LG V20

There are only a few phones that I get really excited about every year. The LG V20 is one of those phones, the ultra-premium feature list with things like a built-in headphone DAC are always interesting. This is also one of only a few phones on the premium phone market that has a removable battery and expandable memory. Those features and the aluminum body all help it stand out in a crowded market, but today I’m going to see what else the V20 has going for it and find out just where it stands for performance.

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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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ADATA SU800 256GB SSD

Last year ADATA introduced their SU800 as part of a complete line of 3D NAND based SSDs. It is their mid-ranged model with the SU900 being their highest end SATA based SSD but comes in at a price point that Is budget friendly as well. The SU800 is also the first 3D NAND SSD on the market from a company that doesn’t make their own NAND. So today I’m going to take a look inside the drive and see what it’s all about and also test its performance to see how it compares to other SATA based drives. Is this the SATA SSD for your next build? The price is right and they have the capacities, but let’s find out.

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Logitech G533 Wireless Headset

As someone who prefers good audio quality but also can’t stand being attached to my desk with a wire, I have been on the hunt for the perfect wireless headset for a long time now. I’ve run into a few that I liked and even used for a while but they all seem to have their flaws that become obvious over time. The Logitech G930 for example. I tested it back in 2013 and it performed really well, but I ran into issues trying to use it at LAN events and later it even gave me issues in my office when running other wireless devices. Well, I’m back at it again, this time with Logitech’s G533. In a lot of ways, it is similar to the old G930 and Logitech was happy to tell me about the improvements in wireless performance and even improvements in gaming audio performance, but let’s take a closer look and see what it has going on.

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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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EpicGear DeFiant Mechanical Keyboard Set

Just about everyone has jumped into the mechanical keyboard market at this point but rarely do you see companies take their time in tweaking and tuning their products like I have seen with EpicGear. All the way back in 2015 I took a look at their Dezimator X, a pre-release keyboard that they were considering sending to the USB market. Well, my review wasn’t the most promising. They took that information along with a lot of feedback from the mechanical communities and Massdrop and designed a new keyboard. Well the EpicGear DeFiant was released and it has a whole list of customization options, well they have been working on a new set based around the DeFiant with a carrying case and some of the customization options, today I’m going to check it out and see how things have changed.

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Asus Strix Z270E Gaming

It's just about impossible to check out all of the different Z270 boards offered by all of the manufacturers, but I have at least taken a look at a mix so far. Missing though was Asus, so today I’m going to be checking out the Asus Strix Z270E Gaming. Asus’s Z270 product lineup is broken down into four categories, Maximus as their high-end gaming boards, the Stix line as their gaming boards with lighting, the TUF series that is well tuff, and the Prime series are simpler for styling but still packed with a lot of the same features. Asus even put together a nice website to help you figure out what fits you best. So the Strix Z270E Gaming that I’m going to check out today is a full ATX board up at the top of the Strix lineup. I’ve only checked out Strix video cards, so I’m excited to see what Asus has going on with the Strix boards.

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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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Antlion Audio ModMic 5

Last June I took a look at the ModMic from Antlion Audio and was impressed with its overall performance and how it opened up new options for quality audio for gamers. I had a few issues with it, but overall it came out with a recommended award. Well in December they introduced their new ModMic 5 and I’ve been playing around with it. Today I’m going to run through what it's all about and see if the new design is an improvement on the already popular design.

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Arozzi Mezzo

So when it comes to office chairs, just a few years ago most of your options were going to be just what you might find in an office supply store, electronics store, or a department store. None of them were built for the extended use that you might put an office chair when gaming or even just working at your PC day to day. Today though there are more options than you could possibly consider, all in the gaming chair market. I’ve had the chance to check out a few different options over the years. Recently I took a look at Arozzi’s new Arena desk and when they sent that they also sent one of their chairs, the Mezzo. So now that we have been using the chair off and on over the past month or so I can finally “sit down” and talk a little more about it and see how it fits into the market.

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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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MSI Z270 SLI PLUS

So not everyone looking for a Z270 board wants or needs all of the gaming-focused features that most of the Z270 boards have. Specifically, some people just want something clean and simple looking without any special lighting and MSI seems to have just the thing. Their Z270 SLI Plus has a black and silver theme without any RGB lighting. It’s a lot closer to a budget board but it still has a few of the features you would need/want when building a simple gaming PC including the SLI support. So today I’m going to check it out and see what it has going for features, software, and performance. Let’s dive in!

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Gigabyte Aorus Z270X-Gaming K7

So it's almost tax time and this year we couldn’t ask for better timing on hardware launches. Intel launched their new chipsets and CPUs around CES time and AMD has their new CPUs and Chipsets coming here soon as well. So it looks like this year might be a big year for hardware, especially with more companies refocusing again on the PC. Well, Gigabyte introduced a whole selection of Z270 boards at CES and along with that they also expanded the reach of their Aorus line. It used to just be their gaming laptop lineup, but they have now brought together that brand with their gaming peripherals, motherboard, and video cards as well. The first Aorus product to come in is their new Z270X-Gaming K7 board. Let’s take a look and see what it’s all about.

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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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Corsair K95 RGB Platinum

This year at CES Corsair introduced their new K95 Platinum RGB. Some of you may remember that the original K95 from Corsairs first line of RGB keyboards. It was based on the K90 that I reviewed all the way back in 2012 as part of the launch of their Vengeance lineup, so it was due for a refresh. Well the new K95 Platinum RGB brings back the macro keys in a smaller amount and then adds features like RGB lighting and the new light edge that is also RGB. They also brought back the USB passthrough port after a lot of people requested it. So today I’m going to check out the new keyboard and see if it is as exciting as Corsair has made it out to be.

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Fnatic Gear Clutch G1

So have you ever heard of Func? What about Fnatic? Func was a mousepad manufacturer that later went on to make a few nice peripherals. Fnatic, on the other hand, is one of if not the biggest brand in eSports. Well about a year and a half ago Func closed its doors and Fnatic picked them up. Given all of the branded products that the eSports teams work with others on it wasn’t a huge shock to see one of them go into the market themselves. Fatal1ty did it solo and at this point, the Fnatic brand is a lot bigger, especially to the younger eSports fan. So a while back (frankly far too long ago, I'm just now catching up) Fnatic sent over their Clutch G1 for me to check out. I’ve spent some time with the Clutch G1 and now I can finally sit down and talk a little about its performance.  

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Sick of hearing about RGB, here’s an article about RGB

After spending the past few weeks sorting through all of the CES coverage, launches, and all of the comments and backlash on social media and websites like Reddit I wanted to sit down and talk a little about something that has been bothering me. Over the past year, but especially at CES, just about every product introduced now has RGB lighting. When seeing my friends in the tech press talk about it, you can almost see/read the frustration with it all and there are comments all over with people hating on RGB. I want to go on record and say that RGB is great for the industry and its one of those products that everyone is going to hate on but they will most likely be upset next year if someone brings out a product without it.

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XFX Hard Swap LED Fans

So last week I took a look at XFX’s RX 480 and it, like the XFX RX 470, has what they call Hard Swap fans. The stock fans are just basic 90mm fans like you would find on most aftermarket cards, but without any tools they can be swapped with other fans. Along with the card, XFX also sent all three of their LED fan kits for me to check out. So today isn’t going to be a long day or anything, but I’m going to check out the new fans, see how easy they are to swap out, and take a look at all three LED colors on the XFX RX 480.

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XFX RX 460 4GB Slim

I bet a lot of you don’t even know it, but it really wasn’t all that long ago that single slot cards were all that was available. Now, though, even the low-end cards take up two slots with their coolers. That said, there are still reasons to need a single slot video card. Some cases will only support them, though that has gotten a lot better. Your configuration might not have any two slots together, or maybe you need to upgrade a small OEM build that was never built for having a dedicated card at all. No matter the reason, getting a single slot card can sometimes be hard, especially if you actually want good performance. Because of that XFX recently introduced their RX 460 Slim that is packed neatly into a single slot configuration and doesn’t need a power connection at all. So today I’m going to check out the card and then run it through our testing to see how it performs.

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XFX RX 480 8GB Hard Swap XXX

With product reviewing, we tend to cover a product and then move on, not really revisiting it unless a competing product comes out or the next generation comes out. Most of the time this is fine, things don’t change that much. But in the world of video cards, drivers play a big role and over time performance can improve or get worse. XFX sent over their RX 480 8GB Hard Swap XXX Edition video card mostly to use it with their swappable LED fans that I will be covering soon. But while I had the card I thought it would be a good excuse to revisit the RX 480 and see how it’s doing. Typically AMD drivers don’t have the performance early on, but age well and give improvements later on and I’ve been hearing that it may have overtaken the GTX 1060 in some games. So today let's check out the card and see how it stands now.

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