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Intel Core i9-10900K Review- Why It is Too Little, Too Late for Intel

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Intel Core i9-10900K Review

Are you looking for the best gaming CPU out there? Then the Intel Core i9-10900K is definitely the one to get.

Intel is still the king when it comes to creating processors that are intended for gaming, though its latest CPU does more things than that.

Read our Intel Core i9-10900K review to find out more.

What is It?

The Intel Core i9-10900K is Intel’s latest flagship desktop processor that is the successor to the Intel Core i9-9900K released in 2018.

It is a 10-core, 20-thread processor that comes with Turbo Boost 2.0 and a new Thermal Velocity Boost feature that boosts a single core up to 5.3GHz.

The processor is slated to become the best gaming CPU on the market, but how does it fare to its main rival, the AMD Ryzen R9 3900?

What is MCE?

Intel’s newest processor also comes with a new feature known as the MCE or the Multi-Core Enhancement. This is basically the company’s own sanctioned overclocking feature that can be toggled on or off on the motherboard’s BIOS.

What this essentially does is that it enables the processor’s turbo-boosting functionality, allowing the CPU to run at its rated boost speeds at all times. Of course, this comes at the cost of increased power draw, as well as increased thermal output, so you need to have a beefier cooler if you want to enable this feature.

Specifications

  • No. of Cores: 10
  • No. of Threads: 20
  • Lithography: 14nm++
  • Base Frequency: 3.70GHz
  • Max Turbo Frequency (TB and TVB): 5.3GHz (only on the best core)
  • Cache: 20MB Intel Smart Cache
  • TDP: 125W
  • Bus Speed: 8GT/s
  • Max Memory Size Support: 128GB
  • Memory Type: DDR4
  • Maximum Memory Channels: 2
  • Max Memory Bandwidth: 45.8GB/s
  • Integrated Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630

So, what are the differences between the 10900K and its predecessor? Well, the core count is bumped up by 2 and with hyperthreading, that means that the newest processor has a total of 20 threads.

Aside from that, if your CPU’s cooling capacity is competitive, you should be able to enjoy its thermal velocity boost or TVB functionality.

TVB is basically where the processor improves its best core out of the bunch and bumps its speed to 5.3GHz.

Keep in mind that your cooler should be good enough to keep the processor’s temperature running relatively low, otherwise, the feature will not kick in.

That also means that even using a high-end air cooler is out of the picture. To get the best possible performance, you will need to use an all-in-one liquid cooler, preferably a 280mm or 360mm AIO.

Overclocking

Yes, the Intel Core i9-10900K processor is an overclockable CPU, though keep in mind that you will definitely need an adequate cooler for this.

Overclocking is where you will increase the CPU multiplier, as well as the voltage, to run the processor higher than its advertised clock speed.

Because of how these chips are created, the binning process might give people better overclockable processors than others (that is why it is called the silicon lottery).

What that means is that the overclocking capability of the processor might be slightly different than other chips. For example, if one is able to overclock the CPU to 5.4GHz at 1.4 volts, you might not be able to reach that on your own chip even if you feed the same voltage to it.

If you want to try overclocking, you have to read up on resources on how to do it safely. To give you an idea, since the Intel Core i9-10900K is still a processor using the Skylake architecture, you should start using 1.3v as a base voltage and go up from there.

The idea of overclocking is that you want to bump up the clock speed in small increments and adding a bit of voltage until everything is stable (using stability tests to verify).

Since you will effectively be raising the voltage, it is important to note that overclocking does increase thermal output and that is why it is imperative that you only do this if your CPU’s cooling system is more than adequate.

Chipset

Intel Core i9-10900K Specs

The Intel Core i9-10900K uses the new LGA-1200 socket which means that you are forced to buy a new Z490 motherboard.

At the time of writing, there is no news regarding cheaper motherboards out there that support the new Comet Lake S processors which means that you will have to spend more or less $200 for a cheap LGA-1200 motherboard.

That is also the reason why people do not like Intel because, in every new CPU, they are forced to buy another motherboard mainly because the previous-generation ones are rendered obsolete.

Aside from the chipset, the Z490 motherboards will come with the MCE feature mentioned above. 

People that want to grasp an overclocked processor but do not want to tinker with the settings themselves can just toggle the feature on or off to unlock the CPU’s full performance.

Aside from that, the chipset also now supports 2.5GHz internet connectivity, though the motherboard must come with the said feature (and, only expensive motherboards have them).

Performance

Intel still holds the crown when it comes to gaming performance as it is 18% faster than the AMD Ryzen 3900X CPU.

Why Intel is better than AMD when it comes to that is thanks to the former’s focus on better single-core performance.

Evidently so, the 10900K fared better in Cinebench R20’s single-core performance benchmark, though it is trampled upon by Ryzen 3900X superior multi-core performance.

If you intend to buy this processor solely for gaming, there is no doubt that the Intel Core i9-10900K is an obviously good choice.

Since most games rarely utilize more than 4 cores, you are still going to get more than adequate performance across the board.

However, keep in mind that that is the only strongest suit of the processor as AMD CPUs completely obliterate the said processor in multi-core and multi-threaded workloads.

For instance, firing up a game such as Metro Exodus makes the 10900K the king. But, when you play a CPU-intensive game such as Assassin’s Creed  Odyssey, its subpar multi-core performance definitely shows.

Power Consumption and Heat

Intel Core i9-10900K Heat and Power Consumption

Because the processor is still using the 14nm process node, the Intel Core i9-10900K runs hotter than its main competition (that uses 7nm nodes).

Despite the fact that it is using a much bigger node than its competitor, the Intel Core i9-10900K is still surprisingly cool nevertheless.

If you run the processor completely at stock, its power consumption is 205 watts at full load. However, when overclocking, it could potentially go as high as 300+ watts and that is concerning from a pure power consumption standpoint.

However, even though the product is power-hungry, the CPU still runs relatively cool and that is thanks to how the heat spreader is laid out.

You see, Intel employs what the company calls ‘STIM’ or Solder Thermal Interface Material. What this basically means is that Intel has managed to make the die thinner to incorporate more physical cores into the processor.

They’ve also managed to use copper instead of silicon. The former is touted to be better in heat transfer than the latter, so more copper is used as a means of keeping the processor cool.

In most of the games I’ve tested, the processor managed to run only at 70-75C at a room temperature of 24C.

When overclocked, the CPU is still somewhat cool at 86C at full load, though power consumption ramped up to 336W. Keep in mind that it was the maximum recorded power draw but the average remains relatively constant at 280-300 watts.

Now, you also have to take note that I did use a 360mm AIO which means that it is a beefy cooler that can tame even the hottest CPUs on the market.

While my processor is not as toasty as was perceived before the release of this CPU, it is worth remembering that you will need a competent cooler (an AIO or a custom cooling kit is recommended; high-end air coolers and lower need not apply).

The Z490 Platform

Z490 Motherboards

As mentioned earlier, the processor will require a new motherboard and that is because the CPU uses a different socket. That is why you will need a Z490 motherboard if you want to run an Intel Core i9-10900K CPU.

Now, what makes the Z490 platform different? Well, it is nearly identical to its predecessor with some welcome additions.

First is its support for 2.5GB Ethernet connectivity. As the world is now going towards faster internet connections, it would be nice for a motherboard to support the fastest one available to date.

The newest motherboards also come with Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology support for both RAID and PCIe configurations. Plus, you can also use the company’s Extreme Tuning utility as well.

Other than that, the Z490 is a minor update in terms of features, though it is also the first LGA12xx motherboard that is released on the market.

Despite its new socket, all 115x coolers are still supported, so if you happen to have one on your old rig, you will be happy to know that it will still work on the newest platform.

Intel Z490 Chipset Block Diagram

Price and Availability

Intel’s newest flagship desktop processor costs $488 SRP. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic, supplies are going to be scarce which means that prices can go higher than its suggested retail price.

You also have to factor in a new motherboard since the CPU will require one. The cheapest Z490 motherboard that you can find costs a little under $200 so if you factor the total cost, you will spend more than $700 on the mobo and the CPU package.

The new processors from the company should be available on the market, though keep in mind that the supply might not be able to meet the demand.

Verdict

If you want the best possible PC gaming experience, you will not only need a gaming keyboard, monitor, and mouse, but you will also need a really good CPU as well.

To tell you the truth, the newest flagship desktop processor from Intel is somewhat disappointing. Sure, it has the best possible single-core performance and it is definitely great for gaming, but for all other tasks, it is middling at best.

Its main competitor, the Ryzen 9 3900X, is priced below $410 and the motherboards that support it have also had their prices cut considerably. That is definitely quite tempting to get, seeing that AMD’s processors are great for multi-core workloads.

With Intel’s lack of innovation as it is still using a 14nm process node and the fact its performance is middling in all other things, you could say that the Intel Core i9-10900K is too little, too late.

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Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router Review- The Gaming Router to Get in 2020

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Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Review

The gaming industry is one of the most popular niches now in that there are tons of products that you can buy that are great for gaming purposes.

The Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router is touted as a ‘gaming’ router, but does it have what it takes to help eliminate lag and provide a better overall experience than the other routers that you can find on the market?

Design

Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Review 2020

When you look at the Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router, you will probably think of a lost starship from the infamous Death Star from Star Wars as its design is quite similar to those ships.

It has two ‘wing’ antennas that actually house a total of four antennas on the inside. This will provide maximum performance and throughput and it also helps increase the router’s range as well.

Because this is a WiFi 6 router, you can enjoy all of the features that the new WiFi technology provides, most especially OFDMA for better reliability in terms of giving internet connectivity to multiple users at any time.

On the top and at the bottom sides of the router, you will find that this thing has plenty of air exhaust vents and they are quite useful, especially considering that this is one of the more power-hungry networking solutions on the market today.

At the back, you will find all of the ports that you need. What’s interesting here is that you will find that two of the four gigabit Ethernet ports can be combined (via the router’s software) for better throughput. This is what you’ll want to use on your gaming PC so that you can virtually eliminate lag while you play.

There are also two USB 3.2 ports so you can plug in your printer and other USB-powered devices, and you will also find a power button, as well as an LED on/off switch as well.

Performance

Netgear Nighthawk AX12

Since this is a ‘gaming’ router, how well does it perform in such scenarios? In my testing, I’ve used World of Warcraft, one of the best MMORPGs out there, and Overwatch as both of these games not only have a built-in latency indicator, but they are also quite challenging in terms of latency in some parts of the day.

Normally, I would get 120ms on World of Warcraft and about 100ms on Overwatch for most of the day using my usual router, but the Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router performs really well as I am able to get 100ms on WoW and a little over 70ms on Overwatch.

It is worth noting that I’ve used the combined port (which should be indicated on the back of the unit) for better performance, though using the other ports yielded only a slight performance penalty of roughly 10-15ms.

Being a WiFi 6 router, it is also important to test its capabilities on this front. So, I’ve connected multiple devices at one time and each of them is connected to Youtube for continuous streaming.

All of them do not have any buffer issues at all and they all got consistent speeds. But, this was done within a 10-meter radius near the router.

So, to test its mettle in terms of how far the WiFi signals can go, I went to the second floor (the router is on the first floor) and I was still able to get about 70% of my network speed (my internet connection is 120mbps, so in this instance, I was able to get roughly 84mbps).

I went a step further and went inside my room (which is also on the second floor), albeit this time, I did it with the door closed. Although the speed dropped a bit, I was still able to get 68-75mbps for the most part which is pretty good overall.

How about the speed of the USB ports in terms of file sharing? The performance is quite impressive as well. This is so much so that I can say that you can use it as a NAS drive because it is that good.

Software

Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Gaming Router

I am surprised that the Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router doesn’t use the DumaOS that can be found in the company’s other ‘Nighthawk’ line of networking equipment, but I am still pleased with the router’s GUI overall.

The menus are outlined neatly and you can get to the specific settings that you want quickly and easily. The GUI is so intuitive that a layperson could easily navigate through the different settings without any problems.

You get your usual options such as the ability to prioritize different applications via QoS, setting up your router’s username and password (to access the GUI and for the SSID), and you can even do some port forwarding for your other applications as well, among many others.

It is interesting to me that there is no option for packet prioritization which can be found in Netgear’s other routers, but this is usually not something that people would touch anyway, so I am okay with that.

Just a reminder: Once you fire up this thing for the first time, it is generally a good idea to update the router’s firmware. This is to ensure that you will get all of the latest improvements, as well as some security patches.

Verdict

The Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router is a pretty good WiFi 6 router. Its performance is quite consistent across the board and you will have no issues when it comes to its WiFi connectivity.

It is one of the most power-hungry routers on the market, though, but the good thing is that it has plenty of air vents to exhaust hot air effectively.

This gaming router costs $400 and although it is quite steep, getting a high-quality product is a worthwhile investment anyway, so I would still recommend this thing for people that want to get a pretty competitive WiFi AX router.

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Intel Core i5-10600K Review- The Best Mainstream Gaming CPU in 2020

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Intel Core i5-10600K Review

Ever since the launch of the Ryzen 3000 CPUs, more and more people are recommending the R5 3600 for people that want to build a budget gaming PC. It is pretty sad that Intel chips are not getting recognition, but that is going to change with the release of the Intel Core i5-10600K.

Today, I am going to review the said chip. Find out why I think it is the best mainstream gaming CPU in 2020 by reading the rest of the article.

Comet Lake Architecture

Intel Core i5-10600K Review 2020

The 10th generation Intel Processors is part of the ‘Comet Lake’ family that uses a much-improved architecture than Skylake (where it’s derived from).

While the i9-10900K is definitely a beast of a chip, the Intel Core i5-10600K is surely something that most people are going to want to look at.

Competition is very important, especially to us consumers. When AMD released their Ryzen line of processors, Intel had to respond in kind to stay in the game. 

Back then, you normally wouldn’t find i5 chips to have hyperthreading, which is essentially the same as the SMT or simultaneous multi-threading feature that is present in AMD’s CPUs. But now, the 10600K not only has one, but the core frequency is clocked higher as well.

Here is a rundown of the Intel Core i5-10600K’s specs:

  • Cores: 6
  • Threads: 12
  • Lithography: 14nm
  • Base clock: 4.1GHz
  • Peak Turbo (single-core): 4.8GHz
  • Peak Turbo (all-core): 4.5GHz
  • L3 Cache: 12MB
  • TDP: 125W
  • PCIe Lanes: 16

As you can see, thanks to hyperthreading being enabled, you get to have two times more threads than an i5 chip of yesteryears. This means that you get considerably better performance across the board, especially for multi-core/multi-threaded workloads.

But, where the 10600K really shines is through its gaming performance and I will talk about this in the next section.

Performance

Intel Core i5-10600K

When you ask people what CPU you want to compare the 10600K to, it would be the AMD Ryzen R5 3600. That is because they have the same core and thread counts but there is a huge difference when it comes to their clock frequencies.

You see, the R5 3600 has a base frequency of 3.6GHz and a boost (all-core) frequency of only 4.2GHz. The 10600K, on the other hand, has a base frequency of 4.1GHz with an all-core boost of 4.6GHz.

Because Intel has added a new boost algorithm wherein the best core inside the CPU boosts higher than others, you get a clock frequency of 4.8GHz maximum on the said core, giving you even more performance.

Now, how does this translate into the real world? Well, in most multi-core benchmarks, the Intel Core i5-10600K performs so much better than the chip that it is compared to. Seriously, I would recommend this Intel chip for anyone who engages in productivity workloads on the side.

When it comes to gaming performance, there is no question that the 10600K beats the R5 3600 by a lot. That is due to the combination of the architecture, as well as the higher core frequencies of each core of the said chip.

Overclocking

Intel Core i5-10600K Box

What makes Intel chips appealing to the overclocking community than AMD Ryzen processors is the fact that you can eke out even more performance by setting the clock frequency of the cores higher than their rated specs. This is possible if you have a ‘K’ series chip (which the Intel Core i5-10600K is) and a compatible Z490 motherboard as well.

In most cases, people can set the frequency to 4.8GHz all-core with the single-core frequency (the best one) set to 5.1-5.3 GHz depending on the silicon of your particular chip. This provides even better performance across the board which is pretty nice.

I do have to caution you to not overclock the processor until you get one of the best CPU coolers on the market.

Because of the higher core frequency and because of the fact that you add more voltage to the chip just to make it stable, overclocking will result in higher heat production than usual. You will need a very competent cooler to keep things at relatively good temperatures.

Verdict

The Intel Core i5-10600K is way better than its predecessors- both in terms of architecture and performance.

Its rival, the Ryzen 5 3600, doesn’t come close to its performance thanks to the Intel chip’s higher clock frequency and better boost algorithms.

This is not to say that the AMD CPU is bad because there are some cases where it is more warranted than the 10600K.

For instance, if you are really on a tight budget, the Ryzen 5 3600 makes sense because it already comes with a cooler out of the box and its performance is still quite good for the price (currently at $160 compared to the i5-10600K’s $280 price tag).

The money that you can save by getting the Ryzen chip could be budgeted towards a better graphics card or faster storage, so there is still value that can be had when you go this route.

However, if you are okay with spending $280 and if you want a processor that can comfortably last at least 3 years competitively, then the Intel Core i5-10600K is indeed a much better option.

All in all, the Intel Core i5-10600K is definitely what I would consider to be the best mainstream gaming CPU in 2020.

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Razer Blackshark V2 Review- A Comfortable and Great-Sounding Headset for $100

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Razer Blackshark V2 Review

Back then, I never would recommend any of Razer’s gaming headsets because they often sound muddy due to the obvious preference towards the lower frequencies, but the company has changed its stance ever since.

The Razer Blackshark V2 is shaping up to be one of the best gaming headsets that are priced competitively in the market. Should you get one of these or look for something else? Read on to find out.

Design

Razer Blackshark V2 Review 2020

The ‘Blackshark’ line of headsets is nothing new because there is one that was released so many years ago. However, the Razer Blackshark V2 is a pretty polished iteration that I think would warrant the people’s attention.

Its design is quite similar to its predecessor, albeit there is a noticeable volume control dial located on the left ear cup.

Usually, Razer would put leatherette ear cups on its gaming headsets, but the Blackshark V2 actually comes with mesh foam ear cups instead.

In terms of comfort, I would prefer these over leather ear cups any day, but some people would want the feel of the leatherette material. So, to each his own.

The headset itself is quite simple-looking, although the aviation-style aesthetic might not appeal to some. I especially do not like the green wire that is exposed on each ear cup as you could potentially damage it if you are not careful.

Also situated on the left ear cup is the port for the removable boom microphone. I like the fact that you can completely remove it as it will not impede your vision when you are not using it.

Now, I’ve heard of some reports that the clamping force of the Razer Blackshark V2 makes this headset uncomfortable, but I beg to disagree.

If anything, the Razer Blackshark V2 is one of the most comfortable gaming headsets that you can find on the market.

I do have to point out that, being a large person myself, its clamping force is a bit on the stronger side, but it is still relatively comfortable for me to wear even during prolonged gaming sessions.

The Razer Blackshark V2 connects to your game console or PC either via 3.5mm headphone jack or with the use of its included USB soundcard (the latter is only usable on the PC, however).

Audio Performance

Razer Blackshark V2 Gaming Headset

The company has come a really long way when it comes to audio quality. Gone are the days where the soundstage gets muddied by the lower frequencies as everything sounds pretty balanced right from the get-go.

Razer has partnered with THX to provide you with a better surround sound gaming experience and if you use the included USB soundcard, its 7.1 surround sound implementation is so much better than what the company used to offer.

Once you plug this thing in using the said USB connector, its drivers will get installed on your PC and you can use it to your heart’s content.

You can use the Razer Synapse 3 software to tweak the EQ settings or choose from a variety of different presets.

Personally, the default sound quality is already pretty good as it is quite balanced overall. Of course, you could add more kick to the bass by tinkering with the necessary settings, but I find that the default soundstage is already good for most use-cases.

Whether you are playing MMORPGs, fast-paced games like Overwatch and CS:GO, or even just listening to your favorite tunes, I am blown away by the sound quality that the Razer Blackshark V2 provides.

It is worth noting, however, that because of the mesh foam material of the ear cups that you will experience some sound leakage as a result. This is important to keep in mind, especially if you want to play games as you do not want to disturb the people around you.

Microphone

Razer Blackshark V2 Gaming Headset Microphone

While I am impressed by the audio quality of the Razer Blackshark V2, I am disappointed with the boom microphone.

It just doesn’t sound well. My voice is tinny, it is not full-bodied, and for the most part, the volume could definitely be improved.

Even when using the USB soundcard, nothing changes for the betterment of the said gaming headset. You should be using its 3.5mm connector instead as I find it to be considerably better.

Because it is a cardioid microphone, it should be able to get your voice really nicely, right? Well, that is talking from a theoretical standpoint, but in reality, it can still pick up unwanted background noise so I am really disappointed with the microphone of the Blackshark V2.

Verdict

So, what do I think about the Razer Blackshark V2? If we are talking purely from an audio standpoint, the Razer Blackshark V2 is one of the best out there. This is especially true if you are going to use the included USB soundcard and wire this to your PC.

However, I am really disappointed with the microphone quality. The output is not full-bodied at all and you are better off using a third-party standalone microphone instead.

Do I recommend the Razer Blackshark V2? Well, as I’ve said, if you are okay with its mediocre microphone quality, then this product is definitely one of the best out there. However, if you are looking for a complete package, you are better off finding something else.

The Razer Blackshark V2 costs $100.

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Intel Core i9-10900K Review- Why It is Too Little, Too Late for Intel

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Intel Core i9-10900K Review

Are you looking for the best gaming CPU out there? Then the Intel Core i9-10900K is definitely the one to get.

Intel is still the king when it comes to creating processors that are intended for gaming, though its latest CPU does more things than that.

Read our Intel Core i9-10900K review to find out more.

What is It?

The Intel Core i9-10900K is Intel’s latest flagship desktop processor that is the successor to the Intel Core i9-9900K released in 2018.

It is a 10-core, 20-thread processor that comes with Turbo Boost 2.0 and a new Thermal Velocity Boost feature that boosts a single core up to 5.3GHz.

The processor is slated to become the best gaming CPU on the market, but how does it fare to its main rival, the AMD Ryzen R9 3900?

What is MCE?

Intel’s newest processor also comes with a new feature known as the MCE or the Multi-Core Enhancement. This is basically the company’s own sanctioned overclocking feature that can be toggled on or off on the motherboard’s BIOS.

What this essentially does is that it enables the processor’s turbo-boosting functionality, allowing the CPU to run at its rated boost speeds at all times. Of course, this comes at the cost of increased power draw, as well as increased thermal output, so you need to have a beefier cooler if you want to enable this feature.

Specifications

  • No. of Cores: 10
  • No. of Threads: 20
  • Lithography: 14nm++
  • Base Frequency: 3.70GHz
  • Max Turbo Frequency (TB and TVB): 5.3GHz (only on the best core)
  • Cache: 20MB Intel Smart Cache
  • TDP: 125W
  • Bus Speed: 8GT/s
  • Max Memory Size Support: 128GB
  • Memory Type: DDR4
  • Maximum Memory Channels: 2
  • Max Memory Bandwidth: 45.8GB/s
  • Integrated Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630

So, what are the differences between the 10900K and its predecessor? Well, the core count is bumped up by 2 and with hyperthreading, that means that the newest processor has a total of 20 threads.

Aside from that, if your CPU’s cooling capacity is competitive, you should be able to enjoy its thermal velocity boost or TVB functionality.

TVB is basically where the processor improves its best core out of the bunch and bumps its speed to 5.3GHz.

Keep in mind that your cooler should be good enough to keep the processor’s temperature running relatively low, otherwise, the feature will not kick in.

That also means that even using a high-end air cooler is out of the picture. To get the best possible performance, you will need to use an all-in-one liquid cooler, preferably a 280mm or 360mm AIO.

Overclocking

Yes, the Intel Core i9-10900K processor is an overclockable CPU, though keep in mind that you will definitely need an adequate cooler for this.

Overclocking is where you will increase the CPU multiplier, as well as the voltage, to run the processor higher than its advertised clock speed.

Because of how these chips are created, the binning process might give people better overclockable processors than others (that is why it is called the silicon lottery).

What that means is that the overclocking capability of the processor might be slightly different than other chips. For example, if one is able to overclock the CPU to 5.4GHz at 1.4 volts, you might not be able to reach that on your own chip even if you feed the same voltage to it.

If you want to try overclocking, you have to read up on resources on how to do it safely. To give you an idea, since the Intel Core i9-10900K is still a processor using the Skylake architecture, you should start using 1.3v as a base voltage and go up from there.

The idea of overclocking is that you want to bump up the clock speed in small increments and adding a bit of voltage until everything is stable (using stability tests to verify).

Since you will effectively be raising the voltage, it is important to note that overclocking does increase thermal output and that is why it is imperative that you only do this if your CPU’s cooling system is more than adequate.

Chipset

Intel Core i9-10900K Specs

The Intel Core i9-10900K uses the new LGA-1200 socket which means that you are forced to buy a new Z490 motherboard.

At the time of writing, there is no news regarding cheaper motherboards out there that support the new Comet Lake S processors which means that you will have to spend more or less $200 for a cheap LGA-1200 motherboard.

That is also the reason why people do not like Intel because, in every new CPU, they are forced to buy another motherboard mainly because the previous-generation ones are rendered obsolete.

Aside from the chipset, the Z490 motherboards will come with the MCE feature mentioned above. 

People that want to grasp an overclocked processor but do not want to tinker with the settings themselves can just toggle the feature on or off to unlock the CPU’s full performance.

Aside from that, the chipset also now supports 2.5GHz internet connectivity, though the motherboard must come with the said feature (and, only expensive motherboards have them).

Performance

Intel still holds the crown when it comes to gaming performance as it is 18% faster than the AMD Ryzen 3900X CPU.

Why Intel is better than AMD when it comes to that is thanks to the former’s focus on better single-core performance.

Evidently so, the 10900K fared better in Cinebench R20’s single-core performance benchmark, though it is trampled upon by Ryzen 3900X superior multi-core performance.

If you intend to buy this processor solely for gaming, there is no doubt that the Intel Core i9-10900K is an obviously good choice.

Since most games rarely utilize more than 4 cores, you are still going to get more than adequate performance across the board.

However, keep in mind that that is the only strongest suit of the processor as AMD CPUs completely obliterate the said processor in multi-core and multi-threaded workloads.

For instance, firing up a game such as Metro Exodus makes the 10900K the king. But, when you play a CPU-intensive game such as Assassin’s Creed  Odyssey, its subpar multi-core performance definitely shows.

Power Consumption and Heat

Intel Core i9-10900K Heat and Power Consumption

Because the processor is still using the 14nm process node, the Intel Core i9-10900K runs hotter than its main competition (that uses 7nm nodes).

Despite the fact that it is using a much bigger node than its competitor, the Intel Core i9-10900K is still surprisingly cool nevertheless.

If you run the processor completely at stock, its power consumption is 205 watts at full load. However, when overclocking, it could potentially go as high as 300+ watts and that is concerning from a pure power consumption standpoint.

However, even though the product is power-hungry, the CPU still runs relatively cool and that is thanks to how the heat spreader is laid out.

You see, Intel employs what the company calls ‘STIM’ or Solder Thermal Interface Material. What this basically means is that Intel has managed to make the die thinner to incorporate more physical cores into the processor.

They’ve also managed to use copper instead of silicon. The former is touted to be better in heat transfer than the latter, so more copper is used as a means of keeping the processor cool.

In most of the games I’ve tested, the processor managed to run only at 70-75C at a room temperature of 24C.

When overclocked, the CPU is still somewhat cool at 86C at full load, though power consumption ramped up to 336W. Keep in mind that it was the maximum recorded power draw but the average remains relatively constant at 280-300 watts.

Now, you also have to take note that I did use a 360mm AIO which means that it is a beefy cooler that can tame even the hottest CPUs on the market.

While my processor is not as toasty as was perceived before the release of this CPU, it is worth remembering that you will need a competent cooler (an AIO or a custom cooling kit is recommended; high-end air coolers and lower need not apply).

The Z490 Platform

Z490 Motherboards

As mentioned earlier, the processor will require a new motherboard and that is because the CPU uses a different socket. That is why you will need a Z490 motherboard if you want to run an Intel Core i9-10900K CPU.

Now, what makes the Z490 platform different? Well, it is nearly identical to its predecessor with some welcome additions.

First is its support for 2.5GB Ethernet connectivity. As the world is now going towards faster internet connections, it would be nice for a motherboard to support the fastest one available to date.

The newest motherboards also come with Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology support for both RAID and PCIe configurations. Plus, you can also use the company’s Extreme Tuning utility as well.

Other than that, the Z490 is a minor update in terms of features, though it is also the first LGA12xx motherboard that is released on the market.

Despite its new socket, all 115x coolers are still supported, so if you happen to have one on your old rig, you will be happy to know that it will still work on the newest platform.

Intel Z490 Chipset Block Diagram

Price and Availability

Intel’s newest flagship desktop processor costs $488 SRP. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic, supplies are going to be scarce which means that prices can go higher than its suggested retail price.

You also have to factor in a new motherboard since the CPU will require one. The cheapest Z490 motherboard that you can find costs a little under $200 so if you factor the total cost, you will spend more than $700 on the mobo and the CPU package.

The new processors from the company should be available on the market, though keep in mind that the supply might not be able to meet the demand.

Verdict

If you want the best possible PC gaming experience, you will not only need a gaming keyboard, monitor, and mouse, but you will also need a really good CPU as well.

To tell you the truth, the newest flagship desktop processor from Intel is somewhat disappointing. Sure, it has the best possible single-core performance and it is definitely great for gaming, but for all other tasks, it is middling at best.

Its main competitor, the Ryzen 9 3900X, is priced below $410 and the motherboards that support it have also had their prices cut considerably. That is definitely quite tempting to get, seeing that AMD’s processors are great for multi-core workloads.

With Intel’s lack of innovation as it is still using a 14nm process node and the fact its performance is middling in all other things, you could say that the Intel Core i9-10900K is too little, too late.

Gaming

Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router Review- The Gaming Router to Get in 2020

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Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Review

The gaming industry is one of the most popular niches now in that there are tons of products that you can buy that are great for gaming purposes.

The Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router is touted as a ‘gaming’ router, but does it have what it takes to help eliminate lag and provide a better overall experience than the other routers that you can find on the market?

Design

Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Review 2020

When you look at the Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router, you will probably think of a lost starship from the infamous Death Star from Star Wars as its design is quite similar to those ships.

It has two ‘wing’ antennas that actually house a total of four antennas on the inside. This will provide maximum performance and throughput and it also helps increase the router’s range as well.

Because this is a WiFi 6 router, you can enjoy all of the features that the new WiFi technology provides, most especially OFDMA for better reliability in terms of giving internet connectivity to multiple users at any time.

On the top and at the bottom sides of the router, you will find that this thing has plenty of air exhaust vents and they are quite useful, especially considering that this is one of the more power-hungry networking solutions on the market today.

At the back, you will find all of the ports that you need. What’s interesting here is that you will find that two of the four gigabit Ethernet ports can be combined (via the router’s software) for better throughput. This is what you’ll want to use on your gaming PC so that you can virtually eliminate lag while you play.

There are also two USB 3.2 ports so you can plug in your printer and other USB-powered devices, and you will also find a power button, as well as an LED on/off switch as well.

Performance

Netgear Nighthawk AX12

Since this is a ‘gaming’ router, how well does it perform in such scenarios? In my testing, I’ve used World of Warcraft, one of the best MMORPGs out there, and Overwatch as both of these games not only have a built-in latency indicator, but they are also quite challenging in terms of latency in some parts of the day.

Normally, I would get 120ms on World of Warcraft and about 100ms on Overwatch for most of the day using my usual router, but the Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router performs really well as I am able to get 100ms on WoW and a little over 70ms on Overwatch.

It is worth noting that I’ve used the combined port (which should be indicated on the back of the unit) for better performance, though using the other ports yielded only a slight performance penalty of roughly 10-15ms.

Being a WiFi 6 router, it is also important to test its capabilities on this front. So, I’ve connected multiple devices at one time and each of them is connected to Youtube for continuous streaming.

All of them do not have any buffer issues at all and they all got consistent speeds. But, this was done within a 10-meter radius near the router.

So, to test its mettle in terms of how far the WiFi signals can go, I went to the second floor (the router is on the first floor) and I was still able to get about 70% of my network speed (my internet connection is 120mbps, so in this instance, I was able to get roughly 84mbps).

I went a step further and went inside my room (which is also on the second floor), albeit this time, I did it with the door closed. Although the speed dropped a bit, I was still able to get 68-75mbps for the most part which is pretty good overall.

How about the speed of the USB ports in terms of file sharing? The performance is quite impressive as well. This is so much so that I can say that you can use it as a NAS drive because it is that good.

Software

Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Gaming Router

I am surprised that the Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router doesn’t use the DumaOS that can be found in the company’s other ‘Nighthawk’ line of networking equipment, but I am still pleased with the router’s GUI overall.

The menus are outlined neatly and you can get to the specific settings that you want quickly and easily. The GUI is so intuitive that a layperson could easily navigate through the different settings without any problems.

You get your usual options such as the ability to prioritize different applications via QoS, setting up your router’s username and password (to access the GUI and for the SSID), and you can even do some port forwarding for your other applications as well, among many others.

It is interesting to me that there is no option for packet prioritization which can be found in Netgear’s other routers, but this is usually not something that people would touch anyway, so I am okay with that.

Just a reminder: Once you fire up this thing for the first time, it is generally a good idea to update the router’s firmware. This is to ensure that you will get all of the latest improvements, as well as some security patches.

Verdict

The Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Wireless Router is a pretty good WiFi 6 router. Its performance is quite consistent across the board and you will have no issues when it comes to its WiFi connectivity.

It is one of the most power-hungry routers on the market, though, but the good thing is that it has plenty of air vents to exhaust hot air effectively.

This gaming router costs $400 and although it is quite steep, getting a high-quality product is a worthwhile investment anyway, so I would still recommend this thing for people that want to get a pretty competitive WiFi AX router.

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Intel Core i5-10600K Review- The Best Mainstream Gaming CPU in 2020

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Intel Core i5-10600K Review

Ever since the launch of the Ryzen 3000 CPUs, more and more people are recommending the R5 3600 for people that want to build a budget gaming PC. It is pretty sad that Intel chips are not getting recognition, but that is going to change with the release of the Intel Core i5-10600K.

Today, I am going to review the said chip. Find out why I think it is the best mainstream gaming CPU in 2020 by reading the rest of the article.

Comet Lake Architecture

Intel Core i5-10600K Review 2020

The 10th generation Intel Processors is part of the ‘Comet Lake’ family that uses a much-improved architecture than Skylake (where it’s derived from).

While the i9-10900K is definitely a beast of a chip, the Intel Core i5-10600K is surely something that most people are going to want to look at.

Competition is very important, especially to us consumers. When AMD released their Ryzen line of processors, Intel had to respond in kind to stay in the game. 

Back then, you normally wouldn’t find i5 chips to have hyperthreading, which is essentially the same as the SMT or simultaneous multi-threading feature that is present in AMD’s CPUs. But now, the 10600K not only has one, but the core frequency is clocked higher as well.

Here is a rundown of the Intel Core i5-10600K’s specs:

  • Cores: 6
  • Threads: 12
  • Lithography: 14nm
  • Base clock: 4.1GHz
  • Peak Turbo (single-core): 4.8GHz
  • Peak Turbo (all-core): 4.5GHz
  • L3 Cache: 12MB
  • TDP: 125W
  • PCIe Lanes: 16

As you can see, thanks to hyperthreading being enabled, you get to have two times more threads than an i5 chip of yesteryears. This means that you get considerably better performance across the board, especially for multi-core/multi-threaded workloads.

But, where the 10600K really shines is through its gaming performance and I will talk about this in the next section.

Performance

Intel Core i5-10600K

When you ask people what CPU you want to compare the 10600K to, it would be the AMD Ryzen R5 3600. That is because they have the same core and thread counts but there is a huge difference when it comes to their clock frequencies.

You see, the R5 3600 has a base frequency of 3.6GHz and a boost (all-core) frequency of only 4.2GHz. The 10600K, on the other hand, has a base frequency of 4.1GHz with an all-core boost of 4.6GHz.

Because Intel has added a new boost algorithm wherein the best core inside the CPU boosts higher than others, you get a clock frequency of 4.8GHz maximum on the said core, giving you even more performance.

Now, how does this translate into the real world? Well, in most multi-core benchmarks, the Intel Core i5-10600K performs so much better than the chip that it is compared to. Seriously, I would recommend this Intel chip for anyone who engages in productivity workloads on the side.

When it comes to gaming performance, there is no question that the 10600K beats the R5 3600 by a lot. That is due to the combination of the architecture, as well as the higher core frequencies of each core of the said chip.

Overclocking

Intel Core i5-10600K Box

What makes Intel chips appealing to the overclocking community than AMD Ryzen processors is the fact that you can eke out even more performance by setting the clock frequency of the cores higher than their rated specs. This is possible if you have a ‘K’ series chip (which the Intel Core i5-10600K is) and a compatible Z490 motherboard as well.

In most cases, people can set the frequency to 4.8GHz all-core with the single-core frequency (the best one) set to 5.1-5.3 GHz depending on the silicon of your particular chip. This provides even better performance across the board which is pretty nice.

I do have to caution you to not overclock the processor until you get one of the best CPU coolers on the market.

Because of the higher core frequency and because of the fact that you add more voltage to the chip just to make it stable, overclocking will result in higher heat production than usual. You will need a very competent cooler to keep things at relatively good temperatures.

Verdict

The Intel Core i5-10600K is way better than its predecessors- both in terms of architecture and performance.

Its rival, the Ryzen 5 3600, doesn’t come close to its performance thanks to the Intel chip’s higher clock frequency and better boost algorithms.

This is not to say that the AMD CPU is bad because there are some cases where it is more warranted than the 10600K.

For instance, if you are really on a tight budget, the Ryzen 5 3600 makes sense because it already comes with a cooler out of the box and its performance is still quite good for the price (currently at $160 compared to the i5-10600K’s $280 price tag).

The money that you can save by getting the Ryzen chip could be budgeted towards a better graphics card or faster storage, so there is still value that can be had when you go this route.

However, if you are okay with spending $280 and if you want a processor that can comfortably last at least 3 years competitively, then the Intel Core i5-10600K is indeed a much better option.

All in all, the Intel Core i5-10600K is definitely what I would consider to be the best mainstream gaming CPU in 2020.

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Razer Blackshark V2 Review- A Comfortable and Great-Sounding Headset for $100

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Razer Blackshark V2 Review

Back then, I never would recommend any of Razer’s gaming headsets because they often sound muddy due to the obvious preference towards the lower frequencies, but the company has changed its stance ever since.

The Razer Blackshark V2 is shaping up to be one of the best gaming headsets that are priced competitively in the market. Should you get one of these or look for something else? Read on to find out.

Design

Razer Blackshark V2 Review 2020

The ‘Blackshark’ line of headsets is nothing new because there is one that was released so many years ago. However, the Razer Blackshark V2 is a pretty polished iteration that I think would warrant the people’s attention.

Its design is quite similar to its predecessor, albeit there is a noticeable volume control dial located on the left ear cup.

Usually, Razer would put leatherette ear cups on its gaming headsets, but the Blackshark V2 actually comes with mesh foam ear cups instead.

In terms of comfort, I would prefer these over leather ear cups any day, but some people would want the feel of the leatherette material. So, to each his own.

The headset itself is quite simple-looking, although the aviation-style aesthetic might not appeal to some. I especially do not like the green wire that is exposed on each ear cup as you could potentially damage it if you are not careful.

Also situated on the left ear cup is the port for the removable boom microphone. I like the fact that you can completely remove it as it will not impede your vision when you are not using it.

Now, I’ve heard of some reports that the clamping force of the Razer Blackshark V2 makes this headset uncomfortable, but I beg to disagree.

If anything, the Razer Blackshark V2 is one of the most comfortable gaming headsets that you can find on the market.

I do have to point out that, being a large person myself, its clamping force is a bit on the stronger side, but it is still relatively comfortable for me to wear even during prolonged gaming sessions.

The Razer Blackshark V2 connects to your game console or PC either via 3.5mm headphone jack or with the use of its included USB soundcard (the latter is only usable on the PC, however).

Audio Performance

Razer Blackshark V2 Gaming Headset

The company has come a really long way when it comes to audio quality. Gone are the days where the soundstage gets muddied by the lower frequencies as everything sounds pretty balanced right from the get-go.

Razer has partnered with THX to provide you with a better surround sound gaming experience and if you use the included USB soundcard, its 7.1 surround sound implementation is so much better than what the company used to offer.

Once you plug this thing in using the said USB connector, its drivers will get installed on your PC and you can use it to your heart’s content.

You can use the Razer Synapse 3 software to tweak the EQ settings or choose from a variety of different presets.

Personally, the default sound quality is already pretty good as it is quite balanced overall. Of course, you could add more kick to the bass by tinkering with the necessary settings, but I find that the default soundstage is already good for most use-cases.

Whether you are playing MMORPGs, fast-paced games like Overwatch and CS:GO, or even just listening to your favorite tunes, I am blown away by the sound quality that the Razer Blackshark V2 provides.

It is worth noting, however, that because of the mesh foam material of the ear cups that you will experience some sound leakage as a result. This is important to keep in mind, especially if you want to play games as you do not want to disturb the people around you.

Microphone

Razer Blackshark V2 Gaming Headset Microphone

While I am impressed by the audio quality of the Razer Blackshark V2, I am disappointed with the boom microphone.

It just doesn’t sound well. My voice is tinny, it is not full-bodied, and for the most part, the volume could definitely be improved.

Even when using the USB soundcard, nothing changes for the betterment of the said gaming headset. You should be using its 3.5mm connector instead as I find it to be considerably better.

Because it is a cardioid microphone, it should be able to get your voice really nicely, right? Well, that is talking from a theoretical standpoint, but in reality, it can still pick up unwanted background noise so I am really disappointed with the microphone of the Blackshark V2.

Verdict

So, what do I think about the Razer Blackshark V2? If we are talking purely from an audio standpoint, the Razer Blackshark V2 is one of the best out there. This is especially true if you are going to use the included USB soundcard and wire this to your PC.

However, I am really disappointed with the microphone quality. The output is not full-bodied at all and you are better off using a third-party standalone microphone instead.

Do I recommend the Razer Blackshark V2? Well, as I’ve said, if you are okay with its mediocre microphone quality, then this product is definitely one of the best out there. However, if you are looking for a complete package, you are better off finding something else.

The Razer Blackshark V2 costs $100.

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