Fractal Design Ion SFX 650G

One of my favorite SFX power supplies for a long time now has been the Fractal Design Node 202, they have a small size with its 10.2-liter capacity while keeping the pricing down compared to similar community made designs with its console-like form factor. With that Fractal Design has been in the SFX market for a while now, they even had an SFX power supply to go with it with the Integra 450W. Recently Fractal Design introduced their newest SFX PSU series, the Ion SFX series and I’m excited to see that Fractal Design is continuing to push into the SFX market and to give even more options for power supplies in the form factor. Hopefully, this also means new cases are coming as well. Anyhow, they did send over the new Ion SFX 650G and today I’m going to take a look and see what sets it apart from the competition from companies like Corsair and Silverstone.

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PowerColor RX 5500 XT Red Dragon 8G

The introduction of the RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT which are based on AMD's new RDNA architecture was a huge deal partially because of the new architecture but also because AMD was back to focusing on the high-end GPU market. That launch has had its ups and downs but it has clearly had its impact including Nvidia launching its SUPER cards. Well, today's the day where AMD introduces their next lineup, the RX 5500 and RX 5500 XT (the non-XT model is OEM exclusive). This is bringing the same RDNA architecture with Navi to a more budget-focused lineup. For the RX 5500 XT which is the only card of the two that is available outside of OEMs, the RX 5500 XT has both 4GB and 8GB models. Well, today I’m going to check out what the 5500 XT has to offer by checking out the new PowerColor RX 5500 XT Red Dragon. I haven’t had a PowerColor card in the office in a long time and their Red Dragon cards have been extremely popular so I am especially excited to see what the card has going on.

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Elgato Stream Deck XL

Does anyone else remember the Maximus Keyboard? It was a full keyboard designed with small screens in every key. All the way back in 2005 it hit the internet and while it was just a concept back then it blew my mind with the possibilities. It did later come out at a crazy price point and they have even continued to make other variations. But it wasn’t until Elgato brought their first Stream Deck to market that the idea has ever really seen a proper use and a market that actually needed it, not just as something to show off or play around with. Well, today I’m going to check out the Stream Deck XL, Elgato’s third and largest model. I’ve been extremely curious how it could be integrated into regular PC use or workflow as well as the more obvious streaming application.

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Zotac GTX 1650 SUPER Twin Fan

Well, I finally took a look at the GTX 1660 SUPER earlier this week, now I can check out the recently introduced GTX 1650 SUPER. Unlike the GTX 1660 SUPER, the GTX 1650 SUPER is actually more than just a memory upgrade. In fact it isn’t even using the same GPU as the GTX 1650, it has the TU116 used in the GTX 1660, GTX 1660 SUPER, and GTX 1660 Ti only it is cut down to use 1280 CUDA cores compared to the 1408 on the GTX 1660. It also gets a clock speed increase over the GTX 1650 but it sticks with the 128-bit memory controller except with the same GDDR6 upgrade as the GTX 1660 SUPER. The change in GPU also means an upgrade to the Turning NVENC encoder as well. With that I’m excited to see the performance improvements that the new GPU is bringing at more budget-focused price points.

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Gigabyte GTX 1660 SUPER Gaming OC 6G

If you thought the 1600 series was a strange naming scheme for Nvidia when it launched at the start of the year then you are really going to think it is weird with the SUPER designation that a lot of Nvidia’s lineup has been getting as they have been refreshing things. The GTX 1660 SUPER launched a few weeks ago. Well, today I’m going to check out the GTX 1660 SUPER Gaming OC from Gigabyte. The GTX 1660 super isn’t a huge change from the previous 1660, but it does have GDDR6 over the original GTX 1660’s GDDR5 and offers a rare look at what the newer memory offers for performance when everything else is the same. The Gaming OC adds an overclock up to 1860 MHz on the core clock from the 1785 MHz reference. So I’m excited to see how the Gaming OC performs compared to a few other cards new and old in that range.

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Cooler Master MM711

Just a few months ago Cooler Master launched their much-anticipated MM710 and I took a look at it. The MM710 is an ultra-lightweight mouse with Cooler Master logo shaped holes in it to get down to 53 grams. It was also paired up with a solid sensor, good switches, and details like a super soft and flexible cord and PTFE gliders. I was really impressed with the mouse and even got two more to switch both my wife and I’s LAN rigs over to the new mouse. Well Cooler Master is at it again with a similar model, the MM711. They went Price is Right style and just went one digit higher, but what is different? In short, lighting is what is different. But in addition to changing the look, lighting also means changes in weight so today I’m going to check out the MM711 and see how it performs.

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Be Quiet! Dark Rock Slim

By now most of you know of the company Be Quiet! and their heatsinks, fans, and power supplies. Early on when they first came to the US market they were involved in our LANs as a sponsor and we have covered a few of their heatsinks in the past. But they have grown in popularity a lot in the heatsink market especially with their all-black styling, quiet fans, and good performance. Especially with a few of their heatsinks in the SFF community and with their high-end heatsinks for those of you dedicated for the best possible cooling performance without the downsides of All in One coolers like pump noise and the potential for leaks. Well I have had their Dark Rock Slim sitting around the office and as I clean things out for the end of the year I didn’t want to miss checking it out. It is designed for those of you who need a thinner cooler for memory, motherboard, and case clearance reasons. Today I’m going check it out and see how it compares to a few other 120mm air coolers.

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RTX On Modern Warfare

It may come as a surprise, but Call of Duty and Modern Warfare specifically goes WAY back for LanOC. I wrote about the original Modern Warfare March 17th 2008, 11 and a half years ago and it was our first article. I’m embarrassed when I look back at my writing then, but between that multiple other COD game reviews, and MW and MW2 playing huge roles in our LAN events over the year's Call of Duty holds a special place in my heart. Of course my heart has been “newb tubed”, camped, and stabbed from across the room more times than I could ever count because of that as well. But I was still excited about checking out the new game. Nvidia who has been including Modern Warfare codes with most of their cards, notebooks, and PCs reached out and asked if I would like to check out how ray tracing looks in the latest installment and I jumped at the chance. So today I’m going to check out what the ray tracing option adds to the game and see if it's worth turning on when you play through the game.

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Corsair QL120 RGB Fans

At this point, nearly everyone has their own RGB fans on the market but really only a few companies have been innovating at all. Corsair has been at the forefront of that so much so that Corsair and RGB lighting has become a meme sometimes on Reddit. Its okay Corsair, this is a safe space, we can talk about your love for RGB. Specifically, I want to talk a little about their new QL series of RGB fans that is launching today. I’ve had them around the office for a few weeks and I’ve had time to play around with them a little. Corsairs' big change with QL fans is that they have “spectacular lighting from any angle”. With lighting similar to their Light Loop fans, only this time around they doubled up and have lighting on the back as well and the edges have the lighting visible as well.

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Jaybird Vista Wireless Earbuds

Okay, I’ve been a little late to the party on in-ear Bluetooth earbuds. I own a stack of higher-end wired earbuds and I have been sticking with them for a while now. I’m sure I’m not the only one being a little stubborn both because of the money invested, but also because wired performance has been a lot better. Well I recently took a look at a pair of wireless earbuds to use when out mowing and I liked them. But they haven’t really overtaken the wired performance yet, so I am still on the lookout for a set to wow me. Especially now that my own phone no longer has a wired headphone jack. Jaybird is a Logitech brand and as much as it pains me to even bring up, but with the holidays coming up they were showing off some of their products and the Jaybird Vista caught my eye. Today I’m going to check them out and see if they can finally replace my wired earbuds for good. They might even potentially make a good open for those of you shopping over the holidays, but lets reserve that for after I’ve tested them.

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Crucial X8 1TB Portable SSD

The portable storage market is mostly split up into three categories. You have flash or thumb drives, portable external drives, then large capacity full-sized external drives. What you need to use the drive for will determine which type you might need. But over the years one thing is for sure, thumb drives have taken over the market. They are small, portable, and they have been quick. But have you ever shopped for extremely high capacity thumb drives? To get a 1TB thumb drive you end up giving up a lot of that portability and performance is mediocre at best and the pricing can get really crazy. Not to mention there are a lot of fakes, even Amazon has them right at the top of the listings when you search for 1TB thumb drives. 1TB portable hard drives have been around for a long time but they are big and bulky, even when you get one based on 2.5-inch drives and they are extremely slow. This is why the portable SSD market has been taking off, you can get impressive performance, portability, and a capacity big enough to use as a game drive or to transport your important files. Well Crucial has finally jumped into the market with their introduction of the X8 and I finally have one in. I’m excited to check out the performance and see if it is faster than the two other portable SSDs that I use with my laptop.

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XFX RX 5700 XT Thicc III Ultra

Not long ago I took a look at the XFX RX 5700 XT Thicc II Ultra and while there were some aspects of the card that I liked, like the styling. I wasn’t impressed with its cooling performance and the price point that they had it listed. It was being sold as a flagship card but didn’t have flagship performance. Well XFX reached out and let me know that the price on the Thicc II was dropping and they had a new three fan design that would be coming, the Thicc III Ultra. Because I’ve seen a lot of people who think that the II and III in the names is the revision number, no it represents how many fans the card has. Anyhow I went through and retested all of our RX 5700 XT’s including the Thicc II Ultra and then tested the new Thicc II Ultra as well and today I’m going to check out the new card and see how it performed in our test suite. Is the new model enough to justify a flagship price? We will have to find out!

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Gigabyte RX 5700 XT Gaming OC 8G

When it comes to aftermarket RX 5700 XT’s I had the chance to check out the Thicc II from XFX but around that time I also had a card from Gigabyte come in. They sent over the RX 5700 XT Gaming OC. Unlike the Thicc II the Gaming OC sticks a lot closer to reality when it comes to card size, with exception to card length which the Gaming OC cards with their triple fans are always long. But I’ve been curious to see how the RX 5700 XT Gaming OC performs in comparison to the larger card as well as the reference card. Cooling is especially important given the cooling and noise issues of the reference card. So today I’m going to take a closer look at the Gaming OC and then run it through our test suite and see how it performs.

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Corsair SF750

Not too long ago I took a look a the Silverstone SX700-G which at 700 watts is one of the highest wattages per square inch power supplies there is. As far as traditional sized SFX PSUs it is also one of the highest wattages available as well. But there is one that beats it. That would be the SF750 from Corsair. I’ve had great experiences with Corsair power supplies and run them in a few of my own PCs. Well Corsair actually sent the SF750 over to use in our Dr Zaber Sentry 2.0 review and build but it came in late. I didn’t want to miss checking out Corsairs powerful little SFX, so today let’s check it out!

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iBUYPOWER Snowblind Element

Back in 2017 at CES iBUYPOWER teased a concept that they had been working with, a PC case with a monitor built into the side panel. Now that idea itself isn’t completely new, there have been modders who have done it. But what they did was just have the LCD panel and nothing else, leaving a transparent side panel that you can still see everything inside with everything on the display floating and showing up almost like magic. This is well and good for a concept, but producing and selling what is basically a very complicated case mod is a whole different story and frankly I didn’t think they would do it. When last year at CES 2018 they actually introduced their Snowblind series of builds which included this feature I was surprised and impressed and it had me considering trying to do the same thing myself with a build. Buying a full build from them for the feature didn’t really make sense given my experience with PCs.  Well at the start of this month they made that a lot easier with the introduction of their first individually sold case, the Snowblind. Well today I finally get to check it out in person. I’ve been collecting white components to go inside the build and today I’m going to check out iBUYPOWERs first case and check out its side panel window LCD as well!

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Corsair M55 RGB Pro and Nightsword RGB

I haven’t had the chance to check out Corsair’s mouse offerings for the last few years. The last time I had a Corsair mouse in the office for testing was when they launched the Glaive RGB. Corsair has been busy bringing out new models and its high time that I check a few out. So I reached out about two recently introduced wired mice. The M55 RGB Pro and the Nightsword RGB. The M55 Pro RGB fits the bill for what I normally like in a mouse, an ambidextrous mouse with a simple, somewhat lightweight design, and an optical sensor. The kicker on it is its $39.99 price point so I’m excited to see how it performs. While testing that though I am also going to check out the Nightsword RGB is a little more mainstream with a little more weight and a shape that reminds me a lot of the always popular Logitech G502. Both mice have the potential to be great so let's take a closer look at each and see what sets them apart.

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Silverstone SX700-G

If you visit LanOC often you might notice I love checking out and using SFX power supplies. Early on they were limited in power, heat, and even in options with most models not even being available with modular cables but over the years that has changed significantly. I even took a look at an 800-watt Titanium model just last year. But a lot of the innovation has been with the SFX-L form factor which is similar but not as small as the normal SFX form factor even though a lot of cases only support the latter. But Between Corsair and Silverstone big strides have been made in SFX as well like Silverstone’s SX700-G. It doesn’t have the same Titanium 80 Plus rating as the SX800-LTI but it does win in wattage per liter with an impressive 882 watts per liter. Today I’m going to check out the SX700-G and see what Silverstone has been up to in the true SFX form factor, check it out. 

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Threadripper Air Cooling Roundup

Not long ago AMD pushed their 3950X launch out into November and when they did that they also teased in that same announcement that it will come out with their Threadripper 3 processor family. With that, this isn’t a bad time to revisit the cooling options. Unlike every other consumer CPU, Threadripper is large enough that it actually required all of the heatsink companies to go back and redesign their heatsinks to get full coverage. With that there are a lot fewer options available for Threadripper. But there are two big names that stand out. Cooler Master partnered with AMD and is who designed and sells the Wraith Ripper heatsink which goes in line with the rest of the Wraith air coolers that typically come with AMD CPUs. Then there is Noctua, who went all out with three different models in their Threadripper lineup. Today I am going to check out all four of those coolers and see how they perform to help those of you waiting for the new launch or others who have been snatching up the marked down Threadripper 1 and 2 models.

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XFX RX 5700 XT THICC II Ultra

Continuing with my coverage of the aftermarket AMD RX 5700 models, the first RX 5700 XT that came in was from XFX. They sent over their top of the line model, the RX 5700 THICC II Ultra. Now the THICC branding kind of goes along with the Fatboy branding that I made fun of at the RX590 launch and adding Ultra in as well for the name does make the cards name a little crazy, silly, and long. But none of those things have anything to do with performance. Beyond maybe being a little embarrassed when you tell everyone your new video card is THICC, the name isn’t even in the top 5 things to worry about with your video card purchase. So today I’m going to focus on the card itself, how it performs, and I want to take a look at the new cooler design. Is the new look XFX going back to some of their great past designs or is it sticking with the flashy fake carbon fiber type theme they have been doing recently? Initial looks put the new design as looking good, but let’s find out more.

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SteelSeries Sensei Ten

The history of the SteelSeries Sensei actually starts back with the SteelSeries Xai which launched back in 2009. The Xai was a huge departure from their previous mouse the Ikari and its new shape was ambidextrous and smaller using some of the popular mice in CS 1.6 like the Intellimouse and feedback from gamers to create the Xai shape. I covered the Xai back then and loved it but it did have some problems. SteelSeries later took that same shape but with an upgraded sensor and an onboard processor and introduced it under a new name, the Sensei. We actually had the first English review of the Sensei all the way back in 2011. I started using the Xai as my main mouse and quickly switched over to the Sensei after its launch and for a solid 8 years used the Sensei or one of the many other variations like the RAW or game or team branded models as my main mouse and in my LAN bag as well.

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