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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V-Moda Crossfade Wireless

Hi, my name is Wes and I’m addicted to wireless headsets.. I hate to admit it, because I have just about any wired headset I could want in the warehouse, but on my main PC I prefer to use a wireless headset. Over the years I can’t even count the different ways that I have gotten tangled up in a headphone wire or damaged the wire with my chair so years ago I started using wireless headsets. I started with the Corsair Vengeance 1500’s then I went to the Logitech G930’s, and for the past three years I’ve had the SteelSeries H Wireless. I’ve run into multiple issues with reception issues, especially at LAN parties, battery issues, and at one point the Corsairs even just came apart in my hands. The H Wireless held up better and gave me fewer issues because of its swappable battery setup but the audio performance and comfort were never really as good as anything wired. But it's 2016, going on 2017 and I’m feeling saucy. I decided to check out the V-Moda Crossfade Wireless. I’ve got the wired version that I take with me to LAN events and love them, so I thought they might finally be the solution to the audio and comfort issues while being wireless so I’ve been giving them a try.

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Realforce RGB

Over the past few years the market for mechanical keyboards with RGB backlighting has gone crazy. The problem though is all of those RGB keyboards have had Cherry switches, knock off cherry switches, or a few custom switches designed by companies like Logitech and SteelSeries. One of my favorite mechanical switch types is Topre, but with the exception of a few knockoffs you haven’t been able to get Topre keyboards with any backlighting, let alone full RGB backlighting. So when Realforce introduced their upcoming keyboard, the Realforce RGB I had to check it out. Of all of the keyboards I have my Realforce 87u is one of my favorites to type on, but the lack of backlighting or even easy to read legends in the light forced me to keep it put up. So it will be exciting to see how Realforce’s new keyboard performs to see how it compares.

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Thermaltake Toughpower DPS G RGB 850 W Titanium

It’s starting to become a meme at this point, but in the PC market almost everything now is available with RGB lighting. This is partially due to companies finally locking down the control they wanted for crazy lighting effects and also because it finally lets everyone bring out just one product that will work with any theme. No other company has taken this as far as Thermaltake as they have RGB lighting with their water cooling and RGB power supplies. As someone who prefers to make sure everything in my build matches I’m all for RGB and with that I wanted to take a look at Thermaltake’s Toughpower DPS G RGB to use in a build, specifically their 850-watt model with the crazy 80 Plus rating of Titanium!

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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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