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Asus R9 380X Strix OC

When it comes to picking out a video card for your PC, I think we would all go with the top end cards if it was possible. But the truth is when we are picking out our components it is all a balance. We have to make sure that no one component gets the biggest portion of the budget, the card has to fit the budget, and it also has to fit with your other components. In other words, you wouldn’t go with a Fury if you could only afford a power supply that would power an R7 370. Because of that it is nice to have options and for the most part AMD has done a good job filling in the gaps. The one glaring omission though has been the lack of a 380X to match the 370X and 390X’s in their product line. Well today they have filled that gap. So today I’m going to dig into the Asus R9 380X Strix and find out what sets the 380X apart from the competition as well as the 380 and 390 that it sits between.

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Cooler Master Barebones Novatouch

Well over a year ago we first had the chance to check out a keyboard from Cooler Master that I had been excited about for a long time, their Novatouch TKL. This was their first Hybrid Capacitive keyboard, they worked closely with Topre to design it with a unique stem design that lets you run keycaps designed for Cherry MX switches on it. This is important because as we found out about a year ago in our Keyboard Customization article, you can do a LOT to set your keyboard apart. So over the past year Cooler Master has been working to show everyone why the Novatouch is different, but at least in my opinion the price has been a bit hard for some people to get over. Well over time the price has some down, but in addition to that they have recently been selling a special Barebones model that brings the price down even more. The barebones Novatouch TKL is specifically for people who already plan on replacing the keycaps with something else, cutting the costs down by selling it without keycaps. Well I got the Barebones Novatouch TKL in as well as a new set of custom keycaps, today I’m going to show you what you can do with the Novatouch and reflect on over a years’ worth of use in the performance section.

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Tenda AC15 AC1900 Router

When it comes to networking nearly all of the companies that come to mind have been around for what seems like forever. It is rare to see new companies bust into the market. Well recently a new company called Tenda reached out to me about covering their latest router. I found out when researching them that Tenda has actually been around for 16 years, even though their name isn’t exactly a household name. The AC15 router that they wanted me to check out caught my eye though and I figured I would see what Tenda has to offer and find out if their new AC1900 router has what it takes to be the router you go with when moving to Wireless AC.

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OCZ Trion 100 480GB

After Toshiba picked up the bankrupt OCZ we have seen OCZ drives move to using Toshiba NAND. With the launch of the Trion 100 though things are a little different. For the first time this is full Toshiba drive that is branded with the OCZ branding. The Trion falls in OCZs product lineup as a budget drive under both the Vertex and Vector drives. The Trion 100 is the first TLC based drive for OCZ, TLC (Triple Level Cell) is similar to MLC but with an additional layer to provide a higher storage density and with that help lower costs as well. So today I’m going to dig into the Trion 100 and find out what makes it tick and then run it through our performance testing to find out how well it performs. Then at the end of the day we will put all of that together along with the price and find out if the Trion 100 is the budget drive for you.

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Sound Blaster X7 and E-MU XM7 bookshelf speakers

Like most of you PC and along with it my office is almost like a living being, slowly evolving. Every year or two I’m changing out my video cards, my motherboard, even keyboards and mice. It’s weird though, looking back there are only a few things that seem to be very consistent, my desk and for the most part my speakers. Well when I was replacing my desk last fall I decided that I wanted to move from the Corsair SP2500’s to something new. Now keep in mind, the Corsairs sounded good as did the Klipsch’s that I have before that. So to continue to evolve I wanted to go a new direction. Well the timing was good as Creative Labs had just recently introduced their X7 and more recently their E-MU XM7 bookshelf speakers. I loved the X5 when I covered it and for a long time I even used it over the onboard on my PC but the X7 looked to be a much more fitting permanent option. Well I’ve been testing both the X7 and the XM7 speakers for a while now and we can finally sit down and go over what they are and how well they performed.

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20XX Early Access Preview

I got my hands on a key for 20XX a week or so before the demo was released for Mighty No. 9, and I remember when it was announced somewhat shrugging, and starting a new run in the formerly mentioned title. The similarities between the two are obvious, not only in their influence from the Mega Man franchise but also that they are both in this weird, pre-release stage that so many games find themselves in. I’m still very much looking forward to a modern day Mega Man from the original development team, but 20XX has managed to scratch an itch that has otherwise been delayed.

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Tesoro Excalibur Spectrum

Back in June I tested and wrote about one of Tesoro’s new full RGB keyboards, the Lobera Spectrum. While I liked a lot of the keyboards features, the styling wasn’t exactly what I would look for in my own keyboard. So when they mentioned their other full RGB keyboard, the Excalibur Spectrum I jumped at the chance. The share a lot of the same features, but the styling on the Excalibur line is a lot cleaner and simpler compared to the Lobera, so I was excited to take a look at it and find out if it would really be a better fit for me and anyone else who prefers a little bit simpler design. Well I have been testing it for a few weeks now and I can finally sit down and talk a little about how it performed, find out if it lived up to my expectations! 

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LanOC at NeXus LAN 16

It’s been a little over two years since I made it to a NeXus LAN, and if I recall correctly it was their first event to be held at their new venue in the Miamisburg Moose lodge. The building was familiar with the signature round tables and the large stage area packed with busy staff members. The registration and prize tables seemed to spill out from the stage, and as we continued in it became clear why: NeXus had grown substantially since my last visit. The tables seemed to have doubled, claiming another room once separated by a divider.

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Mionix Castor

It’s weird, for a long time it felt like I was testing a new mouse every week or two week. More recently though that has almost completely flipped and my peripheral testing has been all keyboards. Well just before vacation and then the LAN I did have a bit of a chance of pace. Mionix sent over their latest mouse, the Castor and asked us to take a look at it. So I’ve been putting the new mouse to the test in the office while I have been getting caught up on work. Well I finally have a little time to be able to sit down and talk about Mionix’s latest mouse and how it performed, so hang on I’m going to go over everything.

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My weekend hunting terrorists (Rainbow Six Siege closed beta preview)

Only a few months have passed since Ubisoft announced at E3 that Terrorist Hunts would be returning in Rainbow Six Siege. Messages immediately blew up between our small gaming group. The three of us have been gaming together for a long time; at least a decade, if not more. When Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 released in 2008, we networked together a couple of Xbox 360s and played Terrorist Hunts endlessly. Eventually we migrated to the the PC and spent countless hours progressing our characters, unlocking weapons, and hunting terrorists all over again. Ubisoft would stop officially supporting online matchmaking, but it’s still possible to play online (we had to try after hearing the announcement).

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