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Here a roundup of today's reviews and articles:

ASUS STRIX 7.1 headset review
ASUS Z97 SaberTooth Mark S Motherboard Review
BeQuiet Pure Rock Heatsink Review
Corsair Gaming Sabre Optical RGB Gaming Mouse Review
Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4 16GB 2666MHz Memory Kit Review
iControl Networks Piper Smart Home Security System Review
Intel unveils its first Broadwell Core i7-powered NUC product
Internet of Things for DIY folks: littleBits Smart Home Kit Review
Some 840 EVOs still vulnerable to read speed slowdowns
Team Group M131 16GB Dual Flash Drive Review
Thermaltake Core V21 Micro-ATX Case Review
Windows 10 versus Linux



ASUS STRIX 7.1 headset review

Spacial positioning is very important for gamers. Knowing the exact location of other players can make the difference between winning and losing. Because of this many headset manufacturers add ‘virtual surround sound,’ via their back-end software. This is not good enough for ASUS who went ahead and upgraded its already well received headset to a full, actual surround sound system.

Featuring five drivers in each headphone – the STRIX 7.1 offers true 360 degree sound capabilities. Wherever your enemy is, you will know where they are. Additionally it comes with its own powered control hub, a noise cancelling microphone and glowing orange earcups.

The question is, is it worth the rather hefty price tag?

Read full article @ KitGuru

ASUS Z97 SaberTooth Mark S Motherboard Review

Today we'll review the ASUS Z97 SaberTooth Mark S Limited Edition motherboard, a motherboard with that wow-factor. The product is the Sabertooth TUF mark series, but in this round ASUS went the extra mile as they listened to the audience that wanted white gear. Well, for the ASUS Z97 SaberTooth Mark S Limited Edition that's the truth alright, an expensive white PCB, white heatsinks and covers next to all the standard goodies the product has to offer. The Z97 TUF inspired themed mainboard is intended for Intel's 22nm Haswell and Haswell refresh processors on that Socket LGA1150 platform. It is a mainstream to high-end segmented product among the ASUS Sabertooth series that comes with some nice features and very decent overclock potential.

As Matthew McConaughey would say, it's white alright alright alrighhhhht....

Intel released their series 9 chipsets, among them will be low-end and high-end desktop solutions. For the consumers and readers of Guru3D, H97 and Z97 will be the two most interesting ones. For the HTPC end of things H97 is the most appealing as tweaking options are stripped away with a lower price-tag. For the more hardcore gamers and PC aficionados, the Z97 is the most interesting. Z97 by itself as a chipset is nothing special. HOWEVER, we have plenty to look at as the motherboard manufacturers went totally nuts and started redesigning their motherboards, added new features and made them extraordinarily cool. TUF, short for The Ultimate Force - you know in the 2nd revision of the TUF motherboard series I figured, naah, that plastic shield is not going to work out. In the 3rd revision ASUS even left it out likely due to comments from the media. Just like the Z77/Z87 release, it's back though and in full effect as both the top and bottom side are now shielded. This is the Intel Z97 chipset based TUF (The Ultimate Force) motherboard from ASUS and yeah it's a handsome motherboard alright, if it's your taste of course. Z97 is the Intel chipset predominantly released for Haswell refresh based processors, generation 4 of the Core processors. The accompanying motherboards will have a slightly altered feature set. Next to processor support the changes for Z97 primarily can be found in more native USB 3.0 support and M.2. (albeit not present on the Sabertooth) as well as an upgrade towards PCIe gen 3 PCIe x16 slots and multiple SATA 6 Gbps ports. The Sabertooth Z97 now has a slightly altered designed set of Thermal Armor. If you wonder what that is, it is the heat plastic shield on top, meant to direct air flow and keep the motherboard's components protected and better cooled. Upgraded as well is a backplate that secures the board against bending and bowing when installing expansion.

Read full article @ Guru3D

BeQuiet Pure Rock Heatsink Review

On the test bench today we have BeQuiet's Pure Rock heatsink - a 155mm tall tower cooler built around four 6mm diameter copper heatpipes and paired with one of BeQuiet's 'Pure Wings 2' low noise 120mm fans.

Read full article @ Frostytech

Corsair Gaming Sabre Optical RGB Gaming Mouse Review

Corsair has already impressed us with their new RGB series products, which for the most part are revisions of previous models with a new lighting kit, but that's not the case today. The Sabre Optical does indeed feature the new RGB lighting technology, but it's also Corsair's first high-end optical sensor gaming mouse. It is also available in Laser, but it's the optical I'm most interested in.

Optical gaming mice are certainly gaining in popularity again and there are many great ones already available from the likes of Roccat, TteSports, Zowie and more; I'm really looking forward to finding out if the Corsair Sabre RGB has got what it takes to compete with them.

Read full article @ eTeknix

Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4 16GB 2666MHz Memory Kit Review

DDR4 memory isn't exactly mainstream just yet, but that isn't keeping the memory makers from releasing hundreds of memory kits to the market. There are over 200 memory modules listed online at Newegg, so there isn't a shortage of DDR4 memory modules online. Next week Crucial will be introducing the Ballistix Elite DDR4 series of memory modules (product website), which is the premium line for Crucial. Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4 memory modules start at 2666MHz to ensure users have improved responsiveness, increased frame rates, and optimized latencies....

Read full article @ Legit Reviews

iControl Networks Piper Smart Home Security System Review

Smart connected devices increase in number every day and although for most people these may not seem as something that could really improve their daily lives there are millions around the world who simply can't imagine how their lives would be without them. Personally i still recall the very first idea thrown in the beginning of the previous decade by one of the leading manufacturers of electrical appliances that one would soon be able to monitor and even control his refrigerator and air conditioning unit from a far using just his cellular phone (we didn't really have smartphones back then). Well fast forward just over a decade later and now there's a plethora of electrical appliances and electronic devices people can monitor and control via their smartphones so this really isn't something new. Security systems have also evolved to include smart functions so aside being able to monitor and control one such system from afar via your smartphone some manufacturers have taken things one step further by integrating everything into tiny packages that require zero installation and can be used by anyone. Today we will be testing one such system, the PIPER by iControl Networks.


Icontrol Networks’ vision is to provide a connected home solution for every household, so people worldwide spend less time managing their lives and more time living them. Icontrol is making the connected home a reality through its software platforms, which are deployed by home security companies and service providers, and the all-­?in-­?one Piper Home Awareness device for consumers. Icontrol is further pioneering the next generation of connected living through its OpenHome:tm: Partner Program, the first community for application and device makers to partner on a common platform. Venture investors in Icontrol include Charles River Ventures, the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers iFund, and Intel Capital, with strategic investments from a variety of service providers including ADT, Comcast Ventures, Comporium and Rogers Communications.


Security devices like the Piper are considered to be all-in-one since they combine a camera (usually with zoom/pan/tilt/night vision functionality), two way audio (microphone/speaker), integrated WiFi transmitter/receiver, micro SD card slot, and various environmental sensors. More specifically the Piper wears an 2MP (Megapixel) HD camera with zoom/pan/tilt functionality, 1080p Omnivision CMOS sensor, TI DaVinci ARM SoC with h.264 encoding, 128MB DDR2 RAM, 256MB flash memory, built-in microphone and speaker (two way audio), Marvell 802.11 b/g/n WiFi transmitter/receiver, Z-Wave wireless controller and 5 different environmental sensors (motion, temperature, humidity, passive infra-red motion sensor, 3-axis accelerometer). IControl Networks also manufactures several accessories for the Piper (controlled via the Z-Wave controller) such as a door/window sensor which notifies you whenever someone enters your home, micro smart switch which allows the Piper to control lights and appliances and finally power sockets which can also be used to turn on and off devices connected with them by the Piper wirelessly. So far the Piper sounds like the one device we all need but is that really so? Let's put it to the test and find out.

Read full article @ NikKTech

Intel unveils its first Broadwell Core i7-powered NUC product

Says the first i7 NUC will launch in Q2 this year. We first saw and heard about Intel's latest range of Broadwell powered NUC PCs at CES earlier this month. At the show Intel's John Deatherage briefly talked HEXUS through the new NUC range which includes, for the first time, a Core i7 based model. Now Intel has updated its website with details of the upcoming Broadwell (5th generation) based range. There are seven new NUC SKUs in total and you can read about them, their specifications and configuration here. Unfortunately the only model with its specs not fully fleshed out is the i7 version…

Read full article @ Hexus

Internet of Things for DIY folks: littleBits Smart Home Kit Review

Retrofitting an existing home with so-called "Internet of Things" gadgets isn’t cheap, but with the right tools you can hack cloud functionality into your dumb appliances. littleBits is an ever-growing library of small electronic modules that easily connect together. Created by Ayah Bdeir, it started as a tool to help designers incorporate electronics into the prototyping process. Today, it’s much more than that. Think of them as Legos for the iPad generation.

Read full article @ Techspot

Some 840 EVOs still vulnerable to read speed slowdowns

In October, Samsung patched its 840 EVO SSD to address a problem that caused slow read speeds with old data. Recent reports suggest the issue isn't completely fixed, and the results of our own testing agree.

Read full article @ The Tech Report

Team Group M131 16GB Dual Flash Drive Review

The limited storage in mobile devices can be a real problem just as the fact that a touchscreen rarely is the optimal input device. Both these things might be a thing of the past if you invest in a Team Group M131 Smart Dual Drive with OTG support that. I'm taking a closer look at 16GB model of just this drive today.

Whether you want to create a copy of the files you got on your mobile device onto a flash drive or just want to create backups, switch out content or extend the internal storage for a while, the M131 USB drive is here for you. You just slide the cover back and plug it into your OTG capable device.

Read full article @ eTeknix

Thermaltake Core V21 Micro-ATX Case Review

The Core series by Thermaltake launched with the E-ATX full tower Core V71 last year. Since then, Thermaltake has expanded into the mid-tower (V31, V41, V51) and mini-ITX (V1) form factors. The Core V21 that Benchmark Reviews will take a look at today rounds out Thermaltake’s lineup with their first micro-ATX Core offering. At first glance, the Core V21 shares many design similarities with the other Core chassis. As is true with many things in life, looks can be deceiving as the V21 is the first Core chassis to officially offer a multitude of motherboard orientations. While it arrives in stock format with a horizontal motherboard layout, it can be transformed in a matter of seconds to a traditional or inverted layout. We’ll see how this works as we build a system inside the Core V21 over the next few pages.

Read full article @ Benchmark Reviews

Windows 10 versus Linux

Windows 10 seemed to dominate the headlines today, even in many Linux circles. Leading the pack is Brian Fagioli at betanews.com saying Windows 10 is ringing the death knell for Linux desktops. Microsoft announced today that Windows 10 will be free for loyal Windows users and Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols said it's the newest Open Source company. Then Matt Hartley compares Windows 10 to Ubuntu and Jesse Smith reviews Windows 10 from a Linux user's perspective. Windows 10 was the talk around water coolers today with Microsoft's announcement that it would be free for Windows 7 and up users. Here in Linuxland, that didn't go unnoticed.

Read full article @ Ostatic