Plextor PX-610U

IMG_4780 [lr] [lrsm]With netbooks becoming very popular over the past year it's no surprise that the lack of a disc drive on them has come up a time or two. Our friends over at Plextor have been known for their amazing disc drives for some time, foreseeing the need for portable drives early this year they released the PX-610U. The PX-610U is available in both a PC and mac version with appropriate software and coloring to match each. The main feature of the PX-610U is its lack of an external power supply or multiple USB ports. Using a slim laptop drive Plextor hopes to of brought a solution for thoughts who are looking for easy to use and portable disc drives. Today I have the opportunity to check it out myself.

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SilverStone MFP51 Multi-Media LCD Display

IMG_4352[lr]Desktop computers have an inherent flaw in that, short of custom modding jobs, most PCs end up looking fairly similar.  Most cases are black and nondescript, with only a portion of people opting for case windows to show off their hardware. And if you have a store bought rig, forget creativity - there are thousands of people with the same exact computer.  So the question is, what makes a specific build unique?  What it boils down too are all the little features and touches that the end consumer may opt for over one another.  Accessories play a large part of this picture. One person might decide they need a fan controller, whereas another might have a use for an all in one memory card reader.  In the end these people are able to claim difference from one another in form and function.  VFDs are one of the more interesting computer accessories, providing visual information via a small screen.  This is not unlike having a small monitor attached to your computer at all times. Its worthy to note that the term VFD actually is an acronym for the technology used in older devices, and has become a catch-all term for them in general.  Most newer VFDs actually utilize LCD technology for a crisper viewing experience. Many case manufacturers include mediocre old VFDs with their htpc cases but quality new ones usually have to be purchased separately.  SilverStone makes such a VFD, the MFP51 LCD Media Display, which they kindly sent to us to try out...

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Crucial Ballistix Tracer Blue 3x2Gb DDR3

img_3276-lanoc-reviews-lanoc-reviews-smallWith it being tax time and computer upgrade season we have been seeing a lot of our members upgrading to new i7 setups. I was even lucky enough to win a setup while in Vegas thanks to our friends at Coolermaster. With DDR3 ram becoming more prevalent, especially when run in Tri Channel with the new i7 setups its no surprise that every ram manufacture is bringing out their new kits. While at CES we did get to take a look at Crucial's new Ballistix Tracer color series. Well knows for their led lighting that flashes to the speed of ram access, I was really happy to see they are producing a line using only one color to help match today's high end rigs. Today I will be taking a look at a Blue set of TriChannel 3 x 2 GB RAM from Crucial with a color matched LED, heatspreader, and PCB running at 1600Mhz.

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Plextor PX-B310SA Blu Ray drive

img_3303-lanoc-reviews-lanoc-reviews-smallIn the Disc drive industry it's really hard to stand out. Most people just pick the cheapest drive with the specs that they are looking for. This may work for some people but anyone who has lived with the cheap drives should know that they can sometimes be noisy and unreliable. One company that has made a reputation of quality in the disc drive market over many years is Plextor. I've seen people throw down two and sometimes three times the price of a cheap drive just to be able to have a Plextor drive. The reason for this is all about quality and noise, for those same reasons I was excited to hear that I was going to be able to check out their new PX-B310SA BD Combo Super Multi Drive. My excitement doubled when I realized I would be able to watch The Dark Knight and other Blu Ray movies in 1080p on our 52-inch television.  So today I'm going to find out if the PX-B310SA is a quality drive that's quite enough to include in your HTPC without sounding like a weed eater running.

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Antec Veris Multimedia Station Basic

picture-021-copyHigh-end PC gaming can be considered a niche market without too much of a stretch. Its expensive and doesn't always translate well in the price to performance ratio department.  Home theater PCs, on the other hand, are a niche within a niche, due largely to the pain and expense necessary to maintain a separate computer simply to watch television.  Furthermore, you can't use just any hardware in an htpc. If you want one that can decode high-def movies and television or even lightly game you can't just slap the oldest stuff you have lying around the house into a case - the tech has to be somewhat competent.  Antec has recently come out with the Veris product line to help blur these lines a bit.  Whether you're looking to turn your main rig into a pseudo-htpc, or trying to spice up an already assembled home theater solution, read on for our experience with the Veris Basic.

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A-Data G-Series DDR2 Memory

A-Data, relatively new company, has been around for 7 years. Starting with twenty employees, A-Data has grown into Asia’s biggest Ram provider. They have recently been popping up in the US market. Their commitment to the US market is proven by their opening of the Miami, FL branch of A-Data on July 17th 2008. With Microsoft getting the bugs worked out of Vista and ram prices dropping unbelievably low you couldn’t ask for a better time to invest in more ram for your computer. Ram is one of those things that you can’t have too much, but you can have too little. We have the chance to take a closer look at A-Data’s G (Gaming) branded DDR2 memory. Specifically their DDR2-800G 2GBx2 with a Latency of 5-5-5-12. Check out how it performed

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Asus G1S

picture-003.jpg The Asus G1S series came out around late 06 early 07. Back then it was billed as a " Budget gaming notebook". So how does that claim hold up 1 year later? It seems the term "gaming laptop" has been reserved for only the most über overpowered machines , because this laptop still kicks ass in my opinion. Later on I will give my impressions on how it handles games and the pros and cons of the notebook.

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