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We've just found out that Gigabyte has released information about it's up and coming retail branded PC's and one of the first models will be the Eagles, which is a high-end gaming system which will ship with a watercooling setup as standard. The black tower case with a full-length door doesn't look like any of Gigabyte's own brand cases and even things like the motherboard model name doesn't look familiar.
We're not sure if it's a good idea on Gigabyte's behalf to start competing with what inadvertently are their customers for many of their other product ranges. None the less, looking at the specifications of the Eagles system, this could possibly prove to be a successful venture for Gigabyte.
We're talking X38 chipset, support for either DDR2 or DDR3 memory, a choice of Intel Core 2 Quad and Duo processors, a GeForce 8800 GTX graphics card and an 800W PSU as part of the package. It should also come with a multi-format DVD writer, a Western Digital Raptor hard drive if we're reading the specs right and onboard Intel Gigabit Ethernet.
There's a lot of information missing, such as when and where it will be available and how much it'll cost. We're going to get in touch with Gigabyte and see if we can't manage to find out some more information for you, but no promises this time.
You can find the product spec page here
It seems like there's no end of new gaming keyboards this week and the latest one comes from another traditional mouse mat manufacturer, Everglide. Their new gaming keyboard goes under the name of the Everglide DKTboard and it's sold in a bundle with a DKTmat.
Apparently the DKTboard has been designed and engineered with help from Razer. The keyboard features a slim key-cap structure that is meant to deliver faster response and a more tactile comfort. It also comes housed in an aluminium casing to add to the ruggedness.
The keys are backlit, but this can be turned on or off and there are eight hotkeys for quick access to applications. The DKTboard comes in either silver or black and retails for US$69.99 which is quite affordable compared to the new 7G from SteelSeries.
You can find the product page here
Although information about the OLED equipped DGL-4500 gaming router from D-Link has already leaked out onto the web, the company has finally launched it and it looks like it might be worth it for serious gamers. Not only does it have four Gigabit LAN ports, but even the WAN port supports Gigabit speeds, which is great if you happen to have a really fast internet connection unlike most.
It also features Draft-N Wi-Fi and it has three removable antennas and D-Link has added an extra twist by allowing it to work on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz band with speeds of up to 300Mbit. There's a USB port on the back as well, but sadly this is not for external storage, nor will it function as a print server, as this is simply for Windows Connect Now profiles to be copied onto a USB flash drive.
The OLED display is mostly just for looks and the brag factor, but it does display a few useful feature such as up and download speeds and router settings and it will also double up as a clock and calendar. We're sold anyhow, as it makes a fairly mundane piece of hardware look cool.
Finally we have D-Link's Gamefuel setting, which prioritises game packets over other network traffic to give you the lowest possible ping times and enough bandwidth so you don't lag out when it really counts. It also features more standard router features such as an SPI firewall, WEP and WPA encryption, NAT and VPN pass-trough.
The only downside as we can see it is the retail price of US$239.99 which is quite steep for a router. You can find the product page here
Now we usually leave the gaming stuff to TweakTown Games, but the "new" 40GB PS3 announcement made us a little bit upset to say the least. Whereas in Europe the "new" lesser PS3 will set you back AU$625, it will cost you $699 in Australia, uhm why? As if this wasn't bad enough, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe is dropping the price of the 60GB starter pack to the equivalent of AU$782 while SCE Australia has figured there's no need to drop the $999 price tag according to Kotaku
The "new" lesser PS3 has as you've most likely already guessed a 40GB hard drive, but this in itself isn't what makes it so much cheaper, as Sony has removed a few more features just in case to try to spend as little cash as possible on its new entry level model. The multi-slot card reader is gone and so is a pair of USB ports, so you're left with only two on the "new" version.
Of a bigger concern is the fact that SCE has completely removed all backwards compatibility with the PS2, which means you can play all of around 65 games in time for the Christmas holidays. Sure, it will still play Blu-ray movies, but there are even some suggestions that there is a new optical drive in it that won't read DVD's. However, there's always the possibility that Sony is working on a full software emulation solution for PS2 games.
This is what Michael Ephraim, the boss of SCE Australia had to say "The introduction of the new PS3 has been the result of extensive research into the entertainment needs and preferences of the next generation of PS3 owners. It has allowed us to deliver an extremely advanced, yet incredibly affordable High Definition gaming and entertainment system, configured to the needs of the next generation of PS3 owners."
For US$30 more you can have the Xbox 360 Elite if you're that way inclined, or you could just not worry about it for now and pick up a second hand PS3 online after the holidays, since we're sure a lot of people will be selling their pressies, at least if they get one of these...
You can have a look at Sony Australia's Playstation site here
HP has launched a dedicated site for its upcoming Blackbird 002 high-end gaming PC and it looks like one sweet machine. A lot of the technology in the Blackbird 002 comes from HP's Voodoo PC purchase and the brains of Rahul Sood. The Blackbird 002 even features a Voodoo DNA logo inside the chassis to show that this system is something special.
Not only is it gorgeously designed, but it's also really tidy inside, something we can't say about some HP PC's we've seen in the past. It's possibly the cleanest build we've ever seen. It's also got a lot of interesting design features such as watercooling by Danish Asetek, a special airflow system and a unique stand that the whole case rests on.
But a good design is nothing if the hardware inside it doesn't back it up and the Blackbird 002 has enough grunt in it to please even the most demanding of users. You have a choice of Core 2 Duo/Quad/Extreme CPUs as well as the AMD Athlon X2 6000+ and this can be combined with a selection of DDR2 memory with the top of the range option being from Corsair.
The motherboard in the Intel rig is an Asus Republic of Gamer Striker Extreme based on the Nvidia 680i SLI chipset. Graphics card options range from dual 8800 GTX cards (oddly enough the Ultra doesn't seem to be on offer) to 8800 GTS and 8600 GTS if you want Nvidia and Radeon HD 2900 XT with 512MB or 1GB or the Radeon HD 2600 XT if you want AMD.
Other options include an Ageia PhysX card, although HP is listing it as a PCI Express card, something we didn't know was available from Ageia currently. There are five hard drive bays and HP offers a wide range of drive options here from a 150GB 10,000 rpm WD Raptor to a RAID array with drives ranging from 320 to 750GB. The optical drive bays are quite odd, as the Blackbird 002 features a single 5.25in drive bas as well as two slim drive bays for slot loading laptop style drives.
It's also got a very neat popup panel at the top that houses a multi format card reader, a FireWire port, two USB 2.0 ports and a headphone and mic jack. HP also offers the Blackbird 002 with two different X-Fi cards as an option over the onboard HD audio of the Asus motherboard. The PSU is a massive 1,100W and should have plenty of juice to power the machine.
The price you're asking? Well, it doesn't seem like the Blackbird 002 will come with a monitor or any speakers or other accessories at that, which make this one of the most expensive base units ever. The starting price is US$2,500, but this is for the standard version, the LC and LCi models are even more expensive and the top of the range model is currently listed at US$7,100 which is a shed load of cash to spend on a computer, no matter how good it is.
You can check out some more pictures and information here
Over the past couple of days Microsoft and Razer has both launched new gaming mice and it wasn't too long ago that Logitech launched a new model, but today an unexpected announcement dropped into our mailbox from SteelSeries who announced not one, but two new gaming mice. SteelSeries is probably better known for its mouse mats or gaming surfaces as they like to call it and headsets than its mice, although they've offered a couple of tweaked Microsoft mice.
The two new models goes under the Ikari brand and are called Ikari Optical and Ikari Laser professional gaming mice. According to the press release, these two new mice have been under development for 15 months with the help of some 20 professional gamers along with input from some further 5,000+ gamers.
SteelSeries claims that the grip has been designed to suit the three most predominant grip styles used by gamers, what SteelSeries refers to as the "Swipe, Claw, and Palm". Both models feature five buttons and anti-sweat and slip-resistant surface coatings. Further features are on-the-fly DPI settings, driverless PnP and pressure points that reduces the friction for optimized glide.
As the name suggests the Ikari Optical uses an LED sensor and it features two DPI settings and has been specifically designed for first person shooter gamers. The Ikari Laser on the other hand features a range of DPI settings and it's got what appears to be a bottom mounted LCD display for DPI readout and a picture on the SteelSeries website suggests that it can do at least 3000 DPI. It also features programmable macro buttons with a built in memory that stores the settings for use with a different computer and it has been specifically designed for RTS and MMO gamers.
Both models should be available some time in Q4 and no price was announced, but we don't expect them to be cheap. You can read the official press release here
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.