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In order to be able to play games at their best, our hardware has to change constantly to keep up. Here in the tech section, we will give you hints, tips and tricks to keep your computer running strong for longer.

Review: MadCatz Cyborg R.A.T. 7 Gaming Mouse

The cyborg look of the RAT 7

An ordinary mouse is probably good enough to check your email or surf the web. But if you spend your nights and weekends gaming on your PC, you probably want more than two buttons and a scroll wheel. A gamer demands an excellent sensor, responsive hardware, and a plethora of features, which is why gamers use a gaming mouse.  A good gaming mouse is practically an extension of the body, and with the MadCatz Cyborg RAT 7’s adjustability and interchangeable parts to create the perfect fit, you will feel like that extension came straight from a Transformers movie.

No two hands in life are exactly the same, but most manufacturers have to design their gaming mice as if they are. This is where the MadCatz Cyborg RAT 7 gaming mouse is unique, in that it is quite adjustable, allowing you to, in theory, create the perfect fit. The question is, “ Can it do what it says?”

The first thing you notice is that it appears as if a gravity well appeared, and just sucked in random bits of materials from a futuristic junkyard that vaguely took on the shape of something resembling a mouse. Each of us hold a mouse differently, so rather than try to create a mouse that would be the perfect fit for everyone out of the box, MadCatz designed the Cyborg RAT 7 so that you can shape it to your liking.

The multitude of options to customize the RAT 7

The replaceable elements of the RAT 7 are its palm-swell and pinky grip. The palm swell comes in three flavors—slick black,  grippy rubber, and an elevated slick black (giving you a taller overall mouse). The distance between the palm swell and the buttons can be adjusted by holding down a small lever, allowing you to make the mouse as short as 4 ¼” or as long as 5” for those with larger hands, like me. The included pinky grips include two regular side-panels (one matte and one grippy) and an oversize wing-style grip that keeps your pinky finger from dragging the mousepad. This one was definitely my favorite.

The left-side panel, which contains three of the mouse buttons, is also adjustable. By using the RAT 7’s built-in Allen wrench, you can slide the whole panel forward and backward, allowing you to position the buttons perfectly under your thumb, as well as tilting it away from the mouse, allowing for a more natural lay of your thumb, or giving you a better grip ability.

Do you like it light or heavy? Maybe you change the weight to suit your game? No matter, the RAT 7 has you covered. Five 6-gram weights can be added or subtracted in an instant using the same on-board allen wrench, giving you the perfect weight for a perfect feel. When not in use, the weights can be safely stored in the supplied Weight Storage Container.

The customization abilities of the RAT 7 are simply unmatched, but MadCatz didn’t forget about the “standard” features either. You get five programmable buttons with dual buttons for your thumb, your standard left / right buttons, a scroll wheel and a DPI on-the-fly changer. You also get an awesome precision aim button that can be set to slow the DPI settings down for making headshots almost effortless. Using the ST Programming software, you can change your DPI, set Precision Aim cursor sensitivity, create custom profiles for each game, and assign commands to your Programmable Buttons and Modes. They even threw in the ability to have different presets for all the buttons and the ability to change them via the “mode” button.

Under the hood, the MadCatz Cyborg RAT 7 boasts twin-eye 5600 DPI lasers, one for tracking X movement and the other for tracking Y movement, and a dynamic 1000Hz polling rate, to pull it ahead of its competitors. In case you’re wondering, 5600 DPI is quite large (that’s 5600 pixels of cursor movement per inch of physical movement).

The RAT 7 will set you back a hundred dollars, which is about standard these days for this quality of mouse. To a gamer a mouse is as important as your video card, processor or the amount of RAM you have. The perfect mouse for gaming is an investment, and should be treated as such.

Anything aimed at a gaming audience is going to come under an intensive amount of scrutiny. When the difference between your insane skills and a headshot lies with the mouse you use, you expect that it’ll do exactly as you’ve instructed. There’s no room for a margin of error, a delay, or even an awkward weight balance – it has to be perfect.

But, perfection isn’t easily defined. A mouse which one gamer claims to be excellent, may be openly mocked by another. It’s a matter of personal preference, as well as personal skill. Yes, a gaming mouse may be the difference between a good game and an ok one, but it won’t fix an unskilled gamer. A mouse should be chosen for comfort and accuracy, not because of claims of pwnage from a gaming champion.


Installing your new RAM
Motherboard with RAM

Two sticks of RAM in a computer

Last week we helped you learn how to determine what type of RAM you had installed in your computer to help it run smoother and play games better. This week we are going to take you through the steps of installing that new RAM. You may very well need a Phillips screwdriver in order to perform this, so have one handy just in case.

  1. Turn off the computer and unplug it from everything.
  2. Open your computer case. There is often a latch on the back of the computer that has a screw in it, so you may need a screwdriver (probably Phillips). Some computers have a latch on the top (Dells). It will be easier to install the RAM if your computer is on a solid surface on its side, with the motherboard facing up toward you.
  3. Ensure that you do not have static built up on your body. Static can damage computer internals. Do not wear a wool sweater, do not drag your feet on carpet, and do not rub a balloon on your head unless it’s absolutely necessary. If necessary, you can purchase a small wrist band that can connect to a ground to prevent static discharge. For our purposes, use your hand and take a firm grip on the metal part of the case to discharge any static you have built up. Be careful of any sharp edges.
  4. Once you have the case open and are free of static, you need to locate the RAM slots on your motherboard. Most of the motherboards in computers have 2 or 4 RAM memory slots. Most RAM slots are located on the top of the motherboard, on the right-hand side. You should see something in the computer that is similar to what you purchased.
  5. Remove the old memory if you are replacing it. To do so, push the clamps open to release the chip. The clamps are on the side and are typically white. Push them away from the stick of memory and you should see the stick lift slightly. There is one clamp on each end of the RAM chip. Remove old memory. Hold RAM by the ends, and do not touch the chips or metal connectors. The old memory may be kept or sold.
  6. Look at any instructions that came with the new RAM as well as the manual for your motherboard. There may be something specific about the RAM that you need to know. Some motherboard manufactures have RAM slots setup in different configurations. Some require multiple sticks to be side by side, whereas other have you skip a slot.
  7. Look at the new memory and survey the motherboard memory slots. The RAM ports should have a notch at the bottom of each memory slot. Hold the RAM chip carefully by the ends or plastic parts. Do not touch the metal or chips. Line up the notch on the motherboard with the notch on the new memory.
  8. Press gently but firmly until the clamps close completely (you can usually hear a click). You may need to push the clamps in toward the chip, but do so very gently. If the chip does not fit, do not force it. Try putting it in the other way.
  9. Repeat the previous steps for installing RAM if you have another chip. Additional chips may be more difficult to install because other chips reduce the amount of room for your fingers. Be careful.
  10. Remove dust from the computer, if it’s dusty, using a bottle of compressed air. These are available at any office supply store. Do not blow air too closely at the computer. While you have the computer open, now is a good time to do this.
  11. Close the computer and reattach all of the cords to the computer, including the screen and power cord. Turn on the screen and turn the computer on. The computer should present a screen that shows a message about detecting new memory and the amount of the new memory, although some manufacturers may not use this feature. The size displayed may not be exactly how much you purchased. Operating systems calculate memory differently and some computers dedicate a certain amount of RAM to specific functions (e.g., video), decreasing the amount available. For example, you may have purchased 1 Gigabyte of RAM. The operating system may only display 0.99 Gigabytes.
  12. If your computer runs faster, it worked! RAM will help with opening and closing programs as well as gaming. You should notice that programs start faster now. If not, there may be a problem with the RAM or you have too much RAM.
  13. As a last check, check the system settings to make sure the RAM is okay. You can use the tools we provided on our Pilot Episode to determine if the new RAm you installed is there.
  14. Now go out and frag some n00bs!
RAM – What type do you have:

A memory upgrade is the best way to speed up that slow computer, but the RAM stick aisle at your local computer parts retailer is a cold and scary place. A little pre-research is in order. You do not have to open your computer to see what you have installed, as there are a few ways you can go about figuring out the information easily.

English: An edited photo of 2gb of DDR2 RAM wi...

Gaming RAM with heatsinks

The first type is System Information for Windows: Once you open it up, navigate to Hardware and then Memory on the left-hand pane, and you’ll see what type of memory is already installed in your computer.
Just click download at the top, scroll all the way to the bottom and click download next SIW Home Edition

The second way is to use Crucial’s Memory analyzer. They have put together an amazing website, combined with an optional system scanner tool that will detect the memory already installed in your computer the same way System Information for Windows does. If you bought your computer from a mainline manufacturer, you can use the Memory Advisor, or if you would like them to scan your system and figure it out for you, click the lower tab for system scanner and follow the directions.


Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Windows 8 has opened up the consumer preview allowing anyone and everyone to kick the tires and take it for a spin. It has been a long journey towards the release, and the Developer Preview has been out for a while now, but it is time for the rest of the world to see what is under the hood. We at LDG have links for you to try it out, you have the standard Windows 8 Consumer Preview as well as another page that gives you Windows 8 CP ISO setup files. The files are a bit large running you 32 Gigs for the 32-bit and 3.3 Gigs for the 64-bit versions. The hardware requirements are not too steep, about the same as Windows 7 wasThe new Windows 8 Start Screen, making use of ....

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device or higher
  • To use touch, you need a tablet or a monitor that supports multitouch.
  • To access the Windows Store and to download and run apps, you need an active Internet connection and a screen resolution of at least 1024 x 768.
  • To snap apps, you need a screen resolution of at least 1366 x 768.

If you get a chance to try it out, come back and let us know how you liked it.


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