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Joshua K.

Joshua K.

Joined on 09/11/14

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Most Favorable Review

Day 1 Review: SICK Performance

ASRock Radeon RX 6700 XT Challenger D Gaming Graphic Card, 12GB GDDR6 VRAM, AMD RDNA2 (RX6700XT CLD 12G)
ASRock Radeon RX 6700 XT Challenger D Gaming Graphic Card, 12GB GDDR6 VRAM, AMD RDNA2 (RX6700XT CLD 12G)

Pros: -Nice and Quiet -Painless Installation -Cooler than Vega 56 (even UC/UV) -Excellent Performance -$600 in this market? Yes, please -Comes with a decent looking backplate installed that likely helps thermals (unconfirmed) and improves looks after installation

Cons: -Not a particularly amazing looking card -Adrenaline software's postgame performance logging appears to be slightly bugged with Elden Ring (likely an issue caused by the game, itself. Explained below)

Overall Review: -Installed this as an upgrade from the RX Vega 56. -Running alongside a Ryzen 9 3900X and 32gb 3600Mhz DDR4 RAM -Tested in Elden Ring and Apex Legends at 1440p native on a 144hz monitor -Pardon the screenshot quality (explained below) *I highly recommend you use DDU (Display Driver Uninstaller) and do a completely fresh driver install with ANY new GPU. Just follow the instructions on the site.* After a clean driver install, I adjusted the settings I wanted to adjust in AMD's Adrenaline software, and booted directly into Elden Ring. This game is a relatively notorious PC port, prone to stuttering, framerate drops, and even crashes on some PC's. I'd already followed several guides on improving performance with the 56 installed (with... Let's say moderate success), so I'll be reviewing with the same fixes applied here. In Elden Ring, the performance improvement is immediately obvious. The stutters are all but gone, aside from loading into new areas, and even those are quite short lived, which was the main issue on the 56. It would often stutter for up to a full second in certain cases. The game is locked at 60fps by the developer, so the 6700xt wasn't even breaking 90% usage running at the settings I was using for the Vega 56 (most set to "high" with AA and motion blur off, and a few minor options such as grass quality set to "medium"). I then turned up every option I could to max, restarted the game, and the 6700xt sat quite happily at 60fps, averaging about 89-93% GPU usage, with small improvements when I turned off AA (I don't really like to use AA past 1080p, personal pref). The only issue I noticed was the postgame performance summary for Elden Ring in AMD's Adrenaline software appears to display significantly lower numbers than I was actually experiencing. *Note that this happened on the 56, as well, and I believe it's likely an issue with the game, rather than AMD.* From what I can tell, loading screens appear to lower both FPS and GPU usage significantly, causing my logged FPS average to drop from an essentially rock-solid 60fps to a relatively dismal 43fps average. Something that probably shouldn't happen. Rest assured, this is not what you're getting while actually playing the game. It ran beautifully (at least as beautifully as one could expect a poor PC port, anyway) and I experienced no other problems running the game at max. I also tested Apex Legends, which saw absolutely breathtaking improvement, as per the screenshot posted (looks bad because I had to scale the image way down to upload, sorry). With the 56, I had quite a few settings cut down in order to maximize FPS. With most settings at medium or high, I would average about 120fps at best, with occasional framerate drops from there. With the 6700xt, however, it was absolutely obliterating those settings, maxing out at 144fps (my monitor's maximum refresh rate, and my framerate cap for this system) at about 70% usage. Zero stutter, zero frame drops, just smooth as bloody silk! I'm normally very hesitant to bump up settings in FPS games for a variety of reasons, but I went ahead and cranked everything to max and restarted just to see how it would do, and imagine my surprise when the only thing that changed was a 10% usage increase (to roughly 80% average usage), and a significant increase in visual quality. I'm absolutely blown away at the amount of headroom this afforded me in Apex. I expected an improvement, but not quite like this. It's legitimately a different game when you're able to crank up settings and not see a negative impact. Keep in mind, this is also at 1440p! Even better, my 56 would often make my room unbearably hot, as I was pushing the poor thing to its absolute limit most of the time. The Vega series was great, but seems to require significant cooling to keep up the performance. Thank goodness they underclock so well with virtually no performance hit, or I'd have been running a sauna. The 6700xt appears significantly more efficient, both in thermals and power consumption, surprisingly using less overall power according to my resource logs, despite having a 20w higher TDP according to AMD's official measurements. Likely because it's hardly ever running near 100% like the 56 did. The Asrock cooling solution, though subjectively kind of ugly, seems to perform admirably, with nice, large, exposed heat pipes, an oversized 2-fan configuration, and a relatively attractive backplate that I have to assume is for both looks and thermals, which helps it look significantly better once installed, unless you're mounting in an abnormal manner. I did not test raytracing, but it is featured on this card. You probably shouldn't buy this card if you care a ton about RT, anyway according to official reviews. Overall, I'm incredibly satisfied. If anything changes over the next few months of testing, I'll update this review, but on day 1, I absolutely couldn't be happier, especially at the $600 price point in the current market.

Most Critical Review

Absolutely Abysmal Drivers

Rosewill RNX-AC1200UBE2 - Dual Band Wireless AC1200 Adapter - IEEE 802.11AC a / b / g  / n, Up to 867 Mbps (5.0 GHz) + 300 Mbps (2.4 GHz) Wi-Fi Data Rates, USB 3.0 Interface
Rosewill RNX-AC1200UBE2 - Dual Band Wireless AC1200 Adapter - IEEE 802.11AC a / b / g / n, Up to 867 Mbps (5.0 GHz) + 300 Mbps (2.4 GHz) Wi-Fi Data Rates, USB 3.0 Interface

Pros: Detects more networks, than my previous adapter, indicating excellent range

Cons: Worst drivers i've ever seen on a WiFi adapter Literally refuses to connect to anything, even with settings that duplicate my other connected adapter, and even caused a "driver_irql_not_less_or_equal" BSOD at one point. There's no driver conflicts, as I completely uninstalled my old adapter drivers and ran CCleaner when I first got this one, however, this one still would not connect, and all that managed to do was make my other adapter fail to connect, as well, forcing a system restore. I've already restored and downloaded the latest drivers directly from the Rosewill site, and that accomplished nothing, aside from installing a useless wireless utility. Fought it for 3 hours, and multiple restarts, then I had to leave for work. I'll update later, if I somehow manage to make it work. SYSTEM: OS: Windows 8.1 CPU: AMD FX 8350 Mobo: GA 990FAX-UD3 Rev 4.0 GPU: AMD R9 290X RAM: 16Gb G Skill 1600Mhz PSU: EVGA G2 850W Storage: 1 x Crucial M500 120Gb SSD (C:/ drive) 1 x 1Tb WD Blue HDD 1 x 4Tb Seagate Expansion External HDD

Excellent in every way

noblechairs EPIC Series Black/Red
noblechairs EPIC Series Black/Red

Pros: -Premium feel -Looks much better in person -Highly adjustable -Very comfortable -Perfect height and ergonomics (for me. 185lbs @6'0") -Excellent casters

Cons: -No cupholders

Overall Review: Everyone essentially says the same things about this chair, so I won't reiterate, except to ease concerns. I've seen concerns that the seat is "too firm" for some. I can kind of see what they mean, however, at the same time, I find the seat padding to be in a perfect "Goldilocks zone" for me. It's not that there is a lack of padding (quite the contrary, it seems to have around 4-5 inches of it), it's more that the padding is not as plush, or doesn't have as much give as the cheap office chairs many people seem to be used to. I sort of described it as like a very firm memory foam, if that makes sense, similar to some therapeutic chairs. The material is quite obviously made to last, and may require a breaking in period, but coming from "that one mesh chair from that one site everyone seems to have", the padding is already leaps and bounds better than my old seat, without a doubt. In fact, I sat in it for about 4 hours yesterday, and didn't feel a real need to get up and stretch regularly, like I normally do, and my rear and legs didn't have that dull ache and fatigued feeling afterwards, either. As for the chair being tall, I can see how that may be an issue. If you're 5'11 or 6'0, and have an average height desk, this chair feels like it's made for you. My feet rest perfectly on the floor, with knees bent at 90 degrees at a comfortable desk height. If you are below 5'8, or so, or have a tall desk, this chair won't have any problems reaching, but you may want to invest in a cheap foot stool. Otherwise, the chair is just awesome, and feels like it will last for years to come. If I'd have known I'd love this chair as much as I do, I honestly would have invested in the real leather version. In fact, if I ever do need to buy a new chair again, I'll be getting one, no doubt about it.

11/28/2017