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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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Corsair Strafe RGB Cherry MX Silent

By now a lot of you have most likely picked up or at least tried a mechanical keyboard. After years of membrane keyboards being the norm, mechanical keyboards have burst back on to the scene over the last few years. This is great, but have you ever been in the same room or office as someone typing on a loud mech with blue or greens? I love them, but man it’s enough to drive you crazy. For me I’ve stuck with Cherry MX Browns or Clears on my personal keyboards whenever possible for my wife’s sanity. Even then people have tried O-Rings and other options to keep things toned down. Well Cherry recently introduced a new silent switch and for the first six months it is only available from Corsair. Lucky for us we got the new Corsair Strafe RGB Cherry MX Silent in. Not only does that give us a chance to check out the new key switch, but it’s also our first look at the RGB cherry switches and the Strafe as well.

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Aftershokz Gamez

While we focus a lot on PC and gaming products, I do try to keep an eye out on a variety of different technologies. One of those technologies that we have seen pop up from time to time but has never made it into gaming products is bone conductive audio. A lot of you might remember the jawbone as an example but I also remember a company that I saw at CES back in 2013 called Aftershokz and their headsets for joggers. Well during the holidays as usual as I’m getting spammed with CES emails an email from Aftershokz caught my eye because they introduced a new gaming focused model called the Aftershokz Gamez. While im not a fan of the use of Z’s in the brand and model name I did want to check it out and see what the tech and the product was all about. After spending time with them today I’m going to sit down and go over how they performed so check it out.

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MSI Z170I Gaming Pro AC

Over the last few years small builds have been becoming more and more popular. Both for LAN rigs like we have been using for a long time, but even for main PCs. This is partially due to more parts being available but mostly some people are tired of dealing with huge heavy cases, especially when you can do nearly anything you want in the Mini-ITX form factor. Late this fall I started thinking about a new LAN rig, maybe even another iteration of our LunchBox series, before I did that though I really needed to check out the new Z170 boards. That leads me to today where I’m going to check out MSI’s gaming focused Mini-ITX board, the Z170I Gaming Pro AC. I’ve used a few of MSI’s ITX boards in builds before and I’m excited to see what this one has to offer.

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MSI ThunderStorm

While we’ve been focusing mostly on MSI’s latest offerings in the motherboard and video card departments they’ve stayed busy filling out a fairly robust peripheral lineup. Many would consider a mouse pad to be the least exciting of the roster, but I’m blessed with just enough obsessiveness to be concerned with how a mouse pad feels, fits, and performs. We recently received the ThunderStorm from MSI, a reversible aluminum mouse pad designed with quality in mind. I’ve spent some time with the surface both at home and on the road to see if it hits the mark.

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