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Crucial Ballistix Tactical DDR3 RAM

These days, RAM seems to come in two main flavors: cheap and unadorned, or fast and blinged out. It's rare to see a kit targeted at the middle ground—at those who want high performance without the thermal load and instabilities that come with overclocking. Crucial seems to be aiming at that much neglected niche with their latest offering, the Ballistix Tactical RAM kit, and today we're going to take it through its paces.

Matsunichi 500GB USB 3.0 Portable HDD

Matsunichi is one of those Chinese electronics firms that is simultaneously everywhere and nowhere. Everywhere, in that you can find their stuff on Amazon, in Best Buy, and even Wal-Mart; nowhere in that hardly anybody outside the industry recognizes their name. They focus mainly on tablets, media streamers and portable hard drives, and it's this last group we'll be taking a look at today. Their 500GB USB 3.0 hard drive offering, model number DM256-BU-500GB, aims to give you half a terabyte for half a benjamin with minimal fuss. A cursory examination of the major online retailers confirms that they hit their price point, but what sort of performance do you get for your money? Let's put this drive through its paces and find out.

be quiet! Dark Rock 2 CPU Cooler

be quiet! as the name implies, is a company focused on silence. Whether it be power supplies, case fans, or CPU coolers, this group of German engineers is obsessive about providing the maximum possible performance while maintaining absolutely silent running. They're so confident in their performance, in fact, that they set us up with a FLIR E6 thermographic camera so that we could see first-hand how well their products perform. Today we're going to be taking a look at their flagship CPU cooler, the Dark Rock 2.

VisionTek Radeon R9 270X 2GB

With the introduction of the R7 and R9 series Radeon cards, AMD has been making a concerted effort to reclaim the attention of the enthusiast market. Given the dominance Nvidia has had with the Geforce GT 600 series, AMD's got their work cut out for them. As part of their effort to beat Nvidia in the performance-per-dollar game, they've released several new cards across a wide range of price points. The R9 270X, aimed at the $200 price range, is meant to cater to the gamer on a budget. Let's dive in and see just what AMD and Visiontek have given us, and how it performs.

Fractal Design Define R4 Case

There are two main schools of thought when it comes to enthusiast case design. One can be thought of as attention-seeking: make it as flashy, splashy, and eye catching as possible. The other is most often described as minimalist: strip the design down to bare essentials, keep the design accents subtle. Fractal Design has an established reputation in the second school, and today we’re going to be taking a look at one of their latest efforts: the Define R4.

L-Com Gigabit Ethernet Desktop Switches

L-Com isn't a company you hear much about in the tech industry circles; indeed their primary market has been industrial applications, where durability is just as important as performance. Today we'll be taking a look at a pair of Gigabit Ethernet switches from L-Com, the LC-SW805G 5 port switch and the LC-SW808G 8 port switch. They're not designed to withstand triple digit temperatures and dusty environments clogged with industrial chemicals, but that same mindset of durability obtains here as well.