series of headsets, VOID PRO features various significant enhancements across comfort, sound, mic quality and wireless performance designed to provide an even better gaming experience. VOID PRO resets the bar and delivers best-in-class performance.“

Surely, every major segment of the PC accessory market has reached saturation at this point, with the gaming headset market one of the most crowded. Companies need to offer more than just style and value to differentiate at the high end, with sound quality - including the microphone - now beginning to get some much-needed attention.

At times, aggressive styling and an apparent obsession with low bass seemed to dominate design choices, but a more balanced and accurate sound provides the kind of fidelity that can transform gaming and entertainment into a truly immersive experience. So, can Corsair match the improvements of such competitors as Logitech and provide a more premium sonic experience? We will find out!

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Continue reading our review of the Corsair VOID PRO RGB Wireless SE gaming headset!

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Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Logitech

Logitech Powerplay Wireless Charging System

Logitech was the first company to introduce a commercially available wireless mouse, way back in 1991. Since then, the company and its competitors have evolved the concept to the point where most of the technology's downsides have been addressed, even for some of the most demanding users. But despite significant improvements over the past few years, the one advantage that traditional wired mice have continued to hold over their wireless counterparts is power.

Absent technical issues, a wired mouse will always be ready to work when you sit down at your PC. It will never give up and quit on you in the middle of a gaming session or business presentation. Wireless mice, conversely, rely on batteries with limited running time. The batteries in modern wireless mice can last weeks, even months in some cases, but at some point they'll need to be recharged or replaced. Depending on the situation, it might not be a big deal to simply plug in the USB charging cable or swap batteries when your mouse dies, but it's a safe bet that most wireless mouse users have been caught without adequate battery life at a highly inconvenient time at least once.

The obvious solution to this issue is wireless charging. The technology is already commercially available for devices like smartphones and smart watches, and for years we've been promised more ambitious solutions, such as desks that charge all of your devices at once. But there's a difference between the type of wireless charging products that have been on the market for the past few years and the type of product that would be ideal for your mouse. In other words, it's easier to design and implement a small wireless charging system that accommodates a stationary object (your smartphone) than it is to create an adequately sized mousing surface that can charge an often rapidly moving device.

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But that's exactly the challenge that Logitech decided to address, and the result of their efforts is the Powerplay, the world's first consumer-targeted wireless charging system for mice. When paired with compatible Logitech devices, the Powerplay system offers a low latency "Lightspeed" experience for both gaming and everyday productivity, and it's the first step into a world where users may never need to worry about charging their mouse.

Continue reading our review of the Logitech Powerplay Wireless Charging System!

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Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Fanatec

Dropping Price Points for Wider Appeal

Fanatec needs little introduction for anyone that has seriously considered racing wheel and the corresponding components.  It is a German based company that produces high quality and authentic feeling gear for PC and console racers.  Their ClubSport products are their top end models which also commands a top level price.  Solid construction, high quality materials, and sharp looking designs have defined the company since its inception.

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Fanatec always features a classy design. The first portion of the 4-flap saying is on the top. Otherwise, a bit confusing if you didn't know that...

Last year I was given the chance to test out some of the latest, and highest end, Fanatec gear.  The ClubSport V2 base and pedals were fantastic performers.  The build quality, fit and finish, and functionality were all superior to anything that I had used before.  The unfortunate part of the setup was the corresponding price.  These parts were not inexpensive.  Thankfully, most people who are familiar with Fanatec know that they cater to a more discerning crowd where price constraints are not the driving factor for this gear.  Even though these parts are expensive, they are still far less than the direct-drive counterparts that typically cost two to three times more.

Like any company, Fanatec is looking to expand and attract new users.  Their biggest hurdle with the ClubSport series is obviously price.  To attract new customers Fanatec introduced a new, more cost effective design that provides much the same experience as the higher end ClubSport series, but at a more reasonable price tag.  The CSL Elite series (ClubSport Lite) is aimed to address this area with more reasonably priced units that promise the same build quality and attention to detail as the higher end products in the ClubSport realm.  Costs were cut throughout, but Fanatec hopes that the overall product will provide much the same gaming experience as their higher end products.

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The packing is always well designed and copious when it comes to materials.

Click here to read the entire review on Fanatec's CSL Elite Products!

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: ZALMAN

A Premium Mechanical Option Under $100

In the past year or two we have seen a number of sub-$100 mechanical gaming keyboards on the market, and several of these have passed through our hands here at the PC Perspective offices. The latest of these to garner our attention is the ZALMAN ZM-K900M, a premium gaming design featuring RGB lighting effects and Kailh Blue key switches, along with a 1000 Hz polling rate and full N-key rollover. It currently retails for $89.99, though it can be found for as little as $79.99 (currently, at least) with a little googling. How impressive is it in person? Read on to find out!

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The ZM-K900M offers a variety of RGB effects

The ZM-K900M certainly checks the right boxes as a gaming keyboard, with the above-mentioned 1000 Hz polling rate (which ZALMAN calls 'Z-Engine') and customizable RGB lighting, supports simulanious key presses for the full 104 keys, and offers programmable macro keys. All of the keyboard features are controlled via hot keys on the ZM-K900M itself, eliminating the need for software.

“The ZM-K900M requires no software installation and is universally compatible with any operating system. The macros automatically remember the time interval between the inputs and run exactly as you typed. The keyboard stores the data inside the keyboard so you can instantly run your macros on any computer.”


Features and specifications from ZALMAN:

  • Simple and minimal design
  • Equipped with Z-Engine
  • Supports USB and PS/2 connection
  • Intelligent hardware macro with option to add mouse clicks
  • Multimedia hotkeys
  • 4-stage macro speed adjustment
  • 6-key and N-Key rollover
  • Option to lock Windows key or entire keyboard
  • High quality laser-etched keycaps

Specifications:

  • Model: ZM-K900M
  • Keyboard Layout: 104-key
  • Key Switch: Kailh Blue mechanical key switch
  • Keyboard Matrix: USB & PS/2 N key rollover (anti-ghost function)
  • Key cap type: Step Sculpture 2
  • Interface: USB
  • Cable length: 5.6 ft
  • Dimensions: 17.32 x 5.51 x 1.34 inches, 2.75 lbs

Continue reading our review of the ZALMAN ZM-K900M RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard!

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Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: SILVIA

Intelligent Gaming

Kal Simpson recently had the chance to sit down and have an extensive interview with SILVIA's Chief Product Officer - Cognitive Code, Alex Mayberry.  SILVIA is a company that specializes on conversational AI that can be adapted to a variety of platforms and applications.  Kal's comments are in bold while Alex's are in italics.

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Always good to speak with you Alex. Whether it's the latest Triple-A video game release or the progress being made in changing the way we play, virtual reality for instance – your views and developments within the gaming space as a whole remains impressive. Before we begin, I’d like to give the audience a brief flashback of your career history. Prominent within the video game industry you’ve been involved with many, many titles – primarily within the PC gaming space. Quake 2: The Reckoning, America’s Army, a plethora of World of Warcraft titles.

Those more familiar with your work know you as the lead game producer for Diablo 3 / Reaper of Souls, as well as the executive producer for Star Citizen. The former of which we spoke on during the release of the game for PC, PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, back in 2014.

So I ask, given your huge involvement with some of the most popular titles, what sparked your interest within the development of intelligent computing platforms? No-doubt the technology can be adapted to applications within gaming, but what’s the initial factor that drove you to Cognitive Code – the SILVIA technology?

AM: Conversational intelligence was something that I had never even thought about in terms of game development. My experience arguing with my Xbox and trying to get it to change my television channel left me pretty sceptical about the technology. But after leaving Star Citizen, my paths crossed with Leslie Spring, the CEO and Founder of Cognitive Code, and the creator of the SILVIA platform. Initially, Leslie was helping me out with some engineering work on VR projects I was spinning up. After collaborating for a bit, he introduced me to his AI, and I became intrigued by it. Although I was still very focused on VR at the time, my mind kept drifting to SILVIA.

I kept pestering Leslie with questions about the technology, and he continued to share some of the things that it could do. It was when I saw one of his game engine demos showing off a sci-fi world with freely conversant robots that the light went on in my head, and I suddenly got way more interested in artificial intelligence. At the same time, I was discovering challenges in VR that needed solutions. Not having a keyboard in VR creates an obstacle for capturing user input, and floating text in your field of view is really detrimental to the immersion of the experience. Also, when you have life-size characters in VR, you naturally want to speak to them. This is when I got interested in using SILVIA to introduce an entirely new mechanic to gaming and interactive entertainment. No more do we have to rely on conversation trees and scripted responses.

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No more do we have to read a wall of text from a quest giver. With this technology, we can have a realistic and free-form conversation with our game characters, and speak to them as if they are alive. This is such a powerful tool for interactive storytelling, and it will allow us to breathe life into virtual characters in a way that’s never before been possible. Seeing the opportunity in front of me, I joined up with Cognitive Code and have spent the last 18 months exploring how to design conversationally intelligent avatars. And I’ve been having a blast doing it.

Click here to continue reading the entire interview!

Author:
Manufacturer: ASUS

Overview

To say that the consumer wired networking market has stagnated has been an understatement. While we've seen generational improvements on NICs from companies like Intel, and companies like Rivet trying to add their own unique spin on things with their Killer products, the basic idea has remained mostly unchanged.

And for its time, Gigabit networking was an amazing thing. In the era of hard drive-based storage as your only option, 100 MB/s seemed like a great data transfer speed for your home network — who could want more?

Now that we've moved well into the era of flash-based storage technologies capable of upwards of 3 GB/s transfer speeds, and even high capacity hard drives hitting the 200 MB/s category, Gigabit networking is a frustrating bottleneck when trying to move files from PC to PC.

For the enterprise market, there has been a solution to this for a long time. 10 Gigabit networking has been available in enterprise equipment for over 10 years, and even old news with even faster specifications like 40 and 100 Gbps interfaces available.

So why then are consumers mostly stuck at 1Gbps? As is the case with most enterprise technologies, the cost for 10 Gigabit equipment is still at a high premium compared to it's slower sibling. In fact, we've only just started to see enterprise-level 10 Gigabit NICs integrated on consumer motherboards, like the ASUS X99-E 10G WS at a staggering $650 price point.

However, there is hope. Companies like Aquantia are starting to aggressively push down the price point of 10 Gigabit networking, which brings us to the product we are taking a look at today — the ASUS XG-C100C 10 Gigabit Network Adapter.

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Continue reading about the ASUS XG-C100C 10GigE add-in card!

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Manufacturer: Sapphire

Overview

There has been a lot of news lately about the release of Cryptocurrency-specific graphics cards from both NVIDIA and AMD add-in board partners. While we covered the currently cryptomining phenomenon in an earlier article, today we are taking a look at one of these cards geared towards miners.

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It's worth noting that I purchased this card myself from Newegg, and neither AMD or Sapphire are involved in this article. I saw this card pop up on Newegg a few days ago, and my curiosity got the best of me.

There has been a lot of speculation, and little official information from vendors about what these mining cards will actually entail.

From the outward appearance, it is virtually impossible to distinguish this "new" RX 470 from the previous Sapphire Nitro+ RX 470, besides the lack of additional display outputs beyond the DVI connection. Even the branding and labels on the card identify it as a Nitro+ RX 470.

In order to test the hashing rates of this GPU, we are using Claymore's Dual Miner Version 9.6 (mining Ethereum only) against a reference design RX 470, also from Sapphire.

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On the reference RX 470 out of the box, we hit rates of about 21.8 MH/s while mining Ethereum. 

Once we moved to the Sapphire mining card, we move up to at least 24 MH/s from the start.

Continue reading about the Sapphire Radeon RX 470 Mining Edition!

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Logitech

Introduction and Specifications

Logitech has been releasing gaming headphones with a steady regularity of late, and this summer we have another new model to examine in the G433 Gaming Headset, which has just been released (along with the G233). This wired, 7.1-channel capable headset is quite different visually from previous Logitech models as is finished with an interesting “lightweight, hydrophobic fabric shell” and offered in various colors (our review pair is a bright red). But the G433’s have function to go along with the style, as Logitech has focused on both digital and analog sound quality with this third model to incorporate the Logitech’s Pro-G drivers. How do they sound? We’ll find out!

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One of the main reasons to consider a gaming headset like this in the first place is the ability to take advantage of multi-channel surround sound from your PC, and with the G433’s (as with the previously reviewed G533) this is accomplished via DTS Headphone:X, a technology which in my experience is capable of producing a convincing sound field that is very close to that of multiple surround drivers. All of this is being created via the same pair of left/right drivers that handle music, and here Logitech is able to boast of some very impressive engineering that produced the Pro-G driver introduced two years ago. An included DAC/headphone amp interfaces with your PC via USB to drive the surround experience, and without this you still have a standard stereo headset that can connect to anything with a 3.5 mm jack.

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The G433 is available in four colors, of which we have the red on hand today

If you have not read up on Logitech’s exclusive Pro-G driver, you will find in their description far more similarities to an audiophile headphone company than what we typically associate with a computer peripheral maker. Logitech explains the thinking behind the technology:

“The intent of the Pro-G driver design innovation is to minimize distortion that commonly occurs in headphone drivers. When producing lower frequencies (<1kHz), most speaker diaphragms operate as a solid mass, like a piston in an engine, without bending. When producing many different frequencies at the same time, traditional driver designs can experience distortion caused by different parts of the diaphragm bending when other parts are not. This distortion caused by rapid transition in the speaker material can be tuned and minimized by combining a more flexible material with a specially designed acoustic enclosure. We designed the hybrid-mesh material for the Pro-G driver, along with a unique speaker housing design, to allow for a more smooth transition of movement resulting in a more accurate and less distorted output. This design also yields a more efficient speaker due to less overall output loss due to distortion. The result is an extremely accurate and clear sounding audio experience putting the gamer closer to the original audio of the source material.”

Logitech’s claims about the Pro-G have, in my experience with the previous models featuring these drivers (G633/G933 Artemis Spectrum and G533 Wireless), have been spot on, and I have found them to produce a clarity and detail that rivals ‘audiophile’ stereo headphones.

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Continue reading our review of the Logitech G433 7.1 Wired Surround Gaming Headset!