Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Motherboard Overview

Introduction

With their latest revision in the TUF line, ASUS decided to rebrand the line as TUF Gaming, opening the brand to the rapidly growing gaming enthusiast market. The TUF Z390-Pro Gaming motherboard is the flagship board in ASUS' TUF (The Ultimate Force) product line designed with the Intel Z390 chipset.

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Courtesy of ASUS

The TUF Z390-Pro Gaming offers support for the latest Intel Coffee Lake processor line as well as dual-channel DDR4 memory running at up to 2666MHz speeds in stock configuration. ASUS priced the board competitively with a $169.99 MSRP, making it a good deal in light of the board's build quality and integrated features.

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

The TUF Z390-Pro Gaming motherboard is built with the same quality and attention to detail that you've come to expect from TUF-branded motherboards. The board contains the following integrated features: eight SATA 3 ports; two M.2 PCIe x4 capable ports; an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; three PCI-Express x16 slots; three PCI-Express x1 slots; an 8-channel audio subsystem; integrated DisplayPort and HDMI; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A port support.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS TUF Z390 Pro Gaming motherboard!

Author:
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: OWC

OWC USB-C Dual-Bay Drive Dock Review

Editor's Note: This review was originally published at TekRevue and is republished here with permission.

Industry trends, such as increasingly compact PCs and Macs that are incapable of being upgraded, and faster connections to network-attached storage devices, have made the traditional “bare” 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch drive far less common in typical homes and businesses. But for those who still use bare drives for backup, archiving, data transfer, or troubleshooting, the importance of a solid drive dock is crucial.

These devices, which generally accept the SATA connections of bare mechanical and solid state drives and allow access to the drives via a more handy external I/O protocol, have been around for years, with certain devices offering access via USB 2.0, FireWire, eSATA, USB 3.0, and even Thunderbolt. But the ones you find today in typical online marketplaces often suffer from reliability issues or limited functionality, such as the inability to boot from a connected drive.

One company that has long offered a range of external drive docks is OWC, and although it has been several years since I used an OWC drive dock, I recall that the company’s products suffered none of the aforementioned drawbacks. And so when my most recent USB 3.0-based drive dock from StarTech recently died, I was interested to see that OWC had continued to update its drive dock product lineup, adding a USB 3.1 Type-C option last year.

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I spent the last few weeks evaluating a review loan of this latest OWC Drive Dock, and found it to be a well-built, high-performance device that is a significant upgrade over my previous drive dock. Read on for my more detailed impressions of the device’s design and performance.

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Logitech G

Logitech G935 and G432 Gaming Headsets Review

This month, we were given a sneak peak at Logitech’s updated line of gaming headsets for 2019. We’ve spent the last week getting acquainted with two of the premiere entries in their new catalog with the Logitech G935 Wireless 7.1 LIGHTSYNC Gaming Headset and the G432 7.1 Surround Gaming Headset. Each headset is an update to two of Logitech’s most popular models, the Artemis G933 and G430, and include a number of upgrades to bring them up to speed. Let’s see how they made out!

Specifications

Logitech G935 Wireless 7.1 LIGHTSYNC Gaming Headset

  • Price: $169.99
  • Driver: 50mm Pro-G
  • Sensitivity: 93dB SPL/mW
  • Battery Life: 12 hours
  • Wireless Range:
    • Indoor: 15m
    • Outdoor: 20m
  • Connection Type: USB 2.0
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 3.43" x 7.67" x 7.40"
  • Cable Length: 6.56ft/2m (Charging Cable), 4.92ft/1.5m (Mobile Cable)
  • Weight (w/o cable): 13.4oz (379g)

Logitech G432 7.1 Surround Gaming Headset

  • Price: $79.99
  • Driver: 50mm
  • Sensitivity: 107dB SPL/mW
  • Cable Length: 6.5ft (2m)
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 6.77" x 3.22" x 6.77"
  • Weight (w/o cable): 9.14oz (259g)

Shared Specifications:

  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz
  • Impedance: 39 Ohms (Passive), 5k Ohms (Active)
  • Microphone:
    • Pickup Pattern: Cardioid(Unidirectional)
    • Condenser Size: 6mm
    • Frequency response:100Hz–10KHz
  • 2-year limited hardware warranty

Packaging

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Starting with packaging, both headsets arrive in the usual Logitech grey and blue with big, beautiful product shots. There’s no mistaking these two headsets. The G935 is clearly larger and, even though the picture only shows blue lighting, it’s fully RGB enabled.

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Inside the box, both headsets are packaged similarly, wrapped in a plastic sleeve and held in place with a cardboard arm. Folding the arm up frees the headset and reveals the accessories hidden inside. I actually really like this packaging style. It’s easy to retrieve your extra cables and other goodies without unfolding a cardboard jigsaw puzzle. It also makes putting everything away neatly that much easier #reviewerproblems.

Check out the rest of our review of the new Logitech G935 and G432 gaming headsets!

Manufacturer: Scythe

A Low-Cost Air Cooler for Intel and AMD

Scythe’s Katana 5 is a low-cost CPU air cooler that retails for less than $30, offers compatibility with Intel and AMD processors, and has a small footprint that won’t interfere with memory modules. Can this ultra-compact tower design and single 92mm fan cope with our test platform’s toasty Core i7-7700K? Let’s find out!

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"The 5th generation of KATANA cooler, it has asymmetric design offering unlimited compatibility. Upgraded with E.C.M.S II mounting system and new Kaze Flex 92mm fan ensure simple installation and good thermal performance."


Katana 5 Specifications:

  • Model Number: SCKTN-5000
  • Compatibility:
    • Intel: LGA 775, 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1366
    • AMD: Socket AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, AM4, FM1, FM2, FM2+
  • Dimensions: 105 x 104 x 135 mm / 4.13 x 4.09 x 5.31 inches
  • Overall Weight: 560 g / 19.75 oz (including fan)
  • Material of Base Plate: Nickel-plated copper 38 x 38 mm
  • Fan Specifications
    • Dimensions: 92 x 92 x 26 mm / 3.62 x 3.62 x 1.02 inch
    • Air Flow: 11.46 - 83.04 m³/h = 6.75 - 48.878 CFM
    • Fan Speed: 300 - 2,300 rpm (regulated via PWM)
    • Static Pressure: 7.35~22.46 Pa / 0.75~2.29 mmH2O

Pricing: $28.45 USD list (returns to stock in USA this month)

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Continue reading our review of the Scythe Katana 5 CPU cooler

Author:
Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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The latest entry in the power density race to cross our test bench is the SF750 power supply from Corsair. The SF750 is housed in a standard SFX small form-factor chassis and can deliver up to 750W of combined DC power. Note we said standard SFX chassis – not an extended or lengthened version.

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SFX                        SFX-L                        ATX

As you can see in the photo above there is quite a difference in size between the three form-factors.

In addition to their compact size all three Corsair SFX Platinum Series SFX power supplies feature fully modular cables and are 80 Plus Platinum certified for high efficiency. They feature a Zero RPM Fan Mode for silent operation at low to medium power and come backed by a 7-year warranty. And an SFX-to-ATX mounting bracket is included. We will be taking a detailed look at the Corsair SF750 Platinum power supply in this review.

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Corsair SF750 Platinum SFX PSU Key Features:

•    750W continuous DC output
•    Compact SFX form-factor chassis
•    80 Plus Platinum certified for high efficiency
•    92mm Cooling fan with riffled sleeve bearing for quiet operation
•    Zero RPM Fan Mode for silent operation at low to mid power
•    105°C Japanese capacitors for high reliability
•    Individually sleeved, Fully modular cables
•    SFX-to-ATX mounting bracket included
•    Active PFC (0.99 PF typical) with Universal AC input
•    Safety Protections: OVP, OCP, OTP, and SCP
•    7-Year Manufacturer’s warranty
•    MSRP : $179.99 USD

Continue reading our review of the Corsair SF750 Platinum PSU!

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Cooler Master

The Cherry MX Low Profile Difference

The market for mechanical gaming keyboards is exploding. Everyone, even companies you would never expect (I’m looking at you Creative Labs!), seems to have their own line of PC gaming accessories. But what really sets them apart? The answer is, sadly, not much; the existence of media keys or a volume roller, how good the software is, the occasional quirky layout.

Then there are the unique keyboards. We’ve looked at a few of them here. Today we’re adding another one to the list with the Cooler Master SK630 Low Profile Gaming Keyboard.

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The SK630 features a flat, slimmed down design that could make any Apple fan feel right at home. Add to that full RGB backlighting, brand new Cherry MX RGB Low Profile Red switches, and massive amounts of software-free programmability and you can begin to see why this might catch more than a few eyes. With a list price of $119.99 this is not exactly a budget option, so let’s dive in and see if it’s worth the cost of entry.


Specifications

  • Switch Type: Cherry MX RGB Low Profile Switch
  • Actuation Point: 1.2mm
  • Travel Distance: 3.2mm
  • Switch Lifespan: 50M actuations
  • Material: Aluminum/Plastic
  • Color: Gunmetal Black
  • LED Color: RGB
  • Polling Rate: 1000 Hz
  • Response Rate: 1ms / 1000Hz
  • MCU: 32-bit ARM Cortex M3
  • Onboard Memory: 512KB
  • On-the-fly System: Yes, for multimedia, Macro recording, and lighting control
  • Multimedia Keys: Through Function Key (FN)
  • Cable: 1.8m, USB Type-C Detachable & Braided
  • Software Support: Yes, through Portal
  • Dimensions: 353.5 x 125.5 x 29.8 mm (L*W*H)
  • Product Weight (without cable): 552g
  • Weight: 593g
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • List Price: $119.99

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Continue reading our review of the Cooler Master SK630 Low Profile keyboard.

Author:
Manufacturer: Cooler Master

Introduction and Features

Introduction

Cooler Master recently introduced three new fully modular power supplies into their MWE Series, which currently includes fifteen models ranging from 400w up to 750W.
The MWE Series 550W, 650W, and 750W Gold power supplies are designed to provide quiet operation and high efficiency at an affordable price. We will be taking a detailed look at the MWE Gold 750W Full Modular power supply in this review.

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The Cooler Master MWE Gold Full Modular power supplies are 80 Plus Gold certified and use a Cooler Master Silencio 120mm fan for quiet operation. And all three MWE Series Gold Full Modular power supplies come backed by a 5-year warranty.

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Cooler Master MWE Gold 750W Full Modular PSU Key Features:

•    750W Continuous DC output at up to 45°C
•    80 PLUS Gold certified
•    Fully modular cables to reduce clutter and improve airflow
•    Quiet 120mm Cooler Master Silencio fan for quiet operation
•    Single +12V rail design (62.5A/750W)
•    Active Power Factor correction with Universal AC input
•    Protections: UVP, OVP, OPP, OTP and SCP
•    5-year warranty
•    MSRP: $99.99 USD (750W)

Continue reading our review of the MWE Gold 750W Full Modular PSU.

Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Exploring 2560x1440 Results

In part one of our review of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card we looked at gaming performance using only 1920x1080 and 3840x2160 results, and while UHD is the current standard for consumer televisions (and an easy way to ensure GPU-bound performance) more than twice as many gamers play on a 2560x1440 display (3.89% vs. 1.42% for 3840x2160) according to Steam hardware survey results.

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Adding these 1440p results was planned from the beginning, but time constraints made testing at three resolutions before getting on a plane for CES impossible (though in retrospect UHD should have been the one excluded from part one, and in future I'll approach it that way). Regardless, we now have those 1440p results to share, having concluded testing using the same list of games and synthetic benchmarks we saw in the previous installment.

On to the benchmarks!

PC Perspective GPU Test Platform
Processor Intel Core i7-8700K
Motherboard ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-H Gaming
Memory Corsair Vengeance LED 16GB (8GBx2) DDR4-3000
Storage Samsung 850 EVO 1TB
Power Supply CORSAIR RM1000x 1000W
Operating System Windows 10 64-bit (Version 1803)
Drivers AMD: 18.50
NVIDIA: 417.54, 417.71 (OC Results)

We will begin with Unigine Superposition, which was run with the high preset settings.

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Here we see the RTX 2060 with slightly higher performance than the GTX 1070 Ti, right in the middle of GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 performance levels. As expected so far.

Continue reading part two of our NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 review.

Author:
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Samsung

Samsung today is launching a new member of its consumer-targeted family of NVMe SSDs, the Samsung 970 EVO Plus. Thanks to the upgrade from 64-layer to 96-layer V-NAND, this new drive promises significantly better write performance, a slight bump to overall responsiveness, and improved efficiency all in the same single-sided package at capacities up to 2TB.

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This new drive, a mid-cycle refresh that keeps the well-regarded 970-series on the market, looks impressive on paper. But do those soaring advertised IOPS and insane write speeds hold up in reality? Check out our initial review of the Samsung 970 EVO Plus.

Author:
Manufacturer: Seasonic

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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Seasonic continues to be one of the most respected names in the PC power supply industry. In addition to selling power supplies under their own brand, Seasonic is the OEM for numerous other PC power supply vendors. Their new FOCUS SGX Series currently includes two power supplies, the SGX-450 (450W) and the SGX-650 (650W), which are designed for use in small form-factor builds. We will be taking a detailed look at the SGX-650 in this review.

Both FOCUS SGX power supplies are fully modular and comply with the 80 Plus Gold certification criteria for high efficiency. The SGX-450 and SGX-650 use a 120mm fan with a Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) for quiet, reliable operation and can operate in silent fanless mode (below 30% load) thanks to Seasonic’s Hybrid Silent Fan Control. The compact SFX-L size chassis measures 125mm square and both power supplies are backed by a 10-year Seasonic warranty.

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(Courtesy of Seasonic)

•    Seasonic FOCUS SGX-450 ($99.99 USD)
•    Seasonic FOCUS SGX-650 ($129.99 USD)

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Seasonic FOCUS SGX Series Key Features:

•    450W or 650W Continuous DC output
•    Fully modular cabling design with (4) PCI-E connectors
•    Compact SFX-L chassis size
•    80 PLUS Gold certified for high efficiency
•    120mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) fan
•    Seasonic Hybrid Silent Fan Control (silent below 30% load)
•    Highly reliable Japanese 105°C aluminum electrolytic capacitors
•    Tight voltage regulation (12V, 5V, and 3.3V: ±3%)
•    Active Power Factor correction (0.99) with Universal AC input
•    Safety protections: OPP, OVP, UVP, OCP, OTP and SCP
•    SFX to ATX adapter plate included
•    10-Year warranty

Click to continue reading our review of the Seasonic FOCUS SGX-650 PSU.

Author:
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Western Digital

WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD Review

Western Digital today is launching the latest version of its Black-series NVMe SSDs. Like its predecessor, the WD Black SN750 is targeted at gamers, introducing a new "Gaming Mode" that tunes the drive to favor performance over power efficiency.

The drive will be available in two variants — one including a heatsink and one without — in capacities up to 2TB. Western Digital worked with cooling experts EK to design the heatsink.

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We had a brief time to review the 1TB non-heatsink model and have some initial performance results to share.

Read on for our review of the WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD.

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: HyperX

A Tale of Two Headsets

There is no shortage of wireless gaming headsets these days, with 2.4 GHz via USB dongle the most common option. The HyperX Cloud MIX provides wireless connectivity of the Bluetooth variety, and if you need or just prefer a wired connection don't worry - as the name implies these provide wired analog audio via a 3.5mm headset plug, with a Y-cable is also included to split off mic and audio to your sound card's requisite I/O.

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An interesting addition to the standard Bluetooth codecs with the Cloud MIX is aptX support, which means this headset has the capability of far better wireless audio quality than the standard SBC codec can provide - if you have a way to connect with aptX, that is. It's also worth noting that the Cloud MIX is actually the first Bluetooth-capable headset HyperX has released, with latency a roadblock to its adoption in this market.

Before moving on here is a look at the full specifications from HyperX:


  • Headphone
    • Driver: Custom dynamic, 40mm driver with neodymium magnets
    • Type: Circumaural; Closed back
    • Frequency Response: 10Hz–40,000Hz
    • Impedance: 40Ω
    • Sound Pressure Level: 100dBSPL/mW at 1kHz
    • T.H.D.: < 2%
    • Weight: 260g
    • Weight with Mic: 275g
  • Cable Length:
    • Detachable Headset Cable:  1.3m
    • PC Extension Cable:  2m
    • USB Charging Cable:  0.5m
  • Connection Type:
    • Detachable Headset Cable:  3.5mm plug (4 pole)
    • PC Extension Cable:  3.5mm stereo and mic plugs
  • Boom Microphone
    • Element: Electret condenser microphone
    • Polar Pattern: Noise-cancelling
    • Frequency Response: 50Hz-18,000 Hz
    • Sensitivity: -42dBV (0dB=1V/Pa,1kHz)
  • Built-in Microphone
    • Element: Electret condenser microphone
    • Polar Pattern: Omni-directional
    • Frequency Response: 50Hz-8,000 Hz
    • Sensitivity: -33dBV (0dB=1V/Pa,1kHz)
  • Battery Life (50% headphone volume) 20 hours
  • Bluetooth Version: 4.2
  • Wireless Range: Up to 10 meters

Pricing and Availability: $199.99, Best Buy

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Continue reading our review of the HyperX Cloud MIX Wired Headset with Bluetooth!

Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Formidable Mid-Range

We have to go all the way back to 2015 for NVIDIA's previous graphics card announcement at CES, with the GeForce GTX 960 revealed during the show four years ago. And coming on the heels of this announcement today we have the latest “mid-range” offering in the tradition of the GeForce x60 (or x060) cards, the RTX 2060. This launch comes as no surprise to those of us following the PC industry, as various rumors and leaks preceded the announcement by weeks and even months, but such is the reality of the modern supply chain process (sadly, few things are ever really a surprise anymore).

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But there is still plenty of new information available with the official launch of this new GPU, not the least of which is the opportunity to look at independent benchmark results to find out what to expect with this new GPU relative to the market. To this end we had the opportunity to get our hands on the card before the official launch, testing the RTX 2060 in several games as well as a couple of synthetic benchmarks. The story is just beginning, and as time permits a "part two" of the RTX 2060 review will be offered to supplement this initial look, addressing omissions and adding further analysis of the data collected thus far.

Before getting into the design and our initial performance impressions of the card, let's look into the specifications of this new RTX 2060, and see how it relates to the rest of the RTX family from NVIDIA. We are  taking a high level look at specs here, so for a deep dive into the RTX series you can check out our previous exploration of the Turing Architecture here.

"Based on a modified version of the Turing TU106 GPU used in the GeForce RTX 2070, the GeForce RTX 2060 brings the GeForce RTX architecture, including DLSS and ray-tracing, to the midrange GPU segment. It delivers excellent gaming performance on all modern games with the graphics settings cranked up. Priced at $349, the GeForce RTX 2060 is designed for 1080p gamers, and delivers an excellent gaming experience at 1440p."

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  RTX 2080 Ti RTX 2080 RTX 2070 RTX 2060 GTX 1080 GTX 1070
GPU TU102 TU104 TU106 TU106 GP104 GP104
GPU Cores 4352 2944 2304 1920 2560 1920
Base Clock 1350 MHz 1515 MHz 1410  MHz 1365 MHz 1607 MHz 1506 MHz
Boost Clock 1545 MHz/
1635 MHz (FE)
1710 MHz/
1800 MHz (FE)
1620 MHz
1710 MHz (FE)
1680 MHz 1733 MHz 1683 MHz
Texture Units 272 184 144 120 160 120
ROP Units 88 64 64 48 64 64
Tensor Cores 544 368 288 240 -- --
Ray Tracing Speed 10 Giga Rays 8 Giga Rays 6 Giga Rays 5 Giga Rays -- --
Memory 11GB 8GB 8GB 6GB 8GB 8GB
Memory Clock 14000 MHz  14000 MHz  14000 MHz 14000 MHz 10000 MHz 8000 MHz
Memory Interface 352-bit GDDR6 256-bit GDDR6 256-bit GDDR6 192-bit GDDR6 256-bit GDDR5X 256-bit GDDR5
Memory Bandwidth 616 GB/s 448 GB/s 448 GB/s 336.1 GB/s 320 GB/s 256 GB/s
TDP 250 W /
260 W (FE)
215W /
225W (FE)
175 W / 185W (FE) 160 W 180 W 150 W
MSRP (current) $1200 (FE)/
$1000
$800 (FE)/
$700
$599 (FE)/ $499 $349 $549 $379

Continue reading our initial review of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060!

Author:
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Corsair

New Corsair Gaming Mice

This week at CES 2019 Corsair is launching two new gaming mice as well as featuring another recently-launched flagship. The M65 RGB Elite, released late last year, and the Harpoon RGB Wireless and Ironclaw RGB, launching at CES, each offer unique features geared toward specific games and user preferences, including improved optical sensors, refined designs, and more options for customization.

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We got an early peak at each mouse along with the MM350 Extended XL, the latest version of Corsair’s gaming mouse/desk pads. Read on for a quick look at what each new gaming mouse brings to your PC gaming experience.

Corsair Gaming Mice Spec Comparison

First, here's a quick look at the major features and price point of each new mouse.

  M65 RGB Elite Harpoon RGB Wireless Ironclaw RGB
Connectivity USB 2.0 USB 2.0
Bluetooth LE 4.2
2.4GHz Slipstream
USB 2.0
Resolution Up to 18,000 DPI Up to 10,000 DPI Up to 18,000 DPI
Buttons 8 6 7
Weight 97g 99g 105g
Battery Life N/A 30hrs 2.4GHz w/lighting
45hrs 2.4GHz
40hrs Bluetooth w/lighting
60hrs Bluetooth
N/A
MSRP $59.99 $49.99 $59.99

Author:
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: FlexiSpot

FlexiSpot SanoDesk Pro Review

I'm no doctor, but the consensus appears to be clear: sitting for long periods of time isn't healthy. There are lots of jobs where prolonged sitting can be a problem, and writing about and reviewing PC hardware is certainly one of them.

Our knowledge of the dangers of prolonged sitting or, more positively, the benefits of standing while working, isn't new. Indeed, several years ago when I first started my career focused on online writing I purchased what was then a relatively novel motorized sit-to-stand desk from Steelcase.

That Steelcase desk, which I continue to use to this day, is solid and well built, but it was insanely expensive at the time I bought it. Since then lots of companies have entered the market to offer cheaper sit-to-stand solutions, but few are high quality or feature-rich enough to justify their price points.

In my time looking at options ranging from Ikea to boutique companies specializing only in the standing desk product category, I've found that desks either lack features such as height memory, feel cheap with loud jerky motor movement, or involve a complicated and time consuming assembly process. There are good options out there, of course, and while they're far cheaper than my original Steelcase desk, they're still quite expensive.

But we were recently contacted by a company called FlexiSpot, who asked us to evaluate one of their motorized high-adjustable desks. We receive all kinds of review requests here, including frequent requests related to things on the periphery of the PC hardware industry such as desks and other furniture. But what caught my attention with FlexiSpot's proposal was their claim of an "easy 5-minute assembly" for their desk.

So, intrigued by that, I agreed to a review sample of the FlexiSpot SanoDesk Pro. Priced at $599.99 for the basic desk, the SanoDesk Pro isn't cheap, but in my testing I found it to offer premium construction and operation at a lower price than many alternatives of equal quality. And yes, that "5-minute assembly" claim is actually true.

Read on for our impressions of the FlexiSpot SanoDesk Pro.

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Wooting

The World’s First Fully Analog Keyboard

For years, keyboards have been mostly static. Sure, there’s been innovations here and there but for the most part, we’ve been clacking on the same set of keys for most of our lives. The switches are digital, like the light switches on your wall: they’re either on or off with nothing in between. For many games, this just isn’t ideal. Racing games need feathery touches; third-person action games demand you both creep and run; most, in fact, feel better when you add a little bit of nuance to your control.

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The Wooting One is the world’s first completely analog optical keyboard. With the press of a button, every key can offer the same kind of nuanced control of a controller’s trigger, and thanks to a clever design, it will work any game that offers dual controller and keyboard support. Coming in at $159.99 for a single tenkeyless model and two switch options, this is the kind of innovation that doesn’t come cheap.

Join us as we dig in to see just how much of a game changer analog switches truly are.

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: DeepSpar

Introduction

DeepSpar is the big name in data recovery, making all sorts of data recovery hardware used by many of the big data recovery warehouses. They've recently ventured into getting their recovery hardware into the hands of smaller operations. A couple of years back, they launched the RapidSpar (reviewed here), which offered a nice little package that enabled smaller shops and small businesses to bring a fair chunk of their data recovery operations in-house. While these tools could also be used for data forensics, that's a 'different crowd' really. Forensic operations want to just be able to plug a drive into a write blocker and hit GO on their imaging software. Write blockers are hardware devices that prevent any write requests from ever reaching the storage device, which lets the forensic shop later prove to the court (if needed) that the evidence (source drive) has not been tampered with. Historically, write-blocking hardware has not implemented data recovery functionality, meaning that a drive that times out with read errors would do the same thing when connected via a write blocker. This equates to added headaches for the data forensics guys that are just trying to get their drives imaged and get on with their cases (digging through the image looking for evidence of system compromise, illegal activity, etc). A few hard drive errors throwing a big wrench into the drive imaging process should be a solvable problem, and DeepSpar has stepped in to take a crack at just that:

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Enter the Guardonix. This simple little box sits inline, between the capture PC and the USB device (flash drive, HDD in a USB dock, etc). It naturally performs the typical write blocking functionality expected from the device, but it throws in a round of data recovery functionality as well. Let's look at the simple software interface to help explain further:

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Connecting the device to the system the first time mounts a small volume containing software to get up and running. The app handles firmware and driver updates within its own interface, making things simple. DeepSpar recommends using the Asmedia USB3 controller on your system board for best possible compatibility, with the vendor driver installed (don't use the Microsoft InBox driver - download the USB 3 controller driver from your motherboard/laptop vendor). The same Asmedia controller recommendation applies to the use of a USB 3 dock connected to the Guardonix - Asmedia controllers best support the necessary device resets necessary for the data recovery tricks it is capable of.

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Once up and running, there is a series of configuration and data recovery options available. Logging options are extensive and necessary for inclusion in forensic reports. The 'PRO' settings (added cost) enable greater control of read timeouts, allow file system mounting, and enable some cool tricks like the ability to fake write attempts instead of replying with 'write denied' errors.

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Above is a typical setup showing the whole operation in action. I'm using a simple data recovery app instead of ($$$) dedicated forensic software, but the principles are the same.

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Here's a look at the Guardonix output while pushing through a drive containing read errors. Note that once past the errors, we see full speed of the source drive (a 2.5" SATA HDD in this case). The configurable timeouts are 1.25 (short), 4 (medium), and 10 (long) seconds. If the drive fails to come back after each reset attempt, the Guardonix is able to repower the drive a few seconds later. The error handling is definitely robust. I was able to go as far as to remove and reinsert the drive from the dock during imaging, and it just picked right back up from where it left off. Here's the Guardonix demo video:

Pricing and conclusion:

The base Guardonix goes for $320 at the time of this writing, with the PRO add-on features tacking on another $470. This may seem steep, but compared to other write-blocking hardware I've seen in the past, it's about average, with the PRO add-on tacking on some data recovery options capabilities not normally possible with simpler write blockers. So long as you are ok with only USB and docked SATA connectivity, that $470 is actually a good deal compared to the pricier RapidSpar (but not nearly as feature-packed).

*edit* Prices adjusted slightly after publishing. Article updated to reflect current prices.

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Overall this is good stuff from DeepSpar. I'm glad to see them venturing into the forensics space, as that arena could stand to benefit from less frustration during their imaging operations. I know it would have saved me a bunch of time and headaches back when I was dealing with data forensics!

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Crucial

Introduction

Once we saw Intel launch QLC flash installed in their recent 660p M.2 part, I had a feeling that Micron would not be far behind, and that feeling has been confirmed with the launch of the Crucial P1 M.2 SSDs:

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Both the 500GB and 1TB models are single sided. The 2TB (not yet released) will likely have packages installed at the rear.

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No surprises with the packaging. Does the job just fine.

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Specs are also reasonably standard for an NVMe SSD at this point, though we do see a bit more of a falloff at the lower capacities here. This is partially due to the use of QLC flash, even though these specs are likely assuming full use of the available SLC cache. Since QLC allows for higher capacity per die, that translates to fewer dies for a given SSD total capacity, which lowers overall performance even at SLC speeds. This is a common trait/tradeoff for the use of higher capacity dies.

Read on for our review of the Crucial P1!

Author:
Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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Corsair recently introduced two new SFX small form-factor power supplies into their already formidable lineup of PC power supplies. The SF Platinum Series includes two SFX models, the SF450 (450W) and SF600 (600W). They are very similar to the two current Gold Series SFX units currently on the market but thanks to some tweaks in the circuit design and manufacturing process the Platinum Series SF450 and SF600 now deliver Platinum level efficiency.

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Both new power supplies feature fully modular cables with individually sleeved wires. The SF450 and SF600 feature a Zero RPM Fan Mode for silent operation at low to medium power and come backed by a 7-year warranty. And an SFX-to-ATX mounting bracket is included in the box. We will be taking a detailed look at the Corsair SF600 Platinum power supply in this review.

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Corsair Platinum Series SFX power supply Key Features:

•    450W or 600W continuous DC output (up to 50°C)
•    Compact SFX form-factor chassis (only 100mm deep)
•    80 Plus Platinum certified for high efficiency
•    Custom designed 92mm Cooling fan with riffled sleeve bearing
•    Zero RPM Fan Mode for silent operation at low to mid power
•    105°C Japanese capacitors for high reliability
•    Individually sleeved, Fully modular cables
•    SFX-to-ATX mounting bracket included
•    Active PFC (0.99 PF typical) with Universal AC input
•    Safety Protections: OCP, OVP, UVP, SCP, OTP, and OPP
•    7-Year Manufacturer’s warranty
•    SF450 MSRP : $119.99 USD
•    SF600 MSRP : $149.99 USD

Please continue reading our review of the Corsair Platinum SFX PSUs!!!

Manufacturer: Scythe

The Ninja 5 is the latest in the line of high performance, low-noise tower air coolers from Scythe, building on the venerable Ninja 4 design (reviewed here back in 2016) with a new dual-fan configuration. The Ninja 5 (SCNJ-5000) ships with a pair of Kaze Flex 120 mm fans, which should provide very low noise output with their 800 RPM max speed. Does the combination of big heatsink and dual low-speed fans translate into high performance? Let's find out!

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Let's get right to the specifications from Scythe:


  • Model number: SCNJ-5000
  • CPU Support:
  • Intel 775 / 115x  / 1366 / 2011(V3) / 2066
  • AMD AM4 / AM3(+) / AM2(+) / FM2(+) / FM1
  • Radiator size: (W) 130 x (H) 155 x (D) 130mm
  • Fan size: 120 x 120 x 27mm
  • Heatpipe: Ø6mm x 6
  • Fan speed: 300±200~800 rpm±10% RPM
  • Airflow: 16.6~43.03 CFM
  • Statics: 0.0762~0.49 mmH2O / 0.75~4.8 Pa
  • Noise: 4.0~14.5 dBA
  • Weight (fan included):  1190g

Pricing and Availability: $59.99 MSRP (currently unavailable from known retailers in USA)

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The Ninja 5 arrives nicely boxed with good protection, and the accessory pack has everything you'll need right down to a full-size screwdriver:

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Continue reading our review of the Scythe Ninja 5 air cooler!