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Pros: The CM Storm Rapid series is a great line-up of boards. I've tried basically every major 'budget' mech board - rosewill 9000s, ducky 1087s, steelseries 6Gv2, razer blackwidow, corsair, and the other cm storms, and a blue, and brown, Rapid. And they are all pretty much the same, plain plastic boards with maybe minor aesthetic differences (and for the most part, they are all decent too).
However, the Rapids have a great velvety gray soft-plastic on the whole board (similar to bitfenix Softouch or CM Storm mice). The build quality is very solid, unlike some other budget boards where keys are a bit loose or off center, connectors break off over time, or the plastic pieces of the board don't match together perfectly. Here's also a few more points:
* No warping or uneven keys (ducky, razer)
* The legs are sturdy and thick, and won't break if you remove/put back more than once (ie ducky).
* Bottom flat feet pads are rubber coated, a nice touch not all budget boards have.
* The USB connector is extremely sturdy, and on top of that there's a great design for the cable so even if it was flimsy, you wouldn't break it (Rosewill).
* Build quality, I know I just said that, but unlike a lot of budget boards, this board's top layer is one big piece, whereas, say, Ducky's budget board has a lot of joined plastic parts that sometimes aren't even.
Cons: There are no cons. Of all the sub-$100 boards I've tried, and I've tried just about all of them, the CM Storm Rapid stands far out as the best.
Other Thoughts: This board uses Costar Stabilizers on the space, enter, and shift keys, which is generally considered superior to the Cherry stabilizers normally used in budget boards (like in Ducky). This is a a rebranded Costar board (a good thing).
When basically all mechanical keyboards under ~$120 are very, very similar, the CM Storm Rapid stands out as having far more solid build quality.
What makes the CM Storm *Rapid* a mile above the rest, is that it's almost always the cheapest board you'll find at ~$50-70 regularly (depending on sale prices), as cheap as the Rosewill line at times.
Be aware that not all CM Storm boards are the same:
*Trigger: ELiTe GaMeR look (ew)
*Pro: Flimsy piece of junk, keys/switches of same kind feel dull compared to every other board of same switch
*TK: Slightly higher quality than Rapid (and pricier), lights up, gimped tenkey (cant use arrow same time as num) on TKL form factor
Pros: The RAM IC's are double sided Hynix CFR. This is quite an exception, as most cheaper Hynix are single sided (kinda like Dual channel vs single channel, but on the same stick of RAM) and thus perform poorly (about 400mhz worse vs double sided).
You can easily hit 3ghz RAM on these sticks ( http://valid.canardpc.com/2871027 ) without even trying, although best 24/7 performance is going to be around 2600-2800mhz. I'm sure you could validate 3.2ghz if you tried.
Be aware that RAM overclocking definitely makes a difference, you just need the right RAM IC. If you are smart, like buying this kit, which is basically the same price as the cheapest RAM ($56 after coupon at time of purchase), a 1ghz overclock of 1600 to 2600mhz will make a huge, noticeable, 5+ fps performance boost. Going from 1600 to 1866 won't make much of a difference, but this RAM, or any PSC, BBSE, Hynix, or Samsung ram overclocked over 1ghz, will. That's literally a larger difference than going from DDR2 to DDR3 (which makes sense, as DDR4 will be ~2133+ on launch).
I'm currently running this RAM at 2666mhz CL11-14-13-27-105-1T for 24hours p95 stable. Setting WRRD_dr and dd to 1 with WRRD to 18 gave a huge copy speed boost (+2000mb/s). Copy/Read/Write/Latency speeds in Maxxmem of 33/25/27/44ns!
I've also confirmed with Gskill that all kits are Hynix CFR, so you won't have the issue of some kits being a different IC.
Note, what I mean by 'Hynix RAM IC' refers to the internals. Basically, there are only ~6 types of RAM, and a few subtypes. Which means all the hundreds of RAM kits, they all are one of these ~6 different types of RAM. This kit, happens to be one of the very coveted Hynix CFR kits, which you tend to see for extremely high prices, and is great for 24/7 overclocking. It's not as good as single-sided Hynix for reaching insanely high validations of 3ghz+, but it's the best for high 24/7 overclocks.
As far as I know, this is the only Hynix CFR kit below ~$120. This is really the best RAM you'll find south of the $99 Gskill Trident Samsungs HCH9s (which are sometimes sold with HYK0s, the generic samsungs that are good but not great) and is 4GB density. PSC and BBSE will give it a run for it's money, but are out of date (gotta buy them used) and won't hit such high speeds without luck.
Cons: Doesn't tighten as well, so you need Haswell or golden IMC Ivy to make this kit shine.
Other Thoughts: You really need a Haswell chip to use this RAM. Even Ivy Bridge's IMC usually tops out around 2200mhz @ 8GB, and since Hynix doesn't tighten very well, you are better off with some PSC/BBSE from yesteryear (still some of the best 24/7 and benching RAM, definitely better than this RAM when binned well) and going with ~2200-2400 CL8 as opposed to the ~2800 CL12 of this kit.
Even Haswell's IMC is going to be tested by this kit, as most Haswell's will not do 24/7 stable on 2800mhz.
Ivy Bridge rarely can do 3ghz for validation and will likely not even be able to do 2400mhz stable 24/7, so unless you know your Ivy has a very strong IMC, you are better off going with PSC/BBSE than this kit. Sandy Bridge or AMD definitely should rather use PSC/BBSE than this kit.
This review is from: CM Storm Spawn - 3500 DPI Optical Gaming Mouse with Durable Omron Microswitches
Pros: Great claw grip mouse! Better than the Deathadder for claw/fingertip grippers (google it if you dont know).
The Deathadder is a great mouse, but it's large (not a problem for me, I don't have small hands particularly) and meant for palm grip, which I am not. This mouse, while being small, certainly doesn't feel small if you are a claw gripper, it actually feels quite solid and large. The ring finger placement is also very comfortable, and I wonder how I ever went with out it.
The (red) material has a wonderful velvety feel to it.
Extremely accurate sensor, and multiple firmwares allow you to adjust the lift off distance (the height off the mat at which the mouse stops responding, ie if you pick up mouse a lot like if your mousepad isn't enough movement room). The multiple firmwares also change the DPI steppings.
It's literally just the same Avago 3090 sensor and Omron buttons as the deathadder with different firmware.
Cons: There should be one that comes in blue, or a replacement shell available. The max DPI is going to be ~3600, so if you need super high DPI, then you would need something else.
Other Thoughts: No question, if you are a claw/palm gripper, get this instead of the Deathadder.
This mouse is the same shell/body as the Xornet, but has a higher quality sensor and build quality.