After careful consideration and much regret I have decided to transfer all hardware review activities to a new domain.  I purchased Hardwareasylum.com in 2012 and have been working hard to build a new and improved Ninjalane on that domain.  If you are reading this you have reached one of the archived articles, news, projects and reviews that were left behind during the site migration. 

Please update your bookmarks and be sure to visit the new and improved Ninjalane at Hardwareasylum.com

Ninjalane News

(Getting Out from) Under the Surface @ Techgage

Published: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

Our friends over at Techgage have an interesting article about the new Surface.  By now most of you know that the Surface 2 has been announced and that from a hardware standpoint it is much better than the original.  The problem is the device is still being released by MS and is hurting the hardware OEMs that use the Microsoft operating system.

Microsoft has been making a lot of weird moves lately, but the strangest of all has been its release (and now re-release) of the Surface tablet. With Steve Ballmer now out of lives, we take a look at his strange vision of Microsoft’s future – and how it has affected the company.

Techgage has their own take on the MS direction and Surface.  An interesting read to say the least.

NL: Review Block - AMD Radeon R9 Launch Week

Published: Friday, October 11, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

I guess flying a bunch of hardware reviewers to Hawaii for a press launch is a good way to ensure ample media coverage.

Web Reviews
- Sapphire Toxic R9 270X @ LanOC Reviews
- MSI Radeon R9-270X Gaming review
- AMD Radeon R9 270X & Sapphire TOXIC R9 270X Video Card Reviews @ Legit Reviews
- MSI Radeon R9 270X Hawk Edition Video Card Review @ HiTech Legion
- Gigabyte R9 270X Windforce @ LanOC Reviews
- AMD Radeon R9 280X / R9 270X from ASUS and MSI review: R9 in practice
- GIGABYTE Radeon R9 280X WindForce 3X OC Graphics Card Review @ HardwareHeaven
- MSI R9 270X HAWK @ PureOverclock
- Will it Crossfire? R9 280X & HD 7970 Scaling Tested @ Hardware Canucks
- AMD Radeon R9 280X Graphics Card Review @ Techgage
- MSI R9 280X GAMING 3 GB @ techPowerUp
- AMD Radeon R9 270X 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- AMD Radeon R7 260X, R9 270X, and R9 280X Tested @ HotHardware
- AMD's Radeon R9 280X and 270X graphics cards
- AMD Radeon R9 270X & R7 260X Review @ Hardware Canucks

Be sure to check out our review of the MSI R9 270X Gaming card.  A Hawk or Lightning edition would have been more fun to review but, what can you do. happy smile 

Still Playing Borderlands 2? Get the GOTY Edition

Published: Tuesday, October 08, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Web

Borderlands 2 has been out for over a year now and since then they have released two vault hunter upgrades and the first DLC that wasn't included in the Season Pass.  I will admit that I do enjoy playing the game and find myself farming for gear but I think it's a little early to be releasing a GOTY edition considering that they have already planned even more DLC and the one already out isn't even included.

The Borderlands 2 Game of the Year Edition gives players the ability to take each of the six playable Vault Hunters to new levels, enjoy hundreds of hours of shoot-and-loot mayhem, and play each of the four highly popular add-on campaigns, all in one action-packed bundle. The Game of the Year Edition includes:
  • Borderlands 2 main game;
  • Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty;
  • Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage;
  • Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt;
  • Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep;
  • Creature Slaughter Dome;
  • Premiere Club Content:
  • Gaige, the Mechromancer Character Class;
  • Gearbox Gun Pack;
  • Golden Key;
  • Vault Hunter's Relic;
  • Krieg, the Psycho Character Class;
  • Collector’s Edition Heads and Skins;
  • Contraband Sky Rocket Grenade;
  • Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 1. 

I have purchased or acquired most of what comes with the GTOY that except for the Creature Slaughter Dome (which I understand is a waste of money) and some of the collector heads and skins.  To be honest I'm just about burned out on the game, I just reached Level 72 with one of my characters and have completed the entire came more times than I care to mention.  I have the option to overlevel but I really don't see the point.

Hate to say it but, it might be time to put it to pasture.

OCZ Vertex 450 256GB SSD @ Custom PC Review

Published: Monday, October 07, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

Personally I still don't have an SSD in my main system but I know a few who do and most of them use Vertex.

This of course leads us OCZ’s latest offering, the OCZ Vertex 450, which we’ll be reviewing today. The OCZ Vertex 450 is the newest SSD in OCZ’s lineup and for the most part is an update of sorts to the already successful Vertex 4. On the controller side, OCZ has moved away from their short lived time with the Marvell hardware based Indilinx Everest 2 controller in favor of the completely in house designed Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller...

These drives have gotten rather popular in recent months and I wouldn't expect a slowdown anytime soon.

Asus Xonar Phoebus Solo Review - 7.1 Gaming Soundcard Review @ HCW

Published: Monday, October 07, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

These days we find that onboard audio isn't only available but is also pretty good.  Of course as hardware enthusiasts we always strive for more and often ignore the onboard in flavor of something meatier.

In our Asus Xonar Phoebus Solo review, we determine what makes for a good PC gaming soundcard, and whether the Phoebus Solo lives up to those standards.

If your gaming rig was something comprised of a X79 and your video card was an Nvidia GTX 780 then adding a Xonar would be like adding gravy to your biscuits with a side of butter.

Ok, now I'm hungry.  happy smile

Silk Road boss paid $80k for snitch’s murder

Published: Thursday, October 03, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Web

Not really tech news but interesting because as part of this take down the feds took control of a bunch of bitcoins worth $3.6Million.  I guess selling drugs online was rather profitable.

On February 4, Dread Pirate Roberts allegedly transferred $40,000 into a bank account controlled by the undercover agent. On March 1, Dread Pirate Roberts had the remainder deposited into the account after he received a staged photo that purported to depict the body of the employee who had died of asphyxiation and heart rupture after being tortured.

Kinda sad really, both for the Bitcoin market and the drug underground.  Just remember its always the "suitemate" or so I was told by an undisclosed female student during my college days.  As the story goes my suitemate always needed to have people around so he threw parties in his dorm room which usually involved drinking.  Shortly after he found a dealer and eventually got arrested for smoking pot on campus.

Shortly after getting out on bail he threw another small party and invited over a few ladies from the drom complex who proceeded to then try to pin his getting busted on me.  Needless to say tensions were high after that.  My saving grace? I wasn't even in my room during the party having been scheduled for my weekly workstudy session..

GTA Online launches - right into a roadblock

Published: Tuesday, October 01, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Web

I recently wrote about how GTA V was one of the fastest selling games in history which speaks to the success and power of console gaming however, the same cannot be said for their new "Online" mode.

Grand Theft Auto Online, an online multiplayer game that allows players to form gangs and complete new heists, is having some trouble getting the gamers online.

The title, which launched on game consoles Tuesday morning, is experiencing server issues that have locked out some gamers and made it difficult for those who have gotten in to play the game. Twitter is abuzz with complaints from gamers who say they can't get into the service.

This sort of thing isn't uncommon, in fact most "[your game title] Online" games have had similar issues in the past where the game was released but the servers couldn't handle the load.  Nobody really publishes if that really impacts game sales but I can imagine that only the hardcore actually come back to play leaving the people on the fence to move on to the next shiny thing.

Not likely to happen with GTA V but you never know.

Patriot Viper III 2400MHz "Black Mamba" @ Bjorn3D

Published: Monday, September 30, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

I tried for years to review Patriot memory in the early days only to get snuffed by the "we don't need any 3rd party opinions of our products".  Then, when I did get a few review samples my "crew" f-ed me over and stole all the gear.

Sadly that hasn't changed my opinion of Patriot and had they spent more time promoting their products they wouldn't be suffering.

So why say all that?  Well, would you have stuck around long enough to read that Patriot memory is one of the best for super high-end overclocking?  Seems strange but it comes down to the chips they use.

Patriot has been in the market for a long time but it is the lesser known little brother in the memory game. However this has not kept them from making some very cool memory models among other devices such as USB flash drives, mobile wireless storage and even a Android powered set top box and im sure many more things I cannot even think of right now.

But without getting too crazy off topic what we are looking at today is their model from the Viper III series labeled “Black Mamba” which is very nice looking sticks with aggressive heatspreaders and a very aggressive speed/timing configuration. Being named Black Mamba I could only assume means to assert the aggressive and deadly power these sticks hold within.

Nothing like getting off topic the "hook" from the publisher, isn't that supposed to draw the reader in to learn more about what they have to say?

Cake and Ice Cream  (Kudos if you know why I included this)

Intel Core i7-4960X Extreme Edition Review @ Techgage

Published: Monday, September 30, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

Ever wonder how the better half live?  Well with a processor like this you would know.

Intel’s latest processor series has arrived, and we’re looking to find out if it becomes the company’s greatest. Compared to Intel’s latest mainstream part, Haswell, IV-E avails a quad-channel memory controller, a far more robust PCIe configuration, and the only place to get six-core parts. Are there other perks to be found? Let’s find out.

I ended up buying the 3960X last round and thought I was h0t shi+ until I found out the 3930K overclocked better and was cheaper to aquire.  Decided against going with the top dog this round for that reason.  I've been seeing a few 6Ghz 3D stable 4930K's out there so I might end up buying another just for "fun"

AMD unveils Radeon R9 and R7 series video cards

Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Web

Maybe the biggest news of the week is the soft launch of the new AMD Radeon R9 and R7 graphics cards.  Funny thing is R9 and R7 has been used before to brand a completely different style of hardware, namely some high quality golf clubs from Taylormade. 

*raises hand* Owner of the R7 Limited TP, awesome club.

The new AMD graphics cards are rumored to be considerably faster than the previous generation and with only a handful of leaked benchmark numbers to go by gamers and hardware enthusiasts are scrambling to speculate how the new GPU stacks up against the current Nvidia 700 series.

While the company isn't revealing full specifications, it claims that the R9 290X flagship will have five teraflops of total computing power versus the four teraflops of the previous generation. The boards will ship sometime in the "near future," with prices ranging from $89 for an entry R7 250 to $299 for the mid-tier R9 280X. AMD isn't divulging the R9 290X's price, but pre-orders for the card will start on October 3rd.

With my limited knowledge of the new architecture (due to me "not" being invited to attend the press conferences in Hawaii this week) I can only speculate that this generation will once again catch up to the current nVidia lineup and then quickly be sidelined with the next nVidia release.

Expect some R9 coverage in the next few weeks, if the "buzz" is any indication the new GPU should get many-a-overclocker excited.