OCMS News March 2007

Xbox 360 Elite Photos Posted!
Thursday, March 29, 2007
We have the latest photos of the recently announced Xbox 360 Elite. Not only does this new 360 sport a new black exterior, but has HDMI output and a 120GB HD! The new HD will certainly be handy for the new IPTV that will be unveiled later this year. Go check out the photos and press release.

Noctua Case Fans: Engineering Marvel or Blowhards?
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Fans Fans Fans, we got all kinds of fans now-a-days: neon fans, aluminum fans, led fans, ccfl fans, uv fans, and even more fans, did I mention we are reviewing fans here? The Austrian company Noctua was kind enough to send us a few of there new fans, but what makes them (s)so special….? Well they are silent, and I mean VERY silent. These fans aren’t here for the nice lights, but for the more serious system builder who wants some quality kit. And if you want quality then you’re at the right place with Noctua.

Verbatim’s 12GB USB Drive Causes Flash Envy
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Flash drives have been getting larger and larger, and our need for portable storage is only getting greater. It wasn’t long ago that we reviewed Verbatim’s 2GB U3 flash drive, and we thought that was plenty of space for all of our portable data needs… but we quickly found ourselves starving for more data. I never really liked to use more than 1GB of data, because you never know when you’re going to need that extra space…

U3 drives are really neat in that you can install “portable applications”, in which everything the program needs to run is contained within the flash drive. No registry settings, no dependencies on shared resources or the presence of “My Documents”. Even though there’s only a handful of really “useful” portable applications, it’s very easy to use up 1GB of your flash drive with these essentials… so the once large 2GB flash drive no longer does the trick.

Unique Tuniq! Tuniq Tower Heatsink Trounces the Competition
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Who needs fancy, expensive water cooling for your CPU when you have 1¾ pounds of aluminum fins, heatpipes, and a 9-blade 120mm fan? Enter, the Tuniq Tower 120. It is, simply, the best CPU cooler you can buy; and for $50, it may very well change your life.

The Tuniq Tower 120 Ultra Silent CPU Cooler is one of the best high performance cpu heatsinks for cooling today’s fastest processors. The Tuniq 120 balances noise and performance, offering excellent cooing performance with minimal noise. A unique 9 blade offers improved air flow compared to regular 7 blade fans. Also, a fan speed control is included so that you have more control over the fan noise and speed. The 3 copper heat pipes draw heat from the copper base and which is then dissipated by the aluminum fins and cooling fan.

ADS InstantHDTV PCI Capture Card Review
Monday, March 12, 2007
If you’re a video enthusiast, then you no doubt have (or want) a Home Theater PC. Not only can it replace an entire rack full of equipment, but it can do things that consumer equipment just cannot easily do… like record HDTV onto BluRay or HD-DVD disks. To even begin to step into this world, you need to record the raw HDTV signals, and there is no consumer equipment that lets you do that. You either have to hack a set-top-box (STB) to stream the signal over firewire, or record over-the-air (OTA) HDTV with a capture card.

ADS Technology has introduced a video capture solution to grab those new-fangled digital airwaves and put them on your desktop… the ADS InstantHDTV PCI video capture card. It is a single PCI solution that allows you to not only capture HDTV, but has a full-blown hardware MPEG-encoder for standard defiinition TV and supports time-shifting, too.

Blue is Here to Stay!
Monday, March 12, 2007
Even as blue laser technology (BD and HD DVD) begins hitting stores, some (webwishers) are saying it is a technology that has passed its prime.

For many of us the PC is the center of our content world. We struggled to install a home network – 2+ PCs and a couple of peripherals. Our kids showed us how to connect the stereo/entertainment center.

Silverstone GD01MX Home Thetaer PC Case
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
I’ve been on a never-ending quest for the Ultimate Home Theater PC for many years. I seek the One Case to rule them all (as my HTPC server), and in darkness bind them (thru wireless ethernet). I have suffered through horribly-conceived steel boxes and converted behemoth desktop cases, and still haven’t been able to find the one True Case. HTPC cases have increased in popularity, so there are many manufacturers creating the cases, but that means that the percentage of QUALITY cases are going down, because the market is becoming flooded with mediocre cases aimed at the home theater enthusiast. Silverstone is one of the companies that consistently produces innovative and quality cases for the home theater and PC enthusiast. Their products have evolved with the market, so they now include similar features that an OEM HTPC includes, and make the installation easy. Silverstone has introduced their new Grandia series HTPC cases, following on the success of their popular Lascala enclosures.

Cracking Crackdown: A Walkthrough (Xbox 360)
Monday, March 05, 2007
Crackdown is not a difficult game. It will take time to complete, but that does not mean you will feel challenged. Even when you bite off more than you can chew, the game does not punish you beyond what you have already done to yourself. This game is way fun though. The first few hours are great, as you discover the layout of the city, build core stats, and hunt down the many orbs. But after you have the strength and agility maxed out, the game really crashes; hence, the crack loses its potency. This is how the game goes: you are hooked like a junkie, you hit the high, and then you crash. There is nothing in the game after you beat the 21 bosses; and then the achievement junkies can get their fix after that.

Supreme Commander Review: Supremely Polished RTS for Total Annihilation Fans
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Some ten years ago, a little game called Total Annihilation dropped out of the sky and blew away the RTS competition like a daisy-cutter bomb. A few expansion packs and gobs of user-created mods followed, but time eventually took its toll and TA faded into the cherished halls of nostalgia. Fans (such as myself) prayed for a Total Annihilation 2, but it seemed the franchise fell into some sort of legal vortex. Gamers know this is rarely a good sign. Well, good news: Supreme Commander is TA2, only they couldn’t call it that. But any TA veteran who fires up SupCom will instantly recognize the distinct family traits. There are a ton of changes of course – better graphics, slicker interface, solid storyline … all the improvements you’d expect from 10 years of gaming evolution, and then some. The King has returned, and he doesn’t disappoint.

Half-Life 2: The Orange Box and Black Box Screenshots
Valve Software :: Thursday, March 01, 2007
Once again players assume the role of Gordon Freeman, a scientist destined to save the Earth from hordes of gruesome alien attackers. Valve has created a fully realized world in Half-Life 2, with objects and characters that feature accurate physics properties, behaving with the appropriate mass, density, and physical properties of their real-life counterparts. Extremely intelligent computer AI result in enemies that plan, adapt, and respond to the player’s actions.