iPhone 7

So over the past few years I have reviewed 23 different mobile devices and on top of that I have tested and used at least another 23. In that time I have used every variation of Android available, Windows phones, multiple Blackberrys, and even a few Palm devices before they went away. What has been missing though has been a proper test of an iOS device. I’ve toyed with iPads and iPhone and even owned a few different iPods but its never been enough to really get a feel for it. Part of that is because I’ve never bought an iPhone for myself but it also comes down to review sampling for iPhone never being available through the channels we have worked through. Well with the launch of the iPhone 7 that changed, Verizon had a phone for me to check out and I have been using the iPhone7 for about a month and a half. In that time I have put aside any bias and learned how iOS works and tested the new iPhone 7 to see what it is all about. I’m certainly not the first person to cover the phone, but come with me to check out a first time iPhone users experience.

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Azio MK Retro

There are so many different reasons why people upgrade to mechanical keyboards. For some people, it is about durability. But for a lot of people, there is a bit of nostalgia involved. Some of us grew up with clicky buckling spring keyboards and just want a little of that back. With that in mind, Azio has introduced a new keyboard that is all about going old school, even beyond those buckling spring keyboards, back to typewriters. They aren’t the first company to do it, Datamancer a company we have worked with in the past had a few typewriter style keyboards and even sold keycaps. But Azio has actually taken the next step and gone into mass production and dropped the costs considerably. So today I’m going to take a look at their MK Retro and see if it is actually a usable keyboard, or if it is just going to be a novelty.

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Gigabyte RX 480 G1 Gaming 8GB

After checking out an aftermarket RX 480, the reference RX 480, and both together in Crossfire you might think we were done. But Gigabyte was a little late to the party with their sampling and their RX 480 G1 Gaming with 8GB of vRAM came in while I was on vacation. Add in the RX 460 and GTX 1050 launches and I’m just now getting around to take a look at the card. So today I’m going to take a look at the card and see what it is all about. Then I’m going to run it through our test suite including the recently added Deus Ex tests and see how it compares to the rest of the RX 480 options. This also gives me a good chance to revisit the RX 480 and see if its location in the market has changed at all with the price changes. So get into everything and see what Gigabyte has going on.

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MSI GTX 1050 Ti Gaming X 4G

So earlier this week I took a look at both the GTX 1050 and the GTX 1050 Ti. Both of our samples were from Nvidia and MSI but around the same time I also ended up with a second MSI GTX 1050 Ti, the Gaming X model. It didn’t seem right to just slip the numbers into the other coverage so today I’m going to take a look at the card. It is longer than the other MSI cards and it has a full sized dual fan cooler. They also slipped a 6-pin power connection on it as well so today I’m going to run it through all of our normal tests and see how well it performs.

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MSI GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti

So we may be past most of the exciting launches that sit at the top of the price range but both Nvidia and AMD have been slowly releasing all of their price point cards. Most recently AMD launched the RX 460. At that spot in the market, Nvidia hadn’t responded until today. Today they are announcing the GTX 1050 and the GTX 1050 Ti. Well really most of you saw all of the PR launch last week, but today is the official end of the NDAs. That means I can finally dive into the cards and see what Nvidia has going on. While I’m doing that I’m going to add a new game into our benchmark suite and retest the RX 460 to see how they compare. Then we can find out what cards will be the best performers for those of you who don’t have PCI power connections or for those looking to keep the budget way down on their latest build. To keep things really easy, Nvidia sent over MSI cards for both the 1050 and the 1050 Ti so they should be perfect for comparing the two.

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QNAP TS-451+

You may not have noticed, but not only have PCs been getting smaller but devices like notebooks, phones, and tablets have been taking over. It doesn’t mean that the PC is going away as some people would like you to think, but it does mean that fewer devices have the capability to hold bulk storage. Sure SSDs are getting bigger and computers have some room, but enthusiasts, geeks, and professionals used to load up their main PCs with hard drives and the PC market is moving away from that. You could go with an external drive but they don’t really have the capacity as well. Because of that, the home NAS market has been picking up and more and more people are realizing that a central storage location is helpful for the whole family. In our case, I moved to NAS storage years ago to cut back on electricity from having servers running in the house. We have had one for my attached office and another with video files but recently those have filled up and I’ve been looking at new options. While doing that I thought it would be a great time to take a look at what QNAP has going on so they sent over their TS-451+. My past NAS have been powered by slower CPUs and over time his has caused slowdowns when running RAID so I’m excited to see how the TS-451+ performs with its Intel quad core.  So let’s dive in.

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Rosewill Cullinan Gaming Case

Over the past 5 years or so I have seen the case market slowly move its focus from the flashy designs that most people associate with gaming to a cleaner theme. With that we have also seen a few companies, namely, In Win, introduce custom designs that have incorporated glass into their designs. In fact, I personally have three different builds that utilize glass. So when Rosewill contacted me about their new Cullinan case that utilizes glass and has a simple/elegant design I jumped right on board, completely ignoring the fact that it was launching right in the middle of our LAN, Alex’s and I’s vacation, and basically the craziest time for me. Because of that, I’m a little late to the party taking a look at the case, but I’m still excited to see what direction Rosewill is moving in their cases.

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Tesoro Gram Spectrum

With us being a few years into the whole RGB movement with mechanical keyboards, we are still seeing some companies finally moving their keyboards over to RGB and others have been refining their original designs. At this point, I have tested and covered just about everything and I think almost every day I’m turning down companies who want to send more and more of the same. I nearly did the same with the Gram Spectrum from Tesoro but the fact it was available in an all white design caught my eye. With everyone else only selling them in black, it is nice to see something a little different. On top of that, the Gram Spectrum also has Tesoro’s new switch called the Tesoro Agile with a short throw and short actuation point. So today I’m going to check out the Gram Spectrum and see what it is all about in all of its pale glory and find out how the new switches compare to the rest of the market.

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RX 480 Crossfire

A few weeks ago before going on vacation I took a look at the Sapphire RX 480 8GB Nitro and was impressed with its performance. Well as these things normally go, with that being the second RX 480 to come into the office, I did spend some time with both the Sapphire and our original reference RX 480 on the test bench to test out Crossfire performance. Sadly, I hadn’t had a chance to take a look at the numbers until today, though. So today let’s see how the RX 480’s perform in Crossfire for those wondering if picking up a second RX 480 in the future will be worth in.

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MSI RX 470 Gaming X 8GB

After having the chance to test the RX 460, RX 470, and RX 480 we now have a much better idea of how the current AMD lineup stands. There were a few special cases that I was curious about, though. Specifically the 4GB RX 480 and the 8GB RX 470. I was able to test the 4GB RX 480 by flashing our reference cards firmware but for the RX 470, MSI was nice enough to send a card for me to check out. I haven’t had a chance to see any of MSI’s current AMD lineup so the card also gave me a chance to see what they have going as well. So today I’m going to run the RX 470 Gaming X 8GB through all of our tests, dive into its features, and find out how it compares to the rest of the AMD lineup.

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