Cooler Master V850 SFX Gold

Cooler Master has been known to mix in a few different popular small cases into their case lineup over the years. But it might come as a surprise, up until this year they hadn’t released anything with an SFX power supply, even though SFX has been around for a long time now. I think we used one in our Lunchbox 2 build over 7 years ago! Well, this year they introduced their NR200 and NC100 SFF cases, and to go with them they were also working on an SFX power supply to add to their PSU lineup as well. In fact, I’ve got the NR200 here in the office, just waiting for the new V850 SFX Gold to come out and after a few delays, it looks like it is finally time. Today I’m going to check out the V850 SFX Gold and see what Cooler Master has going on with their first SFX PSU, then maybe here soon we can use it in a build in the NR200!

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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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EVGA RTX 3070 XC3 Black

On Tuesday I took a look at the new RTX 3070 Founders Edition as a look at Nvidia’s new Ampere-based GPU ahead of today's launch. Well in addition to the launch, today is also when the embargo drops for aftermarket RTX 3070’s and I’m lucky enough to have the RTX 3070 XC3 Black from EVGA on hand to check out. The RTX 3070 Founders Edition performed well, but today I’m excited to see what an overclock and a different cooler can do. Especially with EVGA going with a more traditional full-length PCB and cooler here over the short PCB that the Founders Edition had to support their unique blow-through design.

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Nvidia RTX 3070 Founders Edition

2020 has been a crazy year for almost everyone and the list of reasons for it are really long, especially with the ongoing pandemic. But on the hardware front, Nvidia’s announcement about their 3000 series of cards surprised a lot of people. The RTX 3080 and the RTX 3090 were a big part of that, but the RTX 3070 also created a lot of excitement. Nvidia showed its performance to be right with last generations' flagship, the RTX 2080 Ti, and with a price of $499 it immediately changed the used market and gave gamers who don’t have a bottomless wallet hope. Well the RTX 3070 will be available on October 29th at 9 am EST and before that mad dash, I’m going to put the RTX 3070 Founders Edition through our test suite to see if the RTX 2080 Ti claims are true and to find out if it is as good of a deal as it sounds.

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Cooler Master MM711 Colorways

Back in September of last year I took a look at the MM710 from Cooler Master and was extremely impressed with their new lightweight mouse. It takes advantage of a honeycomb design to keep the weight down and uses features popular in the mouse enthusiast community like PTFE gliders and a very flexible sleeved cord paired up with a great sensor and reliable switches to be a simple, but great performing mouse. They followed that up with the MM711 which has the same design, but with lighting inside which I also loved. Rather than change things up at all, this year they have kept things the same but to freshen things up they are now offering a few colorways. Specifically a Blue Steel and a Wilderness green as limited edition models. Today I’m going to check them out.

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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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Monster Truck Championship

Okay, I’m going to look a little old here, but back when I was a kid I spent a lot of time playing the original Bigfoot game on NES. It had upgrades and boosts which looking back seem so ahead of their time and later fueled my love for Gran Turismo. Prompted me to end up at any local monster truck show as well. But eventually, things got a little too crazy, or I drifted away from it all. But when I received an email about an upcoming game called Monster Truck Championship all of that came back.  It isn’t the only monster truck offering, but smashing cars, doing tricks, drag races, and normal races all piqued my interest. Especially with it being supported on Steam as well as PS4, Xbox One, and the Switch. Today is launch day (for everything except the Switch) and I’ve been playing it, lets take a look at how things went with Monster Truck Championship on the PC.

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Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo v2

With a few different all in one coolers tested recently, I have been on a bit of a cooling kick. But I couldn’t end things up without checking out Cooler Masters's most recent introduction, the Hyper 212 Evo v2. Which I suspect a lot of you have heard of the Hyper 212. When I’m going a build that is more down to earth, 9 times out of 10 I end up recommending the Hyper 212, and its been that way for years. Cooler Master has lead the market with this 120mm tower cooler that is always priced like a smaller 92mm cooler. Its no wonder why it has made it into so many builds. So when they said they had a new model coming, I had to take a look and find out if this is still the go-to for budget builds. Today I’m going to check out the Hyper 212 Evo v2 and see what is different as well as find out how it performs in our 3 CPU test suite. Let’s go check it out!

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Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML280 Mirror

Cooler Master isn’t new to the all in one cooler game, they were there right at the beginning when they were just starting to come out and they have continued to change things up over the years. RGB has been a thing for a while now and companies have been looking at how to change things up and we have already seen companies putting their lighting behind mirrors for a different look and Cooler Master is no different. They showed them off at CES this year and even though it has been a crazy year they did just recently introduce them officially with their MasterLiquid Mirror coolers. Well, I had the MasterLiquid ML280 Mirror come in and sticking with the cooling theme I have put it through our test suite and today I’m going to take a look at it and see how it performed, what it has to offer, and where it fits in the market price-wise.

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be quiet! Pure Loop 240mm

It might come as a surprise for a lot of people, but be quiet! which has made a name with their cases, coolers, power supplies, and fans has never actually had their own water cooler. This is a little crazy because everyone and their mom seem to sell an all in one cooler, even companies that don’t do anything else with cooling and be quiet! is out there with high-quality fans and only today have they finally announced an AIO. It is called the be quiet! Pure Loop and they have it in 120mm, 240mm, 280mm, and 360mm variations. For testing I had them send over the 240mm which is a dual 120mm configuration and is very common because it fits most cases. So today I’m going to check out the Pure Loop 240mm and see what be quiet! is doing differently (there are a few big things) and then put it to the test in our 3 CPU test suite.

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Sound Blaster X3

I’ve been using the Creative Labs X7 DAC to power my desktop speakers and wired headphones for almost 6 years now and have consistently been impressed with the performance, especially when it comes to having it paired up with my speakers. But I rarely run wired headphones because switching between the devices is complicated and you can’t use both at the same time. Not to mention the X7 gets toasty warm on the front when I use it with headphones. All of these issues have had me thinking about adding a dedicated headphone DAC into the mix and given the performance I have seen from the X7 it only makes sense that I would give their Sound Blaster X3 a look. So today I’m going to see what the X3 has to offer and then test out its performance to see if it fits the bill. I’ve heard great things, so I have high expectations. Let’s go check it out!

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Elgato Wave:1

Elgato has made a name for themselves by focusing on streamers and content creators with everything from capture cards, lighting, green screens, and their stream deck. The one area that they seemed to avoid for a long time was the one area that other companies had taken notice with at all, microphones. That changed recently with the introduction of their Wave:1 and Wave:3 condenser microphones. Over the years I’ve had the chance to check out a variety of desktop microphone options, so I was excited to see that Elgato was getting into the market. Given Elgato’s history of streamer support, I’m curious to see their take on the desktop mic.

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Crucial X6 2TB and X8 2TB

Recently Crucial introduced their newest portable SSD, the X6 and at the same time also brought out the new 2TB version of their X8 which I previously took a look at. The X6 is a SATA based drive that was designed with the price in mind which at its 1TB and 2TB capacities bridges the gap between portable hard drives and more expensive NVMe portable drives like the X8. They sent both drives over in the 2TB capacity and when I spoke with them before the launch we talked about the 2TB capacity specifically and why they were focusing on it. For starters, in their research, ¼ of the people looking for external drives are looking for high capacities like this when shopping. Which makes sense really, some people use these to supplement their PC or laptop storage for media downloads and when it comes to digital content creation for storing big video files which take up a lot of space. Those aren’t files you want to wait around at spinning drive speeds waiting to transfer. So today I’m going to take a second look at the X8, now with the new capacity, and check out the new X6 and see how they both perform. Let’s dive in!

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Blue Yeti X

With more and more people working from home, taking up streaming as a potential side gig, and others just looking to improve their audio quality. Desktop microphones have taken off in popularity, even with microphones on gaming headsets finally starting to improve. One of the biggest names in desktop microphones for PCs has been the brand Blue with their Snowball microphone as well as their Yeti Microphone. Well, the Yeti received an updated version late in 2019 before all of the craziness of 2020 hit and I have been using the Blue Yeti X for a while now. With my review of the Philips X3, thought it would be a great time to take a look at a desktop microphone that could be paired with a higher-end pair of headphones like the X3 so today I’m going to check out the Yeti X and see how it performs compared to other desktop, add on, and headset microphones.

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EnGenius ECS2512FP Switch

It’s funny how I remember specifically my first experiences with a full Gigabit network. Around the time we started our LAN events, I upgraded our home network to gigabit. But it really was when after a few events that we finally had our whole event network running in that I finally got to experience the transfer speeds and at the time saturating it required more than one hard drive in raid and it was a huge improvement over 100 Megabit. But gigabit has been around now for a long time and in that time storage speeds have gone insane in comparison. For comparison, gigabit is 125 MB/s, and even a 5400 RPM hard drive today will do 147 MB/s. If you are just running your PC and the internet this is perfectly fine because your internet is still the limitation. But if you are transferring files over your network, especially to multiple PCs a 1G or gigabit network is a slowdown and with Intel now including 2.5G network cards in their Z490 chipset faster network speeds are a possibility for more and more people. Today I’m checking out the EnGenius ECS2512FP which supports 2.5G with POE as well as has the potential to run SFP+ transceivers for 10G as well. This combination makes it perfect for feeding our ECW230 WiFi 6 AP and could be a perfect backbone switch with 2.5G to servers and 10G to other switches for a LAN or business.

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Nvidia RTX 3080 Founders Edition

Nvidia’s announcement of their new Ampere based RTX 3000 series of cards couldn’t have gone better for them. They ramped up the hype leading up to it for a month and even with countless leaks, they still managed to surprise everyone with both their performance estimates as well as the pricing. The combination almost instantly tanked the used card market as well, given estimates that put their RTX 3070 right with or above the RTX 2080 Ti which has been the top dog for gaming for two years now. Then you have the RTX 3080 and the RTX 3090 which show a big performance jump over the previous generation and for once pricing didn’t go way up. The RTX 3080 is coming out first and launches tomorrow, but before store availability, we get to take a look at the RTX 3080 Founders Edition and see why it is such a special card and put it through our test suite to see how it performs.

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Philips Fidelio X3

Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to test out an extremely wide range of headphones and headsets. In that time I have refined exactly what I like in a headset and none of the headsets I have had come in checked the main few bells for me. I love full-sized headphones and headsets, I have a big head and love when the cup isn’t pushing or touching my ears. For the headband, I prefer a suspension design. I love velour padding, this is one of those options that almost none of the normal designs have other than the old Sennheiser’s and recently Steel Series offered them as an upgrade. Then of course I want solid audio quality and an open design if possible to keep from getting to hot. Well, Philips sent a note over about their successor to the Fidelio X2 which not surprisingly is named the Fidelio X3 and they have the velour ear cups, suspension headband, and a large open-air design. But do they also sound good? I’ve been using them for the last few weeks and with them coming out this month I wanted to take a closer look at them and check out their performance.

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Cooler Master V750 Gold V2 White

Back in 2015 Cooler Master introduced their V Series of power supplies which over the years they have filled in with a variety of different wattages and 80 Plus ratings. In fact, I’ve been using a few of them in our builds as well as one of our test benches. But think about how much has changed in those 5 years in other areas of PC hardware. It’s not a huge surprise that they might be looking to change things up and today is that day. They are introducing the V Gold V2 which is as the name might indicate an 80 Plus Gold rated power supply. They have it available in 550, 650, 750, and 850 Watt models which is spot on for the mid to higher-end PCs, and this time around they have both a black and a white model. Cooler Master has never had a white power supply though they did have the MWE White which wasn’t white at all. So I’m excited to see what is new with the V2 as well as check out the new white model so let’s go take a look.

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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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