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GIGABYTE M8000 Xtreme Gaming Mouse Review

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AkG

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GIGABYTE M8000 Xtreme Laser Gaming Mouse Review





Manufacture Page: M8000X – Gigabyte.com
Part Number: GM-M8000X
Price: approx. $58 CAD
Tekwiki: M8000Xtreme - Specs & Reviews



A little while ago we had a chance to put Gigabyte’s original M8000 gaming mouse through its paces and while it was far from what we would call a perfect product, it had a lot of things going for it. In fact, we walked away impressed enough to not only award it our Damn Good Value award but to actually add it to our personal stable of mice we use on a daily basis. While good, the original M8000 had a number of weaknesses and first and foremost among those was the fact that it could only store three profiles on board. In addition, we found the software interface was a little bit primitive even though a user didn’t need to install it in order to use the M8000. That being said, Gigabyte basically went back to the drawing board and refined things to the point where they are finally able to release their follow-up product: the M8000Xtreme.

On paper it really does seem like Gigabyte not only listened to their customers but actually went about rebuilding the original Ghost from ground up. Yes, they did keep most of the M8000’s praise-worthy features but then took things to the next level as well. The M8000X not only sports an all new 6000DPI sensor, but comes with the new Ghost 2 engine which allows 5 profiles to be stored on its on board memory and gives you the ability to customize the LED colour each of those profiles will use. The software interface has also been given a frontal lobotomy and is now not only more complete but has almost limitless possibilities. Rounding out the list of features is what Gigabyte calls PTP or Perfect Tracking Precision which allows you to calibrate the M8000X to your surface of choice with the mere push of a button.

It is obvious that the M8000X has been built from the ground up to be a gaming mouse and comes with a literal cornucopia of features that will make even the most cynical LAN gaming events smile does come at a price. The M8000x is starting to become available at retailers and e-tailers alike but does come with a price tag of approximately $57 Canadian, which is about $10 more than the M8000 goes for. Do all these added features make the M8000Xtreme a better mouse than its predecessor? Is it worth the extra money? Let’s find out.

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AkG

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Specifications

Specifications

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Mouse/M8000X/specs.jpg " border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Mouse/M8000X/specs2.jpg " border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Mouse/M8000X/specs3.jpg " border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Mouse/M8000X/specs4.jpg " border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Mouse/M8000X/specs5.jpg " border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Mouse/M8000X/specs6.jpg " border="0" alt="" />
 
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AkG

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Packaging and Accessories

Packaging and Accessories


Gigabyte_M8000Xtreme_box_f_sm.jpg
Gigabyte_M8000Xtreme_box_b_sm.jpg

As with the previous iteration the GM-M8000, the box the 8000Xtreme comes in certainly does scream “gamer” at the top of its lungs. Nonetheless, it does look pretty good to us.

The back of this box is a fold down affair held up and in place with two Velcro strips. The reason it is a fold down “flap” style is for the simple reason that the amount of information found on the back just won’t fit on a single page, The shear vastness of information Gigabyte has included certainly does help tame the exuberance the rest of the box displays and helps to show the “mature side” of this packaging.

Gigabyte_M8000Xtreme_box_o_sm.jpg

If there are any nits worth picking with this box, it is the fact Gigabyte hasn’t given the actual mouse much protection between it and the scary outside world. On the positive side, doing things this way certainly does give you a very clear (and precise) picture of the mouse and allows you to “palm” it without ever taking it from the protective embrace of its package.

Gigabyte_M8000Xtreme_access_sm.jpg
Gigabyte_M8000Xtreme_weights_sm.jpg

As expected the list of accessories are impressive to say the least. We truly wished all companies paid such close attention to the smaller details like what accessories to include since Gigabyte seems to have truly hit the nail on the head. You get a CD with software and drivers, an owner’s manual / pamphlet, a set of weights for customization and a replacement set of feet. This last accessory is especially praise-worthy, as the low friction feet of any heavily used mouse are usually the first thing to go and the fact that you will not have to purchase a set of aftermarket replacements until you have worn out TWO sets is a definite plus in our book.

The included weights consist of three 6 gram weights and a monster 20 gram unit, allowing for eight possible weight combinations ranging from 0 (no weights added) all the way up to 38 grams of added weight. We personally like our gaming mice to be light for twitch-style games, but for precision detail work you can’t beat slow and heavy. This mouse appears to give you the best of all possible worlds.
 
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AkG

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Up Close and Personal

Up Close and Personal


Gigabyte_M8000Xtreme_front_ang_sm.jpg
Gigabyte_M8000Xtreme_back_ang2_sm.jpg

The all new and improved GM-M8000X has had its ergonomics tweaked slightly compared to the original M8000 “Ghost”. It still has the overall shape and fit which is good since we had no issues with the original iteration and while not truly ambidextrous, it is designed in such a way that many left-handed users will find it fairly comfortable. The biggest difference between the new Xtreme and the original mouse is the top arch has been slightly lowered to the point where the overall shape strongly and feel reminds of our Logitech MX518. This will allow for a secure grip no matter if you are a “palmer” or a “gripper” but for large-handed individuals the M8000 is still (in our opinion) more comfortable. All in all, it looks like a much more comfortable mouse for more people than the past version and this really is saying something as we consider the M8000 one of the most comfortable gaming mice we have used.

Like all good gaming mice (other than the single mouse sporting Razer’s patented hybrid system), Gigabyte’s M8000X is corded but that shouldn’t bother you as the cord itself is braided and more than long enough for literally every user out there.

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As with the previous version, the M8000X sports the ubiquitous horizontal and vertical scroll wheel located in the forward center position. Slightly behind this is a forward / backward “slider” button which allows for on the fly DPI changing. With a simple forward or backwards flick of this button you can change from one of the 4 previously configured DPI settings. These four settings come with default levels but can easily be overridden via the software.

While there are still only four DPI settings available, we actually prefer this style of DPI changing to the more basic (yet more flexible) DPI up and DPI down buttons which simply increase or decrease the DPI in small increments. Basically, the four settings you chose do not rely on any software for the mouse to remember them since the M8000X has on-board memory, This means you can move this mouse from system to system and not worry about it reverting back to its “defaults”.

Gigabyte_M8000Xtreme_quad_led_sm.jpg
Gigabyte_M8000Xtreme_single_led_sm.jpg

Luckily, Gigabyte has not only kept the four DPI preset limitations from the previous M8000 but has also carried over the LED status indicator lights on the forward left edge of the mouse. With a simple glance at the M8000 Xtreme you can instantly know which of the four presets the mouse is set to and can easily change it as needed (the default settings are basically 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% or 810DPI, 1620DPI, 3240DPI and 6030 DPI).

Gigabyte_M8000Xtreme_side_sm.jpg
Gigabyte_M8000Xtreme_side_buttons_sm.jpg

On the left side of the mouse is your typical two “thumb button” setup, which is fairly par for the course these days. They are large enough and positioned properly that you really won’t even think twice about them as you use this mouse.
 
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AkG

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Up Close and Personal pg.2

Up Close and Personal Cont'd


Gigabyte_M8000Xtreme_side_buttons2_sm.jpg
Gigabyte_M8000Xtreme_side_grip2_sm.jpg
The other side of the mouse has yet one more button which allows you to change from any one of the five onboard presets to the next one. While we would have preferred a simple slider button for navigating these presets, cycling through them isn’t too hard either. Hopefully, a future iteration will not only up the count from five but allow for “forwards/backwards” selection of your button profile.

As we will see in the software section, the built-in memory can store not only 70 button combinations and five profiles but also a ton of macros which you can create yourself.

Gigabyte_M8000Xtreme_logo_glow_sm.jpg

The M8000X also makes use of the Ghost logo’s Red, Green and Blue glows to represent the three onboard, preset profiles. In addition, through the use of the desktop configuration software, Gigabyte gives users the ability to customize the colour profile of each of its five presets from 27 available colours. As with the previous version, the centrally located logo will slowly pulse the colour of your choosing to show which of the five profiles you have selected. Luckily, one of the 27 available colours is BLACK or “off”.

Gigabyte_M8000Xtreme_bottom_sm.jpg

Turning the mouse over, we can see that Gigabyte once again opted for only two large ultra low friction feet; one at the front and another at the back. While they are large and more than enough to get the job done we really wish they had included lateral feet running down each side of the mouse for smoother side to side motions. If you use a HWC Custom Surface 1030 Archetype or other professional grade gaming surfaces this is not a problem…but not everyone is advanced in their gaming setup and some actually prefer a more old school “feel”. Even on some of the more "advanced" gaming surfaces, the additional feet could prove to be beneficial.

On the positive side Gigabyte does realize that every mouse surface is just as different as their users and has included a great little piece of technology. While none of the buttons default to PTP, Perfect Tracking Precision allows you to quickly and easily adjust the mouse to your mouse pad. In a nut shell, it runs a small test to see what the best setting for its laser will be and then uses this new setting to get the most precise tracking it can on your gaming surface.

Gigabyte_M8000Xtreme_bottom_label_sm.jpg

As mentioned earlier Gigabyte did not just carry over the same 4000DPI sensor from the previous M8000 model, but actually took the time to upgrade it to a high precision 6000DPI unit. While we highly doubt many people will ever find 4000DPI “limiting”, more is always better when it comes to sensitivity.

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Gigabyte_M8000Xtreme_weights_installed_sm.jpg

Moving on to the back end of the mouse, we come to the large ”door” which holds the weights. With a simple twist this door pops off allowing you customize the weight and thus feel of your mouse. As we said in the accessories section, you get three 6-gram weights and one large 20 gram weight, allowing for quite a few possibilities. While we wish Gigabyte had upgraded the weights like they did the DPI of the M8000X these weights are still a welcome addition in a lower price bracket. All in all, this mouse really seems a worthy successor to (in our opinion) one of the best value mice ever made.
 
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AkG

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Mouse Software Overview

Mouse Software Overview


install_sm.jpg
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As with the M8000 Xtreme, the software which comes with the mouse has been given a complete and total make-over. The first inkling we had that things had chanced was when we inserted the included CD and was given TWO options. You now have the option to install a full Flash-based version or a simple non-Flash version. In both its forms, the software acts as an easy way to interact with the M8000X's commands and customize parameters as you see fit. It should be noted however once the parameters have been uploaded to your mouse, there is no need to run the software again until you want to remap buttons, change macro settings and so on.

Even though we opted for the "full" install, the software is still fairly light on system resources; taking up a mere 12MB of memory. (the non-flash version consumes a little over 9MB). However, before we go on it should be the new user interface can be a little overwhelming at first but it is extremely user-friendly once you start using it.

main_screen.jpg

One of the primary features the new software boasts is the shear number of preconfigured options that are available for EVERY single button.

Gigabyte has broken your options into two major categories: Basic and Macros. Each resides in its own floating window on the left and right had side of the main window. The “Basics” list has a staggering 45 options that run the gamut of literally every conceivable generic action you can think of. We love the fact that you need not worry about drop down boxes or their ilk since you simply have to look at the various self explanatory (in most cases) icons and their descriptions and drag the icon to the appropriate button box. This makes customizing and tweaking a given profile extremely quick and easy.

If you have a specific task that is not covered off by the “basics” you will need to create a custom macro and save it. The macro list is then where you would find your creation for future use (assuming it was saved on the particular system you are using otherwise you will have to import it from either a file or the mouse itself). Gone is the four simple to navigate tab setup of the previous iteration and in its stead is four main buttons running along the upper central window: Macro Editing, Sensitivity, Scrolling and Windows.

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Mouse/M8000X/colours.jpg" border="0" alt="" />

In the upper right hand side of this main window is the MODE section which has five colour icons representing each of the 5 profiles you can have for the M8000X. To change the default colour of one of the profiles (and thus the LED colour in the mouse) you simply hit the colour button and select one from the small pop-up window that appears. Along the bottom of the window is the a couple of buttons that are fairly self explanatory: the load buttons load profiles you have saved to the computer and backup saves the profiles to the computer. Finally, "Default" loads the default settings and "Clean" brings the mouse back to its factory settings.

macro_icons_2.jpg

Opening the Macro Editor page, we see that since the GHOST 2 engine supports five profiles in total instead of just three, the size (or length) of a macro has been scaled back somewhat. In the previous version you had a very basic 254 actions limit (127 keystrokes to be precise as each mouse click / key command is registered as a depression and then as a separate release) whereas now you have a limitation of 72 actions (really just 36 keystrokes). However, instead of worrying about the number of keystrokes Gigabyte has implemented a hard cap to the about of bytes (memory) each macro takes up.

However, many commands which would take multiple actions and keystrokes are now covered off by the 6 main “super macros” which run along the right side of the macro page. These six macros really cover many of the main tasks you will need for making much more custom and complex macros all while using LESS space to do so. You can also use multiple instances of any of the six super macros and use as many of them as you wish in a given macro, just as long as the total size does not exceed the maximum macro limit of 147 bytes.

Each command (including the six super macros) “cost” you 1 byte of space (except for the first one which costs 4-5 bytes because the minimum macro size is 4 bytes). In total a macro can only be 147 bytes in length. Confused yet?

Making things even more impressive is the fact that you ALSO have three options for how the macro will run:

Loop: As the name suggests the mouse will continuously loop throught the macro until the mapped button is pressed again.

Run Once: The macro will only be run once, regardless of how long the mapped mouse button is held. Great for those quick yet complex moves in fighting games.

Fire Button Mode: Much like the “loop” option, the macro will continuously play but only for as long as the mapped mouse button is held. Once you let up on the “trigger” the macro stops looping.


To record commands not covered by these six main types you simply have to hit record, do the commands you want and then hit stop. You can add more before or after this recording as long as the macro itself consumes less than 147 bytes of memory.

When you are finished creating your macro you simply drag finished macro from the left column to the right to save it to mouse and give it a name. You can also hit the Export button export to save to your computer which is great if you create a lot of macros as your mouse can "only" store 70 in its built in memory.

macro_icons_sm.jpg

If you do run out of on-board memory, simply drag a macro from the right column to the garbage can residing in between the two columns, it will turn from green to red and become animated. Release the mouse button and the macro is gone. Another nice tweak the Gigabyte engineers though of was the fact that you can not only give each macro a descriptive name but can actually pick the icon it will use. The software comes with 45 preloaded icons and has room for 45 more of your own custom ones should you choose to design them.

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Moving onto the second sensitivity page and as with any good mouse you can not only set the X and Y axis independently but you can also increase the polling speed / report rate above the standard rate. In this instance, you can go all the way to 1000Hz or 1ms. Interestingly enough the default polling rate is 500hz for the software but our mouse came set to 1000Hz.

The third tab consists of tweaking the wheel scroll speeds. You can set the vertical and horizontal speeds in a semi precise fashion. Increasing or decreasing the “speed” or modify the amount each wheel click equals. We still would have preferred a drop down box with some default options like: 3 lines, 6 lines or even “page” but this is a fairly nice way of doing things.


Overall, Gigabyte certainly took the time and effort to make the new and improved software as powerful as they could. While it may not be as user friendly on first glance as the original M8000’s the software, it really is easy to use once you get used to it. We highly doubt that many will complain that it is “too complex” as the drag and drop interface coupled with descriptive terms and icons all backed up by a “show and tell” help section does work well.
 
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AkG

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Performance Results

Performance Results


General, Everyday Usage


Unless you are a hardcore gamer, a paid professional or a World of Warcraft addict, the majority of any peripheral's daily usage routine will consist of more mundane things. To this end, a mouse made for gaming also has to be comfortable for long-term “normal” uses like surfing the Internet, manipulating photos in Photoshop and even more general “boring” tasks. Over the course of two weeks, this mouse was used as the lone human interface device and this is what we found.

Gigabyte_M8000Xtreme_front_ang2_sm.jpg


In daily tasks, we found that much like the M8000, the M8000X with all three 6 gram weights installed into the base of the unit, setting 1500 dpi to one of the DPI presets and setting 1200DPI to another one seemed to be darn near perfect for most of our needs. The M8000 Xtreme was just as comfortable at the end of a three hour Photoshop and Excel chart-making session as it was at the beginning. The five distinct profiles really made things a heck of a lot easier as we were able to switch between not only a Photoshop macro laden profile and an Excel profile but also a secondary Photoshop one set up with more advanced macros.

When it came to Internet usage, it did become apparent that the two added profiles changed the M8000X from a very good mouse, to a downright great product. We were able to set up a fourth profile with our usual Internet surfing button remapping without needing to drop any of our other custom profiles. This still left another profile free for email macros and other miscellaneous things we do on a regular basis. The slightly changed ergonomics really don’t seem all that much when you look at the mouse but we can honestly say that the M8000X really should fit most hands like a glove. These improved ergonomics combined with the rubber side grips allowed for a pain free experience throughout the extended tests.


Gaming Impressions


General usage is all well and fine but for a product labeled, marked and designed as a “gaming mouse", games need to be played. So, with unrestrained glee we let loose the hounds of war…so to speak and subjected the Ghost to everything from a 12 hour Crysis marathon (an oldie but a goodie when played with much of the eye candy turned on), to opening up the classic version of StarCraft for some old fashioned Zerg genocide.

Gigabyte_M8000Xtreme_top_sm.jpg
Gigabyte_M8000Xtreme_buttons_sm.jpg


When we tested the original M8000 we were fairly impressed with its responsiveness in a gaming environment but walked away wanting more when it came to the grip and feel it offered. It seems that Gigabyte listened as the small tweaks they did to the overall profile allows your whole finger to rest on the two main mouse buttons. This meant that no matter how hot and heavy things got we never missed a shot from our finger slipping off the button instead of depressing it like happened with the original M8000 Ghost. This of course was when we were using our typical palm style grip. When we switched over to a more claw style the same issue we had with the M8000 was readily apparent with the M8000 Xtreme: the buttons are too slick. The main fire buttons really need a rubber coating or some other means of keeping your finger from slipping off them instead of depressing them.

On the fly DPI changes really help for quick transitions from (low DPI) long range head shots to (higher DPI) mêlée combat. Regardless of how fast you like your mouse….this mouse can handle it and leave you plenty of room for growth. We also liked the fact that we could set up some pretty complex macros for enhanced fun. Also noteworthy was how easy Perfect Tracking Precision was to use, and it did have a noticeable impact on performance when we went from using our normal mouse pad to just using a high gloss table surface. We admit we though PTP sounded like marketing gone awry, but it does work and works well.

However, the pièce de résistance was the ability to turn off the glow the M8000X emits from its center spine. It may not sound like much, but in a darkened room that pulsing light can get annoying and break your concentration at a crucial moment, so having the ability to shut it off was the icing on the cake for us. This really is the mouse we have been waiting for from Gigabyte and while not perfect for all people’s gaming styles, it is a mouse we would consider to be a good gaming mouse for most.


Response Rate Testing


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We admittedly had high expectations for the M8000X and with it set to its max 1000Hz setting we walked away impressed. As with the original GM M8000 we were able to get better than 1ms response time from the M8000 Xtreme. To be precise we got a peak response of 0.96ms or 1040Hz which is extremely good.
 
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AkG

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Conclusion

Conclusion


When it comes to down to tally up the positive and negative attributes of the GM-M8000 Xtreme, one thing has become abundantly clear to us: it is one great product. We really were a little hesitant to review this mouse as we have found very few “sequels” that even came close to their originals. Luckily, the Xtreme is the exception to this informal rule of thumb as it is not only as good as the original but actually surpasses its predecessor. While each version of the GHOST series has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, we tend to prefer the feel, power and ease of use that the M8000X has to offer.

One of the best features of Gigabyte’s new mouse is the fact that it is so customizable. While the software interface may seem a bit daunting at first, its user interface is actually quite intuitive and allows you to quickly and easily set up the M8000X to your liking within no time at all. This, coupled with perfectly placed buttons makes this one of the best mice we have used in a very long time.

On a more personal note, as someone who battles nearly constantly with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, ergonomics really are important and the lack thereof has soured many otherwise good mice in the past. So while a mouse can have great features, if it is not comfortable to use for extended periods of time…..I won’t use it. This is the greatest attribute the M8000 Xtreme has due to its well implemented, ergonomic design making it easy to use and thus should be pleasing to a wide range of consumers, regardless of hand size. The only real caveat that we can see is with those users who prefer a true claw style mouse grip as its design is still heavily slanted towards palm grippers. As such, if you prefer a claw grip style you may not be too happy since your finger will tend to slip off the main buttons when your hand begins to sweat. To be honest, we really did wish Gigabyte had gone with a rubberized top cover to alleviate about the only possible negative this mouse may possess.

We could go on and on about the other great features like the awesome software that now accompanies this mouse, the sub 1ms polling, or the good weight customization options. However we feel that this would be just repetition on the same theme: this mouse really is perfect not only for gaming but also a wide range of everyday uses. For this reason we proudly award the Gigabyte GM-M8000Xtreme our highest accolade: the Damn Good award.


Pros:

- Easy and fast on the fly DPI change
- sub 1ms polling rate
- 6000DPI sensor
- 5 onboard profiles
- 27 colour options for LED (including OFF)
- can store 70 macros onboard
- No software required to USE the mouse
- Powerful Software with amazing macro abilities
- Adjustable weights



Cons:

- Weights only come in 2 sizes (really need a third, 2 or 3 gram size)
- While it can store 70 macros onboard, you can only USE up to 45 of them at a time
- Needs more and larger low friction feet
- Software maybe overwhelming on first blush

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Mouse/M8000X/dam_good.jpg" border="0" alt="" />


http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/foru...laser-gaming-mouse-review-comment-thread.html
 
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