Through it all the Mionix was very good, but almost a little too slippery. It's a better surface than the sofa or a regular mouse pad certainly, but a little more friction would actually have been welcome. This is probably just because I'm not yet used to such a smooth surface. One issue, and this certainly isn't Mionix's fault, leaning back on the sofa caused the pad to be at a slight angle, so if I used my right hand to type something (the keyboard being on my left side), the mouse would slide down the pad, across the cushion, and try to bury itself in my flank. We'll chalk this one up as an HTPC hazard.
Not satisfied with just a single surface to test, (not least because it was the only gaming surface Fry's had that night, oddly), I contacted SteelSeries. I'd read reviews of their gaming surfaces for years, all exceptionally positive. Their 9HD is slightly taller than the Mionix, but about 3-inches narrower and a touch thinner.
It's also $34.99. The Cadillac of mouse surfaces, so to speak. The surface is a little more textured than the Mionix, but still similarly smooth.
The 9HD has that little bit more friction I was looking for. It still had all the control and precision of the Propus 380, but had a little less "slop" due to the ultra-slick surface of the Mionix. I liked it a lot better. Yes it's nearly double the price, but come on, it's only $17 more. Having used both, I'd buy the SteelSeries even though it is more, as it's just enough better to justify the cost.
SteelSeries has several gaming surfaces at varying prices, including a smaller version of the 9HD with the same surface.
With the control situation nicely sorted, it's on to the next problem. The weather has cooled off a bit and the HTPC is still overheating. So this is clearly an issue I'll need to address. I'm going to try a few methods of cooling what I have now, and if none of those work, I'll see about changing the video card or moving to watercooling.
Brent Butterworth and Geoff Morrison combine their years of gear testing and knowledge in one überblog of irreverence and techiness.
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