SteelSeries Arctis 5

In the eight and a half years that I have been doing reviews here at LanOC, I’ve had the opportunity to work with SteelSeries on every one of their headset launches. But in that time none of the new headsets have been a completely new design. They have revamped the H and Siberia lines multiple times and even had a few variations that were close to an all new design like the Siberia Elite. But recently they actually introduced a completely new headset product line called the Arctis. Like their H series they have a couple of variations but for the launch they sent over the Arctis 5 and I’ve been testing it out and I finally have a little time to sit down and talk about it. So let's dive into the new features then see how they perform.

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Corsair HX850i

When it comes to building a new PC most of your focus is going to be on things like your video card, your CPU, SSDs, and maybe your case. That is because those are the components that affect the performance of your PC and with your case, it is the most visible component. So I completely understand why your power supply isn’t at the top of your list. You do have to remember though that a poor quality power supply can take out all of those other expensive components in an instant. I recently started looking at components for a new build for my main rig to replace the monster Fridge build. For the power supply, I wanted to go with a lower wattage because I had only planned on having two video cards, but I wanted to stick with Corsair and I needed fully modular to change out the cables later. So the Corsair HX850i came to mind. With its Platinum 80 Plus certification and a few cool features. The build it is going in is coming along, so today I’m going to take a look at the HX850i and see what it is all about.

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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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Monster Fatal1ty FxM 200 Headset

Not everyone who plays games is into e-sports, but there is a large following for e-sports in general, especially a few of the most popular games. Payouts are in the millions of dollars and players are starting to become household names. None of today's players though have found the universal success that Fata1ty has. Fatal1ty paved the way for today's players, won twelve world championship titles, was profiled on MTV’s True Life TV show, and he created his own brand of products. Thorin did a great video covering it all earlier this year. Johnathan Wendel managed to transition huge success across multiple games into a brand. Over the years we have seen a wide variety of products including motherboards, ram, PSUs, and headsets. I actually think a lot of today's gamer crowd may even know him more as that brand than anything else. The reason for the history lesson today is because this past CES Fatal1ty and Monster announced a partnership to bring out new headsets and for a while now I’ve actually had the new Fatal1ty FxM 200 here in the office to test out. So today I’m going to take a closer look at it and see how it performed.

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Motorola Moto Z Force Droid

Not too long ago the idea of a premium phone was really just a big screen, a fast CPU, and maybe a decent camera. Over the past few years, the premium phone market has really grown and with that we have seen a wide variety of different features help set these phones apart. With the new Moto Z line of phones, they have a few different phone options including the Force model that I’m going to check out today. Features like high battery life, a shatterproof screen, and a fingerprint reader will be useful to everyone, but it’s the Moto Mods that I think everyone will remember the Moto Z Force for. The phone has a back panel that lets you swap out different back plates and a few premium features like an additional battery, a speaker, or even a projector. Verizon sent along the Moto-Mods speaker along with the phone for my testing so I do get to get a feel for the hot swappable features.

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Sapphire RX480 8GB Nitro+

Well for a while there it seemed like all I was covering were cards from all of AMDs launches. I took a break and took a look at a few GTX 1060’s and a few other things around that office. But I’m now back at it again. Today I get to take a look at our first aftermarket RX480 and it’s an exciting one, the RX480 8GB Nitro+ from Sapphire. This is one of the cards that people have been especially excited for. Given how well the Nitro RX470 performed in my previous review I don’t blame them for being excited. So today I’m going to check out the card and see what it has going, then run it through our benchmark suite and see how it performs. While I’m at it I’m also going to take a look at the recently introduced revision to the Trixx software that adds proper lighting controls for the card. Let’s go!

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Toshiba OCZ RD400 512GB

Well, it wasn’t that long ago that Toshiba picked up OCZ and brought the OCZ brand into their lineup as their enthusiast oriented brand. So it may take a little while to adjust to the new Toshiba branding sitting next to the OCZ, but for those concerned with any OCZ issues in the past, having Toshiba backing the brand now should be reassuring. On top of the new branding, Toshiba has also introduced their first M.2 PCIe drive with the RD400. The RD stands for the previous Revo Drive branding from OCZ and this drive was originally shown off as a Revo Drive. The drive has a native PCIe controller and is an NVMe drive so we can expect performance to be significantly better than any of the SATA based drives. Today I’m going to check out the drive and then run it through our testing to see just how it performs.

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Silverstone SX700-LPT

So over the past few years and especially in the past few months I’ve had the chance to take a look at a variety of SFX form factor power supplies from a few different manufacturers. So far all of them have fit the standard SFX form factor, but recently Silverstone introduced a few power supplies that are SFX-L. The SFX-L form factor is the same size as other SFX power supplies in most dimensions, but they are slightly longer. This extra length squares off the SFX form factor and allows for a much larger fan to fit inside. The extra space and cooling also allowed Silverstone to up the power a little up to 700 watts. This is exciting because it finally allows for proper SLI and Crossfire setups in the SFX form factor. So today I’m going to take a look at the SX700-LPT and see what is different than Silverstone’s other SFX power supplies.

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EVGA GTX 1060 SC

Well, last week I took a look at the Zotac GTX 1060 AMP! Edition, it was close to an ITX form factor card and it was our first aftermarket GTX 1060. It just so happens that EVGA had also sent over a GTX 1060, their GTX 1060 Superclocked. This card is a little shorter than the Zotac and it falls into the ITX form factor. I’m excited to see what EVGA has going on and to find out if this is going to be the new go-to card for ITX builds. So today I’m going to take a look at its features then run the card through our test suite and see how it compares to the other GTX 1060’s as well as the RX 480’s that are competing with it on the red side of the tracks.

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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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