I am sitting here this morning beginning the weekend and looking around the lab. I have computer cases, everywhere, motherboards, power supplies and more. I am still knee deep in our build a PC series as I test, retest and then tweak and test again various build ideas and components. Add to this our field trip out to Cyber Security Day and you get the idea, my weekend is full. This however has had an unintended side effect, my brain is overflwoing with ideas to put on the blog and I cannot get a clear article put together, just to many ideas.
With that in mind this week I am going to skip a blog entry and concentrate on the work. However I promise next week we will have a blog entry for you plus a lot of cool stuff on the show. Until then, where the crap did my screw driver go?
Just a reminder that there is a weekend edition of Computer Ed Radio this week but there will be no Digital Briefs post today. Also there will be no blog article this weekend for the show but next weekend things return to normal. Also a heads up that on the weekend edition of Computer Ed Radio this week we will have our first in 4 weeks of our Holiday Giveaway. Be sure to check out the weekend edition to find out what is up for grabs and who we interviewed.
If you cannot hear Computer Ed Radio locally be sure to contact your local NPR or community radio station and let them know they can get Computer Ed Radio at the Public Radio Exchange. You can also hear our weekend edition every Monday here on the blog.
Be sure to check out the contest rules link on the right to find out how you can win.
See you next week.
Well it has taken most of the year but nVidia has finally given us the complete Kepler lineup of GPUs with the release of the GTX 650Ti. Our look at the GTX650TI is a reference card provided by nVidia, this is the baseline that various companies will work from to release their models of this video card. The base design comes with a very simple cooler, 1 gig of memory and 2xDVI and an HDMI connection. This is a basic budget gaming card, the target price for this series is around $140. This places it squarely between the GTX 650 and the GTX 660 cards.
The original target for this card was aimed to be in direct competition with the HD 7770 but recent price drops have put that card at a slightly lower price. Further price cuts have moved the 7850 to within striking distance of that price point and has changed the dynamic of this cards launch.
The $140 price point places the GTX 650Ti squarely in the mainstream card segment and at the upper end of the budget gaming card range. This is shown in the breakdown of the nVidia GTX 600 series cards. In our review of the GTX 650 we referred to that card as a gateway gaming card. The GTX 650Ti is a step up in gaming performance that is aimed at people wanting to taking their gaming a bit farther or for the budget gaming DIY build.
In the briefing we got from nVidia the 650Ti was referred to as the 650 turbo charged, the naming may also give this impression. This impression however is not correct, the 650Ti is built on the same chip as the 660 and then toned down a bit. The result is a pretty solid chip for the price point.
For purposes of our testing we put this board on our test rig with an Intel i5 3450 and 8 Gigs of Kingston HyperX. This build represents a solid build for a lower cost, mainstream gaming rig; a likely target for someone looking at this card. For our testing we used some of todays popular games such as Borderlands 2, Skyrim, Star Trek Online, World of Warcraft, Mechwarrior Online and Civilization V. All tests were run with the goal of achieving great playback with the modest detail we could add. From a frame rate point of view we shot for 60 FPS with the settings as high as we could get. We tested at resolutions of 1920×1080, 1600×900 and 1280×720. Nvidia made clear the goal of this card was to attain 1080 resolutions with medium to high settings and some AA enabled.
The performance difference over the GTX 650 was obvious from the start. With the straight 650 we had been forced to lower settings quite a bit to get good playback at 1080, with the 650Ti the settings were able to give much more detail and still be very playable. In fact our testing showed a nice frame rate boost, on average from all our testing we got about 75% above the lower priced 650.
When we compared to the competition with the 7770 we again see the 650Ti offering a nice boost in performance. However there was little difference in the actual gaming experience, that is until we started turning on features. When a game makes use of nVidia PhysX the 650Ti steps up and the game experience is improved over that of the 7770 from a visual perspective.
With the price drop of the 7850 we felt that we needed to compare it to the 650Ti as well. The 7850 has an obvious advantage in the case of raw horsepower but again the actual gaming experience did not change drastically until you turn on various nVidia features in games.
As we lowered the resolution the 650Ti was able to max out details and deliver some really exceptional play performance, pegging our vsynced setup at 60 FPS. At 1080 this was not always the case but we did see some very smooth playback, even with high settings.
The 650Ti is a strong card for the price point but hit the market with a bit of a limp. If AMD had not done the price cuts they did then this card would rule the price point, as it stands it is just a strong contender. Also it’s price point represents an in-between area that can create some confusion for the new gamer.
The straight 650 comes in for less money and IF you are going to run your gaming at lower than 1080 resolution, is a strong buy for the price. The 650Ti allows the ability to bump to that 1080 resolution for a price jump with a nice performance boost but for another $50 to $60 you can jump to the 660 and get a nice jump again over the 650Ti.
The 650Ti delivers on the target nVidia claimed to be aiming for, giving a solid card that delivers a GOOD 1080 experience at under $200. When put against the original target, the 7770, the 650Ti is a clear win but the recent price cuts have muddy the water. When put up against the new prices of the 7850 there is no clear winner but instead a very competitive setup were you can choose between raw horsepower or features in some specific game titles.
At the end of the day the 650Ti is a solid card and worth the cost. It is a worth candidate for the new gamers or budget DIYers to consider.
Show segment as aired live 13 October 2012
The term NOOB is one every game is aware of, it is used in a manner to insult another. It refers to someone that is displaying a lack of skill or experience in a particular game or event. It however is also considering a term that is insulting and is used in a manner meant to be insulting most of the time. It is not limited to just games, I have seen the term used in many “enthusiast” tech forums when someone posts something someone lese disagrees with.
The use of this term to insult or demean a person in my opinion not just bad form, it is actually a dumb way to deal with things. You see we need to realize that our hobby cannot thrive and grown without the influx of new people. The new gamer or new hardware enthusiast brings fresh blood and many times fresh ideas to our hobby, this is important for it’s growth. because without that fresh blood our hobby with grow stagnant and eventually die off.
Instead of insulting and belittle these people would should be embracing them. We should reach out a helping hand and offer to show them some of what we have learned from our experiences. It is when we share the passion we have for our hobby that new people will begin to develop that same passion and becoming a thriving and productive member of our community.
So the next time you are playing a game and you see a new player fumbling their way along, send them a private message, ask if they could use to some help. Invite them to talk to people in your gaming group, include them in your game sessions and help them find the passion you have for the game. As tech enthusiasts we need to do something similar. When a new guy asks for first time build advice we should not bomb them with a simple laundry list of parts and tell him these are his best choices. We need to take the time to talk to him about what he is hoping to accomplish. What he wants to do with the PC. Once we have this we can share our build experiences and tricks, help him make the first build something he has a lot of fun out.
At some point we have all been NOOBs and wish someone had taken the time to help us along. Lets make sure we help our hobby and ourselves by helping others find the passion for our hobby that we all share and do it without calling each other names.
Well the day is here and on this weeks show we will announce the first ever Computer Ed Golden Mic Awards. These awards are for the products we have looked at over the last year and picking the one in each category we think is most deserving of recognition. Notice I said recognition and not performance or price. The reason for this is while performance and price are important considerations we think a lot of these parts have a quality that sets them above the others we have seen.
Now let me be clear we are not saying that this list is a definitive bets of the best. However over the last year we have seen a lot of hardware and some have really impressed us. With this in mind we felt these products deserved some recognition and thus the awards were born.
Because of the prep and time we have put into going over these products for the show I will not be doing a full blog entry this week. The awards will be announced live on the show this Saturday and the page for the awards will be updated with the winners later on Saturday.
Many people will agree and disagree with our choices, but that is okay. We pride ourselves and never backing down and bringing you the opinions we truly have and this awards program will be no different. There will be more than one surprise, I promise.
We will also do something no other award system I have seen has ever done, we will open our phone lines and email for comments. That’s right as we go through our list, you our faithful listeners can agree, disagree, ask questions or just make general comments about our choices and we will integrate them live into our show.
So be sure to tune in this week and we hope you enjoy.
The Golden Mic winners for 2012 have been announced be sure to click on the Awards page at the top of this page to see the winners as well as listen to the awards as we aired them live on the air.
Hey everyone, if you missed the announcement on the Facebook page, we will not be having a Computer Ed radio show this Saturday. Our home station has a scheduling conflict due to a couple of local teams doing well in the tournaments. Doug and I have discussed this with the station management and while we could do a show, it would be moved to some strange hours and we would likely have other limitations as well.
With this in mind, for us the quality of our show is always first and foremost, so rather than risk not being able to do the show right we have decided it is better to take this Saturday off. What that means for you is we will have no blog entry or show this Saturday. However we will be back full tilt June 2nd with some great material. Just a quick tease of what will for sure be on the show on the 2nd.
- Corsair M90/K90 MMORPG Keyboard and Mouse Set Review
- A look at the Game of Thrones RPG
- Announcement of our next contest
- A discussion on the new trend of having players pay to beta test games
So there you have a little teaser for the next show. Again we are sorry about having to take this week off but we want to ensure the best quality possible on the show. We appreciate all of you that tune in and are grateful for your understanding in this.
See you all soon!
By Doug “The Hat” Berner
In the last several months the tech world has seen the introduction of not one but two belt buckles. Both of these buckles were worthy of mention and yet got little press. The first because it accompanied the launch of an entirely new breed of CPU from AMD and the second because it accompanied the rebirth of a legend, namely the king himself Duke Nukem.
The Computer Ed labs has been tasked with the job of examining the two and determining which is superior in the world of “Man Buckles” For the purposes of this review a Man Buckle is defined as a belt buckle device which will not only dependably hold up a man’s pants by keeping his belt fastened securely but which makes a statement and could in a pinch be used as a defense device.
Upon first examination we find that both buckles are substantial, hefty in the hand and bold in design. The AMD buckle sports a wicked scorpion on a riveted metal plate motif, while the Duke Nukem buckle touts the nuke symbol that made him such an icon. So both pass the test of making a fashion statement, and the statement is “Here lies danger, proceed with caution”.
One primary focus for a Man Buckle is weight and size. Both matter, don’t fool yourself. The AMD buckle weighs in at an astounding 6 ounces and measures a full 5” X 3 ½”! This is a buckle you really have to hold in your hand to appreciate. By comparison the Nukem buckle, while impressive on its own falls short in this head to head comparison weighing in at just 3 7/8 ounces and measuring just 4” X 3 1/8”. Again while that is no small buckle, in this comparison it clearly finishes second.
Fit and finish are always important in a buckle after all you are wearing this kind of buckle so that people will take notice. Here we find that the AMD buckle step quickly ahead of the Duke Nukem buckle as it sports a polished and much more pleasing finish that the much rougher Nukem buckle. That’s not to say that the Nukem buckle does not reflect that the Duke is a tad rough around the edges but we in the lab all felt that the finish of the AMD buckle was defiantly more desirable.
Another all important component of any Manbuckle is the Chape. That is the wire bale device that the rear end of the belt fastens to. Here we find that the AMD and Nukem buckles, while different in construction and methodology, seem to be equal in size and effectiveness for all practical purposes. Our testing procedures did not allow for a point of failure test where we would normally attach both buckles to straps and apply weight until they failed, comparing the breaking stress each one could endure. However with the tests that we did conduct, we were able to determine that both would be adequate and probably equal in performance.
Moving on now to the prong. As the name might indicate this is the part of the buckle that penetrates the belt via a hole punched in the leather, or in the case of some belts, canvas or I don’t know some unidentified fiber material that is probably made up of chopped up things we have never heard of. Anyway when it comes to your prong, three things stand out most. Its length, its diameter and its shape. Ideally you want a prong with a respectable length, more than long enough to do the job without being so long that you poke yourself in the eye while using it. A heafy girth, thick enough to fill the average hole, without being so big that you have to rule out wearing some belts because their holes are not big enough. Though in fairness I have found that if you simple shove the prong in hard enough and wear it for a while the hole will tend to stretch to accommodate the girth of your prong. Also it is preferable that your prong have a slight curve to it as this helps insure that once fastened the belt is less likely to slip free of the prong.
In this comparison we found and you can clearly see from the photos that while both prongs would be adequate, the AMD takes a clear lead here. The reason is that the prong on the AMD buckle measures a whopping 3/8” while the Nukem buckle’s prong though long enough to get the job done is a full 30% shorter at ¼”. Now the Nukem buckle did have a bit more of a curve to it which as we said is desirable, but in the end it came up lacking in both length and girth. Additionally prong on the AMD buckle benefits from a prominent knob on the tip. This knob in addition to a slight curve seemed to work idealy to insure that once the prong had penetrated the hole in the leather belt we used for testing it did not come free until you applied at least one firm yank. So here the points again go to the AMD for having a clearly superior prong.
Our testing complete we tallied the score and unfortunate for the Duke it was not even close. In nearly every category we used for evaluation the AMD-FX Manbuckle with its highly polished, riveted finish and bad ass scorpion logo was the hand down winner. Sorry Duke, we still love and respect you but I suspect that on you days off you would be proud to sport this AMD buckle around the house.
AMD has defiantly set the bar high for the future of tech related Manbuckles and we here in the Computer Ed tech labs will be looking out for any worthy contenders that may come along but for now they rule the roost.
Be sure to check out our Facebook page for more photos from the Manbuckle Shootout.
First be forewarned that what you have before you is a serious wall of text. A discussion on piracy on the OCC forums made me put this together and I am feeling that the shows Blog is a better place for this than taking up a few forum posts. So I have put my thoughts together in this editorial. I truly do want to hear your thoughts or opinions on what I have written. We need a serious discussion on piracy within the computing community. We do not need the media industry or law makes but the community to have this discussion and to deal with this issue before others force a solution upon us that will hurt us all.
There is a common theme throughout humans that we see played out in every aspect of life and that is the desire to believe that they are not a bad person. Often they will go on about the opinion of others not mattering and for many this is true, but the opinion of self is always important. With that position in mind, when a person is engaged in an activity that has negative connotations or is perceived bad by others they are put into a position that forces them to look upon their own bad behavior and try to find a way for it to not be bad.
In modern society one of the most common methods for this self-protection of worth is to change the definition of the action by changing what it is called. An example of this is the term date rape which is most often used by those that actually perform the act. They feel that by adding the term date in front of it their behavior is in some way less of a terrible act that pure rape.
Within this same context we find the word game being used by people when it involves online piracy or as the legal term defines it copyright infringement. The term infringement makes the offense sound like something akin to stepping on toes. When it is pointed out to someone that it is actually a form of theft they quickly begin an argument of how nothing is actually stolen, no one is being deprived of their property.
However theft in its many forms is not limited to physical property. For example one can perform a theft of services which is not depriving anyone of anything but instead incurring an extra cost on them to pay for a service they did not receive.
In the same way piracy is theft, you are taking something that you have no right to and making use of it without the permission of the owner of the property, hence theft is occurring. Piracy however seldom stops at just stealing but also involves in most cases the trafficking of those stole goods. Most methods of piracy involve the sharing of the data to facilitate faster file transfers for all. This means not only are you stealing but you are helping others to steal as well. Also most pirates share the material they steal with friends, again trafficking of stolen goods.
Once you get many people engaging in this activity to see this point they will back down but the more die hard will then begin creating excuses for the behavior. They will claim they are drove to it because the companies make things too expensive, or another common excuse that they are hurting no one because they would not have bought it anyway. Perhaps one of the most pathetic excuses, well the game, in this case, is actually broke so they are not getting my money for it.
Now remember we are not talking about someone that is on the streets begging to exist stealing some bread. We are talking about a movie, piece of music or software, not exactly the needs of living. Yet the person in question feels they are somehow justified in their stealing because the company charges to much. Well if they charge to much then do not partake, it is easy after all and you do not need it to survive. They claim they would not have paid for it, so then why use it? If it is not worth your money then it is surely not worth your time. Of course then we have the fun one of it is owed to me. The game they made is broke I will not pay but they owe me the game? Really, you did not buy the game, they owe you nothing?
None of these excuses are about need, they are about greed. The sense of entitlement that we are somehow owed these things and we can take them as we like, in other words steal.
Finally we come to the last place that the pirates seek refuge in order to make themselves believe they are not bad people, the argument that they are not hurting anyone, that this is a victimless crime.
Using just some very conservative estimates of a specific piece of software lets look at that. The Witcher 2 was one of the best RPG releases last year. According to a few different estimates the game was pirated around 30,000 times based on torrent trackers. Now anyone that knows anything about piracy knows that this number represent a fraction of the actual piracy that took place but for this argument let’s say this was ALL that was done. Now let’s say that 50% of these people would never have bought the game if they had not pirated it. That leaves 15000 copies of a brand new game stolen. Based on the current price of the game from Steam which is $40, we are left with the market losing $600,000.
Now remember that this is a single game and we are not looking at just the loss to the publisher but the entire retail chain of the game coming forward. We add in a few more games like Skyrim which would be safe to say had a piracy level higher than Witcher due to its popularity but let’s leave it the same for argument. How about we throw in BF3 and MW 3 as well and do the same, leave the level the same for this example. So now we have four of the biggest releases from 2011 and using a formula that is conservative to the extreme, likely accounting for less than 10 of the real numbers we see a loss to the market of 2.4 million dollars. That is just 4 games, we are not counting the many movies and music and productivity software and so on.
If we are JUST talking about 15000 people of all the piracy from each item and the thousands and more items we are talking about the numbers are pretty big when we look at the loss to the market, sounds like someone is getting hurt there.
Oh I know the argument on your lips already folks and I agree, the artists in the movies or the music who are overpaid to the nuts level are not being hurt. You are right they are not, they have been paid already. Also the publishing houses that live off the efforts of others are not feeling the pinch, your right they are taking a minor dip I am sure in the end. However what about the minimum wage workers that handle all this material? What about the consumers that buy it?
You see that lose has to come from somewhere, that is simple economics. That means the loss is reflected by lower sales and thus less people working, reduced budgets for the next project or an increase in cost to cover the loss in advance.
The hurt of piracy does not end there however; we feel it in our homes as well. You see hardcore pirates use a lot of bandwidth. They use software designed to max out their download speeds so they can “steal” faster. In small communities it only takes a few such people to max out a node for a cable service and cause a reduced amount of bandwidth availability for others; in other words stealing our ability to enjoy the internet.
Now the argument here is that we are blaming them for crappy internet service and this is NOT true. For years the policy has been for an ISP to carry minimal bandwidth due to cost. What they carry is similar to what was done in the days of the dialup modem, a 7 to 1 ratio. The theory is that never more than 1 in 7 people were using the internet at any one time.
In today’s reality we know that with 24/7 internet that is not true but the premise is that only a few people and only for short periods will actually max out the bandwidth offered. This premise BTW is very true with the exception of pirates. See even streaming HD from Netflix does not max out the bandwidth. The stream process is design to pull in bursts that might be high bandwidth but do not stay there. Even if they did they would stay for about an hour and then drop off completely thanks to buffering.
People that test software often might make use of the same tools as pirates but the nature of the tools means they can do their downloads fast, often in a hour or two and then they are done, they do not occupy that bandwidth for days at a time.
When the sensible solution of having the ISP monitor such behavior and throttle the pirates scream the loudest that they are being screwed over. The truth is they are the ones doing the screwing.
In this age of digital access to our media or software, with low costs and even good free alternatives there is no excuse for piracy that can hold up. Yet people every day try to create excuses for bad behavior. They know they do not need the items and yet they do it, they know it is a crime and yet they do it. They blame the companies and society and everything else but do not just except responsibility and when they do they try to hide the bad behavior behind words that do not sound so bad and make them feel better about themselves.
Laws like SOPA and PIPA will not stop piracy, even a new economic model coming from within the industry will not completely stop piracy. There will always be a group of people out there that steal from others. However in the case of piracy we have as a society condoned it, make it okay because we have allowed people to create this wall of illusion around their behavior and said it was okay.
The first step to stopping piracy is not going to come from our government or the media companies; it must come from us, the computing community. We need to stop allowing this to be an acceptable behavior. You would not hang out with a known thief in the real world, would not trust them in your homes, so why do so on the internet? For that matter why do so in real life? Piracy is a crime, it is a theft that is motivated by a pure self-entitled, selfish greed, until we treat it as such it will not go away.
Hey folks, with our preparations for CES this week being so heavy in addition to Doug and myself getting our day job responsibilities out of the way we have just not had time to put together a proper blog entry. However we intend to make it up to you this week with a few posts during the week from CES as well as some quick interviews we will be performing there. So while this little post is all you get this Saturday, you should see more later in the week.
You also may have noticed I have pruned the show Archives of some of the older shows. If you are still looking for a show and do not see it send me information and we will see if we can track it down for you.
So I am off to get things ready for this weeks show and then hopping a plane Sunday for Vegas and CES 2012. Trust me there is more to come.
Headsets hold a place near and dear to me, I mean with my being in radio and all a comfortable, good sounding headset is a must. However it goes farther, not everyone likes my music selections or wants to hear my late night games of Skyrim while they try to sleep. Headsets are just a great option for a gamer, music buff or just wanting to cut out the world and enjoy a moment.
When Steelseries sent us our goody bag for reviews they included their Siberia v2 headsets. While this is listed as a pro gaming headset poor Steelseries did not know that we never limit product testing to just it’s intended use, especially headsets. Since headsets are such an important part of my computing experience and just general life I tore into these like a Nord into a fresh batch of mead. (Had to get in a Skyrim reference somewhere).
This headset is pricing at around $85 from various online sources right now and comes in seven different color options ranging from the sexy black and gold or blue and white to single color options that include orange and a nice lime green. For our sample we were sent the red headset, I guess they wanted us to think these are fast.
Opening the package you get the headset with a short cable, the model we got uses the analog connectors, this can also be purchased for USB. The cable has a small volume control unit as well as a mute for the built in microphone. You get a Steelseries sticker, a basic manual and product catalog as well as an extension cable if you need more cable length.
The headset itself is made of a lightweight plastic construction with a leatherette material for the ear cuffs. Instead of the all to common clamping style this headset uses the adjustable slide band system that old style headsets use. I am a big fan of this style as it just seems to give a more comfortable fit.
The overall feel of the headset is very light and this left me a bit concerned about durability. I will admit it, I am a bull elephant when it comes to how I handle my stuff daily. That is shy I need durable products, else they will be destroyed in fairly short order. I am however pleased to tell you that despite the light weight the Siberia is a very durable headset.
The cable from the headset is pretty short, only about 3.5’ in length. However when you think about using this with the Steelseries 7G keyboard we tested and it’s audio pass through this length is not that big of a deal. The cable has a fairly thick vinyl coating until right before the cable end and then it splits into the mic and headphone jacks. The inline volume control is a simple box with a small volume scroll and a simple switch for muting the mic.
The short cable could be a problem for a lot of people however Steelseries thought of this and included a very generous cable extension. How generous you ask, well look at the picture I have included here. That is the extension cable hanging down the door and my 7 year old son in frame for a reference, this is a nice long extension cable. It has the same vinyl construction as the main cable so is very durable. If you cannot reach your hookups with this in place you need to move where your PC is, like into the same room.
I keep mentioning a mic and yet looking at these pictures I am sure you have notice that you do not see one. Well the reason is that Steelseries has a really innovative design that allows the mic to hide in the headset when not in use.
This is a really cool features because it means that you do not need to deal with pushing the boom out of the way or feeling like you look weird when sitting listening to music with a mic book in the face. I cannot express how neat I find this feature, the mic literally disappears when you do not want it and slides right out when you do.
However enough with all the cool features, how does it work? Well as you all know we put headphones through the ringer hear with testing being done in music ranging from rock and country to blues and accapella to get the most possible range. We also test with movies, specifically stuff with lots of booms, in this case Ironman and then of course we take it though a gaming run as well. Finally since this is a full headset we put the microphone to the test with our audio input and editing test.
For comparison we will be pitting the Siberia v2 against our current general purpose champion and the Plantronic Gamecon and our pure listening champion the Thermaltake Shock Spin. Let the competition begin!
Round one will put music to the test, for this round of testing we chose some more seasonable music with some Transiberian Christmas Jam and then fell back to Sawyer Brown with the Race is One and Posion for Unskinny Bop. For our Accapella listening I chose the song Get to the Point. All three headsets delivered solid playback with good sound reproduction but the Shock Spin still holds the crown delivering a noticeably better sound reproduction, especially in the base tones. The Siberia however comes in a solid second producing a nice improvement over the Gamecon.
Next we fire up Ironman and jump right into one of my favorite scenes. The one I chose is where Ironman comes into the native village to beat back the terrorists. It is full of some great sound and gives a great place to see if you can get all the minor sounds from it. Again the sound reproduction of the Shock Spin is just to tough to overcome but as with the music the Siberia takes the second place crown topping over the Plantronics. I see a trend building.
Round three is gaming, for this we chose Batman Arkham Asylum and Champions Online, plus of course I had to throw in some Skyrim. Again we see the Shock Spin win in pure sound with the Siberia being a solid second beating out Plantronics for sound reproduction.
Okay but now we move out of how these sound, remember this is a headset built for professional gaming this means the mic input is important as well. After all you want your teammates to hear you clearly. For testing of the input we use a comparison of recorded input. For a baseline I have my exit phrase from each segment during the show. The reason I chose this is that over the years I have said it so often that my cadence and inflection is nearly identical every time I say it. This means we can get a solid sample for comparison. We take a pristine copy made at the studio, which is using an amazing mic for input and then compare the wave forms when created from the microphones we are testing to see how close we can get.
When we fire up this test the Siberia said second place was not good enough anymore and the folks at Steelseries should be applauded with the Siberia actually beating the current input champion, the Gamecon. The race was close but the Siberia took it with just a little better reproduction across the board, giving a nice, clean sound. The noise cancelling worked well to with testing being done in a noisy room and them comparing the actual recorded sound. Here the Siberia tied the Gamecon, but there is no shame in this, after all this is all Plantronics does, so matching the standard is a great place to be.
In the area of comfort the Siberia is nothing short of amazing. The headset is so light weight that I have wore it for hours on end in Skyrim and forgotten they where on my head. This lighter weight allows them to take the comfort crown from the Spins and is a world of difference from the Gamecons.
At the end of all this testing the Steelseries has supplanted the Gamecons as my preferred all purpose headset. They offer a better sound quality and equal or even a little better quality at the mic, plus the mic can be made to hide completely out of the way if I do not need it. For comfort they just blow away the Gamecon for long term use.
At the current price point the Siberia v2 is a bit on the high end, however if you are like me then you make serious use of a headset over it’s life. I am in a headset roughly 40 to 50 hours ever week, MINIMUM! Comfort is a big deal and this is were the Siberia has a solid win with its’ light weight. With good sound production, a great mic and comfort the Steelseries Siberia v2 is a great headset for anyone that needs a full purpose headset.
Now if only I could get this set in the Blue or White to match my case. Hey Steelseries, Christmas is almost here; hint, hint.
Steelseries Siberia v2 Review as aired live 17 December 2011