Past winners that are still in use
We might as well also look back through past recaps and see what is still in use today. All of these award winners deserve a new gold Editors Choice away for making it a year or more, typically in that time something new and better comes out and they are replaced. So let's take a quick look back.
Asus Strix GTX 1080 11Gbps
So the first three products here are all for the same project build. They all went in our Iris build. Which reminds me, I need to do an update. The GTX 1080 11Gbps and really any of the 1080 or 1080 Ti cards have all aged extremely well. Because of the mining craze, these cards had a longer lift in general, but even now that the RTX cards have been launched the GTX 1080, especially this card from Asus is well sought after and for good reason. Performance is still amazing and this card has a clean look and great cooling where some of the cards like from MSI stuck with their bright red trim.
Asus Strix Z270i Gaming
Now the Z270 platform as a whole didn’t age as well. It was replaced quickly by Z370 and that was replaced quickly by Z390 but really those new boards haven’t really changed much from Z270, just the chipset itself and a few small aesthetic changes to make it look like a new board. So the Iris build with its 7700K may look out of date with it being three generations old. But this is still a solid platform.
Thermaltake Core P1
The foundation of our Iris build was all around the Core P1. I spotted it when Thermaltake introduced it and hounded them to work with them on it. It was the perfect case for our Iris build because the goal was to show off crazy colors with its water cooling loop and RGB lighting and it did just that and is still running strong. I have to clean the dust out of it from time to time, but with the open design that is easy as well.
Autonomous DIY SmartDesk Business Edition
Sit or stand, if I had to only pick one I would never go with a standing desk. But being able to switch between both has been great for me. Especially with a job that has me sitting far too long every day. The Autonomous DIY SmartDesk Business Edition has been running rock solid for almost two years now and even handled our move well. In fact, I was able to compact it down to a smaller size for the move so it would take up less room in the truck. It isn’t really any different than the multitude of sit-stand powered desks on the market with the exception of its weight capacity. Because of that, it has done well while lifting up my four 24 inch monitor setup and solid wood desk top. Not to mention handling me leaning on it when it is in stand mode.
Prusa i3 MK2S Kit
Prusa has the MK3 out now but our MK2S is still been a solid printer. I haven’t had an issue with it for a year and a half and it is my go-to when I need something smaller but consistent. It isn’t as fast as my Delta’s, but sometimes you just need a reliable outcome and the Prusa is that. Anything I need quick or large has been relegated to my Artemis and our V3 hasn’t really been getting used much but I plan on changing that soon by using it more for two color prints.
Vortex Pok3r RGB
I have a thing for tiny keyboards on everything except my main PC where I need a full number pad. The Pok3r is my favorite of all of them. You get RGB lighting, a compact footprint, and it doesn’t require any software. The build quality is also top notch. I have different Poker models with both my wife and I’s LAN rigs and then I use the Pok3r RGB with our test benches to save space on my desk.
Caselabs Bullet BH7
2018 Wasn’t great to Caselabs, they announced their closing but our BH7 still sees daily use as my personal PC. I cleaned it up and swapped the two GTX 1080’s to the new RTX 2080 Ti, but beyond that, the only reason I might stop using this case is because of the Caselabs BH8 that I also have sitting here with a new Threadripper build in it. I will miss their cases, but thankfully I doubt either of the Bullet builds will ever die, CaseLabs cases can take a beating.
Sound Blaster X7
Out of everything from 2015 things have thinned out a lot and the Sound Blaster X7 is the only thing left. I don’t see this one going anywhere anytime soon unless Sound Blaster brings out an updated version. There just isn’t anything that can compare for PC audio without completely getting into home audio equipment. The X7 is a great DAC, has a powerful AMP inside, and offers a few on desk connection options for headphones. Combine it with a good set of bookshelf speakers and a powered sub and you are set.
In Win D-Frame Mini
Oddly enough the D-Frame Mini that I’ve been using all of these years hasn’t gotten any use this year even after I cleaned it up and replaced the coolant. Its still on here though because we got in a second D-Frame Mini in bright orange that has that 9900K and RTX 2080 build in it and has been making rounds to LANs this year with me. Even 5 years later I still have people coming up asking about the case, surprised to hear that it isn’t custom made.
None of the award winners from 2013 are still in use around the office. Being 4+ years old the base hardware is out of date and everything else has seen big improvements over the last few years.
The one former winner the Sensei RAW that has been hanging on from 2012 has finally developed that sticky rubber finish and isn’t getting used anymore. FFFFFF RIP