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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Zotac GTX 1060 AMP! Edition

Last week I spent the entire week covering AMD cards, so to mix things up today I want to revisit the GTX 1060. This time, however, I’m taking a look at the Zotac GTX 1060 AMP! Edition. I had a chance to check out how well the Founders Edition card and now today I can see how the 1060 performs with a little bit of an overclock and an aftermarket cooler. With all of that, this card also retails for less than the Founders Edition card. The GTX 1060 AMP! Edition isn’t the smallest GTX 1060 out on the market, but it is noticeably smaller than the Founders Edition, if it performs well I might just see if it fits in our most recent Lunchbox build as well.

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Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 240

Everyone and their mom has at least one all in one water cooling kit in their product lineup these days. But Cooler Master was in it long before that. They have been selling AIO kits from nearly the beginning and while everyone basically repackages the same kits, Cooler Master has sold a wide variety of kits. This also ended up having the somewhat famously battling in court with one of the AIO OEMs due to a few patients. Well, that hasn’t stopped them at all. So recently they sent the MasterLiquid 240 over for me to check out. On top of being yet another product in their lineup with the Master branding, the AIO kit looks to be a little unique from everything else on the market, so today I’m going to check it out and find out how well it performs while we are at it. Enjoy.

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Thermaltake Toughpower SFX 450W

Returning readers have most likely seen a wide selection of SFX power supplies coming through the LanOC office over the years. I have to admit, I have a little bit of an obsession with these tiny power supplies. It’s because I love building small form factor LAN rigs and you can’t go small without having the power to push it, so when I first saw Silverstone introducing them a few years ago I jumped on them and used them in Lunchbox 2. I later built our entire Lunchbox 3 all around one as well. Recently a few other manufacturers have been jumping into the SFX market. This is exciting for two reasons. For one it means more options. But the most exciting thing is that most of the companies who have been bringing them out also manufacture cases, meaning there may be more SFX based case options coming in the future. Well, Thermaltake introduced a 450 watt and a 600 watt recently and today I’m going to check out the 450 watt and see what it is all about and find out how it compares to the Silverstone and Corsair SFX options.

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Gigabyte RX 460 Windforce OC 2GB

Some of you may have missed it but Monday the RX 460 officially launched. There wasn’t as much of a fuss about it because the RX 470 was taking most of the attention, but the RX 460 is also Polaris based. It is the first card on the Polaris 11 architecture where the RX 470 and RX 480 are on the Polaris 10. AMD is marketing the RX 460 as their e-sports card where the RX 470 was an HD card and the RX 480 was VR. This might be a little confusing, but the general idea is the RX 460 can’t handle everything at 1080p, but it is designed to work well with the popular e-sports titles like Dota 2 and League of Legends. So today I'm going to take a look at the Gigabyte RX 460 that AMD and Gigabyte sent over and then put it through our normal benchmark suite and see how it performs. That will round off a full week of AMD coverage here on LanOC as well!

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RX 470 Crossfire Testing

Returning readers will know that seeing two similar cards pop up means just one thing… Crossfire benchmarking! After I finished up my review of the Sapphire RX 470, I stayed up all night benchmarking the two cards together. I wanted to take a look and find out if picking up two RX 470’s would be better than a single GTX 1070, something that falls into the same price range. In addition, I was curious if we would just see an improvement in the 1080p resolution that these cards were designed for or if maybe they would be more viable for 1440p as well when paired up. As always with our SLI and Crossfire testing. I skip all of the normal review stuff and frankly don’t write to much, leaving you guys with a whole pile of graphs and performance numbers to sort through. So enjoy!

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Sapphire RX 470 4GB Nitro

Last week AMD introduced the new RX 470 and I took a look at XFX’s fastest model, the RX 470 RS Black Edition. Well, today I’m going to follow that up and take a look at Sapphires RX 470 4GB Nitro. This will be my first look at one of the new 400 series Nitro cards and I’m excited to find out what Sapphire has going on. From looking through some of the feature lists I saw removable fans and RGB lighting but I’m most curious about the overall performance of the overclocked card and the cooling capabilities of the Nitro cooler. So today I’m going to take a look at the card, its features, and then test its performance in our GPU benchmark suite to see how it compares to the RX 470 from XFX. Considering how close the XFX came to the RX 480 in some of our tests Sapphire has their work cut out for themselves.

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XFX RX 470 RS Black Edition

The dust has hardly settled and cards still aren’t in stock consistently from the RX 480 launch, but it's already time for AMD to introduce their next card, the RX 470. The RX 470 is based on Polaris 10 GPU like the RX 480 but its GPU has a slightly lower number of stream processors. All in all, where the RX 480 was promoted as a premium VR card, the RX 470 is their HD gaming card. There aren’t going to be reference cards in this model, so today I’m actually going to be taking a look at the XFX RX 470 RS Black Edition. This is XFX’s highest overclocked RX 470 so we should get a good look at the highest possible performance from the RX 470 platform to see how it compares to our reference RX 480 and the GTX 1060.

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Gamdias Hephaestus V2 7.1 w/vibration

Back in May, I took a look at a new RGB mechanical keyboard from a company called Gamdias. Well as it turns out they aren’t just in the keyboard market, they mice, mouse pads, and headsets as well. They asked us if I would be interested in checking out one of their latest headsets, the Hephaestus v2. I read a little about the headset and on top of it being a 7.1 headset it also has something called Bass Impact that vibrates around your ears. As someone who enjoys a little bass but doesn’t want to lose my hearing early in life, I had them send the headset over to give it a little testing. After spending a little time with the headset I’m finally going to run you guys through its features and my overall experience, so let’s dive into it.

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Apacer AS720 Dual Interface SSD 240GB

When you think of innovation in the storage industry you typically think of things like M.2 and SATA Express that help enable even faster transfer speeds. Well, a while back I was contacted by a lesser known company in the storage industry called Apacer. They had all of the standard products of course but there was one specific product that really caught my eye. This was their AS720 SSD, at first glance, it wasn’t especially innovative. But I noticed that along with the SATA connection on one end, it also had a new USB 3.1 Type C connection on the other end. This really got me thinking about how useful an SSD with dual interfaces could be. For starters, it is worlds smaller than the normal 2.5 inch USB storage devices because it doesn’t need a thick casing on top of the hard drive or SSD like most external USB drives. I was also thinking about how useful it could be when cloning your old drive to your new SSD, especially with laptops that aren’t going to have two SATA connections. So today I’m going to take a look at Apacer’s dual interface SSD. I’m going to dig inside and see what makes it tick, then test both interfaces to see just how well they both perform.

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EVGA GTX 1070 SC Gaming ACX 3.0

New product cycles on video cards are always exciting, not just because of the performance improvements, I also love checking out what each manufacturer has done to change up their card designs. Some of them change almost nothing and others almost seem to start completely new each time. EVGA used the new launch to introduce their new ACX 3.0 coolers. The new coolers have a completely different look, not just for EVGA but really they aren’t like anything I’ve seen before. They also made improvements in their ACX cooler design. Well, we didn’t get a chance to check the cards out during the GTX 1080 launch but they did send a GTX 1070 a little later into that launch. Sadly, I have had to sit on it a little due to the GTX 1060 launch. With that launch behind us, I can finally run the GTX 1070 SC Gaming ACX 3.0 through our test suite and take a closer look at that cooler design. Having already taken a look at a few other GTX 1070’s I’m really excited to see how the new EVGA card compares.

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Logitech MX Master

I honestly can’t think of the last time I took a look at a mouse that wasn’t directly marketed towards gaming. That mostly has to do with the companies we work with, but with Logitech, I’ve been trying to get an MX Master in my hands all the way back from its launch. This is because even just checking out the feature list I was impressed with what they were doing with the MX Master. Well recently they finally sent one out and I’ve been spending time using it on my main PC. So today I’m going to run through its features and find out if the MX Master lives up to the hype that I had built up in my head.

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Nvidia GTX 1060 Founders Edition

The best part about getting into the video card season is that we don’t just get a few new cards from each manufacturer. We actually get new cards over and over again as they slowly fill in their product lineups. From Nvidia, we have already seen the GTX 1080 and the GTX 1070 but both sit up in the higher price and performance range. So it was exciting when AMD launched their new RX480 that focused directly on the mainstream market. Well, it wasn’t any surprise when right after AMD launched the RX480, Nvidia introduced their GTX 1060. The specifications have been posted and I even posted up a few pictures on our Facebook and Twitter accounts for everyone. But today's the day! We can finally dive in and see what the GTX 1060 is all about and also find out how it compares to the recently introduced RX 480.

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Vortex Pok3r RGB

For a while there I was covering a new RGB keyboard every two weeks but I haven’t covered any in over a month now. This is partially due to all of the video card launches, but also I’ve been turning away a lot of companies as well. Frankly, everyone in their mom is making their new RGB mechanical keyboards and there just isn’t much separating them. I would prefer to keep things fresh and check out a variety. So to change things up today I’m taking a look at the new Vortex Pok3r RGB. Those of you who see me and my wife out at LANs has most likely seen both of us gaming using Vortex Poker keyboards (she has a Poker 2 and I have a Pok3r), so I’m excited to finally be able to talk a little about one of my favorite keyboards. On top of this one having RGB backlighting, it also sports Cherry’s new Nature White keyswitches, so this is my first experience with them as well.

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GTX 1070 SLI Testing

Well, I finally got my hands on two GTX 1070’s and you guys know what that means. As soon as I finished up writing about the second card, I jumped right into SLI testing. With the card availability being tough getting two matching cards might be tough, so before you do that I thought it would be good to see just how much you can benefit from running two cards. On top of that, I wanted to find out if you are better off getting a single GTX 1080 over the GTX 1070 pair. So I ran the cards through our normal benchmark suite. Unlike a card review, though, I jump right into the testing and for the most part I let the numbers speak for themselves. So hang on.

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Cooler Master Masterbox 5

Well with all of the video cards being launched recently it was starting to feel like that’s all I do. I recently noticed that I hadn’t spent any time checking out cases in a long time. So I have a whole stack coming in and today I start off with a new case from Cooler Master. Today I’m checking out the Masterbox 5 and a quick look at the feature list shows that Cooler Master has doubled down on the full customization of their Mastercase line of cases and brought similar features into their more budget friendly cases. At just under $70, the Masterbox 5 is at the price people are looking for, so today I’m going to dive in and find out if it’s an easy case to work in, find out if the customization is all its hyped up to be, and see if it’s a quality case that will hold up to years of abuse.

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Gigabyte GTX 1070 G1 Gaming

It’s crazy that even a month later, GTX 1080’s and GTX 1070’s are still hard to come by. On my last call with Nvidia, they kept talking about how production has been ramped up at a much faster rate than in the past. Hopefully, this will translate to more availability. While you wait though I did want to take a look at the Gigabyte GTX 1070 G1 Gaming and see how it compares to the 1070 from MSI. I’m especially curious how the triple fan cooler will perform compared to the huge dual fans of the MSI. So today I’m going to take a look at the GTX 1070 G1 Gaming’s features then run it through our benchmark suite and see where it lands. Enjoy!

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Fitbit Blaze

The other day I took a look at the Bose SoundLink Mini II that Verizon had sent over as an example of ways to get more functionality out of your mobile phone. Well, today I’m taking a look at the second product. This time around it’s the new Fitbit Blaze. I’ve taken a look at fitness bands in the past, but not from Fitbit. Fitbit is by far the most popular fitness band manufacture, so I’m excited to see what they do to set themselves apart from everyone else. Not the mention the Blaze looks to be a bit of a departure on their part as well. So let’s dive in and see what it is all about.

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Bose SoundLink Mini II

It’s crazy just how much smartphones have changed things over the last 9 years. We went from carrying around a phone to carrying around a PC replacement for some as well as things like a camera. Even with everything that smartphones are capable of, we can still expand their reach with a few accessories. This is why our friend over at Verizon sell a whole variety of things in their store beyond phones and phone chargers. To give us an example they sent over a box with two new products they carry. Today I’m taking a look at the first of those two products, the Bose SoundLink Mini II. This is a small portable battery powered speaker from Bose. I’ve been testing it for a few weeks around the office and today I’m going to dive into its features and how it performed.

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