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If you've been playing with computers for as long as we have, then you might remember the Microsoft SideWinder range of gaming peripherals from the mid 90's. Well, SideWinder is back and Microsoft has launched a new gaming mouse as the first product in the revived brand.
Microsoft has pulled out all the stops in terms of the marketing campaign for the new SideWinder mouse. There's a dedicated website which you can find here, called the Site of Champions. But what really matters is the hardware, at least if Microsoft intends to sell any of the new mice.
Luckily it looks like Microsoft has done their homework and this one will give Logitech a run for their money. If this or the Logitech G9 will be your choice is a difficult matter, since they're both very similar and very different. For starters, this is the first Microsoft mouse to incorporate adjustable weights, but Microsoft hasn't taken it as far as Logitech, as you're limited to 5 and 10 gram weights with a maximum of 30g.
However, Microsoft has taken things one step further with the SideWinder mouse, by adding removable feet and by supplying three different kinds of feet with different glide depending on the surface. Another interesting feature is the 180 degree turn macro feature, which makes you turn around quickly in first person shooters, something that can save valuable time, but also something that could be considered cheating.
The SideWinder mouse also supports 2,000 DPI and it does of course have a laser sensor. For some odd reason Microsoft has added three DPI switches, which makes us believe that you can only program in three different settings, which doesn't compete with Logitech's five. Where Microsoft scores another point is by having a built in LCD display, although we wonder how useful this really is as it displays the DPI setting as well as some macro information. We'll see once the mouse becomes available how well this works.
A cool feature is the fact that Microsoft has made the container for the weights double up as a cable management system, something that we particularly like, since the cartridge container for our G5 mouse is just collecting dust. The rather odd design threw us as well, but we like the metal scroll wheel, which again looks like something Microsoft has borrowed from Logitech. The mouse has been designed for Windows Vista and it has a quick launch button that starts the Games Explorer.
The SideWinder mouse should be available in October for an estimated retail price of US$79.99, which makes it cheaper than the new Logitech G9 mouse.
You can find the official website here
With the 2007 Games Convention now underway in Germany, Intel saw this as the perfect opportunity to unveil their long-awaited Core 2 Extreme X7900 processor from the event today.
The X7900 is a mobile processor for notebooks which runs at a clockspeed of 2.8GHz and contains 4MB of L2 cache running off an 800MHz FSB. Mobile-specific power-saving features are also embedded into the design of the chip.
The Inquirer have more details on it here folks.
MOBILE GAMING IS the next big thing for hardware and software manufacturers. They hope. Just like hawks, companies are looking for parts of the market or new markets where they can spread their wings, and it seems that mobile gaming segment is finally coming to life.
Intel opened GC Press Day with a press conference, announcing the Core 2 Extreme X7900. This processor relies on the old 65 nanometre die codenamed Merom, but with updated specs. Unlike most of the models, X7900 gets to its 2.8GHz clock using the 800 MHz FSB, and 667 MHz should become thing of the past. Thermal envelope of 45W was held with this part as well, since it eats up 44W of current.
Ideazone, the company behind the Zboard is back with a new product, the Merc Stealth. Although the Merc has been around for some time, the new, updated version comes with three different backlights, red, blue and purple. This might not seem all that special, but the Merc Stealth also has illuminated characters on all its keys.
This should hopefully make it easier to use the keyboard in a dimly lit room and you can adjust be backlit in three steps as well as switch it off completely. As with the original version, the Merc Stealth features 34 dedicated gaming keys that are labeled and according to Ideazone are positioned for ultimate precision and control.
The movement keys have been rubberized on the Merc Stealth and you can press an unlimited amount of keys simultaneously without it causing any problems. The Merc Stealth has also got two USB 2.0 ports into which you can plug your mouse or your memory key for easy access. Ideazone has also added gold plated jacks for a headset and multimedia controls, something the old version lacked.
The Merc Stealth is coming with the same Z Engine software as the Zboard and the Z Engine comes with 125 pre-defined keyboard layouts for a wide range of games. You can also program your own setups an there's even drag and drop macro editing. The Merc Stealth should be out on the 17th of September and has a MSRP of US$89.99.
Microsoft has announced that it's dropping the price of the already cheap HD DVD drive for the Xbox 360 from US$199 to $179 from the 1st of August in the US. On top of this, they're also adding five free HD DVD movies for anyone that buys the HD DVD drive between August and the end of September, although it's from a limited selection of 15 movies via a mail in offer.
Microsoft is also adding exclusive Xbox Live content for the HD DVD release of 300 and Heroes Season 1 on the Xbox Live Marketplace. The pilot episode of Heroes will be available for free download in HD for a limited time before the release of the HD DVD disc.
Let's just hope that Microsoft follows suite in the rest of the world and drops the price of the HD DVD drive for the rest of us. It's unlikely that the free movie offer will be extended outside the US though, as this is part of a scheme from the HD DVD consortium and other HD DVD consumer players feature the same offer.
Engadget has scored some images of what supposedly is the next gamin mouse from Logitech, the G9. It looks a bit rough and ready and it's most likely a fairly early prototype, although some don't believe it's the real deal. However, there are too many features of this mouse that makes it look like the real deal.
First of all it features the braided cable that the G5 is using, secondly the scroll wheel is the same as the VX and MX Revolution mice are using. Coincidence? Possibly, but even the side buttons looks similar to those used on the MX Revolution.
The odd parts include the two slots that look like battery compartments, but this is most likely the slots for the new weight cartridges, as according to the original Chinese source, the G9 will come with weights at 4 and 7 grams, up from 1.7 and 4.5 grams of the G5. The other strange thing with this mouse is the removable top. Although this isn't the first time Logitech has made a removable top on a mouse, this is the first time we've seen one where the side buttons comes off as well.
Speculations on Engadget leads to the possibility of custom made or at least interchangeable hand grips, which would be a great new feature. The G9 also looks like it has much lower profile than past gaming mice from Logitech. It's also got a new LED display with new symbols, but due to the poor quality pictures it's hard to make out what they are. Time will tell if this is the real deal or not.
You can see some more pictures over at Engadget here
According to Kotaku, EB Games has recalled all Xbox 360 Premium consoles it had in stock. Aparently staff at its stores were first told by its head office to test all units in stock for problems, but later on all stocked units were recalled some time last week.
However, this has nothing to do with the circle of death problems, but instead it seems to have been due to a batch of fault hard drives supplied with the Xbox 360 Premium. The Core units are not affected by this problem.
New consoles should arrive today or tomorrow to all EB Games stores, so if you're looking at getting an Xbox 360 Premium, then you might want to check with your local EB Games store before you head down to get one, as they might be out of stock still.
If just Microsoft would re-call all the consoles for a re-fit with a decent cooler now, so pepople don't have to worry about their consoles dying from overheating or whatever it is that's causing the rings of death. Still, a three year warranty is a pretty good deal on any consumer electronics these days.
Nathan of TTGamer has just finished spending some time with the new "Transformers" game on the XBOX360 and shares his thoughts with us.
As an obsessed fan of the Transformers cartoon series during my childhood era, I went and saw the blockbuster movie recently, and it brought back vivid memories in the best way possible. Unfortunately it would seem where the movie really excels, the game fails to deliver.
Being a little kid in the 80's and early 90's was great. No, actually, it was better than great - it was ideal. We were too young at the time to have embarrassing photos taken of us wearing a green and purple rhombus pattern shoulder padded jacket with a blonde spikey mullet hairdo that would surely conveniently resurface at some family gathering down the track, but not so young that we couldn't enjoy the best thing about the 80's - the cartoons and related action figures and, if you're like me, your favourite choice for both of those was Transformers (and not My Little Pony, honest).
TTGamer have just finished checking out the latest addition to the once popular "Tenchu" ninja-themed gaming series, Tenchu Z for the XBOX 360.
Loyal fans of the series would know that recent installments have been somewhat of a letdown, and it was hoped that this latest title for the 360 would help bring some spark back into it. Unfortunately it would appear this hasn't quite happened.
It isn't all bad though, have a read of the review to decide if its shortcomings arn't enough to keep you away.
In its own right, Tenchu is actually quite a popular gaming series that has seen its day in the sun - 'has' being the key word. As time went on, it seemed this once awesomely unique Ninja action series lost its edge, as it got thrown around various publishers and developers each failing to live up to the promising potential showcased in the original. These days, Japanese based developer K2 and publishers From Software handle all that is Tenchu, and while it is nice to see an updated version on the 360 in Tenchu Z, unfortunately this is not the turn around game the series so desperately needed.
With a massive outburst of complaints surrounding the web in recent times with regards to an obvious high failure rate of XBOX 360 gaming consoles (estimated to be as high as 33 percent), it's good to see Microsoft finally respond in a humble manner about the reliability issues that plague them.
They've announced a short time ago that they are prepared to wear a massive $1 Billion charge in order to extend the warranty on all XBOX 360 consoles from one to three years.
You can get the full scoop over at the Dailytech folks.
By several metrics, the Xbox 360 is the most successful console so far of this generation. Despite the startling pace of the Wii, the Xbox 360 still has the most consoles sold worldwide and the longest list of games and exclusives. For a gamer looking for online-enabled high-definition gaming today, the Xbox 360 appears to satisfy those needs.
One often overlooked factor when considering a console purchase is reliability, an area that is apparently where the Xbox 360 falls short. Anecdotal evidence is heavily pointing to Microsoft's latest console as being significantly more prone to failure than what consumers are accustomed to.
Nathan over at TTGamer has spent some time checking out one of the latest FPS titles to hit the shelves for the XBOX 360, "The Darkness" from publisher 2KGames. Due to the lack of mouse support, a lot of people tend to steer away from FPS based games on their console, especially if they have a decent PC that's up to the task. However, reading over Nathan's experience with the game there is a good chance it could convert one from this line of thought.
It is said this particular FPS combines a unique form of gameplay with a very immersive and interesting storyline. Needless to say if you're already an FPS fan and spend countless hrs on your 360, this title appears to be an absolute must-have.
Let me admit something off the bat right now - FPS gaming on the consoles has never been a favourite of mine. After playing FPS's heavily on the PC for years, I could never get past the controls and general rigidity associated with console FPS games in comparison to the PC. I knew that if I really gave a console FPS a fair go I'd probably get used to the controls in time and warm up to the idea slightly, but to be honest, I never really found a FPS on the console that either didn't have a PC port which was better, or if it was console exclusive, wasn't replaceable for a better recently released PC FPS anyway. That is until I got my hands on 2KGames' latest release, The Darkness.