Two years ago Gigabyte announced their G1.Kille series of motherboards with an interesting event featuring camouflage and tons of military imagery. The concept behind it was that the G1.Killer was meant to be a series of “super-soldiers” for gaming. Each of the products would be tailored after an imaginary persona: The Assassin, The Sniper and the Scout. These would have super sight, hearing, speed, and shield all to assist you in your gaming dominance. We have taken a look at some of these for the X79 lineup and now have one from the Z77 chipset line; the G1.Sniper M3. This $180 board from Gigabyte features a full audio card built into the motherboard, SLI, and a Micro ATX form factor. So let’s take a look at what Gigabyte has stuffed into this little package.
At almost the opposite end of the spectrum from the Asus Maximus V Gene (in terms of target market) we find the Asus P8Z77-M Pro motherboard. The P8Z77-M Pro is also a micro ATX board and despite being aimed at the lower end of the consumer market it shares some of the same features that the Gene has. You still get Asus’ Digi+ power controls and FanXpert+ along with Asus’ commitment to solid design and component selection. We have talked about most of these items in Part I of our review. Now we are going to focus on the performance you can expect when you pick up the P8Z77-M Pro along with Intel’s new Ivy Bridge CPU.
Cooler Mater is a company that is certainly moving up. It was not that many years ago that they were not well thought of. This was until they released a lineup of cases and coolers that showed they were serious about their business. We saw products like the HAF932, the CM storm series cases and mice, the V8 cooler and others. While this was going on their more consumer based products were benefiting as well. We saw the Hiper 212+ become a favorite of many air cooling aficionados. We used them exclusively for over a year in our labs. Back in January we saw some nice new designs from Cooler Master in their suite at the Bellagio, today we have one of these in the lab and are eager to tell you how it performed. This is the CM Storm Spawn Gaming mouse. Let’s see if it has increased our frag rate.
Darksiders II is listed as an action adventure roleplaying game. It is meant to follow the path of Death (yes Death) one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, as he seeks to prove his brother, War, innocent of crimes that were committed in the first game (Darksiders). In the Darksiders you actually played War and were accused of bringing the end of the world and the death of humanity early. Now it is up to you as Death to find a way to free your bother from imprisonment for this crime. Darksiders II was released by THQ on August 14th 2012 for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. It is a console port third person game and in addition to being available in the more typical DVD format can also be downloaded from Steam. We are taking a look at the Steam version but will also cover what you get in the retail version as well.
In a market full of look-a-like products or flimsy gimmicks it is hard to find a truly interesting device. However, every now and then someone puts something together that is really out of the ordinary. This is what we found when we received a small package from Thermaltake in the mail the other day. Inside the slightly battered box was one of the most interesting gaming peripherals we have ever tested. We are talking about the Level 10 Mouse. This unusual aluminum creation was designed by BMW and using specifications from Thermaltake’s tteSports division. This $90+ dollar mouse comes in a variety of colors and has some impressive features to offer. So let’s see if this unusual design really brings something new to the gaming table or if it is all flash and show.
ThermalTake has launched some bold designs (and some rather gaudy ones too). Some of these have been successful while others have received ridicule from the online community and gamers (even coining the phrase “Friends don’t let Friends use ThermalTake” at one point. However, over the last few years they have moved forward with their products and are now putting out some solid work. One of the products that I have been very interested in is the Level 10 series. This new case line-up is less like a PC enclosure and more like a piece of art. Of course the original Level 10 enclosure will also set you back around $750. This price tag puts it out of the reach of most gamers and also off of our RADAR for now. Instead we are going to take a look at the much more reasonably priced Level 10 GT. This uniquely designed PC case comes in two colors (black and white) and will run you $255 and $290 respectively. As we have grown bored of shooting cases in our lab we also decided to move our initial coverage to a different location. With that said, let’s take a look at the Thermaltake Level 10 GT (VN10006W2N) Snow Edition shot on location in Bahia Honda State Park, Florida. Snow at the beach anyone?
Military simulation games are nothing new, but their popularity has certainly increased with some of the recent press about US Special Operations Teams including the US Army Special Forces Delta Team and the Navy’s Elite SEALs Of the Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU); or as they are incorrectly called in the media SEAL Team 6. These groups are tasked with convert missions around the globe to execute US policy on a “personal” level. It was members of DEVGRU that put paid to Osama Bin Laden’s account. Medal of Honor Warfighter takes its story line from the exploits of these highly trained men. In fact EA actually consulted both Active Duty and Retired SEALs to finish the game. This cooperation got some of the SEALs in hot water as the Navy now claims they gave up classified information. Does Medal of Honor Warfighter have an edge to it realism that no other game has? We will be loading it up to see in our typical 30-45 minute test. Will it grab our interest, or will it end up on the shelf collecting dust?
When you talk about gaming, overclocking and performance there are always a couple of names that pop up. One name that is sure to pop up in the conversation is the name of Asus. Asus has been making great products (along with the not so great) for many years. However, with the launch of Intel’s Nehalem and AMD’s Phenom II Asus has really took off. Their flagship Republic of Gamers (ROG) line has simply been stellar. It is one of these that we are taking a look at today. In the lab we have the Asus ROG Rampage III Extreme (RIIIE). This $380 board packs a ton of features and performance into an attractive red and black ATX package. Let’s see just what $380 gets you for performance.
The Empress is dead, her daughter has been taken and a deadly and mysterious plague is slowly consuming the city. As the Empress’ protector it was your job to keep her and her daughter safe, but you stand accused of her murder. It is up to you to find the Empresse’ daughter and bring her killers to justice. The only problem is that you must become an assassin and use dark powers to accomplish your goal. If this sounds like a bad movie or book then you are not far off the mark, but while this type plot might be the makings of a flop in the box office it is great for a video game and that is what you get from Bethesda in this new and dark game from them. The question is; can Bethesda make this new game based on the Unreal Engine work or is it fated to end up like its title?
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.