Icy Dock EZConvert NVMe M.2 to U.2 MB705M2P-B

If you have been active in or around the LanOC community, there is a good chance you have heard of Icy Dock. You can go all the way back to May of 2008, just 3 months after we started reviews and see our first Icy Dock review. I met them on our first CES trip that year and they were a dedicated sponsor over the years for our LAN events as well. My first experiences with them were their external hard drive enclosures and their hot swaps for hard drives, but they really hit their stride when SSDs started coming out and most cases didn’t support any 2.5-inch slots with their many creative 2.5 to 3.5 adapters. Well they haven’t stopped with the unique adapters and while I haven’t worked with them in a while they recently reached out and sent over their EZConvert NVMe M.2 to U.2 adapter and today I’m going to check it out.

Read more ...

EnGenius ECW230 WiFi 6 Access Point

If you haven’t been following updates in wireless technology, I would forgive you for not knowing about WiFi 6 or Wireless AX. Even if you do try to keep track, things have been a little extra confusing. Basically, WiFi 6 is the new name for 802.11ax. Depending on who you ask, simplifying the name may be a good thing or a bad thing. For me, I think that cutting it down and including a number makes it much easier to know how it compares to your current router or access point. How could anyone tell if N was better than G or AC is better than N. WiFi 6 has been out for a while now and it has finally started to trickle out to devices like phones and a lot of the medium to high-end motherboards I have been testing. With motherboards having WiFi 6 I haven’t been able to properly test them without updating our office network to it. Which is where EnGenius comes in, they were kind enough to send over their ECW230 WiFi 6 Access Point and their ECS1008P 8-port PoE Managed Switch to up our testing capabilities and today I want to check out what WiFi 6 is all about and see what makes EnGenius’s access point special as well!

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

Noctua chromax.black Coolers

For years Noctua has been known for their signature tan and brown theme. It made their products easy to spot and that along with their performance really helped promote their brand over the years. When every fan was black, they stuck with their signature look. Back when color LEDs were first added to fans, they were still tan and brown. But as we got close to the RGB era and with aesthetics in every single part of a computer finally growing in importance Noctua has started to crack. They introduced black and grey on grey models. Then after that their Chromax fans which were black as well but didn’t have the cost raising features of the IPPC fans and along with those they even brought out covers for their heatsinks. But with almost every company finally making blacked out coolers, Noctua was long overdue to do the same and they finally did just that a few months ago. I’m excited to finally dig into them and check out the three new heatsinks as well. The new chromax.black line includes the NH-D15, NH-U12S, and NH-L9i that cover a small, medium, and large range.

Read more ...

Philips TAPH805BK Noise Cancelling Headphones

My first few experiences with active noise canceling weren’t all that great. It did cut out noise, but I was also often left with a headache or pressure in my ears from it. In the end, I accepted that maybe active noise canceling just didn’t jive for me. Well, this year, with my phones all dropping their headphone jack I opened myself back up to Bluetooth audio devices. When I saw that Philips introduced a new wireless noise-canceling headphone I thought I would be open-minded and try active noise canceling hoping that I might be able to cut out some of the noise when working remotely. ’ve had the Philips TAPH805BK’s on hand and today I am camping out at the dealer waiting on car repairs. What a perfect chance to put them to the test!

Read more ...

EVGA RTX 2060 KO

Well last week was crazy! AMD launched their RX 5600 XT, but before that happened Nvidia announced a lower price for the RTX 2060. Not long before the launch some of the AMD cards received big BIOS updates with significant overclocks. Altogether, it was all great for anyone considering a video card right now. I tested the RTX 2060 Founders Edition against our RX 5700 XT sample but I did also have the new EVGA RTX 2060 KO come in as well. We haven’t seen the KO branding in a long time, it has a different cooler and PCB design designed to fit with the new Intel NUC 9 platform announced at CES and for the GPU it is sporting cut down TU104 GPUs which are originally from the RTX 2080 and both RTX 2070 variations. I’m excited to see how EVGA’s new card performs and to also another look at the high end 1080p options when the 2060 has an aftermarket cooler attached.

Read more ...

ASRock RX 5600 XT Phantom Gaming OC

This year at CES, AMD had a few different big announcements, one of which was on the GPU side where they introduced their latest GPU the RX 5600 XT. The RX 5600 XT falls in between the original Navi RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT cards and above the RX 5500 XT that launched not too long ago. This is AMD filling out their Navi product stack. Well, today's the day, the RX 5600 XT is available and with that, we can also finally look at the cards and their performance. AMD sent over the ASRock RX 5600 XT Phantom Gaming OC for mt to take a look at and in addition to being excited to see how the new GPU performs I am also excited to get my first look at an ASRock video card. I’ve used many of their motherboards in the past, but it wasn’t until 2018 when they introduced their first cards. So I’m curious to see how they compare with the competition while I also see how the 5600 XT fits into the market.

Read more ...

MSI RX 5500 XT Gaming X 8GB

Surprisingly, while we work with MSI a lot of coverage I didn’t end up getting in any of their RX 5700 or RX 5700 XT’s. With AMD's new cards MSI made changes to their designs, so I was excited to hear that they were up for sending over one of the new RX 5500 XT’s. They sent over the RX 5500 XT Gaming X with 8GB of memory. I’ve had the Gaming X cards in before and they have a specific styling that they have had for years now. Things have changed some, dropping the bright red for example, but the new Navi Gaming X cards are completely different so I’m excited to check them out more. This specific card has a boost clock up to 1845 MHz which is right in line with the PowerColor card I took a look at with the RX 5500 XT launch so I’m curious to see how they compare.

Read more ...

Patriot Viper VPR100 1TB

The RGB market over the last few years has had just about anyone and everyone adding RGB to their products, even if it doesn’t make sense. One of the main areas which it has seemed to fit well is with RGB memory modules. Even this year we are seeing the last few companies who didn’t get in on the trend early getting out their RGB memory. The SSD market with SATA SSDs has had a few RGB options come out, but they always come off at more pointless than normal considering a lot of cases hide the 2.5-inch drives. But M.2, on the other hand, has been starting to see RGB come into the mix as well. Honestly a lot of boards hide the M.2 as well, but when it isn’t, it is at least right there on your already RGB lit motherboard right? Well, Patriot got in on it all as well with their Viper Gaming lines new drive called the VPR100, get it VPR aka Viper. Well, today I’m going to take a look at the drive, it's lighting, its software, and of course its performance as well!

Read more ...

OnePlus 7t

The phone market seems to make the PC market look slow with new models constantly coming out. For OnePlus they have a sort of cadence with their launches and you can start to catch the drift as you see the OnePlus 6 in mid-2018, the OnePlus 6T in the fall of 2018, the OnePlus 7 in the spring of 2019 along with its 7 Pro variant and then in the fall of 2019 they launched the OnePlus 7T and later the OnePlus 7T Pro. I took a look at the OnePlus 6T alongside the Note 9 and S9+ from Samsung’s Galaxy lineup earlier this year and now today I am checking out the OnePlus 7T, skipping the original 7 and 7 Pro, and testing the 7T against the Samsung S10 and the OnePlus 6T. I loved the 6T so I am really curious to see what OnePlus changed for the 7T and to see if it checked all of the marks like the 6T did with performance, display, camera, and battery life.

Read more ...

Antlion Audio Mod Mic USB

Over the years I have had a whole list of different Antlion Audio Mod Mics come into the office. The Wireless Mod Mic being the most recent and the biggest change they have made. But the formula for the standard Mod Mics has been about the same, top-level microphone performance that can be attached to quality headphones and you have a high-end gaming headset on the cheap and in most cases well above the performance possible with most gaming headsets. Other than the wireless model, they have all had a standard audio jack but that has now changed. Antlion Audio has now paired their always popular microphone with an ADC chipset (analog to digital converter, not an Attack Damage Carry from LoL) which allows for it to be hooked up directly to USB for those who don’t have an audio card or DAC that matches the quality of the Mod Mic. So today I’m going to check out the new Mod Mic USB and see if it lives up to the very high expectations that past models have set. 

Read more ...

Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT

Three years ago at CES Corsair introduced their K95 RGB Platinum as their latest and greatest mechanical keyboard and for three years now it has continued to be their flagship model. The K95 actually goes back to 2013, again at CES, where Corsair introduced the first changes to their original keyboard, the K90. Their flagship model has continued to see the latest changes including being the first keyboard to receive the full CHERRY MX RGB switches in 2014. But after the Platinum update, things have been quiet, until CES this year where they are showing off the latest edition. The K95 RGB Platinum XT adds PBT doubleshot keycaps which really got my attention and Corsair has also integrated the macro keys in with cross-functionality with the Elgato Stream Deck software. They have also improved on the palm rest as well. While Corsair is at CES, I’ve been at home putting the new K95 RGB Platinum XT through its paces. So let's dive into it!

Read more ...

A look back at 2019’s Award Winners

The ball has dropped, celebrations have ended, and most people are enjoying the day before jumping back to the grind tomorrow to really get the new year rolling. Yup, its 2020 and 2019 is behind us. Every year I sit down and look back at the previous year in reviews to see how I did for the year. 2019, for example, I only published 58 articles which was by far my lowest ever. This year I did better with a total of 72 but that is still lower than in the past, so my goal for 2020 is to improve on that number. I’m also hoping to include more side projects but hardware wise it doesn’t look like the CPU and GPU launches are going to slow down and CES next week should start to give us an indication of how other launches will be this year.

Read more ...

WD SN550 Blue 1TB NVMe SSD

Back in April I took a look at Western Digitals first budget focused M.2 NVMe drive with their Blue SN500 and I was impressed with both its performance and pricing, opening up more options for those not looking to build a crazy high-end PC that still want performance faster than the SATA drives and non-NVMe PCI based drives. Well here we are less than a year later and they have a new WD Blue drive available that is NVMe once again with a bump in performance with a focus on content creators and normal users who want NVMe performance. The new drive is called the WD Blue SN550 and Western Digital sent over their 1TB model which is a capacity that a lot of people are looking for when shopping for drives these days and it is the largest capacity available for the SN550. Today I’m going to take a closer look at the new drive to see what it has going on and put it to the test in our test suite to see how it performs then we can digest all of that and see if it is still the great buy that the SN500 was. Let's go!

Read more ...

Fractal Design Ion SFX 650G

One of my favorite SFX power supplies for a long time now has been the Fractal Design Node 202, they have a small size with its 10.2-liter capacity while keeping the pricing down compared to similar community made designs with its console-like form factor. With that Fractal Design has been in the SFX market for a while now, they even had an SFX power supply to go with it with the Integra 450W. Recently Fractal Design introduced their newest SFX PSU series, the Ion SFX series and I’m excited to see that Fractal Design is continuing to push into the SFX market and to give even more options for power supplies in the form factor. Hopefully, this also means new cases are coming as well. Anyhow, they did send over the new Ion SFX 650G and today I’m going to take a look and see what sets it apart from the competition from companies like Corsair and Silverstone.

Read more ...

PowerColor RX 5500 XT Red Dragon 8G

The introduction of the RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT which are based on AMD's new RDNA architecture was a huge deal partially because of the new architecture but also because AMD was back to focusing on the high-end GPU market. That launch has had its ups and downs but it has clearly had its impact including Nvidia launching its SUPER cards. Well, today's the day where AMD introduces their next lineup, the RX 5500 and RX 5500 XT (the non-XT model is OEM exclusive). This is bringing the same RDNA architecture with Navi to a more budget-focused lineup. For the RX 5500 XT which is the only card of the two that is available outside of OEMs, the RX 5500 XT has both 4GB and 8GB models. Well, today I’m going to check out what the 5500 XT has to offer by checking out the new PowerColor RX 5500 XT Red Dragon. I haven’t had a PowerColor card in the office in a long time and their Red Dragon cards have been extremely popular so I am especially excited to see what the card has going on.

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

Zotac GTX 1650 SUPER Twin Fan

Well, I finally took a look at the GTX 1660 SUPER earlier this week, now I can check out the recently introduced GTX 1650 SUPER. Unlike the GTX 1660 SUPER, the GTX 1650 SUPER is actually more than just a memory upgrade. In fact it isn’t even using the same GPU as the GTX 1650, it has the TU116 used in the GTX 1660, GTX 1660 SUPER, and GTX 1660 Ti only it is cut down to use 1280 CUDA cores compared to the 1408 on the GTX 1660. It also gets a clock speed increase over the GTX 1650 but it sticks with the 128-bit memory controller except with the same GDDR6 upgrade as the GTX 1660 SUPER. The change in GPU also means an upgrade to the Turning NVENC encoder as well. With that I’m excited to see the performance improvements that the new GPU is bringing at more budget-focused price points.

Read more ...

Gigabyte GTX 1660 SUPER Gaming OC 6G

If you thought the 1600 series was a strange naming scheme for Nvidia when it launched at the start of the year then you are really going to think it is weird with the SUPER designation that a lot of Nvidia’s lineup has been getting as they have been refreshing things. The GTX 1660 SUPER launched a few weeks ago. Well, today I’m going to check out the GTX 1660 SUPER Gaming OC from Gigabyte. The GTX 1660 super isn’t a huge change from the previous 1660, but it does have GDDR6 over the original GTX 1660’s GDDR5 and offers a rare look at what the newer memory offers for performance when everything else is the same. The Gaming OC adds an overclock up to 1860 MHz on the core clock from the 1785 MHz reference. So I’m excited to see how the Gaming OC performs compared to a few other cards new and old in that range.

Read more ...

Cooler Master MM711

Just a few months ago Cooler Master launched their much-anticipated MM710 and I took a look at it. The MM710 is an ultra-lightweight mouse with Cooler Master logo shaped holes in it to get down to 53 grams. It was also paired up with a solid sensor, good switches, and details like a super soft and flexible cord and PTFE gliders. I was really impressed with the mouse and even got two more to switch both my wife and I’s LAN rigs over to the new mouse. Well Cooler Master is at it again with a similar model, the MM711. They went Price is Right style and just went one digit higher, but what is different? In short, lighting is what is different. But in addition to changing the look, lighting also means changes in weight so today I’m going to check out the MM711 and see how it performs.

Read more ...

We have 981 guests and one member online

supportus