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Corsair Gaming K70 RAPIDFIRE Mechanical Keyboard, Backlit Red LED, Cherry MX Speed
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4 out of 5 eggs Mechanical Keyboard Worthy of Consideration 08/10/2016

This review is from: Corsair Gaming K70 RAPIDFIRE Mechanical Keyboard, Backlit Red LED, Cherry MX Speed

Pros: Fast key presses allow you to quickly manipulate your controls while gaming. The ability to slightly tap the keys using while not requiring the typical click of other types of Cherry switches can definitely be a benefit while gaming. The lighting effects are quite nice --especially if you are in a dimly lit room while battling your opponents. The action is smooth and as one would expect using a mechanical keyboard. When typing normally, the click is not all that intrusive to your life and is quiet enough to use in a small office environment (with exceptions below). The keyboard has retractable feet at the back AND front of the unit which makes it really nice for making adjustments to your optimal typing position. This is especially nice given the included wrist pad which adds just enough friction to keep your wrists firmly planted in position. Overall if your primary use for a keyboard is to play games, you will like this keyboard. The included tabs for common gaming keys (a,w,s,d, etc.) are an added bonus to more easily highlight the keys which you will need the most. Using the CUE software for creating button groupings, macros, etc. will allow you unlimited configuration of the keyboard to enable you to have so much more control over your games than you otherwise would with a typical 108 key unit.

The other controls on the keyboard work as you'd expect. Volume adjustment is smooth and satisfying and the media keys are out of the way where you won't accidentally hit play or next on your Disney soundtrack while you're doing your acrobatics in Rocket League.

Cons: While the ease of key presses is fantastic for games, it makes every day typing kind of tedious. I am still getting used to the unit, but it requires a much lighter resting position for my home row keys than I am used to. For instance, while typing this review, I've accidentally hit the 'j' key probably 30 times. While this is to be expected given the advertised distance to activate the key, it does not suit me well for use as a multipurpose keyboard for my programming tasks without some major changes to my muscle memory.

The CUE software will not update the firmware on my device past v2.0 and I am stuck using this version of the firmware on the device for the foreseeable future it seems. While this is not exactly a huge problem, it does make me slightly concerned that there may be needed updates to the device's firmware that I am not getting. For now though, everything is working as expected.

Other Thoughts: Overall I would recommend the unit to gamers. Let's be real, that is the device's intended purpose and for that purpose it performs well. I personally would have opted for the RGB version of the device if it were not provided to me for testing. I would have also liked a version which did not have the MX Speed switches and had something a little less easy to trigger. As I said however, given that the intended use is for gaming, I can't really knock it all that much.

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Toshiba OCZ TR150 2.5
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Pros: The drive is inexpensive and fast. It allows a user to boost performance in older machines (in my case a 6 year old laptop) and really bring some life back to the machine. This drive greatly boosts my ability to use my Asus UL-80vt after a few years of it sitting on the shelves. I threw on an Ubuntu distro initially and everything was humming along nicely. The drive reads and writes as well as any SSD I've used and I would be plenty happy to recommend the drive to others.

Before I used this as an OS drive in the laptop I used it in an external usb 2.0 enclosure to test out performance against the dated usb spec. It performs really well and the enclosure stayed nice and cool as well. SSD means if I bump the enclosure or machine when the disk is operating, I don't have to worry about hardware damage!

Cons: I don't really have any cons for this unit aside from the capacity of the drive. That said, see "Other" for more info. If I had to pick SOMETHING that was negative, it would be that the casing on the drive itself feels somewhat weak and not as well made as other drives I've used (Samsung 850 EVO Pro and an AMD SSD which ironically was made by OCZ). However, given that this is an internal drive and there are no moving parts, who cares?!

Other Thoughts: The capacity of the drive is fine for a secondary machine but if I were buying one, I'd get a higher capacity to future proof. This is not a problem for a secondary or travel laptop for me though, just something to hammer out some code on in my free time when I don't have my main machine with me.

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ASUS Z170-PRO LGA 1151 Intel Z170 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
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4 out of 5 eggs Solid Mid-Range Enthusiast Board! 03/15/2016

This review is from: ASUS Z170-PRO LGA 1151 Intel Z170 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Pros: This board is very well-equipped for the price point. While a little higher than its competitors for a mid-range board, the quality of Asus products is one of the reasons that price isn't everything. The board performs well under multiple concurrent loads. I have been using this board for quite some time and have had nothing but good experiences with it. The one click overclocking works well, but is not a feature that I use all that often as my CPU cooling is not as robust as I would like. It is really nice to have a built-in display card on this board when a dedicated graphics card is not used or needed. When using a secondary display with the built-in gpu, it adds a nice second screen while gaming using a dedicated graphics card to drive the game. USB3.0 ports are a plus and a welcomed improvement over USB2.0/2.1 speeds which have felt sluggish on older machines. There is plenty of expansion available so long as you realize this is a mid-range board. I personally only run one nVidia card with no other expansions so 1 x full size PCIe slot is all I require (there are 3). Built-in ethernet port is sufficient for my networking requirements and performs as one would expect.

The board itself performs well and stays relatively cool thanks to the huge heat sinks installed over the crucial components. While a little tight for building a serious gaming rig, this board will suffice for most users' needs. It is also a plus that if budget is a concern, less expensive CPUs may be purchased in the i3 or i5 range as opposed to having to jump straight to the i7. DDR4 RAM is dropping in price every day which makes the idea of maxing the RAM at 64GB a much more realistic option.

There is also a built-in water pump header for a liquid cooling configuration which is the first I've seen on boards in this range (does not mean others do not have it).

Cons: It would be really nice if all PCIx slots could be run at x16 or even x8 at all times. The 3rd slot as noted in the specs is shared with the SATA controller. This is less than ideal and is really only useful if you're going to add on a RAID controller card. For me, it is not really an issue with a single GPU, but for others, the drop may be noticeable.

It's a little tight. There is a lot going on in a confined space with this unit. If you are looking for a full-size board with plenty of wiggle room for manipulating components during install, you will have a little trouble with this one. I have rather large hands and installing my GPU and other 1x expansion cards tends to be tricky --though I have found this to be the case on most mid-size boards, not just this unit.

Other Thoughts: Overall, I'm pretty happy with this board. I will probably set this unit up as a second PC for my wife now that testing is completed seeing as her demands are less intense than my own. Asus products are always decent and there is a reason why they maintain their place in the market. I would definitely recommend this board, but would also recommend exploring boards slightly above and below this price to see if there is a better fit for your needs as it feels like this board was designed to fit a gap in the pricing structure.

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Matthew S.'s Profile

Display Name: Matthew S.

Date Joined: 04/04/07

  • Reviews: 10
  • Helpfulness: 5
  • First Review: 02/09/15
  • Last Review: 08/10/16
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