AOC Agon Pro AG254FG

It’s interesting how for a lot of people higher resolution and larger screen size are important, but when it comes to competitive gaming. The pros have a slightly different focus, huge monitors aren’t useful or even possible for events and the singular focus is a high refresh rate. Part of getting that high refresh rate also means that high resolutions aren’t a good idea because of the processing power needed to get your performance up in the range to match with an ultra-high refresh rate so 1080p is still the norm. This is where monitors like the Agon Pro AG254FG from AOC come into play. It is pushing the limits for LAN events with its 24.5-inch screen size that they consider 25 inches but it is running 1080p with a refresh rate of 360  Hz which even just a few years ago would have been a crazy number. Of course, AOC didn’t just touch on those main features, the AG254FG does have a lot more going on so today I’m going to check it out and see what it is all about.

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Nebula Capsule

In my quest to check out a few of the sub-brands of Anker it has led me to Nebula which is a brand focused on portable and home projectors. In a world now filled with LCD, LED, and OLED displays projection as a whole has been a lot rarer to see but Nebula has recognized that one area where projection does still work well is when it comes to portability and they have a variety of options available. They sent over the Nebula Capsule which is their entry-level portable projector that has been around for a long time now (launched in 2017) so I’m curious to see what it’s all about. Let’s go take a look at the features then put it to the test!

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Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27

Porsche Design is a subsidiary of Porsche SE or better known as the company that makes Porsche cars. Porsche Design has been around for 48 years, designing car accessories early on but in the last four years moving also into the electronics markets including working with AOC on a few of their highest-end monitor designs. They have partnered up once again with the PD27 which incorporates a car roll cage like design for the monitor stand with a high-end gaming monitor with a 240Hz refresh rate, Freesync Premium Pro, HDR, and a 1000R curvature for a premium gaming experience. Today I’m going to check out the Agon PD27’s design and performance and see if it lists up to the high pedigree of the Porsche name and its premium price.

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AOC 16T2 15.6 Portable USB-C Touchscreen Monitor

In the office, I use three monitors on my main PC as well as a fourth for whichever test bench I am using at that time. But when I leave the office it is almost a culture shock as I work from a single 13 inch Razer Blade Stealth. It isn’t that I don’t like the extra real estate a large laptop offers, I used to roll with a 20 inch monster of a gaming laptop at one point. But after that, I have gone small and portable, too large and I never bother to even take my laptop with me. I’ve considered adding in a portable monitor for a while but have never made the jump but recently AOC sent over their 16T2 which is a 15.6 portable touchscreen monitor that runs on USB Type-C and has a built-in battery backup as well. So I’m going to give the 16T2 a try and see if expanding my screen real estate is worth it. With COVID we haven’t had many chances to work on the road, but I imagine once things settle down my wife and I will be making up time and it might just come in handy. So let’s see what the 16TG2 is all about.

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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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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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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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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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Elgato 4K60 Pro MK2

Almost 20 years ago after I bought my first PC (at least the first one I bought myself) I did my first few upgrades which included more memory, a large hard drive (I think it was close to 20GB), and a video card so I could play all of the games that I wanted to play. I also tied my PC into what was my “entertainment center” in my bedroom which meant being able to output sound to my obnoxiously large stereo and being able to receive signal from devices like my DVD player and game consoles to watch things on my PC with a really poor quality USB capture device. Well, things have improved drastically from there as has the need for capture devices as well now with streaming and YouTube video production. I’ve gone through what is now a large collection of them myself from using them to stream our Old School tournament at LANs and needing one to capture motherboard BIOS’ for motherboard reviews. My most recent one was the Razer Ripsaw which while still functional only works on a few devices after windows updates broke it. So I was excited to see Elgato introduce their latest and greatest, the 4K60 Pro MK2 last fall. Today I’m going to check their new device out and also talk a little more about what sets this apart from the original 4K60 Pro which shares the same name.

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Elgato Stream Deck XL

Does anyone else remember the Maximus Keyboard? It was a full keyboard designed with small screens in every key. All the way back in 2005 it hit the internet and while it was just a concept back then it blew my mind with the possibilities. It did later come out at a crazy price point and they have even continued to make other variations. But it wasn’t until Elgato brought their first Stream Deck to market that the idea has ever really seen a proper use and a market that actually needed it, not just as something to show off or play around with. Well, today I’m going to check out the Stream Deck XL, Elgato’s third and largest model. I’ve been extremely curious how it could be integrated into regular PC use or workflow as well as the more obvious streaming application.

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Cooler Master GS750 Headphone Stand

If you are like to keep your desk all organized there is a good chance you have a headphone stand or have considered getting one. I personally have had a few different designs. I’ve even seen people use banana stands as a cheaper alternative, especially before a lot of the “gaming” companies got into the market and started making them. Well, recently a few companies have been making them up adding other features including Cooler Master. They showed one-off at Computex and they have finally released it. They call it the GS750 and in addition to being a headphone stand it also has a wireless phone charger built-in, USB ports, a 7.1 sound card, and of course… RGB lighting. Well, today I’m going to check it out, it most certainly isn’t going to fail from lacking features. But is there too much going on? Is this something people want? I’m going to check it out today and find out.

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SilverStone RGB fan grills, Christmas decorations?

Late October I was at FortCon for their LAN event and I won a SilverStone FG121. I know the name doesn’t really explain what it is, but basically, it is a clear fan grill with RGB lighting built into it. The grills have SilverStone's snowflake design and this brought up the discussion with how it actually looks like an ornament. Well, one thing leads to another and not long after the event I reached out to SilverStone with a weird idea turning our new Christmas tree into an RGB tree with their grills. The idea is relatively simple, but there were a few things I had to figure out. So today I’m going to show what I did, maybe if you have one or two laying around or other RGB products you can take my idea to another level.

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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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Alphacool Eisplateau Anti-Static Mat

You would think with a few desk, a large photo area, and a full sized workbench I would have room to work on things around the office. The truth is though that the workbench fills up with projects quickly and everything else overflows into the photo area because of the space it provides. That isn’t a problem in itself, but the damage I have done to our past photo backdrops when everything was white was an issue. With the new wooden setup the idea was that dings, scratches, and scuffs wouldn’t be as big of a concern and for the most part they haven’t been. But I want to take good care of the space when getting into big projects. I’ve been looking for a mat to work on for a while and it just so happens that Alphacool has one that was perfect both for protection but also with nice information on the surface to help with projects. Today let's take a quick look and see if it ended up doing what I needed it to do.

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Autonomous DIY SmartDesk Kit Business Edition

My office space has been evolving for a few years now, going back to when I first upgraded my desk to a solid wood desktop and cleaned everything up with new audio hardware, monitors, and a monitor stand. Recently I also upgraded my photo area and added a proper workbench as well. Both of those are set to a standing height to get me on my feet more during the day. With testing and writing though I still spend far too much time sitting each day and over the past few years of me doing all of this full time it has played a big role in my health. To start working on that, a while back, I reached out to Autonomous about upgrading my desk to a SmartDesk 2 Business Edition. I’ve been living with it for a while now and I want to sit down, or in this case, stand and talk a little about how the whole process has worked so far.

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OPSEAT Master Series Gaming Chair

At this point, there is a whole list of companies who are now selling their one racing style gaming chairs and it is starting to make it hard to figure out who you might want to go with. One of the new companies that reached out to us about checking out their chairs is OPSEAT. Unlike some of the other brands, the OPSEAT has a brand name that is taken right from gaming. OP is a term used in games to describe a champion or weapon overpowered. Their Master Series is their first line of chairs, but I’m curious to find out if they really are overpowered. One thing is for sure though, they do seem to be one of the only brands with a chair priced where a lot of people can afford it. If the OPSEAT is good, this could end up being a good buy, so let's get it put together and see what it’s all about.

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Arozzi Mezzo

So when it comes to office chairs, just a few years ago most of your options were going to be just what you might find in an office supply store, electronics store, or a department store. None of them were built for the extended use that you might put an office chair when gaming or even just working at your PC day to day. Today though there are more options than you could possibly consider, all in the gaming chair market. I’ve had the chance to check out a few different options over the years. Recently I took a look at Arozzi’s new Arena desk and when they sent that they also sent one of their chairs, the Mezzo. So now that we have been using the chair off and on over the past month or so I can finally “sit down” and talk a little more about it and see how it fits into the market.

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Arozzi Arena Gaming Desk

It’s funny how we spend sometimes thousands of dollars on our PCs and peripherals but at the end of the day don’t give much thought to our actual desk setups. I bet a lot of you are using the same desk that you used years ago, I know I did. But a few years ago I started thinking about options for new desks and frankly there really aren’t that many out there. Sure you can pick up the cheap desks at your local discount store, but is there anything out there that’s better. Are there any options focused on gamers? Well if you search around you will find a few options that are “gamer” focused, but none were very good. So when I saw the Arozzi Arena Gaming Desk online it caught my eye. They didn’t just add colors and call it a gaming product, it actually has a cloth mouse surface over the entire top of the desk. With all of the people buying large desk pads and putting them under their keyboard and mouse, the Arena seemed like an extension of that so I reached out to Arozzi to take a closer look.

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Bit Fenix Alchemy 2.0 Magnetic LED Strips

When case modding was getting started everyone who wanted to light up their PC turned to cold cathodes for lighting. Things progressed and we later saw LEDs starting in plastic pucks and then later on strips becoming popular. While I don’t use lighting in every build, I have used them in a few. A few years ago we even took a look at lighting options from Bit Fenix. At the time they were still a relatively new company and they were starting to expand their product lines. Well a few years later Bit Fenix reached out, excited to show off the latest version of their LED lighting, the Alchemy 2.0. This time around they dropped the adhesive and went with magnets to keep the lighting in place. Considering how much we liked their first kits, I couldn’t turn down taking a look at the new design. So today I’m going to take a quick look and find out what they are all about. 

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2015 Chevrolet Trax LTZ AWD

It’s funny I spend so much time in the office playing with hardware and tech and gaming throughout the year that completely miss out on some of the cool tech that requires me to get outside a little. When we plan out trips I sometimes take that chance to bring things along with me that require a little more time out of the office. Well for the second year in a row my wife and I decided to make the trip down to Florida to visit family. Along the way we spent a few days at the Mid-Season Invitational League of Legends games, snuck off to Disney World, and spent a few days on the beach in Daytona. Well I decided this would be a great time to check out something completely different.  As an old school car guy and a tech nut I keep my ear to the ground when I can and I have seen GM pushing their OnStar with 4G LTE. I thought it would be interesting to see just what they have going on the tech side of things. I reached out to GM and they were surprisingly happy to drop of a 2015 Chevy Trax with all of the bells and whistles. We took the Trax down with us giving us a great chance to check out what they have going on.

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