MSI RTX 3050 Gaming X 8G

With the RTX 3050 launch I had a stocked clocked card come in and I had originally planned to also cover an overclocked card as well but shipping issues put a stop to that. Things have finally come in including this card from MSI and today I can take a look at MSI’s new RTX 3050 Gaming X 8G. They have this model cranked up to 1845 MHz over the stock 1777 MHz. The card also has a significantly larger cooler attached so I am curious to see how the overclock helps performance and if the larger cooler is worth going over a compact stocked clocked card.

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Sapphire Pulse RX 6500 XT

Shipping delays and issues hit us hard over the last few weeks. The biggest one was our RX 6500 XT launch sample which ended up hung up and delayed in shipping. So I am way late to the party when it comes to checking out how the RX 6500 XT performs. Today I finally get the chance and I’m checking out the Pulse from Sapphire. I know there was drama around this launch (frankly what GPU launched for the last few years hasn’t lol) but I am excited to see how AMD's latest GPU performs and how Sapphire card does at keeping things cool and quiet. So let’s jump in and check it out!

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EVGA RTX 3050 XC Black

At CES this year both AMD and Nvidia announced new GPUs that would be coming soon. Both were focused on a little lower on their product stack which makes sense because that is the biggest market share. Steam hardware survey still has the GTX 1060 with the highest usage with the 1650, 1050 Ti, 2060, and then 1050 rounding out the top five. Most of those cards also haven’t moved up into the RTX range, so the new RTX 3050 may be the first introduction to ray tracing and tensor cores for a lot of people as well. Today I’m going to check out what the RTX 3050 is all about then put it to the test on our freshly updated test bench and test suite to see how it compares. There aren’t Founders Editions of the RTX 3050, so today I am checking out the RTX 3050 XC from EVGA.

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MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi

With the new 12th Gen Intel CPUs and the Z690 chipset that Intel launched with them being released. It also means that we get to check out the latest motherboard designs. This time around Intel only focused on the high performance focused CPUs so most of the options that came out were gaming, overclocking, or high-end workstation focused. The first board that came in was from MSI which was one of their gaming focused boards, the MPG Z690 Carbon WiFi. Today I’m going to check out what features they have included with this board and check out how the Z690 Carbon WiFi performs with the new i9-12900K as well. I’m also going to take a look at the MAG Coreliquid C280 AIO cooler that MSI sent over as well for LGA1700 testing. Let’s dive in!

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Kingston FURY Renegade PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD

The big news earlier this year was the sale of HyperX which has been Kingston’s long time gaming lineup to HP. With that brand gone, they did need to make a new gaming brand for their memory and SSD product lines and they went with one of the model names of their past memory kits for something short and sweet, the new brand is called FURY. With that, they have slowly been introducing new products under the brand including their latest gaming-focused M.2 SSD that they are calling the Fury Renegade. The Renegade is a PCIe 4.0 based M.2 SSD based on the Phision E18 controller and today I’m going to check out what the new drive is all about testing it out on our recently updated Z690 test bench and test suite.

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Cooler Master MasterLiquid PL240 Flux

With Intel’s new CPUs moving to the LGA1700 socket and the new larger socket requiring a wider mounting bracket after Intel sticking with the same sized mounting hole for a very long time it has had me looking at changing up the cooling in a few of my systems and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Not only that, there are a LOT of options on the market. Everyone and their mom is now getting into the AIO market. Cooler Master has been around going back near the beginning for AIO coolers and they are one of only a few who often make their own designs rather than going with a standard OEM design so I’m interested in seeing what their new MasterLiquid PL240 Flus is all about. I’m also curious to see how it will perform on our new 12900K based test bench so let’s dive in and see how it does.

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Sapphire Nitro+ S240-A

Sapphire is known for being one of the main AMD and aftermarket card manufacturer but if we look back they have dabbled in a few other areas as well. Off the top of my head, just on things, we have covered they have done motherboards in the past and small form factor PCs. But they have also dabbled in thunderbolt enclosures and both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 3 dongles as well. Well, today they are introducing their newest product, their first all-in-one watercoolers, the Saphire Nitro+ S240-A and S360-A. While this is their first product in this market, it isn’t too big of a surprise given that in China they have shown off an air cooler and AIO watercoolers have been used on Sapphire video cards in the past. Not to mention most companies have been expanding their lineups and getting into the AIO market. Given that cooling is one of the main focuses for aftermarket video cards and Sapphire cards have done that well for years I’m curious to see what they have done with their first AIO to stand out in the crowded market. So let’s dive in and check it out!

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Intel Core i9-12900K and i5-12600K Adler Lake

Well Intel recently announced their latest generation of CPUs and they are looking right at the cutting edge with multiple jumps including PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 being included with the new 12th generation of CPUs. So much so on the cutting edge that our coverage is a little late after trying to get in DDR5 memory to test with. So forgive the tardiness, but today we are here to finally take a look at Intel’s new CPUs, DDR5, Z690, and their new socket as well. The 12th generation of CPUs which were formally known as Adler Lake take an all new direction, following what we have been seeing on the mobile market with low and high speed cores and I’m excited to put them to the test.

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Lexar Play MicroSDXC 512GB

One of the features that Nintendo integrated into the Switch that I like was the Micro SD card slot for storage. Past game consoles have proven that integrated storage will almost always not be enough. Especially from the Xbox 360 on were full games and demos have been downloadable. With those consoles, you were limited to what came with your system or if you were lucky a proprietary upgrade option. A portable console like the switch have even fewer options. So going with MicroSD means they kept the cost down and as faster and larger options come out it could potentially support them. The switch does come with 32GB of onboard storage but with launch titles like Breath of the Wild taking up 14 GB each and newer games reaching up over 33GB now. Thankfully the switch does have cartridges as well, but if you don’t want to carry those around with you or If the games that you want to play are only available digitally you will need a MicroSD card. I was looking at options and Lexar’s Play series seemed to fit the bill well without making you pay more for licensed pictures on the card itself so I decided to check one out. So today let's see how the Lexar Play MicroSDXC 512GB performs!

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Lexar Hades RGB DDR4 32GB 3600MHz Kit

Lexar is well known in the storage market, especially with their flash products and more recently with their SSDs and portable storage. But it was only last year that they jumped into the memory market with laptop memory. Well, this year they are expanding that and are getting into the desktop side of things. They have introduced their first gaming memory with a normal and RGB kit as well as a simpler standard memory kit without a heatspreader as well. Today I’m going to check out both the new Hades gaming-focused 32GB kit with RGB as well as take a look at the 3200 MHz UDIMM kit and see what Lexar has been up to. Let’s check them out!

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Crucial P5 Plus 1TB

Crucial’s P5 has been their flagship NVMe SSD for a while now and it was pushing the limited of PCIe Gen 3.0 but with AMD having PCIe Gen 4 for a while now and Intel catching up on that as well more and more people can potentially put a faster Gen 4 drive to use so Crucial recently introduced their new P5 Plus drive which has upgraded its interface to PCIe Gen 4. Today I’m going to check out the 1TB P5 Plus drive and see how it performs in our test suite compared to a mix of gen 3 and gen 4 drives then we will see where Crucial has the new drives priced to see how they fit in the market. Is the P5 Plus the drive you should be looking at for your next build? Let’s find out!

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PowerColor RX 6600 Fighter

Two months ago for the AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT launch, we saw the latest mid-range card outperforming high-end cards like the 1080 Ti from a few generations back. The steam survey has 67% of users currently gaming at 1080p and for a lot of them even the RX 6600 XT is more than they need, AMD is launching today the RX 6600 which might fit the bill. It is focused on 1080p performance and runs on the same Navi 23 GPU that the 6600  XT has, with a few things cut back.  Today I’m going to check out how the PowerColor RX 6600 Fighter that AMD sent over-performs as well as check out what PowerColor has to offer on their reference clocked option as far as cooling and noise performance goes.

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Thermaltake Toughpower GF2 ARGB 850W

Thermaltake has been doing the RGB power supplies for just about longer than anyone. They have had USB-controlled models as well as simpler cheaper models that keep things simple with push-button controls. One of their latest models, the Toughpower GF2 ARGB mixes things up by combining the push-button controls while also adding in the ability to tie itself into your motherboard's lighting to sync everything together. They are also aiming for a happy medium when it comes to efficiency. Some of those cheaper models have been 90 Plus Bronze and they have also gone to the other end of the spectrum with expensive platinum models. For the Toughpower GF2 ARGB, it is 90 Plus Gold rated. So today I’m going to check out the GF2 and see what else it has going on and find out feature-wise if it has the potential to be a happy medium for someone looking for a power supply with addressable RGB lighting.

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Project Build Crushed Update - Part 3

Late last year I set out to update one of our project builds, specifically the build that I have been using as my main PC. I was fighting performance issues with the latest games. But more importantly, things were starting to break down and I had been ignoring them. I had a hard drive that was making noise and an SSD that was slow compared to modern drives and that wasn’t large enough for my needs. Cooling was noisy and I found out when digging into things that the heat contributed to the hard drive failure as well. I was also dealing with weird network hiccups that seemed to indicate a motherboard issue or a PSU problem so in past episodes I updated the cooling, the PSU, the video card, and all of the storage. But that left the main issues with the CPU performance and the motherboard issues, plus not having as much ram as I would have liked for Microsoft Flight Sim. Well, I’ve put it off a lot longer than I should have, but today I’m going to update those last few areas.

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HYTE Revolt 3

A lot of you will most likely be familiar with iBUYPOWER, a system builder who we have also covered cases from in the past. Today they are announcing their latest brand called HYTE which is going to focus on lifestyle and PC components. They are launching with a case that I’ve been looking forward to for a while now. They teased their Revolt 3 back at CES but we had no idea about the HYTE brand. iBUYPOWER has had the Revolt lineup in the past as their LAN-focused systems. Well, the Revolt 3 continues that focus, but with a completely new look. As the LanOC name might imply, we love LANs around here and I especially have a soft spot for SFF builds that make it easier to take your system to and from events. Dragging a monster build to and from a LAN is one of those things you do when you are younger and you eventually learn and avoid it. The new Revolt 3 from HYTE is designed with a handle in the top and with a focus on making it easy to transport for LAN events and esports which iBUYPOWER is also heavily focused on. So today I’m going to see what all the Revolt 3 has to offer and then see if it will be the next system that I’m taking to events. Let’s check it out!

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Project Data Hoarder – TrueNAS CORE Build Part 5 – Problems and upgrades

In my previous coverage on our TrueNAS CORE build, I got the entire system together but I skipped talking about how I hooked up the 8 SATA drives to our mATX motherboard. I had a plan when going in, but sometimes things don’t go the way you had planned. In fact, my problems went even beyond that. So today I want to run through what went wrong with our original plan and then our backup plan as well and go over what I ended up doing. When getting things running I also ended up adding an upgrade as well. So let's get up to date on the TrueNAS CORE servers current setup and why!

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XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black

AMD has been quiet for the past few months after the launch of their RX 6700 XT, but they have still been busy in that time. Just last week they announced their RX 6600 XT. The 6700 XT was targeted at 1440p, but the new RX 6600 XT is still focused on high performance 1080p gaming which is still by far the most popular gaming resolution being used. The 6600 XT doesn’t have a reference design, so today I will checking out the MERC308 version from XFX to see how the 6600XT performs in our test suite. Is it going to be the best option for someone looking to get the best performance at 1080p? We will find out.

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Jaybird Vista 2

Back in 2019 I took a look at a set of wireless earbuds from Jaybird called the Vistas and was extremely impressed with their performance. Even with having multiple other wireless earbuds come in, I have stuck with the Vistas as my go-to earbud using them anytime I’m doing outside work. Especially when mowing the yard. They don’t have active noise cancelation, but they sounded great and did a good job of sticking in my ears even with the vibration of riding around on the mower. When I saw that Jaybird was introducing a new earbud, the Vista 2 I was very interested in what they had changed. Low and behold, one of the big changes was adding active noise cancelation. Today I’m going to check out the new Vista 2’s and see what else Jaybird has changed as well as putting them through the normal use to see how well they work. Will they replace the originals for me? Well, I can get a little attached to what I’m used to, but we will see!

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Project Data Hoarder – TrueNAS CORE Build Part 4 – PSU, Rails, and Installation

The last time we took a look at our Project Data Hoarder build I went through what we were using for the CPU and motherboard as well as cooling and ram to get all of that sorted out. We are down to just the last few components to button things up. So today I’m going to talk about what power supply I went with, the rack rails, and getting things installed and set up. So let’s dive into our TrueNAS CORE build as I work out ways to use some older hardware to get an open-source NAS up and running. The goal is to finally condense some of my home and office storage needs down into fewer devices, get them tucked away into my rack, and learn about TrueNAS CORE which was formerly known as FreeNAS.

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MSI RTX 3070 Ti SUPRIM X

I recently took a look at the RTX 3070 Ti and was impressed with its performance. But that was just with the Founders Edition card, what can the 3070 Ti do with a monster cooler and an overclocked? Well MSI sent over their RTX 3070 Ti SUPRIM X which is their flagship card design and the X indicates that it is also overclocked. So today I’m excited to see what Nvidia’s newest GPU is capable of when paired with MSI’s biggest and best card design. I was impressed with the SUPRIM 3080, will the 3070 Ti be the same?

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