I’ve spoken about it in a few previous reviews but it’s really important to remember that there are a few things beyond your PC itself that will really improve your gaming experience. A few of the obvious examples are your keyboard and mouse but there are others that you might not even consider. A perfect example of something that most people skimp on is their chair. The ironic thing is that your chair is used more than any other product at your desk. As someone who spends both their work and recreational time in front of a PC, a high quality chair is even more important. I have been using the same “racing” style office chair for nearly 10 years now, after being repaired multiple times the chair has seen better days. When I came across the chairs from a company called DXRacer they fit the bill perfectly. Let’s see if their M-Series Gaming Chair can keep me gaming for the next 10 years.

External enclosures have always been useful in turning veteran hard drives from old machines back into useful storage mediums but lately they have been making a comeback with more and more focus being placed on mobility and flexibility. Today we take a look at a new form of external enclosure with performance on its mind. The Blizzard series external enclosure from Icy Dock promises to give use the mobility we desire with not swap and plug-n-play functionality with the ability to keep our drives icy cool during operation.

A week ago at the time of this writing, we were within hours of LanOC v14.0 coming to end, though things certainly showed no signs of winding down. We were right in the middle of two tournaments with plenty of spectators watching over shoulders, attendees and staff alike roaming the floor to take a final look at the case show-off entries, and our network gear receiving no reprieve from the remainder of over 130 gamers in their title of choice. Before we revisit the final wrap-up of the event, let’s start back at the beginning of LanOC v14.0, which truly started the day before.

The past year has been full of up and downs like every year. Here at LanOC we have been chugging away like always. In the past year we hosted two awesome LAN parties, revamped the entire website, and survived two big launches from Intel, a launch from AMD on the CPU side, and big launches from both AMD and Nvidia on the video card side. Last year when I did my recap we had published 116 reviews for the year. For 2013 we bumped it up to an impressive 158 reviews thanks to a helpful staff and great companies. To start the New Year, I wanted to revisit the products that I gave my personal seal of approval on with the Editor’s Choice award to see if they are still my personal picks.

Recently we have done a few reviews on the emerging wireless AC technology but up until now those reviews have been limited to routers which merely allow access. Today we take a look at what may be one of the fastest ways to utilize your new wireless AC connection.  The USB-AC56 from Asus is a dual-band network adapter meant to allow you to tap into the 5GHz band and only requires the use of a single USB3 connection. Will the AC56 prove to be your quickest solution to the fastest wireless speeds available or will it be better to search for other options? We’ll find out.

The home network is one of the most consistently neglected things in modern computing, usually relegated to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” category even by most enthusiasts. However, it is also a market with constantly evolving technologies just like everything else and in the current landscape of always online games and every phone and gadget starving for wireless data why wouldn’t you want a network you can rely on? Earlier we reviewed My Net AC1300 from Western Digital and today we are back to put the ASUS RT-AC56U through the same paces. Is wireless AC technology all it’s cracked up to be? We will soon find out.

It’s been a few days now and not only have I set all of the PCs around the house back up, I also took the time to do detail cleaning around my desk. Even after a few days I feel little tired, an impromptu nap that went until 3pm yesterday helped some but it’s going to be a little while before I’m back to normal. All of it means we had another successful LAN. Of course the work doesn’t stop on Sunday for me, but before I get too far into it I wanted to post up a little bit of a roundup. Read on to hear more about it.

When it comes to enthusiasts we put a lot of thought into the parts we put in our PC, but don’t often think about what connects us to the internet. Most people will grab any old router from a brick and mortar store that suits their needs. I feel that more information should be acquired, especially for something that is only purchased once in a blue moon. Will the router suit my needs? Will it suit my needs long term?  Will it continue to hold up as the technology improves? All of these questions and more will be considered while looking at the Western Digital My Net AC 1300.

titleAs a necessary evil, gadget batteries, require charging from time to time and in this era where gadgets now dominate our everyday life it has become difficult to even find room to even plug them all in. For the most part longer battery life and charging stations have been the answer, but thanks to Newer Technologies there is a much easier solution to this problem and it is as simple as changing the wall outlet you plug everything into already. Follow me as I take a look at the do it yourselfers’ solution to the charging problem, the Power2U AC/USB wall outlet.

titleIn the modern age, where smart phones are king, and people are constantly on the move, computers are getting smaller and smaller and everything is stored digitally. What happened though when you want to back up files from a tablet or mobile device and you don’t have a computer around to use. Well Plextor thinks they might have the answer. They have sent us a PlexEasy, a product that is used for the backup, burning, and sharing of most forms of digital media, all without the use of a computer. Join me as we explore the use of this unique device to find out if it is indeed the answer to our data transfer problems.

titleThis past weekend 125 of you joined us for another great LanOC event and the rest of you probably wish you had. If you don't wish you had then you are wrong, just plain wrong.

titleOver the last few years, streaming media has become one of the most popular forms of entertainment to many people around the globe. Many customers out there are trying to find new ways of cutting the costs of the tired standards and physical media. Consumers now have a growing number of devices to help with their streaming media demand that they can place right into their living rooms. Today we are going to look at the WD TV Live from Western Digital and see how it can extend your local network files and content from the Internet directly to your HDTV.

 

titleWhen I reviewed the Aver Media Game Capture HD late last year there were a couple of things I felt were missing. The first was the ability to record HDMI gameplay footage, and the second was the ability to stream any gameplay. Roxio has sent us one of their new capture boxes. The Game Capture HD Pro claims to offer many of the same features of the Aver Media card with the added bonus of being able to do HDMI gameplay and live stream all of your gameplay footage with the click of a button. Let’s take a look at the box and compare its features to that of the other.

title2We here at LanOC love to go to LAN parties for obvious reasons. The LAN staff especially like to make it out to other LAN events so that they can kick their feet up and just enjoy fragging, friends, and fun rather than spending the entire weekend working to bring a great event to the attendees. This weekend a group of us made our way out to Fort Wayne Indiana to the Indiana Tech college campus for the very first FortLan event. With great excitement we hooked up our PCs in preparation for the 27 hour long frag fest that was to follow.

titleOne of the reason’s Mini ITX builds have been slowly becoming more popular is their portability. Packing up your rig and carrying it into a LAN is much easier when you have a nice handle to hang onto. We recently took a look at the Silverstone FT03, although I found it to be a perfect case for LAN use, I also felt it was hard to carry. Because of that Silverstone sent over their Sugo Pack for us to check out with the FT03. With extra carrying space and a way to carry your small form factor case around the Sugo Pack could be a great way to get your gear to the next LAN, let’s find out if it’s as great as it looks.

frontA longtime proponent of e-sports, I’m thrilled to see the mass number of viewers live streamed tournaments are bringing in. Even more promising are the views individual gamers are managing to attract, streaming their favorite games, charities, or scrimmages with professional teams. We’ve have a handful of LanOC members that stream their gameplay, and if you’d like to join them, here’s how.

titleCase modding is something that gamers’ have done to their system since there has been a reason or opportunity to show them off.  It is a chance to set your system apart from all the others that may be around.  The case modding scene has grown in the past couple of years and has seen a wide range of products for both expert and amateur modders.  Today we take a look at the Alchemy Connect LED-Strip lights from BITFenix.

titleThere have been moments in time where I have performed the impossible. Moments when I have slayed entire hordes of enemies with no health or mana, moments when I have scored the last second touchdown to win the Super Bowl, and moments when I have done silly things not meant for the eyes of minors. These moments have all been lost in time and no one seems to believe that they actually happened. With the Game Capture HD from AverMedia this will never happen again. The Game Capture HD looks to be an easy to use capture card for console gamers. It requires no internal installation and is incredibly easy to set up. This capture device is an alternative to cards that go into your PC, and while you may not be able to get 1080p quality videos, it is certainly much less daunting to set up and use.

top2012We have made it through another year. This year we published 116 reviews ranging from phones to computer components and beyond.  Of those reviews we had a few that stood out enough at the time of publishing to earn an Editor’s Choice Award. This is a little different than our Top Honors or Recommended awards. Top Honors, for example, is given to a product that had at most a trivial issue that we could list as a fault and Recommended is anything that we would still recommend if you are on the market. Editor’s Choice on the other hand means that I would pick the product up for myself; a few times we had products with faults that still fell into this category. Today I’m going to look back and see what I’m still using and if things have changed.

 

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