Ballistix Elite DDR4 16GB 4000MHz

Earlier this year I had the chance to check out the Ballistix Elite 3600MHz 4X8GB kit and I was impressed with the kit. The aesthetics were great while not going with RGB lighting or anything flashy. The Ballistix Elite kit has a military styling and that kit specifically ended up being solid in performance. Well, Crucial has a new SKU for their Elite lineup with a higher clock speed and they sent them over. I already know what to expect for aesthetics but the 16GB 2x8GB kit they sent is running at 4000MHz with timings that are a little loose. Today I’m going to check the kit out, test its performance, and play around with overclocking and see how the new kit holds up.

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Viper Gaming Viper Steel DDR4 16GB 3866MHz

Patriot Memory s gaming focused brand is called Viper Gaming and in the past, I’ve had a few of their peripherals come into the office to check out but it was only recently when I had Viper Gaming RAM come in. I was curious about what they are doing to set their gaming lineup apart from the normal Patriot Memory RAM. They sent over their Viper Steel 2x8GB kit which is running at 3866 MHz. The Viper Steel lineup uses a simple styling that avoids the flashy lighting that a lot of other kits use and is available in up to 4400MHz which is the fastest kit in the Viper Gaming lineup. The kit I’m checking out today isn’t as fast as that 4400MHz kit but I’m excited to take a closer look at the new styling and see how our 3866Mhz kit performs as well.

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Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB 16GB 3000MHz

At CES earlier this year Corsair’s biggest introduction was their new CAPELLIX RGB’s which drop the conventional package that PC LEDs have been using to create a much smaller, brighter, and energy efficient LED. Now smaller means the potential for much higher density and energy efficiency could mean you could see them used more in wireless devices. But the first product they introduced with CAPELLIX LEDs was the Dominator Platinum RGB memory kits. So in addition to being the first Corsair RGB kit to come into the office, I’m also excited to see what the CAPELLIX LEDs can do. I will also talk a little more about the benefits later as well.

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Ballistix Elite 3600MHz 32GB 4X8GB

Earlier this year Crucial I covered two sets of Ballistix Sport DDR4 and while I liked where they were going with the performance of the new kits I did feel the aesthetics were starting to look a little dated. Well, Crucial makes a lot of different styles of memory, especially in the Ballistix lineup and they sent over a new set which happens to be from their Elite lineup. I’m hoping their more premium kit is upgraded in looks (spoiler they are) and I’m curious how this 3600MHz kit performs as well. So let's take a look at them then run them through our testing.

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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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Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK

From time to time in the hardware market, there are weird and interesting products that come out that seem to break the norm. In the past, you used to see them all the time. For example All in One video cards with capturing built in, crazy multi CPU boards like the SR-2 and SR-X, Asus’s crazy dual GPU MARS and Ares cards and so on. Well right there along with them are the Hades Canyon NUCs from Intel. Okay, NUCs are cool, but what makes these so crazy and special. Well Along with the Intel CPU inside, they actually have AMD Vega graphics. Now lots of PCs being sold these days have Intel CPUs with an AMD dedicated GPU, but what they did here is different. They are both on the same chip! So it's not a big surprise they went with the Hades Canyon name, Hades is another word for Hell and its clear things have frozen over there for these two to be working together like this. So before things thaw out I’m going to check out its features, software, and performance then figure out if this SFF PC has a place in the market or my LAN bag.  

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Corsair Spec-04 TG Budget Build

So today Corsair is introducing their new Spec case and typically I would check it out in one of our traditional case reviews. I’ve done this so many times in the past, in fact I counted, we have done 112 case reviews over the past 9 to 10 years. To do something different this time around I decided rather than do a review that we take a look at the case then do a build in it. So like the original Spec-04, the Spec-04 Tempered Glass model is a budget case. It has an MSRP of $59 so to go with that I thought I would put together a budget build to go along with it. I can’t wait to see how well it performs!

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Project Build: Carmine - Part 3 – Custom all the things

Wow, so it was all the way back in April when our last installment of this build was published. Back at that point Ryzen 7 was new, now we have Ryzen 3 and 5 as well as Threadripper. So things have been a little crazy. At the time I was looking at cooling options and the original plan was just to add an AIO cooler but at the time no one had AM4 brackets available. I ended up reaching out to Alphacool, they had contacted me a year or two ago about working together on a build but I didn’t have anything that really fit. It just so happened they had AM4 support early on, fitting this build perfectly. I will go into more details inside, but I ran into multiple delays and hiccups but Carmine is finally all together. It’s about time we catch up and show off what has been done to the build.

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AVADirect Avant Mid-Size

Now I know most of you have no problem building and upgrading your PC, hell for me that is half of the fun. But for everyone I know that builds their own PC, there is another person asking me or friends to help put everything together. Not everyone has friends that can help and some people just don’t have the time to do it as well. This is especially true with things like renovations around the house and working on or building cars but for some reason, there is a big stigma when people would rather buy a prebuilt PC. For me, it's not something I need to do but I completely get why some people would go that route and frankly I would rather people be going with boutique builders who use off the shelf parts that are easy to fix or upgrade later than proprietary PCs from other companies. Anyhow the Ohio bases AVADirect sent over one of their Avant builds a while back and we have been playing with it. It’s about time that I sit down and talk about the build, its performance, and the overall experience.

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Project Build Iris – Part 2

So last week I went into detail on the case, power supply, and the fans I went with in Iris. Those are cool, but it’s the components inside that determine how fast the computer is going to be. So today I’m going to go over the “go fast” goodies so to speak. I will talk about the reasoning on the motherboard and CPU and what else is going with it. Considering that my wife ends up playing more games than I do, making sure this build was extremely fast was important. I don’t need her getting angry at me when her games don’t work!

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Project Build: Iris – Part 1

So 5-6 years ago I had a crazy custom painted build in the office and my wife came in and snatched it up. I like to tease her about it but the fact is she gets more gaming time in than I ever do so that build has been put to good use over the years. It’s had its video card upgraded a little but overall it has been extremely long in the tooth and as I was writing this is actually died on her. So a while back I started putting together plans to build something specifically for her, something more fitting than the rig she snatched up. So my base idea was something in your face, flashy, with lots of bright colors. This is just her style, always picking the crazy colors. She picked up her nickname (Koolaid) back when we were dating because her hair was never the same color. Anyhow with this project, I kind of set off with a theme best described as unicorn vomit, but she picked out the name Iris. In Greek mythology, Iris is the personification of the rainbow and messenger of the gods. I think that sums up what I was going for with this build. Anyhow! Today I’m going to just start things off by touching on a few of the base components and then we will come back later to talk about the go fast parts and what we are going with to get those crazy colors.  

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Project Build: Carmine - Part 2

So a few weeks ago I got started on our Ryzen based project build. At the time the plan was to put together a reasonable Ryzen build with a nice red theme. We picked out the case, the motherboard, and a power supply. Well, today I’m going to run through the rest of the go fast bits so to speak. That means we need some sort of storage to get our OS on, memory, a video card, and to pick out which CPU we want to go with as well. So today we run through those parts and at the end I will include a small preview of what else is coming for this build. I’ll give you a hint, while the original plan was to put together something reasonable things have gone a little crazy on the water cooling front.  

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Project Build: Carmine - Part 1

So the launch of Ryzen was exciting because AMD was finally rejoining the high-end market on the CPU side of things and a lot of the benchmarks were very exciting. So once it was all finished up I had to get a proper AMD build together. The original plan was my wife's new PC might be running a Ryzen 7 CPU but ITX AM4 boards aren’t out yet so rather than wait I decided to build an AMD themed build right away. While Ryzen has gray and orange as its colors I decided to stick with the traditional black and red as AMD has used them both a lot in the past. So I started gathering parts and decided on a project name as well. This build is going to be called Carmine as it is a shade of red while also avoiding the traditional red themed names like Ruby. I’m still working on getting in components and planning out the build but I did want to at least get a post up with the base components we are going with, so check them out!

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Project Build: Crush – Part 6 – I can’t leave things alone

Well, things have been extremely busy and with that, I haven’t been able to follow up on the Crush project build recently. AMD and Intel both had big launches that pushed everything back and I just couldn’t fit these into the publishing schedule. That said I have still been working on things. More specifically I have been making a few tweaks after living with the build for a while. I said I was all finished a few articles ago then I just had to paint the cards. Well with them painted I had to do something about the Intel 750 Series drive to match and I also noticed just how much dust and dirt was in the case after a few weeks so today I’m going to deal with both of those issues.

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Project Build: Crush – Part 5 – Painting a GTX 1080 FE

For some people, you get your computer together and never mess with it again. I, on the other hand, have a problem and as they say, the first thing is to admit you have a problem. I finished up the Crush build and even posted up performance numbers last week. My problem is I keep looking and thinking how much better the build could look with this one change. Once you do that, you are done, right? Nope! Now that you did that, this other thing really needs to be changed. It’s an endless battle. Well with Crush I just HAD to pull it all apart and keep messing with it. I’m actually in the middle of a few different changes, but the biggest was painting the two GTX 1080’s like I had originally planned. So today I’m going to run through how to paint the new GTX 1080/1070 Founders Edition cards for a nice matching look.

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Project Build: Crush – Part 4 - Performance Testing

Getting the Crush build all together took a lot of time and a lot of coordination working with the whole list of sponsors, especially after having to pull the motherboard and CPU for our test bench. But it is all finally together, at least for now, so today is the day I finally get to see how it performs. The build didn’t end up being as crazy as The Fridge, but it did end up being a lot more usable and more practical for my office space. Plus the orange theme is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, it's exciting to check that one off the to-do list. Of course, I’m already looking at more things I can do to the build and I am always open to suggestions, but for now let’s see how it performed and check out the office area around it now that I gained space back from the HUGE Fridge build.

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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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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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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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Project build: Lunchbox 4 - Part 2

So yesterday I went through and spoke about each of the components I went with for Lunchbox 4 and why I went with them. Today's the day we dive into customizing the build to make it stand out a little including adding that all important carrying handle. Then after that, I benchmark the build and figure out how the new build compares to our last Lunchbox build. Does it fit our goal of always going smaller and faster? Do I have any regrets with the new build? Well I talk about that in the last section, so don’t forget to check that out as well.

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