Project Icyu– Blue Iris Build Part 1

If you have been a reader for a while now you may have noticed that while I do sometimes love smart home products and some of the cloud-based services that go along with them. I have a strong hate for anything that requires a monthly payment and I try to host as much as I can on our own rather than have potentially important data in someone else’s hands. I’ve moved things like Google Photos over to our own storage and even before all of the cloud-based camera services came out we were running our own IP cameras with a basic server running on my main PC. Eventually, to take the load off of that I used a small SFF system that I had to run Blue Iris and then stored the data on a NAS. With me trying to tidy up our server rack I have been hoping to get that server rack mounted but I have also been running into issues with our current setup in just about every way possible so it’s high time that I stop putting this off and rebuild our security server, welcome to Project Icyu.

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V-color Skywalker Plus DDR4 2x32GB 4000MHz

Maybe it's because I just finished watching the entire Star Wars movie lineup after finishing the Obi-Wan TV series but the name Skywalker evokes a little bit of nostalgia and is the last thing I would see as the model name for memory. But that is the name that V-color went with. We haven’t had anything in the office from V-Color but I have been seeing coverage about them pop up for the last few years and the company itself has been around going back to 2006. The Skywalker Plus lineup features heatspreaders with silver or golden plating on them which isn’t new but is rare to see and always stands out so I’m excited to take a closer look and see how they perform. Let’s dive in.

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Viper Venom RGB DDR5 2x16GB 6200MHz

With Intel’s 12th generation Core CPU launch alongside the new CPUs, CPU Socket, and Motherboards/Chipset it also brought DDR5 into the mainstream market. Initially, DDR5 was hard to come by, but things have gotten better and along with that we are seeing some of the companies who didn’t have memory available at the launch getting their kits introduced. A good example of that is Patriot with their Viper Gaming lineups first DDR5 kits. They have named the new kits Venom which goes well when you combine it with the Viper branding. They have standard and RGB kits available and the kit that they sent over for us to check out is the Viper Venom RGB in a 2x16GB configuration running at 6200 MHz.

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Lexar Hades RGB DDR4 32GB 3600MHz Kit

Lexar is well known in the storage market, especially with their flash products and more recently with their SSDs and portable storage. But it was only last year that they jumped into the memory market with laptop memory. Well, this year they are expanding that and are getting into the desktop side of things. They have introduced their first gaming memory with a normal and RGB kit as well as a simpler standard memory kit without a heatspreader as well. Today I’m going to check out both the new Hades gaming-focused 32GB kit with RGB as well as take a look at the 3200 MHz UDIMM kit and see what Lexar has been up to. Let’s check them out!

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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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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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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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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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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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Gelid Solutions Astra ARGB Extensions Cables

When it comes to crazy RGB accessories for your PC full RGB extension cables always top the list. They are bright and in your face and if you hate RGB then they are exactly what you think of when complaining about it and if you love RGB it might just be your next pickup. I took a look at the Strimer Plus set last year which was Lian Li’s second RGB extension set. Our friends at Gelid Solutions which we haven’t seen around for a while recently jumped into the market with their own addressable RGB cable extensions that they call the Astra. Rather than doing the same thing as Lian Li, the Astra cable extensions have a weaved design that makes for a very unique and interesting effect. So today I’m going to check them out and see if they are worth the pickup for those of you who love your lighting.

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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!

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Project Data Hoarder – TrueNAS CORE 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 TrueNAS CORE 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!

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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.

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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.

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Crucial Ballistix DDR4 2x32GB 3600MHz BL2K32G36C16U4B

I’ve had the chance over the years to check out a wide variety of Crucial Ballistix branded memory. Being a part of Micron, they have always been priced well, and as far as memory goes been solid. Styling-wise I loved the old Ballistix designs and there are a few of the modern designs like the Elite and their Tactical Tracer RGB kits that I was able to 3D print and CNC carve custom designs for. But as a whole, their mainstream stuff, while not bad looking has looked dated for a while now. So back at the start of the year, they announced new memory kits with new heatspreaders and I was excited to see what Crucial had going on. It took a while to come in, but I recently finally had the Crucial Ballistix BL2K32G36C16U4B kit come in which is their 2x32GB dual channel kit running at 3600 MHz. The timing couldn’t be much better given my personal PC has been begging for more memory with Microsoft Flight Sim 2020 and chrome having full-on MMA fights for the memory. So today I’m going to check out the new design and see how this kit performs.

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Lian Li Strimer Plus

I’ll be the first to admit that the entire RGB scene has just been crazy, anything and everything you can think of now has it. It's not for everyone and for some of the people who don’t like it, it can even lead to an angry response. Three years ago, I wrote an article on the topic of why RGB can still be useful even if the idea of that rainbow look isn’t your thing. Last year Lian Li came out with one of the most outrageous RGB products with their Strimer RGB cable extensions and this year they have upped the ante by upgrading them with addressable lighting with a lot more effects. Today I’m going to check them out and see what they are all about and try to figure out if they should only be used on the craziest RGB builds or if maybe you can use them as an accent in a “normal” build.

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Ballistix Elite DDR4 16GB 4000MHz

Earlier this year I had the chance to check out the Ballistix Elite 3600MHz 4X8GB kit and I was impressed with the kit. The aesthetics were great while not going with RGB lighting or anything flashy. The Ballistix Elite kit has a military styling and that kit specifically ended up being solid in performance. Well, Crucial has a new SKU for their Elite lineup with a higher clock speed and they sent them over. I already know what to expect for aesthetics but the 16GB 2x8GB kit they sent is running at 4000MHz with timings that are a little loose. Today I’m going to check the kit out, test its performance, and play around with overclocking and see how the new kit holds up.

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Viper Gaming Viper Steel DDR4 16GB 3866MHz

Patriot Memory s gaming focused brand is called Viper Gaming and in the past, I’ve had a few of their peripherals come into the office to check out but it was only recently when I had Viper Gaming RAM come in. I was curious about what they are doing to set their gaming lineup apart from the normal Patriot Memory RAM. They sent over their Viper Steel 2x8GB kit which is running at 3866 MHz. The Viper Steel lineup uses a simple styling that avoids the flashy lighting that a lot of other kits use and is available in up to 4400MHz which is the fastest kit in the Viper Gaming lineup. The kit I’m checking out today isn’t as fast as that 4400MHz kit but I’m excited to take a closer look at the new styling and see how our 3866Mhz kit performs as well.

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Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB 16GB 3000MHz

At CES earlier this year Corsair’s biggest introduction was their new CAPELLIX RGB’s which drop the conventional package that PC LEDs have been using to create a much smaller, brighter, and energy efficient LED. Now smaller means the potential for much higher density and energy efficiency could mean you could see them used more in wireless devices. But the first product they introduced with CAPELLIX LEDs was the Dominator Platinum RGB memory kits. So in addition to being the first Corsair RGB kit to come into the office, I’m also excited to see what the CAPELLIX LEDs can do. I will also talk a little more about the benefits later as well.

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Ballistix Elite 3600MHz 32GB 4X8GB

Earlier this year Crucial I covered two sets of Ballistix Sport DDR4 and while I liked where they were going with the performance of the new kits I did feel the aesthetics were starting to look a little dated. Well, Crucial makes a lot of different styles of memory, especially in the Ballistix lineup and they sent over a new set which happens to be from their Elite lineup. I’m hoping their more premium kit is upgraded in looks (spoiler they are) and I’m curious how this 3600MHz kit performs as well. So let's take a look at them then run them through our testing.

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