Samsung 24″ Sync Master SA300 LED LCD Monitor

When it comes to monitors, most people (and when I say most I mean a lot of us users) only upgrade their monitors when it is absolutely necessary. Even I have to admit that I wait to upgrade/change my monitors until they are on the fritz, or have completely stopped working. Well just recently one of my three monitors gotten to a point where it just wasn’t exactly displaying the colors properly anymore, the colors seemed to be a bit off. This monitor I had to replace was my older CCFL monitor that I was using along side my Asus ML248 LED monitors (review can be found HERE). So naturally the colors didn’t quite match up anyways, but I held out as long as I possibly can to replace the aging CCFL monitor I was still using.

Since I am a multi-monitor gamer (Article about Multi-Monitor gaming can be found HERE) I did not want to order its replacement, and have to wait for 3 or more days to have a replacement. So I wandered off to our local WalMart store here in Price, Utah and looked at what they had to offer, before having to order my new monitor online. I cannot go out get any old monitor, I had to have a LED backlit monitor, so that my colors would match closely as possible to my other two Asus ML248 LED monitors that I already am using, the new monitor needed to either have a 2ms grey to grey, or a 5 ms total response time, and finally the monitor had to be a 24″ 1920 x 1080 resolution. These requirements are set by the video card manufacturers in order to properly span our games across three or more monitors.

After sending a few minutes at Walmart, I located the perfect monitor that fit my bill perfectly, so I picked up the Samsung Sync Master 24″ Sa300 monitor. And quite frankly, I was rather surprised that Walmart’s price matched that of what online stores were selling this same exact model of monitor of only 200 USD, which saved me from having to spend an additional 20+ USD for shipping.

So lets get on with the reviewing of this monitor shall we.For a full list of the Samsung Sa300 Monitor please visit this link HERE.

I am not going to include the packaging, as the boxed got destroyed shortly after I unboxed the monitor. I have a rather small room/computer area, and I stepped on the box when I was hooking up this monitor to my computer, oops. I will have to say the packaging that Samsung used for this monitor was pretty good, as the monitor was well protected from the riggors of “Walmart shipping” (I know how Walmart ships their items, as I worked their for a couple of years in the receiving dept. myself. The horror stories I can tell you..) Time to move on with what gets included with this monitor. Laying face down is the monitor itself, as we can see Samsung did a good job on making sure the backside of the monitor has a nice overall presentation, so for those who have their monitors backside exposed to where everyone can see this will make your desk look that much cleaner looking. To the upper left side of the monitor is the inclded base plate of the SA300 monitor, to the far right is a AC/DC power brick that is required to properly power this monitor. What we don’t see is the included 15 pin D-SUB monitor cable that came with this monitor, now for the life of me I could not locate it. I do not understand why Samsung decided to go with just a D-SUB cable and not a DVI cable or both of the cables is beyond me.

A close up shot of the included Base plate, and the AC/DC power brick. This monitor does not use the traditional AC power, since it uses LEDs for back lighting purposes, this monitor only needs to use around 35 watts of power vs the 60+ watts the CCFL LCD panals require.

Before I move onto the monitor itself and the connections, I need to install the base plate. Samsung made sure this part of the monitor assembly was quick and painless. Locate the bottom portion of the stand of the SA300 Monitor (Shown here).

Then locate the plate. Notice that the base plate and the stem of the monitor stand will only fit a specific way. We cannot put this base plate on backwards, well unless we force it on. Just line up the base plate with the stand and slide it right on. Easy as pie, there is one more thing we need to do and that is tighten up the center screw.

Use either a Phillips or a flat head screw driver, and tighten the base plate to the stand. Samsung even put guides on the base plate to make sure we go in the right direction.

After we get the base plate secured we can now stand the monitor upright, again easy as pie. Sexy looking stand.

Now time to move on to what input ports we have available to us. Starting from the left moving right. We locate the AC/DC power input, a DVI input port, and finally the 15 pin D-SUB input port. Again why Samsung chose to only include a D-SUB monitor cable is beyond me. I needed the use of a DVI cable as my video cards require its use, and not the 15 pin D-SUB. So this kind of left a sour taste in my mouth because I had to locate a DVI cable in order for me to use this monitor.Looking at the front of the Samsung Sync Master SA300 24″ Monitor. Even I have to admit this monitor looks very nice.

Looking at where the on/off and menu buttons are located at. These are located at the far lower right hand corner of the monitor. These are not physical buttons but touch buttons, and they are not on the facing side of the monitor but underneath the edge of the monitor. I will go into this part a bit more in a bit.

After a few minutes of routing wires and locating a DVI cable I am up and running. The far left and center monitors are none other then my Asus ML248 monitors, the far right monitor is the Samsung Sync Master SA300 monitor. As we can the Sa300 monitor matches the two Asus monitors beautifully, in size, color and brightness. Almost to a point where you can’t tell which one is which, but there is a clue look at the on light of each monitor.

As I stated earlier the operation of the monitor has to be done on the bottom edge of the far right hand side of the SA300. For the most part the response time for these touch buttons were fairly quick, there were times when the monitor did not quite bring up the menu and it took a bit of fiddling down below to get the menu’s to work. Keep in mind there could have been a couple of different factors involved here, my finger could not been in the exact area it needed to be, or that my hands may have been to dirty to properly operate these buttons. So I wont hold this against the SA300 monitor.

After pressing the menu selection we will be greeted with this screen on the very bottom right hand side of the monitor. Unlike other monitors I have played with, Samsung keeps the menu portion out of the way of the main portion of the screen and places this in a spot that wont interfere with our main image as we make adjustments. Nothing more annoying then having a menu screen cover your screen/background image when you are making adjustments.

Samsung makes sure that all of our adjustments are kept in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. Also Samsung makes access to all of the adjustments easy to gain access to and not hide any menu options forcing us users to have to go look for it.

Ending Thoughts

After using this monitor for a little over a month now, I will have to say I am thoroughly impressed with the Samsung Sync Master SA300 24″ monitor. It did not require me any time for an adjustment period (also helps since I have 2 other LED based monitors) All of my adjustments were easily accessible, and easily adjustable to match my particular needs. other then an occasional fishing around trying to gain access to the menu I have had no issues at all while using this monitor. The only thing I did not care much about, which did cause some minor grief on my part was not including a DVI cable in with this monitor. Thankfully I had an extra DVI cable floating around and did not have to go out and purchase one, Samsung you could have included a DVI cable in with this great monitor.

Build Quality : 9

Presentation : 9

Adjust-ability : 9

Included Cables : 8

I give the Samsung Sync Master SA300 monitor an Overall rating of : 8.75 and the

Silver Dragon Award

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Razer Onza Tournament Edition

The need to have a good controller for our gaming systems has become a necessity. For us computer gamers, we use high DPI mouse, quick reacting keyboards that help us move quickly, and effortlessly during our gaming sessions. Which leaves you console users the use of a controller that is sluggish, and not very refined on the control during your gaming sessions. Due to the nature of the Xbox 360 it uses an acceleration on the controller sticks, and is proportionate to the analog sticks on the controller. Meaning that if you move the sticks a little bit you move slowly, if you move the sticks to the far sides you start to move quickly. On paper, and in theory this type of control scheme that Microsoft is using on the XBox 360 controller works. But, in the reality of things, not quite so much.

As we gamers move from one map (or level) to the next, the controller sensitivity may not apply to the next level (or map) we find our selves on. So you console users are having to exit out of the game (or pause it), then bring up that games controller sensitivity adjustment, and then adjust the sensitivity up or down for that type of game play you need to do. Now here is where the real kicker comes into play, you only have 1 adjustment for both controller sticks. Not to forget you cannot remap the buttons to other buttons on the controller to make your game play easier, faster and funner. Sure you have different presets, but you still are stuck with ” What the game manufacturer says they think is best”, not what you think is best for your gaming style.

Which brings us to the Razer Onza Tournament Edition  XBox 360 controller, you console gamers are able now to make on the fly analog stick adjustments, effortlessly, and easy with out ever having to go into the in games controller menu constantly. Now the Onza controller still does not give you a “True DPI Adjustment” it does however give you console gamers the ability of adjusting the analog sticks movement from slow and steady, to fast and quick on the fly (meaning you do not have to turn off the XBox 360, or pause the game; that, all your adjustments can be done while you are in game). You can also reassign any of the top upper buttons to 2 extra shoulder buttons on the fly as well. So you can adapt the Onza controller quickly, and effortlessly to your specific gaming style.

Packaging


Razer has always given us gamers eye catching packaging, the Onza is no different.

 
   

Looking at the many sides of the box, we can see that Razer ensures us what the capabilities of the Onza XBox 360 controller. I will get into more detail about the control surfaces, during the overview of the controller.

I have purchased/reviewed Razer products before, and like always Razer makes sure that their products are well protected from the rigors of shipping.

This is what we get with the Razer Onza controller. We get the controller, a small sheath that contains an owners manual, 2 stickers, a certificate of authenticity, and a small flyer.

Time for me to go over the Razer Onza controller. Razer places 2 shoulder buttons on both sides of the controller, where on the original controller only uses 1 per side. This is the right hand side of the controller, the standard buttons are the trigger button, and the lower shoulder button. The upper shoulder button is the one you can reassign any of the upper buttons to this button, including the analog thumb buttons of the controller itself. Now Razer did tweak these three buttons; they are a bit more sensitive to you pressing on them, as they do not require a lot of force for you to operate.

The right bottom trigger, as we can see it,  is different from what the original XBox 360 controller uses, has a shorter throw, and is a bit more sensitive.

Razer opted to move the start/select buttons from the top of the controller towards the bottom of the controller. This should keep you from accidentally hitting these 2 buttons while you are gaming. Also makes makes getting access to these 2 buttons a lot easier. Just below the select/start buttons is the standard 2.5mm headphone jack.

Razer placed their emblem right on the right side of the controller. The Onza controller has an anti-slip feel to it, the same rubberized material as used on their mice, so the controller should stay in place in our hands during the heat of the battle.

This is the D-Pad; Razer uses a totally different button layout than the original XBox 360 controller. Where the D-Pad on the original controller was one single unit, Razer uses 4 independent buttons for the D-Pad. The D-Pad is also sensitive, and easy to operate.

Making our way over to the analog  joy sticks of the controller. These sticks work pretty much the same way as the original XBox 360 controller does, but there is a slight twist to these sticks. We can adjust how these sticks react in our hands, I should mention you still do not adjust the DPI of each analog stick, but instead you adjust the sensitivity (or spring tension)  of each stick individually. You can make the stick move freely and quickly, or you can limit their movement. By doing this type of adjustment, gives the gamer the ability of dictating the amount of “acceleration” they want for any specific game, map, or level type. These adjustments can be made “On The Fly”, and it only takes a few seconds to go from free movement to a more refined and stiffer analog movement.

The left hand side buttons of the Onza controller.

Razer been using a cloth covered wire for some time now, and I can see why. Using a cloth covered wire wrap adds a bit more class to the controller. The only issue with the wire that is being used on the Onza controller is that it is a bit stiffer than a standard XBox 360 controller. The controller wire that Razer uses is 15 feet long, so you should have no issues on being able to reach your XBox 360 anywhere in the room.

 

The wire that Razer uses on the Onza controller, has a quick break away. This part of the wire breaks away fairly quickly and easily. So in case some one gets snagged up in the wire of the controller, it will break the connection here so it does not ruin the controllers’ cord or cause the Xbox 360 to come crashing down.

Game On

Since I am not a console gamer, I am going to let my friend/roommate talk about his thoughts about the Razer Onza and how it effected his game play. So please give a warm welcome to Nyborg.

Hello, I’m Nyborg, an Xbox / Xbox 360  console gamer. The Razer Onza Tournament Edition  Xbox 360 controller is the ultimate 360 controller I have played with. I’m an older gamer in the mid 50’s with mostly FPS games under my belt.  For the game tests, The joysticks were dialed down to the lightest tension. The upper shoulder buttons were mapped to mirror the joysticks push buttons. The games the controller was tested on are: Halo 2, Halo ODST, Halo Reach, Forza Motorsport, and Unreal Tournament III, in single play, Co-op as well as on-line play (multiplayer). XBox Live and XBox Connect were utilized for the on-line play.

In game (Halo), I played against the AI’s and was able to move with more authority due to the finer control (and lack of noticeable acceleration) of the joysticks. Sniping was much improved in scope mode as the control was much better while ranging and strafing.  Weapons ranging from the pistol to the rocket launcher (both human and covenant) also showed improved aiming capabilities. Character movement was more precise when in melee or close-quarter situations (lets dance!). The same was true with all the other games.  In vehicle driving (all games), steering is more precise, acceleration and braking is more refined due to the lack of noticeable ‘acceleration’ of the joysticks and the finer control of the triggers.   This was most evident in the Forza racing game, as tight braking turns and passing was more precise and resulted in better lap times. Online play was improved and was more fluid in the movements again due to the lack of noticeable joystick acceleration.

Tech notes: The joystick tension adjustments are easy to change. Just turn the castellated plastic ring under the mushroom head counter-clock wise for light tension; turn it clockwise for firm tension. This is easier for older gamers due to less stress on the thumbs, especially if the gamer has arthritis of the hands. (which I do) The ABXY buttons use tactile switches which are sensitive (similar to mouse buttons) with less throw and are pleasantly lit.  The “D” pad has four separate plastic pieces that have rubber contacts to the motherboard, so, no false inputs unlike the OEM controller which has one plastic piece.  The triggers have a shorter throw and have a built-in extension for better control. The shoulder buttons are basically the same as the OEM version and are slightly louder in clik (sound). The Back / Start buttons are in a better location and are not accidentally pressed in-game in darkness. (which some gamers like to play)  The 15 foot braided sheath cord is somewhat stiff; I believe the stiffness will mellow out after it gets worn in.The only thing that is somewhat distracting are the two vibrator motors: they tend to rattle within the case . Other than that, everything works as designed.

Overall, the Onza Tournament Edition controller is superior to the OEM Microsoft  360 controller in functionality, ease of adjustment and style. The Onza is lightweight, comfortable, and very responsive in all of it’s functions.  A worthy and affordable alternative to the standard OEM 360 controller. I highly recommend this controller for the hard-core gamer who is looking for an easier, ergonomic alternative to the standard OEM 360 controller.

Wrap Up

After talking to Nyborg about what his personal thoughts are about the Razer Onza controller, it is time for myself to wrap things up and give out a rating for this device. Looking around the internet for a pricing of this controller, I can see this controller goes for on, or around the 55USD mark. Which I feel is a fair price to pay for a controller that does more then just your everyday standard XBox 360 controller. Both Nyborg, and myself, Dragon, give the Razer Onza Tournament Edition, a rating of:

9 out of Ten and the:

Golden Dragon Award

Black & Decker Brew ‘N Go

Now you probably wondering what does a Brew ‘N Go have anything to do with gaming. Well it has everything to do with gaming especially if you are one them gamers that like to drink coffee, coco, or even tea for that matter. In this day and age we all need to keep our water/energy usage to a minimum, as they say every little bit helps, and a penny saved is a penny earned. This coffee maker fits anyone who just wants to make a single cup of water, or coffee with out having of setting up a traditional 12 cup coffee maker only to waste the water or waste the electricity for a single cup of coffee. It also helps us by not having to fire up the stove, or put our cups of water in the microwave so we can have a cup of hot coffee or tea, or coco (hot chocolate). Just our water in the maker use the strainer for our coffee, or pull the strainer out and use it to make your hot cup of water for whatever you need it for.

The Brew ‘N Go comes with the coffee maker, and a individual cup. The strainer comes on the inside of the coffee maker itself.

The on switch, this is a timed coffee maker, you do not need to turn it off once our coffee/water is made, just press down on the switch and come back in a minute or two when it is done turns it self off. Now I have done this a few times with this coffee maker I accidentally turned it on with no water inside of it, this coffee maker has a thermal sensor inside of it and if it gets to hot it automatically shuts itself off.

To gain access to the filter and the rear hopper, just lift up on the lid.

The hopper is located right to the rear of the coffee maker can’t really miss it, well unless you are really tired then there is a small chance of you making a mess, LOL…

There is a small basket that holds the actual filter. This is removable for us so we can clean it up easier.

Time for the filter, the Black& Decker uses a fine nylon mesh for our filtering needs. It is durable, as well as easy to clean.

I have used one of these coffee makers for over 2+ years now making about 3-4 cups of coffee or tea a day, and not once have I had an issue with its use. I do not use any water filtration system (like a Brita), nor do I use a water softener. My water is fairly hard, and has loads of minerals in it, mostly calcium. When we used a standard 12 cup coffee maker our water would render it useless within a month or two from the calcium build up. This coffee maker does not put the heating element underneath on the bottom, it is located upright and underneath the rear hopper (yes I tore my coffee maker apart). The most I ever had to do with this coffee maker was run some vinegar through it every few months and clean it out every few months. After 2 years this coffee maker is still taking a licking and keeps on ticking. My roommate decided to just go buy one of these himself and scrap the traditional coffee makers altogether.

I give the Black & Decker Brew ‘N Go coffee maker a very respected and well earned : 10 out of ten and the,

Golden Dragon Award

Hewlett Packard Wireless Elite Keyboard

After about 2 years of pure abuse I put my last keyboard through it was about time I went out purchased me a new one. I am rather picky when it comes to my interfacing devices I use on my computer. One of the items I am seriously picky about is the keyboard, I like to use slim line keyboards because I have rather small hands. I like to have a small foot print of the keyboard, who wants a keyboard that takes up half of their desktop. One last area I want from a keyboard is that it has to have some weight behind it. One of the things that is familiar with us PC type of gamers, in the heat of battle we find that our keyboards keep sliding farther and farther away from us forcing us to either move it back to where we had it, or have us constantly shift our hands as we play our games. And this spells certain doom for us gamers when we need to react fast to our situations. So the keyboard needs to stay put when we play our games.

So I made a quick visit to a local Wal-Mart to look for a keyboard that I needed right here and now. out of all the keyboards I seen that Wal-Mart had, the Hewlett Packard Wireless Elite Keyboard was the keyboard that stood out to me.

I bring forth the Hewlett Packard Wireless Elite Keyboard. Now this keyboard does come with a driver disk (which I did not need for my computer) also a user manual. As we can see this keyboard has a rather small foot print, another thing to mention is that this keyboard is wireless as well.

Looking at the USB wireless transmitter/receiver for the keyboard. There is a little blue LED inside of this unit but only lights up when you type on the keyboard.

Time for us to compare the HP Elite keyboard to a standard keyboard we all got accustomed to. This is looking at the two keyboards at their sides. As we can see the HP Elite keyboard is a lot thinner, also has a lot flatter profile to it vs the standard keyboard.

A quick look at the two keyboards together again, but this time from the front.

Now I felt it was needed for me to show exactly how far the keys throw on a standard keyboard. So looking at the ruler we can see we are going to start off at the 1/8″ mark (approximately).

Adding a little pressure to the ruler to fully depress the key on the standard keyboard, we can see it moves about 1/8″ (again approximately). Because of the nature of how the keys stack up on the standard keyboard makes it difficult to get a perfect measurement.

Time for me to see exactly how far the keys depress on the HP Elite keyboard. I will use the same testing method as I performed on the standard keyboard. We see we are starting off at the 1/16″ mark on the ruler.

By adding a little pressure to the key on the HP Elite keyboard we can see that it only moves about 1/16″. now that is a short throw on a keyboard. Another thing I should add that I found out about this keyboard, the amount of pressure required to push one of the keys fully down is about 50 grams of force, not very much. What this means is for those who type really loud on them old keyboards, now can quieten their typing so others can sleep in peace LOL……

As we can see this is an actual HP Elite wireless keyboard.

The connect button for the keyboard is located underneath the keyboard. Just press this button once, then hit the Windows Start up button, and see if the keyboard responds. It only took me three pushes to get this keyboard all synced up to my computer.

This keyboard uses 2 AAA batteries, which do come included, that powers this keyboard up. I have removed these batteries a couple of times after having this keyboard synced up to my computer, even after removing them completely then replacing them, I did not have to re-sync the keyboard.

Time for GAMING

A keyboard is a keyboard as long as it works that is all that matters to us gamers. Through the use of this keyboard I did notice that my fingers were not fatiguing as fast as they were on the standard keyboards. Another area that I noticed is that this keyboard does not slide around as much as the lighter keyboards I have used in the past. It did slide a bit here and there, but no where near like what my previous’ keyboards did, I got to physically pick the HP Elite and then move it to a new position. Since this keyboard uses short throw keys and does not require a lot of pressure to operate them, my typing has greatly improved and is loads quieter while I type on the HP Elite keyboard. the range on this keyboard is way out there I ended up stopping at 40 feet away from my computer, at that distance even my large x 3 24″ screens started to blur into one screen. this keyboard also has media interfacing buttons included, to operate the media buttons all we need to do is press on the FN button and then hit one of the corresponding F keys to fast forward/rewind through our songs, or play/pause/stop our movies/songs. these buttons work great with Windows Media player, VLC player and CyberLink DVD/Blue ray player.

There is only one bad point I see with this keyboard, this keyboard does not have a caps lock LED nor does it have a number lock LED. I can see why HP did away with these LED to conserve battery life, but sometimes I find myself hitting the caps button not knowing I turned it on and I ended up typing in caps. But HP could have made this keyboard use 3-4 batteries instead of the 2.

This keyboard is a perfect for anyone needing a keyboard that has some weight behind it, long range, as well as being a slim line keyboard. Having a price point of around 50 USD, makes this a bit expensive for anyone needing a simple keyboard, also the HP Elite Wireless keyboard is rather plain for having a 50 USD price point. I give the HP Elite Wireless keyboard a rating of:

6 out of Ten and the
Copper Dragon

Xbox 360 Max Shooter

When it comes to the Xbox 360 or Console gaming in general with FPS (First Person Shooters), i will be the first to admit that I am controller illiterate. Basically I could not use the standard analog controllers if my life depended on it. I am either looking straight up, or I am looking at the ground. Not to mention I could barely figure out how to even turn my character. Being I played on the PC for such a long time I have become accustomed to the fast reaction times my keyboard and mouse gave me. So a lot of times I just sat off on the sidelines and watched my friends and family play on the Xbox 360.

When I heard that someone made a keyboard/mouse adapter for the Xbox 360 my roommate had to go and purchase one, so he can expand his player base include those like myself in with his Xbox 360 gaming sessions. Being I am already a serious gamer in my own right, I just had to give this new toy a quick test drive.

Welcome to the Xbox360 keyboard/mouse adapter, the Max Shooter. So lets see what this little unique adapter brings to the table with us keyboard/mouse users.

Starting off at the top portion of this adapter first, right off the bat we notice several switches with Turbo written above these switches. Well as the designation states so, these switches gives us players the ability of turbo’n all of the buttons that is on the Xbox 360 controller, in other words extreme rapid fire modes. This even works quite well with the standard controller as well, so it is not just inherit to us keyboard/mouse gamers.

turning our attention to the switches right above the Turbo switches, the Max Shooter allows us to set up to 1 extra profile. Since I use the default WASD keys on my keyboard I just ended up using the Default button layout of the Max Shooter. My roommate is a lefty (South Paw), he was able to set up the Max Shooter keyboard/mouse keys to the way he feels comfortable. Unfortunately this unit can only store up to one custom profile. The switch with the P right next to it, tells us gamers that if the Max Shooter is using a custom profile. The four lights up on the top, is what controller port the Max Shooter is using on the Xbox 360.

If we look to the far left and right of the Max Shooter we will notice that there appears to be little wheels off to the side.

These wheels are for our mouse sensitivity adjustments. the left wheel adjustments is for the X coordinates (left and right), while the right hand side wheel is for the Y coordinates (up and down). I will get a bit more in depth about this adapter little later on in this review.

Now finally we get to the IO ports of the Max Shooter Xbox 360 adapter. We get two USB ports, a Play Station controller port (for those who prefers the PS controller) and we get two PS2 mouse/keyboard plugs. A quick word, you will have to use a “Wired” Xbox 360 controller in order for us to use the keyboard/mouse, because this adapter emulates the controller so the mouse and keyboard can be used. Wireless controllers do not work, been there done that.

Now time for me to demonstrate how to hook this adapter up. As I mentioned earlier we need to use a “Wired Controller”. The controller will use one of the USB ports on the Max Shooter, it does not matter what one you pick.

Next up that needs to be hooked up is the keyboard, I am using a PS2 keyboard, you can use a USB keyboard and plug it into the only available USB port.

Then finally we need to hook up the mouse. Since I did not use the USB for the keyboard I could have hooked up the USB mouse to it, I wanted to show you that you can use PS2 keyboard/mouse adapters. but make sure that adapter is specifically made for either the keyboard or mouse. The adapter I am using is made specifically for the mouse. Strange I know but thats how the cookie crumbles.

Time to Game ON…………

Now this part is all about my time spent on this keyboard/mouse Xbox 360 adapter. Like always when it comes to using new items we gamers need to adjust to our new peripherals, and fine tune them to our needs. I started off using the adapter using one of my slim type keyboards I had floating around, and I hooked up my Razer Imperator 5600 DPI mouse to the Max Shooter. The keyboard worked flawlessly, but the mouse did not fair so well. I could not move or turn my character around with the mouse at all. My roommate located another one of my ancient mice (standard 1000 DPI three button mouse, shown in picture) then tried playing my game then. The Max Shooter does not allow hot swapping, I had to get out the game, then unhook the Max Shooter then plug in the new mouse into it and then plug it back into the Xbox 360. This was a serious annoyance to myself, because I was tring other mice (also Razer mice) and none of them would worked and I had to keep killing my game to reset the adapter. but after I got the “proper” mouse to use (thankfully my roomy had a standard mouse) I was ready willing and most able to bring on some serious carnage. As I played the Xbox 360 game I kept noticing some rather serious amounts of mouse lag, I grabbed the “destruction manual” (Instruction manual) and read up on how to adjust this lag. I forgot that is what the little X/Y wheels are for, DOH… I ended up also going into the game and adjust the sensitivity up in the game to max, so I can have a lot more fine tuning adjustments available to me.

After playing for a few hours with the Max Shooter, I actually enjoyed playing on the Xbox360. But there was that small problem with the mouse lag, again I was able to compensate for it with my game style, but it still was there. I tried multiple adjustments, and multiple ways I can possibly think of. We allowed a friend of ours to try out the Max Shooter as well, he had no issues with the use of this adapter he even set up a specific profile for him. I took it as it could be anything why I feel this “mouse lag”, and we all sat together and pondered why I felt this mouse lag. The only thing we can think of is I gotten so used to playing my games past the 80+ FPS (Frames Per Second) on my computer that I can physically tell (feel) the difference of frame rates, another area we thought about was I gotten so spoiled by my extreme high DPI mice could have caused this noticeable difference I was seeing, or it could have been that the Max Shooter could not properly emulate or convert the digital signals of the mouse to analog form. So I will not hold this against the Max Shooter. Again I reaffirm these are just theory’s, we all came up with. Your experience may or may not be different.

Time for me to wrap things up and give a rating. The Max Shooter is a good candidate for those who like myself are so used to the keyboard and mice to be able to play on the Xbox 360 with fair amount of ease. The profiling set up was pretty simple and understandable for just about anyone. But there was that small issue of the mice useability I had when it came to my Razer based mice, if it was not for my roommate having a standard three button mice I would never been able to play on the Xbox 360 Max Shooter. So I give the Max Shooter a rating of :

6 out of Ten and the

Silver Dragon Award

The Asus ML248 LED monitor

We gamers are only good as the equipment we play our games on. Now I am not talking about what we play our games with (ie. PC’s, Consoles), I am more specifically talking about the one item we all need to use and this determines on how we physically view our games. Our monitors will either make us or break us in our times of carnage. The monitor is the most vital component in our gaming rigs, and if our monitors is not up to par guess what? We cant play your games properly, also if the monitor is not up to par there are serious side effects that can be directly linked to a bad monitor; these include headaches, and eyestrain. It is vitally important that we gamers use a monitor that reduces eyestrain, and eliminates headaches, we should be able to look at our monitors and adjust to it fairly quickly, so our eyes can relax as we play our games. If you are suffering from headaches and or eye straining problems, these conditions can relate to your monitor either not properly adjusted to you, or it is in dire need of replacement. One rule of thumb I keep using for myself is this, at a distance of 2-3 feet away from the monitor, I should be able to look at it and quickly adjust to the monitor and read whatever I have displayed on it (about and full arms length away).

LED monitors are something that has been gaining speed among all areas of gamers of today, and I can see why. LED monitors react faster when our monitors get turned on, they produce a much brighter, vibrant colors that gets displayed on our monitors. To finally LED monitors are also lighter then their CCFL counter parts. Today I am going to show one of many LED LCD monitors out in the market today, this monitor is none other then the ASUS ML248 LED LCD monitor. This monitor can also be used for you console gamers as well, so it is not just for us computer users.

To view these images properly please click on them to open in a new window.

This is a 24″ diagonal 1920 x 1080 resolution monitor.

Now before I jump right into the usage of this great little monitor I need to describe on what comes with this monitor. We get the main physical monitor (It is facing down currently), starting from our left working to our right, we get a monitor stand (this one is the upper portion), a power adapter brick (this monitor runs off using DC, this adapter converts the AC power we use to a DC power), right next to the power brick, we get a DVI to HDMI cable (for you console users you can use just a straight HDMI cable) an analog D-SUB cable, then finally we the lower mounting. All in all this is a pretty simple monitor.

The mounting of the monitor stand is pretty straight forward, there is no real need to give an in depth guide. The smaller ring gets placed to the back side of the monitor, and we use the tooless screw to secure it firmly. Then we take the lower monitor stand, and repeat the same thing we did to the upper stand. just make sure you align the stands up properly. There are pins and alignment holes to ensure a trouble free installation.

This is what the rear IO ports on the ASUS ML248 monitor comes with. from our left to right, we have the DC power input (this monitor only requires less then 30 watts of power) we have a D-SUB input, we get a HDMI input (this can be utilized on any item that has a HDMI or DVI ouput) and finally we get a 1/8″ audio head phone jack. The monitor does come with speakers, I do not know how loud they are as I just wanted to verify that there are speakers, and that they work.

One of the biggest things I like about this monitor is the looks of it. If you are one of those types that likes to have a clean computer station or a clean gaming center then this monitor is exactly what you are looking for. This monitor has some rather nice curves and it flows.

Since overkill is my middle name, it just did not seem right to only use just one of these monitors. I needed to use 3 (or at least that is my goal). Currently the two monitors that are center and far left are the ML248 LED LCD monitors, the far right monitor is the VW246 CCFL monitor from ASUS.

Now the ML248 monitor does not use buttons, it instead uses a touch buttons for us to use. This is not the first experience with touch type of buttons, my ACER 24″ monitors also used this type of interfacing. The ACER monitors I used were less then desirable, becasue they did not quite work all the time. The ASUS ML248 monitors reacted much better even in my low then normal temperatures of my “Dungeon” (average ambient room temps is 21C (72F), my Dungeon hovers in the 14-16C during the winter) when I touched the interfacing buttons the monitors reacted quickly and effortlessly.

I am showing what the menu option looks like. All the controls for the monitor are right where they need to be at and easy to adjust the monitor. I did not have one problem trying to get these monitors adjusted to my eyes.

After using these monitors for over a month or two now, I will say I am rather impressed with ASUS quality and attention to detail when it pertains to these monitors. The overall look and feel of these monitors is top notch. I have had no issues getting adjusted to the monitors, and my eyes do not strain when I look at them for hours and hours of usage. So I give the ML248 LED LCD Monitor a:

9 out of Ten and the

Gold Dragon Award