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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Super Talent Luxio 64 Gig

img_3781lr-lrsmA few weeks ago, I took a look at the super small PICO USB drive from Super Talent. I was extremely impressed with its size and portability along with its performance. Today I have an opportunity to look at another one of Super Talents USB drives. The Luxio series of thumb drives is a high capacity luxury design is for people who need to store larger amounts than can be found on the smaller PICO drives. Today we are going to test the performance and usability of a 64 gig capacity version of the Luxio series to see how it compares to its smaller PICO brother.

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Cooler Master Storm Scout Case

scout2lr-lrsmCooler Master introduced their line of gamer focused cases at the beginning of this year. I was lucky enough to win a computer that included their Storm Sniper case, I have been using it for a few months and have been very impressed with the small details. Today we have the pleasure of taking a closer look at Cooler Master Storm's newest chassis the Scout. The Scout is a mid tower with a focus on portability for gamers who need to transport their rig to LAN Partys and tournaments, in other words its right up our ally!

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Cooler Master HAF 922

img_3806lr-lrsmCooler Master has made their name producing PC cases for gamers that provide good cooling along with innovative styling. This past August Cooler Master introduced a new case called the HAF 932, HAF being an acronym for High Air Flow. If all of their cases have top of the line cooling, what is it they considered high air flow? With 4 fans adding up to 830mm's of fan along with a ton of mesh the HAF defiantly lived up to its name. Of course with it being a full sized case there was a demand for a mid tower version. Today we have the unique opportunity to look at what Cooler Master designed to fill that gap before you can even buy it in stores. Today we take a look at the HAF 922 and find out if it will live in the shadow of its big brother, or make a name for itself also.

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Thrustmaster T. Flight Hotas X

img_4447lrAlright, it's time to come clean.  You can't deny harboring some inner desire to fly.  Unfortunately for humans as a species, we have all the the aerodynamics of a rock covered in silly string.  We are resilient, however, determined if you will, to dominate the skies.  Thus we fashioned great metal birds in order to pioneer yet another glorious frontier.  This innate desire to fly, and by proxy, pilot aircraft has translated into our entertainment with the Flight Simulator franchise and games like Tom Clancy's HawX.  Of course, on terms of reality, navigating a plane with any stock system controller is bunk.  Real cockpits are a literal slew of devices and mechanism all used to prevent the craft from going nose down.  So for a more interesting and realistic flight experience,  manufacturers have been developing special controllers for quite some time, in an effort to simulate as true of a flight experience as best as possible.  Thrustmaster, ever adept as they are at creating desirable peripherals, have a few such products and were kind enough to send us their T.Flight Hotas X to take for a spin.

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Spire Endo Laptop Bag

100_0398-lanoc1Today I will be reviewing the Endo laptop messenger bag from Spire. Laptops are made to be portable and are also quite expensive . When taking your laptop out into the public you need as much protection as you can get. Is this the one messenger bag to top the rest?

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Cooler Master Notepal Infinite

100_1558-lanocsmThere are a lot of things a laptop provides: generally low power consumption, connectivity, and portability to name a few. But when a user takes a laptop beyond spreadsheets and blogging, there are certain areas that are left lacking. Extensive use creates stress on the system and many styles' neglected ergonomics create stress on the user. Cooler Master has created a solution for both.

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Super Talent PICO 16 Gb USB drive

img_3780lr-lrsmThe files that we used everyday continue to grow larger and larger along with the need to have them with you at all times. Because of that, the demand for flash drives continues to grow. For a while, it was all about how large of capacity the companies could pack into the flash drives. Now it we are starting to see companies focus on other things like size. At CES this past January, I had the chance to talk with a few people from Super Talent and take a look at a few items they had cooking for this year. One of those items is their PICO line of USB drives. The goal of the PICO line was to pack as much capacity into the smallest package. Today we have a chance to take a look at their PICO C Capless (and gold plated) model with a capacity of a whopping 16 gigs.

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Thermaltake LanBox

img_3715lr-lrsmPacking up your entire rig to take it to a lan party is a pain in the butt. So much so in fact that at our lan parties we normally see 3 or 4 laptops show up. Of course with laptops you don't have the ability to run the same level of components in most cases. Because of this there has been a demand for small form factor systems that are powerful but easy to transport. The smaller cases also are ideal for HTPC use. In my case I have been looking for the perfect HTPC case for our living room without any luck. I decided to talk to Thermaltake about their LanBox series of cases to see if it would fit the bill.

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In Win X-Fighter

img_3744lr-lrsmIf you were to compare the PC case market to motorcycles In Win would be similar to Orange County Choppers. Each case they make is designed around a central theme. In the past we have seen cases designed after the B2 Bomber and race cars. Today I will be looking at the X-Fighter, I'm sure you can guess what the theme of this case is all about. I'm going to run the case through its paces to see if it would be a good fit for today's high end gaming PC's.

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Thermalright AXP-140

 

img_3458lr-lrsmThermalright is the top dog in the heatsink world. Their TRUE heatsink is still outperforming most efforts from their competition long after it was released. When you are on top it's sometimes hard to figure out where to go next. Apparently they saw room for growth in the market for HTPC heatsinks. Because of that I'm here today ready to test their newest heatsink the AXP-140. Similar in looks to the Noctua NH-C12P that we tested recently, it's the perfect size for most HTPC's and cases that have side fans that interfere with large heatsinks.

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Seagate ES.2 1Tb Hard drives

img_3819lr-lrsmWhen shopping for a hard drive, most people don't consider anything more than the amount of space you're going to get for the lowest price. I will admit I've been guilty of this in the past. Of course as with anything else, there is a lot more to consider if you are looking to get a fast and reliable hard drive for your high end rig. Seagate is well known in the business and personal hard drive market. We happened to come upon two of Seagate's ES-2 1 terabyte hard drives. Being a business class hard drive I was curious to see what differentiates the ES-2 compared to the Barracuda line.

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Thrustmaster Dual Trigger Gun NW

img_3635lrNintendo may have struck an untapped gold-mine with their latest console, but it seems to come at a high price for those of us who were once devoted and loyal fans.  The casual crowd is the company's target this go around, much to the dismay of the rest of us.  So for a lot of people, the Wii sits as a very expensive white paperweight in their home.  I, for one, often go months at a time without powering on the console.  Occasional flukes serve to breathe some life into the system, with first-party Nintendo titles being the most obvious.  However, what I've found to be a hidden gem on the Wii is the light-gun game remakes, as well as the new ones developed specifically for the Wii.  These games take the one advantage Wii controls have, ie pointing the controller at the screen, and utilize it in a very natural way.  Of course, when you play a light-gun style game, you are missing a critical component of the equation: the light-gun.  Simply pointing a Wiimote at a screen and imagining that you're shooting bullets out of it is kind of lame, so quite a few companies have developed light-gun shells for your Wiimote.     Thrustmaster, being one of them, sent us their Dual Trigger Gun NW to test on its own and against perhaps the most popular shell, the Nyko Perfect Shot.  Here's how it measured up...

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Microsoft Sidewinder X8 Wireless Mouse

img_3659lr-lrsmLast week I looked at both Microsoft's Sidewinder X5 mouse and Sidewinder X6 keyboard. Both surprised me with their near perfect windows integration along with quality construction. To cap off our coverage of the current sidewinder lineup Microsoft provided us with their most recent mouse the X8. The Sidewinder X8 is Microsoft's first attempt at a wireless gaming mouse available just in time to battle it out with the Razer Mamba that is also wireless. With their new blue optical technology first seen in the new explorer mouse called BlueTrack along with learning from feedback from the X5 they hope to turn a lot of heads and finally garner attention from gamers the way Logitech, Steel Series, and Razer have been able too.

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Cooler Master Sileo 500

img_3690lr-lrsmNot every PC build needs to be a full size case with 15 fans. Sometimes you are just looking for a simple case that will keep your rig cool enough and most importantly keep the noise to a minimum. At CES this past January we had a chance to take a look at Cooler Master's upcoming silent rig the Sileo 500. The Sileo 500 is finally released and we have the chance to take a closer look at the case. The timing was perfect with the upcoming rebuild of my wifes computer, and considering the focus on keeping everything quite I hope it will balance out some of the noise my computer makes ;).

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Microsoft Sidewinder X6 Keyboard

img_3683lr-lrsmEarlier this week I looked at Microsoft's Sidewinder X5 Gaming Mouse, as it turns out they make more than just mice with the Sidewinder name. The Sidewinder X6 is the first gaming keyboard created from the ground up by Microsoft, there previous keyboard the Reclusa was a collaboration with our friends at Razer similar to what they did with the Habu mouse. Of course I'm always excided to take a look at new keyboards, I don't think I've ever found the perfect keyboard for me. With Microsoft's experience and quality, who knows this could be the one for me.

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