Past award winners
We might as well also look back through past recaps and see what is still in use today. All of these award winners deserve a new gold Editors Choice away for making it a year or more, typically in that time something new and better comes out and they are replaced. So let's take a quick look back.
Swiftech H220 X2 Prestige
So the original H220 was nice but ended up having some issues. But the H220 X2 Prestige, on the other hand, has been awesome. In our D-Frame build, I have cut into the loop a few times. I originally shortened the lines, then later I refreshed it with pastel coolant. After that, I added the Titan X into the loop and to help support that I upgraded the fans. Its been working great with the exception of an issue with the PWM controller and fans just recently. I’m planning on fixing that and flushing the loop so we can get even more life out of the setup going into 2018.
Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L
What can I say about these? The MasterKeys Pro was what caused me to finally go RGB and I’ve moved all of our keyboards over to it. I run the L’s on my wife's PC and my own. Then I use the S’s for other PCs around the house when they don’t need a number pad. I’ve even got one with a crazy keycap set on it that is going to (eventually) be featured on the shelving in our office. They have been rock solid and exactly what I like.
Nvidia GTX 1080 Founders Edition
The GTX 1080 Ti is the big dog, but before that came out I went with two 1080’s in our Crush build. I end went through the trouble of custom painting them to match the build. It came out amazing, check that out HERE. So while I would prefer to be running the Ti, the GTX 1080’s have been great and get daily use. I wonder if I will still be running them in 2019?
Vortex Pok3r RGB
I have a thing for tiny keyboards on everything except my main PC where I need a full number pad. The Pok3r is my favorite of all of them. You get RGB lighting, a compact footprint, and it doesn’t require any software. The build quality is also top notch. I have different Poker models with both my wife and I’s LAN rigs and then I use the Pok3r RGB with our test benches to save space on my desk.
SeeMeCNC Rostock MAX v3
When I need to print anything large, this is my go-to 3d printer and I honestly have no idea just how many roles of filament that I’ve gone through at this point. I had a blast building it and I don’t think you can get close to the quality and capacity that it offers. SeeMeCNC does have a few new printers coming up though, including a new one with an even larger capacity and an all-metal construction. 2018 looks like it will be a big year for them!
Caselabs Bullet BH7
Well, this is a no-brainer right. Our last Case Labs build was around for years, in fact, it's sitting behind me right now in the office because you just can’t kill these cases. The BH7 was used in our Crush build and with updates already planned I don’t see this bright orange case going anywhere anytime soon. The only downside is the limitations to its cooling, but they recently replaced the BH7 with the BH8 that fixes that issue so I would still recommend it be on your short list of cases.
Sound Blaster X7
Out of everything from 2015 things have thinned out a lot and the Sound Blaster X7 is the only thing left. I don’t see this one going anywhere anytime soon unless Sound Blaster brings out an updated version. There just isn’t anything that can compare for PC audio without completely getting into home audio equipment. The X7 is a great DAC, has a powerful AMP inside, and offers a few on desk connection options for headphones. Combine it with a good set of bookshelf speakers and a powered sub and you are set.
In Win D-Frame Mini
I mentioned our D-Frame build in the 2016 hardware with Swiftech’s water cooling. Well obviously if I’m using that the case is still around as well. I’ve had issues with one of the feet coming off after someone pulled one off at a LAN. But beyond that, it is still unique, even with everyone jumping into the tempered glass market. In-Win does have a new 2.0 version of the full sized case, hopefully, that will mean a new Mini version in the future. Stick with a similar design but make the feet easy to swap out along with a few color options to swap too and I would be lined up to get another.
Asus Maximus VII Impact
Same reason as above, this board is a little-dated chipset wise but it was the first Impact board and it showed that with risers you can pack great audio, lots of fan connections, and ATX level power into the ITX form factor.
None of the award winners from 2013 are still in use around the office. Being 4+ years old the base hardware is out of date and everything else has seen big improvements over the last few years.
SteelSeries Sensei [RAW]
So for 2012, we have this one holdout still in use. It actually made it into the warehouse for a while after the Sensei 310 launch but after a while, I just had to go back. SteelSeries if you are reading this, please consider bringing this back out with a new sensor. Also please dig through your desk drawers, if you don’t have any plans for a new Sensei, I’m going to need more for my stash as backups!