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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Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

Well it’s that time again, we have to say goodbye to another year and hello to a new beginning. 2016 wasn’t exactly the year I had hoped it would be and I think a lot of people would echo that same sentiment. But around here I have still continued to bring out new content including touching on new areas all together like 3D printing. Over the entire year I published 80 reviews and that is down from 92 last year. I don’t know if that means I have been slacking, but I do know that our content has gotten longer and I am constantly spending more and more time testing, so I think that might be part of the reason for the decline. Every year I like to take a look back at all of the Editor’s Choice awards I give out and revisit them to see if they ended up being used in my personal setup. Last year I gave our 10, but looking back a year later I’m only still using 2. This year I gave out a whopping 19. This may be partially due to working on two different project builds this year, but I still bet more than a few wouldn’t make the cut looking back. So let's take a look.

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Razer Deathadder Elite

It’s hard to believe it, but Razer launched the original Deathadder just over 10 years ago. At that time if you built a new PC you might be sporting a newly launched Intel Core 2 Duo or an AMD Athlon 64 FX CPU with your new GTX 7900 GTX or Radeon X1900. It’s crazy how much things have changed while at the same time the Deathadder in its different variations is still one of the go-to mice on the market. The newest Deathadder is the Deathadder Elite. It has the same shape that everyone loves but has a new 5g optical sensor and for the first time, Razers own mechanical mouse switches. Razer sent over the Elite for me to check out and slipped in the Firefly RGB mousepad. I’ve been testing them out and today I’m going to see what they are all about and how they perform.

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Arozzi Arena Gaming Desk

It’s funny how we spend sometimes thousands of dollars on our PCs and peripherals but at the end of the day don’t give much thought to our actual desk setups. I bet a lot of you are using the same desk that you used years ago, I know I did. But a few years ago I started thinking about options for new desks and frankly there really aren’t that many out there. Sure you can pick up the cheap desks at your local discount store, but is there anything out there that’s better. Are there any options focused on gamers? Well if you search around you will find a few options that are “gamer” focused, but none were very good. So when I saw the Arozzi Arena Gaming Desk online it caught my eye. They didn’t just add colors and call it a gaming product, it actually has a cloth mouse surface over the entire top of the desk. With all of the people buying large desk pads and putting them under their keyboard and mouse, the Arena seemed like an extension of that so I reached out to Arozzi to take a closer look.

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Caselabs Bullet BH7

Over the past four years, I have been running my main rig in the Magnum TH10 monster of a case. In that time I have abused the case almost every day and it has held up to that abuse without a ding, dent, or chip in the finish. So when I saw that Caselabs had introduced a new case and it was available in a bright orange I couldn’t get in touch with Caselabs fast enough. The new Bullet line of cases are much smaller and incorporate a lot of new features from what Caselabs have learned in the last few years including a dual chamber design. Given that I’ve never actually built an orange themed build and I’ve always wanted to, I set out to build a monster PC in the Bullet BH7. You can expect a project build in the future, but for now, I did want to sit down and dive into the Caselabs Bullet BH7 and tell everyone what it's all about and if they should pick one up for their next build.

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Logitech C922 Pro Stream Webcam

If you have ever shopped for webcams you will have most likely realized that even though everyone and their mom sells a webcam, there is only one on the market that everyone recommends. The Logitech c920 has been at the top of the market for almost 5 years now and before that the c910 was also the go to camera. It’s crazy to think that basically the same camera could still be considered so good after so many years. Surely the tech has improved, right? Well with the popularity of streaming really getting traction Logitech decided to follow up the C920 with a new model called the C922 that is focused directly at streamers. Given the past models I have high expectations, but more than anything else I’m curious what is different with the C922 at all. So today I’m going to check it out and see what it’s all about.

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Simplify3D

For over 7 months of printing on the SeeMeCNC Eris’ and the Rostock MAX v3, I have been using the suggested software MatterControl. Setup was easy because they work directly with SeeMeCNC and it had the profiles for both printers. Beyond that, it was easy to use, but over time I started to notice more and more limitations and I was really curious what else was out there. Well, one of the more popular programs for handling most 3d printers is called Simplify3D. They happened to be based out of Ohio like we are, so I reached out and they send over a copy and I have been testing it alongside my testing of the Rostock MAX v3. So today I’m going to dive in and check out what their software is all about.

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SeeMeCNC Rostock MAX v3

Most of you know the saying “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. Well when it comes to trinkets and other cool stuff, 3d printers are the same. You Can buy small items or you can print your own cool stuff. Early this year I did just that. I covered SeeMeCNC’s new at the time Eris and even well past my coverage I had one and then later two printers running all of the time in the office. I was having a blast but I really needed to go BIGGER. Well, a few months ago they sent over their new v3 model of their Rostock MAX, the big guy. With vacation and everything it took me a little while to get going, but I have been running the printer for a long time now and it’s about time I sit down and tell everyone about my experience with SeeMeCNC’s new printer. You might want to get comfortable, this might be a long one. 

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