Earlier this year I had the chance to take a look at the Razer Blackwidow Ultimate 2014 with its new key switches. Razer hasn’t exactly been sitting on their hands between then and now though. A few weeks ago I had the new Razer Blackwidow Ultimate Chroma come in. This is part of a whole series of products with full RGB lighting. In the past I have knocked Razer for going with green a color that only a few people are building their PCs in. With the Chroma line this shouldn’t be an issue. Will this be enough to win people over? Let’s find out.

By now, a lot of you most likely have figured out that I have a bit of a thing for various keyboards and mice. I’ve even been known to make sure the backlighting on my keyboard matches with my mouse and with my PC build as well. Oddly enough, through all of my keyboards the only time I have ever really customized a keyboard was when I had the chance to review a custom keyboard from Max Keyboard. The fact that I haven’t dug deeper into this is curious because generally I have a hard time leaving things alone, especially my cars and my computers. It’s not that I hadn’t seen the photos of everyone’s keyboards on r/mechanicalkeyboards and GeekHack, I just never did it myself due to not knowing enough and frankly not having the time. Well after reviewing the new Novatouch from Cooler Master, I decided to take advantage of the Cherry MX stems and dive a little deeper into keyboard customization and finally show everyone what it is all about. I reached out to a whole list of companies who make a variety of products to help you take your new mechanical keyboard and turn it into something completely unique, today I’m going to talk a little about what I found!

One of the best things about case modding is being able to create something unique and show it off online and at LANs. The modding community has been growing even more popular over the past 5 years thanks to events like PDXLAN. Sadly some people just don’t have the time or sometimes the skills to be able to be involved in things like that. I have run into that as well, I get the itch to rebuild but I just don’t have the time to put together what is in my head. In Win has really stepped up over the past few years with a whole series of cases that fill in that gap. They are unique and well built in a variety of designs. We use their H-Frame Mini for our event router and for the past half a year I have used a 901 for my PC at events. Well In Win recently introduced the D-Frame Mini, just in time for me to start on a new event PC. Some of you have seen it, today I will take a closer look at the pro’s and con’s of the D-Frame Mini.

For years now I have been a huge fan of Noctua products, especially their fans. I will admit though, it took me a while to get used to the odd brown colors that they use. After a while I came to the conclusion that it was worth having fans that didn’t necessarily go with my builds because their performance is amazing. Recently Noctua finally introduced two new fan product lines that feature two new color schemes that most likely will fit a little better with most builds while still being unique enough to still stand out as Noctua fans. Today I will be checking out their IndustrialPPC and Redux fan lines. IndustrialPPC is black with a dark brown and Redux are light grey with a dark grey. We know how well Noctua fans perform so today I will mostly just be showing off the new color schemes. Enjoy!

For the past few years the only thing that membrane keyboards still had over mechanical keyboards has been the ability to run full RGB backlighting. Well this is no longer a problem, nearly everyone has their own RGB mechanical keyboards in the works or coming out now. A great example of this is the new Tesoro Lobera Supreme. Tesoro has had a few variations on their Lobera but up until now they all just had a single backlight color. Today I’m going to see if going full RGB is worth it. Additionally this will be the first time I have had the chance to check out a Tesoro keyboard, we can see how they compare to the competition.

The tech geek in me loved hearing about the new SteelSeries Siberia V3 while the developing grumpy old man in me was a little concerned. I have learned over the years that sometimes a launch like this can be an amazing thing and other times companies change things just to change things and they end up messing up something that was great in the first place. You see, the original Siberia was good, but had many flaws. When SteelSeries introduced the Siberia V2 I was seriously amazed. They really stepped things up. Heck, I’ve been using the V2 with both the office and also with my LAN rigs for a few years now. Now with the introduction of the Siberia V3, will this model be a requirement in the office as well? I sure hope so, but improving on the Siberia V2 will be a tall order.  Let’s take a look to see what has changed to determine that!

Those of you who come around often, will have most likely figured out that I have a thing for small form factor PCs. I have been building small PCs with big video cards for years, even before Mini-ITX became the norm. Trying to pack the fastest hardware into the smallest possible case is challenging, but also rewarding when you don’t have to break your back carrying a huge PC into LANs.  I know a few of you have been catching on to this, I have been seeing LAN rigs showing up a lot on my Facebook and at the LAN. Well when Intel launched their NUC I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one, well my wife just happened to win one at a LAN. So today I’m going to check out what the NUC is all about and put it together with some cool hardware from Kingston and a Harmony Smart Keyboard from Logitech to help put it to use as an HTPC.

Picking your new phone is a big decision; you are going to be stuck with it for the new few years. Because of that you don’t want to pick the first one you look at. This is especially difficult for people who have been in the Android ecosystem because there are such a wide variety of phones. Currently two of the most popular are the LG G3 and the Samsung Galaxy S5. Both have a lot of similarities and big followings. I’ve been using both phones for a good portion of the summer, today I’m going to look back and see how they compare to hopefully help a few of you decide on what phone is best for you.

These days even a lot of the low power cards still require dual PCI slots. So if you have a setup that requires a single slot video card solution it can be a little hard to find something that performs well and will also fit in your case. I don’t think people realize it, but XFX does a great job of creating a wide selection of cards to cover special uses like this. In the past we have seen models from them for people who need half height cards and even silent models. So it wasn’t a big shock when they sent over their R7 250 Core Edition single slot card. Really, the only question is how does it compare to the dual slot cards. If it’s anything like their past cards it should perform well, but the only way to find out for sure it to run it through our benchmark suite and see how it performs.

Sadly when a lot of people are shopping for a power supply things like does it have modular cables and styling play a big role. A lot of people forget that buying a quality power supply is important both to protect your components, but also higher power efficiency waists less. With power prices constantly going up every dollar counts, especially when you have more than one gaming PC in your household seeing heavy use. Well one of our event sponsors FSP sent over one of their new 80+ Platinum power supplies. Today I’m going to take a look to see what sets it apart beyond its high efficiency.

 

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