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Here a roundup of today's reviews and articles:

Alienware Alpha Intel-Powered SFF Gaming PC: Consoles Beware
AMD FX-8320E Performance On Linux
Aorus Thunder K7 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review
ASUS Z97 Pro Gamer Review
CM Storm Quickfire Ultimate Mechanical Keyboard Review
Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666 16GB Memory Kit Review
CyberpowerPC SYBER GAMING VAPOR A
Gigabyte BRIX S BXi5H-5200 Review
In Win D-Frame Mini Case Review – The Coolest Lanbox on The Block
Kingston HyperX Cloud II Review
Luxa2 GroovyW Bluetooth Speaker Review – A Speaker & Wireless Charging Station!
Make Windows look like Mac OS X tutorial
MSI Z97 GAMING 9 AC (Intel LGA 1150)
Nvidia: the GeForce GTX 970 works exactly as intended
Plextor M6e Black Edition SSD Review (256GB) - Back in Black
Speedlink Parthica Gaming Keyboard Review
Tenda AV1000 Gigabit Powerline Adapter Review
Thecus N4560 4 Bay NAS



Alienware Alpha Intel-Powered SFF Gaming PC: Consoles Beware

Valve’s Steam Machine was all the rage at CES 2014 in Las Vegas, but as we enter 2015, the SteamOS gaming platform (and Valve’s tantalizing Steam Controller) are still works in progress. SteamOS hasn’t been written off, but Dell, which was one of the first PC makers to build a custom console-sized system for SteamOS, isn’t waiting around. Its Alienware gaming brand launched the Alienware Alpha, which is meant to be your next (or your first) living room gaming PC.

The Alienware Alpha plugs the holes left by Valve with Microsoft hardware and software and a simple 10-ft UI developed in house. Instead of shipping with a Steam Controller, for example, the Alpha features an Xbox 360 wireless controller. The 10-foot user interface, which would have been handled by SteamOS, comes courtesy of Dell’s custom Alpha UI...

http://hothardware.us3.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=efc4c507c2cf964fc2462caca&id=e3564bd236&e=0c004f9c13]Read full article @ HotHardware.com[/url]

AMD FX-8320E Performance On Linux

Back in September AMD announced new FX CPUs that included the FX-8370, FX-8370E, and FX-8320E. Back then we reviewed the FX-8370/FX-8370E CPUs under Linux but at the time didn't have our hands on the more affordable FX-8320E processor. In December AMD sent over the FX-8320E and so for the past few weeks I've been happily using this new Vishera CPU.

Like the FX-8370 CPUs and the other FX CPU launches of 2014, the FX-8320E isn't based on the Steamroller architecture but is another Vishera processor based on the Piledriver architecture. The FX-8320E is an eight core package with a TDP of 95 Watts, down from 125 Watts on the non-E FX-8320. The FX-8320E is clocked at 3.2GHz with a 4GHz max frequency and supports DDR3-1866MHz memory.

Read full article @ Phoronix

Aorus Thunder K7 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review

What do you look for in a keyboard? Do you look for items such as mechanical switches, dedicated macro keys, and LED backlighting? Do you want silent
keys or loud keys? There are plenty of keyboards on the market with more features than you can shake a stick at. Some are useful, while others are
gimmicky. The Aorus Thunder K7 … Read more.

Read full article @ Modders-Inc

ASUS Z97 Pro Gamer Review

A gaming motherboard distilled to the essentials and with a price to match. Intel's release of the Pentium G3258 Anniversary Edition processor was a significant move by the company, marking a shift in focus to more affordable market segments. Enthusiasts and gamers alike can now build overclockable systems for a fraction of the previous starting price when a Core i5 was the minimum baseline.

With an MSRP of £55 ($70) the Pentium G3258 requires motherboards that are also aggressively priced, but Intel still wants consumers to use the Z97 chipset to access overclocking functionality. Thus the Anniversary Edition launch spurred a new wave of motherboards from vendors designed to target Pentium G3258 users, and the ASUS Z97 Pro Gamer is one of those boards.

At just over £100 in the UK the ASUS Z97 Pro Gamer joins a fiercely-contested market segment. Every other major vendor has a gaming motherboard at this price point: ASRock has its Fatal1ty Z97X Killer, Gigabyte has the Z97X-Gaming 5 and MSI pushes the Z97 Gaming 5.

Read full article @ Hexus

CM Storm Quickfire Ultimate Mechanical Keyboard Review

There's no shortage of gaming keyboard on the market, but one brand in particular has always stood out for me personally, Cooler Master. They've proven time and time again that they can make a great keyboard, with excellent performance and some of the best build quality in the business, which is why I was eager to test out their very popular Quickfire Ultimate. It's no secret that this keyboard has been on the market for a while now, but it's still a big seller for Cooler Master and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about; although given their past successes in our reviews, I have a pretty good idea.

The Quickfire Ultimate is available in a range of Cherry MX switches and LED backlighting configurations. The model at my disposal today is the Cherry MX-Brown with Red LED backlighting (SGK-4011-GKCM1). Cherry switches are world renowned for their exceptional performance and build quality, so we can expect the same high performance from them as you would in any other Cherry equipped mechanical keyboard. The keyboard packs a few interesting bonus features too, such as the 1000 Hz/1ms polling rate, full N-key rollover, high quality ABS key caps, a rubber grip coated chassis, multimedia control keys (via F-shift), Winlock and a removable braided cable.

Read full article @ eTeknix

Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666 16GB Memory Kit Review

So far we have taken a look at two different DDR4 kits from Crucial. Up first we had their JEDEC kit, which ran at the DDR4 default speed of 2133 MHz. The next kit we got our hands on was the Ballistix Sport kit that had some nice heatspreaders and ran at 2400 MHz. Now we are ready for Crucial’s top of the line DDR4 kit, which is the Ballistix Elite. The new Ballistix Elite DDR4 memory features a completely redesigned heatspreader from the DDR3 version and speeds that start at 2666 MHz. Today we are going to be taking a look at the BLE4K4G4D26AFEA kit. This kit runs at speeds of 2666 MHz with timings of 16-17-17-36 at 1.2V. Being that this is Crucial’s most high-end kit we expect it to perform pretty well. Let’s see what they can do!

Read full article @ ThinkComputers.org

CyberpowerPC SYBER GAMING VAPOR A

PC Gaming may be strong and growing but so are consoles and that is due to the simplicity of plug and play. A console you plug it in, maybe wait for a few updates and you are off to the races. PCs require installing of games, updates navigating windows and countless other steps including configuring graphics before you can start to enjoy your games. This is one of the big difference between console and PC adoption aside from cost of course which make users shy toward the easier to use consoles and this is largely due to UI or user interface. PC you deal with windows whereas consoles you just enter the game from a dashboard. Now things like SteamOS have gone a long way in trying to bridge that gap but it is very far from ideal at the moment so companies like Cyberpower in an attempt to create an optimal user experience has branched out and created a new brand named Syber, which as of now offers the new VAPOR series of PCs which are very close in appearance to consoles and are aimed at grabbing up market share from the limited consoles with a fully functioning PC that can be upgraded and in many cases easily out gun consoles while offering a similar plug and play experience.

Read full article @ Bjorn3D

Gigabyte BRIX S BXi5H-5200 Review

There are three models in the range of BRIX S Mini-PC barebones that use the new Broadwell-U processor. These offer a choice of 5-series Core -3, -5 or -7. These are all dual core processors with Hyper Threading so while it sounds like a big difference these three models are only separated by clock speed.

Read full article @ KitGuru

In Win D-Frame Mini Case Review – The Coolest Lanbox on The Block

Over the past few years In Win has established a reputation for making some of the most well built cases available. With entries such as the 904, the S-Frame and the original D-Frame, which like most In Win cases, was very well built! It had sharp lines and had craftsmanship that is unheard of from most other chassis manufacturers.

Today we have newest addition to In Win’s lineup the D-Frame Mini which is a smaller mini-ITX version of the original and lighter on your wallet. The D-Frame Mini is retailing at $290 at time of writing.

Can it measure up to its bigger brother? Lets find out!

Read full article @ TechnologyX

Kingston HyperX Cloud II Review

In the summer of 2014, Kingston's HyperX team released their rebranded QPad QH-90 headset called 'Cloud'. With a refreshed appearance, added details, finishing touches at an aggressive price point, it was well received and has become a firm favourite. Continuing on with its success, the HyperX team have announced the arrival of the Cloud II that is due to hit the stores on February 9th.

As the direct successor to the Cloud, some may question why it wasn't called the 'Cloud USB' or 'Cloud v7.1', though it comes more clear about the succession when you look at the fairly small yet important details. Aside from the extra £10-15 price tag and the a plug n' play advanced DSP (Digital Signal Processing) USB soundcard with auto echo noise cancelling and on the fly virtual 7.1 surround, the Cloud II also has a native 4 pole 3.5mm jack, allowing it to be compatible with the XBOX ONE, PS4 and mobiles without the need for extra adaptor cables. This will ease the multi-use scenario further expanding your gaming audio in every aspect.

Read full article @ Vortez

Luxa2 GroovyW Bluetooth Speaker Review – A Speaker & Wireless Charging Station!

One of the popular devices found within the iDevice section of CES 2015 this year was bluetooth speakers. Unfortunately, bluetooth speakers have gotten a bad-rap for being exactly what you pay for. Turns out, the only way for a company to truly flourish in this busy and competitive market is to revolutionize it: a high quality product with a low price tag. Well, that is exactly what Luxa2 has done with the Luxa2 GroovyW Bluetooth Speaker.

Read full article @ TechnologyX

Make Windows look like Mac OS X tutorial

Artsy people rejoice! Dedoimedo brings you an awesome tutorial, showing how to transform the Windows operating system to look like Mac OS X (Yosemite) using Skin Pack software, with additional wallpaper, theme, color, and icon tweaks and changes. Enjoy.

Read full article @ Dedoimedo

MSI Z97 GAMING 9 AC (Intel LGA 1150)

Another dragon flies ashore! MSI's "high-end" Intel Z97 motherboard, the MSI Z97 GAMING 9 AC, swoops down onto my testbench after a long trip to me. The MSI Z97 GAMING 9 AC is MSI's answer for the ultra-dollar gamer, but does it breathe fire or just puff smoke out its nose?

Read full article @ techPowerUp

Nvidia: the GeForce GTX 970 works exactly as intended

This weekend, Nvidia admitted there are some quirks in the GeForce GTX 970's memory config. Those revelations touched off quite a bit of speculation and concern. To clear the air, Nvidia Senior VP of Hardware Engineering Jonah Alben spoke with us yesterday evening. Alben's primary message to us was straightforward. He said the GTX 970 is "working exactly as we designed it."

How they designed it is... kinda weird but interesting. Read on for the gory details.

Read full article @ The Tech Report

Plextor M6e Black Edition SSD Review (256GB) - Back in Black

SATA 6Gb/s has been a bottleneck for SSDs over the past few years, utilizing multiple SSDs in RAID arrays has been best practice to overcome it. Plextor had seen this problem and originally released the M6e early last year in attempt to target the gamer market. While PCIe SSDs were not uncommon, their product is one of the only easy to boot M.2 PCIe SSDs out. There is no need of any special drivers, you just plug and play. By utilizing a PCIe 2.0 x2 connection, the M6e promises speeds that break past the SATA 6Gb/s barrier. Gamers and enthusiasts who wanted faster sequential performance now had a great option to buy.

However, while their target market is the gamer crowd, their product doesn’t reflect that aesthetically. As you can see in our review, the drive and adapter is made out of an OEM green PCB. It isn’t that flashy or cool to look at, put bluntly, it is just boring. Because of this, Plextor’s team decided to go back to the drawing board and create a new edition that reflected what gamers want in their rigs, something that looks cool and goes fast. At CES this year, Plextor unveiled their M6e Black Edition.

Read full article @ The SSD Review

Speedlink Parthica Gaming Keyboard Review

Speedlink may not be the first name you think of when picking a new gaming keyboard, but the brand has been providing a great range of gaming peripherals to the PC market for many years. They've produced some great products and some not so great, just like every other peripheral manufacturer, but one thing that they're consistent with is their value for money. It's no secret that Speedlink are somewhat of a budget brand, but while many of us would love nothing more than going out and spending £100+ on a flagship mechanical keyboard, the reality is that a lot of gamers are on a much tighter budget and generally want to get as many features as possible, without making a big investment.

Read full article @ eTeknix

Tenda AV1000 Gigabit Powerline Adapter Review

Setting up your home network can be a real hassle at times. You have the option of wireless signals, but that includes configurations as well as possible black-spots for the signal. Drilling holes through your walls might not be an option either, maybe because you rent and your landlord doesn't want you to. So what option do you got left, you ask? Easy, use your existing power lines to transfer the signal. The Tenda AV1000 Gigabit Powerline Adapter is such a solution, and today I'm taking a look at the Starter kit.

Read full article @ eTeknix

Thecus N4560 4 Bay NAS

Having had the opportunity to work and support home and small office environments, the necessity for things like redundancy, ease of access, and perhaps more importantly granularity of access are extremely obvious. Things that a NAS can provide, but rarely are invested in for one reason or another. The fear of cost or expertise often leads to that heart-breaking conversation where you relay the news that their presentation went up in flames with their failed hard drive, or early morning support calls due to permission issues. Thecus has several NAS offerings on the table, and we've had a look at a few of them. Today we'll sit down with the N4560, a NAS targeted for this very SOHO situation, in which Thecus hopes to address a few of the examples here and beyond.

Read full article @ LanOC Reviews