When EVGA announced their first Classified motherboard back with X58 I saved up my money so I could get one soon after its launch. The X58 Classified was one of the first mega high end motherboards on the market and it started a race to the top to see who could make the coolest motherboard possible while trying to pack in the highest overclocking headroom as possible. From then on EVGA has introduced Classified motherboards for each Intel chipset launched. They have even expanded into Classified GPUs as well! Well with the launch of X99 it wasn’t a big surprise that EVGA would be ready to go with their latest and greatest based on the new enthusiast chipset. Today I’m going to see how it compares to the other X99’s on the market and see just how far things have come from the X58 Classified that is still hanging on my office wall.  

I absolutely love building Mini-ITX gaming rigs. Every time I build a new Lunchbox (what I call our LAN rigs), I try to make them smaller and faster. Either of those along can be a challenge, but trying to constantly pack a faster rig into a small can be a huge challenge. Thankfully recently motherboard manufactures, video card manufactures, and heatsink manufactures have taken notice and have started to make things easier. With the launch of the R9 285 Sapphire jumped into that same market with their first Mini-ITX focused video card. With their focus on attending LANs this wasn’t a huge shock. What was surprising was the fact they went with the new R9 285 when MSI has the R9 270 and GTX 760. I have no doubt that the ITX Compact R9 285 will outperform the other Mini-TX cards, heck we proved that live at our LAN last weekend. Power usage and heat are also important in small form factor builds, I can’t wait to see how well it will perform.  

I arrived at the LanOC office around 1:00 AM or so Friday morning to join Chad, Debo, and Wes in an informal review of what would be the next few days, better known as LanOC v15.0. We quickly decided, influenced largely by late-night appetites, that it was a discussion better had over food. Van Wert is not known for its nightlife, so we started out East (the way I had just came) in search of food. We found ourselves at a Denny’s off of US 30, conversing with the third shift waitress about how Debo reminded her of her daughter (they both hate everything). With full stomachs, a game plan, and most importantly a new nickname for Debo (Shelby), we returned home before the sun came up to catch a few hours of sleep.

While it’s been obvious AMDs big focus has been on their APUs for the last few years. Even so in the background they have still been making a few waves with the FX line of CPUs, the main one being the launch of the 5GHz CPU a little over a year ago. Just when we thought they may have forgotten about the enthusiasts they are actually introducing a few new CPUs to the FX lineup and making changes to the overall pricing structure to better place their CPUs to compete with Intel’s introductions over the summer. Today I’m going to mainly be focusing on the newly introduced FX-8370 and the lower wattage FX-9370E, but AMD did send along the FX-9370 and the FX-9590 so we can see how the new CPUs perform in relation to their bigger brothers.

All the way back before LanOC V14 when I was tossing around ideas for our next event we tossed around the idea of putting together a PC to give away at V15. This quickly tuned into a discussion about how to give it away. I decided early on that I wanted make sure that everyone would have a chance to win it. Well today is the day, I can officially announce our PC giveaway for LanOC V15 and more importantly I would like to announce our collaboration with Child's Play to raise money for Parkview Hospital in neighboring Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

We can’t very well look at the i7-5960X from Intel and not do a motherboard review along with it right? As the first of what I  expect to be a list of X99 motherboards I will be covering, I wanted to use the X99 Deluxe first because Asus boards are always reliable and the software is perfect for keeping an eye on things when benchmarking the CPU. Asus went with a simpler name than on previous generations with the X99 Deluxe and they also went a little ham and changed up a lot with the new design. Let’s see what all changed, beyond the new white styling.

If it feels like we were just right here not to long ago talking about Intel’s latest CPU it is because we were. They launched their Devils Canyon CPUs about two and a half months ago and here we are again. The thing is, today’s launch is designed to be sold alongside of the I7-4790K. This is because officially the 4790K and everything else on the 1150 socket are considered mainstream products. The i7-5960X Haswell-E CPU I will be looking at is an enthusiast product. That means there aren’t limitations like the limited number of PCIe Lanes that the mainstream line runs into all of the time. On top of that we have twice as many cores, twice the ram, DDR4, and a big price tag like all of the other flagship CPUs. The 5960X will certainly not be for the light hearted or budget builds, but I’m excited to see how it performs compared to the model before it and the extremely fast mainstream chips that sell beside it. While I’m at it I’m going to see what king of room you might have left when it comes time to overclock as well.

As some of you know we use a few projectors at our LAN events. In between events I have been known to setup a projector in the office to watch a movie, watch eSport streams, and even play a few games. The problem I have in the office is our textured walls don’t exactly give the best picture. Because of that and because we would like more flexibility for setting up at our events I have been on the lookout for a projector screen for a while now. My requirements were something that is portable, so it can be taken to our events no matter their location, easy/quick to setup, and of course, I would like it to give the best picture possible in different environments.  I came across a company called Elite Screens that manufactures a wide selection of screens and found the ezCinema Plus Series that fit our requirements and even didn’t break the bank. Today I’m going to take a look at the ezCinema Plus in its largest size (100 inches) and see how well it performs.

It’s amazing how quickly things can add up. A great example of this is just how many motherboards a company like MSI manufactures. Just on the Intel side of things, you have multiple chipsets and then from there they have an overclocking line, gaming line, and their general line. From there they still have to break things down by price and feature set. Just for the Intel Socket 1150 they have a whopping 67 motherboards listed on their website. With the launch of Devils Canyon CPUs I really wanted to take a look at a few of their boards to get an idea of what the different price points will get you. So today, I’m going to take a look at four different Gaming motherboards ranging in size from Mini ITX to full ATX. Three are Z97 boards but there is also their only B85 gaming model slipped in as well.  Combined with the Z97 Gaming 5 that I already took a look at, we should be able to get a good idea of what you should be looking at for your builds and why they have such a wide variety of motherboards.

Earlier this year AMD introduced their Kaveri APUs and I had the chance to take a look at the A10-7850K. While I wouldn’t consider is an enthusiast part, I came out of our testing seriously impressed with the improvements AMD has made on the GPU side of things. I thought the new Kaveri APUs would be perfect for HTPCs as well as budget gaming rigs. Well today AMD is officially announcing a few new APUs that fill in a few gaps in that product line. The new APUs are the A10-7800, A8-7600, and the A6-7400K. While the architecture is the same, the new models do have a few interesting standouts. For one the A6-7400K is unlocked and has a low price to compete with the Intel G3258 Anniversary Edition. The other one that caught my eye was the A10-7800. It shares similar stats with the A10-7850K but with nearly half the power usage! Today I’m going to take a look at the A10-7800 to see if it is as exciting as the numbers imply.

 

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