Keys to the Kingdom

By Jason Cross  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

Build It: Last year's $800 gaming PC was a bargain, but had significant compromises. This year's model is an $800 hot-rod gaming rig that offers impressive performance. What a difference a year makes!


It takes a bit of digging around, but you can find really fantastic deals on keyboards and mice on the web. As long as you're not buying the very latest cordless laser mouse or some crazy does-everything multimedia keyboard, you can get a lot for very little.

Microsoft's Multimedia Keyboard is quality stuff. We priced out the ergonomic "Natural" model, but the straight-key version costs about the same. Once you start using the media and shortcut keys above the function keys, you might get addicted to them. It's especially handy for flipping through your audio tracks if you play your own music in the background while gaming. Nobody wants to minimize their game just to skip a track.

The IntelliMouse Optical isn't cutting-edge anymore, and it certainly doesn't sport the kind of crazy-high resolution and sensitivity that the gaming-centric mice do, but it gets the job done. Plus, it's got the side buttons necessary for mapping a few extra game functions to your mouse, and it's good for lefties, too.


Jason Cross Jason was a certified computer geek at an early age, playing with his family's Apple II when he was still barely able to write. It didn't take long for him to start playing with the hardware, adding in 80-column cards and additional RAM as his family moved up through Apple II+, IIe, IIgs, and eventually the Macintosh. He was sucked into Intel based side of the PC world by his friend's 8088 (at the time, the height of sophisticated technology), and this kicked off a never-ending string of PC purchases and upgrades.

Through college, where he bounced among several different majors before earning a degree in Asian Studies, Jason started to pull down freelance assignments writing about his favorite hobby—,video and computer games. It was shortly after graduation that he found himself, a thin-blooded Floridian, freezing his face off at Computer Games Magazine in Vermont, where he founded the hardware and technology section and built it up over five years before joining the ranks at ExtremeTech and moving out to beautiful northern California. When not scraping up his hands on the inside of a PC case, you can invariably find Jason knee-deep in a PC game, engrossed in the latest console title, or at the movie theater.


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