Acer C720 Chromebook (C720-2800) Review and more
Posted on: 11/01/2013 12:35 PM

Here a roundup of today's reviews and articles, including Acer C720 Chromebook (C720-2800) Review, Phanteks PH-TC12DX CPU Cooler Review, Surface 2: Thinking different about my device experience, Gamestick Android Games Console Review, and Battlefield 4 VGA graphics performance benchmark review

Acer C720 Chromebook (C720-2800) Review @ TechReviewSource.com
The Acer C720 (C720-2800) comes closer to Chromebook nirvana, but we still haven't reached that level yet. It's a couple of tweaks from being the perfect low cost bridge between mobile device and full-fledged laptop.


Read more: Acer C720 Chromebook (C720-2800) Review @ TechReviewSource.com

SilverStone USB/SATA Peripheral Roundup (MS07, EP01, EP02) @ HardwareHeaven.com
Today we are taking a look at three USB/SATA based items from SilverStone which look to offer a solution to a few common problems; cheap portable storage and lack of USB ports.


Read more: SilverStone USB/SATA Peripheral Roundup (MS07, EP01, EP02) @ HardwareHeaven.com

Fractal Design Arc Mini R2 Review @ KitGuru
Today we are taking a look at Fractal Design's latest micro-ATX offering, the Arc Mini R2. Based on the excellent Arc Midi R2, the Arc Mini R2 boasts support for multiple 240 mm radiators or a single 360 mm radiator, 7 fan positions and power supplies up to 220 mm in length. So, is its £70 asking price justified?


Read more: Fractal Design Arc Mini R2 Review @ KitGuru

Motorola S10-HD Bluetooth Headset Review @ The SSD Review
There's nothing worse than yanking your laptop off the table as you stand up or pulling the headphones right out of your ears when they get caught on something. Mobility has become a major focus for everyone, and bluetooth technology has been at the center of it, many devices and products having some sort of wireless alternative. The Motorola S10-HD is one such product, an entry level bluetooth headset for any consumer interested in wireless technology.

The S10-HD is an in ear, bluetooth headset designed for mobility and being on the go. They are designed to be sweat proof, which is more than useful to anyone who runs consistently. And if you just so happen to run long distance and need headphones with a good amount of battery life, the S10-HD's have a listed, and verified, 8 hours of continuous play time. I've gone entire days, using these headphones on and off, without having to plug them in for a recharge (which is great for lazy student me.)


Read more: Motorola S10-HD Bluetooth Headset Review @ The SSD Review

Phanteks PH-TC12DX CPU Cooler Review @ Legit Reviews
Phanteks is a fairly new company that was founded in 2007 by engineers and a Dutch design team. They first came to fame with their PH-TC14PE cooler. Since then, they have diversified by developing a case, fans, and several other CPU coolers. Today, they have sent over the PH-TC12DX the little brother to the PH-TC14PE. This cooler is based on the tower design, with four heatpipes, dual 120mm fans and a universal mounting system. Read on to see how it performs!


Read more: Phanteks PH-TC12DX CPU Cooler Review @ Legit Reviews

Surface 2: Thinking different about my device experience @ All About Microsoft
Product review: Will this first-generation Surface RT user shell out to upgrade to the new Microsoft Surface 2?


Read more: Surface 2: Thinking different about my device experience @ All About Microsoft

NZXT H230 Silent Mid-Tower @ PureOverclock
Today I was given the opportunity to look at and review yet another offering from NZXT. Among the many different cases they manufacture, their H series in particular has become one that has truly sparked my interest. Over the past several years, NZXT has become one of the premier manufacturers. They have been ahead of the pack with innovative designs and features while targeting both the gaming and enthusiasts’ arena. Today we will be looking at a new budget oriented Mid-Tower chassis, the H230 which is also part of their H or silent series of cases.

If you’re not familiar with the NZXT H series line of cases, the NZXT H230 brings some of the same sound deadening abilities as its two predecessors, only this time it’s in a more affordable package. The new NZXT H230, a Mid Tower Chassis fits right in alongside NZXT’s award winning H2 and H630 silent series of cases. The NZXT H230 comes complete with a tool-free 5.25” latch design, removable HDD cage, seven expansion slots and USB 3.0 connectivity. Read on to see if it brings all of the essentials together for a silent, cool, hassle-free computing experience.


Read more: NZXT H230 Silent Mid-Tower @ PureOverclock

Thermaltake eSPORTS CRONOS Gaming Headset Review @ OCC
If you haven't taken a look at the price of the eSPORTS CRONOS yet, go gander at page 1. That's right; that $59.99 list price isn't a typo (and Amazon has them for $54). While bass-heads may be disappointed in the bass output of the CRONOS most people will have no complaints in that department. The clear and non-fatiguing sound combined with the utility of the folding earcups and interchangeable cables mesh together into a great headset that really doesn't have any drawbacks. The styling, to be honest, is a little extreme and "loud" but other than that what we've got here is a well-built headset that hits all the real requirements for a great gaming experience. If I had to sum up the CRONOS in a few short words, they would be: comfortable earcups, comfortable headband, and comfortable sound.


Read more: Thermaltake eSPORTS CRONOS Gaming Headset Review @ OCC

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood 3-Years Later Review @ OCC
Should most of the Borgia die for their crimes against the Assassins and Rome, or can history-making be left to others? If you want an assassination done right, you have to do it yourself. Assassin's Creed Brotherhood is a very enjoyable and well-made game, offering a solid gameplay experience. It also introduces many mechanics we see in the later games, and some important story information. That being said though, I will say it is not as good as Assassin's Creed II (yes, I finally mention it by name. I did not want too many 'Assassin's Creeds' in the text to possibly confuse people). The older game offers an outstanding story while Brotherhood stands out primarily for its new mechanics, in my opinion. The story is not bad, but not of the same caliber. It would not reduce the game by calling it supplemental material though; it deserves better than that. Just recognize where its strength truly lies: the gameplay experience and not the story.


Read more: Assassin's Creed Brotherhood 3-Years Later Review @ OCC

Gamestick Android Games Console Review @ eTeknix
Android powered games consoles are all the rage at the moment, I’m not sure if they’re popular because consumer demand is high for them or if it is just a case of developers seeing good profit margins and the market being flooded with hardware, I really have no clue, but one thing is for certain, it is becoming harder and harder to decide which Android console could be the right one to buy.

With devices like Ouya, Shield, M.O.J.O. and of course the one were reviewing today, Gamestick, there is really no shortage of choice and that is before you account for all the other mobile gaming devices such as smartphones, tablets, and dedicated hardware such as the PS Vita and 3DS. Although in fairness it isn’t right to include all handhelds, or in many respects the Nvidia Shield, because even though they are Android powered, the Gamestick, M.O.J.O and Ouya are all designed to work on your TV, or any other HDMI compatible device.

Mobile gaming has taken off in a big way thanks to the way it can support smaller developers and indie gaming titles. Gamestick hopes to bridge the gap between the games we know and love from mobile platforms with the convenience of a home games console. No more worrying about your phone having enough battery to play a few more games, no more small screen, no more touch screen controls, it’s time to take Android to the big screen!


Read more: Gamestick Android Games Console Review @ eTeknix

Fractal Design Arc Mini R2 Mid-Tower Case Review @ HiTech Legion
So much in the world of engineering revolves around keeping something cool. Take, for example, a power plant; the turbines spin and generate electricity but during that process they heat up. So how do you keep them cool? Often times this is handled by running cool water though the equipment and dissipating the heat through a radiator. The same principles, of course, work for liquid cooling a computer system. Computers have the issue of heat building up within the internal components. In order to remove that heat, you design a system to transfer heat to liquid, and then use a radiator to dissipate the heat out of the system.

Liquid cooling is starting to become a mainstream staple in the computing world, especially with the increasing availability of all in one liquid cooling units. Even with the use of all in one liquid cooling, the systems tend to be bulky and require a specially designed chassis that will fit the additional radiators. Finding a case in a smaller form factor with liquid cooling in mind could be a challenge, because you will find many mid-tower cases that just don’t quite have the room to house radiators.


Read more: Fractal Design Arc Mini R2 Mid-Tower Case Review @ HiTech Legion

Id America TouchTone Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review @ TestFreaks
Up for review today I have the TouchTone Bluetooth speaker from Id America which features touch sensitive controls, hence the word touch in the name. The TouchTone is wireless over Bluetooth but it also has a line-in that uses a standard audio connector so you can even use it with non Bluetooth devices. The TouchTone can put out of total of four watts from the two speakers and that might not sound like much, but it is, this thing can get very loud but yet there’s very minimal distortion. Anyway, read on to learn more…


Read more: Id America TouchTone Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review @ TestFreaks

Silicon Motion SM2246EN SSD Controller Review @ The SSD Review
The importance of SSD controllers often gets overlooked in the world of SSDs. Memory itself is front and center in the minds of most, simply because it is the most prominent component in any SSD. Most recently, we are even seeing Apple using the term flash in its product literature , rather than SSD. Not only is the controller capable of providing lightning fast speeds and up to 256-bit encryption in today's SSDs, but also, it extends the life of SSDs through wear leveling, garbage collection, and TRIM. To give you a small glimpse of how advanced the controller really is, it actually monitors each block of memory to ensure all wear equally. Now consider that a 256GB SSD contains 4.2 million of these blocks, each part of a constant behind the scenes movement to ensure memory wears equally and prolongs the life of the SSD; it becomes quite an impressive feat.


Read more: Silicon Motion SM2246EN SSD Controller Review @ The SSD Review

NVIDIA 'The Way It's Meant to Be Played' 2013 Montral Report @ Neoseeker
It seems that NVIDIA is set to redefine 'The Way It's Meant to Be Played' once again. This value proposition was backed by some impressive announcements and unveilings last week during 'The Way It's Meant to Be Played' 2013 Montréal Press Event. The two-day event was held in the heart of picturesque Montréal city in Canada.

The setup was pretty impressive, from the classic huge display to an army of gaming systems lined up around the sitting area. These systems served to showcase what NVIDIA announced during this event. Here are a few photos of the great looking NVIDIA themed systems.


Read more: NVIDIA 'The Way It's Meant to Be Played' 2013 Montral Report @ Neoseeker

Lenovo Yoga Tablet Hands-On Preview With Video @ HotHardware.com
Lenovo just unveiled a duo of affordably priced multi-mode tablets, the Yoga Tablet 8 and Yoga Tablet 10. As their names suggest, the Yoga Tablet 8 features an 8" screen, while the Yoga Tablet 10 sports a larger 10.1 display, and like Lenovo's Yoga-branded ultrabooks, these two devices also feature a unique design that allows them to be used in multiple orientations. There's a quick video we put together of the two devices in action in this post that better demonstrates what we mean...


Read more: Lenovo Yoga Tablet Hands-On Preview With Video @ HotHardware.com

Battlefield 4 VGA graphics performance benchmark review @ Guru3D
One of the biggest game releases of the year has to be Battlefield 4, that combat immersive game that is about to blow you from your socks After waiting way too long (the EU got a later release date then the USA once again) before the game to be unlocked we wanted bring you guys one of our traditional graphics performance articles. As such we'll take a dozen or so of the latest graphics cards and have a look at DX11 performance them. With Origin (that Steam like distribution platform) you are forced to connect to the launcher with the help of a web browser, it is somewhat inconvenient, sometimes laggy, can make browsers crash as we experienced and sure, sometimes even is irritating.

Battlefield 4 (also known as BF4) is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE (DICE) and published by Electronic Arts. The game is a sequel to 2011's Battlefield 3. The game was released on October 29, 2013 in North America and will be released on October 31, 2013 in Australia and Japan, and November 1, 2013 in Europe and New Zealand. That said, there's very little we can complain when it comes to the actual game itself of course, if you like the genre then you are going to love the DX11 version of the game. The graphics are good and once you've gone PC, you'll laugh at your console (well at least we hope). But yeah, if you are into military shooters have a peek at the graphics performance first if you like eye-candy of course.


Read more: Battlefield 4 VGA graphics performance benchmark review @ Guru3D

In Win GRone @ techPowerUp
The In Win GRone is a menacing-looking chassis at a disarming price, filled to the rim with features. Available in two cool color choices, the stylish chassis leaves little to be desired.


Read more: In Win GRone @ techPowerUp

AMD Radeon R9 290X CrossFire Video Card Review @ HardOCP
Move aside TITAN SLI, Radeon R9 290X CrossFire just took over as the fastest 2-way video card performance in gaming across the board, period. For the price of one TITAN Radeon R9 290X CrossFire provides the most impressive performance we've seen to date, and beats not just one, but two TITANs.


Read more: AMD Radeon R9 290X CrossFire Video Card Review @ HardOCP

Samsung S27B971D Monitor Review @ Anandtech
At the 2013 CES Samsung made a point to demonstrate the excellent accuracy of their monitors. They had an example of the automated calibration routine they go through at the factory. Using a Konica Minolta CA-310 meter, 25 points on the screen are measured to ensure uniformity and accuracy in every high-end monitor they produce. Included in the box of the S27B971D model that I am reviewing, there is a sheet of results showing the accuracy of the display. Very few vendors have displayed this level of confidence in their monitors, or commitment to calibration, so seeing how well Samsung can live up to their words is something I wanted to find out.    


Read more: Samsung S27B971D Monitor Review @ Anandtech

Kingston 64GB DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 USB Flash Drive Review @ Hardware-360
As of today I am officially declaring the DVD drive dead, I know many of you protest this idea and may think my postmortem is premature, but with all my DVD drives sitting on a shelf collecting dust for the last three years, it to me is a long time coming. The last time I can remember using a DVD drive was a few years ago when I was installing Windows Vista on my PC, which was a slow and painful processes due to the limited transfer rates of a DVD drive. Even my Blu-ray drive is sitting on a shelf, which is due mainly to spotty software support that essentially turned it into nothing more than an over glorified and overpriced DVD drive. Again, for me, it was a long time coming and I for one am glad that I no longer have to stack disc on my desk and wait for slow installs.

he last time I used a drive I can remember thinking just how slow the process of installing Windows was and that I wanted a faster way, since as a reviewer I often change my operating system on s bi-weekly basis. The answer of course was to use a flash drive and even though they were no were near as fast back then they still installed Windows in half the amount of time it took a DVD, and with flash drives pushing above 200MB/s now you can have a fresh install of Windows running in no time.
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Read more: Kingston 64GB DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 USB Flash Drive Review @ Hardware-360

Sandisk Ultra Plus 256GB and Extreme II 240GB SSD review @ Hardware.Info
Today we are taking a closer look at two Sandisk SSDs in the 256GB segment: the affordable Ultra Plus 256GB and the high-end Extreme II 240GB.

Sandisk is the biggest manufacturer of USB sticks and memory cards and also makes ToggleFlash flash chips. It has three SSD series with the Extreme II at the top, taking the place of the Extreme series. We tested the 240GB model which is available for an average of € 212. Positioned below it is the Ultra Plus series, of which we tested the 256 GB model. With an average price of € 176 for the desktop kit and € 159 for the notebook kit, it's cheap enough for Sandisk to potentially take a piece of the affordable SSD market. Currently, with € 0.62 per GB the Ultra Plus 256 GB is the cheapest 240-256 GB SSD we've tested. It's not even the entruy-level model, because there's also a series that's called just ‘Sandisk SSD’, but it costs almost the same as the Ultra Plus. We haven't tested that one (yet).


Read more: Sandisk Ultra Plus 256GB and Extreme II 240GB SSD review @ Hardware.Info

Scythe Kama USB 3.0 Card Reader Review @ Funky Kit
First of all I want to thank the people at Scythe for providing me with this sample of their Kama Reader USB 3.0.

If you didn't already knew what the Kama Reader USB 3.0 is: Its a small card reader, with a USB 3.0 port, and it connects to your motherboard with a USB 3.0 Plug.

"The Kama Reader USB 3.0 is a compact memory card reader taking advantage of the latest, high-speed memory card generation thanks to its' USB 3.0 connector. Supported are all comon formats found on the market today. Memory sticks as well as external HDDs are quickly connected to the PC via the integrated USB 3.0 port found in the front. Thanks to its' downward compatibility to USB 2.0, older devices can be enjoyed as well."


Read more: Scythe Kama USB 3.0 Card Reader Review @ Funky Kit

Cooler Master Cosmos SE Review @ Guru3D
We review the new Cooler Master Cosmos SE. Based on the popular design the chassis now is available as a smaller yet all black full tower, this chassis is just gorgeous to look at and has space for motherboards up-tp ATX form factors, it comes with dark side panels and a whole lot of new innovations. So it has finally arrived, it was at CeBIT in March this year where we got a sneak preview on the all new Cosmos SE and admittedly back then I was already a little surprised and impressed.

The Cosmos SE according to Cooler Master comes loaded as a more aggressive and more nimble sports car in a decidedly more compact form. Driven by this aesthetic the SE edition features the trademark curved aluminum handles and sleek outer exterior that fans have come to love. The Cosmos SE is actually designed based on the user feedback from the original Cosmos and that big whopper Cosmos II. The chassis is a full tower in the SE edition, despite that somewhat smaller form factor the chassis still has plenty of space to house 8 fans from which four already are installed. Two of them have a diameters of 120 mm and are blue LED activated sitting behind the front panel cooling down the HDDs. There is a 140 mm fan is at the top and then another 120 mm fan can be found at the back, as exhaust.

The Cooler Master Cosmos SE can hold up to 8 3.5-inch hard disk drives and 18 (!) 2.5-inch SSDs (solid-state drives). The HDD/SSD cages are removable, and they have all the necessary accessories needed to switch from 3.5-inch to 2.5-inch trays wherever necessary. Space wise, depending if you remove some of the storage cages the maximum graphics card length is of 385 mm / 15.5 inches. We have yet to find a graphics card with that length though. CPU cooler wise your margin is 175 mm / 6.9 inches in height. Obviously the chassis would not be complete without a little water, you can fit 120, 240, 280, or 360mm radiators, or simply use all-in-one liquid cooling kits. Priced at €159 / $199 including the VAT this chassis might become rather popular we think. Anyway, we'll talk you though the entire product with a massive photo-shoot, have a peek at the beast first after which we'll startup the review guided by photos, photos and yeah... more photos.


Read more: Cooler Master Cosmos SE Review @ Guru3D

MINI REVIEW: Gigabyte Force K7 @ Techradar
The Force K7 looks like a gaming keyboard, but can this spartan offering from Gigabyte really be considered a gaming peripheral? Beyond its backlighting, there's no killer feature that separates it from the greasy old Dell board lying neglected in the kit corner of your loft. In fact, that Dell may even have a few more knobs and buttons than the K7. Let's run through the features. It uses membrane switches rather than the mechanical ones you get at the fancier end of the gaming keyboard market, which makes it a slightly less tactile experience than a Cherry MX Red board like Corsair's K65.


Read more: MINI REVIEW: Gigabyte Force K7 @ Techradar




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