Due to Intel releasing new chipsets often a lot of people might think that the motherboard market has a big focus on Intel boards. As I have seen in the past on our forums, our Facebook, and even at our events there is still a large AMD following that is hungry for the latest and greatest to support their preferred vender as well. Well when looking to lock in a board for future AM3+ testing I ended up with the Asus Crosshair V Formula in my hands. Today I’m going to dig into it and see what makes it Asus’s flagship AMD board.

So the story behind todays review is that Weyman Kwong of WASD Keyboards and Jeff Atwood got together because they couldn’t find a simple and clean mechanical keyboard that they truly loved. I can see where they are coming from, as someone who has developed a love for Mechs over the years if you don’t like the gaming styling you really are limited to just a few keyboard. It gets even worse if you are like me and still like having backlighting. After working with WASD Keyboards on our Keyboard Customization article they offered to send over a Code keyboard to check out. I only had one problem, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to check out another TKL that I love for test bench and LAN use or if I would look at the Code as a potential replacement for my main keyboard where I need a full number pad. Lucky for me they completely understood and sent over one of each, giving me a chance to check out both and to check out both of the keyswitch options.

This fall I had the chance to take a look at two of the most popular Android phones on the market and compare how well each of them performed compared to each other. The response to that was overwhelmingly positive. So to follow up with that today I will be taking a look at another pair of flagship Android phones, this time the Droid Turbo and the latest version of the MotoX. While both phones have a lot of similarities, a lot of you might still be wondering which phone is best for you. Today I’m going to run through their features, performance, and find out if one or the other stands out from the crowd.

With such a wide variety of mice on the market we sometimes tend to focus just on what comes out from the largest of the manufactures. We sometimes forget that some of the companies that we now see as being large brands used to just be small up and coming brands. It’s nice to step back and check out what some of the other manufactures are doing. A great example of this is Cougar, just a few years ago they jumped into the fan market and we were very impressed with their offering. I’ve even seen some of their fans in use at our events. Well recently they jumped into the peripherals market and today I will be checking out their 700M gaming mouse to see if it has what it takes to stand out in a crowded market. 

I remember just over 5 years ago at CES was the first time I had ever seen a sealed water cooling system. At the time, it seemed a little crazy. How would it fit various PCs? What about maintenance? At that time the only real options were custom setups using parts designed for fish tanks. That company introduced their kit later on (Cool-It’s Domino), it had its share of problems, not to mention trying to convince people you weren’t crazy when you said you want to put water inside of their PC. Years later it feels like everyone has gotten into the market and those designs have improved year after year. Cooler Master for the last few years has been trying there hand at it. Today I have the chance to dig in check out their latest model, the Nepton 240M. They have had a few Nepton models before but this is the first 240mm model.

With RGB mechanical keyboards being the latest bandwagon that most manufactures are jumping on I have been keeping an eye out for RGB keyboards that are a little different. One that stood out to me was the RGB80 from Rosewill. Rosewill’s history in the mechanical keyboard market is actually better than you might think. They have had good boards are great prices. The RGB80 is of course an RGB keyboard but unlike the others it is only available in a TKL (TenKeyLess) version. The LAN attendee in me is reminded each time I see or use a TKL keyboard that they help same room at and when packing for LANs. Will the RGB80 be the next big LAN keyboard? Let’s find out.

With the small form factor market growing we are finally starting to see a nice variety of case designs available for people who are looking to build Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX PCs. Fractal has been producing a variety of cases for that market basically from their inception. When they introduced their Node 804 I was extremely excited about it. Not only did they keep things fairly small, but they also went with a split design that I am a huge fan of working with on cases. What I mean by a split design is that the power supply and some of the components fit behind the motherboard tray leaving the motherboard side of the case clean. Add to that Fractals typical clean styling and we have the makings of a great case. Well today we have the chance to dig in and check the Node 804 out and find out if it is as great as it looks.

When it comes to Mini-ITX motherboards people are going to have a wide range of feature requirements. For some, as long as it supports their CPU and it has a x16 PCIe slot they are good to go. Others want to have a lot of the features they would find in their full sized builds including wireless AC, different storage connection options, and even upgraded audio. Personally I have been on both sides. When I’m building a budget Mini-ITX build I can skip out on the features but when I’m building a crazy LAN rig like the build we put in the In Win D-Frame Mini only the best will do. Asus continues to impress me with their drive to pack anything and everything into their Impact boards. Well today I’m going to take a look at the latest one, the Maximus VII Impact. This is officially the second Impact board, based on the Z97 chipset. Is this the perfect LAN rig motherboard? Let’s find out.

If you are anything like me then you most likely aren’t just limited to having a PC or two in your office, you most likely are using an HTPC or something similar at one or more televisions in your house. You could just pick up one of the many options available on the market right now, or you could put together something yourself. I’ve done this a few times in the past but over the past few years the prices for capable components have come down and let’s be honest, the performance requirements aren’t really going anywhere until 4k becomes a little cheaper. So today I’m going to take a look at a nice budget motherboard with a built in quad core AMD Fusion APU from Biostar. I don’t expect the A68N-5000 to be a hardcore gaming board, I’m really just curious how well it will handle simple tasks that an HTPC or small home server would require.

When shopping for a new motherboard I’ve found that a lot of people tend to lean toward what you have had good experiences with in the past. For me I have a short list of companies that I tend to prefer in my personal rigs and MSI is on that list. When I covered the X99 launch I didn’t have the chance to check out their X99 offerings but today I finally do. They sent over the X99S MPower. It isn’t their highest end board but it is damn close. Now I can sit down and see how it compares to the competition. My previous experiences with MSI MPower boards have been good, but the X99 boards I have tested to date have been extremely good, will it be able to keep up? Let’s find out.

 

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