After careful consideration and much regret I have decided to transfer all hardware review activities to a new domain.  I purchased 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

Ninjalane News

Funky Kit Article - Interview with Antec

Published: Thursday, August 08, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

I sometimes wonder what Antec is up to and for years the company was guarded to the point where the only way you could talk to them was if they contacted you first.  It is good to see they have finally opened up and are also branching out.

My name is Frank Lee, Director of Antec Mobile Products and Director of Global Marketing for Antec. Being in business for over 27yrs, Antec has always been in the forefront of the computer DYI industry

Antec used to be one of the premier Chassis and PSU suppliers but is now focusing on the mobile space which is a huge emerging market. Lets find out what else they have been doing. big grin smile

SilverStone Air Penetrator SST-AP123 Cooling Fan Review @ APH Networks

Published: Thursday, August 08, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

These are some of the best fans, hands down, feet down, air down, it doesn't matter they are the best.

Is it an improvement from the past even if the specs don't say so? Let's see how the testing goes.

In checking out the review I rather like the tissue paper test which helps to show directionality.  At Computex several years ago Silverstone levitated a balloon with an Air Penetrator fan using the Bernoulli Effect.  (the same one that allows planes to fly)

Most case fans exhaust air in a cone which is why you always position fans to pull air thru a radiator when you are watercoolig.  With the Air Penetrator you no longer need to do that however, the fans tend to work best cooling cases rather than heatsinks.

Oculus Rift hires FPS Developer John Carmack to be CTO

Published: Wednesday, August 07, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Web

For some reason this doesn't surprise me and I think it will be extremely good for both parties involved.

Carmack said in a prepared statement that the first time he wrote code for Oculus, it stood up to many firsts he's experienced in modern gaming: "the intensity of the first-person experience, LAN and internet play, game mods and so on." Additionally, he believes VR "will have a huge impact in the coming years" -- Carmack is the first announced big new hire at Oculus. 

The key word in the above snippet is "coming years".  We all know that VR exists and that past versions of the technology were limited by the very technology that created it.  Of course the Oculus implementation is considerably better there are still issues with the technology.

Sadly enough, those issues are with the 2D content that is digitally converted to 3D and then displayed on the screen.  Movies recorded in 3D are usually pretty good but games where the pictures are generated in real time often suffer from motion sync issues and just poor 3D implementation.

Let's hope that Carmack can make a difference.  Given his track record in the FPS world, I'm sure he can.

NL: Review Block - Random Stuffs Part Tre

Published: Monday, August 05, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

Just a quick list of hardware reviews to start out the week.

- Rosewill Helios RK-9200 Gaming Keyboard @ Hardware Asylum
- Corsair Raptor K50 Review @ Ocaholic

Funky Kit Review: Thermaltake NiC 5 - Untouchable CPU Cooler
Noctua NH-U14S and NH-U12S High Compatibility CPU Cooler Review @ HiTech Legion
Noctua NH-U14S CPU Cooler Review

Civilization V: Brave New World Review @ Techgage

Putting the game in there was a stretch but people like Civ 5 right?

GPGPU performance of modern graphics cards

Published: Monday, August 05, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

I considered adding this benchmark to my reviews but not to showcase raw performance but rather to expose PCI Express bandwidth between the GPU and CPU.  As you can imagine that didn't work out so well, especially considering how much data actually travels the PCI-E lanes in DX11 vs DX10/9.

While not that many consumer applications are available yet, we can still say that GPGPU has reached maturity. For now the main benefits can be found in photo and video editing software.

The interesting thing to notice is how even the slowest GPU is still faster than a CPU at this stuff and that the speed of the GPU doesn't dictate overall performance.  Drivers maybe?

Microsoft Drops a C-Note from Surface Pro Price

Published: Monday, August 05, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Web

Who saw this one coming?

Following the drastic price cuts on Surface RT tablets the Redmond giant has slashed $100 from the Surface Pro price in hopes of selling a few.

Microsoft is discounting its Surface Pro tablet this weekend, following heavy reductions to its Surface RT costs recently. The 10 percent price cut to Surface Pro reduces the cost of the 64GB and 128GB models by $100 each in the US. Not all regions appear to have Surface Pro price cuts just yet, but the US, Canada, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are all showing price cuts on both models.

I am not surprised it came to this, assuming Surface Pro is a failure.  Microsoft is accustomed to meeting expectations but in terms of selling computer hardware they have a lot to learn.  The first lesson: "just because you build it doesn't mean people will buy it".  Most content creators don't like Windows 8 and hardware reviewers still compare Slate style tablets to the iPad and those things aren't good for selling powerful tablet devices. 

Of course some have speculated that Surface Pro 2 might be coming out which would explain the price drop.  Still, i'm not holding my breath, Haswell is a great processor and should help with battery life issue but when it comes down to actually using the tablet you're going to be faced with "meh" performance and a butthurt wallet.

ASRock Z87 Extreme6/ac (Intel LGA 1150) @ techPowerUp

Published: Friday, August 02, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

I have a Asrock Z87 motherboard in the lab and have to say, the packing is amazing.  Twill let you know about the board in the next week or so.

I take my first look at ASRock's Z87 products with the Z87 Extreme6/ac. Packed full of connectivity options, it definitely has Extreme connectivity, but is it perhaps also an Extreme disappointment?

Keep in mind that the Extreme6 is one of the top of the line boards with ample gold caps (for the China market) and Nick Shih's signature along the left edge.  Those things alone may not make this board awesome but it does give it some style.

6 Steps for the Perfect Hipster Logo

Published: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Web

Ever wanted to make your own logo? Feel like masking your true identity in a sea of hipster'esq artwork?  Well your wait is over and you won't have to hire that expensive graphic designer to make it happen.

With the Hipster Logo Design Guide, you'll cover all the requisite visual cues to ensure that your product looks like it came straight off a shelf from a Dust Bowl-era general store. To start, you'll need to pick a badge-the "seal of approval" variety gives off an especially nice state fair prizewinner vibe. Slap a banner on top, sprinkle in some vaguely related symbols (or, hell, even totally unrelated ones), and throw in some buzzwords. You're not just selling donuts, you're selling authentic, artisanal, handcrafted donuts. Actually, you're purveying them. 

As a designer I have always liked these little guides since they not only poke fun at a current trend but also give other designers some ideas for future projects.  Maybe it will be for a hipster wannabe or the genuine article, you never know.

CM Storm QuickFire XT Mechanical Keyboard Review @ Techgage

Published: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

It would seem keyboards are all the rage these days, which is kinda funny considering that Intel and Microsoft would have you believe that the keyboard is useless.  Well, I am here to say that the keyboard is not dead.  In fact I couldn't type this news post without it.

When Cooler Master introduced its QuickFire Rapid last year, it seemed like it was a near-perfect mech. The only thing that let it down in some people’s eyes was the lack of a numpad, but now, a couple of years later, the company has addressed that with its latest offering, the QuickFire XT. Join us as we put it through its paces.

I prefer the "natural" ergo style keyboards for comfort and style.  Sadly nobody makes a mechanical version of that keyboard, "yet" but, I am hopeful for the future.

America's Greatest Office in Racine Wisconsin

Published: Monday, July 29, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Web

Seems like a strange place to have Americas greatest office building but that is the case and has been since 1937.

RACINE, Wis. -- There's always stiff competition for the title of America's best workplace. But when it comes to the country's best work space, the lucky people who spend their days in the administration building at SC Johnson headquarters may well have the bragging rights.

Designed by celebrated architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the building in this town just south of Milwaukee defies logic -- and, some thought, physics. Its signature element is 60 21-foot-tall columns that fill its famous half-acre open Great Workroom. 

This was actually one of the many buildings I studied in Architecture school, not because it was old but because it was actually really good and well received by the public.  It was buildings like that which defined the architecture style of the 1950's.

One thing different about modern buildings we see today is that they are considered utilities by the company and no longer define it.  Back in the early 20th century large corporations were desperate to improve their public image and one way they did that was with architecture.  There are many examples of this e.g. The Sears Tower and the SC Johnson headquarters (in this article).  Those companies had money and didn't mind spending it to improve their image.  Some sought to get everyone into a single building while others wanted to improve employee morale.

Sadly, things are not the same anymore, a company will lease a building and that is it, no fancy sign over the door and no unique design.  True, it is what goes on "inside" the building that matters but this trend of bigger and cheaper doesn't make you famous and shouldn't make you proud of where you work.