Project Build Crushed Update - Part 3

Late last year I set out to update one of our project builds, specifically the build that I have been using as my main PC. I was fighting performance issues with the latest games. But more importantly, things were starting to break down and I had been ignoring them. I had a hard drive that was making noise and an SSD that was slow compared to modern drives and that wasn’t large enough for my needs. Cooling was noisy and I found out when digging into things that the heat contributed to the hard drive failure as well. I was also dealing with weird network hiccups that seemed to indicate a motherboard issue or a PSU problem so in past episodes I updated the cooling, the PSU, the video card, and all of the storage. But that left the main issues with the CPU performance and the motherboard issues, plus not having as much ram as I would have liked for Microsoft Flight Sim. Well, I’ve put it off a lot longer than I should have, but today I’m going to update those last few areas.

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HYTE Revolt 3

A lot of you will most likely be familiar with iBUYPOWER, a system builder who we have also covered cases from in the past. Today they are announcing their latest brand called HYTE which is going to focus on lifestyle and PC components. They are launching with a case that I’ve been looking forward to for a while now. They teased their Revolt 3 back at CES but we had no idea about the HYTE brand. iBUYPOWER has had the Revolt lineup in the past as their LAN-focused systems. Well, the Revolt 3 continues that focus, but with a completely new look. As the LanOC name might imply, we love LANs around here and I especially have a soft spot for SFF builds that make it easier to take your system to and from events. Dragging a monster build to and from a LAN is one of those things you do when you are younger and you eventually learn and avoid it. The new Revolt 3 from HYTE is designed with a handle in the top and with a focus on making it easy to transport for LAN events and esports which iBUYPOWER is also heavily focused on. So today I’m going to see what all the Revolt 3 has to offer and then see if it will be the next system that I’m taking to events. Let’s check it out!

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Project Data Hoarder – TrueNAS CORE Build Part 5 – Problems and upgrades

In my previous coverage on our TrueNAS CORE build, I got the entire system together but I skipped talking about how I hooked up the 8 SATA drives to our mATX motherboard. I had a plan when going in, but sometimes things don’t go the way you had planned. In fact, my problems went even beyond that. So today I want to run through what went wrong with our original plan and then our backup plan as well and go over what I ended up doing. When getting things running I also ended up adding an upgrade as well. So let's get up to date on the TrueNAS CORE servers current setup and why!

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XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black

AMD has been quiet for the past few months after the launch of their RX 6700 XT, but they have still been busy in that time. Just last week they announced their RX 6600 XT. The 6700 XT was targeted at 1440p, but the new RX 6600 XT is still focused on high performance 1080p gaming which is still by far the most popular gaming resolution being used. The 6600 XT doesn’t have a reference design, so today I will checking out the MERC308 version from XFX to see how the 6600XT performs in our test suite. Is it going to be the best option for someone looking to get the best performance at 1080p? We will find out.

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Jaybird Vista 2

Back in 2019 I took a look at a set of wireless earbuds from Jaybird called the Vistas and was extremely impressed with their performance. Even with having multiple other wireless earbuds come in, I have stuck with the Vistas as my go-to earbud using them anytime I’m doing outside work. Especially when mowing the yard. They don’t have active noise cancelation, but they sounded great and did a good job of sticking in my ears even with the vibration of riding around on the mower. When I saw that Jaybird was introducing a new earbud, the Vista 2 I was very interested in what they had changed. Low and behold, one of the big changes was adding active noise cancelation. Today I’m going to check out the new Vista 2’s and see what else Jaybird has changed as well as putting them through the normal use to see how well they work. Will they replace the originals for me? Well, I can get a little attached to what I’m used to, but we will see!

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Project Data Hoarder – TrueNAS CORE Build Part 4 – PSU, Rails, and Installation

The last time we took a look at our Project Data Hoarder build I went through what we were using for the CPU and motherboard as well as cooling and ram to get all of that sorted out. We are down to just the last few components to button things up. So today I’m going to talk about what power supply I went with, the rack rails, and getting things installed and set up. So let’s dive into our TrueNAS CORE build as I work out ways to use some older hardware to get an open-source NAS up and running. The goal is to finally condense some of my home and office storage needs down into fewer devices, get them tucked away into my rack, and learn about TrueNAS CORE which was formerly known as FreeNAS.

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MSI RTX 3070 Ti SUPRIM X

I recently took a look at the RTX 3070 Ti and was impressed with its performance. But that was just with the Founders Edition card, what can the 3070 Ti do with a monster cooler and an overclocked? Well MSI sent over their RTX 3070 Ti SUPRIM X which is their flagship card design and the X indicates that it is also overclocked. So today I’m excited to see what Nvidia’s newest GPU is capable of when paired with MSI’s biggest and best card design. I was impressed with the SUPRIM 3080, will the 3070 Ti be the same?

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Lian Li UNI FAN AL120

When it comes to fans, they aren’t typically something people get too excited about. High-end fans can be ultra quiet, have lots of power, and of course, some have RGB lighting. Companies have been going crazy on the lighting side of things, but last year Lian Li shook things up with their UNI FAN SL120’s. I took a look at them in August. What is interesting though, is people have been surprisingly excited about these fans. The latching design that cuts down on your wiring along with addressable RGB lighting had them sold out immediately with for sale subreddits on Reddit having people constantly looking for them. Well, Lian Li is back at it again, almost a year later with a new Uni Fan design called the AL120. They have still included the same latching design but with a new lighting design and upgraded static pressure and airflow. Once again they are available in black and white and today I’m going to check out both and see how they compare to the SL120’s that we already love.

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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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