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Project Build: Crush – Part 5 – Painting a GTX 1080 FE

For some people, you get your computer together and never mess with it again. I, on the other hand, have a problem and as they say, the first thing is to admit you have a problem. I finished up the Crush build and even posted up performance numbers last week. My problem is I keep looking and thinking how much better the build could look with this one change. Once you do that, you are done, right? Nope! Now that you did that, this other thing really needs to be changed. It’s an endless battle. Well with Crush I just HAD to pull it all apart and keep messing with it. I’m actually in the middle of a few different changes, but the biggest was painting the two GTX 1080’s like I had originally planned. So today I’m going to run through how to paint the new GTX 1080/1070 Founders Edition cards for a nice matching look.

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Project Build: Crush – Part 4 - Performance Testing

Getting the Crush build all together took a lot of time and a lot of coordination working with the whole list of sponsors, especially after having to pull the motherboard and CPU for our test bench. But it is all finally together, at least for now, so today is the day I finally get to see how it performs. The build didn’t end up being as crazy as The Fridge, but it did end up being a lot more usable and more practical for my office space. Plus the orange theme is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, it's exciting to check that one off the to-do list. Of course, I’m already looking at more things I can do to the build and I am always open to suggestions, but for now let’s see how it performed and check out the office area around it now that I gained space back from the HUGE Fridge build.

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Project Build: Crush – Part 3 - Customizing

Last week I went through the main components in the Crush build, this week I want to touch on a few of the areas that people sometimes skimp on. The power supply is at the top of that list, but some people skimp on their cooling so I want to talk about what my original plans were, how they changed after I started the build, and what we ended up with. Then after all of that, we can finally dive into a few of the small changes I made to fine tune the build and make it exactly what I wanted. That LanOC style if you will.

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Project Build: Crush – Part 2 - Picking go fast bits

Last week I went over what I was coming from and got an idea of what kind of build I was looking to build. I also locked down the CaseLabs Bullet BH7 as the case, so now we can finally get down to business and really figure out what is going to make this new built tick. Today I’m going to run through most of the main components. This includes picking out a motherboard, CPU, and RAM. I will also figure out what video card is going to push my games and all of the storage needed to store it all.

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Project Build: Crush – Part 1 - Getting Started

So in the past, all of our project build logs have all been for ITX LAN rigs because that’s what I really enjoy the most. My personal main PC has been looking a little dated though and I finally set out to build a new full ATX build. This is an exciting one for me because I finally get to build an orange build and if you can’t tell orange is my favorite color. I’m calling this one Crush both because of the Orange Crush reference and because I hope it crushes all of the games/benchmarks I throw at it. Today I’m going to talk a little about the build it is replacing and start by checking out the case Crush will be in. Keep an eye out in the future as I build and customize the build piece by piece.

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Project build: Lunchbox 4 - Part 2

So yesterday I went through and spoke about each of the components I went with for Lunchbox 4 and why I went with them. Today's the day we dive into customizing the build to make it stand out a little including adding that all important carrying handle. Then after that, I benchmark the build and figure out how the new build compares to our last Lunchbox build. Does it fit our goal of always going smaller and faster? Do I have any regrets with the new build? Well I talk about that in the last section, so don’t forget to check that out as well.

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Project build: Lunchbox 4 - Part 1

Talk about a long time coming, not only has it been almost three years from our last Lunchbox build, but I’ve been planning and working on this build for a good portion of the year. If you follow our coverage, you will see breadcrumbs of comments all the way back to January of me mentioning potentially using components in Lunchbox 4. The problem is how exactly do you follow up our last build, it fit the bill perfectly, was easy to take to events, and had more than enough power for everything we tossed at it. I mean I could do the same thing again but with a few upgraded components but we have always tried to go smaller and faster with every Lunchbox build and frankly going much smaller has a few major limitations. So today I’m going to sit down and run through our new build. A lot of the components have been covered in their own reviews but today I’m going to go over why I picked each part. Then tomorrow I will dive into a few of the customizations I did to the build, benchmark everything, and then talk about how the build turned out.

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Gigabyte Brix GB-BXA8-5557

In the past I have taken a look at a nice variety of small form factor PCs. Out of all of them I was most impressed with the NUC. Not only did it have the smallest form factor, but it also performed extremely well. It really opened up my eyes to the possibility that only gamers and enthusiasts will be sporting full or mid-sized PCs in the future. We already see a lot of people moving to just using a laptop or even a tablet. So beyond the NUC I was really curious about other NUC like PCs like the Brix from Gigabyte. Well today I have the chance to check out the Brix GB-BXA8-5557, an AMD based PC that has a similar footprint to Intel’s NUC. Let’s see what it is all about and find out if it can hold its own in the performance benchmarks compared to the others.

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Asus ROG GR8

I sometimes feel a little like a broken record when talking about LANRigs. While we have been doing them for years here at LanOC, over the past few years the small form factor builds have really come into their own. The introduction of parts has helped a lot and frankly I think a lot of people are starting to see that you can get amazing performance out of a small PC if it is built right. This makes taking your PC to LANs much easier and even for those of you who don’t do that, they take up a lot less space in your office. Well when Asus recently introduced a new all in one PC called the ROG GR8 I was a little surprised. They were promising a PC that is a fraction of the size of a normal SFF gaming rig but you could get it with an i7 and a dedicated video card. I had to check it out. Over the past few months we have been lucky enough to pack it up and use it at multiple LANs, today I’m going to talk a little about the GR8 and our experience with it. While we are doing that I’m going to try to keep our only GR8 (Great) reference to right here in the introduction.

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Small Form Factor the new world order

Those of you who come around often, will have most likely figured out that I have a thing for small form factor PCs. I have been building small PCs with big video cards for years, even before Mini-ITX became the norm. Trying to pack the fastest hardware into the smallest possible case is challenging, but also rewarding when you don’t have to break your back carrying a huge PC into LANs.  I know a few of you have been catching on to this, I have been seeing LAN rigs showing up a lot on my Facebook and at the LAN. Well when Intel launched their NUC I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one, well my wife just happened to win one at a LAN. So today I’m going to check out what the NUC is all about and put it together with some cool hardware from Kingston and a Harmony Smart Keyboard from Logitech to help put it to use as an HTPC.

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MSI Nightblade Z97

Every time I cover something Mini-ITX I talk about how great it is that we can build these monster PCs in such a small form factor. Even so, considering how sensitive they are to heat and bad wire management it’s not for everyone. If you don’t know about every single part on the market it can be a little harder to pick out your components for a LAN rig as well. You don’t know what will fit with what, larger builds are a lot more forgiving on all of these things. Well MSI might just have the answer to all of those issues. They have put together a Mini ITX barebones for gamers who know they want a small easy to carry rig. Their Nightblade comes with a variation on their Z97i Gaming AC motherboard that I recently reviewed, a case, slim DVD drive, and 600 watt power supply. You just need to bring your SSD/Hard drive, CPU, heatsink, and video card. The question is, does the Nightblade make things easier and also how well does it perform. Today I’m going to take a closer look and put it through a few tests to see what it’s all about.

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MSI Invades Mini ITX Gaming

As someone who tries to make it out to as many LAN events as possible, small but powerful LAN rigs have been saving my back for years. Even though to some the LAN scene has been shrinking, the industry has really started to take notice of the small LAN rigs recently. We have seen smaller console like builds from boutique builders and Valves recent interest in steam boxes has gotten everyone in a frenzy as well. Because of that, I was happy to see MSI dive into the Mini ITX gaming market with their new GTX 760 Gaming ITX video card and the ZZ87I Gaming AC motherboard. Given our previous experience with similar products, MSI sent over the motherboard and video card combo to see what we thought about the two. Let’s see what they are all about.

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Project Build: Lunchbox v3 Part 3

Now that you know a little more about all of the parts that are going into Lunchbox 3, today we are going to go over how well the installation went and then put it all to the test in a few benchmarks. This is where we can finally see how the part choices work out and talk about any regrets I might have with them. Of course I’m most excited to see how it all performs. Then this coming weekend I can finally put it to good use at a LAN.

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Project Build: Lunchbox v3 Part 2

In my first article about our project build Lunchbox 3, I covered everything that controls how fast the build is. Today I will be following up with all of the parts that support. That includes the power supply, case, and cooling components. These are all critical parts to your PC, but things like the CPU, motherboard, and video card generally get all of the attention. Today we will find out all about why space was such a concern when picking our previous components. Let’s dig in and see the rest of what Lunchbox 3 will consist of.

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Project Build: Lunchbox v3 Part 1

Today starts a small series of articles about our latest project build. If you haven’t noticed, LanOC staff takes a very big interest in LAN events including hosting our own in Northwest Ohio twice a year. Anyone who has packed all of their equipment up to come out to a LAN or two will completely understand why I prefer to build a PC specifically for coming out to events. My main PC the “Fridge” is literally larger than a mini fridge. It is a complete monster and is extremely eye catching, but when it takes two people and a large vehicle to get it out to an event you really start to wish you had something smaller. This is why for the past few years I have been using my “Lunchbox” builds at any event where I just want to kick back and enjoy myself. This project build is for Lunchbox 3, over the next few days I will go over its components and then show off its performance.

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Stock Trading PC

IMG 2338A couple of months ago a friend came to me and asked about upgrading his machine. With his current rig running a Core2Duo, 3gb of RAM, Windows Vista 32bit, 2 Nvidia 9600GT's and a spinning hard disk. What he wanted was something that would boot quickly, handle his four monitors for stock trading and be an overall better PC. We had some work to do.

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Sapphire Edge-HD Mini PC

titleWhen you think of Sapphire you think of video cards and more recently motherboards. Along with expanding into the motherboard market, today, Sapphire introduced its newest product the Edge-HD Mini PC. With a dual core Intel Atom D510 and a Nvidia ION 2 GPU the Edge HD could be a perfect HTPC or PC for light use. The Edge HD gets its name from its thin size; everything is packed in a form factor that is smaller than the average home router. Considering its contents, the size is very impressive!

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Plextor PX-B120U

titleWith internal Blu-Ray players starting to become normal and prices becoming very reasonable it’s no surprise that Plextor would look at other options to continue to grow their product line. They have had an external Blu-Ray drive for some time, but it would be hard to call it portable. With the introduction of the PX-B120U they could finally call their external Blu-Ray drive portable. Just like the PX-610U it doesn’t require external power making it much easier to take with you on the go. Let’s take a look and see if the PX-B120U is as portable as it looks.

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Bigfoot Networks Killer 2100

100_3627_lanoc_front_lanoc_watermarkIf you've been an avid reader of LanOC Reviews, the name Killer 2100 should be somewhat familiar. And if you follow hardware news and press releases, then you're probably as excited about this review as we are. Maybe it's because we've been the victims of automatic updates killing in-game performance too many times, or perhaps it's the idea of being able to control and prioritize applications that appeals so much to us as LAN party hosts. Whatever the reason, we've been covering BigFoot Networks and their Killer cards for quite some time now, anxiously awaiting our chance to try one out for ourselves. With the launch of the new Killer 2100 card, we finally received one to put to the LanOC test.

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Cyber Power PC - Back to School P55 Configurator

mainIt's easy for us those of us that are PC enthusiasts to forget that not everyone has the inclination or know-how to build their own custom gaming computer. Most people just people just want to plug it in and play games, one of the reasons consoles do so well. But the current consoles are starting to show their age, which makes the PC more and more attractive. If you walk into the local brick and mortar, there's all kinds of computers, but none are all that good for gaming. This is where a good custom builder like CyberPower comes to the rescue. They sent along one of their "Back to School" builds to take a look at. Let see what they've got to offer

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