IcyDock MB882SP-1S-1B

IMG_4855 [lr] [lrsm]In the past few years SSD's or Solid State Drives have been slowly gaining popularity in the marketplace specifically in the enthusiast crowd. Of course with this growing market due to most SSD's being in the 2.5 inch form factor some people have a need for 2.5 inch mounting options in their case. Unfortunately most current cases don't have any, and obviously older cases don't have them. Our friends at Icy Dock recognized this problem and took their knowledge of hard drive enclosures and produced a 2.5inch to 3.5 inch adapter. The adapters official name is the MB882SP-1S, considering our past experiences with Icy Dock I am excited to see how well it will perform. Lets dive in!

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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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Seagate Savvio and Constellation hard drives

Recently I have been toying with the idea of using business class hardware in gaming PC’s to boost reliability and performance. We had a chance to look at Seagate's ES.2 line of hard drives recently and found them to perform well in multi drive situations along with great reliability. Even though their performance was good, it wasn’t the extreme solution I was looking for. Seagate recognized that and sent me a trio of drives designed to complement each other in a server environment with high speed and high capacity storage. Today I will be taking a look at the Savvio 15K.2, Savvio 10K.2, and Constellation. All three are Serial Attached SATA drives in the 2.5inch form factor, perfect for packing them into small servers or in our case packing them into already packed gaming rigs.

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Cooler Master Notepal D1

D1 Pics 051 [lanoc_sm]A while back, Cooler Master sent us the Notepal Infinite, a notebook cooling solution to cover wider-screened models, sporting a self-claimed 17 degree difference. Recently, we received the new Notepal D1, a turn around of its sister product, per say. Designed specifically for increased mobility, the D1 is only about half as long as any laptop and wide enough to fit a standard size model. Sure, smaller is always better when it comes to those of constantly on the go, but how does it actually stack up against other notebook coolers, specifically the elder Infinite?

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Razer Gear 17 Inch Laptop Sleeve

IMG_4722 [lr] [lrsm]Our friends over at Razer have been hard at work introducing a new product line called Razer Gear. Along with that product line you will find products ranging from T-Shirts to messenger bags. Today I am going to take a quick look at their 17 inch Laptop Sleeve to get an idea of what all of the fuss is about.

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Razer Sphex

IMG_4715 [lr] [lrsm]Everyone has their own idea of what perfect is, this is why you see such a wide variety or products. Mouse pads are the same way, one pad may be the end all be all for one person, and another person could hate it. Because of that we have seen Razer produce hard and soft mouse pads in the past year. Today I will be taking a look at their newest design aim directly at people who don’t like using a mouse pad at all. The Razer Sphex claims to be the thinnest mouse pad on the market. Let’s hope performance isn’t figured by weight!

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Microsoft Sidewinder x3 Gaming Mouse

IMG_4700 [lr] [lrsm]In the past I have reviewed multiple Microsoft Sidewinder products including the X5 and X8 mice. I was impressed with the performance and features of both specifically with the wireless X8. The only problem is not everyone can afford to throw down the money for the gaming mice that are coming out. Prices for some high end gaming mice are over $100 now, add that to the other costs of a gaming rig and you are talking to much money for most gamers. Microsoft recognized this with the x5 making a mouse with all of the great features and a better price. Of course to some the x5 is still out of range, this is where the new x3 comes in. Price a little higher than a basic mouse, but with almost all of the same features found on the x5 and x8 at a regular mouse price the x3 promises to be a great value for budget minded gamers.

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Choiix Easy Fit Netbook Sleeve

IMG_4758 [lr] [lrsm]I recently decided to jump onto the Netbook bandwagon (a little late) as a portable replacement for my 14.1 inch laptop. The smaller size of my 10 inch Netbook gave me the ability to carry it on me most of the time without a heavy laptop bag slowing me down. Of course this means that it is being transported with almost no protection. While looking into options I was peaking around at the Choiix website remembering that they had a lot of creative solutions for Netbooks at CES. A small professional sleeve caught my eye called the Easy Fit Netbook Sleeve. Today I am going to see how well this sleeve perform in everyday use. Will it protect your Netbook from damage? I will soon find out.

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Microsoft Explorer Mini

img_4509-lr-lrsmNot long ago I had the chance to take a close look at Microsoft's Sidewinder X8. One of the X8's main features was the BlueTrack Technology used with its optical sensor that boasts the ability to work on virtually any surface. In my testing I found this to be true, but not really needed in a gaming mouse. BlueTrack Technology would be perfect for portable use in a laptop mouse where you never know what surface you will be using as a mouse pad. Today I have the chance to test out this theory because Microsoft's new Explorer Mini mouse using BlueTrack and I will be putting it to the test.

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Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus

img_4683-lr-lrsmYesterday I took a look at Cooler Masters Hyper TX-3 entry level heatsink and was surprised considerably by its performance and value. Today I will be following that review by taking a look at what I can only call its older brother the Hyper 212 Plus due to the Hyper 212 Plus being the same design only larger. The Hyper 212 has been around for some time providing great performance in a mid range price. With the updated Hyper 212 Plus they have most likely updated the performance along with the added compatibility for the upcoming Lynnfield or i5 CPU later this year. I plan to put the updated version to the test and find out how it compares to a range of different heatsinks.

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Cooler Master Hyper TX-3

img_4670-lr-lrsmRunning a expensive high end heatsink like the v10 or even the v8 is not feasible for everyone due to space or financial reasons. Also as crazy as it seems to me most people aren't looking for the most extreme cooling solution, some are only looking for an improvement over stock cooling. Cooler Master has recognizes this and has recently released the TX-3 CPU cooler for that market. Today I will be taking a closer look at the TX-3 to see how well it compares to other heatsinks that we have tested in the past along with if it fits the needs of the entry level market that it is designed for.

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Microsoft LifeCam VX-5500

img_44942-lr-lrsmFor years the idea of video conferencing and video phones was only a pipe dream or a prop in low budget Sci-Fi films. When the internet came around this dream started to become a reality but with many limitations. More recently the idea of video phones has gained a little more traction with the inclusion of microphones and web cams on almost every laptop and some home pc's (in fact I type this right now on a low budget netbook with the features needed to do this). Of course not everyone has this ability and this is where Microsoft comes in with their LifeCam series, specifically the VX-5500. With programs like MSN(windows) messenger and Skype along with the VX-5500 you have the ability to let people see you while they talk (of course this depends on if they really want to see you). Today I'm going to take a look at the VX-5500 to see how it performs at home and on the go to keep in touch with friends and family.

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VIZO Starlet UV SATA-Cable

100_1745-lanocsmWe've come to a day and age where having just one hard drive, regardless of its size, just isn't enough. Whether its a media, gaming, or task computer, multiple hard drives have become a necessity. In non-transparent cases, this isn't much of a problem, but for those who are lookng to show-off their rig all those SATA cables can become as unappealing as any other. A reasonable solution is adding UV lights to any case, which can be paired with VIZO's Starlet line, in our case the UV reactant SATA cables.

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Vizo Starlet Cable Binding Kit

100_1736-lanocsmCables suck. They're stubborn, thick, restrictive, and unattractive. While there have been countless attempts to try and eliminate the inconvenience, the cruel truth is that in our current generation, cords are a necessity. Even when wireless capabilites are available, a conflict of speed enters the equation. Bottom-line is they're not going away, so Vizo has come up with a way to help make cables a little more livable, and look good while doing it. Today we take a look at the Starlet Cable Binding kit.

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Lamptron FC-2, FC-3, and FAN-ATIC Fan Controllers

img_4376lrWhen you pay hundreds of dollars or even thousands for a gaming pc, you expect quality.  That includes not having your machine sound like a sad excuse for a vacuum cleaner.  Fans are a critical component in any machine, cooling your vital components and allowing for optimal performance.  Unfortunately, typical stock fans or any fan short of the expensive ones often sound noisy at full power.  This is the point where you pick up a fan controller, a device that in truth, controls the amount of power your fans get.  Using one of these gadgets allows for minute adjustments in fan speed, allowing for a perfect balance of noise as well as cooling.  Now, fan controllers are an age old pc accessory, but that doesn't stop manufacturers from trying to perfect the technology.  Lamptron has cooked up three different iterations of this tech, and graciously sent us one of each to tinker with.

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Antec P183

img_4612-lr-lrsmAntec has been slowly refining their case lineup one at a time. We haven't really seen a lot of completely new designs from them this year, this has a lot to do with the state of the economy. With the P180 series of cases Antec has always had a strong focus on the noise performance of their cases. Of course as we have learned in the past, quite can sometimes mean hot. In order to fix some of those issues they have released the P183. We are going to take a look at the changes along with the overall usability of the P183 as a gaming and HTPC chassis.

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Microsoft Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000

img_4543-lr-lrsm1After living with an HTPC as a main source of television for months now I quickly learned that a wired mouse and keyboard just weren't going to cut it. In the world of wireless keyboards and mice there is an almost endless selection, a quick search on Newegg turned up round 100 keyboards alone. Of those 100 most of them have limited or no media center controls that are key features for an HTPC. One of setups that stood out was Microsoft's Entertainment Desktop 7000 with Blue-tooth, a wireless mouse included, and media center controls. Today I will talk about my experience spending time with this setup, did it live up to my expectations?

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Lian-Li Silent Force 850W

100_1702-lanocsmI'm not used to being spoiled when it comes to power supplies, being still somewhat new in the world of hardware I usually settle with what'll get me by. Lian-Li is a company that has had her share of the spotlight in our News section, so I jumped at the opportunity to test out one of the products I hear so much about. After seeing first-hand the quality Lian-Li invests in their products, especially power supplies in this case, I am beyond impressed. Heres how things broke down:

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Noctua NH-U12P SE1366

img_3832lr-lrsmWith the Socket 1366 platform becoming more and more popular many gamers have been looking for quality heatsinks to keep their rigs cool. This has been even more important with the overclockability of the i7 920. Our friends in Austria, of course, were on top of their game right away giving out free clips to owners of their heatsinks to anyone who wanted to upgrade to an i7 (this deal is still going on if you are interested). Of course, they have also brought out a special edition version of their NH-U12P specifically for i7 owners with a few small changes (socket 1366 mounting and dual fans included) to make sure keep everything cool. Today we will be taking a look at that model to see how it performs against a few other socket 1366 heatsinks.

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