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.

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

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!

Read more ...

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!

Read more ...

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!

Read more ...

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!

Read more ...

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!

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

Monster Truck Championship

Okay, I’m going to look a little old here, but back when I was a kid I spent a lot of time playing the original Bigfoot game on NES. It had upgrades and boosts which looking back seem so ahead of their time and later fueled my love for Gran Turismo. Prompted me to end up at any local monster truck show as well. But eventually, things got a little too crazy, or I drifted away from it all. But when I received an email about an upcoming game called Monster Truck Championship all of that came back.  It isn’t the only monster truck offering, but smashing cars, doing tricks, drag races, and normal races all piqued my interest. Especially with it being supported on Steam as well as PS4, Xbox One, and the Switch. Today is launch day (for everything except the Switch) and I’ve been playing it, lets take a look at how things went with Monster Truck Championship on the PC.

Read more ...

Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo v2

With a few different all in one coolers tested recently, I have been on a bit of a cooling kick. But I couldn’t end things up without checking out Cooler Masters's most recent introduction, the Hyper 212 Evo v2. Which I suspect a lot of you have heard of the Hyper 212. When I’m going a build that is more down to earth, 9 times out of 10 I end up recommending the Hyper 212, and its been that way for years. Cooler Master has lead the market with this 120mm tower cooler that is always priced like a smaller 92mm cooler. Its no wonder why it has made it into so many builds. So when they said they had a new model coming, I had to take a look and find out if this is still the go-to for budget builds. Today I’m going to check out the Hyper 212 Evo v2 and see what is different as well as find out how it performs in our 3 CPU test suite. Let’s go check it out!

Read more ...

Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML280 Mirror

Cooler Master isn’t new to the all in one cooler game, they were there right at the beginning when they were just starting to come out and they have continued to change things up over the years. RGB has been a thing for a while now and companies have been looking at how to change things up and we have already seen companies putting their lighting behind mirrors for a different look and Cooler Master is no different. They showed them off at CES this year and even though it has been a crazy year they did just recently introduce them officially with their MasterLiquid Mirror coolers. Well, I had the MasterLiquid ML280 Mirror come in and sticking with the cooling theme I have put it through our test suite and today I’m going to take a look at it and see how it performed, what it has to offer, and where it fits in the market price-wise.

Read more ...

be quiet! Pure Loop 240mm

It might come as a surprise for a lot of people, but be quiet! which has made a name with their cases, coolers, power supplies, and fans has never actually had their own water cooler. This is a little crazy because everyone and their mom seem to sell an all in one cooler, even companies that don’t do anything else with cooling and be quiet! is out there with high-quality fans and only today have they finally announced an AIO. It is called the be quiet! Pure Loop and they have it in 120mm, 240mm, 280mm, and 360mm variations. For testing I had them send over the 240mm which is a dual 120mm configuration and is very common because it fits most cases. So today I’m going to check out the Pure Loop 240mm and see what be quiet! is doing differently (there are a few big things) and then put it to the test in our 3 CPU test suite.

Read more ...

Sound Blaster X3

I’ve been using the Creative Labs X7 DAC to power my desktop speakers and wired headphones for almost 6 years now and have consistently been impressed with the performance, especially when it comes to having it paired up with my speakers. But I rarely run wired headphones because switching between the devices is complicated and you can’t use both at the same time. Not to mention the X7 gets toasty warm on the front when I use it with headphones. All of these issues have had me thinking about adding a dedicated headphone DAC into the mix and given the performance I have seen from the X7 it only makes sense that I would give their Sound Blaster X3 a look. So today I’m going to see what the X3 has to offer and then test out its performance to see if it fits the bill. I’ve heard great things, so I have high expectations. Let’s go check it out!

Read more ...

Elgato Wave:1

Elgato has made a name for themselves by focusing on streamers and content creators with everything from capture cards, lighting, green screens, and their stream deck. The one area that they seemed to avoid for a long time was the one area that other companies had taken notice with at all, microphones. That changed recently with the introduction of their Wave:1 and Wave:3 condenser microphones. Over the years I’ve had the chance to check out a variety of desktop microphone options, so I was excited to see that Elgato was getting into the market. Given Elgato’s history of streamer support, I’m curious to see their take on the desktop mic.

Read more ...

Crucial X6 2TB and X8 2TB

Recently Crucial introduced their newest portable SSD, the X6 and at the same time also brought out the new 2TB version of their X8 which I previously took a look at. The X6 is a SATA based drive that was designed with the price in mind which at its 1TB and 2TB capacities bridges the gap between portable hard drives and more expensive NVMe portable drives like the X8. They sent both drives over in the 2TB capacity and when I spoke with them before the launch we talked about the 2TB capacity specifically and why they were focusing on it. For starters, in their research, ¼ of the people looking for external drives are looking for high capacities like this when shopping. Which makes sense really, some people use these to supplement their PC or laptop storage for media downloads and when it comes to digital content creation for storing big video files which take up a lot of space. Those aren’t files you want to wait around at spinning drive speeds waiting to transfer. So today I’m going to take a second look at the X8, now with the new capacity, and check out the new X6 and see how they both perform. Let’s dive in!

Read more ...

Blue Yeti X

With more and more people working from home, taking up streaming as a potential side gig, and others just looking to improve their audio quality. Desktop microphones have taken off in popularity, even with microphones on gaming headsets finally starting to improve. One of the biggest names in desktop microphones for PCs has been the brand Blue with their Snowball microphone as well as their Yeti Microphone. Well, the Yeti received an updated version late in 2019 before all of the craziness of 2020 hit and I have been using the Blue Yeti X for a while now. With my review of the Philips X3, thought it would be a great time to take a look at a desktop microphone that could be paired with a higher-end pair of headphones like the X3 so today I’m going to check out the Yeti X and see how it performs compared to other desktop, add on, and headset microphones.

Read more ...

We have 736 guests and one member online

supportus