Gameskulls GS-1 Tactical Helmet

IMG_5312 [lr] [lrsm]Over the past few years I have reviewed a wide variety of gaming headsets. On our trip to Million Man Lan a few weeks ago I saw something that really caught my eye. A couple people where wearing helmets with built in headsets. Apparently a company called GameSkulls was showing off a couple of their first product. After trying them out myself and talking with Gus from GameSkulls my interest was definitely peaked. Before we left Gus dropped one off at my desk for me to checkout, Now I don't have to worry about being attacked by my wife while playing my games.

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Icy Dock MB663USR-1S 2.5" SATA Enclosure

nykoicy 035 [lanoc_sm]You've got that 2.5" hard drive just laying around, why not use it? Icy Dock's new MB663USR-1S has got you the fix for whatever you and your drive need, whether its internal or external, expanding laptop memory or enhancing a desktop. Though, that does seem like an awful lot for one piece of bay equipment to handle. Luckily for us, Icy Dock has sent us one to put to the test ourselves.

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Cooler Master Storm Sniper

IMG_5339 [lr] [lrsm]Early this year Cooler Master introduced a new product line focusing on gamers. Their Storm line was introduces with their Sniper chassis at CES and has been on the market for some time. For the past 6 months I have been running the Cooler Master Storm Sniper case on my personal computer. Cooler Master realized that we haven't reviewed this chassis and shipped one out to me. Today I am going to check out the sniper and talk about a few things that stand out to me after living with it for some time. Not to give anything away but I liked it, click to read more!

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Nyko Charge Base 360

nykoicy 024 [lanoc_sm]The next gen of gaming consoles finally found the salvation that had been hinted at ever since Nintendo tried incorporating a wireless receiver for the original NES. Wireless controllers have finally been adequately and correctly instituted into this current wave of systems. However, in doing so, two of the three leaders of console world, Nintendo and Microsoft, have become the battery companies' best friends. Granted, the controllers on any platform have a decent battery life, but if you find yourself with no rechargeables or replacements on hand, well, you're S.O.L. In the end, the former of the two, rechargeable batteries, are without a doubt the way to go (sorry Duracell), not only saving you from constantly purchasing replaceable disposables, but also allowing for convenient charge methods. Today, we sit down with Nyko's latest, the Charge Base 360.

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Playseats Evolution

IMG_5162 [lr] [lrsm]I don't think I have known anyone gamer or non gamer that doesn't enjoy playing a racing game every once in a while. While I was growing up I spent any time I could in the arcade playing Ridge Racer and Nascar racing games. Playing racing games on my 52 inch HD television, surround sound, and next generation systems still doesn't compare to the experience you get sitting in your seat holding on to a steering wheel. A company called Playseats apparently agrees with me, of course they have the knowledge and skills needed to duplicate that experience. The Playseat Evolution is designed to put all of your controls near you while sitting in a car racing like seat. Today I will be taking a look at the Evolution, will it bring me back to the good ol days?

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Flip UltraHD

IMG_4871 [lr]Ever sense Sony introduced Betamax there has been some variation of a camcorder device on the market. Over the past 8 years most of those devices have started to move to recording to digital media hard drives, flash cards, and even saving digital files on small dvd's. With the popularity of YouTube and other video websites the demand for cheap, easy to use, and portable recording devices has grown. In 2007, Pure Digital Technologies Unveiled the Flip Video. Over the past two years they have released a few different versions, most recently their Flip Ultra HD. With the ability to record 120 minutes of high definition video the Ultra HD will be a great fit with YouTube's HD upgrade. I had the chance to take the Flip UltraHD with me to Million Man Lan in Louisville Ky this past weekend, this gave me a chance to experience the UltraHD's portability and performance.

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2XL Brickyard Headphones

IMG_4866 [lr] [lrsm]When it comes to high quality headphones you will almost always find yourself balancing great sound quality, comfort, and price. Recently Skullcandy introduced 2XL, a brand focusing on individually styled headphones at prices anyone can afford. Being a big fan of over the ear headphones I was excited to have a chance to take a closer look at their Brickyard style headphones, a DJ-style headphone that is according to 2XL "DJ-style headphone with over-ear design, comfort headband suspension and full dynamic acoustic range".

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Icy Dock EZ-Dock MB881US-1S-1

D1 Pics 010 [lanoc_sm]There are a lot of reasons one may have use for a docking station such as this: simply having multiple hard drives, having data stored on a smaller 2.5" drive that needs accessed, or simply not enough room to install another drive in a case or laptop itself. The EZ-Dock provides solutions for all the above, including access to data and files without the trouble of physically installing a single piece of hardware (unless your case is absent an eSATA port, in which case Icy Dock has provided a quick fix). With such an involved piece of hardware, there are several instances in which a company can go wrong, and with such a micro-managed field technology is, even the smallest quirk can cause problems. Today, we take a look at Icy Dock's EZ-Dock to see how well it performs under the stress of data access.

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Gunnar Optiks Glasses

IMG_4736 copy [lr] [lrsm]Sitting here in front of my 28 inch monitor I'm sometimes reminded of when my mom would remind me to not sit close to the TV or I would go blind. With my eyes being sensitive, I already have to wear sun glasses anytime I am outside, sitting in front of this monster (and the 24 next to it) puts out enough light to light up the entire room. Of course I have turned down the brightness on both of my monitors, and I try to run a light in the background. Until recently I didn't know there were any other things I could do to prevent eye fatigue. I heard about a company named Gunnar Optiks that produces glasses designed specifically to prevent fatigue along with a list of other benefits. Today I will be writing about my experience using a pair of their glasses for my everyday life and how it affected game play and overall pc usage.

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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 peeking 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 performs 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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