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The winners of Cooler Master’s 2013 Case Mod Contest

The winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod Contest

Lamborghini ROG Edition was just one of dozens of entries to the competition this year


Cooler Master recently announced the winners of its 2013 Case Mod Contest.

The competition was split up into two categories with both traditional mods and scratch builds accounted for.

The winner of the tower mod category was a project called Sabertooth by forum user Tantricmodz, who used Cooler Master’s Cosmos SE case as the subject for his super-clean water-cooled system.

There were two second place winners – Project Imagination by adamski07 – a Mod of the Year contender and also X1-Prototype by MikeMaat – a Red Bull livery-clad water-cooled Cosmos II.

Third place had three prize bundles on offer and was shared between Tesla by Drex, who used a Cooler Master HAF Stacker, another Mod of the Year contender – Cosmos II – The Privilege by Corsaronero333, and finally Centurion by Jesse Palacio.

You can see all these projects in the gallery below or by heading over to the competition page.

The winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod Contest *The winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod Contest

The winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod Contest *The winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod ContestThe winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod Contest *The winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod Contest
The winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod Contest *The winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod ContestThe winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod Contest *The winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod ContestThe winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod Contest *The winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod Contest
The Scratch Build category featured a huge range of projects, but the winner was Lamborghini ROG Edition by reapervon – after all, who wouldn’t want a Lamborghini PC?

Second place was shared between the Transformers-inspired Thai Farmers by Suchao and the beautiful Super power calculation center by littlehand. Third place was home to a giant mouse in the form of D.C.M.M. COLOSSUS by abbas-it, Project Duplex by Ace_Finland and O.A.C OpenAirCase by IVANICS Design.

The winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod Contest *The winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod Contest
The winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod Contest *The winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod ContestThe winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod Contest *The winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod Contest

The winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod Contest *The winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod ContestThe winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod Contest *The winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod ContestThe winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod Contest *The winners of Cooler Master's 2013 Case Mod Contest
The winners each receive a mountain of hardware including an SSD, Asus Maximus VI Formula plus Cooler Master cases, PSUs, all-in-one liquid coolers and peripherals plus a $1,000 cash prize.

Head over to Cooler Master’s competition page to see more including links to all the project logs then let us know your favourites in the forum.

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Mod of the Month September 2013

November 4th, 2013 No comments

Mod of the Month September 2013

It’s time once again to take a look at six of the best in-progress projects from our forum and for you to vote for your favourites. We’ve got all the best eye-candy from September for you to ogle at and whether you’re a water-cooling enthusiast, small form factor fan or a wannabe owner of a desk PC, we’ve got something for you this month.

If you want to see more PC modding, make sure you check out our awesome modding community forums. Our Modding forum is the place for tips, tricks, guides and planning, while the Project Logs forum is where the real magic happens. Don’t forget our main Modding section, which is filled with guides and articles written by the makers of some of the best projects we’ve seen.

We’ve also got our own Case Mod Index and Scratch Build Index. These are databases of hundreds of projects which allow you to see what has been done with particular case makes and models, or with specific materials or motherboard sizes. They’re fantastic tools that can be helpful if you need some inspiration or want to see what other people have done.

We’re proud to have the awesomeMnpctech sponsoring Mod of the Month. The Mnpctech guys are regulars on our forums and, in addition to being avid modders themselves with some awesome projects to their names, the Mnpctech online store is also well worth a visit from every modder.

Mod of the Month September 2013
The winner of Mod of the Month will get one of these awesome prizes from the Mnpctech store itself. There will be some new and exciting products from Mnpctech on the horizon too, but for now feast your eyes on these pieces of true PC bling.


Mod of the Month September 2013

Prize 1 – Four Machined White Delrin “MICRO” PC Case Feet

Protect your desktop. Thick hard rubber helps prevent vibration.
Improve airflow beneath your case and mount into materials up to 3/16″ thick.
1.25″ diameter x 5/8″ height

Mod of the Month September 2013

Prize 2 – 120mm Mnpctech Arc Reactor Grill

1/2″ Thick CNC Machined Clear Acrylic. Mount over your front intake, top of your case or side panel. Mounting over rear exhaust fan may require modifying your chassis and side panel.”


Mod of the Month September 2013

Prize 3 – Set of Diamond Knurl Aluminum Case Feet

Set of Mnpctech Billet Machined Diamond Knurl Case Feet. Base Diameter = 1- 3/4″, Height = 1″. Thick hard rubber insert protects your desktop and helps prevent vibration.


Thanks to Mnpctech for stumping up such fantastic prizes again this month. We’ve got six very promising projects for you again, so it’s time to vote for your favourites. Don’t forget that you can vote for more than one project if you’re finding it tough to choose one over the others. MOTM is a competition for in-progress projects. You should consider potential, originality, execution and show of skill when voting.

This Month’s Contenders

  • Corsair Carbide MbK by kier
  • Lamborghini Aventador J PC by paultan
  • Parvum Systems ITX build by GeorgeStorm
  • Raz3r D3sk by l3p
  • White and orange Shinobi XLby davido_labido
  • ZdMods – Project 180 by Meelobee

Mod of the Month September 2013Mod of the Month September 2013
Mod of the Month September 2013Mod of the Month September 2013Mod of the Month September 2013Mod of the Month September 2013

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Lamborghini unveils $4.5m Veneno Roadster

October 23rd, 2013 No comments


(Credit:
Lamborghini)

As part of its 50th anniversary celebration, Lamborghini has unveiled a raging beast of a prototype. Next year, the luxury supercar company will launch a super-limited run of one of its most exclusive models: the Veneno Roadster, a sports racer with an asking price of more than $4.5 million.

The sleek carbon fiber roadster follows the Veneno, unveiled in March and limited to a production run of just three
cars. They’re named after a famous Spanish fighting bull — the fierce beast that adorns Lamborghini’s logo — to signify power, strength, and vigor.

With its cutting lines and brilliant red body, the open-topped Veneno Roadster is a stunning embodiment of speed and audacity. Click through our gallery to see more.

Lamborghini’s Veneno Roadster $4.5m super racer (pictures)

(Source: CNET Australia)

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Ford Fiesta becomes working-class Transformer

October 21st, 2013 No comments

Fiesta Transformer

From Fiesta to fantastic.


(Credit:
Hetain Patel)

The good-guy Transformers tend to take the shape of hot cars like Lamborghinis, Porsches, and Chevrolet Corvettes. Artist Hetain Patel went in a different direction by turning a little Ford Fiesta hatchback into a Transformers monument.

While Transformers on the big screen can turn into humanoid figures in a matter of seconds, it took a bit longer to create the Fiesta sculpture. Patel started with a red 1988 Fiesta that had seen better days. He was inspired to use a Fiesta because it was the first
car he ever owned, a gift from his father. His father, a mechanic who converts cars into hearses, worked with him on the creation.

“For me, these ‘robots in disguise’ (as per the cartoon’s theme tune) stand as a metaphor for the other, in a fantasy world where they can transform out of a marginal position into one of empowerment,” writes Patel in an artist’s statement.

Patel and his father’s efforts are captured in a video that traces the project as it develops over time. The result is recognizable as both a working-class car and a squatting Transformers figure.

This may lead you to wonder why it’s squatting, rather than standing up, poised for action. The answer can be found in Patel’s cultural background: “This posture is a recurring image in my work and forges a link between the lower classes in India and my immigrant family in the U.K, both of whom sit comfortably this way. Naturally this introduces a tension in this sculpture between the seemingly submissive nature of the squat and in this case, it’s oddly larger than life scale,” he writes.

(Via TED Blog)

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Google Street View drives into the Lamborghini Museum

October 11th, 2013 No comments


(Credit:
Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

There’s to be no stone unturned, apparently, by the team at Google Street View. The most recent awesome landmark to get a virtual tour courtesy of its off-road cameras is a sacred site for many car fanatics: the Lamborghini Museum at the company’s headquarter town of Sant’Agata Bolognese in the north of Italy.

The Street View page allows users to access a 360-degree tour of 16,000 square feet of museum across two floors, including famous
cars such as Miura, Countach, Diablo, and Murcielago, as well as prototypes, limited editions, one-off models, racing cars, V12 powertrains, and marine engines.

Also in the museum, you’ll be able to see the Reventon, which was limited to just 20 models, as well as two museum-exclusive cars: the Estoque and the Sesto Elemento.


(Credit:
Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

Perhaps our favorite part of poking around is that you can even climb inside some of the cars to get up close and personal with the interior.

Recently, Google Street View has also opened virtual tours of the Galapagos Islands, Doctor Who’s Tardis, and the 13th century Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland.

To whisk yourself away to Sant’Agata Bolognese, visit Museo Lamborghini on Google Street View.

Bizarre roadside views from Google Street View (pictures)

(Source: CNET Australia)

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Brighter is not necessarily better

August 21st, 2013 No comments


(Credit:
Geoffrey Morrison/CNET)

The old adage in TV retail is that the brightest TV sells. This, in a historical context, makes a lot of sense: the brightest TV caught your eye, seemed “better,” and got your hard-earned ducats.

But these days all TVs are bright. And just because one TV is brighter than another, it doesn’t mean it’s “better.”

Heresy, this may seem, but there is some logic behind it. TVs have gotten brighter and brighter over the years. As flat panels developed, the average brightness of your average TV went from “meh” to “ow.” Enough so that some people have even noticed their eyes got sore after watching TV.

An analogy can be made with
cars. The Lamborghini Murcielago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce has a top speed of 214 mph. The Porsche 911 GT3 has a top speed of 195. Does that make the Lambo a “better” car? Faster, in this limited metric, certainly. But better? TVs, like cars, are more than one single number. Both of these cars are fast. All of today’s TVs (well, the ones you’d want to buy) are bright. So to figure out what’s best requires digging a little deeper.

More important factors
Brightness/light output is nothing without contrast ratio. Contrast ratio is the difference between the brightest a TV can be, and the darkest. TVs with a low contrast ratio, even if they’re bright, will seem washed out compared with TVs with a high contrast ratio.

Here’s an image I lifted from my “Contrast ratio (or how every TV manufacturer lies to you)” post, to demonstrate what I mean.




(Credit:
Geoffrey Morrison/CNET)

Which image would you rather your TV had? The one on the left, or the one on the right?

Then there’s color accuracy. One of the easiest ways a TV or
projector company can bump up brightness is by messing with the colors. TVs have gotten a lot better over the years, with many being quite accurate (as in, correctly reproducing the colors that were recorded/filmed by the camera). Projectors, though, often cheat some brightness by using inaccurate colors. This can be the difference between grass looking like grass, and grass looking like a Sour Apple Jolly Rancher.

There’s also video processing. Though deinterlacing and scaling have gotten to be quite decent, many new TVs are offering picture enhancement features that occasionally do some good. If one TV seems more detailed than another, wouldn’t that be of benefit over raw light output?

Lastly, how much light do you really need? CNET has long held that in most rooms, anything over 40 foot-lamberts is a waste. If you have a bright room and watch TV during the day, maybe some extra light is useful.

But at night, a TV that cranks out 100 fL is going to burn a hole in your skull (figuratively), or at least be a pain in the brain (literally). This is why a backlight control is so crucial on any LCD: extreme light output when you need it, but the ability to turn it down when you don’t.

One exception (sort of)
With projectors, brightness is a lot more important. Not only does a projector’s brightness determine how bright the image is, but it also only determines the size potential of the image. This isn’t to say that the brightest projector is the best-looking, not by a long shot, but it’s certainly more of an important factor in the projector’s overall performance.

Bottom line
Too often, debates about a particular display’s performance seem to get distilled down to a single number. No one number can determine if a TV or projector is better than another, and there are more-important aspects to consider than overall brightness (like contrast ratio, color accuracy, and so on). With TVs, unless the TV is in a really bright room, all will be “bright enough.” A better consideration, instead of getting the brightest TV, is darkening the room a bit. If that’s not possible, then OK, go for the brightest TV, or at least one with a really good antireflective coating.


Got a question for Geoff? First, check out all the other articles he’s written on topics like HDMI cables, LED LCD vs. plasma, active vs. passive 3D, and more. Still have a question? Send him an e-mail! He won’t tell you what TV to buy, but he might use your letter in a future article. You can also send him a message on Twitter @TechWriterGeoff or Google+.

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Charge against Chris Brown dropped

August 16th, 2013 No comments


Chris Brown is set to go to court for the judge to set a date for a probation revocation trial.

Los Angeles (CNN) — A judge dropped a hit-and-run charge against Chris Brown after the singer reached a “civil compromise” with his accuser Thursday.

It was not immediately clear if the dismissal would stop the revocation of Brown’s probation he has faced since the traffic charges were filed last month.

“It’s unfortunate that Chris had to go through this in the first place,” Brown’s lawyer Mark Geragos told CNN after a hearing Thursday. “Sometimes I get the impression that he’s prosecuted for who he is as opposed to what he’s done, and that’s unfortunate.”

Friends since 2005, Chris Brown and Rihanna went public with their romantic relationship in 2008. The couple went their separate ways after Brown pleaded guilty in June 2009 to assaulting the Barbadian singer on the eve of the 51st Grammy Awards. They've since reconciled, only to seemingly break up again. Here's a look back at their rocky relationship:Friends since 2005, Chris Brown and Rihanna went public with their romantic relationship in 2008. The couple went their separate ways after Brown pleaded guilty in June 2009 to assaulting the Barbadian singer on the eve of the 51st Grammy Awards. They’ve since reconciled, only to seemingly break up again. Here’s a look back at their rocky relationship:

In August 2007, Brown and Rihanna joined Timbaland, center, and Robin Thicke onstage during MTV's Total Request Live in New York In August 2007, Brown and Rihanna joined Timbaland, center, and Robin Thicke onstage during MTV’s “Total Request Live” in New York

The couple spent time together on the beach in Barbados in August 2008.The couple spent time together on the beach in Barbados in August 2008.

Rihanna and Brown danced together at a club in Paris in December 2008.Rihanna and Brown danced together at a club in Paris in December 2008.

In December 2008, Brown and Rihanna performed onstage during Z100's Jingle Ball in New York.
In December 2008, Brown and Rihanna performed onstage during Z100′s Jingle Ball in New York.

Brown stood beside his lawyer, Mark Geragos, at court in Los Angeles in March 2009. Brown was charged with assaulting Rihanna on February 8. I'm in shock, because, first of all, that's not who I am as a person, and that's not who I promise I want to be, Brown told Larry King in August 2009.
Brown stood beside his lawyer, Mark Geragos, at court in Los Angeles in March 2009. Brown was charged with assaulting Rihanna on February 8. “I’m in shock, because, first of all, that’s not who I am as a person, and that’s not who I promise I want to be,” Brown told Larry King in August 2009.

Months after the incident, Rihanna left a preliminary hearing at court in Los Angeles in June 2009. We just fell really fast, and the more in love we became, the more dangerous we became for each other -- equally as dangerous -- because it was a bit of an obsession, Rihanna said during a 2009 interview with Diane Sawyer.Months after the incident, Rihanna left a preliminary hearing at court in Los Angeles in June 2009. “We just fell really fast, and the more in love we became, the more dangerous we became for each other — equally as dangerous — because it was a bit of an obsession,” Rihanna said during a 2009 interview with Diane Sawyer.

In June 2010, Brown performed a tribute to Michael Jackson during the BET Awards in Los Angeles. After Brown pleaded guilty to assaulting Rihanna, a restraining order mandated that the pair cut off communication and remain a certain distance apart.In June 2010, Brown performed a tribute to Michael Jackson during the BET Awards in Los Angeles. After Brown pleaded guilty to assaulting Rihanna, a restraining order mandated that the pair cut off communication and remain a certain distance apart.

Rihanna performs onstage during the 2011 Grammy Awards. In February, Schnegg lifted the stay away order imposed on Brown.Rihanna performs onstage during the 2011 Grammy Awards. In February, Schnegg lifted the “stay away” order imposed on Brown.

Brown with a cake at a party in New York honoring the March 2011 release of his F.A.M.E. album. Brown with a cake at a party in New York honoring the March 2011 release of his “F.A.M.E.” album.

The Birthday Cake singer opened up to Oprah about the night that changed everything between her and Brown during an August 2012 interview. I lost my best friend, she said. Everything I knew switched -- switched in a night -- and I couldn't control that, so I had to deal with that, and that's not easy for me to understand.The “Birthday Cake” singer opened up to Oprah about the night that changed everything between her and Brown during an August 2012 interview. “I lost my best friend,” she said. “Everything I knew switched — switched in a night — and I couldn’t control that, so I had to deal with that, and that’s not easy for me to understand.”

In 2012, the pair shocked onlookers when they cozied up to one another at a Lakers game on Christmas. In 2012, the pair shocked onlookers when they cozied up to one another at a Lakers game on Christmas.

Rihanna opened up to Rolling Stone about her repaired relationship with Brown in the magazine's February 1 issue, and by February 6, the pair were seen cruising in Brown's car. Rihanna opened up to Rolling Stone about her repaired relationship with Brown in the magazine’s February 1 issue, and by February 6, the pair were seen cruising in Brown’s car.

And by the Grammy Awards two weeks later, the pair were seen cuddling in the audience. And by the Grammy Awards two weeks later, the pair were seen cuddling in the audience.

The rumors about the pair's romantic status heated up around Rihanna's 25th birthday in late February when the two were seen vacationing together.The rumors about the pair’s romantic status heated up around Rihanna’s 25th birthday in late February when the two were seen vacationing together.

Although Rihanna's infamous for sharing cozy photos of herself with Brown on Instagram, he clarified in early May 2013 that they weren't a couple. [A]t the end of the day, shawty doing her own thang, she on the road. It's always gonna be love. I'm a grown man, just gotta fast forward, he told an Australian radio station. I'm always gonna love that person. I can't be focused on wife-ing someone that young. I need to be the best Chris Brown I can be.Although Rihanna’s infamous for sharing cozy photos of herself with Brown on Instagram, he clarified in early May 2013 that they weren’t a couple. “[A]t the end of the day, shawty doing her own thang, she on the road. It’s always gonna be love. I’m a grown man, just gotta fast forward,” he told an Australian radio station. “I’m always gonna love that person. I can’t be focused on wife-ing someone that young. I need to be the best Chris Brown I can be.”


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Photos: Rihanna and Chris BrownPhotos: Rihanna and Chris Brown

Brown, 24, has been in legal hot water since February 2009 when he was charged with domestic violence after beating his then-girlfriend, Rihanna.

In addition to the probation revocation triggered by the traffic incident this summer, the Los Angeles County district attorney has accused Brown of violating probation by fraudulently reporting that he had completed the community labor ordered as part of his sentence for beating Rihanna.

Brown is set to be in court Friday for the judge to set a date for a probation revocation trial, which could send him to jail.

Geragos said the driver who accused Brown after a traffic accident in May did not get any money in her settlement with his client.

“She did not want to pursue this,” he said. “She did not understand that this could even be a criminal matter and said she didn’t want to pursue criminal charges.”

The city attorney who was prosecuting the case objected to the compromise because of Brown’s felony probation status and his allegedly aggressive behavior in the incident.

Olga Gure told investigators that after Brown’s Range Rover rear-ended her Mercedes on a Los Angeles street, he “went ballistic” and screamed at her.

Gure said Brown shouted at her: “You are a b—h!”


Chris Brown prays for Justin Bieber


Chris Brown’s biggest regret


Did Adele yell at Chris Brown?

The report added more from Gure, who quoted Brown as saying, “Who do you think you are, b—h? Do you think if you driving Mercedes so got money, b—h? Do you think I am just a black n—-r? I got more money than you, beech!”

The trigger for Brown’s alleged rage was that Gure took a photo of him and his girlfriend, Karrueche Tran, to document the scene because he allegedly refused to show her his driver’s license, she said.

When Brown tried to grab the camera, Tran screamed, “Don’t touch her, don’t touch her,” Gure said.

“I was so shocked that I was speechless,” she said, according to the report. “Just a moment ago he was a nice guy. After screaming some insulting nonsense for a while longer, he slammed a door and drove away, fast and noisy.”

Brown was ordered to return to court on Friday for a hearing to set a trial date to determine if the probation revocation will stand. If it does, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Brandlin could order Brown to jail to serve part of the original five-year jail sentence imposed for the attack on Rihanna.

Brown punched Rihanna inside a rented Lamborghini on a Hollywood street, leaving her face bruised and bloody on the eve of the Grammy Awards in February 2009.

He entered a guilty plea seven months later and was sentenced to serve five years probation and to spend more than 1,400 hours in “labor-oriented service” for the assault conviction. The judge allowed him to serve the sentence in Richmond, Virginia, under the direct supervision of the police chief.

In a court filing in February, prosecutors accused Brown of not completing the community labor. The paperwork Brown submitted to show he had completed community labor is “at best sloppy documentation and at worst fraudulent reporting,” District Attorney Jackie Lacey said. Brown wasn’t in town on some of the dates reported, the motion said.

Rhianna shows support in court for Chris Brown

Geragos, Brown’s attorney, said the prosecutor’s filing was so fraudulent that he would ask the judge to punish the deputy district attorneys involved and call for a contempt of court hearing for filing false documents with the court.

“And I don’t mean just false, it is fraudulent,” Geragos said.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office has “tortured” Brown during his probation more than any client he’s ever had, Geragos said.

The prosecutor is asking the judge to order him to restart his 1,400 hours of community service under the supervision of a Los Angeles probation officer.

CNN’s Topher Gauk-Roger contributed to this report.


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Article source: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/15/showbiz/chris-brown-court/index.html?eref=edition

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Utopia Ballista Limited Edition Review

August 15th, 2013 No comments

Utopia Ballista Limited Edition Review

Manufacturer: Utopia
UK price: £2,007.56 (inc VAT)
US price: Currently unavailable

With Haswell having launched over two months ago now, Intel’s latest chips have been finding homes in the PCs of system builders for some time, and Utopia is one such company to offer fully customisable pre-built rigs. We’re looking today at its Ballista Limited Edition, which has been codenamed Project Hulk for reasons that should be obvious from the pictures below.

While the regular Ballista has a multitude of options for users to tailor the system to their needs, the Limited Edition has, appropriately, a more limited selection. Utopia is keen to point out, however, that they’ll happily incorporate any hardware you like into the PC if you request it by phone or email. Nevertheless, the model we’ve been issued with has a retail price of £2,007.56, which includes a £25 discount.

*Utopia Ballista Limited Edition Review Utopia Ballista Limited Edition Review *Utopia Ballista Limited Edition Review Utopia Ballista Limited Edition Review
Click to enlarge
The chassis used for Ballista PCs is the SilverStone Fortress FT03. We found the FT03 to be a great micro-ATX case when we reviewed it over two years ago, and Utopia’s stunning paint job breathes new life into the chassis. The Lamborghini Murcielago green is one of six car themed colours that can be selected. Sadly, the paint job hasn’t been extended to the interior of the chassis (although this is a selectable option), but the external coating has a lovely smooth and metallic finish. The front SilverStone logo has also been replaced by a black stensil of Utopia’s one.

Utopia has made use of two of the four FT03 fan mounts, and has done so with Corsair’s SP120 fans. The bottom intake fan mount is occupied, providing airflow predominantly for the graphics card, while the top spot is filled by the water-cooling loop’s exhaust fan. Meanwhile, the side mount has been replaced by a thick acrylic window that’s emblazoned with ‘Ballista’ in the lower right corner. The window is fitted nicely and held in place by four black screws, although its thickness makes the side panel a little more difficult to get on and off, as it presses slightly against the case fittings.

*Utopia Ballista Limited Edition Review Utopia Ballista Limited Edition Review *Utopia Ballista Limited Edition Review Utopia Ballista Limited Edition Review
Click to enlarge
The heart of the Ballista LE is Intel’s top of the line Core i7-4770K paired with a Gigabyte G1.Sniper M5 motherboard and 16GB of Patriot Black Mamba 2,133MHz memory. Utopia has also overclocked the CPU from 3.5GHz to 4.3GHz (43 x 100MHz). This is less than we managed in our review, but the reduced overclocking potential of retail Haswell chips compared to pre-production variants is something that quickly came to light post-release, and Utopia’s overclock is still a substantial speed boost.

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 780 3GB ensures that graphics performance is also top notch. A 240GB SSD is used for the boot drive, and comes with Windows 8 64-bit pre-installed, while a 2TB Seagate Barracuda should provide adequate storage space for most. Completing the spec sheet is a slot loading DVDRW drive, the button for which is rendered inaccessible by the FT03′s front panel, and juice is provided by Corsair’s TX750M PSU.

*Utopia Ballista Limited Edition Review Utopia Ballista Limited Edition Review *Utopia Ballista Limited Edition Review Utopia Ballista Limited Edition Review
Click to enlarge – The Aurora coolant looks stunning when lit up, but it’s not designed to last a long time
The EK CPU water-cooling loop has a single radiator and a small reservoir next to the window. It’s filled with Mayhems’ Aurora Extinction Green coolant, and the mesmerising, pearlescent swirls of the metallic particles look doubly awesome under the glow of the internal green LEDs, which are further complemented by the GTX 780 lighting. There are valid concerns about Aurora’s longevity, however. Mayhems told us that it’s not designed to last “more than a couple of months” and you can already see a metallic build up forming inside the reservoir in the image above. Utopia’s 10 year labour warranty covers cleaning and refilling loops as necessary, but even so sending your PC back and forth every few months or even doing it yourself that regularly is far from ideal, so offering a more traditional UV coolant may well be in Utopia’s interests.

With a generous helping of cable ties, Utopia has also ensured that the Ballista Limited Edition is kept very tidy indeed, completing the look of a case that’s just begging to be shown off. The FT03′s hot-swap bay is also wired and ready to go for those who still make use of such bays.

Specifications

  • CPU Intel Core i7-4770K, overclocked to 4.3GHz
  • Motherboard Gigabyte G1.Sniper M5
  • RAM 16GB (2 x 8GB) Patriot Black Mamba 2,133MHz
  • Graphics card Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 3GB
  • Case SilverStone Fortress FT03
  • CPU Cooler EK custom CPU loop w/ Mayhems Aurora Extinction Green coolant
  • Storage Seagate 240GB 600 SSD, Seagate Barracuda 2TB HDD, slot loading DVDRW
  • Operating system Windows 8 64-bit
  • Warranty 1 year parts, 10 year labour

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$1 million Saints Row IV edition includes plastic surgery

Saints Row IV special edition ad

Then you can use the actual game as a coaster.


(Credit:
Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET)

The plots of the Saints Row series of action-adventure video games have escalated from a grungy gangland beginning all the way — with the upcoming Saints Row IV — to landing characters in the White House for a battle with invading aliens. To match the absurdity of the story line, publisher Deep Silver is offering a, um, unique special edition package of the game as a publicity stunt.

The Saints Row IV Super Dangerous Wad Wad special edition comes with a $1 million price tag. That’s not so bad when you look at what the package includes. Along with the Commander-in-Chief edition of the actual game, you also get a ticket for a Virgin Galactic space flight, a full-size replica dub-step gun, a hostage rescue experience, a spy training day, a personal shopper, and vacations in Dubai and Washington, D.C.

But wait, there’s more. This special edition includes a Lamborghini Gallardo. If you’re worried about the gas-sucking impact of that
car on the environment, never fear. Wad Wad also includes a Toyota Prius to balance things out. Sure, a Prius isn’t very gangster, but it does up the absurdity level of the package considerably.

Only one Wad Wad edition is available and it’s up for sale on UK site Game. The vague details on the package seem to indicate that nobody is actually expected to buy it.

The game comes out in the U.S. on August 20, but the European release is slated for August 23. That gives you a few days to pinch pennies and save up to be the world’s only owner of the Wad Wad edition.

Just in case you do purchase it and are horribly embarrassed by the absurdity of your splurge, the package also includes plastic surgery. You may be able to craft yourself an entirely new visual identity to hide your shame.

(Via GameTrailers.com)

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10 things Italy does better


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A historical tool for both disarming and defusing, flattery is the fulcrum on which Italian society teeters. Friends and beautiful strangers alike can often find themselves confounded, embraced or allowed to walk around in matching wicker hats, as a result of Italy's direct, or tacit, compliments.A historical tool for both disarming and defusing, flattery is the fulcrum on which Italian society teeters. Friends and beautiful strangers alike can often find themselves confounded, embraced or allowed to walk around in matching wicker hats, as a result of Italy’s direct, or tacit, compliments.

Boiling as much beneath the surface as its people, Italy pioneered the world's first large-scale spas, exporting them as they colonized Europe. Watery therapies include island baths (such as those on volcanic Ischia), Tuscan hot springs, mountain baths in the town of Bormio and the thermal park of Lake Garda. Boiling as much beneath the surface as its people, Italy pioneered the world’s first large-scale spas, exporting them as they colonized Europe. Watery therapies include island baths (such as those on volcanic Ischia), Tuscan hot springs, mountain baths in the town of Bormio and the thermal park of Lake Garda.

Powered by the passion characteristic of the Italian people, the results of a local cursing can stun, intimidate and even charm their recipients, sometimes all at once. But the best thing about an Italian curse -- it looks as good as it sounds. Powered by the passion characteristic of the Italian people, the results of a local cursing can stun, intimidate and even charm their recipients, sometimes all at once. But the best thing about an Italian curse — it looks as good as it sounds.

With 7,400 kilometers (4,600 miles) of coastline, Italy boasts the most beaches in Europe, as well as 27 marine parks. It's like swimming in tropical waters, minus the sharks and trinket hawkers.With 7,400 kilometers (4,600 miles) of coastline, Italy boasts the most beaches in Europe, as well as 27 marine parks. It’s like swimming in tropical waters, minus the sharks and trinket hawkers.

Italians tear through regimes like their sports cars do dinosaur juice. Since the end of World War II, Italy has established 62 governments under 38 prime ministers (40 if you count Silvio Berlusconi's three total terms), and only one has lasted a full five years.Italians tear through regimes like their sports cars do dinosaur juice. Since the end of World War II, Italy has established 62 governments under 38 prime ministers (40 if you count Silvio Berlusconi’s three total terms), and only one has lasted a full five years.

Ten active volcanoes allow Italy's geology to vent the way voting gives release to its citizens. The country's (and Europe's) largest volcano is Mt. Etna in Sicily, the world's second most active volcano after Hawaii's Mauna Loa.Ten active volcanoes allow Italy’s geology to vent the way voting gives release to its citizens. The country’s (and Europe’s) largest volcano is Mt. Etna in Sicily, the world’s second most active volcano after Hawaii’s Mauna Loa.

Much is made of pizza, pasta and antipasti. But the real stars of Italian cuisine are gelato, tiramisu, cannoli, Neapolitan, biscotti spumoni, tartufo, zeppole -- hell, Italy has nearly as many signature desserts as it's had governments. Much is made of pizza, pasta and antipasti. But the real stars of Italian cuisine are gelato, tiramisu, cannoli, Neapolitan, biscotti spumoni, tartufo, zeppole — hell, Italy has nearly as many signature desserts as it’s had governments.

Italy is one of the most cave-pocked countries on the planet, with more than 35,000 cavities above ground and thousands more underwater. Grotta Gigante holds the Guinness World Record for largest accessible cave on Earth at a yawning 850 meters (2,788 feet) wide, with 500 steps that descend 100 meters (328 feet) into the earth.
Italy is one of the most cave-pocked countries on the planet, with more than 35,000 cavities above ground and thousands more underwater. Grotta Gigante holds the Guinness World Record for largest accessible cave on Earth at a yawning 850 meters (2,788 feet) wide, with 500 steps that descend 100 meters (328 feet) into the earth.

Ferrari Dino - four wheels or phwoar! wheels? Eliciting more turns per head than even its fashion models do, Italy's catalog of exotic land jets is what Porsche drivers dream about. What began as a racecar manufacturer in the 1930s has become the standard bearer for aspirational autos -- in 2012, Ferrari sold just 7,000 cars, but booked $3 billion in revenues.Ferrari Dino – four wheels or “phwoar!” wheels? Eliciting more turns per head than even its fashion models do, Italy’s catalog of exotic land jets is what Porsche drivers dream about. What began as a racecar manufacturer in the 1930s has become the standard bearer for aspirational autos — in 2012, Ferrari sold just 7,000 cars, but booked $3 billion in revenues.

River cruising on the peninsula is a vibrant business. Italian rivers aren't as long or easily navigated as those in the rest of Europe, but visitors can float from one beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site to another.River cruising on the peninsula is a vibrant business. Italian rivers aren’t as long or easily navigated as those in the rest of Europe, but visitors can float from one beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site to another.


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(CNN) — Pizza, pasta, Verdi, the Coliseum, runway models.

We know Italy does some things incomparably well.

But travelers to the elegant boot don’t just want to eat spaghetti, deal with opera and gawk at old ruins.

Beyond the clichés, you’ll find 10 other surprising ways in which Italy shines.

More on CNN: Verdi: Exploring the Italian hometown of a musical genius

1. Flattery

Depending on whether or not you think the occasional catcall or butt grab is flattering, you’ll find Italians are aggressively complimentary of friends and beautiful strangers alike.

A historical tool for both disarming and defusing, flattery is the fulcrum on which Italian society teeters.

As Luigi Barzini writes in “The Italians,” “The people have always employed such arts offensively, to gain advantages, destroy rivals and conquer power and wealth; and defensively, as the squid uses ink, to blind and confound powerful men, dictators and tyrants.”

But you’ll likely only notice the butt grabs.

2. Hot baths

If flattery doesn’t get you out of your clothes, the peninsula’s 380 spa sites offering healing mud and bubbles will.

Boiling as much beneath the surface as its people, Italy pioneered the world’s first large-scale spas, exporting them as they colonized Europe.

Watery therapies include island baths (such as those on volcanic Ischia), Tuscan hot springs, mountain baths in the town of Bormio and the thermal park of Lake Garda.

Just drinking the mineral-rich water in some places is reputed to be healthy.

So convinced is the Italian government of the healing power of hot springs and geothermal mud packs that it covers the cost of some therapies for its citizens.

Free hot springs in Tuscany: www.turismo.intoscana.it

3. Cursing

Best thing about an Italian curse -- it looks as good as it sounds.

Be it in Italian or any other language, the accent of native Italy turns any expletive into a blunt force instrument.

Rhythmic, staccato and with an almost operatic legato that fuses syllables together like a hammer-on guitar note, swearing here is a performance art.

Inspired mostly by pigs, anatomical exit points and promiscuous women, Italian profanities — which vary by region — sound equal parts dramatic, angry and comical.

Powered by the passion characteristic of the Italian people, the results stun, intimidate and even charm their recipients, sometimes all at once.

More on CNN: 15 best coffee bars in Rome

4. Beach bumming

With 7,400 kilometers (4,600 miles) of coastline, Italy boasts the most beaches in Europe, as well as 27 marine parks.

Summer temperatures peak in many places at just below 30 C (86 F), compared with the mid 20s (70s F) in France and Portugal.

It’s like swimming in tropical waters, minus the sharks and trinket hawkers.

When it comes to beaches, it’s a tough choice between blinding-white dunes, pebble and even turf shores, but 248 Italian beaches have been awarded Blue Flag status for clear waters and unspoiled sands.

More on CNN: Italy’s best beaches and islands

5. Pop-up governments

Italians tear through regimes like their sports cars do dinosaur juice.

Since the end of World War II, Italy has established 62 governments under 38 prime ministers (40 if you count Silvio Berlusconi’s three total terms), and only one has lasted a full five years.

Fearing the rise of another Mussolini, Italy’s constitutional system years ago provided for a weak executive branch that requires majorities in both legislative houses just to get anything done.

That, combined with an already fractured political landscape of small, warring parties, puts Italy’s average MPG (months per government) barely over 12.

6. Volcanoes

Mt Etna - the world's second most active volcano - is in Italy.

Ten active volcanoes allow Italy’s geology to vent the way voting gives release to its citizens.

The country’s (and Europe’s) largest volcano is Mt. Etna in Sicily, the world’s second most active volcano after Hawaii’s Mauna Loa.

Etna’s spectacular eruptions, soot-blackened scenery, lava flows and extensive caves draw more than a million tourists a year.

It leads TripAdvisor’s top-10 must-see volcanoes list, along with four other Italian spouters, including Mt. Vesuvius.

In June, Etna became a UNESCO World Heritage Site, joining three other Italian volcanoes, including the Aeolian islands of Vulcano (no translation prizes there), Lipari and Stromboli, known as the Mediterranean’s Lighthouse for its breathtaking eruptions.

Mt. Etna tours and excursion: www.sicilytravel.net

More on CNN: Scandal-rocked Pompeii finally gets a makeover

7. Dessert

Apple pie is good and all, and it’s never a bad time for a sticky slice of baklava, but for sheer volume and variety of treats, nothing beats Italian sweets.

Much is made of the peninsula’s food, the usual suspects being pizza, pasta and antipasti.

But the real stars of Italian cuisine are gelato, tiramisu, cannoli, Neapolitan, biscotti spumoni, tartufo, zeppole — hell, Italy has nearly as many signature desserts as it’s had governments.

Italian confectioners work in all media, too, combining cakes, cookies and creams both iced and otherwise to create the world’s vastest, tastiest arsenal of desserts.

Ironically, Italians don’t even really eat this stuff, most often preferring a piece of fruit or chocolate after a meal instead.

More: $84 gealti! Greatest travel rip off?

8. Caving

Rich in crumbly, sieve-like karstic landscapes, Italy is one of the most cave-pocked countries on the planet, with more than 35,000 cavities above ground and thousands more underwater.

Grotta Gigante holds the Guinness World Record for largest accessible cave on Earth at a yawning 850 meters (2,788 feet) wide, with 500 steps that descend 100 meters (328 feet) into the earth.

Other notable caves include the Blue Grotto on Capri, where Emperor Tiberius loved to swim. Inside the Grotta del Vento, winds whip through its tortuous trails at 40 kilometers an hour.

More info: Rock climbing and caving in Italy

More on CNN: 24-hour tourism: Rome in a day

9. Sports cars

Ferrari Dino - four wheels or

Eliciting more turns per head than even its fashion models do, Italy’s catalog of exotic land jets is what Porsche drivers dream about.

What began as a racecar manufacturer in the 1930s has become the standard bearer for aspirational autos — in 2012, Ferrari sold just 7,000 cars, but booked $3 billion in revenues.

Meanwhile, Lamborghini may be owned by German Audi now, but the hips are still all Italiano.

Pagani, Alfa Romeo, Maserati — these names are sex on wheels.

Italy doesn’t even crack the top 20 in global auto production, but for out-of-your-league supercars that cover more adolescent male bedroom walls than Kate Upton, no other country can outrace Italy.

10. River cruises

Unlikely to be among the top two or three or hundred things that spring to mind when you think of Italy, river cruising on the peninsula is actually a vibrant business, and new routes keep opening up.

Italian rivers aren’t as long or easily navigated as those in the rest of Europe, but visitors can float from one beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site to another.

Po River Travel, UniWorld and European Waterways offer week-long cruises that take in areas like the Venice Lagoon, Manuta, Padu, the Po Valley and Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet.

More info: Euro river cruises

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