Gaming Mice and Keyboard Long Haul Review

February 15, 2015 Leave a comment

I started this review roughly 2 1/2 years ago with the aim of getting the best bang for the buck gaming peripheral in the market. I chose Razer then, having the most rounded features at their disposal (mouse sensitivity, ergonomics, design, software), with a bit of a hit in the budget, being slightly more expensive than the competition (Logitech), but still boasting enough new features to beat them.

(This kind of explains why for a longer span, I couldn’t play/review games.)

2015 and now I’m using an all Logitech setup. Why is that? First of all, both my Razer Blackwidow and Imperator conked out. The Blackwidow, for all it’s mechanical glory, had its Left Shift key die on my while playing Battlefield 4 when it came out – it’s now a glorified extension keyboard for my laptop at work. I don’t need to continually press the right shift key when using it to program (except for emails). As for the Imperator, it ended in the trash bin. The left mouse stuck and I tended to double tap the key unnecessarily. I did the usual steps in cleaning the contacts, but it didn’t work, and seems the paint began wiping off too. The worst part is, these products died off just a tad few days AFTER each of their warranties ended.

This lead me to go back to Logitech, as history has proven to me that the product’s reliability/durability as the best. I’ve replaced similar mice bundled with my old PCs from years ago with Logitech mice and usually outlived the computer. Fortunately Logitech did up its game by repackaging their gaming products with the G brand more prominently displayed (blue G logo) and actually updated the designs, software and performance of their keyboards and mice.

For the keyboard, I ended up buying the G105 (which I tested before), I didn’t mind that it’s a membrane keyboard as long as it performed its job well, though I’m a bit bothered that the design remained the same 2-3 years ago still. I’d go for the G910 Orion Spark, but a.) it wasn’t available locally last year… and b.) when it finally arrived, the price was incredibly steep, more expensive than the Blackwidow 2014 Ultimate Stealth edition with their new Green mechanical Keys. Well, I just hope it does last longer than the original Blackwidow I bought, if I do get to buy one.

As for the mouse, I was aiming for the G502 Proteus Core (see picture), but I ended up with

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the G402 Hyperion Fury, which is the middle model of the new series of gaming mice by Logitech. Actually the G402 is the successor of the MX518 gaming mice release almost a decade ago. The ergonomics has been improved as well as its look (simple black color with some areas having a coarse grippy material and lined with slick plastic), with a matching G logo with a pulsating blue LED. So far playing FPS has been a great experience with its improved performance in being able to pinpoint mouse movement better than what I’ve had before (less lag, better accuracy when aiming).

The main concern with getting these G products from Logitech is that it’s usually Gray Import stuff, and what makes me wonder why Logitech’s local PH office is still pulling its punches on gaming peripherals especially if their new ones are so damn good?

Categories: Keyboards, Mouse Tags:

Western Digital Valentine’s Gift Guide

February 13, 2015 Leave a comment

WD’s Gifts for Him and Her

Valentine’s Day is upon us once again! Are you looking for a present that you and your date will remember for years to come – let WD help you.

The perfect his and hers drive

My Passport® Ultra™ – Metal Edition™

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Coming in three colors, My Passport Ultra is the perfect his-and-hers portable hard drive. The striking colors add style, while an innovative and radical design protects against everyday knocks.

Password protection and 256-bit hardware encryption also ensures the security of every photo, video, music and important file you save.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of My Passport, My Passport Ultra Anniversary Edition is only available for a limited time.

MSRP:

1 TB – Php 4,590

2 TB – Php 7,490

 

For romantic road trips

My Passport® Wireless

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If you’re both selfie addict and love taking pictures of food on your travels, then the My Passport Wireless could be a great gift for either one of you. My Passport Wireless allows you to wirelessly back up all your smartphone photos onto the portable hard disk drive.

In addition, a built-in SD card slot allows you to transfer photos directly from SD cards in your camera, right into the My Passport Wireless. You won’t need a laptop to store your photos, and free up space on your camera in no time!

Frame, shoot, backup and repeat!

MSRP:

1 TB – Php 9,590

2 TB – Php 11,990

For all his movies and videos

My Book® Duo 12 TB

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If your man has a large music and video library and worries about the lack of digital storage space in his computer, or about waiting too long for files to be transferred, then the My Book Duo would be an excellent choice!

With transfer speeds up to 290 MB/s, My Book Duo boasts the ability to transfer a full-HD movie in just under 20 seconds.[1] My Book Duo also features two additional USB expansion ports for easy additional storage.

The sheer volume of storage potential, as well as fast transfer speeds offered by the My Book Duo means that he now has room to store even more movies and music, and your entire digital collection! Looks like movie night is taken care of for the next few decades.

MSRP:

4 TB – Php 13,990

6 TB – Php 16,990

8 TB – Php 22,990

12 TB – Php 31,990

 


[1] Read speeds (MB/s) for HD video. Performance based on 4 GB DVD movie files. Performance may vary based on operating system and hardware configuration.

Categories: Hard Drives

Dragon Age: Inquisition

January 31, 2015 Leave a comment

Dragon Age: Inquisition is Bioware’s latest release that manages to bring the excitement back in its RPG franchise. Find out more in this article.

While I heard good things about the first title, I only had the opportunity to start playing the game with the release of Dragon Age II. Unfortunately, I did not find it as engaging as, well, another Bioware RPG series: Mass Effect. Why? The world then was small, limiting options for exploration, and combat was strictly action oriented. The latest title manages to improve some more.

The game starts  some time right after the end of Dragon Age II, with the Chantry calling for a meeting with the Mages and Templar factions in order to end the war that was brought about by the events in the previous game. The player picks out his chosen race of: humans, elf, dwarf and qunari (each with backgrounds that tie into the story), and class. Something happens which leave the player character, the Inquisitor, as the sole survivor and having the ability to close Rifts that have opened after the event. The player is now tasked to stop the spread of the rift at the meeting place, determine who plotted the event and build alliances and army to thwart the oncoming threat.

Graphics: Fof DA:I, the dev team now use Dice’s Frostbite 3 game engine (similar to Battlefield 4) to give better environment and graphical quality. Water, Shadows and lighting improved greatly. Depending on the computer’s graphics card, expect lush vegetation and wide expanses teeming with scattered bits an pieces throughout the game world. While graphics has improved a lot more than the last, there’s some graphical glitch here and there at some point.

Gameplay: This is where most of the improvements were made. Crafting was updated in DA:I. Players can now collect other materials such as metal, leather and cloth to create custom weapons and armor. These weapons and armor can be equipped by anyone in the Inquisitor’s companions. A war table has been added, and from here the Inquisitor can respond to requests/missions, as well as open up new areas to explore, or move the story along. There are advisors (non companion characters), most would be familiar to the player that handles specific (military/espionage/diplomacy) response to any board mission. Players would now have a Castle/town called Skyhold, which will serve as their main base of operations. It will have shops, offices, and blacksmith that will aide in his/her quests. Skyhold will also let us interact with other characters and progress romance with some.DragonAgeInquisition 2015-01-05 23-21-01-79 DragonAgeInquisition 2015-01-05 23-21-57-01

Fighting monsters / enemies / Dragons have been improved with the introduction of the Tactical Map. Here, players can command individual units to perform specific tasks, unlike the usual AI driven actions made by the companions during a fight. This adds a little bit more tactical feel to the game. Aside from being able to craft custom equipment, players now have a better managed Skill Tree than before, letting us customize our play style.

Quests are plentiful. Some involves basic hacking and slashing while others may require thinking or utilizing the Inquisition manpower to solve. It lessens the repetition somewhat and keeps players attention. As a staple of the series, there are quests to develop your companion’s role in the story and some would lead to their redemption or death. While others would aid the Inquisitor in courting his/her romance partner.

An addition to the gameplay is the inclusion of a multiplayer coop. This plays similar to Mass Effect 3’s Cooperative mode, however it does not affect the single player game’s final performance, unlike ME3’s (higher readiness % nets a better ending). Unlike ME3’s wide array of characters to build, DA:I’s multiplayer roster for now is limited.

Dragons in DA:I are plenty, 10 of them to be exact. Hunting them is exciting, not knowing how long can the party will last as some dragons use different elements/tactics in fighting. The rewards of slaying a dragon is also worth it, being able to stock up on Dragon bones for crafting the best weapons and armor in the game.

Hands down, Dragon Age: Inquisition was RPG to beat in 2014.

 

Rating: 9/10

Categories: Uncategorized

Civilization: Beyond Earth Review

December 22, 2014 Leave a comment

After experiencing the advanced weaponry (GDM and XCOM troops) in Civ V, and constantly winning the science race… one will wonder what’d be the next Civilization? Instead of rehashing the same game again (like the change from 3 to 4, then 4 to 5), Firaxis released the follow up to Civ V, Civ: Beyond Earth. But before we go further, let’s remember that Alpha Centauri was the true sequel to Civ 2, in the sense released to an older generation of gamers, while Beyond Earth would be the sequel of the modern era.

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With the premise of Earth has become overpopulated, and Civilizations have begun a race to the stars (Based on a Science Victory game, and having major Civilizations from each continent forming factions: North America, South America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia/Pacific forming alliances), Civilization tries anew with its formula of building a new Civilization on a new planet that will a.) aid the people of Earth to migrate to the new world, b.) Find and contact with other sentient life in the galaxy, c.) Reclaim and conquer the old world. These new victories add/improve on the existing victory conditions: domination, science, time. While some disappeared entirely, being replaced by one of the new conditions, like culture, as the new civilizations will have essentially a mix of multiple civilizations in them.

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There’s a change in developing Civilizations now in Beyond Earth. Instead of a linear tech tree to pick and choose a select technology to develop, it has now changed into a tech web where more technologies are interlinked to each other, giving a bigger depth (and more complicated structure) when strategizing which technology upgrade to take. Even more so are the three different technology affinity each civilization can take: Purity, Supremacy, Harmony. These lead to accessing units unique to one of the three.

Another introduction to the game is the quest system. In order to win the game, players would need to take on some quests that will progress their civilization’s effort to win. These revolve around finding pods, performing espionage or simply being able to complete building structures in cities or research.

The new world in CBE is drastically different from CivV. Primitive alien life is abound from small predators, to Krakens at sea and giant worms (Remember Dune?). Depending on our play style (and chosen affinity) we can either coexist / decimate these. Aside from the aliens, other things to consider in the new planet is the existence of tiles that have Miasma, a substance akin to gas that poisons human vehicles/personnel. this holds true until the development of technologies that can either remove these or have humans adapt (harmony affinity). Another change from the earlier civ series is the application of satellites that can buff/repair/remove miasma on selected tiles. Satellites can only be launched with in your civilization’s area. These hold strategic importance in blocking /protecting a civilization’s borders or improving resource collection.

Rating: 10/10

Gigabyte Launches the X99M-Gaming 5 mATX Motherboard

November 20, 2014 Leave a comment

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11/18/2014, Gigabyte Technology Co. Ltd. has announced the newest edition for its Gaming line of motherboards, the X99M-Gaming 5, a compact motherboard for the X99 Intel Chipset with support for Core i7 Extreme Edition processors (Haswell-E).

Being a motherboard with a smaller form factor doesn’t mean it lacks the features as its bigger brethren. The following are included:

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  • Two Way Graphics Support
  • Gigabyte AMP-UP Audio Technologyrealtek
  • Realtek ALC 1150 115db SNR Audio with built in Real Audio Amplifier
  • Upgradeable OP-AMP
  • High End Audio Capacitors
  • Quad USB DAC-UP
  • Gold Plated Audio Hardware
  • Ambient LED
  • Killer Networking
  • Quad Channel DDR4
  • Genuine All Digital Power Design
  • IR Digital PWN and IR PowlRstage ICs
  • Server Level Chokes by Cooper Bussman
  • Long Lifespan Durable Black Solid Capacitors
  • Dual M.2 Technology for SSD Drive and WIFI Card
  • Next Gen SATA Connector (SATA Express)
  • Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition CPUs
  • quadusbdacimage033x99chipset

To know more, go to: http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=5221

Categories: Uncategorized

Watch Dogs Review

November 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Watch Dogs was one of the more awaited video games to have been released over the spring of 2014. To much fanfare, it seemed everything was going well until buyers got the game on release. This review’s have been months in the making, playing through the game and getting the DLCs in as well as the graphic mod to put the game’s quality up to par with the E3 Demo.

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Graphics wise, once the Worse Mod was added, it would provide a very next-gen (now current-gen) graphics. It’s quite taxing on my 650GTX video card though, so I’d advise getting something beefier (make your processor runs on an i5 at least to even go faster).  Without the mod however, provides a quality akin to an updated GTA IV graphics with a (very) tad bit of iCEnhancer thrown in for good measure.

There’s a lot of detail Ubisoft tried to cram in to the city of Chicago to make it look like the city’s complete. Still, we’re limited to the core Chicago metropolitan area and a small part of the suburbs to balance out the environment. That makes for a short drive around the city.

Being an Ubisoft title, some features found in their games made its way in Watch Dogs. Here they are based on what I’ve seen thus far:

- Shooting Mechanics are like Ghost Recon Future soldier / Splinter Cell

- Parkour (minimal in Watch Dogs) as Assassin’s Creed

- Instant takedowns, Assassin’s Creed

- Templars from Abstergo, Assassin’s Creed

- Driving’s kind of new for me for an Ubi Game, but control could be a bit tighter especially with most of their cars

- Map navigation, Assassin’s Creed

All in all, majority of the game’s a modernized Assassin’s Creed, yes? Which can be a good thing as it tried meshing together the best of Ubi’s titles into one game.

AidenRenderSmallNow the common game mechanic’s out of the way, Let us focus on the story. We have Aiden Pearce, a freelance hacker/vigilante who can override the Chicago’s IT controlled infrastructure, from cameras, bollards, traffic lights, steam pipes, transformers to even causing blackouts. This is where the game shines, but also fails at some point. It makes some parts of the game seem too easy at times, and others overly difficult. Like

Going back to the story, Aiden’s last job as a hacker turned bad when he was ambushed by some hired bikers by the owner of the hotel/casino he hacked, killing his niece. Afterwards, he adopted the role of a vigilante, stopping anyone breaking the law and investigating into the one responsible for masterminding the attack on his family.

 

The game attempted to put in the best elements of Ubisoft titles and tried making a bigger world than Assassins Creed, however there are some roadblocks in making it succeed (focus on the finishing/polishing department and some bugs here and there make it a so-so game, but still merits some compliment with the creators’ vision.

Rating: 8/10

*This was supposed to have been posted several months back, however due to some family events, I had to postpone posting in my blog for a few months. I’ll be back again with another review next time.

Categories: Uncategorized

Gigabyte Releases Intel 9 Series Boards

July 29, 2014 Leave a comment

A month ago, Gigabyte Philippines invited its close friends to its launch of their new Intel Series 9 boards along with a revamp of their motherboard product line.

A simple gathering was made for the close fans and friends of Gigabyte. The company unveiled the latest Intel 9 Series motherboards along with a revitalized line up offered to consumers.

The following new boards were introduced:

Z97X-SOC and Z97X-SOC Force

These new boards fall under the new Super OverClock (SOC) motherboards and have the following exclusive features:

OC Touch

“GIGABYTE OC Touch includes a range of hardware overclocking buttons directly on the motherboard, making overclocking on the fly extremely fast and easy. The design philosophy behind OC Touch is simple; to help enthusiasts and overclockers not only get the most performance from their hardware, but also the absolute most enjoyable OC experience”.

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OC Ignition

“OC Ignition maintains power to the motherboard and connected components while the system is shut down. This means that system fans will continue to provide airflow in cold bug situations, while i-ram drive users will not lose installed data. OC Ignition also allows users to pre-test water cooling setups, and allows case mod demonstrations without having to turn on the PC.”

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OC DIMM and OC PCIe Switch

image“Manually turn on or off each channel of installed memory DIMMs, allowing users to effortlessly disable memory DIMMs from the system without the hassle of physically removing. Overclockers can manually turn on or off each installed PCIe lane of the motherboard, allowing users to disable individual graphics cards without physically removing. This is especially useful when overclocking on LN2 and water cooled systems.”

OC Brace

image“OC Brace allows extreme overclockers and system testers to safely install up to four graphics cards in an open case or test bed without risking PCIe slot damage or preventing cards not showing up in the OS due to poor contact with PCIe slot. OC Brace is a simple and elegant way to give robust installation support to full sized graphics cards in extreme multi-GPU configurations.”

Premium Graphics Support

“GIGABYTE 9 series overclocking motherboards feature optimized support for AMD CrossFire™ in 4 way configuration plus support for Nvidia SLI technology in 2-way setups. This extreme design allows a more optimized multiple-card overclocking experience where the first 3 slots have the data bandwidth available from trace paths direct from the CPU and the fourth slot taking PCIe lanes from the Intel® Z97 PCH.”

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OC Peg

“OC PEG adds auxiliary power to the PCIe slots of your motherboard, improving system stability in extreme configurations. This is especially useful in power-hungry 4-way graphics configurations.”

OC Connect

“OC Connect positions two USB connectors on the near side of the motherboard facing the overclocker. This makes it easier to save data, flash the BIOS or install software in open bench testing platforms whether for extreme overclocking or simply pretesting the PC before final component installation inside a case scenarios where accessing the rear panel I/O can be an inconvenience.”

G1 Series Gaming Motherboards

The latest iteration of the G1 series by Gigabyte drops the green and black look for a hotter and meaner red and black color scheme.  The variations of the gaming boards increased significantly leading to this list:

Z97X-Gaming G1 WIFI-BK Z97X-Gaming G1 Z97X-Gaming GT
G1.Sniper Z97 Z97X-Gaming 7 Z97X-Gaming 5
G1.Sniper Z6 G1.Sniper H6 Z97X-Gaming 3
Z97MX-Gaming 5 H97M-Gaming 3 Z97N-Gaming 5
H97-Gaming 3    

While the list of motherboards has grown significantly, here’s a quick comparison of these to help determine which board best suits a gamer

http://www.gigabyte.com/products/comparison/list.aspx?ck=2&pids=4959,4956,4980,4963,4966,4968,4969

Categories: Uncategorized
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