The delay of Valve's Steam Machine (or Steam Box) has forced the hand of systems manufacturers. Alienware, Gigabyte with the Brix, and now Zotac have all begun shipping their would-have-been Steam Machines as DIY mini-PCs. Steam has disallowed the shipment of officially branded Steam Machines until the completion of its haptic controller, leaving system manufacturers scrambling to untie the resources dedicated to machines that were originally slated for a 2014 launch.

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In an official capacity, Gigabyte's BRIX Pro and Zotac's EN760 are not "Steam Machines" -- at least, not by branding -- but they might as well be. The EN760 (Newegg page) ships in two models: The EN760 and EN760 Plus. The base model ships without RAM or permanent storage at $540; the Plus edition includes a single 8GB stick of 1600MHz RAM and 1x1TB 5400RPM HDD. Both units are outfitted with an 860M mobile GPU, i5-4200U mobile CPU, and custom board design to fit in a 7.4" x 7.4" x 2" (188 x 188 x 51mm) shell. 

We've been recommending Plantronics' GameCom 780 headset alongside our PC builds for a few years now, generally calling it the "best value for gamers." The 780 has fluctuated between the $50 and $80 price range, and at either end of that spectrum, it has always dominated as a high-endurance, high-performing solution for gaming audio and input. Our original review 780 is still functional, and that's after nearly two years of constant use -- the longest time I've ever had a headset last.

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Plantronics recently contacted us about a GameCom 788 refresher of the original 780. There haven't been any changes to the audio drivers and underlying audio tech, so it's all aesthetics and marketing. The 788 ships alongside updated Windows 8/8.1 compatibility, joined by most of Plantronics' other audio products.

In this review and hands-on with Plantronics' GameCom 788, we look at the headset's sound quality, build quality, comfort, and usefulness in gaming.

HyperX Fury 1866MHz RAM Benchmark & Review

Written by Monday, 30 June 2014 06:07

There's no argument that RAM has become commoditized in the marketplace. This has been reinforced by furthered emphasis on appearances and the prevalence of high-capacity modules at relatively stabilized prices. DDR3 DRAM fabrication has also improved its yield steadily through the years, making high-frequency memory more abundant than ever. Kingston and Corsair recently told us that they've each almost completely halted production of 1333MHz consumer memory, primarily because the yield of DDR3-1600 is so high that lower frequencies actually have diminishing returns on cost.

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As it turns out, RAM also feels like a relatively uninteresting component when selecting parts for a new system -- such is the nature of a stable product. It's similar to buying gas, in that regard; serious enthusiasts might deliberate over suppliers and octane specifications, but most users just fill up with the most convenient and affordable source. That's not to diminish the importance of quality RAM, though it does currently feel like a fairly stagnated market. Things will change in the face of DDR4.

After releasing CAM, which we previewed here, NZXT is back in the hardware world with their Sentry 3 LCD fan controller. The previous model—the Sentry 2—was a great entry-level fan controller, but had some annoyances in the way of cable management. The Sentry 3 has built upon what made its predecessor great and has added features that were needed, taking away a few that were unnecessary. Many times we see companies churn out new products that are just re-packaged versions of something they was already released, but the Sentry 3 thankfully avoids this model.

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In this review, we'll look at NZXT's Sentry 3 specs, its performance and accuracy as a fan controller and temperature reader, and overall build quality.

We're back with another mouse review, this time from a manufacturer not usually (or ever, really) known for their gaming mice: Rosewill. Admittedly, this review comes in part because of an urgently needed mouse replacement caused by the mechanical failure of a certain Genius Deathtaker, so anything that can left-click is a definite improvement, but we'll try to give some honest pros and cons.

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To see some other recent mouse reviews, check out our look at Logitech's G500s and G700s or the Genius Gila review.

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