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ECS LIVA X Mini PC- Review

Introduction   Here we are at the beginning of a new year where we can start fresh on old habits, forgotten projects of days past, and new promises to self and others; it is all about moving forward. Last year ECS released a mini PC kit called LIVA. We were invited out to a press event in San Jose to discuss it and a few other products.  Article here.  The small black box PC was meant to be assembled before the end user installed their preferred OS. This wasn’t overly difficult for even a beginner but it may have intimidated some into looking for other solutions. LIVA had a decent amount of processing power, small footprint, built in Bluetooth/WiFi and was priced competitively. Overall it was a good first out for ECS. Now we have a new year and a fresh attempt to introduce Mini PCs to those with an imagination, limited space, HTPC or even digital signage. The LIVA X is an update to add features and correct some of the pitfalls found in the first iteration of the LIVA MINI PC. I have high hopes for the LIVA X so let’s see if it can replace my current full size HTPC solution.     ECS, the Elitegroup Computer Systems, was established in 1987, and almost 30 years of business. More than two decades, ECS has overcome a great deal of obstacles facing new businesses and has experienced the joy of significant growth and development. Her main focus has expanded to not only motherboards, but also desktop and notebook computers, graphics cards and other mo...



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GX Gaming SW-G2.1 2000 Gaming Speakers – Review

Audio has been a major component of gaming dating all the way back to Pong and Centipede. A good soundtrack and audio reproduction adds to the overall experience of any game just as a bad soundtrack or sub par reproduction can take away from that experience. Discrete sound cards, integrated audio chips, gaming headsets and complete speakers systems are some of the more common items discussed for delivery of gaming audio. Often you will find multiple solutions in a serious gamers tool box, A gaming headset for late night gaming sessions and a speaker solution for when free to play as loud as possible.



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Gigabyte Raptor Gaming Mouse

With the Raptor gaming mouse, Gigabyte is targeting a rather specific crowd in the gaming world: those who want a claw-style rodent. We don't see many of these, and the Raptor looks sleek and comes with a few interesting features. Not only is it a claw mouse, but it's also nearly ambidextrous. Interesting, to be sure. But will it alienate mainstream users, or zero in on those who want something special? Let's take a closer look at the Gigabyte Raptor gaming mouse and make the call.



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InWin D-Frame Mini mITX Case Review

Introduction Sometimes when you plan out your PC build, you want something that really stands out from the crowd. Price be damned, you want your rig to grab everyone’s attention in the extreme. To that end, there aren’t really a great deal of options out there that deviate much from the standard rectangular prism layout we’ve all come to expect. Things get even more limited when you start to discuss the prospect of an mITX system being the focus of the build; short of making something from scratch, your options get even more constricted. What’s a system builder to do?   If money is no object and you want opulence in the most functional way possible, InWin may have something that’s right up your alley. As of late they are most well known for their artful use of aluminum and tempered glass in cases like the S-Frame, the 901/904, and the D-Frame, and today I’m gonna take a look at the D-Frame’s little brother, the D-Frame Mini. Equipped with the same tubular aluminum and open-air design as its larger sibling, I’m going to see if this form factor does an mITX system any justice, and decide if the 300 dollar premium is really worth it in the end. I’d like to take a moment to share the InWin logo story straight from their website:  



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Phanteks Enthoo Mini XL

Introduction: Phanteks has moved to the top of our list as one of the premium manufacturers. Phanteks has been on the forefront as leader in the manufacturing of thermal solutions like high performance fans and air coolers. Phanteks this past year took the industry by surprise, when the company ventured into computer case manufacturing, by introducing for the very first time their award winning Phanteks Enthoo Primo full tower chassis. A chassis that was specifically designed for the computer enthusiast, and water-cooling aficionado. Today what better way than to start our New Year but to have the pleasure of reviewing the Phanteks Enthoo Mini XL and what looks to be a scaled down and smaller version of the acclaimed Enthoo Primo. The Phanteks Enthoo Mini XL sports many of its distinct features and designs, which includes multiple radiator support, modular HD cages, separate PSU area, and all aluminum look. The Phanteks Enthoo Mini XL is available in a satin black windowed version. Try imagining Primo, as it is anything but Mini, in a scaled down version, at a lower price. Without giving too much away the Phanteks Enthoo Mini XL features support for dual operating systems, and for its small size at 260 mm x 550 mm x 480 mm (W x H x D) 10.2in x 21.7in x 18.9in is anything but mini. In addition, these dimensions looks to be more of a mid-size form factor then a mini. The Phanteks Enthoo Mini XL sports a very spacious clean interior, making it very easy to build both air an...



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ThermalTake Core X2 Chassis Review

The new Core X series of cases looks to build on what was started in the Urban series of chassis, versatility, simplistic outward design and affordability. In this review we will see if Thermaltake continues its positive trend or stumbles as many others have during follow up launches.



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SilverStone Ultra-Quiet 140mm and 120mm PWM Fans Review

Introduction The quest for silence is an ultimate goal among the elite of computer enthusiasts. Some people take this quest to the extreme in having fanless computers, but even the slightest airflow can be inaudible while making a huge difference in temperatures. That’s exactly where SilverStone comes into the picture with their new series of Ultra-Quiet PWM fans. Rather than trying to break airflow records, these tools are designed to operate at a such a low level that you won’t be able to tell if they’re spinning unless you look at them. Before we take a closer look at the fans themselves, let’s take a quick glance at the company of SilverStone.



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Phanteks Enthoo Evolv Chassis Review

Introduction In the last few years, the PC chassis world has grown dramatically. With the large number of case makers jumping into the market, finding the right chassis has proven to be a tough job for some. However, while your options are pretty limitless with so many makers, sometimes it’s just about what options and quality they come with. So with that in mind, today we are going to be looking at a new chassis by reputable maker Phanteks. Phanteks has been known to produce some of today’s top performing air coolers while using some of the most unique and high quality designs. Phanteks joined the chassis market when it first announce the Phanteks Enthoo Primo. Since that case, they have quickly built a solid reputation on quality and attractive designs. Today we are going to bring you another Phanteks case with its own unique twist. Before we dive into the nitty gritty of the Phanteks Enthoo Evolv, let’s talk a little about Phanteks. About Phanteks “Phanteks was founded from a group of engineers with a total of 20 years of international experience in thermal solutions. They paired up with a Dutch design team and established Phanteks in 2007. Phanteks venture into the CPU cooling industry with two goals in mind, high-end quality and innovative products in thermal solutions. As a relatively young company, we strive to develop top quality and superior products. Our Phanteks Design Team is situated in the Netherlands and consists of creative researchers, ...



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Func MS-2 Gaming Mouse Review

The Func MS-2 brings solid features to the mainstream masses, sitting right in the midst of a highly competitive mouse market dominated by several very popular products, backed by industry stalwarts that have ruled the roost for quite some time. That may change, however, as the MS-2 looks to battle the competition with bold claims of better features and advanced ergonomics. Can the Func MS-2 capture our attention and live up to expectations? Let's find out.



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HyperX Predator DDR4 Memory Review (HX430C15PBK4/16)

Introduction The HyperX name has been part of Kingston Technologies for the last decade, but recently HyperX migrated into its own branding although still part of Kingston’s sub division. While the name or branding may be different, the company’s philosophy and product image hasn’t changed much. Today we have the chance to take a look at the HyperX Predator series DDR4 memory line. DDR4 memory launched with Intel’s recent X99 Chipset featuring lower voltage with higher native frequencies. It features a native speed of 2133MHz, which is really nothing to WOW about as we have seen these speeds with DDR3. However, with its newer JEDEC Culmination and Density, DDR4 memory components now provide better speeds and faster response while being more power efficient at the same time. The HyperX Predator memory we are going to be looking at today not only offers fast speeds of 3000MHz out of the box, but also offers the efficiency of lower voltage; we can see some great potential with additional performance once overclocked. We will be comparing results from Kingston’s (HyperX) previous line up from its DDR3 series to see if these claims line up.   Before we move forward, let’s read a bit about Kingston:   “Founded in 1987 with a single product offering, Kingston Technology now offers more than 2,000 memory products that support nearly every device that uses memory, from computers, servers and printers to MP3 players, digital cameras and ...



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SanDisk 64GB Ultra PLUS and Extreme SD Review

Today we're looking at the SanDisk Extreme 64GB and Ultra PLUS 64GB SD cards. In a hint of what's to come during testing, the speed results were a very pleasant surprise, despite what the labels might seem to indicate in terms of speed expectations. We'll discuss those differences as we take a closer look at what SanDisk has to offer with the latest high performance SD cards.



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Cougar 600M Gaming Mouse

Introduction: When it comes to sports, many of us are competitive. Whether it is Baseball, Ice Hockey, Racing, or whatever sport that you’re truly passionate about, one thing that is important when competing is not only being good at what you do, but also being better than the rest. Having the right equipment plays an important role and is sometimes crucial to help get into that winner’s circle. The right equipment can help take you from being a good competitor to a winner. This is also true when gaming on the PC because without great equipment to assist you, like a good gaming mouse and mechanical keyboard, you may end up as just another player. If you want recognition as a great player, and a winner, like most professional gamers, you are not likely to get there on skills alone. Therefore, this is where you turn to the latest technology and gear, to give yourself that extra edge to frag your opponents.   Today we have the pleasure of bringing you a device that might be just such an edge: The Cougar 600M Gaming Mouse. The 600M is COUGAR’s second attempt at producing another award-winning mouse following their acclaimed award-winning 700M. The Cougar 600M gaming mouse has been specially designed to suit gamers with a claw grip, but palm and fingertip grip users will find it very comfortable too. The COUGAR 600M has been designed with a clear objective to offer gamers a mouse with state of the art technology, plus all the features and software necess...



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Gamdias Hermes Ultimate Keyboard Review

Gamdias is a company that is likely not well known by many computer enthusiasts, except for perhaps some of the diehards in the crowd. In truth, Gamdias has only been around for a couple years, designing keyboards (and the company) from the ground up. The Gamdias Hermes Ultimate mechanical keyboard is a fully backlit mechanical board that caters to discerning consumers who want something unique,, offering some very innovative features and software, extensive macros, full N-Key rollover, backlit illumination, sound dampeners, and onboard memory. Let's have a closer look.



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Bitfenix Pandora Small Form Factor Case Review

The Bitfenix Pandora will handle all your needs as far as hardware compatabilty, plus Its a classy features will blend in with most any enviroment. Although we love the LED screen, we would like to see Bitfenix upgrade the LCD to show system information which would be much more paractical.



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Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD Review

We've seen some very impressive SSDs from Samsung in the recent past, as they've gone to considerable lengths to indeed push those boundaries, offering consumers something very special that can't be found elsewhere with other SSDs: RAPID Mode. Sounds like marketing jingo, we agree, but you'd be wrong to dismiss this one. RAPID Mode is unlike anything you've seen before, promising astonishing performance increases. Buckle up and let's take a closer look at the Samsung EVO 500GB and see just what this SSD can do.






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