WD Blue SN500 250GB

Back in January WD introduced their new WD Black SN750 SSD and I took a look at it. Its performance was extremely impressive but as I pointed out in our Crucial P1 and XPG SX6000 reviews, not everyone is looking to get the biggest and best SSD. Up until now the people looking for a cheaper drive have basically had to settle for SATA based drives. Recently though a few NVMe drives have been finally getting down into those SATA M.2 drive prices and WD has joined in as well with their new WD Blue SN500. It might not be as exciting when it comes to raw performance like the WD Black, but I am curious to see how it performs with its $54.99 price point right now for the 250GB model. So today I’m going to see what the new drive is all about, check out its performance, then see how it compares to the other cheaper NVMe drives on the market.

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Dr Zaber Sentry 2.0

Back in 2016, I ran across a community inspired case called Sentry. It was designed in Poland as a side project by a wind turbine company. I reached out at potentially getting one in at the time but it being a side project they didn’t have any extra. It went on to have a successful Indiegogo campaign early in 2017. Well, they didn’t go away, in fact, they have been busy bringing in feedback all this time from the Sentry 1.0 owners and working on a new design. Talk about exciting! I was excited about the first design, being able to pack a true PC into a console form factor. What could they possibly have changed? Well, their changelog reads a lot like an open source software roadmap including showing what ideas they decided not to implement with reasons why. Even better, this time around for the Sentry 2.0 they made a few more test cases to spread around. You most likely have seen a few of them around YouTube and the internet by now. Well, we had a Sentry 2.0 come in as well and I’ve been playing around with it. I’m excited to finally take a closer look at this unique design and see if it was worth being excited about all this time.

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Raijintek Ophion Evo

A majority of the builds that I have at this point are SFF (Small Form Factor) builds but typically going SFF requires compromises. If you want something extremely fast, you are going to deal with heat. The other option is to go with one of the community made cases which are more compact and have better cooling without having to go with an ITX length video card. But they are expensive. So I was excited to see that Raijintek had a new design with a Dan Case like design with a full-length GPU on one side and the motherboard on the other. Their Ophion is also much cheaper as well and available in two size options. I was most excited for the Ophion Evo which is a little taller and adds support for a 240mm radiator. I’ve been using the Ophion Evo for a while now, you might have even seen it in our Asus Ryuo review, and today I am finally going to give the rundown on my experience with the case.

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Zotac GTX 1660

Nvidia introduced the GTX 1660 Ti late in February and this answered a lot of questions about how the rest of the product stack would fill in under all of their recently launched Turing based RTX cards. The GTX 1660 Ti showed that they were bringing Turing to the mainstream cards by dropping ray tracing and it quickly jumped past the GTX 1070 and put AMD into a pricing bind with the Vega 56 as well as the RX590. Well, the GTX 1660 Ti name did bring up a lot of questions as to why they didn’t stick with the 2000 series or even move up to the 1100 series from the previous GTX cards. But the Ti in the name did let us know that there would most likely be a model that slotted in below it and today that card, the GTX 1660 launches. There aren’t Founders Edition models so we had to reach out to get a card and Zotac was kind enough to send their GTX 1660 so I am going to take a look at that today and see how Nvidia’s new card compares to the GTX 1060, GTX 1660 Ti, and of course the RX580 and RX590 from AMD.    

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Gigabyte GTX 1660 Ti OC 6G

So the GTX 1660 Ti has proven to be popular and a nice step up from the GTX 1060 Ti as a card for 1080p focused budget builds. I have had a few in the office now but I love getting the chance to compare card to card between manufacturers to see what everyone is doing for styling and to compare the performance of the coolers which are typically the most drastic difference between cards that share the same base GPU. In this case, Gigabyte sent over their GTX 1660 Ti OC 6G which is their entry level GTX 1660 Ti. It does still come overclocked with a clock speed of 1800 MHz over the 1770 MHz that Nvidia recommends but this is a touch lower than the other GTX 1660 Ti’s that I have had in. But with the RTX 2060’s so close in pricing to the GTX 1660 Ti’s that are selling over the base price these more basic GTX 1660 Ti’s seem to be in the sweet spot so I excited to see how the Gigabyte card does!

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Antlion Audio ModMic Wireless

While looking for the best gaming audio setup over the years I spent a lot of time testing different gaming headsets and what I found was that a lot of companies focused more on making their gaming headsets “look” gaming more than they tried to really give you the best possible audio experience. This has improved over the last few years some, but still the best possible configuration, in my opinion, is a traditional set of high-quality headphones design for music use and then to provide your own microphone in the form of a table microphone or an add on microphone like the ModMic which I have reviewed twice in the past (ModMic 4 and ModMic 5). The desktop microphone is more convenient but often picks up any noise around you including your keyboard and the ModMics both performed flawlessly but you do have to fight with a second cord in addition to your headphones. Well, Antlion Audio now has a solution to that, their ModMic Wireless and that is what I’m going to take a look at today.

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EVGA GTX 1660 Ti XC Ultra

Well, the GTX 1660 Ti that has been rumored for what I can only assume is 15 or more years is finally out. I took a look at an MSI card in our initial launch and while impressed with the performance of the GTX 1660 Ti I did have a few concerns with the card itself. Luckily EVGA also sent over their GTX 1660 Ti XC Ultra. So I’m going to take a look at EVGA’s top GTX 1660 Ti and see what they have to offer. It has a boost clock of 1860 MHz which is faster than the MSI Ventus XS’s 1830 MHz and well above the 1770 MHz stock speed that Nvidia had listed for the 1660 Ti. So let's dive right in and see what EVGA has to offer.

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MSI GTX 1660 Ti Ventus XS

Nvidia has been slowly refreshing their product stack for about six months now as they have been introducing their new RTX 2000 series of cards. Well, we are finally getting down into the sweet spot and today they are introducing the replacement to the always popular GTX 1060. But what may come as a surprise to some of you is that replacement isn’t going to be an RTX card. Nvidia’s new card is still Turning based, but with this launch, they have dropped the Tensor and RT cores that make an RTX card so this launch is a GTX card. Today they are launching the GTX 1660 Ti. I’m not going to pretend to understand the reasoning for the move away from the 2000 series numbering, but today I’m going to dive into what is different with the GTX 1660 Ti and then check out the MSI GTX 1660 Ti Ventus XS and see how it performs.

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Gigabyte RTX 2060 Gaming OC Pro 6G

With the RTX 2060 launch Gigabyte introduced a whole variety of models including a Mini ITX model that really caught my eye but also a new “pro” designated model that looks to keep the styling simple. The RTX 2060 Gaming OC Pro 6G is the card they have been sending out and I have been checking out the card for a little while now and today I’m going to finally dive into it for testing. This isn’t the first RTX 2060 I have had in the office. The Gaming OC Pro 6G is interesting because it doesn’t have crazy lighting or anything flashy, but it has the same 1830 MHz clock speed that the MSI Gaming Z had. So the Gaming OC Pro 6G has the potential to be a sleeper with great performance. Let's dive in and check out what it's all about!

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MSI RTX 2060 Gaming Z 6G

So we recently figured out that the RTX 2060 is a bit of a gem with performance rivaling the GTX 1070 Ti and in some situations, even the GTX 1080 and that was just with the Founders Edition. I also had the MSI RTX 2060 Gaming Z 6G come in and MSI has cranked up the clock speeds from the 1708 MHz boost clock of the Founders Edition up to 1830 MHz. So today I’m going to see what the additional bump in clock speed does for performance and I’m also curious how MSIs cooler design performs as well. With it being tax time, a lot of you might be looking for a gaming performance bump for this season. Is the MSI RTX 2060 Gaming Z the way to go? Let’s find out!

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ADATA XPG SX6000 256GB

When it comes to hardware that comes in, from time to time things slip through the cracks. In this case, ADATA sent their XPG SX6000 drive in the 256GB capacity last year and well I missed it and as you can tell I’m very late. But I do still want to check it out and see what ADATA has going on and how the drive performs. The drive itself is EOL but can still be found in some of its capacities and at good prices as well. So hopefully this information will come in handy for some of you.

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Ballistix Sport LT 3200 MHz

About a month and a half ago Crucial reached out to me about an upcoming update to their product stack. They were looking at updating their Ballistix Sport LT lineup with 3200MHz models and they wanted me to check them out. They sent over two engineering samples, one of their 8GB single rank kits and a 16GB dual ranked kit, both in dual channel for total capacities of 16GB and 32GB. They wanted notes on their new kits and some independent testing. Well, I did both and sent it over and they recently reached out to let me know that those same kits are now going out to the market. So today I’m going to check out the new kits and see how they perform.

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Nvidia RTX 2060 Founders Edition

This year at CES Nvidia introduced more than self-driving car technology. They announced their latest video card, the RTX 2060. The RTX 2060 continues to fill in the RTX lineup which started months ago with the RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2080 launch. The RTX 2070 came in October and things have been fairly quiet from Nvidia. But the rumor mill has been teasing the RTX 2060 for a while now. The RTX 2060 is based on the same TU106 GPU as the RTX 2070, only cut down slightly from 15 SMs to 10 SMs. While we are a little late to the party, we do have the RTX 2060 Founders Edition in hand and today I’m going to check it out and see how it compares to the previous RTX cards and check out the performance of the RTX 2060 to see if this is the card you should be picking up in your tax time builds.

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Cooler Master SK630 and SK650

Back at the beginning of 2018 at CES one of the big keyboard announcements was the RGB Cherry MX Low Profile switches that take a lot of the functionality of the traditional MX mechanical switch and put it in a lower profile form factor. Corsair was the first to market in the middle of 2018, but Cooler Master has been showing off their SK series of keyboards for a while now. I actually haven’t been covering much in the mechanical keyboard market simply because it felt like all everyone was doing is bringing out the same keyboard with RGB as its main feature for a while now. But the SK keyboards from Cooler Master have had my interest for a while now. Embracing the low profile theme they have gone beyond just tossing the new switches on a regular design. Well the SK630 and SK650 came in a few weeks ago and I’ve been playing with them. Today I can finally talk a little about my experience with them and with the MX Low Profile switches.

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Cooler Master MWE Gold 750 Fully Modular

If you were to look at the last few PSU articles we have published you would think that all you can get these days is Platinum or Titanium 80plus rated power supplies. The fact of the matter is unless you are building an expensive build that isn’t really the type of power supply you will be looking at, nor is it what I would recommend. Don’t get me wrong, the power supply quality is important. But you can find quality power supplies that better fit your budget like in the 80 Plus Gold range. That is why when Cooler Master offered to send over their MWE Gold 750 I took them up on the offer. 750 watts is exactly the wattage a lot of builds need and a budget-friendly gold rated PSU checks most of the other boxes as well. So today lets take a look at the MWE Gold 750 and see what it is all about.

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WD Black SN750 1TB

The Western Digital Black line of products has been around for years and it has always been reserved for WDs fastest consumer products. So two years ago they introduced their first NVMe drive and then last year WD refreshed that same model to an even faster design. The refresh caused some confusion though because the model name didn’t change so you will find that labeled as the WD Black NVMe 2018. Well, they haven’t been leaving things alone. WD has a new NVMe drive but this time to prevent confusion they have added a model number. So the new drive is called the WD Black SN750. This is also going along with a new push for the Black line to be their gaming lineup, so today I’m going to check out the new drive and see what is different and how it performs. Last years model was already fast, so it will be interesting to see if they managed to improve on that at all.

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EKWB Classic RGB Lineup

Like just about every other product on the market, RGB has been popping up in the water cooling market for a while now. It started on Monoblocks and EK even had it on their new Velocity line of water blocks. But their Supremacy water blocks have mostly been lacking with the exception of the Threadripper block. But at CES this year they have introduced their new lineup called the Classic RGB. They characterize it as “minimalistic and clean while maintaining class-leading performance”. That explains the Classic part of the name, but the second half also indicates that the new lineup has also added RGB lighting as well. I’ve actually had most of the components in the office to check out and now that the cat is out of the bag I can share them with everyone. So today I’m going to check them out and do a little testing as well.

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Cooler Master MM830

A few years ago Cooler Master made a big push, slowly redoing their entire mouse lineup switching most of them over to their MM then numbers naming scheme. This also included a new exterior finish for mice like the Spawn/Xornet shaped MM520 and the Alcor shaped MM530, new sensors, and switches as well. They covered all of the main mouse shapes that you might be looking for at that time, but today they are finally jumping into the MMO mouse market. Their new MM830 has the same PBT finish as the previous mice, an Avago PMW3360 sensor, and Omron switches. But the big change in addition to its shape is the D-pad buttons that are tucked away on the left side. So today I’m going to check out the new mouse and see what it is all about.

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EVGA RTX 2070 XC Gaming

One of the card designs that stood out to me with all of the RTX launches was EVGAs new designs. I was surprised to see them go with a transparent cooler design that lets you look inside and see the heatsink. I wanted to get a closer look so EVGA sent over their RTX 2070 XC Gaming. The XC Gaming isn’t their fastest RTX 2070, but it does have the same overclock that the Founders Edition card and it sells for less. So I was really curious to see how it performed and to see if it might be worth spending some of that valuable post-Christmas or tax time money. So today I’m going to run it through all of our normal testing and take a closer look at the card itself. Let's go check it out!

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A look back at 2018’s award winners

I hope 2018 has been a good year for everyone. Much like 2017, 2018 was a crazy year. Moving in late 2017 caused a slowdown early on and I don’t think I have gotten back up to the production level that I would like. The 58 articles published this year backed that up, down from last years 117 and 80 the year before that. In 2018 LanOC reached the 10th anniversary of publishing reviews, planning for the huge giveaways we did with that also cut into normal publication time. So my goal in 2019 is to get my workflow worked out to get more coverage up including more smaller side projects like our Nixie clock project. 2019 looks like it will be just as exciting with leaks of launches already coming from the big three.

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