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Ninjalane News

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.

Has Walmart sold out of Microsoft Surface RTs?

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

That is the question that CNET is asking after checking Walmart and not finding any tablets for sale.  We all know Walmart responds quite well to the stinky wind and when something stops selling they cut bait and walk away.  Well, that might be what has happened.

- or- 

Walmart discounted the crap tablets in hopes of clearing some wareshouse space for boxes and other assorted storage stuff.  Basically if this was "Office Space" the Windows RT Tablet is Milton and he is headed down to the basement.

Don't look now, but Walmart may have just sold out temporarily of Microsoft's recently discounted Surface RT devices.

Yes, those same Surface RTs that Microsoft repriced and are now $350 (plus $100-plus for a keyboard/cover). The Surface RTs that were responsible for Microsoft's $900 million write-down which it took in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Sounds a lot like what HP did back in the day, the difference was the HP fondlepad was actually some good hardware with a crap OS.

Trio of Z87 OC Motherboards Tested @ Madshrimps

Published: Friday, July 26, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Email

Watch out its a three-way!  While this might be a normal friday night for some or the new de-facto standard SLI configuration for the mainstream in this particular instance it is three OC motherboards tested by Madshrimps.

Today we will be looking at 3 high end Overclock optimized mainboards for Intel's 4th generation processors. Madshrimps received the Z87-OC Formula sample from ASRock, the Gigabyte Z87X-OC and MSI's Z87 XPOWER flagship. Three boards, although all listed in total different price categories, targeted specifically at the enthusiast crowd. Fully equipped to squeeze the last MHz out of your Haswell. Due to the specific nature of these particular boards we have adapted the review method slightly to go more into the efficiency aspect instead of listing all of the onboard features/chips.

We have tested two of the boards in this trio and have the third on bench and ready to test.  Thus far I'm really liking the Gigabyte Z87X-OC but have yet to try out the Asrock beyond installing drivers.

Mad Catz Cyborg MMO 7 Gaming Mouse Review @ Hardware Asylum

Published: Friday, July 26, 2013 - By: Dennis
News Source: Web

Not sure if the UN would sanction a surgical strike just to take down a rouge mouse but you never know.

With its aggressively angled body styling, innovative adjustable control features, and 13 programmable buttons, I think someone should be phoning up the UN because I'm pretty sure Mad Catz just produced a WMD with this little beast.

Personally I think these MMO designs have to many buttons.  However, much like driving a car you need to keep your hands on the wheel and having more buttons on your mouse is about the same thing.