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Posts with tag hardware

Macs, heat, and WoW: How to fix and prevent heat issues in 5.0.4 and beyond

Macs, heat, and WoW How to fix and prevent heat issues in 504 and beyond
It's no secret that Macs, and especially Mac notebooks, run pretty hot while playing WoW. However, in the wake of patch 5.0.4, a lot of Mac users are reporting dangerously high temperatures, and worried players have flooded the Mac Technical Support forum.

A player named Growltiger believes he/she has found what's causing the problem, and has even devised a fix that's seemed to work really well for the people who've tried it. Blizzard's acknowledged this and is working on patching the issue as soon as possible.

In the meantime, I thought that, in addition to including Growltiger's solution here, it might be a good idea to run an article on how to fix and prevent heat problems with Macs. We write for a pretty computer-savvy audience here at WoW Insider, and odds are good you'll find some people in the comment section who really know their stuff. I won't claim to be one of them, but I hope some of the things that have worked for me will also work for you.

Even if you're a novice computer user, you should find a few tips here. However, if you're one of the players looking to implement Growltiger's fix, fair warning: It's not for the faint of heart.

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Filed under: Hardware

Reviewing the SteelSeries WoW MMO Legendary edition gaming mouse

SteelSeries makes some cool WoW-inspired gaming peripherals, and the World of Warcraft MMO gaming mouse is no exception. The newest iteration in the lineup is the Legendary Edition, a brand new design that takes what worked from the previous versions of the MMO gaming mouse and iterates on core concepts, resulting in an overall sturdier build and better product. The new mouse fits more comfortably in my hand than the old MMO gaming mouse did as well as provides two new thumb buttons that I didn't anticipate liking as much as I did.

As usual, I tested out each peripheral for review for no less than a week of actual WoW gameplay and learning, trying out the gear on my main as well as new alts created for the express purpose of learning with a new peripheral from scratch. Here's my week with the SteelSeries WoW MMO Legendary edition gaming mouse.

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Filed under: Hardware

Reviewing the Razer Nostromo: A comfortable place to rest your hand

Back in July, I featured a submission on Reader UI of the Week from reader Steppinrazor which featured a dual-peripheral setup of the Razer Naga MMO mouse and the Razer Nostromo. The Razer Nostromo is a peripheral that acts as a keyboard for input commands, with buttons for clicking, a D-pad, a scrollwheel, and much more. In my discussion of Steppinrazor's UI, I made note that I was not privy to the Nostromo, having never had the pleasure of resting my fingers on its keys. Now, however, I've spent considerable time with the Nostromo and can tell you my story. Here is my review of the Razer Nostromo.

The Razer Nostromo features:
  • Ergonomic form factor and tournament-grade layout
  • 16 fully programmable Hyperesponse keys
  • Programmable eight-way directional thumb pad and scroll wheel (can be used as keys)
  • Instantaneous switching between eight key maps
  • Unlimited macro lengths (this is really cool)
  • Storage of up to 20 different game profiles
  • Adjustable soft-touch wrist pad for exceptional comfort
  • Backlit keypad and scroll wheel for total control, even in dark conditions
  • Enhanced Razer configurator software
  • Works with Mac or PC

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Hardware

Razer announces specialized MMO gaming keyboard

Looks like those folks over at Razer are having quite a busy year designing all sorts of cool peripherals, such as the licensed products such as TRON and StarCraft 2 gaming gear, and making recent announcements such as the upgrades to the MMO-centric Razer Naga. They aren't letting up, either, it turns out. Razer recently revealed plans to launch a keyboard designed specifically for MMO gamers, the Razer Anansi.

The difference between this keyboard and other gaming keyboards is simple. There are seven configurable modifier keys below the space bar that can assigned to the common modifiers such as Alt, Ctrl and Shift, making all those keybinds and macros even more accessible. Designed by Razer to be paired with its MMO gaming mouse, the Razer Naga, the Anansi also sports features such as 100 programmable Hyperesponse keys, one-button profile switching (for up to 20 profiles with the built-in software driver), five additional gaming keys, and an option for those multi-colored lights that are becoming in vogue with most gaming peripherals lately.

It also has an optimized key matrix that prevents the ghosting that typically happens when more than two keys are pressed simultaneously. The engineers at Razer have reconfigured the hardware to enable recognition of up to six simultaneous keystrokes, centered around the left-hand cluster generally used for gaming (the W, A, S, D keys). It's a cool feature that most MMO gamers probably won't need, but all you button-mashers can rejoice. There's a nifty gaming mode option that temporarily disables the Windows key so you can stay in the game without having to remap your Windows key for fear of hitting it the chaos of a raid or arena match.

The Razer Anansi is compatible with Windows and Macs and will retail for $99. It is scheduled to ship in December, with pre-orders starting soon.

Filed under: News items

Steelseries announces Cataclysm MMO gaming mouse

Because it's always good to have options, not long after the last week's announcements of special and epic edition mice, Steelseries reveals its own entry into the MMO gaming mouse arena with the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm MMO gaming mouse. The product name is a mouthful, but it has equally hefty features, which are nearly identical to the original Steelseries World of Warcraft gaming mouse. It has 14 buttons -- one less than the original -- that can be configured in game without the use of any addons, 16 million colors and four levels of intensity and pulsation, support for up to 10 profiles that are linked directly to the armory, and it appears to sport a better, more ergonomic form factor and surface texture than its predecessor.

The World of Warcraft: Cataclysm MMO gaming mouse is compatible with both Windows PCs and Macs, with software that supports drag-and-drop functionality that can be used to program the mouse buttons with 130 preset game commands. The 10 profiles stored in the mouse's on-board memory can be configured with their own macros and commands as well as personalized illumination schemes. There's no estimated ship date or pricing yet, but players interested in an official Cataclysm-themed mouse developed in conjunction with Blizzard can sign up to be notified over at the Steelseries website.

Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

Razer unleashes epic version of the Naga gaming mouse

Barely a week after the announcement of visually-upgraded special editions of its MMO gaming mouse, the folks at Razer did themselves one better to reveal an even bigger upgrade with the Razer Naga Epic. Razer's new version of the popular 17-button mouse sports a dual-mode wired or wireless functionality similar to its first wireless gaming mouse, the Razer Mamba. In addition, the Razer Naga Epic also has interchangeable side panels to accommodate different hand sizes and grip styles; the current Razer Naga has a somewhat bulky, if ergonomic, form factor that may not appeal to players with smaller hands or use the claw grip to play. The three different side panels should broaden players' options in customizing their mice to better suit their playstyle.

The Razer Naga Epic's dual-mode functionality allows the mouse to be used wirelessly or with a braided mouse cord that charges the mouse during gameplay. It also comes with a charging dock for charging the mouse during downtime. The Razer Naga Epic is aimed at all MMO gamers, with support for various MMOs such as Warhammer Online and City of Heroes, but there's no question that the mouse is targeted squarely at World of Warcraft players, with its epic nomenclature and purple glow (the regular Naga only glows blue) that can actually be configured to cycle through a possible 16 million color combinations. Razer also promises in-game addons for better interface customization, although at this time, the RazerNaga addon is only at 1.2.2, which hasn't been updated for Patch 4.0.1. The Razer Naga Epic is available for pre-order at the Razer store and slated to ship by the end of November, retailing for an equally epic $129.99.

Filed under: News items

Razer unveils special edition Naga MMO gaming mice

How do you improve on awesome? That's a tough question, but the clever folks at Razer seem to have come up with an answer: Add some molten lava or a raging maelstrom. The gaming peripherals manufacturer announced today the Razer Naga Molten and Razer Naga Maelstrom special edition mice. Both mice sport the same specs as the original 17-button Razer Naga plus the addition of new, pulsating designs -- a swirling, cool blue maelstrom or glowing hot lava. If the themes seem familiar, it's probably no coincidence that these mice arrive just in time for Cataclysm, which is set to launch on Dec. 7.

The Razer Naga is designed specifically for MMO gaming, with a special addon for World of Warcraft, allowing players to bind their spells and abilities to the mouse's numerous buttons. The mouse also supports key mapping, the way most full-featured gaming mice can be configured, and also comes with drivers for the Mac. The new designs take the place of the current pulsating Razer logo on the palm end of the mouse, adding a different level of cool to the popular mouse. Either version of the special edition Razer Naga gaming mouse will retail for $79.99 -- about the same price as the regular version -- and will become available for pre-order on Oct. 12.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items

Breakfast Topic: Do you own any WoW peripherals?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

One of my friends struck it rich at a really young age. He grew up fairly poor and suddenly came into a large amount of money, and he now spends it on infinite amounts of frivolous items. He actually owns a Slap Chop, George Foreman Grill and some ShamWoWs. He also buys many of the WoW peripherals. Not only did he buy the sparkle pony and about every pet that WoW has put out, he also buys the actual gaming items. He has the Tap Chat, the wireless WoW headset, even the Wrath keyboard and Blizzard MMO gaming mouse.

Personally, the only peripheral I've bought from Blizzard is an authenticator, which netted me the cute little core hound pet. However, the sense of security that my seven 80s won't be cleaned out while my account is used to spam trade for some gold selling site is the real reason I picked it up. I have a Logitech mouse and headset -- nothing super fancy, but they work just fine for me, and I paid less than one piece's worth of the Blizzard direct WoW paraphernalia. My girlfriend was going to buy me the WoW headset for my birthday, but I told her to save her money and get me a game card, as opposed to dropping over $100 on a headset. I told her if I were going to spend that kind of money on something for my computer, it would be to update pieces of the hardware, like a better graphics card or a new processor.

In the end, the decision whether or not to buy something comes down to the consumer, so I leave it to you, the WoW gaming public: Do you own any of the gaming peripherals for WoW? If so, do they actually help make you a better player? If you feel they actually aid your gaming experience, can you provide some examples or testimonials as to why?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Guest Post: Building an epic-level computer

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider. Today's post is the third of a three-part series on preparing your computer for Cataclysm. In our first post, we covered upgrading your current system; last week, we discussed how to assemble a hot gaming rig. Today, we'll look at building a high-end system that will last.

Today, I will cover building a high-end system for under $2,000 that will last you many expansions into the future. In this article, I will be listing specific parts as opposed to making general suggestions. Computer geek opinions vary drastically; this is just my two cents.

When you're considering a rig that will last you for years to come, you need to consider key components including the case, the power supply, the motherboard, a processor, heatsinks, hard drives the video card and more.

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Filed under: Guest Posts

Guest Post: How to assemble a hot gaming rig for Cataclysm

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to our pages. Today's post is the second of a three-part series on preparing your computer for Cataclysm. Last week, we covered upgrading your current system. Today, we'll look at building a system that will play WoW at max settings without breaking the bank.

I like my cases how I like my women -- lightweight and protective. A computer case has three purposes in life: to house all the components, to protect them and to provide good airflow to them. Owning the most epic set of plate mail ever created does you no good if you cannot move or breathe in it. However, running around in your auction house tux is also a bad idea if you're the main tank. It's important to find a happy middle ground between the two.

When it comes to computer cases, first, pick out something you like. A case should be an expression of its owner! Pick out a few different cases you like and then narrow down the search by the number of fans the case supports. Modern systems will require at least one 120mm front intake fan and one 120mm rear exhaust fan. A top exhaust fan is a nice bonus, since (as everyone knows) heat rises. You should be able to find a decent enough case for around $50 with free shipping.

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Filed under: Guest Posts

Guest Post: Is your computer ready for Cataclysm?

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW.com.

The Lich King is dead, your GearScore is 6,000+, and you have enough alts to run your own 25-man ICC. You cannot wait for the upcoming Cataclysm expansion, but along with the new instances, gear and level cap, there are also significantly increased graphics to consider. You may be ready for Cataclysm -- but is your computer?

While we have yet to hear official system requirements from Blizzard, we do know from the Cataclysm FAQ that "there will be incremental tweaks and updates to the graphics engine in this expansion. For example, we've made improvements to the way that water is rendered. We'll announce the exact system requirements closer to the expansion's release."

This is the first part of a three-part series on getting your computer up to speed for Cataclysm. Today, we will cover how to cheaply upgrade your current system. Part 2 will look at how to build a cost-effective, brand new system that will still run WoW at full settings. Finally, part 3 will focus on building a future-proof monster computer capable of soloing the Blood Queen herself!

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Filed under: Guest Posts

World of Warcraft Tap Chat now available

The World of Warcraft Tap Chat, or The Gaming Peripheral Formerly Known As Voice Tap, is now available. Essentially, it's a hotkey for your foot -- or some other appendage other than your fingers. Designed primarily as a push-to-talk button to pair with the Sound Blaster World of Warcraft headset to allow players to devote their hands to the game, this USB device can just as easily be assigned a macro or as a hotkey. This means players can actually assign the Tap Chat to an ability like Hammer of Justice, to add a realistic feeling of crushing your opponents underfoot.

Players willing to spring $29.99 for the edge of one additional button -- notably a non-hand-activated one -- can head over to the Creative or Blizzard online stores, where the World of Warcraft Tap Chat is exclusively available. Although sold out at the Blizzard store as of this writing (barely a week after it was made available), players who manage to get their hands (or foot) on the product also get exclusive World of Warcraft logo lenses that can be used to customize their matching World of Warcraft headset.

Filed under: News items

Mac drivers to be available for all Razer mice


World of Warcraft players using a Mac should be pleased to hear that gaming peripherals manufacturer Razer pledged their commitment to supporting the Mac gaming community at the Game Developers Conference. They announced that all upcoming Razer products will come with Mac driver support, including the Razer StarCraft 2 peripheral suite scheduled for release later this year.

Prior to the Razer DeathAdder Mac Edition in 2008, all Razer mice and peripherals only had native Windows support and drivers. While these products would generally work with a Mac through its plug-and-play technology, customizing them was more difficult and in some cases, impossible. In order to configure my Razer Lachesis to make all its buttons usable on my Mac, I had to configure it on a PC and mapped some of the buttons as little used keyboard keys because the Mac wouldn't recognize click-throughs from more than a few mouse buttons.

This situation improved with the release of the Razer Naga, which shipped with native Mac support, although the key-mapping functionality for the Mac came several weeks after the PC version. Currently, newer mice come with basic Mac support, although Razer promises the same functionality and customizability as their PC counterparts through future updates. Razer also promises to release Mac drivers for all existing products, which presumably includes their line of headsets and keyboards. While Mac gamers have always been treated as second class citizens by most peripheral manufacturers, it's encouraging to see a major player pay the community some attention. I mean, the Magic Mouse is awesome and all, but there's nothing like having a real gaming mouse to play WoW.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items

Creative WoW headsets now available for pre-order

Creative unveiled an official licensed World of Warcraft gaming headset back in last year's BlizzCon, and we even got a quick look at the product prototypes when they stopped by the annual WoW.com reader meet-up as well as when they invited us to their booth to check it out. Readers also got a chance to win a pair when we ran contests all throughout the last quarter of 2009. if you've been slathering over one of these fancy peripherals but never lucked out in one of our contests, you might be pleased to learn that the Sound Blaster World of Warcraft headsets are finally available for pre-order from Amazon starting today, February 1.

The headsets we previewed back in August were mere prototypes, and the finished product looks far more refined. The headsets follow the same design principle as the Steelseries WoW mouse, with a faux metallic finish and etched runes. The headsets also have interchangeable 'headset lenses' which feature either the Alliance or Horde logo to show your allegiance. Creative also says that they'll be releasing additional lenses in the future, the first set of which will feature the ten classes of the game. As with the official World of Warcraft mouse, the headsets also have a dazzling 16 million programmable color illumination options.

The fully customizable headset comes in wireless or wired versions, with THX TruStudio PC technology for a more immersive gaming experience. The wireless version reportedly carries up to 9 hours of battery charge as well as a standard, detachable USB connector that can also be used to charge it. The headset microphone is detachable to allow the use of the headphone for communication or merely for listening. The World of Warcraft headset can also be configured to match different character profiles, accessible through what appears to be an in-game menu. The Sound Blaster World of Warcraft wireless headset retails for $159.99 while the tethered version is available for $119.99. Creative is also offering a complementary accessory called VoiceTap which allows players to program their push-to-talk key or even a macro to it instead of to their keyboard or mouse, allowing full hands-free communication.

Filed under: News items

SteelSeries WoW mouse gets new functionality

Long after its initial release, which saw the mouse come under fire for its dubious EULA-breaking built-in functionality, WoWVault at IGN reports that the Steelseries World of Warcraft mouse has received a functional upgrade in that players can now "bind all 15 buttons without leaving the game." Patch 3.2.2 introduced a new interface for the mouse, which allows for the creation and customization of macros and key bindings from within the game, and assigned to different character profiles. The game now recognizes the mouse buttons as completely new and unique buttons, adding more buttons to augment players' normal keyboard buttons.

This should make the mouse completely usable out of the box for all players without fear of breaking the game's end-user policies, as opposed to how it was when it first shipped as it took advantage of disallowed automated and timed scripts. The Steelseries website notes that players can "achieve faster response time(s) by customizing (their) mouse setup in-game and thereby removing a layer of software." It was this "layer of software" outside the game that delivered commands to the mouse and conflicted with the game's policies. So fear not, players! The Steelseries WoW mouse is now completely EULA-compliant! I mean, it still kind of looks like a robotic turtle, but at least it won't get you banned from the game anymore.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Hardware

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