Corsair iCUE LT100 and LS100 Ambient Lighting

As if Corsair hasn’t already taken over case lighting with their fans, cases, RGB headset stands, Water Cooling kits, and even memory. They have recently been diving into the ambient lighting as well for your office and it makes sense. When you have things like your peripherals and all of the other components I already listed tied into one system. It makes sense to try to cover anything else that people might like and while some people HATE RGB lighting as a whole. There are also a lot of people who love the flashy colors and the ability to change things up on the fly. I personally don’t have a lot of lighting in my own build, but I was thinking of adding a touch of ambient lighting into my office. With the recently introduced iCUE LT100 and also the LS100 from Corsair, I thought I would give them a try. My initial plan was basic RGB lighting strips, but addressable LEDs can offer even more. So let's see how they perform.

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Deepcool Gamer Storm Castle 280EX

Deepcool, like many PC hardware companies these days, covers a wide variety of products ranging from cases, power supplies, laptop accessories, and of course as the name implies a full range of cooling products. Deepcool also has a premium brand that they call Gamer Storm. I recently had their latest water cooling solution come in, the Gamer Storm Castle 280EX. Their Castle EX line of AIO’s isn’t new, but this new size configuration is new to the lineup and more importantly, this is the first time I will be checking out a Deepcool AIO. With that, I am excited to see what they do differently and how it performs!

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Viotek GFV24C 24-inch 144hz Monitor

Back in May, I took a look at the Viotek GFV22CB which is a 22-inch monitor with FreeSync, G-Sync, and runs at 144Hz. While it wasn’t perfect, it was at a price point that made it easy to ignore some flaws to get a cheap high refresh rate monitor. Well, Viotek sent over another monitor, this time around a 24 inch which is the sweet spot for me when it comes to monitors to take to and from LANs. The GFV24C is another 144Hz refresh rate monitor and Freesync is supported (including Nvidia) as well with a VA screen. Once again the price point is right, so I am curious to see how the GFV24C performs. It just might be a perfect monitor for budget-minded people and for those who want something to take to and from LAN events.

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Crucial P5 1TB

In addition to the P2 which I recently reviewed Crucial announced alongside the P2 their new P5. The P5 is a little different than there P1 and P2 because it is focused more on the higher end of the market. Which is exciting, up until now Crucial’s only NVMe SSDs have been those budget-minded models. Now, this is a PCIe 3.0 drive and they are a little late to that game. But it does have an in house Micron controller. Well, today I’m going to check out the new P5 and see what it’s all about, how it performs, and where it fits in the market as well. So let’s dive in!

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Corsair iCue Nexus

Corsair has done a great job integrating their iCue software into all of their hardware with the exception of their Elgato branded products which have their own software. This puts their software in a great spot giving you control over your peripherals as well as internal hardware. Not to mention all of the lighting on your peripherals, inside of your PC especially with Corsair RGB fans being some of the most popular, and recently office lighting as well. The idea of a desktop way to control and see things isn’t completely new, their Elgato brand has the Stream Deck. But the new iCue Nexus doesn’t have buttons. It is a small touchscreen that can be programmed using iCue which means it can be used to show you current stats, tie into lighting controls or any other function you might be able to think of. I see this as Corsair bringing their ecosystem all together even more but I am curious what all can be done with it. Today I’m going to check out the Nexus and put it to the test. The plan is to try integrating lighting into my office and maybe using the Nexus to control everything. Let’s see how it all work!

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BC1 Open Benchtable

I don’t think there is anything in PC hardware that I like more than when the community creates their own products. You mostly see it in the more hardcore enthusiast markets because there isn’t as big of a market for companies to throw money at but the interest is there. So with things like keyboards, Small Form Factor builds, and overclocking we have seen over the years the community as a whole put input into a design and someone or a small group step up and produce and evolve that product. Often those designs are on a different level in build quality and often extremely expensive as well. For the overclocking market, with this, there have been overclockers making their own pots, ways to delid CPUs, and even mounts to run CPUs without their heatspreader for better temps. Well, the Open Benchtable has that same history. It started with HWBOT and OverClocking-TV and later Streacom joined in for the production side of things. Well Streacom, after talking with Open Benchtable, sent over their BC1. On its surface, it is a test bench, but it is a unique take on one that I have been excited to check out and today's the day. Let’s take a look!

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Wooting Wrist Rest

From the launch of the original TKL Wooting One, the team over at Wooting in the Netherlands has been an amazing example of what can be created from the community and more than anything openness. When I took a look at the Wooting One I loved that with their software you could see a full timeline of what they are working on and what is in the future. But they have done the same all across the business, following their original Kickstarter roots. Even on the about page on their website you can see their timeline of the good and bad things that have happened. So when I saw they were going to make a wrist rest I was following it closely, watching as they figured out their design, picked colors, and worked on production. Well, the Wooting Wrist Rest has come in and for the last week and a half I have been using it. Today let’s take a look and see what it’s all about and then I will talk a little about how it’s performed so far.

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Corsair H100i RGB PRO XT

With some of the higher-end CPUs from both AMD and Intel, all but the largest heatsinks aren’t really the best option to get the most out of your CPU. So unless your case has room for a giant heatsink there is a good chance that you will be looking at water cooling. All in one water coolers are the most popular and Corsair is one of if not the biggest name in that market. I’ve used many of their AIOs including their H100i RGB Platinum SE which has RGB lighting on the pump and in and all-around its fans. The SE is expensive and unless you are into the crazy lighting you might be looking for an option with similar performance and quality but with less lighting. That is where the H100i RGB Pro XT comes in. It is the same pump and radiator design but it uses Corsairs non-RGB  ML series fans which should translate into extremely quiet performance without paying for all of the extra lighting. Today I’m going to take a look at the H100i RGB PRO XT and see if that is really the case.

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EVGA Z490 FTW WIFI

With a small B550 break out of the way, I did still have another Z490 motherboard come in after the Z490 launch that I wanted to check out. That board is from EVGA and unlike all of the other board manufacturers, EVGA doesn’t have 15 or 20 different options. They always like to keep things a little simpler. They have two Z490 motherboards and only one available just yet, the Z490 FTW WiFi. I’m excited to see what EVGA has going on for this generation so let’s dive in and take a closer look then put it through its paces.

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Crucial P2 500GB

Crucial’s P1 has been a go-to for anyone looking to build a budget build that still wants the significantly faster speeds than an NVMe drive can offer. I took a look at the P1 back in 2018 HERE and still love the drive. So when Crucial announced their new P2 I was excited to find out what they were doing differently this time around. Well, today I’m going to take a closer look and find out what the P2 is all about then put it through our test suite to see how it performs. Is it still the go-to for budget builds? Let’s find out!

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Asus ROG Strix B550-I Gaming

AMD launched their new Ryzen 3 CPUs last May along with details on their latest chipset, the B550. It wasn’t without drama but it is finally time where we can check out some of the new boards. To start things off I have the Asus ROG Strix B550-I which the I, like with past Asus boards, indicates it is an ITX form factor. With the X570 boards from AMD and Z490 boards from Intel all being on the expensive side. I’m really curious to see what AMD’s mid-range ITX option which will support the most recent generation of Ryzen and future Zen 3 CPUs will have to offer. So today I’m going to check out the board and what Asus has given it for features then test it out a little before we see how it fits in the market for pricing.

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Sabrent Rocket Q 2TB

The SSD market is huge and one of the best things about it is that it isn’t limited to a short list of companies who can manufacture drives, like with the spinning hard drive market. This has allowed brands that we know from other markets to jump into the scene as well as brands/companies that we haven’t seen before as well. Sabrent falls into the second half of that statement. While they have been around since 2008, I personally didn’t see the Sabrent brand until the last year or so, and after seeing promising reviews from a few industry friends I have been excited to see what they have to offer. So today I am going to check out the Sabrent Rocket Q which is an NVMe M.2 SSD, specifically in the 1TB capacity that they sent over which is large enough to potentially run just a single drive even with a long list of games and programs that might need to be installed. So let’s check out what Sabrent has to offer and see how the Rocket Q performs!

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ROG Maximus XII Extreme

As I continue to check out some of the Z490 boards available after Intel’s Comet Lake-S 10th gen mainstream CPU launch we have the flagship model from Asus and their ROG lineup. The ROG Maximus XII Extreme has features like an OLED display 2.5G and 10G ethernet, and four M.2 slots but that only scratches the surface of what Asus packed into the board. So today I’m going to dig in and take a closer look at what else it has to offer. Put the board to the test and also see if that staggering price point is worth the money for those looking for the best of the best Z490 build.

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WD_Black P50 1TB

External SSDs have gotten fast enough that they have been pushing the limit of USB 3.2 Gen 2 for a while now. Thankfully USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 is a possibility and I was excited to check Gen 2x2 out months ago when Western Digital sent over the P50. Sadly I ran into a major issue, I didn’t have a board that supported it and at the time the only boards that did were the new Threadripper boards which I didn’t have a CPU for. I thought I found an X299 solution but after it came in we found out it didn’t and the specifications for that board were corrected (oops lol). Well one of the side benefits of the recent Intel launch is the possibility of new USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 capable boards and two out of the three motherboards that have come in actually had it. So while in the middle of our Z490 testing I wanted to slip in a look at the WD_Black P50 that I have been so excited to test out. So today I’m going to take a look at what it is all about and put it to the test. Let’s check it out!

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Z490 Aorus Master

Intel’s launch of a whole series of CPUs comes with it a new chipset and new socket. That also means new motherboards and the motherboard companies aren’t messing around with the number of options that have available. That means everything from cheap to crazy expensive. The Z490 Aorus Master is one of Gigabyte's higher-end boards and today I’m going to check it out. I’ve been extremely impressed with Gigabytes boards, especially on the higher end for the last few years due to their VRMs and cooling capabilities. With Intel pushing things even farther on what is still a very small socket size I am excited to see what the Aorus Master has to offer! Let’s check it out.

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MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WiFi

To go along with Intel’s latest launch all of the motherboard manufacturers also have lots of new boards as well. So it isn’t a surprise that we have had a few of the new Z490 boards show up in the office. I’m going to take a look at them over the next few days. Most of the boards that were sent over are higher end, but MSI sent over their MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WiFI which isn’t a budget board but is a little easier on the wallet. Its name may be a little long, but at just under $270 is it a good sweet spot for a Z490 build? Today I’m going to find out!

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Intel Core i9-10900K and i5-10600K

It’s that time again, today Intel has introduced their full new generation of CPUs, the 10 gen core CPUs for desktop. While some PC hardware is a little hard to find given the global COVID crisis, but with some people being away from work or working from home, the need/interest in upgrading hardware is there. Today we are going to check out the new lineup and trust me it is HUGE and then I’m going to check out the two CPUs that Intel sent over for testing. They sent over the i9-10900K which is their new mainstream/gaming flagship and the i5-10600K which is more of a mid-range focused CPU. The 10900K has two more cores over the 9900K and a touch more clock speed as well so it will be interesting to see how it performs!  

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Viotek GFV22CB

If everyone could afford it, they would all be running huge high refresh rate monitors running at 1440p or 4k. But the reality is that high-end monitors are expensive. But most gamers have realized the importance of a high refresh rate and adaptive sync tech like FreeSync and G-Sync. Well, there is a cheap option available, at least normally (COVID has obviously caused supply issues across the board). Viotek has a smaller 22-inch monitor that runs at 1080p with a refresh rate of 144Hz and because of its price, it is one of their most popular monitors. The GFV22CB sells for $129.99 making it a great budget option, so today I’m going to take a look and see what you get for that price.

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Lexar NM610 M.2 NVME 500GB

While the Lexar name is extremely well known when it comes to SD cards and flash drives. But they do make SSDs. Not long ago they launched their NM610 which is an M.2 NVMe drive and I’ve had the chance to check it out. I’m a little late due to the craziness that has been going on. But today I’m going to take a look at the Lexar NM610 and see what it is all about and find out how it performs. They have it listed as up to 2100 MB/s on the read speeds which would put it in as a mid-range NVME SSD so I’m curious to see if it lives up to that and how it compares to similarly priced drive. Let’s check it out!

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AMD Ryzen 3 3100 and 3300X

Most people might think that the best thing about AMD's resurgence with Ryzen is the big performance gains in the high end. But for me, it is the trickle-down effect you see on the mid to low end. Quad-core CPUs were all you could get on the higher end of the mainstream lineups before Ryzen and now we have seen those end up in the mid-range and now the low end as well. Today AMD is launching their Ryzen 3 3100 and Ryzen 3 3300X which both have 4 cores and 8 threads in the $100-$120 range which is a huge step up for budget builds. Today I’m excited to see how they perform, especially compared to the high-end quad-core CPUs from just a few years ago.

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