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Noctua NH-L9x65

Over the past eight years of reviewing, even with all of the different heatsinks and water cooling options we have covered there has been one constant. In nearly every build or test bench if we weren’t going with water cooling Noctua coolers have been at the top of our list. Recently as far as full sized builds go everything that wasn’t a test bench has been water cooled, but the small form factor builds have nearly all been sporting Noctua NH-L9i’s. This has partially been because I like Noctua’s low noise but more than anything the NH-L9i just kept them all cool and took up less space than even a stock cooler. Recently though I have been working on building a new Lunchbox project build, we have been collecting parts and covering them in various reviews. Well when I got everything together the NH-L9i just couldn’t handle the higher heat output that the i7-6700K was putting out. This wasn’t a big shock given the coolers 65 watt cooling rating and the heat issues that same CPU gave us even with a full sized cooler on our test bench. So this gave me the chance to test out the slightly larger NH-L9x65 from Noctua. Today I’m going to talk about how it performed and run through its features. You can also get a sneak peek at our upcoming build!

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Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L

As most of you guys have most likely noticed, I get a wide variety of keyboards coming into the office. Especially now that everyone and their mom has gotten into the mechanical keyboard market. With that the list of keyboards that make it into heavy use as a keyboard my wife and I take to events, test rigs, or my main PC is actually much smaller. Cooler Master has been one of the main brands you would find on that list and that is because from the day they introduced the original QuickFire Rapid I have loved their keyboards. They keep their keyboards simple with nothing flashy but the quality for the most part has been there. When they moved on to the Rapid-I I really started to get excited about the features they were introducing but with the XTI I was a little disappointed. Not because it was a bad keyboard, in fact it’s a great keyboard, I just really wanted it to be full RGB or have white backlighting like the Rapid-I. Well all of the waiting is finally over. For the past few weeks I’ve been using their new MasterKeys Pro L full RGB keyboard and today I’m finally allowed to unzip my lips and talk about it. So I’m going to run down through its features, talk about how it performed, then break down where it fits in the market. All of that will hopefully help you find out if this is the keyboard for you, check it out!

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Swiftech H220 X2 Prestige

So you have built your new rig but it feels like it is missing something. Well you might be running the stock cooler or you might even have a decent air cooler installed. They might get the job done but when it comes to putting so much money into your computer it’s hard to know that you spent that much while still skimping on your cooling. You could just throw down and build a full custom water cooling loop, I know I’ve done that on a few of my builds. But things have gotten so much easier with all in one water cooling kits coming out from basically every manufacture. Well in the case of my LAN rig I had installed an AIO water cooler last year but recently is has been driving me crazy with water in the lines. Because of that I reach out to our old friends over at Swiftech about their new H220 X2 AIO kit. The difference between their kits and most other manufactures is they are basically an all in one custom kit that you can expand and upgrade later. The new models add in LED lighting, a visible reservoir, and many more features over past models. So not only does it give me a chance to check out what the new kits are all about, it also helps give the LAN rig an upgrade before I make it out to a few events over the summer.

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Gigabyte Z170N-Gaming 5

With companies finding ways to pack more and more features into Mini-ITX motherboards the small form factor market has flourished over the past few years. We are finally seeing a lot of people running smaller builds at events as LAN rigs and the idea of a higher end build doesn’t require a case that hardly fits in your car and needs a backbelt to pickup anymore. In fact, even when looking past the smallest builds we have been seeing cases designed for Mini-ITX that are still more mid tower designs. This is because most builds only need a single video card these days and built in NICs have improved in quality, ITX boards now sometimes have wireless, and even onboard audio has improved (and some people have moved to USB audio). All of that means most people don’t really need huge builds. I already took a look at MSIs Z170 ITX gaming board and today I’m checking out the Gigabyte Z170N-Gaming 5, Gigabytes highest featured ITX board to see what they have packed into the ITX form factor.

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Patriot Viper V360 headset and V560 Mouse

Just when we thought every company had jumped into the peripherals market at some point and time Patriot showed off their new product line back in June. They introduced a gaming mouse, headset, and a mechanical keyboard, basically the staples. Well late last fall they sent over the headset and mouse but I was a little slow to get into my testing. That said I’ve been testing them both out for a while now and today I’m going to break down what both the Viper V560 Gaming mouse and Viper V360 7.1 Headset are all about and see how they perform. With the peripheral market having so much competition, especially from a few well establishes brands Patriot has an uphill battle, but let’s see how they do with their first try.

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Sapphire R9 380 ITX Compact 4GB

It’s crazy that it was all the way back in 2014 when Sapphire first introduced their R9 285 ITX Compact. That that time we were excited because Ed from Sapphire had been taking a lot of notes at our LANs on builds like our LunchBox 3 and we finally saw why. The 285 ITX Compact blew me away by standing above all of the other ITX cards on the market both in gaming performance but also in cooling performance. In fact, I know a few of the LanOC staff swapped to the card in their LAN rigs. Well I still have it in the LunchBox 3 but I’ve been itching to build a new LAN rig and the first thing I need is a compact ITX card to put in it. As luck would have it Sapphire just refreshed their R9 380 ITX Compact with 4 gigs of ram so today I’m going to put it through the ringer and find out how it performs.

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Hot Keys Project Artisan Keycaps

Almost a year and a half ago I took an in depth look at different ways that you can customize your mechanical keyboards. In that article we took a look at custom keycap sets, novelty caps, custom keysets, even ways to spice up your USB cable and keyboard case. While doing all of that I took a quick look at Artisan keycaps but at the time the only example we had were the molar keycaps and frankly the teeth creeped people out more than it peaked their interest. In the time between then and now I have been following the community and have picked up a few Artisan keycaps along the way that I found interesting. I’ve picked up keycaps from Martin at Hot Keys Project multiple times now and I thought it might be interesting to talk to Martin and find out a little about HKP and then check out their caps. He was nice enough to include a pair of caps along with my last order and answer a few questions I sent over as well. So let’s dig in and find out what Hot Key Project is all about.

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AMD Wraith Cooler

With both AMD and Intel, the stock coolers that they bundle with their CPUs seem like they have been the same forever. There have been changes in the Intel cooler over the years but AMD has stuck with it, mostly because their mounting system has been consistent forever. Well this year at CES AMD announced changes in theirs. They brought their new Wraith cooler to CES and were showing off the performance. Well last week they sent out their new cooler along with the AMD FX 8370 CPU. We have tested the FX 8370 before but it does give me a chance to see how the new cooler performs. So today I’m going to test the new coolers cooling and noise performance as well as the old AMD cooler to see how they compare.

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Input Club Infinity ErgoDox Ergonomic Keyboard Kit

Almost exactly one year ago I sat down and took a look at the original Massdrop ErgoDox kit. A few months after that Massdrop in combination with what would later be called Input Club announced that they had been working on a completely new designed called the Infinity ErgoDox. It’s important to note that the original ErgoDox was originally designed by Dominic Beauchamp aka Dox. Later the Geekhack and Deskthority keyboard community’s worked with Massdrop to provide a full kit. The ErgoDox isn’t exclusive to Massdrop but the specific design that I reviewed last year was. There are actually multiple places where you can put together your own parts or now even buy a pre-built model as well. The Infinity ErgoDox though is a new design based on the original but taking into account what they learned from the 60% Infinity Keyboard that Massdrop worked on with Input Club. The overall shape is the same but the Infinity ErgoDox uses a proper backplate and makes big steps forward with things like USB 3.0, NKRO, an LED screen, backlighting, and stabilizers. So today I’m going to dig into the new kit and see what it is all about, have a little fun building it all, then test out the new design and see how it compares to the original.

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Razer Nabu

Generally, I tend to consider myself up to date with technology, I mean I spend my days testing and writing about the latest and greatest. Every once in a while though something slips past me. A few years ago at CES Razer introduced their Nabu. It wasn’t really the first of its kind with Nike and Fitbit especially doing things that were similar, but it was very surprising to see Razer, a gaming company jump into the market. It wasn’t really until in the past year when I noticed just how popular Fitbit has been with even my own mom having one before me. Well my wife recently decided to get them to start working on bettering ourselves and Razer came back to mind. So today I’m going to take a look at the Razer Nabu and see what it’s all about.

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