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About PCPackRat

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    Review Editor

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    Bloomington, MN

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  1. I'm with Stu (Noobas4urus) on RGB lighting, and that RGB toilet rocks! Now I don't have to turn the lights on to find the toilet. Plus, it can match my bathroom no matter what weird color I paint it! Best of 2016 = M.2 on all of the motherboards ...... no more pesky wires to run. Worst of 2016 = M.2 Modules are really ugly ...... we need M.2 covers ( BILL?!?!?)
  2. Greg (PCpackrat) from MunkyMods, takes a look at Swiftech’s newest revision of their AIO Liquid Cooling Kit! For more than a decade, Swiftech has been known as a leader in liquid cooling for personal computers. Swiftech has spent years designing award winning heatsinks, reservoirs, co-designing pumps (in an exclusive agreement with Laing Pumps), and producing All-In-One liquid CPU cooling kits. Read the rest of the review HERE!
  3. The new Munky Mods Pro Flex, and Monsta Cable Combs are done, and in stock. The Munky Mods Pro Flex Cable Combs are made from a space age thermoplastic. In fact, these Cable Combs are so durable, that we gave them a lifetime warranty! They are available for: 4wire for 4pin CPU Power 8wire for 8pin EPS Power 6wire for 6pin GPU Power 8wire for 8pin GPU Power 12wire for 6pin+6pin GPU Power 14wire for 6pin+8pin GPU Power 16wire for 8pin+8pin GPU Power 24wire for 24pin Mobo Power The Munky Mods Monsta Cable Combs were designed to give that thick and meaty look! Both the Pro Flex and Monsta Cable Combs are available for 2.5mm and 2.85mm wire/sleeve sizes. ( The wire measurement is made using the wire conductor, the insulation layer, plus outer the sleeving ) Common Brands using a 2.5mm opening: EVGA® G2/P2/T2 sleeved cable sets. CableMod® brand sleeved cable sets. Common Brands using a 2.85mm opening: CableMod® ModMesh sleeved cable sets. EVGA® GS/PS brand sleeved cable sets. Bitfenix® Alchemy sleeved extensions. NZXT™ brand sleeved extensions. ModRight™ brand sleeved extensions. Mod/Smart™ Kobra MAX sleeved extensions. Silverstone® brand sleeved extensions. Phanteks® brand sleeved extensions. Both the Pro Flex and Monsta Cable Combs are in stock (in 2.5mm and 2.85mm) Get them Here!
  4. I knew you (The king of tiny scratch built cases) would probably like it :P
  5. For some time (several years), I have been building KODI / XBMC boxes (to watch streaming TV and Movies) for my clients, friends and my family. After I ran out of reasonably priced Zotac Zboxes to build KODI boxes, I decided I should build a custom enclosure and use "off the shelf" ITX Mobos. Well, some of you may remember that I purchased a Laser Cutter (and Vinyl Cutter) for my shop, Smart Computer Store and Munky Mods. So, it's not a stretch to build a scratch built custom enclosure to fit Mini ITX Motherboards for KODI boxes (or maybe even a "Steam Box"). A little research led me to the AMD AM1 APU, The Sempron 3850 ($30) / Athlon 5350 ($60) with AMD Radeon R3 graphics, running at a modest 25w TDP. This little Processor (APU) is well up to the task of streaming anything you want to watch. It's benchmarks are easily double anything I was using in the past. And, a little more research led me to an amazing ASRock AM1H-ITX AM1 Motherboard that will run off a Laptop style AC Adapter (19 Volt DC Jack input). So, with my Motherboard ($55), AMD Processor ($60), Chinese 19V AC Adapter ($10) and some low profile Kingston RAM ($30) I'm on my way! The case will be a somewhat modular design that starts with corner blocks, laser cut out of 6mm thick clear acrylic. Two different designs: The first with Two (2) 4.3mm holes, to tap M5 threads into. The other with Two (2) 5.0mm holes for clearance of the M5 screws that I will use to hold the case together. Of course at 6mm thick each, I will need a pile of them! Four (4) with small holes (4.3mm), and Thirty-Two with large holes (5mm). Plus, some extras! If anyone cares: I cut these with a 60W CO2 Laser at 90% Power, moving at 6mm per second to get those melty, smooth edges! And there you have it, a crapload of corner blocks! The Screws are Low Profile Socket Head M5 Screws in 60mm (for bottom) and 8mm (for the top). Then I broke out the trusty M5 tap for the top 6mm Corner Blocks of each stack. The bottom 60mm screw slides through the rubber feet and corner blocks to the threaded block, and the top 8mm screw will only hold the lid on. Speaking of the Rubber Feet. These are Penn-Elcom F1693 and are 1" Diameter x 0.375" High. Of course, I had to spend some time peeling the protective paper off of all the little corner blocks! And now, it's time to design the panels. Thanks to formfactor.org for their motherboard mounting measurements and I/O Shield placement. Again, for those that care: 70% Power at 14mm per second cuts the 3mm black acrylic. If it flexes too much, I'll likely go thicker for some pieces. Here's what's left after you peel the paper. The static in my shop is rough this time of year. The dust cling should dissipate after the acrylic sits for a while. I almost forgot to tap the holes for the #6-32 Motherboard Risers. I laser cut the holes to 2.66mm (+/-.01mm) After you stack the rubber foot, the 3mm acrylic bottom, Eight (8) 6mm thick corner blocks, the 60mm screw threads right into the top block. Here's another view with all four of the corners (and some panels) installed. Then you just slide the 3mm side panels into the grooves in the corner blocks. Here, the panels are all installed with the black 12mm red ring power switch. In another version I tried honeycomb ventilated side panels and moved the Power Switch up a little on the front. Then, I put the I/O Shield and Motherboard in. Putting the lid on finishes phase one of the enclosure. It is usable, but, I have other things left to try. List of improvements to work on: RGB lighting to light corner block pillars and interior. Laser cutting filter material for behind holes in acrylic. Like everything in my life of ADD, things and interests are ever changing!
  6. Introducing the new Phanteks PH-PWSPR_1P2M Power Splitter! The Phanteks Power Splitter can use One (1) single Power Supply to power Two (2) complete Computer Systems! Phanteks had originally designed the Power Splitter for the Phanteks Enthoo Mini XL Mid Tower Case. Which can fit both a Micro ATX motherboard, plus a Mini ITX motherboard into the same chassis. The unit is 6.5"(165mm) Wide by 3.9"(100mm) High and 1.2"(32mm) Thick, although the cables all head outward from the unit. It can be mounted using Phanteks "Drop-n-Lock" mounts (used for SSD Tray Mounting) or using hook & loop fastener/double sided tape. With the Power Splitter, cables are not included. So, you will need Power Supply Extension Cables. But, Phanteks has you covered! Phanteks Extension Cables are 500mm (about 20") long, and have a clean look, with each wire individually braided and black plugs. They are available in 24Pin(power), 4Pin (CPU power), 8Pin(CPU power), 6Pin(VGA) and 8Pin(VGA). Each in choice of Black, White, Red or Red/Black Since you order the Cable Extensions separately, you can use them just to clean up the inside of any case! For more info about the Phanteks Power Splitter click HERE. For more info about the Phanteks Extension Cables click HERE.
  7. Jesse (Captain Currysauce) and Greg (PCpackrat) from Smart Computer Store, will see if it's worth upgrading to Z170! We all know Gigabyte! Recent reports say that they are currently the top seller of motherboards worldwide (with Asus just behind). And, that doesn't come easy. I have personally been a Gigabyte Fan since the start of the Overclocker's (OC) Series of motherboards was introduced. I have also used many motherboards from the Ultra Durable Series. That said, I can honestly say that I have never had a single DOA Gigabyte motherboard, or even had to RMA one for any reason. When I buy a Gigabyte motherboard, I am confident that it is well built. Click HERE to read the rest of the article:
  8. I could see wearing them out with a lot of use. They were hard to unplug with my fat fingers. The Blue cable seemed even thinner than the Black.
  9. At that price, it's virtually screaming, "MOD ME, MOD MEEEEE ........ PLEASE?!?!"
  10. Hey Kevin, Welcome to The Mod Zoo! I'm a great fan of the Zotac Zbox! I have bought, used and sold what seems like hundreds of them! I use one at home for running XBMC / Kodi to watch TV shows :^) Greg (PCpackrat) Smart Computer Store
  11. Have you ever had clearance issues with your SATA Cables? Well SilverStone Technology may have the answer! These cool little SATA Cables have super low profile connectors and very thin, inconspicuous cables. These SilverStone CP11 SATA cables are available in both Blue (300mm long) and Black (300mm or 500m long). Have you ever had this happen? Your GPU resides directly over your motherboard's SATA connector? Well this SilverStone super low profile SATA connector, sure would solve this problem! Specifications: Model No. SST-CP11 (blue cable, 300mm) SST-CP11B-300 (black cable, 300mm) SST-CP11B-500 (black cable, 500mm) Color Black connector, blue cable (CP11) Black connector, black cable (CP11B) Connectors Lateral 90° angled SATA connector Length 300mm / 500mm Transmitting Speed 6Gb/s For more information on these cables visit the SilverStone Tecknology website.
  12. With the introduction of Intel's new Z170 Chipset and Skylake processors, Gigabyte has announced Twelve (12) new Z170 motherboards to meet the demand of 6th generation Core processor users out there. The diversity of Gigabyte's lineup, should fill the needs of everyone looking to upgrade to Z170 and Skylake. One of the first of these Z170 motherboards to hit retail stores, will be the Gigabyte Z170X-UD5, from Gigabyte's Ultra Durable Series of Motherboards. With motherboards from the Gaming Series to soon follow. With new features like DDR4 Memory (supporting speeds up to 3466MHz), Dual PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 slots (supporting RAID), Faster SATA Express controller, Superfast USB 3.1 and "Type C" connector. Plus, all of the standards, like Gigabyte's patented UEFI DualBIOS, Amp-Up Audio, LED Trace Path Lighting, Dual Intel Gigabit Ethernet (with support for teaming) and Gigabyte App Center just to name a few. Shortly, we'll be getting a Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 motherboard into our grubby little hands. We will run it through all of it's paces. Then we'll let you know if we think upgrading to Z170 is worth your hard earned money. Keep an eye out for our review of the Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 Motherboard here on The Mod Zoo.
  13. Greg (PCpackrat) from Smart Computer Store takes a look at the new SilverStone DS380B Case: You can't talk about HTPC cases, without mentioning one of the biggest innovators in that area. SilverStone has led the way in making HTPC cases. Their cases would feel at home in any Audiophile's media center. They never skimped when it came to their beautiful, brushed aluminum front panels (in silver or black), media center features and bulletproof build quality. Well, these days with the movement towards NAS boxes and personal media servers, we want it all in one box. We want a NAS box to have access to our personal files from anywhere in our homes. We want a media server, to "serve" our music and video to our media devices. And, lastly, we want a HTPC to control all of that content on those TV's, stereos, tablets, smartphones and laptops. So, what if we could wrap all of those things into one small package? Enter the SilverStone DS380B. Today, we will look at this small form factor (SFF) case with big features. Click HERE to read the rest of the Article.
  14. The laser cutter itself doesn't natively recognize PNG files. but, we can export them into DXF or something it recognizes. Any idea what material you want these stencils cut out of? Bill (MNPCTech) suggested chipboard.