Corsair MP400 1TB

Corsair has been in the SSD game going all the way back to when it started and while the focus recently has been on PCIe Gen 4.0 drives for most companies. Corsair was early to that back when PCIe 4.0 was first available over a year ago at the X570 launch. With that in mind, they are still launching PCIe 3.0 drives as well to give new options for those who don’t have 4.0 or don’t want/need the extra speed or costs. So they introduced the MP400 this past October. It is available in 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, and 8TB options and features 3D QLC NAND. Today I’m going to check out the 1TB model which is Corsair's cheapest 1TB SSD option to test its performance and see how it fits in today's market.

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Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27

Porsche Design is a subsidiary of Porsche SE or better known as the company that makes Porsche cars. Porsche Design has been around for 48 years, designing car accessories early on but in the last four years moving also into the electronics markets including working with AOC on a few of their highest-end monitor designs. They have partnered up once again with the PD27 which incorporates a car roll cage like design for the monitor stand with a high-end gaming monitor with a 240Hz refresh rate, Freesync Premium Pro, HDR, and a 1000R curvature for a premium gaming experience. Today I’m going to check out the Agon PD27’s design and performance and see if it lists up to the high pedigree of the Porsche name and its premium price.

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AOC 16T2 15.6 Portable USB-C Touchscreen Monitor

In the office, I use three monitors on my main PC as well as a fourth for whichever test bench I am using at that time. But when I leave the office it is almost a culture shock as I work from a single 13 inch Razer Blade Stealth. It isn’t that I don’t like the extra real estate a large laptop offers, I used to roll with a 20 inch monster of a gaming laptop at one point. But after that, I have gone small and portable, too large and I never bother to even take my laptop with me. I’ve considered adding in a portable monitor for a while but have never made the jump but recently AOC sent over their 16T2 which is a 15.6 portable touchscreen monitor that runs on USB Type-C and has a built-in battery backup as well. So I’m going to give the 16T2 a try and see if expanding my screen real estate is worth it. With COVID we haven’t had many chances to work on the road, but I imagine once things settle down my wife and I will be making up time and it might just come in handy. So let’s see what the 16TG2 is all about.

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Ray Tracing in Night City aka Cyberpunk 2077

There is a good chance that by now you have been playing Cyberpunk 2077 or you have it on your list of games that you plan on playing in the future. It is without a doubt the most hyped-up release of the year and everyone has been talking about it. It is an extremely demanding game and amazing detail. On top of that, it also has DXR or DirectX Ray Tracing capabilities as well as support for DLSS from Nvidia as well. Nvidia sent over a copy of the game and I’ve already seen a lot of outlets test out performance in the game. Rather than go that direction again, I just want to check out what ray tracing features it has and see if it's worth the investment to make sure your GPU supports them.  So let's dive in and take a closer look!

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Corsair CX750F RGB

I don’t think there are any companies who have embraced the RGB trends more than Corsair has, both with their product lineup which has some of the best RGB fans, RGB lighting for your office, RGB memory, and of course keyboards and mice as well as on the memes side of things as well. Corsair has been on point with RGB memes, embracing it and doing April fools jokes like RGB thermal paste. Even the first gif that pops up on Twitter when you type in RGB is their social media manager with RGB glasses and keyboard. But even with all of that their PSU lineup hasn’t had an RGB model available with the competition doing it years ago. But that changed recently with the Corsair CX-F lineup, and today I’m going to check out the CX750F RGB and see what the new lineup is all about so put on your RGB glasses and get ready!

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AMD Ryzen 5 5600X

Well, I may be a little late to the party with the Ryzen 5000 series, but we didn’t get one in at the launch. But here we are a little over a month later and we can finally check out the Ryzen 5 5600X which is the mid-range CPU of the new Zen 3 CPUs. This is also one of the most sought after models as well, with its MSRP being $299 and being much more reasonable for a build. Availability is still a constant issue, as it has been with ALL of the launches packed into the end of the year this year. But I’m excited to see the performance improvements promised, especially the single-core/IPC improvements which play a big role in gaming performance. Is the Ryzen 5 5600X going to be what is in your next build? Let’s find out.

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Terra Master TD2 Thunderbolt3 Plus

With portability being a big focus, Ultrabooks and almost the entire laptop market except for gaming laptops have traded features like DVD/BluRay drives, Ethernet ports, and expandable storage in the name of keeping laptops thin. This has even pushed some to focus on the newer Type-C connection and with it Thunderbolt for nearly everything including charging. For some this hasn’t been a big deal, but others have leaned on dongles and other adapters to add things back. Even I have been using portable SSDs for supplemental storage on my own laptop, especially now with a lot of laptops even soldering on the SSD. Well, TerraMaster has their TD2 Thunderbolt3 Plus which is at its core an external Thunderbolt 3 enclosure for two hard drives, but once I started to dig in I noticed it is much more. Let's take a look.

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Qnap TS-453DU

While I am in the process of building a FreeNAS server to get some experience with it, I wasn’t planning on switching all three of our NAS over to the one system. I’ve been running two Qnap NAS for a while now and I love the flexibility they offer on the software side. So with the move to getting our data storage tucked away better in our rack, it was a perfect time to check out a rack-mounted NAS from Qnap. Specifically, their TS-453DU which has a matching non-rack mounted option in the TS-453D with that version also having 6 and 2 disk models and the rack-mounted version having 8 and 12 disk capacity options as well as a second 4 disk model with a redundant power supply. These are Celeron J4125 quad-core based and feature dual 2.5G network ports. This means we can do some testing to see how the 2.5G network that is coming with a lot of net motherboards can offer in real-world performance. So let’s dive in and see what the Qnpa TS-453DU has to offer for hardware, software, and performance!

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Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition

Every GPU launch cycle we go and get excited about the biggest and best cards in the market and the flagship cards like the RTX 3090 are exciting. But they are often beyond what people are looking to spend and beyond what a lot of people need if not gaming at high resolutions. So as Nvidia fills out their product stack, the cards that people are waiting for are farther down. Like the RTX 3060 Ti that is launching today. While the latest-gen cards, in general, are extremely hard to find still, Nvidia is finally starting to let loose the cards that fill the middle of the range that. Even right now four and a half years later, the GTX 1060 dominates the Steam hardware usage charts at 10.9% and the top 15-20 are almost all in that same xx50-xx70 range. I’m excited to see what Ampere does and to see what people looking to upgrade in that range can look forward to.

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WD_Black AN1500 1TB

Western Digital just recently expanded their PC Gaming lineup and I don’t mean their introduction of the Call of Duty branded parts. They introduced PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD with the new SN850, an NVMe SSD Game Dock with the D50, and an NVMe SSD add-in card with the AN1500. The AN1500 is an interesting product and a little different than you might normally see from WD as it is actually a RAID add-in card. So unlike the new SN850, the AN1500 stays on the older PCIe 3.0 interface which older Ryzen chipsets and all of Intel’s current lineup have. Offering performance beyond their PCIe 3.0 flagship SN750 without being limited to just the newer Ryzen chipsets like the new SN850. Well, today I’m going to take a look at the AN1500 and see how it performs, check out the PCIe Cards RGB lighting, and see where it fits in the market.

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XFX MERC 319 RX 6800 XT

 Some of you may have noticed we didn’t have coverage of the AMD Radeon team's launch of the RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT last week. Sadly we haven’t gotten in the reference cards, at least not yet. But I have had the chance to spend some time with one of the aftermarket RX 6800 XT’s, the XFX Speedster MERC 319 AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT BLACK to be exactly. The full name is a mouthful, but I was excited to see how XFX would follow up the 5000 series. They have changed things up completely with a new series of cards (Speedster) as well as Merc which stands for mercury, not mercenary which designates this is their high-end model. Today we get to get our first official look at the 6800 XT as well as put XFXs new cooler to the test. But only after I take a closer look at what all it has going on. So let’s dive in!

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All Asus ROG Build

I think just about everyone who builds their own PC eventually gets comfortable with a few different brands. They have a good experience along with having friends or family have similar experiences and then you start to favor a few brands over others when given the choice. I know in my builds there are a few that I tend to go with, it's almost like a superstition. For the most part, though, your PC is going to have components from a variety of companies, but recently a few of the brands have been branching out a lot to the point where you can nearly build an entire PC using just their components. Asus being one of those companies has in the last few years gotten into the PSU market, water cooling, and cases as well. I thought it might be fun to put together an all Asus build using the ROG Strix Helios, so let's see how it goes!

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MSI RTX 3080 SUPRIM X

Up until now MSI’s flagship for the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 have been the Gaming X Trio models, but as of today they are stepping up and looking to take on the top end of the market with their brand new brand SUPRIM. SUPRIM, which is said like “Supreme” and I think the name makes it extremely clear what MSI is aiming for. The word is defined as “highest in degree or quality”, MSI is replacing the Lighting models that used to sit at the top of their product stack with a cleaner, more elegant card while still keeping that performance focus. Today I have the RTX 3080 SUPRIM X in the office and I’m excited to see what MSI is doing differently. Especially with Nvidia themselves upping the ante when it comes to build quality and styling over the last few years with the Founders Editions. When the demand/card availability issues start to level out, is the SUPRIM going to be the go-to option? Let’s find out!

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Cooler Master V850 SFX Gold

Cooler Master has been known to mix in a few different popular small cases into their case lineup over the years. But it might come as a surprise, up until this year they hadn’t released anything with an SFX power supply, even though SFX has been around for a long time now. I think we used one in our Lunchbox 2 build over 7 years ago! Well, this year they introduced their NR200 and NC100 SFF cases, and to go with them they were also working on an SFX power supply to add to their PSU lineup as well. In fact, I’ve got the NR200 here in the office, just waiting for the new V850 SFX Gold to come out and after a few delays, it looks like it is finally time. Today I’m going to check out the V850 SFX Gold and see what Cooler Master has going on with their first SFX PSU, then maybe here soon we can use it in a build in the NR200!

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Project Data Hoarder – FreeNAS Build Part 1

Most people store all of their data on their PC or maybe on an external drive and for a long time that was all I did as well. Eventually, because we have multiple devices on our network and because I would reinstall windows often I moved my important files onto the network with a basic server and later I moved to a NAS. But as a data hoarder, I eventually couldn’t fit everything together and split my movies and TV show backups on to their own NAS and everything else on what we call the collective. This has worked well, but our server rack has become a mess with three tower NAS taking up too much space as well as other makeshift servers. I’ve been needing to clean things up for a long time and to start that off I am finally building a rack-mounted NAS. It won’t combine all three of the current NAS, but it will get 2/3 and allow me to also get to know FreeNAS which I’ve heard a lot about. This is a project build, so you can expect to see a few articles going over what is going into the build as well as the build and performance. But today I’m getting started by taking a look at the case itself, which is the Silverstone RM21-308. Let’s get started!

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Project Build Crushed Update - Part 2

Last week I sat down and figured out the issues our build was having. I also started working on those problems by replacing the hard drive that had been making noise for over a year and replaced the dead SSD used for frequently played games as well as the OS SSD to catch it up to modern speeds. While doing that I figured out that the hard drive failure wasn’t helped by poor airflow so today's plan is to update the fans to add more cooling and to lower noise levels. I’ve also got a new power supply to see if that will fix a few of the intermediate issues to find out if the motherboard will also need to be replaced.

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EVGA RTX 3070 XC3 Black

On Tuesday I took a look at the new RTX 3070 Founders Edition as a look at Nvidia’s new Ampere-based GPU ahead of today's launch. Well in addition to the launch, today is also when the embargo drops for aftermarket RTX 3070’s and I’m lucky enough to have the RTX 3070 XC3 Black from EVGA on hand to check out. The RTX 3070 Founders Edition performed well, but today I’m excited to see what an overclock and a different cooler can do. Especially with EVGA going with a more traditional full-length PCB and cooler here over the short PCB that the Founders Edition had to support their unique blow-through design.

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Nvidia RTX 3070 Founders Edition

2020 has been a crazy year for almost everyone and the list of reasons for it are really long, especially with the ongoing pandemic. But on the hardware front, Nvidia’s announcement about their 3000 series of cards surprised a lot of people. The RTX 3080 and the RTX 3090 were a big part of that, but the RTX 3070 also created a lot of excitement. Nvidia showed its performance to be right with last generations' flagship, the RTX 2080 Ti, and with a price of $499 it immediately changed the used market and gave gamers who don’t have a bottomless wallet hope. Well the RTX 3070 will be available on October 29th at 9 am EST and before that mad dash, I’m going to put the RTX 3070 Founders Edition through our test suite to see if the RTX 2080 Ti claims are true and to find out if it is as good of a deal as it sounds.

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Cooler Master MM711 Colorways

Back in September of last year I took a look at the MM710 from Cooler Master and was extremely impressed with their new lightweight mouse. It takes advantage of a honeycomb design to keep the weight down and uses features popular in the mouse enthusiast community like PTFE gliders and a very flexible sleeved cord paired up with a great sensor and reliable switches to be a simple, but great performing mouse. They followed that up with the MM711 which has the same design, but with lighting inside which I also loved. Rather than change things up at all, this year they have kept things the same but to freshen things up they are now offering a few colorways. Specifically a Blue Steel and a Wilderness green as limited edition models. Today I’m going to check them out.

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Project Build Crushed Update - Part 1

A few years back I ended up putting our Crush build aside for a new PC. This was a Threadripper based build but sticking with the Case Labs theme, like Crush this build also had a Bullet case, only it used the taller and more water cooling friendly BH8 in an amazing looking blue. This was actually going to be a project build at the time but I ended up not having time to get things out before the first generation Threadripper was outdated (it came long after the launch). It has been a reliable PC but recently I have been seeing slowdowns and issues. Especially when playing Microsoft Flight Sim 2020, which in a lot of ways brought this system to its knees. This has had me thinking about updates, especially with the 10TB hard drive inside which came from the original Crush build that has been making noise. So today I’m going to start things off with a few small changes before I look at bigger changes soon.

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