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InfinityRunner_Title
Games

Infinity Runner: Much To Run, Short On Fun

As if the outcry for the next Mirror’s Edge release wasn’t evidence enough, gamers need more free-running in their life. A rather untouched genre to be sure, Infinity Runner is hoping to scratch that itch for players. From the minds behind the largely underrated Master Reboot – Wales Interactive – the game seems to take on the darker tone of their past work, while providing a much more directed experience this time around. The game is on rails. That’s as directed an experience as you can ever expect, really.

BIOSTAR-Hi-Fi-Z97WE-Render-_1
Hardware

Introduction

Founded in 1986, Biostar is one of the prominent hardware manufacturers of the tech industry focusing in the Asian market. What started as a motherboard manufacturing corporation has now expanded into new markets such as add-on-cards and multimedia solutions along with graphics cards (popular in mainland China).

Coming to multimedia, the motherboard we are going to test today has a large focus on the audio system that it features on-board. The Biostar Hi-Fi Z97WE comes with an isolated PCB on the motherboard that houses the on-board audio system which other manufacturers have started to offer starting with Haswell generation platform however it should be noted that Biostar was the first to implement this technology back in 2012 prior to Haswell as a part of their Puro Hi-Fi design scheme. So credits for this design scheme have to be given to Biostar in setting a new industry standard.

In addition to the feature, the Biostar Hi-Fi Z97WE is also special due to its pricing. The board comes at a very reasonable and budget friendly $124.99 US which is lower than what a motherboard with similar feature set may cost. Whether or not these features are as impressive as the higher quality parts remains to be seen in this review.

Razer-Adaro-Wirelress-Headphones_6
Gadgets

Introduction

Razer is one of the world’s leading gaming gear and peripheral maker with a focus on three fundamental aspects - technology, ergonomics, and validation. The company Razer has aimed to deliver on the promise of their motto, “For the gamers, by the gamers” with products that are geared for the gaming audience.

But that has changed with the launch of the latest Adaro audio series which are aimed to please the general music loving crowd which includes audiophiles, DJs and casual users. The Razer Adaro Audio series lets Razer enter a new market audience which isn’t restricted to gamers but open to everyone who loves music popping up inside the ears.

Today, we will be testing out the latest Razer Adaro Wireless Bluetooth headphones which aim to deliver a light-weight and comfortable on-the-go experience to users at a price of $149.99 US. Let’s see whether the new line of audio products from Razer live up to the expectations.

Gigabyte-Z97X-Gaming-3-Motherboard_Official_1
Hardware

Introduction

With over 20 million motherboard shipments over the last year, we are talking about the one and only, Gigabyte. Founded in 1986, Gigabyte has become the pioneer of the motherboard industry with a large lineup of products that not only include boards but All-In-Ones, Laptops, Tablets and Gaming Peripherals. As of 2013, the company matches ASUS as the vendor with most shipments of boards giving an idea of the company’s growth in the current year.

With the launch of Intel’s Haswell platform, Gigabyte launched four tiers of lineups for their motherboards -Gaming/Overclocking/Ultra Durable/Black Edition (BK). Each lineup is built for a specific range of consumers. With the 9-Series chipset, Gigabyte is expanding their motherboard line with new products, one of which will be detailed in this review.

Today, we will be taking a look at the entry level Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 3 motherboard which is part of the G1 Gaming lineup which is aimed towards the gaming and mainstream audience. You will find some useful features like Killer LAN and Audio chipsets on this board due to its line positioning but comes at a low cost of $132.99 US which is the affordable range for any budget user. But before we talk about the board itself, let’s take a look at the new chipset and socket which support the latest Haswell processors.

Always-Sometimes-Monsters-Logo
Games

Always Sometime Monsters: Choices, Choices

Always Sometimes Monsters is a peculiar title. It manages to tell an interesting story, which is lucky considering it is little more than an interactive novel. At times it does try to pull away from its conversations and opportunities for player decision making, however. Sadly, these sections tend to fall flat, providing uninspired activities that serve only to make the game fell more like, well, a game. It does little more than water down what is otherwise a compelling experience.

This game is all about player decision making. You are confronted with both minor and heavier issues in your hours with the title, and tasked with dealing with the consequences of your actions. Even the smallest detail can have large consequences down the road, sometimes even hours after the fact. In terms of story telling and player interactivity, that’s impressive not something you often see within a game.Always-Sometimes-Monsters-Logo

You start off by choosing the character you will follow throughout the game’s entirety, as well as your partner of choice. Players are given free reign in choosing their race, gender and even sexuality, simply by starting conversation with a character of your choosing while at a party. You are first given control of a literary agent; one who ends up playing a large role in the title’s story, looking for their next big talent. Whoever you choose to share a drink with at the party is the avatar in which you control through the rest of the game.

NZXT-Phantom-820_8
Hardware

Introduction

The PC chassis is often the most overlooked in terms of a new setup, but is one of my most favorite aspects of building a brand new computer. High-end chassis are incredibly broad and varied, and sometimes there is a sea of features that can become confusing for people who are looking into liquid cooling and what not. The NZXT Phantom 820 is everything that anyone would ever really want at $249.99. It comes with a sleek design and is a dream for air/liquid cooling fanbases worldwide.

HIS Radeon R9 280 IceQ X2 OC 3 GB GDDR5_Official_6
Hardware

Introduction

Here we are back again to review another one of AMD’s latest Radeon R9 graphics card from their AIC partner HIS (Hightech Information Systems). Almost two and half years have been passed since AMD introduced their GCN core architecture and it shouldn’t be a surprise if I told you that the architecture is still being featured on AMD’s latest Volcanic Islands Radeon R7 and Radeon R9 series graphics cards.

The Volcanic Islands family is branded as the Radeon R200 series and takes performance and value to the next level. Technically speaking, the Radeon R200 series cards which include the Radeon R9 280X, Radeon R9 270X, Radeon R9 270, Radeon R7 265, Radeon R7 260X, Radeon R7 260, Radeon R7 255, Radeon R7 250X,  Radeon R7 250 and Radeon R7 240 are GCN rebrands aside from the latest Hawaii based Radeon R9 290X and Radeon R9 290, with the addition of new features but rather than giving away the same cards at the same price ranges, AMD added a few new features which we will detail in this article and slashed the prices so much that the Tahiti chip that once was $549 can now be bought for $299 US.

Today, we will be looking at the HIS Radeon R9 280 IceQ X2 OC which is the latest GCN 1.0 rebrand featuring the Tahiti Core architecture. HIS gave us the non-reference Radeon R9 280 for the test which features their high-end IceQ X2 cooler and a beefy custom designed PCB to deliver more power over the reference models which would come handy to overclockers and enthusiasts. Boasting the well-known Tahiti Pro core which has been replaced by its successor aka the “Hawaii Pro”, AMD now offers the R9 280 (also call it a Radeon HD 7950) for $280  (now retailing for $249.99) compared with its original launch price of $449 US two years ago, surprising that the card and its price have the same number? Let’s find out whether the card lives up to the legacy that made Tahiti remain dominant in high-end and performance range for two long years.

HIS Radeon R7 260X iCooler_Official_6
Hardware

Introduction

Here we are back again to review another one of AMD’s latest Radeon R9 graphics card from their AIC partner HIS (Hightech Information Systems). Almost two and half years have been passed since AMD introduced their GCN core architecture and it shouldn’t be a surprise if I told you that the architecture is still being featured on AMD’s latest Volcanic Islands Radeon R7 and Radeon R9 series graphics cards.

The Volcanic Islands family is branded as the Radeon R200 series and takes performance and value to the next level. Technically speaking, the Radeon R200 series cards which include the Radeon R9 280X, Radeon R9 270X, Radeon R9 270, Radeon R7 265, Radeon R7 260X, Radeon R7 260, Radeon R7 255, Radeon R7 250X,  Radeon R7 250 and Radeon R7 240 are GCN rebrands aside from the latest Hawaii based Radeon R9 290X and Radeon R9 290, with the addition of new features but rather than giving away the same cards at the same price ranges, AMD added a few new features which we will detail in this article and slashed the prices so much that the Tahiti chip that once was $549 can now be bought for $299 US.

Today, we are going to take a third look at the Radeon R7 260X, this time from AIC partner HIS. HIS provided us their Radeon R7 260X iTurbo graphics card a while back which turned out to be a a decent offering given its cost but today, we are looking at a cut-down model based on the iCooler revision which features lower clock speeds and comes at a lower price range of $129.99 US compared to $139.99 US of the reference and $149.99 US of the non-reference variants (the same price at which one could buy the Radeon R7 265 which is based on the 1024 SPs Pitcairn die). So let’s go ahead and see whether the HIS Radeon R7 260X manages to make a place in the entry level and much crowded market space.

G.Skill TridentX logo
Hardware

Introduction

G.SKILL has made memory modules since 1989, and has become a very well-known brand amongst enthusiasts for PC prosumer users who are looking to set world records or even have a computer that more than likely houses some of the best memory inside its chassis. We are looking at the G.SKILL TridentX F3-2400C10Q-32GTX from G.SKILL, a quad channel memory that is aimed for extreme overclocking and using the highest quality memory integrated circuitry available on the market. We cannot wait to get started on testing this Trident DDR3-2400 memory kit and really seeing what it has to offer in terms of some other leading competitors out there.

tridentgskill240032gtx

MSI Z97 XPOWER AC Featured
Hardware

Introduction

Last year, MSI introduced two distinct motherboards in their OC lineup, the Z87 MPOWER and Z87 XPOWER. With the launch of Intel’s 9-Series platform, MSI launched a new category of motherboards which are more powerful then ever and include tons of features built for a wide range of users that may include gamers, enthusiasts, overclockers and casual users.

With the launch of Intel’s Haswell Refresh platform, MSI introduced their second generation XPOWER board for the mainstream LGA 1150 socketed lineup known as the MSI Z97 XPOWER AC. The MSI Z97 XPOWER AC has been designed specifically for enthusiasts and overclockers and being the most feature packed motherboard of all the MSI Z97 product lineup. The motherboard is first an overclocking board which will let users overclock with no limits as indicated by the marketing team behind the XPOWER. The design speaks for itself with the amazing X scheme back in action and an E-ATX form factor size along with some cool new features that make it stand out from the rest of the Z97 motherboard crowd.

The other boards such as the MSI Z97 MPOWER MAX follow up which we reviewed last month has the same DNA at a lower cost of $259.99 US while the XPOWER AC retails at a hefty price of $399.99 US which is quite a lot asking price for it and enters in the more HEDT range of Intel’s X79 motherboards. So we are going to see if the MSI Z97 XPOWER AC is worth its price or not.

a story about my uncle logo
Games

rsz_2a-story-about-my-uncle_8

A Story About My Uncle Review – A Tale Not to be Missed

This year has been a great one for the small studios with big ideas and even bigger talent. Sitting down, looking at my ever-growing Steam library, I am constantly reminded that, more and more, the experiences had with the titles from the twenty man (if that) teams are time and again trumping that which we are seeing from the three-hundred man teams and their million dollar marketing budgets.

After finishing A Story About My Uncle, I am happy to say that it can count itself among those of that list. What more, I may have just found my current favorite title of the year thus far. The game places you in the young shoes of a nameless protagonist on the search of his recently gone missing uncle, Frederic. The story is told by a now older version of the protagonist to his daughter in the way of a bedtime story. This way of presenting the story to the player doesn’t just present itself and then let the game take care of itself. The more mature version of the character in question acts as narrator through the entire experience, giving context not only to the events taking place, but also to separate, secondary elements of the universe; used to help build a better sense that the locales you find yourself in are that of a real, living, breathing place.

Watch Dogs Logo
Games

We are all slowly making our way from GTA V to Watch Dogs, the next generation open world experience. Watch Dogs has a lot going for it – from an extensive story to interesting characters. Singleplayer shines while multiplayer seems a entirely lackluster and disposable. Even then, Watch Dogs is a title which most people will find themselves exploring for hours on end even if part of it is disappointing.

Watch Dogs Review: A Brilliant Reinvention or a Case of Unmet Expectations?

In Watch Dogs you play Aiden Pearce, a vengeful hacker against the new ctOS system in place within Chicago, painting a closer look into the real-life city where cameras dominate every street corner. His family has been murdered and he is out to get revenge on the powerful and corrupt. But Aiden is not quite a protagonist, he is something in the middle of antagonist and protagonist. He’s a guy with no real claim to good or bad, just grey. Vigilante Justice is an explored theme in Watch Dogs similar to something of Showtime’s Dexter. But Aiden Pearce resembles something different altogether in the way he approaches his missions. He goes after everyone and has an inherent disconnect with even his friends, keeping careful for backstabbers and always being cautious at the end of it all. Aiden Pearce trusts very little people in a tough Chicago world full of the underworld contacts which he works with and works against.

Gigabyte-GA-Z97X-SOC-Force-Z97-Motherboards
Hardware

Introduction

With a year gone since Intel launched their fourth generation Haswell processors, its time of the year when the chipzilla introduces their new platform. The original Haswell processors which were the first industry product to feature the 22nm process node launched in June of 2013 so we will probably be looking at the replacement now but Intel has a different strategy planned for this year and instead of releasing a completely new architecture or a die shrink, Intel will refresh their Haswell processors and launch two separate tiers of Haswell processors. The Haswell Refresh which are the locked series will be available in retail next month while the Devil’s Canyon which are targeted for overclocking will arrive a month after the first refresh series.

Since launch is just around the corner, Intel has also announced their latest 9-Series platform and just like last time, motherboard vendors have new products for launch which they are launching ahead of the official NDA deadline from Intel. Since no Haswell Refresh processors are currently available and due to the fact that the K-Series processors will only be available by June 2014, we will stick with the current flagship Haswell offering for our review today on the latest Z97 chipset powered motherboard. So let’s introduce and talk a bit about the manufacturer who has sent us one of their top 9-Series chipset based product for testing.

MSI Z97 MPOWER MAX Motherboard Box
Hardware

Introduction

The MSI Z97 MPower Max AC has been released at long last. Nine months have passed since the previous iteration of Micro-Star International’s (MSI) Z87 lineup came out to grace the people of the Master Overclocking Arena (MOA) with an unprecedented level of OC capacities that made it possible to achieve records in synthetic benchmarks. Something to give overclockers a sense of niche, a little bravado of design infused with righteous yellow elegance. Our very own Hassan Mujtaba gave the previous iteration a rare 9.6 in his review of the MSI Z87 MPower Max, making it that much more critical and harder for people who want to know what the MSI Z97 MPower Max AC is all about at the MSRP $259.99. The question that is on the minds of our readers and upgraders alike: is the Z97 version of the Mpower worth it for overclockers and enthusiasts alike?

MSI Z97 MPower Max AC Motherboard Video Review

SteelSeries 5Hv3 Gaming Headset Review – Introduction

Steel Series 5h V3 Gaming HeadsetSteel Series is one of the more well known brands in gaming and are known for their rather diverse range of Gaming headsets. The Steel Series 5Hv3 is a medium tier product and lies in the lower – mid spectrum of Steel Series Audio Products. In this review we are going to keep in mind the price bracket of the headset and only compare with immediate products. It would be the height of unfairness to compare it to, say, a $500 Sennheiser Model.



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