Enthusiast-class cases have trended toward heavier focus on ease-of-installation features, almost creating the perception that performance features were "maxed-out," so to speak. There's inarguably a place for enthusiast enclosures whose headlining acts are the likes of a 70-color LED strip (like the Phantom 820), but there's an equally-large market contingent that demands nothing but the best performance.
SilverStone originally impressed us with their SG08 mini-ITX SFF case (which we used for an HTPC); they further impressed us at CES 2013, where we were given a pre-production look at the RV04/FT04 enthusiast-class enclosures. SilverStone's recurring message to us has been communicated as a focus on performance. At CES we asked SilverStone for thoughts on the industry's trend toward ease-of-installation and cable management perks, to which they countered: "How many times are you going to install the system? Probably once." They have a solid point.
Hot on the heels of Steve's review of Logitech's high-end G700s, we're regrouping to bring you another Logitech mouse review -- this time, it's the Logitech G500s gaming mouse. The mouse uses a chassis that brings back memories of the MX518, G5, and G500 (non-s) mice by Logitech, using a similar chassis/frame layout, a powerful sensor, quality hardware, and a mid-range price-point.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it -- and there's certainly not much broken about the previous iterations (sans some quality issues with plastic M4/M5 buttons). Let's see if that holds true for the G500s.
Gaming peripherals are currently spearheading our efforts to deconstruct the underlying components within gaming hardware and, following our Genius Gila review, today we look at Logitech's new G700s mouse. We first spoiled Logitech's new gaming peripherals right before PAX East, where we covered hard specs and talked a bit about Logitech's new branding, but have since had time to speak with Logitech engineers and play with the hardware.
The G700s and G500s were what specifically interested our review staff (Patrick Lathan will be looking at the G500s) for their one-two punch in the high-end and mid-range gaming markets, respectively; a review is also pending for the new keyboards and a headset, though that's still slightly in the distance.
Following-up with our Genius DeathTaker and Logitech G600 reviews, and our Logitech pre-PAX round-up, we're now looking to Genius' Gila (pronounced hee-la), a high-end gaming mouse. This review looks at the Genius GX-Gaming Gila MMO/RTS mouse and includes a look at the insides and software in video format; you all told us that you wanted more peripheral content, so this is very much in response to those demands!
We originally grouped up with the company at CES 2013, where Genius representative Sam Chou informed us that the company was taking its first steps into the world of gaming peripherals. If the Gila, DeathTaker, and their speakers do well, we were told, they'd consider the possibility of mechanical keyboards and other high-profile gaming equipment.
Let's see if the Gila did well.
We've been busy with PAX here at GamersNexus for the past weeks, but now the team is back and it's time to catch up on some peripheral reviews. First in line is a mouse—and it isn't Logitech this time (but you should also check out our Logitech roundup)—no, this time it's the Genius DeathTaker. Just let that name sink in for a moment.
Genius is the brand name of KYE Systems Corporation, a Taiwanese company with a focus on general computer peripherals; they make just about everything, ranging from drawing tablets, to mouse pads, to speakers, to mice, and they've recently begun exploring the PC gaming space with their new GX Gaming lineup. The DeathTaker is part of their GX Gaming devices (so is the Gila - be sure to keep an eye out for a review soon) and has been labeled as an "MMORPG/RTS Gaming Laser Mouse," although it's not tailored to those two genres exclusively, or at all: it's more of a jack of all trades.
This article aims to review Genius' DeathTaker MMO/RTS gaming mouse, talk about its pros/cons, execution, and overall performance in gaming.
As with any modernized adaptation of an existing technology, closed-loop liquid coolers (CLCs) have become almost fad-like in their adoption. In part, this is because CLCs actually do have very legitimate advantages over traditional air coolers - they are highly noise-to-temperature efficient, for one thing, and have an aesthetic appeal for some users. The other part of this liquid cooling craze, though, I believe is attributable to a general doting of something new.
The thing is, not every liquid cooler is going to be inherently better than similarly-priced air coolers. Just having liquid in tubes (rather than copper-encased capillaries) does not make the units predisposed to superior cooling qualities; this said, a well-constructed liquid-cooling solution can certainly trounce a well-constructed air cooling solution -- it just comes down to the engineering in each product and consideration of other differences (noise). There's a reason we use radiators for large, hot things (cars, for one) in tandem with traditional air-cooling engineering (also found in car cooling systems in the form of air intakes, copper/aluminum sinks, etc.): Both have their place for optimizing maximized potential for thermal dissipation.
There was a recent burst in demand from our community (that's you guys) to cover more gaming peripherals—keyboards, mice, headsets, the works—and start reviewing the options out there. Following-up with our video production rig, which endeavored to detail some great audio peripherals, this review signifies the impending publication of several new mouse & keyboard reviews.
For the past several weeks I've had the opportunity to play around with a couple of high-end gaming mice sent in to GamersNexus, including today's Logitech G600; this Logitech G600 gaming mouse review will look at its features, value for MMO gamers, and talk about serious button enthusiasm.
As I've explained innumerable times this past month, the overwrought enthusiast market has clambered over itself with new hardware for 2013. It's really quite unbelievable: As the mainstream desktop market wanes—due to many factors, like prolonged usable system lifespan and minimized consumer interest—the enthusiast and gaming markets have picked up competitive interest among manufacturers. There's suddenly a much greater incentive to establish and maintain a foothold in enthusiast computing, making for undeniably excellent news for our readers; today's case review of NZXT's Phantom 630 is a testament to that, given its swath of features for a previously unachievable price-point. We originally previewed the Phantom 630 at CES, found here.
This is also evident in other recent cases we've reviewed (or intend to review), like the upcoming Throne, Corsair's 900D (which looks amazing, by the way), SilverStone's entire line-up, and the far more affordable RAIDMAX Cobra and Armor Evolution. Quite simply put, we're seeing more features, more efficiency, and better performance at a lower cost to the consumer -- or as it's affectionately known, competition at its finest.
NZXT's Phantom 630 is the next to be reviewed & benchmarked, a particularly interesting case for its appeal to more budget-conscious gaming hardware enthusiasts. The price scale for gaming enclosures is an interesting one -- it's very heavy in the mid-range (~$100 sector) and top-end, but lightens up toward the bottom of the scale ($50~$70). The Phantom 630 is targeted at around $180, placing it firmly between mid-range full towers and hardcore enthusiast systems (like the Phantom 820 we reviewed, which was $250ish).
As always, let's start with the video review component and the hard specs.
After the thorough lashing we gave Rosewill's Armor Evolution case—even with its claim to the best cooling performance we've ever seen—we immediately benched the next two cases in our queue. Normally I'd impose a delay between case reviews for better (and more interesting) spread of coverage, but this time, we were all eager to see what the stuff we previewed at CES could offer.
From the middle through the end of January each year, it is common for us to get slammed with cases and cooling products to review; SSDs and motherboards often get announced at the tradeshows and Q4 rallies, but tend to be held back until a March launch frame, followed closely by new GPU announcements in April/May. This means that, somewhat advantageously, we're given time to get all the cooling products figured out first, revise our testing methodology for the impending "hi-tech" products, and provide excellent research content in-between (like our SSD Lifecycle post). It's a cumbersome cycle, but it's been working out well so far.
RAIDMAX is a contributor to that cycle. Just before CES, RAIDMAX sent us their new Cobra ATX-502WB case for review, and from its $70 price-point, it's potentially in a position to be recommended in our budget gaming PC builds. Even with the surge toward enthusiast cases this year, we're still seeing as many cheap enclosures as ever: Rosewill's R5 is our long-standing sub-$90 choice, Corsair's 200R brings mid-range quality to the low-end market, and In-Win, Xion, and Zalman are all trying to make a splash in that sector as well. There's always room for good competition, though.
As always, let's hit the specs and video review first:
UPDATE: Rosewill has read our review and is addressing the quality issues in an upcoming "version 2" of the Armor Evolution case. We will review this case once it is complete and in our hands.
As noted in our post-CES case round-up, mid-tower and full tower / enthusiast cases were all the rage this year; in a frighteningly unstable desktop PC market—one which sees Intel's exit from the motherboard market, despite their huge motherboard push to us in 2011—we were taken aback by the fierce competition in the enclosure marketplace, each manufacturer fighting for the rising enthusiast market. As we see a move away from mainstream desktops, the market's direction is becoming clear: There will be mobile devices and there will be high-end machines; the middle-ground, mainstream desktop user is effectively extinct (or very endangered, in the least).
This is traditional of any aging market -- the same goes for cars. We went from hundreds of car companies in the mid-20th century to just a handful, and while all manner of economics plays into the merging and folding of companies, the advancement of technology and consumer demands plays an equally large role. And so as the world of desktop machines goes forward, having now given it some thought, it makes sense that competition for the gaming and high-end DIY markets would embolden itself as manufacturers prepare to grab hold of whatever small foothold they can in a shrinking marketplace. Besides, we have it on good authority that the enthusiast market is growing, even while the mainstream desktop user vanishes; this means good things for all of us.
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