Tuesday, 17 March 2015

ASUS SICA Mouse and Whetstone Mouse Mat


At CES this this year, ASUS showed three mice and a mouse mat of their newer gaming peripherals. The ASUS GLADIUS that I looked at last issue has been joined by the SICA. Later on in the year it looks as if ASUS will release another addition to the family, the SPARTHA.

The SICA is the budget mouse of the family. At the time of writing I didn’t have retail pricing but suffice to say that together with the WHETSTONE mouse mat, the combo will set you back about $50. Not bad, at all. In fact that is really good pricing given just how much has gone into the WHESTONE and to a lesser extend the SICA. However I’ll get to the mouse mat later, but first I must admit that I was initially unmoved by the SICA until I actually used it for for a significantly longer period.

G.Skill Ripjaws4 DDR4 Kit

G.Skill Ripjaws4 DDR4 Kit

If you look at the average price for a DDR3 16GiB 2,666MHz set today, it will set you back about $200. In fact G.SKILL’s own Trident X and RipJaws Z 16GiB kits of the same frequency will set you back $199.99 and $204.99 respectively. So it follows that the company is asking you to pay close to $30 more for the same frequency and capacity. An odd thing to request of end users and customers even if you’re talking about the latest and greatest DDR4. If you’re one an X79 system or perhaps even one using Z79 with all your memory banks filled, there’s little to no incentive for you to fork out the additional cash to be right back to where you were before. As such, it’s impossible to evaluate the value of this kit against the previous DDR3 pricing. It just doesn’t make sense and is an unfair comparison.

Sunless Sea

Sunless Sea

Sail into Hell’s seventh circle, and back again

We don't remember where our first captain was lost - almost certainly sailing in home waters, between Fallen London and Hunter's Keep. Later captains - men, women, citizens, all of the same doomed family - made it further. Another, fleeing with money stolen from the Smiling Man, made it as far as Khan's Shadow before the Khanate Navy sent his raggedy boat to the sea's bottom. We think one froze to death in the waters off Frostmourn. But none retired to a quiet life to put their seaboots up on the table. They all died in the shadowed seas, leaving their meagre legacies to the next generation.

Dare we ask about AMD?


Intel’s only rival in the PC processor market continues to strive, and struggle, to keep up with the advances

Every time you think AMD is about to drop dead, some good news pops up. But you can be just as sure that any time things are looking up, some disaster or other lies just around the corner.

So where does that put AMD today? The context here is Intel’s ceaseless march of technology. While we nitpick over its delayed 14nm technology, there’s no denying Intel has broadly stuck to its Tick-Tock strategy of releasing new CPU architectures and new production processes in alternating years.

Broadwell: It’s Business Time

Intel Broadwell

An awfully long time coming, Intel’s new 14nm CPU family is finally here. By Jeremy Laird

All systems are go with 14nm technology. If there’s a single message that Intel wants to hammer into your head with its new family of Broadwell CPUs, it’s this: 14nm is on line. Moore’s Law lives on.

The reality isn’t quite so simple. The reality is that Intel has fallen behind its self-imposed schedule of bringing out a new CPU architecture and then a new production process or die shrink in successive years.

As we’ll see, as chip features get ever smaller, the production process is becoming one hell of a challenge. As Intel’s CPU designs become ever more refined, the new architecture bit ain’t all that easy, either. Not if you’re expecting substantial gains in performance. That’s the context for the new Broadwell family. It’s running late. And it’s a lot to ask for it to be dramatically better than Intel’s already-excellent CPUs. And yet there are reasons to be very glad it’s finally arrived.

Fractal Design Kelvin S24

Fractal Design Kelvin S24

An AIO liquid cooler with an expandable waistline

Swedish chassis mafia Fractal Design is well known for its range of PC cases, but now it’s got a range of AIO liquid CPU coolers too. ‘Range’, however, may be a bit too grand a word to use for just three products. Whatever, Fractal has called on the expertise of Alphacool, a company that knows a thing or two about liquid cooling. The dual-fanned Kelvin S24 is the middle cooler in the setup, sitting between the single fan T12 (120mm radiator for £75) and the triple-fanned S36 (360mm radiator for a princely £105).

Corsair Hydro H110i GT

Corsair Hydro H110i GT

An effective and quick all-in-one liquid cooler that’s easy to install

Long one of the major players bringing liquid cooling out of the geeky world of overclocking and into the mainstream, Corsair has led the way with a range of AIO coolers that are easy to install and offer no worries over maintenance. The H110i GT is the latest addition to its Hydro range, and sits between the feature-rich H100i and the performance H110 coolers.

Although the H110i GT is in the 280mm radiator class, the whole radiator assembly is somewhat larger at 322mm long – so this isn’t a cooler for the more compact case. The radiator is home to the two 140mm SP140L high static pressure fans. And if you’re wondering what the holes in the inner frames of the fans are for, they’re to add your own preference of LEDs, of course.