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MrE (E Midlands, UK)
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MSI AMD 280X Graphic Card (3GB, 384-Bit, GDDR5, DL-DVI-I/DVI-D, HDMI, DL Mini-DP, TF FAN, PCI-E)
MSI AMD 280X Graphic Card (3GB, 384-Bit, GDDR5, DL-DVI-I/DVI-D, HDMI, DL Mini-DP, TF FAN, PCI-E)
Price: £169.98

5.0 out of 5 stars MSI R9 280x - a 1080p gamers godsend, 23 May 2015
The 280x is AMD's equivalent to Nvidia's GTX 960 and is squarely aimed at the 1080p gamer. Often when I am asked to build a gaming computer I ask what type of monitor they plan on game from, if your desire is to game at 1080p and 60 frames per second then you should be looking for a 22 inch widescreen monitor that has a 60Hz refresh rate and conforms to the 1920x1080 (or better) resolution. Ideally you want a maximum response time of 5ms.

So why would you pick the r9 280x over the GTX 960 considering the 960 is slightly cheaper, newer and uses less power while gaming? Well, this r9 280x by MSI has 3GB of memory (an extra gigabyte than the 960) and three times the bandwidth of the GTX 960, that in combination with the fact that many games are designed to AMD specifications and not Nvidia does mean that you will consistently get between 5-15% extra frames per second when using this card over Nvidias competing card. The extra gigabyte allows larger and more open worlded games to render background scenery quicker, in combination with the wider bandwidth this in turn grants smoother rendering and thus more frames per second.

Don't be fooled by the lower clock and boost clock speeds, the AMD architecture is made differently from Nvidia and wasn't designed to run any higher. There are DVI, HDMI and 2x Mini display port outputs so you can run multiple monitors at once. The maximum resolution supported by this particular card is 2560x1600 although the fps will drop significantly as this card was designed for 1080p gaming. Power usage when running flat out while gaming is over 250w and you should have a minimum of 600w gold rated power supply to cover your system, any less and you risk your power supply going pop, that isn't to say a lesser power supply won't handle it.

Verdict: a great card which is ideal if you want to game at 1080p resolution, it has both DirectX and Mantel support so the latest games will be supported, indeed when DirectX 12 launches I fully expect the power usage on this card to drop thanks to the improved software and drivers. Performance wise this easily beats the 4GB GTX 960 I tested out a few weeks ago and if you are looking for a graphics card to play virtually everything at 60 frames per second then this is the card I would recommend at the moment.
RECOMMENDED!


BRITA Elemaris Meter XL Water Filter Jug, 3.5L - Black
BRITA Elemaris Meter XL Water Filter Jug, 3.5L - Black
Price: £19.79

5.0 out of 5 stars BRITA Elemaris XL Water Filter Jug - Ideal if you have hard water and the larger size jug is better for a working kitchen!, 20 May 2015
Excellent quality plastic along with rubberised feet and a sturdy plastic/rubber handle. This Brita filter uses the standard Maxtra filters and can hold a total of 2.5L of filtered water. Compared to some to other brands which claim to filter water of all impurities and don't, these Maxtra filters are considered a by word when i comes down to water filtration. Not only do they work removing limescale, odours and other things such as chlorine from the water but they works faster than other brands too.

In the top of the filter jug is a spring loaded dome shaped door, specifically designed so you can pour water directly onto the door and the water will go into the top filtration chamber, when you stop the tap the door automatically closes, this reduces the chances of water spraying everywhere too. This jug has a good pouring action on it with a little lid on the spout stopping it flooding out too quickly, again giving you control when using it. For cleaning, everything but the lid can be put in the dishwasher!

The only downside is the little monitor screen mounted into the top which as far as i can see offers little in the way of useful information as it automatically tells you to replace the filter every 4 weeks and not when you necessarily need to, it's suppose to tell you the water hardness too but if you have limescale in your area i guess you already know how good/bad it is. Through extensive usage we have come to conclusion that every 2 months is ideal for changing the filter and that's based on us using it several times a day, everyday day!

Verdict: We use this to filter water we put in the kettle for drinks and cooking and must say we are particularly please with the quality of the jug and performance of the Maxtra filters. If you live in a hard water area of perhaps have an unpleasant odour to your tap water then this is probably the best way to go!

RECOMMENDED!


The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Xbox One)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Xbox One)
Price: £44.00

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Witcher 3 - Say goodbye to your social life as this will keep you busy for months to come!, 19 May 2015
One of the best games i have played so far on the next generation and i'm only around 11 hours in. I must say if you liked Skyrim but are looking for something a bit grander and edge of your seat along with the ultra large scale open world setting then this is the game to get, indeed i would say i've only touched the tip of the iceberg! The Cut scenes alone are stunningly beautiful with gorgeous animations and an epic soundtrack that will leave your eyes drooling with anticipation at what comes next. Excellent graphics given the games size with few Anti Aliasing problems.

Witcher 3 is a third person based (so you view the character you play as from an over the shoulder perspective), action role playing game. The game itself is set in an open world environment which is significantly bigger than Witcher 2, from what i've seen at this early stage i would say it's easily bigger than Skyrim so that puts it into perspective how vast and involving this game is. Equally you must be warned that if you don't have the time to play this game on a regular basis then you may regret purchasing it as this is a game that rewards patience and rewards people the more you play. If you are a pick up a game, play it for a few hours then leave it type of gamer, then you might be best served in saving your money, Just like Skyrim this is a game that requires dedication so if you have lots of other games to play then wave goodbye to them as this will easily keep you busy for a few hundred hours! Don't worry though you can use a horse and boat to travel around and indeed fast travel to various locations is available. On screen you get a mini-map which guides you where you need to go which is a massive bonus as i was always getting lost on skyrim. You also get the usual health bar and quick guide buttons, for example "Hold A button" to accelerate the boat which does give you a helping hand if you're lost as to what to do. There is an Inventory where you can keep items on your person such as weapons, alcohol and potions etc... You level up your character using the points based system which can boost your attacking and defending skills besides adding new techniques and adding bonuses to certain weapons like slowing down time.

The story literally carries on from Witcher 2 with the main character of Geralt and this will be the ending to the trilogy. Essentially you must stop the Wild Hunt as they invade the Northern Kingdoms and destroy everything in their path. There are four difficulty settings although i would avoid the most basic one called "Just the story" and go straight in with "Story and Sword".... "Blood and Broken Bones" becomes even harder but unless you are a seasoned player i would honestly avoid "Death March" at all costs.

Pros: Great combat and skills * Stunning cut scenes and voice acting * Massive open world map with tonnes of things to do * mini-map is a MASSIVE bonus especially with the arrow guiding you around * Fast travel for when you can't be bothered to run or ride a horse * Most of the Characters add something to the game and make you care about them * you can make different choices along the way which can have consequences as to the way things progress * Some good missions off the beaten track * Decent soundtrack * Graphics do impress given the size of the game * The game rewards those that like to explore the far corners of the world * Easy to fathom controls

Cons: Starts off slower than i was expecting and takes a good 2 hours to get into its stride * Some of the conversations have to much waffle and could be shortened and would make watching them more enjoyable * No multiplayer or co-op (although to be fair you don't miss it given how much there is to do) * Small amount of frame judder when loading large parts of background scenery

Tips: Only buy if you have some serious time to invest in the game

VERDICT (based on 11 hours worth of play): I honestly have to compliment "CD Projekt RED" for the game they have created here, it is truly stunning both in terms of its depth and quality based on what i've played thus far, since picking it up at the midnight launch along with a few friends we have been thoroughly enjoying it. If i have to be critical just for the sake of being fair then i would say the games biggest problem is in it's sheer size so like i said earlier unless you have the time to sink into it then you may end up regretting buying the game, your social life will go right out of the window that's for sure, thankfully my partner and i will share the journey and boy what a journey it's starting to be!

Highly Recommended!!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 20, 2015 11:55 AM BST


Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (Xbox One)
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (Xbox One)
Price: £13.85

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wolfenstein The Old Blood - a perfect accompaniment to The New Order and well worth the money!, 16 May 2015
This is the prequel to "The New Order" which was a great game and if you haven't already played it then you are missing out big time! The Old Blood is set inside Castle Wolfenstein and a small nearby town called Paderborn. If you have just been playing the New Order and immediately start playing this then everything from the graphics to the way the game plays is virtually identical although you can now store the heavy duty machine gun in the weapon wheel, small annoyances such as manually picking ammo up rather than walking over them and auto collecting them still exits but it does give the game its uniqueness. I've seen it said on other sites that this should be made as DLC but i completely disagree, having beat the game i can tell you that this can be played as a stand alone game and there is far too much content on offer here to simply offer it as DLC although it must be said that it does have a cheaper than expected price. Again just like the New Order there isn't a co-op or multiplayer side but honestly you don't expect one nor do you miss one. Instead you can tell they have put all their attention into the campaign itself.

While i wouldn't say the story is better than The New Order it's pretty good and for anyone that likes shooting Nazis in the face this is a must own game! Oh and did i mention all the weapons look and feel great with realistic muzzle climb and drift, blood and guts are also in abundance so those looking for a bloodbath need look no further! There are also a few section that will test your mind with various puzzles as well, if you are having a lazy Sunday then you might find yourself getting lost or stuck on a particular area but don't worry you'll figure it out.

Verdict: Definitely play The New Order first before you play this and make a judgement about whether or not you want to continue the Wolfenstein journey. It's a great first person shooter with some awesome sections, old school fans such as myself will probably rate the game higher than someone new to the series but for £13 you honestly can't complain at the quality nor the content on offer given it will take you several hours to complete. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!


Andrew Christian BLOW! Locker Room Jock w/ Show-It Tech.
Andrew Christian BLOW! Locker Room Jock w/ Show-It Tech.
Price: £19.00 - £19.27

4.0 out of 5 stars A.C. BLOW Jockstrap - Stunning support, ideal for wearing at the gym!, 14 May 2015
The latest addition to my growing Andrew Christian collection, this jockstrap by A.C. is perfect for my daily workout routine, offering tonnes of support while being comfortable when wearing for prolonged periods. They look as sexy as they are sporty which is always a bonus and a few guys in the gym changing rooms have asked where they can buy them from. I decided on the black version with white pouch and lime green detailing and i must say that once again A.C certainly know how to make a stylish pair of undies.

Because it's a jock makes these ideal for anyone in need of support at the gym or those that do a lot of running but they also make a great choice as daily underwear especially for those that crave extra support, my advise to anyone considering something from the Andrew Christian collection is to pick one with the "w/ Show-It Tech" in the name, regardless of the range or design you pick.. this means it has a dedicated pouch where your jewels sit isolated and supported. Sure it enhances your package simply as it raises them slightly away from your body but if feels very natural and keeps them clear of your legs which again makes them perfect for wearing during activity. Naturally being a jock it exposes your buttocks but the lack of excessive material is most welcome as anyone that has tried to workout while wearing traditional briefs will tell you. They rest just above the hips but below the waist which is perfect for most people, so gym/compression shorts should cover them up

Material wise it is perfect, a synthetic blend of nylon and spandex for added stretch, these wick moisture away from the skin quickly and can be washed in the machine at 40*c. Note: never wear cotton underwear during exercise!

So why only 4 stars you must be asking? Two points... firstly, i would have preferred the Andrew Christian logo on the front rather than "BLOW" written on it, just a personal preference mind!

Secondly and this is a perennial problem for all Andrew Christian underwear, while all their stuff is modelled on athletic and trim guys, who said that everyone was as thin as a beanstalk? I'm athletic and quite lean yet my waist measurement is 37 inches thanks to my wide hips and the XL only just about fits. Personally i think A.C. need to redo their whole sizing scheme and start making larger sizes, certainly my advise is to pick the next size up from what the guide on A.C. website recommends.

Verdict: If you dig jockstraps and like the colourways then look no further especially if you want extra support up front, the quality is first rate and will enhance your look!


Meguiar's Ultimate Wash and Wax
Meguiar's Ultimate Wash and Wax
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Megs Ultimate W&W - Good cleaning ability but i question the protection side of it..., 7 May 2015
I use the Meguiars NXT Generation car wash shampoo whenever i need to fully wash, clay, polish and wax my car but decided to purchase this for doing weekly intermittent washes.

Just like the NXT Generation shampoo this Ultimate W&W smells great, having an intense banana smell to it and it foams up incredibly easily thanks to the water softeners they include in the formula. I use a two bucket method of cleaning a car, filling one bucket with the shampoo and the other with just water to clean my mitt in, this way the water i apply to the car is always clean which reduces the chance or putting swirl marks and scratches into the paint!!

So apart from the great smell and great suds that this shampoo produces along with great lubrication what do i think and would i recommend it? Instruction wise it says use 4 cap fulls of shampoo per gallon of water, given the cap has a pouring hole i simply poured enough till it looked about right, not too much or too little, just enough to clean a full car!! It does a great job at removing dust and that layer of traffic film you get on car bodywork and even did a great job on glass, i would say it's cleaning ability is on a par with the NXT Generation car wash shampoo... TIP: use neat to remove those stubborn brake dust and road tar deposits from alloy wheels.

However, the reason why i knocked a star off is because the inclusion of a wax seemed to add little, if no added protection to my car, naturally once you've cleaned and rinsed the car down you need to go over it with a chamois to stop any water spots forming and remember never clean your car in full sun. I have to say when it rained an hour later there wasn't any beading or sheeting at all. I was expecting the included carnauba wax and synthetic polymers to provide at least a weeks worth of protection (as i wash my car once a week) but genuinely it hasn't added anything and given the price and the whole reason why you would buy this is because it has a wax in it, i have to be frank and honest and say it has disappointed me slightly but i can't knock its cleaning ability.

Pros: Smells great * Suds up incredibly easily * You use cold water from a hose, warm water isn't necessary * lots of lubrication * Clears dust and traffic film with ease * A little goes a long way * enjoyable to use (if that counts for anything) especially as the suds seem to stay on the car for quite a while

Cons: The wax may well offer protection BUT there are no visual indicators as to its presence i.e. beading or sheeting as you would normally expect from a wax * This 1.5L bottle is the largest size they do * Not cheap * The NXT Generation Shampoo offers slightly better CLEANING ability!

VERDICT: It's pleasant and easy to use and gives good all round cleaning results but i do question the protection it supposedly leaves behind. Maybe it was designed to work in this way but i would have preferred it if the wax gave a visual indicator as to its presence! Aside from that, if you can find it at a decent price (£14 or less) then it's worth getting. Sometimes Halfords offer a 3 for 2 deal, it would then become a viable option!


Calvin Klein Underwear Modern Cotton Thong in Grey (X Small)
Calvin Klein Underwear Modern Cotton Thong in Grey (X Small)
Offered by Whites and Smalls
Price: £25.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sporty styling yet very comfy, great choice as daily knickers!, 28 April 2015
This review is from: Calvin Klein Logo Thong (Apparel)
Slightly on the snug side but very comfy and offers lots of support, i'm not a huge fan of lace nor am i a fan of knickers that have frills around the edges, i like to keep things simple and classy so these were perfect. Very soft cotton material while there is a very sturdy elasticated waistband. These lay flat against the skin and because it is a thong means no visible pant lines even under a tight fitting dress. Sizing is accurate to the guide on the Calvin Klein website but these do offer a more sporty fit and appearance, I also have the matching bra and can recommend that as well. Overall i'm very happy and would purchase these again, the quality is as you would expect from C.K. and they can be washed in the washing machine for convenience as well. The only downside as far as i'm concerned is the price but i guess you do get what you pay for in life. The added bonus is my partner approves of the look. Thumbs Up!


Asus Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 Strix Direct CU II Graphics Card (4 GB, GDDR5, PCI Express 3.0, HDMI, DVI-I, 3 x Display Port)
Asus Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 Strix Direct CU II Graphics Card (4 GB, GDDR5, PCI Express 3.0, HDMI, DVI-I, 3 x Display Port)
Price: £199.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Asus 4GB GTX960 - a quality card but doesn't add much performance, if any, over the 2GB version!!, 24 April 2015
I have already reviewed the 2GB version of the Asus GTX960 and my review can be found here > (Asus Nvidia Gtx 960 PCI-E Graphics Card), i finally managed to get hold of the 4GB version for a customer build, considering it was the first 4GB version of the gtx960 i've had a hold of, i decided to test it out on a few games and compare it to the 2GB version.

Design wise the card looks identical to the 2GB version and even the specifications are the same on paper. I was hoping for the memory bus to be wider than 128-bit although it is fair to say that Nvidia do use compression technology so in real world testing it performs better than how you would think at first glance. Literally the only difference between the 2GB and 4GB versions are the extra two Gigabytes, so how does this impact gaming at 1080p, not forgetting that the 960 was designed for 1080p gaming?

Truth be told there weren't any frame per second increases when using the 4gb version over the 2gb one. Indeed i didn't manage to find a game where the extra 2gb improved framerates or allow graphics settings to be ramped up which does make me question why they have decided to make a 4GB version. The answer became clearer when i tested the card out on a 1440p monitor as the games held up considerably better frame wise compared to the 2gb version. Don't go thinking you can use multiple displays at 1440p, i started to get stability issues once i connected a second display at that resolution but if you want to game @1440p using 1 monitor then this card should just about do it, JUST!

I recommend you go and read my 2gb gtx960 review, for most people gaming at 1080p resolution that card will be more than ample, to be honest while this card is very good it adds very little in the way of performance over the 2gb version. If you specifically want to game at 1440p and use multiple monitors then you need to be looking at either the Nvidia gtx970 or 980.

Verdict: The 960 is a great 1080p gaming card and is DirectX-12 ready. The 2gb version is the one to go for if you intend to game at 1080p. The only games which saw a benefit from the 4gb version were skyrim when some of the extra texture packs and mods were added and GTA5 which surprisingly used over 3GB when on maximum settings, just ensure you turn the AA down.

A SOLID CARD BUT SURPRISINGLY DOESN'T OFFER MUCH, IF ANY IMPROVEMENT OVER THE 2GB VERSION AT 1080P UNLESS YOU WANT TO MAX EVERYTHING OUT ON A SELECT FEW GAMES!


McCulloch M46-125WR Petrol Wheeled Rotary
McCulloch M46-125WR Petrol Wheeled Rotary
Offered by Platinum Home and Garden
Price: £254.99

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars McCullock M46-125WR Petrol Lawnmower, ideal for medium to large sized lawns!!, 22 April 2015
Everything from the main shell, blade, engine and the handle bars are made from high quality parts and everything fits together well. I agree the included instructions on how to fit the handle bars and basket together are shockingly poor to say the least but anyone with half a brain cell will be able to understand how it goes together. The biggest problem is the basket which will take a good 15 minutes on your own to figure out unless you have someone holding it while you clip it together.

The Briggs & Stratton engine is a reliable workhorse, our previous mower had a B&S engine and even after 10 years was still going strong, they are considered a by word when it comes down to petrol lawnmower engines. This one is more powerful than our old lawnmower which does help if the grass is slightly damp or on the longish side! I note that some people say the lawnmower doesn't come with oil, well i've never come across a mower that does. For those that want to know a good quality "10W-30" semi-synthetic oil is what you should be looking for although 10W-40 or even 5W-30 would be more than good enough. Be careful when you first fill the engine with oil and ensure you don't overfill, constantly check the dip stick every few pours. When the oil level is on the full side, pull the starter cable a few times WITHOUT PETROL IN, this will allow some of the oil to lubricate the engine prior to firing it up the first time. Standard unleaded petrol from a garage is all you need for fuel so for first time users simply take a jerry can and fill it up next time you fill your car. Prime the engine 5 times and then start the mower. It will chug and cough for a few seconds and probably misfire once or twice until the petrol and oil finds it's way into every place it should. You should immediately start using the mower for a good 10-15 minutes to ensure everything works.

There are a few things that need to be pointed out. Firstly, you can higher or lower the lawnmower to a number of pre-determined points so you can choose what length of cut you want, you need to know that because this is a rotary lawnmower and not a cylinder lawnmower it won't cut as close, so if you want a bowling green look then you need to pick a cylinder mower, the advantage of a rotary mower is they cope better over uneven ground and wet grass, for the average garden rotary mowers do a better job! Secondly, you can alter the hight of the handle bars so regardless of how short or tall you are you will find a setting that suits you and it is quick and easy to change. Third, the sides of the collection basket are made from a tough mesh material which has been coated in plastic, personally i would have preferred it to be hardened plastic but it does feel like it will last so don't be put off by it. Forth, there is a self cleaning system where by you can connect a hose to the top of the "deck" and it will clean out the underside, it works well but i would leave the mower outside to dry before you go storing it away afterwards.

The wheels are chunky and make it easier to cut edges, not only that but it does help if the grass is on the longer side. Bigger wheels along with a stronger engine also means that this mower has a strong self-propelled drive, indeed it will pull you along at a "fast walking pace", this also helps if you are going up hill.

Are there any downsides? Really only one... if you want to pull the lawnmower backwards when the engine is going (as you need to do on the odd occasion) you have to push it forwards without engaging the clutch and then pull it back with the front wheels raised slightly... for some reason the self drive motor does not like to be pulled backwards without doing this!

VERDICT: A very powerful 46cm bladed rotary lawnmower. It comes complete with a mulching accessory although you don't really need it, instead all you need to do is to remove the collection box. It cuts grass much more finely than my past mower and makes light work of grass that is a few inches long. The deck is made from high quality steel and it has a good quality engine. I highly recommend this lawnmower, whether you have a medium or large lawn this will do the job just fine and the build quality is first class.

Highly recommended and i would be happy to answer any questions from an owners point of view should you want to know anything i haven't mentioned!!
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E45 Dermatological Moisturising Lotion 500ml
E45 Dermatological Moisturising Lotion 500ml
Price: £3.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars E45 moisturising lotion - A simple and easy to use moisturiser that can be used daily, 9 April 2015
The lotion is slightly more runny compared with the cream and from that point of view does make it easier to spread. Despite the bottle saying there isn't a scent I would argue there is a slight vinegar smell, it takes around 5 minutes to fully absorb and once it does the smell disappears.

My partner and I both use this on a daily basis as it offers great moisturising abilities, not only keeping normal skin moist but dramatically helping soften dry skin. It also makes a great base to which I can apply a foundation cream to my face. Being a pump action bottle makes it easier and cleaner to use and this bottle seems to last us around 4 weeks and that's with both of us using it daily.

Verdict: if you need a moisturiser for your Face or body that can be used on a daily basis then look no further, it takes around 5 minutes to fully absorb but lasts throughout the day and can be used as a base underneath other products such as foundation or self tan. Aside from the very mild yet undesirable vinegar scent when you first apply it, this stuff gets the thumbs up!


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