Stoning

So after getting a nice little windfall from my shares, I decide it was time to get a new mp3 player as using my phone to play songs isn't an ideal solution.

So on Wednesday evening I had a browse of the mp3 market to see what was on offer. My aim was to get something that could hold a reasonable amount of songs without costing a silly amount of money, also I wanted something that was small.

thumb_zenstoneplus.jpgSo after scouting around several websites, I decided to go for the Creative ZEN Stone Plus. I have previously seen the Zen Stone but latest version has a few more features.

Firstly the 2GB offered by the Plus was a extra 100% over the 1GB the standard Zen Stone offering, and it was available for an extra 13 pounds.
Secondly the Plus has a display, which is a feature I like to have if I'm going to be carrying a few dozen albums around with me.

I also ordered a Skin for the mp3 player, as they can tend to get quite beaten up over time, so anything to extend the longevity of the device was an additional bonus.

Today it arrived \o/.

It's alot smaller that I thought, which was nice as it can be pocketed in my workshirt without too much trouble. My first complaint sofar is that the data/charging USB cable is very short (3 inches). This isn't a massive problem as i have USB ports on the top of my PC. If you are plannig on purchasing a Stone plus, kind in mind a seperate (lengther) cable maybe a good purchase.

Another small annoying fact is the instructions that come with the player are simple enough to get you started but don't have that much detail listed. But never fear it came packaged with 4 copies of the instructions (odd).

So after 3 hours of charging, it was time to try it out.
I've loaded on three albums now and had a good play about with all the settings.

The player has a 64×64 OLED, which doesn't sound like alot I'd admit, yet the onboard software is extremely well designed to make full use of this display, which is in a Blue/Cyan colour.

The one item that was missing in the documentation that accompanied the player was a layout of the menus and their uses. Although they are pretty self-explanitory.

Overall : This player expands on the original stone with the great display thats doesn't take up 30% of the devices layout, but still offering the user an interface for easy interaction.

Beware the DeathAdder

NCSoft Europe has join up with hardware creators Razer to produce a Guild Wars edition of the DeathAdder mouse. The DeathAdder which I have been using for over 6 months now, is a 3G infrared gaming mouse that can manage 1800dpi. This gives you a massive advantage over a standard optical mouse with 800dpi.

In addition to the faster movement speeds the DeathAdder has a response time of 1millisecond ensuring that all your movements and actions are captured compared with a bog standard polling rate of 8ms in other mice.

Combine those 2 impressive traits with On-The-Fly Sensitivity adjustment and the programmable buttons this mouse is a treasure to those who enjoy gaming and a great way to enhance your gameplay.

The only thing is that it's right handed only, a fact missed off the press release issued by NCSoft. The mouse can me bought at the PlayNC store for £47.99 / 69.99 Euros

Source : http://eu.guildwars.com/press/article/gwmouse/

Fans

After rebuilding Rachs PC with some new components. It appeared that the graphic card was running quite hot, under a heavy load around 90c. Now although this is still under the 120c maximum that get listed for cards of that type the reality is that you will either crash out of game you are playing or your screen will just locked up completely.

So it was time to get a new GFX fan and while we are at it I wanted to improve the airflow in the case, as there was only an 80mm fan on the front. I also had 1 additional requirement that fans need to be quiet as Rach has the PC on the desk rather than under it so avoiding anything that sounds like a jet engine was a must.

After a little searching around I visited QuietPC (http://www.quietpc.com/uk/) whom I have purchased items from before.

gx810.jpgThe QuietPC has a nice website design and allows you to search for fans by GPU manufacturer and then shows a table listing what fans are compatible with the various types of model.

In the end I chose a ZEROtherm GX810, mainly for the reasons below

  • Variable speed fan ranging from speeds of 900 to 2500 rpm
  • Fan speed is controlled by an onboard temperature sensor
  • Noise is limited to 16.95 – 29.85 dB depending on speed
  • Uses fins in an arc to cool the GPU down

OK so the last option sounds a little lame but in all honesty this style of fan system will mean less dirt and fluff collected and a easy cleaning job when/if you need too.

A great price at £19.99 including vat.

xilencefansm.jpgNow for the case fan. Again the site allow me to filter the size to 120mm fans and then showed me a table detailing the noise, Max. fan speed and airflow statistics of each fan in that category. After a little review of those available I selected the Xilence Red Wing as it give me large airflow with minimal noise due to the fan speed being only 1400rpm. Ideal.

A great price at £7 🙂

Now my only complaint about QuietPC is that once ordered it is difficult to track your order, I have yet to find anything on the website that shows my orders and their status. But saying that I received the new parts within 2 working days.

So the final result system tempuratures down to 35c and the GFX running at a nice 60c under load.

Mice and keyboard

Saturday morning when my peaceful slumber was rudely interrupted by the postman (infact it was rach tell me 'someone at door') at 7:45.

It was the arrival of my new keyboard and mine & doks new mice. Here they are.

Razer DeathAdder
This is a gaming mouse, its a mouse that never sleeps, meaning that if you move it, your cursor responses. Addtionally it responds in under 1ms, combine that with the 1800dpi its a

It's a highly ergonomic mouse (for right handed gamers) that welcomes your palm and fingers onto the smooth rubber like top side, the teflon pad/feet make it glide around in your hand.

The mouse also sports 2 side buttons that can be used with your thumb. but unlike other mice in this category they don't get in the way of using the mouse correctly. All 5 buttons can be customised to perform various action including custom macros.

Test run.
After a problem with configuration (90 degree spinning in Planetside) as resolved by installing the lastest beta drivers I was all set to take it for a test spin.

The first thing I noticed was that my movement was increasily fluid, less twitching during ingame activaties. I used the side buttons to switch between profiles I had configured in the control panel. This was great for altering between tasks that needed fine/slow movements and those that needed the higher DPI actions.
DeathAdder

Razer Tarantula
This keyboard feels suprisingly wide, even tho it's only an inch bigger than my previous keyboard. The wrist-rest is chunky and adds another inch and a half to the dimensions.

One of the best features of this keyboard I feel is the <1ms response times, it feels very different to play when you have instant response to your keystrokes. You normally compensate for thes responses times in game, so using this keyboard take a little getting used to and altering you playstyle accordingly. Anti-Ghosting features are great when you are playing a game that require multiple be pressed then you normally get limited to 3 buttons before you can't press anything else, the ghosting feature will allow you to get the most out of games. There are 10 macro keys that you can customise, along side those are the profiles. you can have profiles for each game you play, so the macros and other keys can be tailored to meet your gaming needs.
Tarantula