After procrastinating about it for literally a year, I finally stumped up the cash and bought myself a new keyboard, mouse and graphics card to replace my basic hardware that I had been using for three years.
For the keyboard and mouse, I went with the Coolermaster Storm Octane Gaming Combo and for the graphics card I went with a Sapphire Radeon R9 270X 4GB and as consequence of the updated graphics card, I also bought a SeaSonic M12II 750 PSU to power it for a total cost of $339.97 delivered to my door.
I’ll start with the Coolermaster Storm Octane keyboard and mouse combo. The first thing I noticed was the looks, I really like the aggressive looks and angles, it’s a great match for my Coolermaster HAF-912 case. The whole package was much lighter than I expected, the mouse actually weighs next to nothing, which I thought would be an issue, but once placed on my mouse pad, I didn’t notice it’s lack of weight.
Both keyboard and mouse are LED backlight with a choice of seven colors. The keyboard is plug and play with all modes set by simple key-presses. There is a dedicated color change button, which when used in conjunction with the right FN key enables breathing mode, which is speed adjustable using right FN plus + and – next to the back space key. Brightness can be adjusted by using right FN + Page Up/Page Dn.
The mouse is a five button design with scroll wheel which feels good in the hand. In addition to the five buttons, there are two buttons on top of the mouse, one to change the DPI between 500 – 3500 and the second button controls LED color, although the front “headlight” and scroll wheel LED’s remain white.
The feel of the keyboard and mouse is surprisingly good for $50, both devices have a matt black plastic finish, which does not feel too cheap, it’s no $150 mechanical keyboard, but you don’t expect it to be for $50 with an included mouse. Key presses are a little “squishy” when reaching the end of travel, but it’s accurate and not fatiguing to use, while the mouse tracking is accurate and mouse clicks are crisp.
If I have one complaint about the Coolermaster Storm Octane Combo, it would be the lack of keyboard rake, even with the legs/feet extended, it feels too flat for my liking. I prefer a keyboard with more rake, so I might have to put something underneath the keyboard to make it more comfortable for my own use.
Moving onto the Sapphire Radeon R9 270X, It’s quiet, even under maximum load, which is a big thing for me personally as my previous card, a XFX Radeon HD 6770 was stupidly noisy while gaming. The R9 270X rarely gets past 40% fan speed, however on my particular card, there is an odd rattle on fan #2 at 56% – 59% fan speed, but as it doesn’t reach that speed while gaming/benchmarking so it’s not a problem.
The fans only ramp up to just over 1900rpm and remain almost inaudible inside my Coolermaster HAF 912 mid-tower case under my desk and not noticeable at all when gaming; while temperatures remain well under control, maxing out at 63°C even after a four hour gaming session on Metro: Last Light.
Performance wise, it’s a R9 270X, performance is as expected, I can run games such as Wolfenstein: The New Order at 45 fps using ultra settings and Metro: 2033, Last Light, Dirt Rally at 60 fps using very high settings on a 1080p screen. So performance wise, the card is more than adequate for my gaming needs.
The Sapphire R9 270X is a solid budget card at just under $200, the price per performance is good for the average gamer. If you’re expect 90 fps from every game at ultra settings, look elsewhere because the Sapphire R9 270X will not meet you needs. Bottom line, the Sapphire card is quiet and performs in line with other 270X’s, so if you’re a middle of the road gamer like myself, for $200 this is great value!
Finally, the SeaSonic M12II 750, it’s a quiet, 80 Plus Bronze fully modular power supply that just works. And it’s a Seasonic, which is always a bonus and it only cost $95, which is a little more expensive than some 750w PSU’s, but it’s better to not skimp on the thing that powers all your expensive hardware.
Overall, I’m happy with my upgrades, I don’t play games enough to justify spending $600 on a graphics card and $250 on a keyboard and mouse, so for $340 investment, I am very happy with my purchases.
Coolermaster HAF 912 Mid Tower Case
SeaSonic M12II 750 PSU
Asus M5A97 LE R2 Motherboard
AMD FX 8350 Black Edition CPU (4Ghz)
Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler w/ 2x Prolimatech PRO-USV14 Fans
Patriot 32GB (4x8GB) 1866Mhz RAM
Sapphire R9 270X 4GB GFX Card
Kingston HyperX 3K 128GB SSD (x2)
Coolermaster 2x 200mm Fans (Front/Top), 1x 120mm Fan (Rear)
Update [Jan, 9 2016, 00:52]: So, after just 4 1/2 months of use, the middle click wheel on the Coolermaster Storm Octane mouse has stopped clicking, scrolling still works, but it no longer works as a middle mouse button. This is a big issue for me as I use the click-scroll function a lot while browsing the web and also use it for move forward in FPS games. Coolermaster’s solution is to RMA it back to them, which would leave me without a mouse for a least a week. So obviously we have some QC issues with the mouse, I’ll have to go out tomorrow and pick up another mouse, obviously not Coolermaster branded!