GGPC Recommends

Good Gaming PC Case – Phanteks EVOLV SHIFT

Those talented techs at Phanteks have created a new addition to the now iconic EVOLV series with two new chassis joining the range, these latest offerings are known as the EVOLV SHIFT and they’re looking really good! All up there are four versions of these new chassis, with two colour options and two unique sizes available.

The superb craftsmanship of the Evolv Shift can be seen in every detail, although extremely compact compared to the mid sized chassis we often see, the Shift delivers a versatile space in which we can pack in plenty of powerful components –  and pack them in we did!

For our first build in the smaller Shift chassis, we grabbed the Gigabyte B250N ITX Pheonix motherboard which conveniently has wireless built in, a 2 x 8GB kit of G.Skill Trident Z and a little SFX power supply from Corsair. With the large windows running down both sides and providing such a nice view we opted to replace our intel stock cooler with the Phanteks TC12LS low profile cooler, having used this previously in our CM Pro 6 RGB Sync test build we yet again replaced the standard fan with a very nice RGB one to really light things up, graphics wise even the smallest version of this chassis can fit a full-length (35cm) card inside but it’s important to note that even though we absolutely love the massive Aorus 1080Ti its triple slot form factor was a just a little too large for this one 😛

Building with the Shift is easier than most small cases due to the way they’ve separated it into different areas, the top of the chassis is where you mount your motherboard and a PCIe extender then attaches to another space behind this where you will fit your graphics card – with the smaller Shift, if you go with a dual fan graphics card it can be fitted backplate facing either in or out, with the longer triple fan cards we found the best fit is backplate out – keep that in mind when choosing which card to build with 😛

This leaves a fairly large space in the lower compartment which lets the air flow in and upwards, you could easily fit a 120mm AiO liquid cooling kit in here if you wanted too. While the power supply has its own special output on the base of the build all your outputs from the motherboard and graphics card come out at the top of the case hidden beneath a push-to-release cover panel which serves as the primary airflow output vent, there is a little hole on the rear of this area that cables can be routed through.

You can check out our builds in the Phanteks EVOLV Shift this weekend at the TechXpo in Auckland, we’ll also update with lots of pictures of the builds from the event so keep your eyes on the GGPC PC Gaming Blog and our GGPC Instagram for the latest!

Good Gaming Gear – Logitech G PowerPlay Wireless Mouse Charging Mouse Pad!

UPDATE: PowerPlay incoming to NZ, expected with retailers this September!

Wireless Gaming Mice are good, the only real worry we have is that the charge might run out right at that critical moment when gaming, denying us our glorious Pentakill – which is why GGPC use wired mice in competitive play.

Over the years talented techs have researched and released a bunch of different methods and technologies to improve battery life of our wireless devices, offering up solutions like charging cables rather than docks so you can charge as you use it – but that’s not really the point of wireless now is it 😛 The perfect solution would be never having to plug in at all, and with induction chargers for Smartphones being a common thing now it’s plausible to have your mouse pad charge your mouse – right? The biggest issues apparently are around the requirement for very precise placement, and being unable to deliver charge while the device is moving.

or should we say “were“…

Those incredible engineers at Logitech G have figured it all out, they’ve got something totally new –  and they’re calling it POWERPLAY.

POWERPLAY creates an electromagnetic energy field over a large surface area – so you don’t have to rest your gaming mouse on a tiny charging target. This field is captured and transformed into charging current by the included POWERCORE module, which attaches magnetically to the underside of a compatible gaming mouse in place of the existing weight door. It’s designed to keep charging even through high-speed flick shots or lifting and repositioning, and its base is only 2mm thick – so it’s comfortable to use as a gaming surface, the induction charging works right through both the soft and hard mouse pads as well so whatever surface you want to use it’s going to be savvy 🙂

Logitech has made the setup process super easy, clipping in the POWERCORE battery bit into your mouse is done magnetically and this aligns to the charging points on the battery for you, you can press down on a little circle for quick release and hot-swap between the weightless POWERCORE included with POWERPLAY and the 10G weighted version that comes with the G703.

Currently, the technology is set to work with two of our favourite Logitech G Wireless Gaming Mice – namely the G900, and absolutely epic G403. Both are getting an update as well with the new POWERPLAY ready versions being named the new G903 and G703, in addition to that sweeeeet POWERPLAY compatibility, both of them feature upgraded microswitches rated to 50 million clicks (vs 20 million in the previous version).

Logitech G POWERPLAY is an amazing solution jamm packed with the latest technologies, but the best bit is how simple it is to set up and use, and how easily you’ll forget about the dark times…. when you used to have to charge your mouse 🙂

We’ll update with all the ETA details as stock makes its way to us here New Zealand, Keep your eyes on the GGPC PC Gaming Blog and our Logitech G Store for the latest!

 

Good Gaming Keyboard – The Logitech G Pro TKL RGB!

The Logitech G Pro TKL RGB is the first to carry the name Pro, a keyboard is designed and built to the exacting standards of some of the world’s top eSports athletes – we’ve used it’s spiritual precursor, the G310 in many gaming tournaments and found it to be excellent!

Featuring Logitech’s own exclusive Romer-G mechanical switches – purpose-built for pro-grade performance, responsiveness and durability these have a very short actuation point at just 1.5mm making them around 25% faster than a standard mechanical switch. A perfect blend of speed, precision and quiet performance, the Romer-G is the stealth assassin of mechanical gaming keyboard switches 🙂

The compact tenkeyless design which frees up tournament table space for low-sens mouse movement, and a detachable cable for easy transportation to the next tournament. Durability is built into every component and reinforced by a super-strong steel backplate that adds stability and rigidity to gameplay.

To improve performance even further, Logitech focused on KSP (Keystroke Signal Processing) which is the sequence of events that translates a switch actuation into a USB signal. To make the Logitech G Pro Gaming Keyboard ultra responsive, they’ve optimised the KSP to be up to 10ms faster response than the competition. Speed isn’t just in the key switch, it’s the entire system starting with the switch actuation, KSP, and then report rate.

Using Logitech Gaming Software you can customise every key manually but there is also a massive range of lighting profiles available for over 300 different games. We highly recommend you enable ‘Automatic Game Detection’ in the Logitech Gaming Software to have them automatically display on the Pro Keyboard when the game launches – when Mass Effect Andromeda launched we were surprised with a very cool custom A logo on our keyboards during loading which was pretty crazy cool and once you get in-game it just gets cooler by lighting up all the keys you’ll need in your gaming session 🙂

Combine all this with smart little touches like a removable USB connection, killer macro management and those oh-so-perfect height adjusting rubber tipped feet and you’ve got the Logitech G Pro TKL RGB Gaming Keyboard!

GAME ON!

Good Gaming Laptop – Gigabyte 120Hz P57x V7!

New toys!

Over the weekend we got very lucky and had the chance to test drive the latest 17.3″ Gigabyte GTX 1070 Gaming Laptop, well, not that exact version actually – ours came with a very quick 120Hz display!

As we uploaded our first GGPC YouTube video however, we realised this was going to be a tough one to show you… the problem being that our maximum frame rate using the built-in Nvidia Shadowplay Game Capture is just 60FPS and the frames displayed on our screen were going as high as 120FPS!

Starting off with some Overwatch we turned everything up that we could, customising the EPIC preset to increase the antialiasing quality right up to ULTRA – SMAA HIGH (odd that epic doesn’t include this as standard right?) and also pushed our resolution all the way to 2560×1440. It was a very nice surprise to see this higher resolution available and even better still to see that 120Hz option! Even with these extremely high settings though we still spent most of our time enjoying a crisp 90FPS, which, after experiencing the super visuals on the laptop itself, just isn’t done justice in the video below! #firstworldproblems

From here we decided to move into some Battlefield 1 and encountered a similar issue, even at the highest settings with our resolution set to 2560×1440 we were getting frame rates well into the 80’s – lucky for us the map rotation eventually swung around to the Amiens City which is notoriously heavy late game and we were able to snap a quick shadowplay with plenty of explosions, tanks, players and smoke everywhere helping to drop our FPS around 60 🙂

From here we moved into testing out our favourite space sim at the moment – the still-in-development Star Citizen \o/ We played with the settings for a while and found the best setup (right now, it changes with each update) is to play at 1080P with the graphics preset on HIGH. This gives you all the coolest effects like ambient occlusion and also adds some extra definition to the “space clouds” which I feel gives you something to visually gauge your speed and direction – turning things down to the lower preset does free up around 20 more FPS though so we captured a quick Shadowplay for those settings as well.

We decided to round off our gaming tests with a bit of Black Desert Online and set off on an adventure! Finding ourselves in an Orc village at dawn with rain pelting down we tweaked our settings for a smooth and beautiful combat experience at 1440p 🙂

Battery on the P57Xv7 lasted us 1 hour & 11 mins at full brightness while looping videos which was excellent, we ran all the tests above with the fan profile set to auto which revs the cooling up and down as needed.

As with our previous tests with the P57Xv6 we again set out to restrict airflow so we could see when things started to throttle and noted 95 degrees as the tipping point to watch with the CPU – during these high temps we still had no system crashes or instability.

We’ll update out GGPC Computers Blog as soon as we hear these new models are available in NZ, until then I guess we should get back to gaming 😛

 

Good Gaming Headset – Logitech G233 Prodigy

That awesome design team at Logitech G have just made a headset that ticks all the boxes for a gamer on the go, the G233 is a new gaming headset with removable boom microphone and interchangeable in-line controls that’s perfect for gaming on your PC and also doubles as a sweet set of headphones for console, mobile or anything else you want to do 🙂 The audio drivers in these are optimised for both analog and digital sound reproduction so it doesn’t really matter what you connect them to, games, music, movies – they all sound great!

Intended to be taken everything so you can play anywhere the G233 headset is understandably very durable, with a sports mesh that’s removable and washable – best of all though they lightweight and extremely comfortable making them ideal for just about anything. The boom microphone is noise-cancelling with a micro-pop filter to help ensure clarity when on comms, you can actually have this connected along with the in-line mobile cable and enjoy some pretty clear vocals if you’re using the discord app on your phone.

These fine headphones aren’t the only new thing Logitech G have on the table either, if you’re on the hunt for 7.1 surround sound when gaming on PC check out the new G433 in black and blue!

GAME ON! 

 

Good Gaming Laptop – HP Omen GTX 1050 AX!

If you’re on the hunt for a well priced, somewhat classy, gaming laptop that’s good – definitely check out the latest HP Omen AX which packs the excellent 4GB GTX 1050 Graphics + intel i7-7700HQ combo into a very tidy 15″ package 🙂

The current configuration for this one (AX246TX is the exact model) available now in New Zealand sports a 1TB Hard Drive and also 256GB of extremely fast NVMe M.2 Storage along with 16GB of 2400MHz DDR4 ram to ensure smooth performance while you’re multitasking. Although it’s quite thin the Bang & Olufsen dual speakers can still pump out some glorious audio and the built-in wide vision webcam allows you to keep everyone in frame when video calling friends or family.

It’s got all the extras we look for in a modern laptop too, essentials like an HDMI output for gaming on the big TV are there but they’ve also made sure to include handy tech like Bluetooth 4.2 and dual band AC wireless which is great to see. The keyboard is full sized with a num-pad and glows with a red LED backlight that shines right through the letters for clean even look that’s pretty perfecto and to top it all off the 1920×1080 IPS screen is anti-glare 🙂

It’s going to be a lot of fun comparing this one to our recent tests with the Sabre 15 below as the internal specs here are the same, keep your eyes on our PC Gaming Blog and our GGPC YouTube Channel for the latest!

Good Gaming PC Case – CM MasterBox Lite 5 Dark Mirror

Another great Cooler Master chassis called the MasterBox Lite 5 has just landed in New Zealand and we couldn’t resist opening it up to see what improvements they’ve made over the already excellent MasterBox 5 Dark Mirror which we fell in love with just a few months back 🙂

Starting off with the packaging it’s pretty standard stuff coming in a nice brown box with handles which, once opened, reveals a foam packed chassis inside, you can faintly see the transparency of the dark mirror front panel within the protective bag.

Removing the outer protective packaging we can see that the two dark mirror areas have a secondary protective layer on them also, with the window panel the screw holes are also fitted with rubber protectors and there is a subtle pattern along the edges. We had a bit of a funny moment during our first build when we were re-attaching this panel (upside down it turned out) and it we couldn’t quite align it – so yep turn it around if that happens to you, just letting y’all know!

Inside we find a handy little instruction booklet, warranty card and an assortment of essential screws and handy zip ties full cable management, the little brown box inside however has something really very cool – two optional colour plates for the front panel are included with the chassis!

Swapping out the coloured trims is an easy process with screws and clips holding everything in place but the best bit is Cooler Master didn’t stop there, those fine folks know the community has awesome ideas of their own so with that in mind, they’ve made 3D printing schematics for both the top and bottom trim available right away and you can download the files for 3D Printing your own MasterBox Lite 5 parts here \o/ Fun times ahead!

Looking at the main body now we find an included 120mm fan pre-mounted on the rear exhaust which sports a nice all-black 3-pin cable to keep things looking good. Along the top we don’t have any mounting holes for fans but the front is savvy for mounting an additional 3x 120mm intakes or a massive radiator for a killer water cooled system.

Everything has a clean black coating, even the dual USB ports are dark grey instead of the usual blue and they’ve made things great for system builder by adding the common little details like the good tool-less drive trays (the ones with the sliders) and also the not-so-common ones like the power supply bracket which is just wonderful to see.

Build wise we’ve dived right in and created a nice red/black themed Ryzen 5 + GTX 1060 system to test it all out for ourselves, with the PSU shield now extending all the way to the front and the brilliant worked done by CM design with those additional cable management slots along the right of the motherboard we were able to make a nice and tidy Gaming PC in this chassis extremely quickly, it’s a absolute pleasure to build with!

We can’t wait to do more builds (as I write this we’ve already done some quick GTX 1050Ti, GTX 1060 and GTX 1070 builds with a range of different Ryzen) and we even setup the cameras during our first build so we’ll be adding a quick timelapse to this blog soon enough but anyways – onto the best bit – Cooler Master have created an exceptionally good chassis here, not only does it look amazing and sport those neat little trim mods that are super easy to tweak but everything is just right on the inside and on that note we happily give this case our GGPC Recommends Award  – The MasterBox Lite 5 is GOOD! 

 

Good Gaming Laptop – Aero 15 GTX 1060!

Update: Aero 15 Laptops are available for order in NZ now!

These new ones have a slightly bigger screen size, but by opting for a class-leading 15” 5mm bezel display the new Aero 15 offers you greater display real estate without increasing chassis size allowing them to keep their signature, super slimness 🙂

Little tweaks to the design, like placement on the webcam and mics within the hinge keep things very slim indeed, and nice touches like the carbon fiber detailing on the back along with the way the RGB led shines through the dual cooling fans is just beautiful 🙂 When comparing with the previous Aero 14 the rear cooling vents on the Aero 15 have been extended and air blown out from two positions on the back of the laptop while gaming, and to go even further, a Thunderbolt 3 port has been added for a premium ultra-fast transfer speed at 40Gbps and the ability to connect external graphics enclosures (we tested this by adding a GTX 1080Ti), or run with twin 5K external displays… truly a mobile powerhouse without limits!

Specifications wise it’s packing the latest 7th gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ, a 6GB GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card along with 16GB of DDR4 ram and a super quick PCIe M.2 for storage. They’ve also done wonderful things to the keys on these new version and the new Aero 15 now sports a RGB Fusion chicklet keyboard with the best keys we’ve even seen – vibrant but with little light leakage!

In-game the Aero15 is excellent, far above expectations. The GTX 1060 inside was able to keep our framerates high in a range of games and when we tested the i7-7700HQ with a little CS:GO we were pleasantly surprised to see the CPU usage keeping around 50% even while using the built in Nvidia Shadowplay Game Capture tools. You can manually set fans speeds via the control center but leaving them set to auto is just fine, the laptop will pulse up the speed as needed when you’re gaming – we did a quick test to see at what point the CPU begins to throttle itself and the mark is 89 degrees, at this point the fans kick in and the CPU changes from its 3.8GHz boost to 3.2GHz (base is 2.8GHz) to keep things cooler, during these moments we noticed no bumps or jumps in game 🙂

We’ve continued adding to our GTX 1060 Laptop Test YouTube Playlist and as you can see in the latest Witcher 3 Novigrad gameplay test below – things are looking very good indeed!

Now that we’ve had a really good play with the new GTX 1060 Aero we happily give this super slim and powerful little laptop our GGPC Recommends Award – the Aero 15 is GOOD!

We’ve got more new laptops incoming, keep your eyes on the GGPC Computers Blog for the latest!

Good Gaming PC Case – CM MasterBox 5 Dark Mirror

We’ve been treated to so many good chassis lately and today we’re looking specifically at a very reasonably priced computer case from those fine folks at Cooler Master – white MasterBox 5 with a dark mirror front panel 🙂

Starting things off, this isn’t the first in the MasterBox 5 series and there are also options if you wanted to grab this one in black, or with mesh instead of tinting on the front – that’s really what Cooler Master has been all about lately as well, options!

This chassis provides a really good base to start just about any kind of build in, an included power supply shield will help keep things super tidy inside. There are mounting holes all over the place which allow for multiple positions when fitting storage devices, the movable hot swap HDD caddy has a clip hinge with the CM logo on each drive bay as well. This case is ready for various sizes of motherboard, from the tiny ITX though to large ATX like we’ve used below in our little AMD test system.

The chassis does include 2x black CM 120mm fans which are mounted in the front, with these fitted the mirror effect for the front panel is pretty good at reflecting whatever your PC is facing – this panel is actually a deep tint so if you decide to put LED fans into the position you’ll cancel out the mirror somewhat and a things will light up the front, you can check this out in our RGB MasterBox 5 build shown at the bottom of this blog 🙂 The top of the case provide quick access to dual USB 3.0 (which aren’t coloured blue, we like this) and also audio jacks with the power button having a white LED light behind it. The side window panel is massive so when it came time to add in the little extra lighting we mounted this on the front aiming backwards, that way if you’ve got the PC on your desk at eye-level you won’t have a blazing LED shining directly into your eyes 😛

GGPC MasterBox 5 Dark Mirror Custom Build

Even though the chassis is inexpensive compared to others of similar looks and quality (it’s under $150 NZD at the time of writing this) it’s so tidy looking you really can put in the highest end components and things won’t be off balance. There is space for X99 motherboards and dual graphics card builds, you can rear mount your radiator or even front mount a 240mm liquid cooling kit in a push/pull configuration and it even fits the absolutely massive air cooling units like the MasterAir Maker 8 – crazy cool!

GGPC CM MasterBox 5 Dark Mirror Multiple Custom Builds

We like this chassis so much we’ve decided to use it for our own top selling build – the GGPC Hero GTX 1050 Gaming PC \o/ With this build being a part of our latest series of custom rigs you can tweak the components and the new visual tool will show you what your system design looks like as you choose/change components. You won’t need to be a hardware guru to design a system, we only provide options which are compatible with each other. The tool works by providing a range of fully functional base builds from which you can customise your system upwards, adding additional graphics power or digital storage depending on your needs. You’ll be happily swapping out components to get the perfect look with no worries 🙂

We’re looking forward to doing more Custom Gaming PC builds with this chassis, with such flexible mounting options and killer looks it’s hard not to love this case (or the others in the series) but among the current range this white dark mirror version is certainly a favourite of ours 🙂 On that note we happily give this fine Cooler Master chassis our GGPC recommends award – the MasterBox 5 Dark Mirror Case is GOOD!

 

GGPC Recommends Cooler Master MasterBox 5 Dark Mirror Gaming PC Case

 

 

Good Gaming Mouse – Getting into grips with the MasterMouse Pro L

Cooler Master MasterMouse NZ

UPDATE: The Cooler Master MasterMouse Pro L is available in New Zealand now!

Another awesome piece of gaming gear from Computex is here!

Arm yourself with the MasterMouse Pro L and customise your grip with modular top and side covers.  This new kind of gaming mouse reminds us a bit of the James Donkey 007 and includes 2x unique top covers combined with two pairs of magnetic side panels. This allows for several grip configurations so you can make a mouse that works best for you and the games you are wanting to play 🙂 Another cool bit is that Cooler Master have made 3D Print models for the MasterMouse Pro L available freely if you would like to make things for yourself, just like they did with the recently announced MasterPulse Headset.

Nearly every inch of the MasterMouse Pro L’s body is covered in a matte UV coating – this is highly durable and won’t peel, wear, or tarnish. Both of the main buttons are equipped with Omron switches guaranteed to last 20 million clicks and the cable has been built to endure even the most dedicated gamer 😛 We shall see CM… Challenge accepted!

The MasterMouse Pro L offers 8 programmable buttons that can be easily expanded up to 14+1 switch button thanks to the Storm Tactix function. Assign the Storm Tactix button based on your preference and press it to enable your secondary button functions. There is also a DPI switch which is found on the bottom right side of the mouse but even this can be reassigned to any other button, great news for the snipers among us who are looking to switch DPI levels on-the-fly.

On the inside you’ll find a PixArt PMW3360 optical sensor delivering up to 12000 DPI with no interpolation and no acceleration and a 32-bit ARM processor which allows you to record and play back complex macros, as well as save all of your settings for use on any computer without software, 512KB on-board memory allows you to take your macros with you wherever you go 🙂

If you do jump into the software package you’re in for a treat and can customize DPI levels, illumination, button functions and advanced sensor settings (lift of distance, angle snapping, angle turnability, sensitivity) within, you can also tweak the RGB lighting on the mouse wheel together with the back beam and then for both front sides – and then save up to five separate illumination profiles with multiple effects options and switch between them at will \o/

Cooler Master MasterMouse Software

Lucky for us we were able to get hands on with this one a little early and it’s very impressive! On that note we happily give this new breed of Cooler Master gaming mouse our GGPC recommends award – The MASTER MOUSE IS GOOD!

GGPC Good Gaming Mouse Cooler Master

Keep your eyes on the GGPC Computers Blog for more of the latest and best in Gaming Gear!