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Sound Blaster X7 and E-MU XM7 bookshelf speakers

Like most of you PC and along with it my office is almost like a living being, slowly evolving. Every year or two I’m changing out my video cards, my motherboard, even keyboards and mice. It’s weird though, looking back there are only a few things that seem to be very consistent, my desk and for the most part my speakers. Well when I was replacing my desk last fall I decided that I wanted to move from the Corsair SP2500’s to something new. Now keep in mind, the Corsairs sounded good as did the Klipsch’s that I have before that. So to continue to evolve I wanted to go a new direction. Well the timing was good as Creative Labs had just recently introduced their X7 and more recently their E-MU XM7 bookshelf speakers. I loved the X5 when I covered it and for a long time I even used it over the onboard on my PC but the X7 looked to be a much more fitting permanent option. Well I’ve been testing both the X7 and the XM7 speakers for a while now and we can finally sit down and go over what they are and how well they performed.

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20XX Early Access Preview

I got my hands on a key for 20XX a week or so before the demo was released for Mighty No. 9, and I remember when it was announced somewhat shrugging, and starting a new run in the formerly mentioned title. The similarities between the two are obvious, not only in their influence from the Mega Man franchise but also that they are both in this weird, pre-release stage that so many games find themselves in. I’m still very much looking forward to a modern day Mega Man from the original development team, but 20XX has managed to scratch an itch that has otherwise been delayed.

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Tesoro Excalibur Spectrum

Back in June I tested and wrote about one of Tesoro’s new full RGB keyboards, the Lobera Spectrum. While I liked a lot of the keyboards features, the styling wasn’t exactly what I would look for in my own keyboard. So when they mentioned their other full RGB keyboard, the Excalibur Spectrum I jumped at the chance. The share a lot of the same features, but the styling on the Excalibur line is a lot cleaner and simpler compared to the Lobera, so I was excited to take a look at it and find out if it would really be a better fit for me and anyone else who prefers a little bit simpler design. Well I have been testing it for a few weeks now and I can finally sit down and talk a little about how it performed, find out if it lived up to my expectations! 

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LanOC at NeXus LAN 16

It’s been a little over two years since I made it to a NeXus LAN, and if I recall correctly it was their first event to be held at their new venue in the Miamisburg Moose lodge. The building was familiar with the signature round tables and the large stage area packed with busy staff members. The registration and prize tables seemed to spill out from the stage, and as we continued in it became clear why: NeXus had grown substantially since my last visit. The tables seemed to have doubled, claiming another room once separated by a divider.

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Mionix Castor

It’s weird, for a long time it felt like I was testing a new mouse every week or two week. More recently though that has almost completely flipped and my peripheral testing has been all keyboards. Well just before vacation and then the LAN I did have a bit of a chance of pace. Mionix sent over their latest mouse, the Castor and asked us to take a look at it. So I’ve been putting the new mouse to the test in the office while I have been getting caught up on work. Well I finally have a little time to be able to sit down and talk about Mionix’s latest mouse and how it performed, so hang on I’m going to go over everything.

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My weekend hunting terrorists (Rainbow Six Siege closed beta preview)

Only a few months have passed since Ubisoft announced at E3 that Terrorist Hunts would be returning in Rainbow Six Siege. Messages immediately blew up between our small gaming group. The three of us have been gaming together for a long time; at least a decade, if not more. When Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 released in 2008, we networked together a couple of Xbox 360s and played Terrorist Hunts endlessly. Eventually we migrated to the the PC and spent countless hours progressing our characters, unlocking weapons, and hunting terrorists all over again. Ubisoft would stop officially supporting online matchmaking, but it’s still possible to play online (we had to try after hearing the announcement).

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MSI R9 390 Gaming 8G

Early this month it seemed like we had nothing but video card content, at one point out entire front page was filled with it. Because of that I did take a bit of a break from them but I did have one last card here in the office I wanted to take a look at. This time around I wanted to take a look at an MSI R9 390 Gaming 8G that AMD had sent over. We have seen a few R9 390’s but nothing from MSI so it will be great to see how the 390 compares to some of the SLI and Crossfire testing we recently did and to also see how the MSI card compares to the other competition on the market.

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DIY cassette cases for Nintendo Game Boy

Part of why I enjoying collecting video games are the cases. When people look at me like I’m crazy for buying physical copies, I usually base my defense on the experience of opening a new game, but there’s much more to it. My friends and I used to hit the video rental store every Friday, and despite the old adage we had no other way of choosing a game other than what we saw on the cover. I’m sure this contributed to my infatuation with cover art, but I’ve talked to enthusiasts of other media, particularly music, and they share a similar love for album covers. When the games are on the shelf and all-- er, most-- the spines are uniform, it’s a great feeling.

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Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming-7

With the launch of Intel’s latest chipset and the i7-6700 CPU it’s no surprise that they brought along with them a long list of new motherboards from every manufacture. At the launch I took a look at one of MSIs boards. After the launch though we jumped into GPU mode and covered the latest budget cards. Past that I slipped in a vacation and then of course our 17th LAN event. With all of that past us I can finally revisit Z170 and take a look at the Gigabyte GA-Z170X Gaming 7. I’m excited to see what Gigabyte has packed into the board as far as features go and to find out how it compares to the MSI. So today I’m going to dig through the Gaming 7s features then put it to the test, let’s get to it!

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Bit Fenix Alchemy 2.0 Magnetic LED Strips

When case modding was getting started everyone who wanted to light up their PC turned to cold cathodes for lighting. Things progressed and we later saw LEDs starting in plastic pucks and then later on strips becoming popular. While I don’t use lighting in every build, I have used them in a few. A few years ago we even took a look at lighting options from Bit Fenix. At the time they were still a relatively new company and they were starting to expand their product lines. Well a few years later Bit Fenix reached out, excited to show off the latest version of their LED lighting, the Alchemy 2.0. This time around they dropped the adhesive and went with magnets to keep the lighting in place. Considering how much we liked their first kits, I couldn’t turn down taking a look at the new design. So today I’m going to take a quick look and find out what they are all about. 

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