Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti Founders Edition

Last week Nvidia announced their new RTX 3080 Ti gaming flagship but at the same time, they also announced a second card, the RTX 3070 Ti. The RTX 3070 Ti is set to fit in between the RTX 3070 and the RTX 3080 with the same GA104 GPU as the original 3070 but with a few more SMs and a few other big upgrades as well. Today we can finally talk about how it performs, so I’m going to run through what Nvidia has changed to make the Ti then put it through our benchmark suite to see if it's worth the extra money they are asking. The GPU market is still extremely tough, but we still want to keep everyone informed of what to expect to help you figure out what cards you want to try to seek out.

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Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition

While the RTX 3090 was Nvidia’s big dog, the RTX 3080 has been their gaming flagship, leaving the 3090 to fill a role similar to the Titan cards in the past. So Nvidia’s announcement of the RTX 3080 Ti Monday was big news for 4k focused gamers. The RTX 3080 Ti is situated to be the new gaming flagship. It’s hard to believe that the RTX 3080 was launched 9 months ago and the last flagship Ti card the RTX 2080 Ti was back in September of 2018. Unlike the RTX 3080 which had a 2-week wait from announcement to the launch, the RTX 3080 Ti on the other hand was announced Monday, reviews are out today and you can (hopefully) buy them tomorrow. But before then, today I’m going to see what the 3080 Ti is all about and how it performs, so let’s dive in!

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Zotac RTX 3060 AMP White Edition

The last Zotac card we had come into the office was back in late 2019 with the Zotac GTX 1650 SUPER Twin Fan. It’s a little crazy just how much things have changed from then to now, it’s no joke that 2020 alone feels like it was two years. But beyond all of that, with the latest generation of video cards, most of the manufacturers changed up their designs as well. Combine that with just how hard cards have been to get, I was excited to get the chance to check out one of Zotac’s cards when they announced the RTX 3060 AMP, but I was even more excited when they sent out the AMP White Edition. I’ve loved all white builds all the way back to our Fridge build in a Case Labs TH10, but at that point there just weren’t many white component options at all. I painted what I could and used chrome for a lot of the water cooling so it would blend in. That was also the first build that I went with RGB. Then here we are now 9 years later and white components are not only available, but you actually have options from multiple companies and RGB well... Okay, I’m sorry about that one.

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EnGenius ECW260 WiFi 6 2x2 Outdoor Access Point

Moving to WiFi 6 in my house and office did get us improved performance when it comes to transfer speeds and it also better handles having a lot of devices on the network. But the one big downside for me was a little less range, especially when running through our old plaster over plasterboard walls which are twice as thick and denser than drywall, not to mention who knows what kind of lead paint might be on there. This lead to wireless issues in a few areas in the house at the farthest points and also issues out in my yard and detached garage. This became a bigger issue when mowing as I listen to music on the wireless and it would drop at the farthest parts of my lawn. I also had trouble opening and closing my smart garage door from the mower when on the far side of the garage. Lucky for me EnGenius introduced their ECW260 WiFi 6 2x2 outdoor access point which matches the ECW230 I’m using inside. Our winter hit and I struggled to get it mounted out and get outside testing done but today I’m finally going to check out the ECW260 to see what it is all about.

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MSI Clutch GM41 Lightweight Wireless

The lightweight mouse trend started years ago in the enthusiast communities but more recently it has started to take hold with the mainstream gaming-focused products. I’ve been digging what some of the companies have been doing to keep the weight down and I’m glad to see that they are listening to what people want. MSI jumped into the trend earlier this year with their Clutch GM41 lightweight which came in at 65 grams. Well, today they are announcing that they have a wireless version of that same mouse which comes in at 74 grams and I’m going to check it out. Keeping the weight down with wireless mice is harder to do because you have to add batteries and I’m excited to check out how the GM41 performs in general as I didn’t check out the original so let's dive in!

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Project Data Hoarder – TrueNAS CORE Build Part 3

Well, I’ve been busy and because of that projects like our TrueNAS Core build quickly get put aside for other things. But it is still important. The last time we took a look at it I went over the storage options that we went with. Well in order for everything to work, I need processing power. So today I’m going to go over what I’m planning on using for the motherboard, CPU, RAM, and for some of our cooling. The original goal for the build was to put to use some older hardware combined with new components on wear items like the storage into a new rack-mounted case. So some of this hardware isn’t going to be cutting edge, but that’s the point of a NAS build like this right? Putting your old PC hardware to use to get more life out of it.

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Sapphire Nitro+ RX 6700XT

When it comes to AMD video cards, Sapphire has always been known for their quality and great performance. Sadly I missed out on seeing any of Sapphire's cards for the 5000 series, the last Sapphire card we have had a look at was the RX580 but that changes today. I’ve had the Sapphire Nitro+ RX 6700XT in the office and I’ve been doing some testing on it. Today we (you and I) are going to check out what Sapphire is doing differently from the last time I saw them and what they are doing differently from the competition, then we will see how the Nitro+ RX6700 XT performs in our test suite. I can’t wait any longer, lets dive in!

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Lexar NM620 512GB

While PCIe gen 4.0 drives are starting to trickle into the market now that AMD and Intel both support it on their latest chipsets. The reality is that most PCs out right now still use PCIe gen 3.0 so there is still a lot of need for them. So it isn’t a big surprise to still see companies bringing out new gen 3 drives. A good example of this is the NM620 from Lexar which came out a few months ago which pushes gen 3.0 to its limits. Today I’m going to check out the NM620 to see what Lexar has going on and to see how their new drive performs.

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Gigabyte RTX 3060 Eagle 12G

With the shortages, I sadly haven’t had the chance to check out any of the latest generation of cards from Gigabyte to see what is new their way. But I did recently happen to receive their RTX 3060 Eagle 12G. The Eagle is an interesting one to have come in because while that product line came out last year and covers the 2000 series and the 1600 series of cards I haven’t had the chance to check one out yet. They are a little more budget-focused which is the opposite of what I’ve been seeing this generation with some companies taking advantage of the unprecedented demand to bring out higher-cost cards. It still has features that you expect to see from Gigabyte like their Windforce cooling so I am excited to see how it performs. Let’s check it out!

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Project Data Hoarder – TrueNAS CORE Build Part 2

Late last fall I set out to finally make a few big upgrades to our network and storage which was long overdue. In fact, around that time and over the winter I have had one NAS die and I’ve had 4 different hard drives and one SSD die. So saying it was overdue is an understatement and frankly dealing with each of those drives has been a big reminder that no matter how safe you might think you are being with your data that you most likely should be doing more if you don’t want to lose it. Anyhow our TrueNAS CORE build saw a big delay while waiting on the final parts. There are shortages all over the place, not just on the CPU and GPU side of things but today I can finally get back to work on the build. Today I want to go over all of the storage components. These are the most important part of a NAS and depending on how many drives you have planned they are most likely also going to be the most expensive part as well. So let’s check out what I went with for data storage and the OS drive.

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TerraMaster F2-422 10GbE

Late last year I had an interesting external storage option come in that ran on Thunderbolt3 and also provided dock like functionality with a display connection, USB,  and ethernet ports. This was the TerraMaster TD2 Thunderbolt3 Plus and it was the first time I had the chance to check out TerraMaster. They also make a few different NAS models and they recently had a new series, their 422 series which added 10Gb network support which caught my eye. They sent over the F2-422 which is a two-drive model that looks a lot like the TD2 and today I am finally going to talk a little about the overall experience. Is the F2-422 a cheaper NAS option for someone looking for a 10Gb NAS and is the extra network bandwidth worth it? Today I will check that out.

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Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 1TB

Up until Intel’s most recent launch, PCI Gen 4 has been limited to just the most recent AMD Ryzen chipsets which have been very popular. But now with both sides of the line having support Gen 4 devices will be more and more important. The Rocket Q4 that I previously took a look at was a Gen 4 drive, but it was just an updated controller on top of the normal Rocket setup. The Rocket 4 Plus is a PCIe Gen 4 drive like the previous Sabrent SSD I had in the office but this one is promising speeds closer to what you would expect for gen 4.0. Today I’m going to check it out to see what sets it apart and to find out how it performs compared with both Gen 4 and Gen 3 drives to see if it should be on your wishlist for your next build or upgrade.

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Intel Core i9-11900K and i5-11600K

Intel’s Rocket Lake CPUs which are their latest 11th generation of their Core desktop lineup were officially announced earlier this month but they have been a bit of an open secret for a while now. There have even been CPUs available for sale way ahead of the launch so there has been a lot of information all over the place on Intel’s upcoming latest generation of desktop CPUs. Today is finally the day that the embargo lifts and we can take a closer look at the new lineup, namely the performance of two CPUs the Core i9 11900K and the i5-11600K that Intel sent over for us to test out. The competition in the CPU market has been strong and Intel has continued to push the limits so it will be interesting to see what they have in store for the 11th gen CPUs so let's dive in and see what the story is.

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MSI MPG A750GF Power Supply

Last fall MSI announced that they were entering into the power supply market. It isn’t a huge surprise. MSI has been slowly branching out their product lineup with lots of peripherals for years in addition to the normal motherboards and GPUs. They are also a big name in laptops and prebuilt systems as well. We have seen similar companies like Asus do the same thing over the last few years and Gigabyte as well. You can now pick a brand and nearly build a complete themed out PC with a lot of companies. I did that with Asus not long ago and here soon MSI could be a possibility as well now that they have PSUs, new cases (they did a few cheaper cases years ago), and water cooling all being added. The new power supplies have the same MPG branding that MSI uses on their motherboard naming and their first units are available in 650w, 750w, and 850w options. The MPG A750GF that I’m checking out today is of course the middle option. SO let’s see what they are all about.

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XFX MERC319 6700 XT

 The RX 6700 XT has been exciting, having already taken a look at one other card we know that it performs well in the 1440p range and is a monster for 1080p for anyone looking to run a high refresh rate monitor. The first card I took a look at was an overclocked one from MSI but XFX also sent over a card. I was impressed with their new styling when I took a look at the Merc 319 6800 XT and from what I’ve seen the Merc 319 6700 XT has a similar setup. The name alone tells us that this is their high-end model and it has the triple-fan cooler. So it will be interesting to see if the 6700 XT performs even better with the cooler and we get the chance to check out card-to-card performance as well which is a rare chance in the current market. So let’s jump in and see what it is all about and find out if it’s the 6700 XT to pick up.

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MSI RX 6700 XT Gaming X

Well, today's the day, AMD announced the RX 5700 XT on their video launch at the start of March. There have been performance leaks and lots of information but today is the day where everything is released. I don’t have a reference card coming in to test but I do have an overclocked card from MSI. Their RX 6700 XT Gaming X. Today I’m going to put it through our normal test suite to see how it performs and to get an idea of where it stands in today's very complicated market.

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Logitech Pro X Superlight

In late 2018 Logitech introduced their G Pro Wireless gaming mouse which for the first time showed that lightweight mice could be wireless. Weight was just starting to take off with enthusiasts and Logitech was quick to innovate on the wireless side. At the time I was already sporting the G703 with their PowerPlay mousepad that wirelessly charges so the move to a mouse that is similar in shape to what I prefer that would be lighter weight and wireless was a no-brainer. Even with all of the other mice that have come into the office, on my main PC, I always end up back using the G Pro Wireless. So when rumors of a new lighter weight model starter to take off I couldn’t wait. Well, I finally got my hands on the new Pro X Superlight and I can see what all has changed.

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Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360 Sub-Zero

Let’s be honest, for the most part, innovation in the AIO cooler market these days consists more of adding more RGB lighting than anything on the performance side of things. But Cooler Master did recently pair up with Intel and change that up. They introduced the MasterLiquid ML360 Sub-Zero. They added a TEC cooler into the loop to push AIO cooling into the sub-ambient cooling range. If you haven’t heard of a TEC cooler, I wouldn’t blame you. TEC is a shortened version of Thermoelectric Unit and they can also be known as a Peltier cooler. In short, they use electricity to cool and while they are effective they aren’t particularly power efficient which is why fridges and air conditioners use refrigerant-based cooling options. But they have been used for cooling computers before, in fact, Cooler Master themselves have used them with their V10 design that I took a look at 11 years ago. So today I’m going to check out the ML360 Sub-Zero and see how they have incorporated the TEC cooler in with an AIO and step away from our normal cooler testing which is normally on a range of Ryzen CPUs to test this on the Intel 10900K as this is an Intel exclusive cooler.

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MSI RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio

With my first look at the newly launched RTX 3060, I had the chance to take a look at the XC Black which has a stock 3060 clock and is designed to reach the target MSRP Nvidia announced. But what other kinds of options are out there? MSI sent over their RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio which has an overclock out of the box and a significantly larger three fan design. I’m excited to see what MSI has going on with their higher-end RTX 3060 and to see how the 3060 performs with an overclock. So let’s dive in and see what the Gaming X Trio is all about!

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EVGA RTX 3060 XC Black

The video card market has been a little like groundhog day for four or five months now with card demand being through the roof and availability being limited. Big jumps in cryptocurrencies have brought mining back in vogue as well which has exacerbated things as well. Well, today is the big day for the new Nvidia RTX 3060 which was announced back in January. Nvidia has already put miners on notice that they are taking firmware and software action to limit mining performance, at least with Etherium with the hope that their new cards can get into gamer's hands. This is extremely important because the RTX 3060 follows up the RTX 2060 and the GTX 1060 which were huge sellers. Today I’m going to check out the EVGA RTX 3060 XC Black and see how the new GPU performs in EVGAs more compact dual-fan SFF friendly design.

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