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. 

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Ninjalane News

Icy Dock FlexCage 2 Bay and 3 Bay Hard Drive Enclosure Review @ HiTech Legion

Published: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

Sometimes you have to wonder if people write reviews to show off their writing skill or if they are really passionate about the product they are reviewing.  It is a little known fact that many review sites make their new writers "pay their dues" by reviewing smaller products like USB drives, software, cases and External drive enclosures.  The majority of these are the external drive cases since it seems EVERYONE has one available.

Just looking at the quote in this review I have to wonder, was this a hazing event or does the reviewer really like the drive bay?

The Icy Dock MB973SP-1B and the MB974SP-2B are very similar to each other in that they both sport an aluminum chassis with an 80mm cooling fan. The Icy Dock FlexCage MB973SP-1B is able to fit three 3.5" SATA HDDs in two 5.25" drive bays using a trayless design.  Both FlexCages are powered by two 4 pin power connectors or by adapting two 15-pin power connectors via the included adapters. The tray less design means that not only is installation of drives toolless – it is as simple as sliding the drive in and closing the door. This makes it an ideal platform for hot swapping hard drives with minimal hassle. They are both cooled by an included 80mm fan that, in its shipped configuration, pulls air from the front of the drives and exhausts it out of the back. Each of the hard drive bays has an individual hard drive activity LED that is only active when a hard drive is successfully inserted. Both fans can easily be removed and replaced with any 80mm fan using a 2-pin or a 3-pin connector.  The aluminum chassis makes it both very durable and far better at dissipating heat than plastic.  The main difference between the two is that pricier of the pair, the MB974SP-2B, has 2 USB 3.0 ports on the front connected via a standard USB 3.0 motherboard header, and can hold one more drive than the MB973SP-1B. This can be very useful for older cases that may not have as many places to mount a hard drive or don’t have any USB 3.0 ports on the front panel.

Dunno about you but this chunk of text could have been consolidated. Wadda you think?

Online pornography to be blocked by default in UK

Published: Monday, July 22, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Web

This is interesting, I really had no idea that pr0n was such a huge deal in the UK and instead of just blocking "the really bad stuff" they decided to block everything and call it a day.

Most households in the UK will have pornography blocked by their internet provider unless they choose to receive it, David Cameron has announced.

In addition, the prime minister said possessing online pornography depicting rape would become illegal in England and Wales - in line with Scotland.

I wonder what process someone would have to go thru to get pr0n unblocked and what happens when someone shares out their wireless (with pr0n enabled) to people who don't want to see it?.  I suspect it would be 60 days in the stocks with Internet privileges revoked for 2 years. (you know something harsh)

Of course if they request to have access to pr0n they might go into a national register of sex watchers and be denied simple things in life like walking in a park during the day or getting married.

How Microsoft could successfully kill off the Desktop

Published: Thursday, July 18, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Web

Here is an interesting article that talks about Windows RT and how there is a chance that Microsoft could kill the traditional desktop if they so desired.

The clues have been there right from the beginning. A few months after the Windows 8/Windows on ARM schism, WoA was renamed Windows RT. The RT designation has absolutely nothing to do with ARM; instead, it refers to the Windows Runtime (WinRT) that powers Windows 8?s Metro interface and Windows Store (Metro-style) apps. Why then did WoA get renamed? Because Windows RT is the trial run for a version Windows that has no Desktop at all — a version of Windows that does away with the old Win32 runtime, leaving just the new WinRT-powered interface and its new Metro-style apps.

This is really scary since it really would spell the end for open source development on Windows and curb 3rd party developers from creating new applications.  Just imagine a world without Adobe, that likely wouldn't happen but it could if Microsoft doesn't approve the application.  

I think we can look at the troubles game developers have with the XBos as a precursor to the iron fist of Windows RT. 

Pro gamers now qualify for US visas as Professional Athletes

Published: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Web

As a citizen of the US I often forget that getting into the country takes planning on the part of the traveler.  Visitors to this country often have to apply for a Visa even if they are just changing planes.  Well, it would seem that Pro Gamers now qualify for landing visas like other pro athletes opening up e-sports to be considered on the same level as chess or golf..  

The change, Beck said, could let non-American players join US teams: "It's like David Beckham coming to LA Galaxy." He said convincing US Immigration and Citizenship Services to offer players pro sports visas was "a long process" that hinged on proving League of Legends can offer people the chance to make a living as professionals. "A lot of people have been dismissive of it because they don't understand the scope of this," he said. "Our viewership numbers are stronger than 80 or 90 percent of the sports covered on ESPN."

This is a milestone moment for e-sports since it has long struggled to be defined as an actual professional sport despite some of the top players winning real money.  I guess now they need to work on proper drug testing and establish anti-doping rules.  happy smile

There is no indication as to how long a pro gamer can stay in the US but we can thank Riot Games for laying the groundwork and ensuring that our favorite League of Legends players will be able to complete for real cash money at events hosted in the US.

The Highest-Paid Professional Video Gamers

Published: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

Cannot say I wanted to be a professional gamer but the prospect of playing games all day and getting paid does sound pretty good.  The list here shows the top 15 gamers in the world starting with Luo "Ferrari_430" Feichi and ending with the popular Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel.

You'll have to check out the article to know how much they all made.

Playing video games for a living is the dream of pretty much every adolescent male at one point or another.

Believe it or not, there are gamers who are doing exactly that. And they're making some serious money.

e-Sports Earnings has ranked the 100 players with the highest overall earnings from competitive gaming.

As with most "sports" the player makes big bank in the beginning and slowly falls from the limelight in favor of easy money.  I'm just glad these guys are playing things smart to keep the party rolling.

ASUS MAXIMUS VI HERO (Intel LGA 1150) @ techPowerUp

Published: Monday, July 15, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

Is it just me or does it seem that ASUS has started releasing more motherboard versions than before?  I have also noticed that the "gold" boards haven't featured in many reviews lately.

New to the ASUS ROG line-up, the ASUS MAXIMUS VI HERO is for those looking to get that high-end ROG "GENE" experience in a full ATX format, but does stretching the GENE also stretch the HERO's ability too thin, or has the ASUS MAXIMUS VI HERO come to save the day?

GENE was a good motherboard type, compact and powerfui.  Out of all the MicroATX motherboards I have reviewed I did like that one the best.

Chassis makers reducing notebook business

Published: Monday, July 15, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Web

It would seem that notebooks are going the way of stuff that is going away.

Seeing notebook demand gradually weakening, chassis makers have turned their focuses to non-notebook product lines, trying to minimize the impact. Catcher Technology has successfully reduce its notebook product line's revenue contribution to below 40% and the percentage is expected to rise slightly in the second half.

Chassis maker Ju Teng is also expected to see the revenue contribution from its tablet business rise significantly from 4-5% in 2012 to 20% in the second half of 2013, dropping its notebook business' proportion to only 80%.

This isn't good.  Consider that most large businesses have started issuing laptops to their employees for the following reasons.

  • portable
  • easy to replace
  • smaller 
  • do everything a desktop does. 

Some content producers are still issued workstation machines but overall there is a reduction of desktop PCs across the board in favor of notebooks.  Now there is a global demand reduction for notebooks in favor of tablets.

I wonder, where is all of this demand? Could it be that people buy more than one tablet device and never upgrade their laptop/notebook?  Ya thats it, thanks Intel and Microsoft you are doing the world an awesome job. worry smile

The 7 Types of Hashtag Abusers - An editorial for awareness

Published: Saturday, July 13, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Ninjalane

Now that hashtags have been added to Facebook you have to wonder how people will use them, or in this case abuse them.  Here is an editorial talking about the 7 types of abusers while I don't fully agree with the first one I do think that a person doing "air hashtags" is pretty darn stupid and speaks to their level of mentality.

2. The Verbal Hashtagger

Someone who actually says the word “hashtag” in conversation. Exhibit A: Kasey, the Bachelorette contestant, who charms women with phrases — spoken out loud! — like “hashtag marriage material” and “hashtag let the journey begin.” If a Verbal Hashtagger is hiking Machu Picchu, say, he might observe the ancient ruins, feel overwhelmed with emotion, and say, “Hashtag…. breathtaking.”

I suspect there will be more of this in the coming months/years, at least until someone comes up with something better.

Crucial Ballistix Sport XT 1866 MHz C10 2x 8 GB @ techPowerUp

Published: Thursday, July 11, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

Oh yes, my favorite local company once again sending products around the world for review. happy smile  What I really find interesting is that TPU mentioned Computex considering I was there and didn't see Crucial anywhere.

Crucial expanded their line-up a short while ago at Computex by introducing the Ballistix Sport XT product for mainstream users and those who know how to tweak their memory. We take a look at the high-end 1866 MHz C10 model, which carry a few surprises.

The memory does look really good and was tested at 1866Mhz @ CAS10.  The CAS rating is kinda slow but the speed isn't bad especially at 1.5v. During their overclocking test they were able to hit 2133Mhz with the same voltage and only a few timing tweaks.

Sadly no lights.

New CYBERPOWERPC Zeus HTPC Series - The Ultimate HTPC

Published: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

CITY of INDUSTRY, CA (July 9, 2013) – CyberPower Inc., a global manufacturer of custom gaming PCs,  today announced the Zeus HTPC, a sleek new series of Windows-based home-theatre PCs that can double as your primary desktop.

The Zeus HTPC combines the compact and stylish design of a home theatre system with the power and performance of a gaming PC. The Zeus HTPC is your DVR, enthusiast home theatre PC, gaming console and DVD/Blu-Ray Player all in one thin micro-ATX chassis that fits perfectly in your home theatre stack or on your desk. The chassis utilizes a passive cooled heatsink technology paired with razor fins for maximum heat dissipation and minimal noise. CYBERPOWERPC will offer six Zeus HTPC models.

The Zeus HTPC is a multimedia monster powered by your choice of a 4th Generation Intel® Core™ processor or AMD APU to provide easy access to all your favorite multimedia applications from PC gaming and movie streaming to surfing the web. Combined with discrete graphics with the AMD Radeon HD 7750 users can dive into the latest PC gaming titles in full HD and beautifully rendered graphics in rich detail.

CYBERPOWERPC took special care to ensure the Zeus HTPC is seen and not heard. The system delivers silent operations even at maximum loads with its passively cooled chassis and optional silent edition video card. The only thing users will hear is the crisp sound of their game, movie or TV program and not annoying background fan or system noise.

In spite of its sleek design, which measures just 17.125x15.35x2.75 inches (L× W×H), the Zeus HTPC is the quintessential multi-purpose system with a host of features, including Windows Media Center compatibility. The Zeus HTPC’s on-board IR receiver makes it easy and convenient to connect the system to you favorite remote. Buyers also have the option of adding the InfiniTV Cable Tuner card or other TV tuner options, which can record live TV in high definition. The Zeus HTPC can record up to four channels simultaneously so you can watch want you want when you want.

The Zeus TV Pro A100 powered by an AMD APU is priced at $699 and features:

  • AMD A8-6400K Quad-Core CPU
  • 8GB System memory
  • 1TB 7200 RPM HDD
  • Slot-loading DVDRW
  • 802.11n WiFi
  • Media Center Remote
  • Logitech K400 Wireless Keyboard with built-in Touchpad

The Zeus TV Pro i100 powered by a 4th Generation Intel® Core™ processor starts at $895 and includes:

  • Intel® Core™ i5-4430 Quad-core Haswell CPU
  • 8GB system memory
  • 2TB 7200 RPM HDD
  • Slot-loading DVDRW
  • 802.11n WiFi
  • Media Center Remote
  • Logitech K400 Wireless Keyboard with built-in Touchpad

All six Zeus HTPC models can be customized with a number of performance hardware and component upgrades such as CPU/GPU upgrades, solid state drives, hard drive, performance gaming memory, gaming peripherals, business productivity software, and more at the company’s website,

All CYBERPOWERPC gaming PCs include an industry best 3-year limited warranty.