After what seemed like a long time we are finally getting into the full performance section of our review. The Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe is a board that really has quite a bit going on which makes properly covering everything something of a chore. You can check out our design and feature coverage to see just how much there is packed into this board. Still we have tested out all of the pieces and parts and had the time to use the board in some of our testing with Ivy Bridge and the heat issues that have popped up. With that said let’s dive in right now and talk about the performance you can expect from Asus’ P8Z77-V Deluxe motherboard.
After being impressed with the House of Marley’s Redemption Song On-Ear headphones we have now spent some time with their Zion In-Ear head phones. These follow in the same style as the Redemption Song headphones and are made of recycled or renewable materials. They also follow in the trend of being tuned for high quality sound and are designed for use with Apple’s lineup of products (iPad, iPod, iPhone) but will work with just about any media player or smart phone (with a few exceptions). With a price tag of $99.99 we are hoping that these headphones give us the same level of performance that we saw with the Redemption Song. Follow the bouncing ball and sing along as we tell your just how well they perform.
Every now and then in the midst of products that are intended to make your system more powerful or impress your friends we get to play with products that are fun. We found this in a pair of external speakers from a company called Accessory Power. The speakers are designed to look like the heads of animals (in a cute way) and can work with PCs, phones, tablets and pretty much anything with a 1/8-inch speaker jack. In addition to their function as a speaker set they are also intended to bring awareness to endangered species. We were lucky enough to receive two different models for our testing and enjoyment. So let’s take you along as we see if the Accessory Power Gogroove Speaker Pals Panda and Koala sets are worth your time and money.
Webster defines the word sound as; “mechanical radiant energy that is transmitted by longitudinal pressure waves in a material medium (as air) and in the objective of causing hearing.” In other words, sound is waves of different pressure intended to impact our ears. This is exactly what the House of Marley set out to do when they began their work on a line of headphones. Inspired by the works of the Great Bob Marley and the Reggae sound these products seek to encompass the not only the sound, but the feel of the music you listen to. In addition to audio quality the House of Marley also claims to have very eco-friendly products. They accomplish this by using recycled material and parts they call sustainable. So let’s take a look at the House of Marley Redemption Song On-Ear Headphones and see if they can really convey not only the sound or the music we listen to, but the feeling and emotion.
A rather long time ago (in computer years) when real audio first came out on the computer the market was pretty bare for not only sound cards, but also for anything to use to listen to them. I can vividly remember buying an expensive ISA Soundblaster card and not being able to find any decent speakers to use with it. There simply was not a lot of choice out there to reproduce your audio. Of course before that I can still remember only having 8-bit audio through the motherboard speaker so decent is relative there. Now the market is flood of products many are just plain terrible (bad design, bad quality and bad audio playback). There are a few companies that have been working to break the “good enough” trend in audio. Cooler Master is one of them as we have shown you with their CMStorm Sirus headset. Now Cooler Master has another gaming headset available. This one is called the Sonuz and features a pair of massive 53mm drivers to push the sound deep into your skull. Let’s listen to them shall we?
We have had a couple of products from the House of Marley in the lab and in the whole have found them to be excellent offerings for the price that they go for. The Reggae themed headsets combine renewable materials with exceptional tuning and a great sound. So far we have taken a look at the Zion in ear and the Redemption Song on-ear headsets. Today we have another one of the On-ear style headsets in the lab. This time it is the Stir it Up (Harvest). These have the same price point as the Redemption Song $199.99 so let’s see if they have the same quality in terms of build and sound.
Quite a while ago we talked to you about the virtues of the Asus Rampage III Black. This board can best be described as The Flagship of the Flagship Rampage III line. It has everything, wireless, Bluetooth, Overclocking, Tri-SLI and Crossfire-X. The design is sleek and sexy with plenty of options for overclocking, gaming, audiophiles and more beside. It is one of those boards that people are just going to want. Well now that we have had a chance to play with this board we are going to let you know about how it performs. So let’s sit back and enjoy the ride as we test the Asus Rampage III Black.
Asus is a common name in computer components. We have taken a look at more than our share of their products from the mundane to the extreme. One area that Asus has been taking more of an interest is the higher-end side of the HTPC market. Here is where things get interesting. Unlike gamers, or overclockers a person that wants to build a high-end HTPC is looking for the best combination of performance, cooling and power draw. If you can build it fast, cool and power efficient then they will want that. But building an HTPC is not only about what you drop inside the system. You also need some good hardware on the final end of the output side. Not to worry, Asus has you covered there too. They have their own line of HD capable monitors and even speaker sets to keep you happy. We are taking a look at t new one to hit the market. It is a speaker bar that is capable of providing 5.1 surround sound to your viewing area. Called the Cine5, this small and stylish speaker system runs for about $130 on the internet. We are going to take a look and see if it is worth it.
Personal computing has had its ups and downs of the last 10 years and these have not always been because of consumer reaction. In many cases the manufacturers have failed to meet the expectations of the people they are selling to. One of the biggest places where the market has failed the consumer is when they moved to “good enough” computing. We saw this as far back as the Pentium III when Intel pushed for onboard audio, networking, modem etc. These devices were not the greatest of components, but they were “good enough” in the eyes of the manufacturers. Now the situation is shifting (very slowly) as these components are no longer good enough in the consumer’s eyes. They are demanding more from their hardware. One place where this shift has been the most obvious is in the audio market. Today we have a product that is supposed to fall well outside the good enough range. This is the CMStorm Pulse-R gaming headset. Let’s take a look and see if it really can.
Audio is a part of the computing experience that is very often overlooked when people are building their system. We see this every day when someone is talking about putting together an HTPC (Home Theater PC), a gaming system or even a general usage system. They stick with the audio on the motherboard and call it good enough. Even when someone takes the time to pick out a good sound card, they often buy $20 speakers to play this sound through. Today we are going to take a look at a combination audio card and headset from Rosewill this is the RHM-6308. The RHM-6308 is listed as a Circumaural Gaming Headset; we are going to see if this $30 headset can live up to its name.