Author: Chris

Wireless Roccat Pyra Debuts EasyShift Technology

Unfortunately I’m not jetting off to Germany for this year’s CeBIT show, but if I was going to be there I’d be one of the first people to see the new wireless Roccat Pyra mouse. This is Roccat’s latest gaming peripheral and their first attempt at a wireless mouse. Not only that, it’s also their first product to feature what they’re calling an EasyShift[+] button. Exact details are sketchy at the moment, but it doubles the number of functions of the 5-button Pyra  – it sounds like a glorified Shift button to me. The wireless Pyra features the same polling rate as a wired mouse (1000Hz) to minimise lag. The resolution of the sensor can be set between 400dpi to 1600dpi, not high by current standards but more than adequate for most games. The Pyra will make use of the same macro and profile manager that comes with the Kone mouse and Valo keyboard. More details to follow as and when they emerge from CeBit...

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Nvidia Optimus Offers (Battery) Life For Mobile Gamers

The following video is a showcase of the new Nvidia Optimus graphics technology. Running on an ASUS N61Jv notebook, the Optimus graphics card offers laptop gamers the chance of being able to unplug their laptop without wiping out the battery in half an hour. I’ve just made the switch to a laptop as my main machine as the pressures of a growing family forced me to give up my trusty desktop PC (boo hoo!). While my new Dell Studio 17 has a half-decent graphics card (an ATI Radeon Mobility HD 4650 with 1GB of memory) it also has a short battery life of just under two hours. This amount of time is clearly a disadvantage, battery life just wasn't one of my priorities, but it is always a matter of give-and-take. Here's a relatively recent list of some of the best long-life laptops available if you are interested. When buying a product such as laptops it's always a tricky thing to weigh up the pros and cons of battery life when there is just so many other aspects to consider. This is where Nvidia’s Optimus technology comes in as it seeks to make more efficient use of the battery when not running graphics-intense apps such as games and movies. It’s effectively two graphics cards in one – a basic mode for normal Windows use that uses little power, and...

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High Speed My Book With USB 3.0 Drive

One of the best bits of hardware I’ve bought recently has been a My Book World Edition network hard drive. Why so good? Because it’s got loads of space (1Tb, although you can buy it with 2TB), was really easy to setup and offers fast transfer speeds because it plugs into my router and works as a proper network drive. I chose a network drive because I didn’t like the idea of waiting to transfer enormous files over a USB 2.0 connection, but it looks like Western Digital have addressed this issue with their new My Book USB 3.0 hard drive. It uses the latest USB technology to reduce data transfer times, allowing speeds of up to 5 gigabits per second and file saves that are up to 4.7x faster than the equivalent USB 2.0 drive. But don’t you need a USB 3.0 hub to use it? Yes, you do, but WD are ahead of the game as they’re offering the drive with a PCIe adapter card so you can upgrade your PC. If you’re lucky enough to be USB 3.0 compatible already you can buy the drive without the card and save $20. There are two capacities available – 1TB with a retail price of $179 ($199 with adapter) or a 2TB drive for $279 with the adapter. The MyBook USB 3.0 edition is currently discounted at Amazon...

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Microsoft Sidewinder X4 Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghosts

Do you feel the need to be able to press 26 keys at once and have every single key registered by your PC? Then you want to investigate the new Microsoft Sidewinder X4 keyboard. Featuring some clever anti-ghosting technology the X4 is claiming to allow 26 keys to be pressed at once. While the chances of you ever wanting to press that many keys simultaneously are extremely low (that’d be one helluva special move) it is a big selling point in the crowded gaming keyboard market. Copying the look of Microsoft’s previous Sidewinder X6 keyboard, the X4 also features six programmable macro keys (with three modes each for a total of eighteen macros) and you can record macros without having to leave your game. There are auto-switching key profiles that can be activated for individual games, as well three different keyboard modes (standard and two gaming modes), adjustable backlighting on the keys and multimedia controls. As well as the macro keys there is a new automatic macro repetition feature that lets you repeat a macro over and over with just one key. The Microsoft SideWinder X4 works with Windows 7, Vista, and XP (but not XP 64-bit) systems and is on sale at a list price of $59.95, although Amazon are already discounting that significantly. Just in case you don’t trust Microsoft’s hardware, the SideWinder X4 is backed by...

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World Of Warcraft Headset

We’ve already had the World Of Warcraft mouse, a WoW-themed Dell laptop, various WoW keysets for the Zboard and now you can buy a World of Warcraft headset. Built by Soundblaster, the headphones look the part with Warcraft runes around the earpieces, but they’re also packing some decent features. For a start you can choose to have a wireless set for $149 that uses uncompressed 2.4GHz technology or you can go for a wired version for just $119. While the wireless version obviously uses batteries it can be recharged while in use with a USB-to-mini-USB cable (included with the headset, along with a USB wireless receiver). As you’d expect on a gaming headset there is a microphone that is detachable if you don’t want to use it, while the volume and mute controls are built into the headset for easy access. The audio technology is provided by Creative, the people famous for their Soundblaster range of audio cards, and the headphones make use of THX TruStudio PC to provide surround sound effects with virtual speakers. A cool feature that’s bound to make these really appeal to the many WoW fans out there is the interchangeable headset lenses. You can choose to display either a Horde or Alliance lens, and Blizzard are promising new lenses soon. On top of that, the headset offers ’16 million programmable color illumination options’. That’s...

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