Nvidia RTX 2080 Founders Edition

In addition to the new RTX 2080 Ti that I already took a look at. Nvidia also introduced the cheaper RTX 2080 and I have also been testing the RTX 2080 Founders Edition to see how it performs and compares to the 2080 Ti and everything already on the market. The RTX 2080 Ti had a shockingly high price tag and the RTX 2080 FE comes in $400 less so it does have the potential to be a little better on the pocketbook.  While still not cheap, it is currently the cheapest way to get the Turing architecture and you still get that great looking Founders Edition cooler design. So let’s dive in and see how the RTX 2080 does and figure out of the RTX 2080 Founders Edition is the right direction to go if you decide to go RTX 2080, or if you should look at some of the aftermarket designs.

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Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition

Just to put things in perspective, the GTX 1080 launched May 27th, 2016, that was the last consumer launch of a new series of cards and microarchitecture from Nvidia. That is nearly two and a half years ago. In that time the US elected a new president, we saw a total eclipse over the US, the Cubs broke their 108-year long curse and won the world series, we have even been through TWO Olympics, and not to mention the whole crypto craze! Even crazier, the PC market has completely changed as well, The Intel i7-6700K was the top dog in the consumer market with its 4 cores and the bleeding edge was the recently introduced i7-6950X with its 10 cores. Now 6 and 8 core CPUs are the norm in the mainstream lineups and AMD has the 2990WX with 32 cores on the high end! So even with the 1080Ti and later the 1070Ti, we are long overdue for big graphics launches and Nvidia is going all out. Today both the RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2080 launch, I’m going to check out the 2080 Ti first and dive into the new Turing architecture, the use for RTX over GTX, the completely new cooler, and of course performance so hang on we have a lot to get through and a short time to get there (RIP Bandit).

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Cherry MX Board 5.0

So most of you who are looking at mechanical keyboards have heard the name Cherry. They are the name brand in mechanical switches, coming out with their MX switch back in the 80’s. It was later used with other brands especially in recent years with the push back into mechanical keyboards. Recently there have been a lot of other switches from companies making clones and a few new designs as well, but Cherry is the classic go-to. Well, it might be a surprise for some of you that Cherry also makes keyboards as well, not just the switches used in them. I’ve covered a few like the MX Board 6.0 and the MX Board 3.0. Well, they also came out with the MX Board 5.0, sporting their Cherry MX Silent Reds. I loved the 3.0 and the 6.0, so I’m curious what sets this one apart.

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Cryorig C7 Cu

Okay, I can admit it, I might love Small Form Factor builds a little more than I should. But I have yet to find the perfect setup, the smaller they get the harder it is to pack all of the hardware need into them, especially for a gaming-focused LAN rig. When I did my original SFF Ryzen cooler testing last year I realized some a few hard truths (okay I knew them, but it cemented them). No matter what you do, a larger cooler is going to perform better and if you can wedge water cooling in a SFF build that will work even better. But to get the really small and portable rigs those aren’t an option. For cases like the GEEEK A30 or the  In Win Chopin you really only have a few options and even the Wraith Stealth isn’t possible in some cases. So the Cryorig C7 and the Noctua L9 series have been the main options. Noctua has been bringing out new options including an AM4 specific model that I recently reviewed, but Cryorig hasn’t been leaving things alone as well. They have the C7 Cu, Cu is the periodic table symbol for copper. That is because they have taken the already popular and powerful C7 design and made the same cooler out of the much more efficient material. So today I’m going to put it through the same tests as before and see just how well the new cooler performs. You guys ready? Cu after the page break…

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SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD 1TB

Internet bandwidth hasn’t really kept up with the file sizes needed for supporting 4k content creation or even just movies. You can stream it just fine, but when you are pulling huge amounts of data off of your camera on trips and bringing things to watch while you are away you are most likely going to need some more space than what your laptop has. You could go with a basic hard drive, but when you have a lot of files that could take a long time to transfer them, who wants to sit waiting on all of that while you are enjoying a vacation. That is why portable SSDs have been gaining a lot of traction. I personally keep one in my laptop bag all of the time but the new Extreme Portable SSD from SanDisk caught my eye. Its shape could allow you to clip it to your bag to make sure you don’t lose it. So today I’m going to check it out and see how that works out and also test out the performance of the drive.

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Asus ROG Maximus X Hero

Well with the Z370 launch I did get a few boards in to check out (and I have a few more still in the works), but none of them were nicer boards that would really allow me to play around with overclocking on the platform. So when I found out we had an Intel i7-8086K coming in I reached out to Asus about a board and they sent over their ROG Maximus X Hero. Like most Z370 boards, the Maximus X Hero does share a lot of features with the Z270 variant, in this case, the Maximus IX Hero. Well, today I’m going to check out the board and see what it has to offer and see if this is the board you want to get if you are planning a higher end Z370 build right now.

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Intel i7-8086K

Its been an exciting few years in the PC market, especially with big gains in the CPU market. But it gets a lot crazier when you look back farther. Intel recently did this when they were celebrating the 40th birthday of their 8086 microprocessor. While most of you may not know the 8086 specifically, you would recognize some of the processors that it paved the way for. Most notably the ones that came after it the 286 and the 386. I personally grew up playing with those and played my first real PC games like the original Warcraft on a 486 after we spent a LOT of money to upgrade to I think it was 12MB of ram. The 8086 brought the X86 platform so 40 years was a big milestone. To celebrate Intel brought out the 8086K, named after the original. It is also their first CPU to deliver 5.0 GHz single core turbo clock speeds. Well, today I’m going to take a look at the 8086K and see where it fits in the market.

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SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC and Arctis Pro Wireless

All the way back in November 2016 I took a look at the SteelSeries Arctis 5 and was impressed with the direction they were going. It even earned out top honors and an editors choice award. But I was waiting on the change to check out the Arctis 7 because I hate getting tangled in the wires. Well later in mid-2017 I covered the Arctis 7 and while I was really happy with it I felt like it had lost a few features from the H Wireless that were great. Well, we are back at it again, only this time SteelSeries has brought out two headsets for the high end of their product line with the Arctis Pro name. One is the Arctis Pro Wireless, I can’t wait to see how that compares to the Arctis 7 that I have been using for the past year. The others are wired Arctis Pro’s, they are the same headset only one also comes with what they call the GameDAC, a desktop DAC for those who don’t have a high-end audio card or DAC already. Today I will be checking out that version alongside of the wireless to see if both are worth their wallet busting price points.

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Searching for the right poolside portable speaker

So this summer I found myself in an interesting position, up until now my wife and I haven’t had any need for portable Bluetooth speakers, but this year we bought a new house with a pool and have spent as much time as we can out in the pool enjoying the tiny window that Ohio offers for good weather. Well, our Razer Leviathan Mini did the job at first but quickly developed a rattle prompting me to look for a new speaker. What I found was that I really didn’t know what I needed feature wise or how a lot of them compare for audio quality and loudness. So I reached out to both the LanOC social media pages (Facebook and Twitter, join us!) as well as my own Facebook as well and asked what everyone was using. There were a few that were mentioned a lot or came highly recommended, I reached out to a few companies and here we are. Ultimate Ears, a subsidiary of Logitech sent two speakers, Creative sent one, and Braven sent one as well. There were others but remember Ohio summers are so short I had to get out testing and not wait any longer. So I’ve been testing these portable speakers and today I want to dive into their features and how each of them performed.

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Casting 3D Printed Parts

So you have had a shiny new 3D printer for a few months, your house now is full of little plastic tchotchkes. There are Little Yoda heads in the living room, some benchy boats in the bath, and an R2D2 on your desk. What’s next? You can buy fancy filaments with metal powders embedded in them so you can make your gnomes rusty or green but they’re still plastic. How does one make something metal with a 3D printer? You can spend a huge sum of money and buy a printer that can sinter metal powders together. Unless you’re NASA or SpaceX that is a lot of money. Sure, you could slap a MIG welder nozzle on your printer but that is not very precise and would take a lot of tinkering to get something useful out of it. Instead of going high tech, let’s go low tech. Casting liquid metal into sand molds is a process humans have been doing for centuries. What if you used a 3D printer to create the mold patterns for the sand in a few hours instead of the day(s) it would have taken to do by hand?

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Qnap TS-453Be

When you just have one computer in the house storing your data and putting together a backup solution can be as simple as an external hard drive and a basic cloud storage account. But what I have found is that as you have more computers being used, especially when you also start running HTPCs or in my case Shield TVs on all of your TVs you need a better solution. For around my house, we run multiple NAS. One with critical data on it and others with stuff like our backed up media files for access at the televisions. That is where companies like Qnap come into play, they have developed low power usage NAS that goes WAY beyond just storing your data. They have a lot of media integrations and a variety of ways to back everything up. Qnap sent over the TS-453Be, a quad-core NAS designed to be expandable for M.2 or 10GbE support while keeping the costs down without fancy external screens. So today I’m going to see what kind of feature Qnap is offering and check out its performance and their software.

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CableMod AIO Sleeving Kit

Okay so just about everyone and their moms have AIO kits in their PC these days. They have gone down in pricing and when it comes to the nicer builds there are now a lot of good options available. A lot of the companies even now pre-sleeve their kits for an even cleaner look. But if you are running an AIO, the one thing you can’t do that you can with a custom water cooling kit is change the color of your coolant. Well, CableMod came out with another option last year and I put it to use in our D-Frame Mini build this week. They have sleeving kits for your AIO kit available in a few different colors. Today I’m going to take a quick look at them and see how easy they are to install and find out if they are worth picking up.

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Revisiting the In Win D-Frame Mini 4 years later

So every year our first article of the year is me going back and doing a quick recap of our year and then I take a look back at anything that won our editors choice award and see if it lived up to what I expected. I recently also started going back even beyond that and looking at Editors Choice winners from past years, only showing what is still in use. When you get back a few years, there just isn’t much that is still being used. But back in 2014, I reviewed the In Win D-Frame Mini and not only did it win an editors choice award, but it has been rocking and still in use to this day. In fact, it has a lot of miles on it with it going to just about every LAN that I’ve visited in that time. Well recently In Win announced new color options and one of them was bright orange with blue trim, aka LanOC colors. So I decided it would be fun to build a new PC in it and see how that same design has held up 4 years later.

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Wooting One

So the big trend recently in mechanical keyboards has been optical switches. You have even seen companies like Razer jumping on just this past week. I’ve had a few in the office testing like the Bloody B975 that I reviewed a few weeks ago. But there is one keyboard that is taking a different approach. Its called the Wooting One. It’s an optical keyboard as ell and its been out for a while. They actually have their Kickstarter live right now for the full sized Wooting Two. Anyhow, I have been testing the TKL sized Wooting One for a while now. It uses Flaretech optical switches and with those, they are able to offer a full analog input experience. What that means is where other keyboard switches are just on or off, these are like a gas pedal and can detect input through the entire range. For most things, you will use them in a normal way, but in some games, you can use them to get a better control. So today I’m going to check out what the whole Wooting experience is all about and see how their keyboard stands out.

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GEEEK A30

I hope by now most of you have figured out that I love SFF builds. Over the years we have built a new Lunchbox build with the goal of going smaller and building an even more capable gaming rig to take to LANs. So I am always on the lookout for new and different cases that might fit the bill. Well, early this year I came across a company called GEEEK that has a few small ITX cases including one that really caught my eye that used a FlexATX power supply to save space. That was the A30 and GEEEK was nice enough to send one over to check out. With a unique extrusion based construction they were able to keep the costs down. With a budget-friendly price and an acrylic construction, Its looks good. But is it easy to build and how does it all perform when together? That is what I want to find out today.

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Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 and Noctua NH-L12S

Last fall I spent weeks testing and retesting a whole collection of ITX focused heatsinks that had AM4 support. At the time the first ITX boards were just coming out and a lot of the coolers didn’t support the new socket and those that did most people didn’t know how they would perform when packing 6 and 8 core CPUs into the form factor. I highly recommend everyone check out the article. Well, not to long after that Noctua introduced two more heatsinks and I’ve been wanting to see how they compare. I finally got around to it and today we are going to check out the NH-L12S and the NH-L9a-AM4.

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WD Black NVMe SSD 1TB

Western Digital might bring to mind spinning disks but they have been dabbling in the SSD market for a while now, especially with their pickup of SanDisk. I’ve ever had the chance to check out their portable SSD. But this past April WD was really hyping up a launch and at PAX East they introduced their first 3D NAND NVMe SSD, the WD Black M.2. Of course, that could be a little confusing because there was previously a WD Black M.2 drive. With SanDisk's 64-layer 3D TLC and Western Digitals own controller, the WD Black promises some crazy numbers and I’m excited to take a look and see how it performs.

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Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK

From time to time in the hardware market, there are weird and interesting products that come out that seem to break the norm. In the past, you used to see them all the time. For example All in One video cards with capturing built in, crazy multi CPU boards like the SR-2 and SR-X, Asus’s crazy dual GPU MARS and Ares cards and so on. Well right there along with them are the Hades Canyon NUCs from Intel. Okay, NUCs are cool, but what makes these so crazy and special. Well Along with the Intel CPU inside, they actually have AMD Vega graphics. Now lots of PCs being sold these days have Intel CPUs with an AMD dedicated GPU, but what they did here is different. They are both on the same chip! So it's not a big surprise they went with the Hades Canyon name, Hades is another word for Hell and its clear things have frozen over there for these two to be working together like this. So before things thaw out I’m going to check out its features, software, and performance then figure out if this SFF PC has a place in the market or my LAN bag.  

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WD My Passport 1TB

You guys/girls ever see something that you really don’t need but just have to have in your life? For the most part, I try to keep things like this under control, but a while back during our anniversary contest I happened to see that WD had this bright orange external drive. Now I wish they had a bright orange My Passport SSD like the one I reviewed last year, this isn’t it. This is the larger spinning disk-based model. But its bright bright orange! So I had to check it out. So today I’m going to show you guys the drive, check out its performance, then talk a little about if classic external storage is still a good option these days.

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Motospeed CK61

So a while back a company by the name of Gearbest reached out to me about covering some of their products. I initially passed but after looking around I did come across a few keyboards that I was interested in checking out. Typically, some of the weird and cool stuff is imported from China and Gearbest just happens to be a China based company. So after talking to them, they sent over the Motospeed CK61, a small 60% keyboard with a really cheap price as well. Some of you may know I have a weird thing for 60% boards, mostly because at LANs and sometimes around my office there isn’t much desktop space available and these little guys sometimes work perfectly. Anyhow, I’ve been playing around with this board in between testing a few other keyboards and today I wanted to talk about it.

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