Gen 12 Intel i9-12900KS vs 11th Gen i9-11900K Hardware with a 3090 RTX, plus a Nvidia Geforce 4090 RTX, Nvidia 3050 + 980 GTX

 Got a 12th Gen Intel to go with my prior / other setup with a Gundam board and 11th Gen Intel.

Original post on the forums is here. Formatting likely better there as that is where this post was built from, then added for WordPress front page.

This post is the aggregation and conclusion of about a year of triage on my personal hardware with full details in the linked thread. Jump to the lead, if you have reboots with a high performance graphics card and modern Graphics Card, you may need higher than a 750 Watt Power Supply as was my case. I figured that out on August 4th 2023. So like, a year later.

Fixed this with a new Power Supply.  If you get reboots, make sure you have enough power.  I had a 750 W that worked for the 11th Gen but was reboot life on the 12th Gen.

I’m on a 4090 RTX in my 12th Gen with a 1500 W now.  Still also stable. 🙂

11th Gen and 3090 RTX has a 1000 W PSU now. :ninjawub:

​Specs for the 12th Gen Intel build ( as of 2023-09-26 ) :


System:  Micro-Star MS-7D30
CPU: Intel i9-12700KS
Motherboard:  MSI MPG Z690 FORCE WIFI (MS-7D30)  (all builds)
Memory:  109 GB free of 128 GB @ 4 GHz

GPU:  Nvidia 4090 RTX ( 24 GB )
Display:  5120 x 1440 – 32 Bit colors
OS:  Windows 11

Honestly so far, the 12th Gen has been a bit fucky to have good temperatures using Corsair H150i Elete LCD and H115i (dual 140 mm fans and radiator).  I have a 3090 that runs well but hot damn, long graphics card. By that I mean, most depth used in a case and I had to move radiator upward for depth for cases.  Angry 12th Gen Intel.

Original forum thread is here with more details. This is the abridged version over a year.

Edit! 2023-08-04:

Keep in mind I only recently resolved the reboots.  Power supply was too weak!
I had a 750 W PSU trying to run the 12th Gen and a 3090 RTX.  This works for an 11th Gen since that CPU pulls around 250 Watts give or take.  3090 will grab 350 W and a 12th Gen can pull about 350 W as well.

Fun fact as the 212 F was not causing reboots but is more due to poor contact with the default CPU Clip.  As I mention later in this thread, I added a 12th and 13th Gen CPU socket block to assist in an even mount.  Be cautious of over-clamping to not spread thermal compound out from between cooler and GPU, even with CPU support block installed.

Original post continues below:

Corsair Crystal Series 680X is my primary case for the 12th Gen.  I still have some airflow tweaks but main goals are re-gooping thermal paste.  For a nice thermal cap test, run benchmark.  I also learned Cyberpunk 2077 also has a benchmark now.  It’s in the settings in-game.

Typing this wave of post on the 11th Gen before I redo thermal compound again.  I saw the GPU price drops and things, went a little ham and got a 3090 RTX for $1350 instead of the $2000+ it debuted at in May of 2022.

The liquid smooth FFXIV Benchmarks are maddening.  Baby watches them with me as well.

Speaking on this GPU, check these dimensions. 318.5 x 140.1 x 57.78 mm 12.53 x 5.51 x 2.27 inches

Haha yeah, 330 mm is the max for the Corsair 680X case.  4000x says 360 mm GPU but I would think front radiators would be tight.  I moved mine to the top in the 680X case.

Off to operation.  Here are some UserBenchmark results from the 11th Gen Intel with a 3050 RTX in here.


UserBenchmarks: Game 85%, Desk 111%, Work 86%
CPU: Intel Core i9-11900K – 106%
GPU: Nvidia RTX 3050 – 74.7%
SSD: Samsung 980 Pro NVMe PCIe M.2 1TB – 453.7%
SSD: Samsung Portable SSD T5 500GB – 89.6%
RAM: Corsair CMH32GX4M2D3600C18 4x16GB – 109.3%

Peak Core i9 11900K Temperatures for package and Cores max was 155 F. / 68 C.

Collecting these from HWMonitor.

CPU Powers Package Max 195 W

Powers IA Cores Max 181 W 

Editing in to share below benchmarks with 3090 in the 11th Gen Intel setup.

Current run 9/19/2022:


UserBenchmarks: Game 252%, Desk 109%, Work 255%
CPU: Intel Core i9-11900K – 106.4%
GPU: Nvidia RTX 3090 – 243.6%
SSD: Samsung 980 Pro NVMe PCIe M.2 1TB – 450.3%
RAM: Corsair CMH32GX4M2D3600C18 4x16GB – 108.7%

Jumping ahead to once I got the Power Supply sorted in 2023-08:

 I got my thermals performing better but still see some 212 F / 100 C peak temperatures.  However, zero reboots. Been stable since last cooling work on 2023-08-07 (August).

Typical desktop / general use temperatures or light loads while web browsing temperatures on the 12th Gen Intel are 125 F / 51 C to 165 F / 74 C.

Installing the CPU Support block gave immensely better contact with the thermal block to CPU. My thermal applications were even, instead of like a third of the block not making good contact with processor as seen when I would check the spread on the block from prior install. Get one of those for sure if you see similar poor cooling. I was seeing huge spikes to 185 F / 85 C when under Idle and lower web browsing, before I replaced the stock CPU clip. Keep in mind for my use case, this was on 2 different Intel Z690 motherboards. (Asus and MSI)

If your GPU isn’t large, the 12th Gen reboot power supply issues are unlikely. When I put a 3050 GTX in my 12th Gen, it stopped rebooting. That is when I learned the power supply was root cause for instability. The cooling being higher with the higher Watt CPU is consistent on Corsair and Asus AiO kits as I tested that out on both and they performed right about equally, short of the Asus AiO being easier to make better CPU contact, before I added the mounting block.

Welcome to end of my mega thread triaging my main desktop. What a ride. 

When I got the bigger power supply in August ( 1500 W upgrade from a 750 W ), I also grabbed an Asus ROG 4090 RTX in the store because I was enamored Micro Center had it in stock.

There is an Evangelion version of the 4090 RTX now but it also costs $2300 last I checked. My $2000 stung enough and I think the Red Asuka card does not look as sick as the Rei Evangelion 3090 RTX. I will keep that one for secondary rig and crunching fun. That cart is too pretty. Granted it launched for $2000 asking price in May 2022 and dropped to $1300 in July 2022 when I picked it up.

Adding some current and final build photos for the 12th Gen Intel desktop too. I had plenty of time working case setups over the last year while tweaking this rig to stable. Also note, the 4090 RTX is even bigger and longer than the 3090 RTX was.

My case is the Corsair 680X RGB Crystal Series case. I actually have 2 since I got this white case and use my other black 680X case for the Intel 4th Gen i5-4690K that is for my Son to play with 😛 He has a 3050 RTX in there I took out of Wifey’s case since she does not game and the Intel GPU gives less hassles for audio out on Linux, as she is a Dev that does not game it up. Don’t get me started on Manjaro and typical Linux to Nvidia support or just like, general audio management and lol pulseaudio.


Hardware Software

Android security overview

I will edit this over time but I wanted to have the thread up to start with.

Overview objectives:
– Stop camera from saving GPS to photos.
  – This is in your Camera App Settings, not System device settings.
– Device Settings:
  – Lock Screen and Security:
    – Set lock mode and passcode to unlock device.
      – Password, PIN, Pattern, Swipe, None.
      – Biometrics. Face, Iris or Fingerprints
        – I do not use or particularly like any of the biometric means for device locking.
        – App Shortcuts: Define what apps can be used while phone is locked (IE Phone calls and Camera)
        – Find my mobile. Anti-theft and traacking options for your phone.
          – Remove controls: Allows phone to be remotely controlled via your Samsung account
          – Google location service.  Allow GLS to give more accurate location info to where your mobile is.
          – Send last location.  Allow your phone to broadcast last location when battery hits a certain level of charge.
        – Encrypt SD Card.  Your files on the SD card will only work with your phone.  If phone is reset to defaults, you will not be able to read the encrypted files anymore and would have to re-format the card.
  – Secure Lock Settings
    – Secured lock time
    – Auto factory reset. After 15 failed passwords (will also erase all your data on phone)
    – Lock network and security. Prevents disabling Wifi and mobile data when your phone is locked, to make someone stealing your phone easier to track by device.
  – Notifcations.  Choose to hide notification messages on lock screen.
      – Define what apps can put notifcations on the lock screen.
      – Hide content of message on lock screen from displaying. (Highly suggested to be on)
      – Notification icons only.  Just show app icon without details, on lock screen.

– Device Settings
  – Location
    – Turn GPS on or Off.  Besides privacy and tracking being less accurate, this can save a large amount of battery life.  Turn this off when not needed for directions.
    – Google Location History.  You can disable this from saving where you have searched and have been.
    – Google Location Sharing.  Can share ‘Real-time location’ with someone of Google.
    You can turn both of these off and GPS maps will still work fine.  The sharing and history are not needed, just GPS being turned on.

– Device Settings:
  – Apps.
    – See installed apps
      – Review and define App-specific system-level Permissions granted to device.
      – Decide if you wish to disable some apps completely or uninstall them.
      – Review battery usage and mobile data use, per app.

– Device Settings:
  – About phone.
    – Shows phone number, model, serial number and IMEI.
    – Software Information.
      – Show Android version
      – Android patch level
      – Various system level information.

Hardware Software

Forensic drive imaging with dd

Raspberry Pi dd imaging guide.

This guide is for sharing a forensic approach to imaging a hard drive or solid state device.  I tend to not see many forensically tooled guides, so this one covers imaging from the perspective, that you need a verifiable image of a drive you will be working with.  I am writing it will full intent to be useful without needing to have a Write-blocker or needing to run and wait for the sha256 signature checks to be run.  In effort to be accessible I will cover the imaging of a Raspberry Pi with Raspbian and getting that running.  If you are familiar with that process, please jump ahead to the Action section.
My logic for using a Raspberry pi is because they are some of the cheapest functional computers one can get.  My logic for imaging the Pi fresh from an ISO, is to be sure no extra data is left over on the Pi from any previous projects you might have been doing in the past.

I want to add a side-note that you can follow the steps under action for almost any Linux distribution on various hardware.  I have done similar on a current era laptop running Tails before.  Your CPU heavy tasks like sha256sum will likely run much faster than on the Pi 2 I used for this guide. USB hard drive performance may also run higher based on your USB drive connectors and laptop, versus a Raspberry Pi 2.  Just for point of reference, I wanted to mention this.

Tools needed:

  • Raspberry Pi
  • SD Card
  • A USB to MicroSD reader (to image your Pi)
  • Power Supply
  • HDMI Display
  • Keyboard and probably a mouse
  • Post-It notes to label your drives
  • A USB powered hub (you want this for use with the external drives)
  • A USB SATA Dock
  • USB Write-blocker to prevent making changes to source drive. (or you can use a second USB dock but cannot count on the full unchanged integrity of the source USB drive.)

As I mentioned the Write-blocker, that will increase your cost quite a bit. Roughly $300 if you are going to use a Cru ComboDock 5.5 that I use.  You are still fully able to follow this guide without one, but minor changes to your source drive may happen while you read data from it (especially if you browse the drive contents and it generates thumbs.db files) and that would cause a problem in the sake of capturing a forensically sound image of that source drive.

With that noted, let’s get the Raspberry Pi ready to go with a fresh install of Raspbian OS.

Download latest Rasbian to your main computer you are reading this from.
Install to sd card with etcher imager ( is the imager I used to write the .iso to MicroSD Card)
Put sd card in your Pi and boot it up.
Bring up a terminal and set pi passwd (default password is: raspberry)
Raspberry Pi Configuration can be found under Preferences on the menu of Raspbian Desktop.  On this first tab of System you can change the bottom options:

  • Disable auto login
  • Boot to CLI

Now that we have the Pi booted and setup, let’s jump into the Actions portion of the imaging.


Hook up source drive (If no write-blocker, use a USB drive bay / or external drive).  Follow the below steps to identify your source drive.
No gparted on Raspbian anymore, so use Parted in the terminal.

sudo parted -l

Typically the first usb drive will be /dev/sda.  Also cross reference the output to make sure it matches to the size of the drive you just hooked up. (500 GB source drive in my case)
You can also  type ls /dev/sd* in a terminal to see what drive is connected.  Now that we know what the source drive is, go ahead and hook up the destination drive you are using to be the clone of your source drive.
In another terminal, type sudo parted -l again.  In my case I now see a /dev/sdb.  This is my second drive I will be using to write the clone of the source drive to. (1000 GB destination drive in my case)

For your sake, this is where I recommend using post-it notes to write a note to put on each disk, stating what one is the source and it’s /dev/path.  Also doing the same for your destination and it’s /dev/path.

Source drive is /dev/sda
Dest drive is /dev/sdb

With that out of the way, we are ready to jump into the long haul of running  a dd command.  This will copy the data from your source drive, block for block to the destination drive.  dd is quite a serious command and can result in data loss if you do it wrong.  Here is where a write-blocker is especially useful to prevent overwriting the drive.  Also this is where the notes on the physical disk are helpful.  Below is the command for the setup we outlined.

dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb bs=16384k status=progress

Let’s break this command down.  I look at the if= being equal to Input file.  That’s our source drive.  of= being Output file.  This is where our destination drive is being overwritten.  bs= is Block Size.  I go with 16384k as it is a block size I have seen around good for imaging.  status=progress is a nice add-on so you can see the results of the dd command.  Otherwise you would be waiting for the progress to output once it is done.
This will take quite some time. 500 GB source to a 1TB destination drive.  Easily took about 8 hours as the finished results state:
27184.1 s, 18.4 MB/s.  Divide that by 60, then again by 60 and I got 7.55 hours to image a 500 GB drive to a 1 TB drive.
Hurry up and wait as you are doing a block for block image, so it even will copy the blank space to the destination drive.

Once done, verify each drive matches (Especially for forensic sake and use of write blocker).
Drive to drive sha will not match, so you want to do it for the partitions specifically.  Once again, be warned that it took around 7 hours on this Pi setup to run sha256sum against each one of these partitions.  Below are the commands I ran to generate the sha256 signature, followed by their matching results.

sha256sum /dev/sda1
sha256sum /dev/sdb1

813dcb6470f62c7c12623a0ef092551965b83e501e70dff4e01e1220cebf0129  /dev/sda1
813dcb6470f62c7c12623a0ef092551965b83e501e70dff4e01e1220cebf0129  /dev/sdb1

Bingo!  Image is a success and the source partition is a match to our cloned partition.  For conversations sake, if you were to run sha256sum against the entire disks, they would not match up.  Keep in mind the destination drive I used is a 1TB disk, so it has more free space than does the source drive.

Here are examples of mismatched checksum, because we compared the entire disks where one was larger than the other.

83b3b53d577d0ae793c947220b4ef3aa3d323e8349e0d3615b77964ec5baeb80  /dev/sda
f24189b6160b9a91bf5037ade4d4ab2f45a9bad9ebe254c0a349688f8987bc10  /dev/sdb

That concludes this guide.  If you have an questions or feedback, reply in this thread or hit me up online.  Thank you for reading and visiting. :)
Original thread

Hardware Software

Pi-Hole config guide

Pi Rasperry Pi-Hole config quide:
Howdy and welcome to another thread.  I have a history of not being a fan of advertisements and do not run those banners on this site.  Besides a security concern, I think advertisement gets really creepy online.
Pi-Hole is an Operating System with dns capabilties and use of adblocking lists.  The added benefit of the request being denied even without plugin-based web browsing, is pretty handy.

Before you install, be sure if you are using a RaspberryPi or whatever device, that your user password is one of your own.  You do not want to go default with your LAN traffic.  If you wanna log a fun time, you can use one of these for short-term logging a little CTF monitoring style.  Logs are configured to purge after a few days on your standard Pi-Hole install. Please be sure to update your OS image with latest patches via said package manager.  In my case I set the primary network connection to a static address.  I have the service connection IP address details to use the actual router as DNS server.  Since all your other network DNS will be set to the fixed IP Address you bound to your Pi-Hole installed device.
SSH is likely disabled.  I like to administer my SSH session by serial to usb in the case of my Raspberry Pi installs.

Follow the install guide and advisory on their site about the bash | pipe install.  Quick comes at a trade off when you do not review the install process part for part.  If you go for the easy install and read the disclaimer, you can run the single line install:

curl -sSL | bash

This thread is for administering and keeping yours updated, as with my configuration I ran into update issues using just the one connection.  Details ahead cover enabling a second connection to fetch updates, since you will have the primary network connection with a set IP address that handles DNS requests handed off from your router / main DNS device on your network.

To do updates to the OS and Pi-Hole local web services device / OS, I disable the service network connection to resolve conflicts of web requests to get out locally.  All the LAN clients will be fine getting pages.  In this case, I suspect the localhost calls in the Pi-Hole logs relate to my network layout and the device being bound to serve back to itself.  When logged into the [deviceIP]/admin configuration page I would also get failures to resolve list update servers.

Having plugged in a second USB NIC or using Wireless as an update connection, I ran the following commands to handle my network adapters.  Turning off the static address service NIC. In most cases likely eth0 as shown below

sudo ifconfig eth0 down

Do some pings and the like to see they should now resolve.  Do your updates etc for the OS.  In my case, Raspbian on a Pi 3.

Once those finish, load up the Web Admin panel for your Pi-hole install. Get your ip address for the active network connection with:


Connect to that IP address in a web browser and add ‘/admin’ into the address bar at the end of the IP Address without the quotes around the path.

Login with your admin password to the admin panel and you should now be able to see updates are pending.  You need to start with the FTL update.  To do this, return to your SSH session.  As I mentioned I am working with serial over USB, but you can enable SSH over network if you so desire.  One more service for a network heavy component, so choose of your own accord in concern to security to conveinence.
On that SSH console, run:

pihole -up

Wait for the updater to get and deploy the new FTL version.  You will likely also be treated to the Web Interface and Pi-Hole version also being to current revisions.  Great!  Almost updated and running live AdBlocking again.
Still on your console, seeing the update completed you want to turn back on the main network connection we disabled for updating.

sudo ifconfig eth0 up

Overviewing network setup above:
Main Internet router will be your DNS server on the Pi-Hole device.  Manually set client DNS or change your DHCP server to set client DNS to the static address of your Pi-Hole install. ( default-ish router)  Check your current IP config to get details if you do not know current network base configuration.
On the Pi-Hole install, set the primary network adapter to an address in that subnet (say  Make sure DHCP server /or/ router will not also try to assign that address in it’s pool.  The Pi-Hole DNS primary will be set to your local router (as above default-ish router

I hope to have avoided huge gaps or inflected confusion in this thread. Jolly adblocking.  Even if you like making money from it, you have to know it is a vulnerable vector and kind of a shaky market.  I’m not here to tell you what to do, I’m sharing details to help block them on places that run them without respect to visitors.

Hardware Software

Oculus Rift VR

Jack in, it’s cyber-time.  Seriously though if you are still reading, I squeezed on the Rift $399 bundle with touch that went active last week.  I want to describe the experience of moving through a virtual environment and seeing your hands map in that realm, as to in reality, but it’s really something you have to try to get full appreciation of.  I’m going to overview the hours I spent in so far, using Oculus software, enabling SteamVR and also some games and titles.

2017-08-17 Edit:
I wanted to mention Oculus Tray Tool and setting Super Sampling.  I have since upgraded my GPU to a 1080 Ti and am running Super Sampling @ 1.5.  Oculus Tray Toll will also let you disable USB auto power save in one click and also give you access to Visual HUD Overlays / debugging options.  The super sampling really cleans up the image quality to try and mitigate screen door effect / seeing pixels obviously.

Primer here.  You need a computer of comparable performance to drive the display of your Rift headset.  I see a recommended spec of an Intel i5-45xx series processor / CPU and Nvidia 970 or higher for your video card / GPU.  I recently built up an i7-7700k w/ 980 GTX build and it has performed extremely well in VR, without frame rate slowdown.
Your VR headset uses 1 HDMI and 1 USB connection, with the HDMI going directly into your video card.  In my case, I already had my external display on DisplayPort.  As the 980 GTX (and most recent cards from what I have seen) have 1 HDMI and the rest of ports are DisplayPort, you want to make sure your primary monitor is not using that HDMI output on the GPU / Video Card.

Additional hardware setup will be calibrating your spacial sensors, syncing any controllers and of course installing the Oculus software.  Fair warning that Windows 8.1 seems to be the baseline and there are some games that require Windows 10.  I’m on Windows 10 and wanted to warn you in advance, especially if you are still main-lining Windows 7.  Most important of all, you need physical space to play the Rift.
There are a few sitting compatible games I have found, but the more explorational titles are going to need you to have at least a 3 x 3 foot area clear.  From the center of your area, you will need to fully extend your arms to the side without being restricted.  Movement depth is less relevant but also important.  Some titles actually need you to be able to move back significantly far (as in around 7 feel away from the sensors).  I have so far tested in a 3 x 3 area, as I would need to use the living room for the deeper dimensions.  Since I picked up the Rift and Touch combo, I have 2 physical sensors installed.  1 came with the Oculus headset and the other came with the touch sensors.

I mentioned some of the contents but what you can expect to unbox are:

  • 1x Oculus Rift headset
  • 1x Sensor bar.  It looks like a small camera.  I suspect it works off Infrared similar to the Wii and Kinect devices.
  • 1x Xbox One gamepad, USB dongle and extension cable.
  • 1x Oculus remote.
  • 2x AA batteries for the Xbox gamepad.
  • 2x Oculus Touch controllers.
  • 2x AA batteries. 1 for each Touch controller.
  • 1x Oculus sensor

Once you clean up a space for you to move in VR without falling IRL, your first step after trying the tutorials (FYI: you can repeat these @ any time by clicking them in the desktop Oculus application, under your Library tab.), will be to get used to recalibrating center.  This will be most appropriate when changing from standing or sitting play.  In Steam you will get to the system menu by Right controller Menu button.  There you will see a re-center calibration.  If you are sitting, set your height to approx where your head is from the ground.  I find 42 inches (3 ft 6 inches) works well for sitting.  Some of this will need you to interact with Windows desktop for the height adjustment.
If you load SteamVR and are below the ground, you need to change your height settings.
Similarly in Oculus VR, the Right controller Menu button gives you a similar option to re-calibrate center.  For height adjustment in Oculus, you’ll want to go to Settings | Devices | Configure Rift to change your height.  You should be able to pick the re-center option without taking your VR goggles off, as with Steam as well.

Next post will cover some applications run in VR.

Most of these are on both the Steam Store and Oculus Store.  I started in the Oculus store, until I was able to get SteamVR ruining.  To get SteamVR to work you need to click the Gear icon for Settings on the desktop program, then click General.  On this screen, enable the button for Unknown Sources.  Once you do this, SteamVR will be able to interact with the Oculus gear, as before setting this option, Steam will say it cannot find your headset and accessories.

You will need to load SteamVR from your desktop, until or unless you enable the following mod to create a steam icon.  In that guide, you are downloading a VR film, replacing the executable with a batch modified exe that loads SteamVR and also replacing some image files to show the tile in VR.  Hack fun hacking up some custom icons with the info from that guide.  It’s fairly easy to follow and you will then be able to launch SteamVR from within the Oculus VR environment.

I’m starting a little backwards describing my exploration but one of my main objectives was to interact with my desktop OS in VR.  Steam handles this by selecting Desktop when you press the left menu button on a Touch pad.  This will get you back to your actual (likely Windows) OS.  I was browsing the twitter and reading email in VR.  It’s a wild way to have a huge super desktop, while also letting you interact with VR games that launch from Desktop.  Steam has a few of these but I have not encountered any in Oculus VR yet.
Kickass.  Speaking of interacting with my desktop, I also wanted to try to see if I can open and manage files in a 3D realm.  I can indeed open images, movies and music by using AVOlight.Space (Multi-Screen Media Player).  The free download lets you load one screen and puts a watermark on each additional screen you load.  This can be removed by buying the $9.99 DLC content to unlock the program.  Seeing how it worked made it a no-question for me.  This app has slideshow support, music and video controls, image rounding options along with depth perception to toggle zoom and placement of your displays.  If you want to view some files in multiple windows, this is the jam.

Google Earth VR is a free download that allows you to browse Google Maps in 3D.  If you ever switched visual modes and saw the tracking of depth for images, you will certainly see how the landscape is mapped as a rendered world with relative height and depth.  This is pretty impressive to zoom and fly around in, granted I was moderate in controlling well the little I played in it.  There are also area tours you can load up and enjoy, in the event you do not have any good ideas on where to search and visit.  I wonder how restricted areas map.  I’ll let you know on that one, since they are normally blurred out.  Hopefully it doesn’t clip us out of the map.  In this case, I was using the touch controllers as my primary input.  Sitting compatible.

Lucky’s Tale. Included platformer game with some good level design.  Graphics are cutesy like a Spiro-like game.  You have height obstacles world maps that surround you.  I was playing with the Touch controllers but this one appears to be designed for the gamepad / Xbox controller.

Oculus First Contact. This is likely the demo you play upon configuring your Rift.  A very immersive interactive demo.  I was mind blown in there and immediately suggested someone else try it too.  Great demonstration and interactive guide on using Rift and Oculus.  This is also listed in Tutorials as Touch Tutorial Complete.

Oculus Dream Deck. A video demo of a few oculus applications.  Be sure to spin around and enjoy the world map, as the case with anything else you play.

Makebox. A slick pixel editor.  I watched a video of someone giving a tutorial and was sold.  I have to try and make some dank pixel art as well.

Darkness Rollercoaster. Sitting rollercoaster ride.  Cool immersion and depth objects used.

Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality.  Very cool game that is a little difficult but rewarding.  The VR design and implementation is quite good. You may find yourself restricted in a 3×3 foot space but can re-calibrate center to accommodate this.  Crude humor and interesting use of environments.  I have been playing this for a few hours and it is a standing title, as you are doing quite a bit of exploring and reaching down.  I bought it on Steam, largely to test streaming functionality.  I can say the streaming rooms do work in SteamVR.  I finished this tonight in about 5 hours of playtime.
Be warned this game is designed for a Roomscale setup.  That being a deeper area to walk around in.

Oculus Medium. Very robust  image editing and world tool.  You can save and export materials.  Fun object creation and manipulation or a clay-like substance.

Mission ISS. This is a VR space simulator.  You can pivot around the spaceship and enjoy the view.

Blocks by Google. Another image editor in a 3D space.  Easel is your right hand where your drawing tool is the left one.

Preta: Vendetta Vising. This is a dungeon crawler game with multiplayer either coming or available after you complete the chapter 1 missions.  I have an hour or two into this game.  There are 3 character classes to pick from at start and some tutorials that keep you in a level environment.  I was reserved on the quality of until I got to see some of the actual dungeons.  The level design layering and depth is pretty impressive.  Town is pretty close to most MMO-like RPGs.  Quest NPC in Town, Skill up trainer, shops, etc.  You get a bonus for early pre-release stuff but there is also a RMT item system.  That’s a flag for performance down the line on growth. In other words, it may get very grindy of a game to encourage buying into currency boosts.

Sketchbox. VR prototyping platform.  Really cool for prototyping a 3D environment.  I’m going to try and import some 3D videos and do a mock-up environment.  Especially if you want to make a VR application, mock it up in here on the swift.

EVE: Valkyrie .  This is a flying space game.  The controls seemed tight but it was fun for a space shooter.

Sports Bar VR. Standing game that I played last night.  Darts, Air Hockey and Pool are available.  I only played single player but it does feature online and lobbies.

The Climb. Standing game that I played about 2 minutes of due to sitting at the time of night when I tried it.

I will add more info about the last 2 games when I play them in a standing mode.  This is what I got to explore so far.  Some content is free and steam also appears to have some demos on there,  I purchased the following or got them in a sale promo:

  • Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality: $30
  • AVOlight.Space. Free single display.  Unlock multiple for $10
  • EVE: Valkyrie. Free with Summer of Rift Promo.  Typically $40
  • Makebox. $10
  • Preta: Vendetta Rising. $35
  • Darkness Rollercoaster. $2
  • Oculus Adventure Pack: Includes for $70
    The Climb
    Raw Data
    SportsBar VR
    I Expect You To Die
  • Lucky’s Tale. Included with your Rift purchase.I also decided to pickup a 3rd sensor for better tracking when playing roomscale games. This is especially relevant when turning around and away from your desktop / front sensors. Adding the 3rd sensor will wrap you completely in motion tracking. I saw this when playing Rick and Morty and mitigated it using the recalibrate center steam menu option (that also is in the Rift menu).

    I forgot to mention I got the $399 bundle by going to a Best Buy store and getting the Rift and Touch packages.  When rung up at the register, it will be at the Promo rate and you’ll get the Oculus store coupon for your free copy of EVE: Valkyrie on the receipt.  I have heard and seen that Amazon is pending more inventory, so head to a store and grab a kit if you don’t want to wait.  Make sure they actually have ’em in stock, as I got the next-to-last headset last Saturday at a local store.

    I did not see anywhere with the stand-alone sensors in stock so I ordered one from Amazon.  They are also out of stock with no indicated restock date.  I’m looking forward to setting up roomscale with 3 sensors to cover me when I turn around.

    I have about 20 hours in VR so far and I am really enjoying it.  I have been scouring the app stores for interesting free apps to check out too.  Plenty of movies and some games to be found.  Largely you have Oculus store, SteamVR store.  Also a good resource is the Oculus Reddit page.
    If you turn on Spectator mode in Rick and Morty but forget how to disable it, you need to do it from the in-game menu.  Open the entertainment center right cabinet and toggle the switch. :)

    These are items included with your equipment purchase.  EVE being an add-in for the Summer promo.

    • Lucky’s Tale
    • Medium
    • Toybox
    • Quill
    • Dead and Buried
    • Dragon Front
    • Robo Recall
    • Eve: Valkyrie

    There are some good threads for applications and games on the Oculus forums. Medium has some real quality artwork and posts in there to explore.  Lots of artwork to enjoy in this thread.

    I turned off the tracking grid shortly after getting used to how much physical gaming space I had.  Seeing the block grid was wrecking my immersion.  You can turn off the floor grid indicator as well.  You can do these in Oculus VR from the right touch controller settings menu.  I’m guessing this is what people mean by ‘screen door effect’?

    I should have a 3rd sensor hooked up early next week.  2 should be fine for most everything, but if you are playing a roomscale heavy game like Rick and Morty.  I’ll be following this Oculus guide for configuring and placing sensors for roomscale. Edit with 3 sensors hooked up.  It will have you re-run the configuration wizard and welcome tutorial when the 3rd sensor is plugged in.  You really want all 3 of these sensors at the same level height. Otherwise your FOV will be highly skewed to the highest sensor.
    Recalibrate your height to confirm your standing height (or change it to your head from ground while sitting (42 inches / 3 foot 6 inches in my case)).  The avatar editor has a background with a ruler, if you take a selfie from the customize screen.
    To change your standing or sitting height, in the Oculus desktop software, click the Gear | Settings.  Along the left you will see Devices | Configure Rift | Floor Position.  If you are playing a sitting or gamepad game, this may be helpful it adjust your field of vision.

    Respect to the community for tipping me off to running Oculus Tray Tool.  ASW mode will help with performance and you can also disable power-saving for the usb ports to keep your tracking active while playing.  There are some Virtual HUD overlays that are helpful for debugging and performance monitoring.

    Also of note from the forums is that switching to the Beta version of Oculus Home, it will detect your SteamVR titles on launch and add them into the Oculus app.  So you don’t have to side-hack an icon for SteamVR using this method.  Once you load the Steam title, it will pop into your Oculus applications menu.

    Your headset has a microphone and it is on by default.  If you wish to disable this as I did, jump into your Control Panel | Sound.  In your list of Recording devices, right-click on the Rift Audio microphone and select Disable.  If you want to turn it back on, be sure to check the ‘Show disabled devices‘ option so you can see the microphone to re-enable it.

    Speaking of Steam, The Lab is a 15GB or so VR platform you can give a try to.  I played around with it briefly in the lab and some of the other mini-games.  Pause to note your standing height absolutely matters for this, so if you have your Room Config in steam set to a sitting height, you need to change that to your standing height.  This varies from game to game, but is especially dominant on steam from when going from a standing to sitting game.  Oculus seems to better accommodate sitting or standing, without needing to re-adjust your height, but by using the ‘reset app position’ from the main oculus home menu.

    Stand-out applications have to be Google Earth VR.  It’s really wild to see the area topography and be able to fly around in spectator-like mode around the world.
    Dactyl Nightmare has been re-made into Polygon Nightmare.  This is a re-creation that is pretty wild and fun as a single-player bot deathmatch.  You may get ill from the movement, but I played for about 40 frags, enjoying the strafing with my upper body to move around the map.  Both Google Earth VR and Dactyl Nightmare are free apps.
    I have put some hours into Chronos as well.  It’s a good exploration / puzzle game that keeps me drawn in.  The leveling mechanic is interesting and has me getting a little angry when I die for sloppy reasons.  The level exploration is really rewarding in 3D.  Worth the $40 if you ask me.

    In respect to demo’ing VR, people really need to wear the headset.  If you watch the on LCD output, it will be super bland without the depth.  I had my GF try a few things and so far the immersion hit hard with Google Earth VR.  She was off exploring the world, juggling views and continents.

    I have also dabbled in Rock Band VR as a local store had one of the Xbox One guitars in the back.  Apparently those things are going for $90 on Amazon, despite being $40 new if you can find one in stock.  I did chuckle at having to flash the guitar firmware for it to work with RB VR.  It did indeed work and when playing, I was reminded that I am not a rhythmic person.  I only got an hour or two into that game so far.  Considering the price of game ($50) and the Guitar ($40 with Xbox One Rivals Rock Band pack), this is a more costly game to get into.  I have to say the use of the touch and the add-on mount that came with your controllers, is pretty cool with showing the Guitar on your person in VR and the crowd around you.

    Darknet is a puzzle game about hacking computer networks.  It uses a cluster honeycomb design where you pick insertion points for various vulnerabilities to spread to nodes, allowing you to seize the network and obtain root.  Really cool graphical design and addictive gameplay.  A good score for the $10 asking price.

    Thanks for the feedback on your time with it.  I wear glasses of 1.25 or so prescription so that may play a factor in my not being as bothered by the pixelation.  I don’t wear my glasses in VR.  Glad to hear you were able to work a refund out too.

    I saw some people are bumping up the image quality using super sampling (via Oculus Tray Tool), similar to playing FFXI with better looking textures.  A few of the VR games I played have some native graphic options, namely Chronos.  Bumping up that IQ makes a huge difference, as the default in that is definitely a pixel show when you get close to your character.

    I forgot to mention you are right about the length of games for VR.  Many of them seem to be a few hours.  Hopefully the surge of headsets gets more content out there.  I think a big part of the challenge will be quality to performance cost, as top-end video cards and most other PC components to go with the headset, will make the barrier of entry even higher.

    2017-08-04 edit:
    I installed these sensor wall mounts in my play area and the floor and 360 coverage is MUCH better than when I had them on the included posts at desk height.  The linked 3D print, I had to file the diameter wider for the IR camera to fit in, but other than that it works great.  I used the double-sided tape mounts from 3M, as to not wreck the drywall in my apartment.
    Sensors are mounted roughly 6.5 ft from the floor, aiming downward.  This helped full 360 rotation and ground coverage quite well.  My crude diagram of camera placement is:
    |         <- 02            <- 01  |
    |                                        |
    |                                        |
    |                                        |
    |<- Sensor 03                  |

    Sensor 01 is along the wall where my desk is in the corner.
    Sensor 02 is about 5 feet away from the corner sensor.
    Sensor 03 is about 10 feet from the back wall where 01 and 02 are installed and about 6 feet from sensor 2 to the corner of the adjoining wall.
    I have the front 2 sensors lightly at inward angles to the area I stand, with sensor 3 pointing, basically back to my monitor between sensor 01 and 02.  This also passed my Rick and Morty floor grab test, vastly better than the prior desk height mounts.

    I just received my prescription WIDMOvr lenses last night and have been playing every other night on average.  The glasses insert is excellent.  Great quality lenses that match my glasses prescription, the frame insert fits well into the stock Rift face guard and the elastic for the rift cover also helps keep the lenses in place.  There is room between the rift lenses and the inserted prescription so you do not have to worry about scratching.  I tried using the rift with my normal glasses but did not go that route because of tight removal and scratch threat.  I can still see but my clarity is better with my prescription, for point of reference.

    I also picked up a 3 ft usb and hdmi extension cables.  The HDMi cable is an Insignia brand extension from a local BestBuy, that I found in the television section.  I went with an Amazon basics 3 foot usb3 extension as many people referenced it for working well.  I had some issues getting audio to play consistently over the extensions on my desktop, but then I added an Inateck Superspeed 4 Ports PCI-E to USB 3.0 Expansion Card as I saw some Oculus folks on reddit talk about the sensors and headset eating up much of the USB bus bandwidth.  I do have to say, my extension issue went away installing this card and putting 2 of my 3 sensors on it, with the Rift HMD hooked to the USB on my motherboard.

    Besides hardware I have been playing some games.  Also a fun program is Bigscreen.  It’s comparable to Desktop mode when running Steam but I think it has better touch button binds.  I find it very nice for interacting with my desktop windows, while still in VR.  Right-click, Left-click, mouse cursor and scrolling are all done on either hand.  You can hat-press to remove the login screen when you load the program up.

    Face Your Fears is a free program that has 2 doors to cinematic experiences.  The city door is pretty intense, while the haunted house door… is pretty damn freaky.  I was suggested to check this out by a friend and we were both scared af by the haunted house.  Lol, you might not want to let kids try this one, because it’s damn creepy or I’m just a pansy. :p  Sitting or standing experience, granted you are really just spectating and adjusting your head to view the area you are in.

    Batman Arkham VR gets review beef for being a short experience, but take note is is also a great one.  The quality of graphics, tools and interaction is top notch.  If you want to see a viable peek into what a full VR game done with high production value looks like, this is one to buy.  It has replay content for re-doing the story and I was well embracing the story it presented and some of the easter egg content.  It’s $20 but looking at the extent of the content, I feel it is worth the asking price.  If you enjoyed previous RockSteady Batman titles, this will show you the new shit coming down the pipes.  This supports sitting and standing play, but lends better to standing play.

    Technolust: Extended Format is a game you can blast through but you will certainly miss most of the relevant story and not have explored the world or options.  I got 20+ hours out of this easily.  It has mini-games too, but the interactions and narrative that go with the in-world are what are to be best enjoyed.  This is an older game (haha so that means 2016 in VR terms) that has touch support added.  Most of your aiming is actually done with your head instead of the gamepad / touch controllers.  I’m on board with any more content released by this team.  Easily one of my best purchases.  Works well for sitting or standing exploration.

    Windlands is something I saw mentioned as a game to try.  It also has a ‘Buy it on steam and you will get an Oculus key’ feature through their website.  I want to pause and say between the 2 stores, if you have an oculus, play the Oculus store version.  The controller config is more likely to be optimized for that platform, as is the case with Wildlands on Steam being configured for a Vive and the Oculus Home version being configured for touch.  There is an option for some games on Steam to ‘launch in home mode’, but this is not the current standard.
    Back to this game, it is an exploration via grappling hook traversal.  The areas are well done to have you figure out what route currently looks viable and how you are going to use your grappling hooks and jumping to obtain the objects on the world map.  Very solid and good looking game.  Plenty of control options between sitting and standing play.

    Nature Treks VR is a collection of area environments.  Woods, underwater and other outdoor areas.  This experience is pretty demanding on your computer, since it renders the entire stage area and surrounding creatures.  Looks very cool to relax in and explore.  You can use locomotion or teleport transportation.  You can plant extra trees and stuff too.

    Serious Sam: The Last Hope is a stationary shooter.  If you played the other games, the enemies and stages will look familiar.  Main take-away being you stay in place and shoot away hordes of monsters until you get to the world boss fight.

    Rez: Infinite is a VR shooter with music note and scoring to your attacks.  It’s a fairly short adventure but it’s done well and has some extra modes as well.  The presentation and levels to boss fights are done well. $20 for this game.  Both standing and sitting supported, as you move by controller and look by head rotation.

    Mountain Goat Mountain is a free game that is simple but fun.  Kind of like a Q-bert game to traverse the map, eat food and score coins.

    I’m looking forward to jumping into some more VR stuff this weekend.  I played a little more Preta: Vendetta Rising after they dropped the price and removed some of the RMT content.  I am currently on mission 5 on chapter 1 but I’m not riveted by it so far.
    I picked up a puzzle game called Dimensional for $5.  One can only play so many gun shooters, both regular and VR wise.  I am also going to try out Karnage Chronicles this weekend.  It sounds like an impressive hack-n-slash game.  I grabbed it on Steam, since it’s not yet on the Oculus store.  checking the steam forums, it should detect and work with the oculus fine / find the controllers as touch instead of the vive wands.

    Nov 14th:
    I took a break from VR, largely due to playing Nintendo Switch games. I also played Karnage Chronicles and got really VR sick, like terrible headaches and all. I know some people claim to be immune to vr / motion sickness, but wow, hacking and slashing in a dungeon wrecked me with locomotion controls.

    I visited my friend and his kids a few weeks ago and did a VR demo. They loved it, especially the older teen, as he is a huge pc gamer. I’m going to hook my gear back up this week and jump back in. I still have some ideas I want to try for creating some content, but in the mean time I’m also excited to try Obduction, from the Myst creator team. I also started Edge of Nowhere and should continue that tomb raider-like platformer.
    Windlands is actually pretty fun but I got stuck within maybe an hour. Short of the issue of knowing where to proceed, it is quite fun grappling around the world map.

    I may pickup Doom VFR but I want to see how it is received and if it gets actual oculus support. I’m thinking I’ll pickup Skyrim again but on the Switch, since it’s a huge game and being able to play it in tablet mode will make it more accessible over time. According to steam, I dropped 202 hours on the PC edition (Level 37 and surely some idle time with the game running). It looks like I played the Dawnguard expansion too.

    Jumping back to VR, I played .Hack in BigScreen. Wild with the giant screen and the map being in the top right of my full view pane.

    If you recently have terrible tracking jank or lag with your head movement tracking, may I suggest updating nvidia drivers. Especially 388.13 in my case. I do note that I had a 3D vision driver installed as well, that I removed before upgrading to 388.31 edition drivers.

    Since I do not use the 3D capabilities I try to uncheck the install via Custom Installation. I’m not a user of Nvidia Experience either and manually put new ones (drivers) in fairly often. I was going raw on troubleshooting by switching cables and distributing across USB controllers, but the driver conditions above fixed me back up.

    My issue was especially visible on the Oculus home menu. My tracking sensor locations were similar to prior sessions this week. I was happy to weed it down to a driver factor after a little ghost hunting on the troubleshooting.

    If you think Windows 10 is noisy, you should enjoy the connections your PC will make to I Blacklisted that for a few minutes to notice none of the store content displayed. I could still view and load my library though.

Hardware Software

Corsair Hydro Coolers and Fan Headers

This is kind of an odd issue, as the documentation for Corsair Hydro coolers will tell you to plug the power into the CPU header on your motherboard.  Having build a new machine recently, I see newer Asus board have a dedicated Pump header.  I like these coolers as they work well and cost less than custom copper water blocks.  The point of this thread however, is for older boards like the Asus Hero VII I had prior.

You want to disable the Q-fan options in your BIOS, as otherwise it will limit the pump output and not cool properly.  For the Windows users, there is a Corsair Link application that will show you the pump rpm.  In the case of a H80i cooler, this is typically running at 3200 rpm when set to the Performance preset.
Default will be around 1900 rpm with the balanced setting.  So long as you are not running in an extremely hot room, that preset should be fine.
In your BIOS, check the following tree: Monitor | Fan Speed Monitoring | Fan Speed Control.
Set those to disabled and you should be good to go.  Also under those settings, disabling the fan controls can prevent the CPU fan error on boot.

For item’s sake, I am using a H115i on this i7-7700k and was previously using an H80i with the i5-4690k.  On the i5-4690k setup after a BIOS flash, the fan settings were reverted and I was feeling significant heat buildup in the top tube coming off the CPU back to the radiator.  Temps were also quite high.  Fixing the Qfan settings resolved the nasty temps on the rebuild.


Core i7-7700k build

Welcome to another PC Build thread.  I have been on an i7-7700k desktop for a week and some change.  In the last few builds I seem to be on a 2 to 3 year rotation, largely because I know people who could use computers and my custom builds would smoke a retail setup while also having good cooling layouts.  Fancy means to say the equipment should run for a long time.

Current edition kit is:

  • Processor / CPU:
    Intel i7-7700k
  • Motherboard:
    Asus Hero IX Z270
  • Memory:
    32 GB Corsair DDR4 3000 MHz LED RAM
  • Primary OS on a Samsung 860 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD
  • Power Supply:
    Corsair 850w PSU
  • Cooler:
    Corsair H115i CPU Cooler
  • Case:
    Corsair Obsidian 750D Airflow
  • Video Card / GPU:
    Asus Strix 980 GTX (Gen 1 – Non Ti)

I kept storage, graphics card, power supply from the previous build.  I have so far put together some benchmarks from Final Fantasy XIV tools, 3D Mark products, and ran some GTA V and Watch Dogs 2 for comparison.
The short hand is that, each of the FFXIV Benchmarks gave about 1000 points higher of a score.  Effects like elemental magic casts and screens with many extra objects on screen, ran much smoother.  Checking benchmark details such as 3D Mark, the i7 does vastly better handling PhysX performance heavy content.  Keeping in mind I am running the same video card as I did in the prior i5-4690k build.

For grins I also re-installed Bioshock Infinite and ran the Benchmark.exe in the install folder.  Considering I recently switched to a 144 Hz display, I was able to see the benchmark ran that steadily.  Looking back, I think I played the game on a 560 GTX and recalled some performance drops in some areas.  Worth saying that would have also likely had been when I was on an i5-2500k setup.

3DMark Shootout:  Please bear in mind most of the i5-4690k benchmarks were run on Windows 8.1.  I believe that is some of where you see the higher FPS numbers from the i5 versus the i7 benchmarks.

Fire Strike (standard) compare

Fire Strike Extreme compare

Sky Diver compare

API Overhead compare

Time Spy

Cloud Gate compare

Fire Strike 3-way compare including i5-2500k and a 570 GTX


Recapping this data, we see the PhysX scores are significantly higher, while base FPS are similar or a little slower than on the i5-4690k.  Please keep in mind the only benchmark in this set run on Windows 10 with the i5-4690k was Time Spy, as it requires DirectX 12 / Windows 10.  I added the compare links that also confirm this information and so you can add any benchmarks you may have run for comparison.

The last image and benchmark includes my i5-2500k build with a 570 GTX in it.  I wanted to add that for more of a scaling over time and performance gain metric.  In the short hand if you are asking does an i7 smooth up actual gameplay, I would say Yes to that.  Watch Dogs 2 is a recent title I saw people mentioning benefits from extra threads and a higher CPU clock.  I can confirm that to be the case as grass and tree heavy shadow environments are much smoother than they were on my i5-4690k.  Similar gains can be seen in Final Fantasy XIV.  Particularly as the Stormblood expansion pushed some higher usage textures and shading features to the game.

This rig is doing me well but I did have some issues running the RAM @ 3000MHz.  I had a few crash application issues and some reboot problems as well.  After seeing a few of those I fired up Memtest and let that run for 5 to 10 hours.  Typically around the 5th hour, I started getting some errors when running the memory at the overclocked speed.  Turns out I’m not the only person with issues running the RAM @ 3000MHz on an Asus motherboard.  Stock is 2133MHz and that passed Memtest with flying colors and also does not have the reboot issue.

Just a heads up if you are doing a build, that you might see some issues if you hoped to set your XMP and it would just run.  Increasing the voltage to the RAM made no long-term stability improvement either.  I am running 32 GB (2x 16 GB) CMU32GX4M2C3000C15 Vengeance LED RAM for point of reference.  I was happy to see the Memtest passed at stock timings, so I didn’t have to RMA them.  From the product page the timings that should work are:


Tested Latency: 15-17-17-35
Voltage: 1.35V
Set RAM to Auto
Voltage: Auto

As I mentioned, simply using the XMP settings for 3000MHz will likely jam up your memory and system stability.  Normally I would have let an exhaustive memtest run earlier, but you can get busy and I ended up building 3 machines that week.  Granted my prior build was mostly a move to another case and burn in testing.  Speaking of MemTest, I enjoy this version of MemTest.


Steelseries Sensei Wireless mouse

Welcome to another hardware thread. This installment is about the Sensei Wireless mouse from Steelseries. I have been using a Diablo 3 mouse modeled from the Sensei wired mouse for a few years now. Considering I have also used Razer mice before, but did not like how heavy or high they seemed to arch, I went with the Sensei Wireless for my laptop.

You can use this mouse wired as well, but a thing to keep in mind is that you need to have the charging base plugged in, because that is the wireless receiver for the mouse. There is no direct bluetooth or other connection methods, short of using the charging base for wireless, or directly plugging the charge cable into the mouse for wired mode. So if you are traveling you need to bring the base and cable, or run the mouse wired.

Besides that nuance, this mouse performs awesome. I primarily use it in wireless mode while playing Final Fantasy XIV or doing general UX stuff. Clicks are smooth and the cursor is responsive. DPI goes crazy-high, but for my uses @ 1080p, I tend to run it around 5000 DPI or so. Charge life says about 20 hours, but I tend to base it when not in use. I have yet to have the mouse die on me in respect to battery life. I did have one night where it would not reconnect, but I think I had the base too close to the mouse.

In respect to usage, I use it on my desk with a mousepad, or on the bed with a pad as well. Even on the cushion it works well. As i mentioned the weight, 115 g, 0.253 lbs is what it comes in at. Compared to many mice and reviews, this is a sweet spot, as to not feel heavy or a burden to move around over time. I considered the newer Steelseries mice but the little LCD and significantly heavier weight were a turn-off. The charging base is probably around 2 lbs, so if you are traveling often, you might want to just use it wired instead of schlepping the charging base around too.

Lights. You can change the LED colors of the charging base, mouse logo and scroll wheel. Similar to the Diablo 3 / Sensei model mice, you have side-buttons you can program to custom keys. My favorite button is the DPI switch button under the scroll wheel. I tend to keep it in high mode, but being able to change back to 1800 or so DPI is a nice bind to have on the fly.

I really enjoy this mouse and started out with my most relevant complaint, the charging base. If there was a little usb dongle for wifi use like a logitech device, that’d be nice for travel. Other than that, well worth the $100 price I got it for on their website.

I considered a Razer mouse to go with the laptop, but I had the MMO mouse before and found it heavy and the side button bar kind of clunky. I have had the Diablo 3 Steelseries mouse since Diablo 3 released and have put many clicks into it. It continues to work to this day on my desktop. That’s the main reason I went with this wireless sensei. It takes a beating and keeps on rolling, while also feeling smooth and durable.


Razer Blade 1060 GTX (late 2016)

Howdy and thanks for reading this thread about a Razer Blade (late 2016) with a Nvidia 1060 GTX video card. I have been playing with this over the weekend, as I did research and found this to be the best bet for what I was looking for. Both by performance and laptop size. I went with the 512 GB FHQ model.

Starting off, Yes you can install Linux on here and it will run pretty well, granted I spent most of the weekend in Windows, running benchmarks and checking out multimedia and games. I got Ubuntu 16.04.1 on a 40 GB partition that I carved out of the 512 GB SSD M.2 Drive. To do that, I loaded up a Live USB of Ubuntu, ran gparted on the Windows partition and had it cut 40 GB into a new partition. Installed Ubuntu onto that. Best part being, GRUB and the Windows boot loader can co-exist. You may want to jump in the bios and change your default boot device, once the install is finished.

Temperature wise the GPU was hitting 179 F. While not great for temps in a desktop, this is passable for me as the games continued to run smoothly. You will absolutely hear the fans increase in noise and speed when playing any intensive games. That being said, I do feel the laptop is basically silent when not in a game.

I mentioned getting the FHD (1080p) model display over the QHD+ one. FHD is a matte finish, the brightness is higher than the QHD, and honestly the 1060 GTX will not be able to run max settings smoothly on newer games like Watch Dogs 2, or even to an extent GTA V, unless you scale down some of the advanced video fluff. Point being there, QHD resolution is going to be really daunting on the video card. I also feel 1080p on this 14″ LCD is hard to read sitting back on the couch, especially without my glasses on. So you would be even more crunched @ 3200 x 1800 (QHD+). QHD comes with a glass cover instead of a matte finish and also is + $300 to the purchase price. So I got to avoid my reflection and light bouncing, while also saving some loot.


  • Fire Strike (3D Mark) scores over 9000. 9264 actually. You can check the details from the run on the Futuremark site.
  • Final Fantasy XIV: I can play this @ 1080p with maximum settings with a smooth 60 FPS. You will want to use the system and character config options to scale up the UX, as I did playing from the couch.
  • Doom 2016: 1080p with maximum settings is smooth and looks great.
  • GTA V: Ultra settings will get you some dips into the 40 FPS range. Tweaking some of the more expensive graphic options, will get you to or close to, a smooth 60 FPS.
  • Watch Dogs 2: My configuration from the desktop with a 980 GTX, got me into the 30 FPS range. I heard some forum chatter about this game and 1000 series cards having extra performance hits. I was able to change some of the detail settings back to High, and I got closer to 60 FPS. Even on my desktop though, driving will get you some dips into 50 and some 40 FPS ranges.

Summing this up, the 1060 GTX in this laptop is certainly slower than the desktop 980 GTX in my desktop. While the laptop card has 6 GB of VRAM, the processing power of the 980 GTX and it’s 4 GB VRAM is superior. Saying that, I’m comparing a video card integrated into a 14″ laptop weighing less than 5 lbs, to a full sized desktop GPU. Performance was relatively close. I will throw some benchmarks versus the laptop to my desktop, below.

Benchmark wise, you can peep the Fire Strike comparison between my desktop 980 GTX system and the Razer Blade 1060. Saving you a click, the 1060 GTX scores @ 9264 while the 980 GTX scores @ 10921.

I will add some more benchmark scores in the next post. I have to be in front of the machine to check the log results.
I think it’s pretty apparent that I am happy with this purchase and the performance of this laptop. Let me confirm that I am happy with this purchase and love this device. It looks like a black Macbook, that happens to run Windows and Linux, while also having some quality, fast components in it. That being said, I got mine for just under $2000 (USD)

I did start by looking at laptops in a local Microsoft store to see what price, performance and form factor options were on the market. I used to travel for work and had a quite nice Sony Vaio laptop. This is the 1st high-performance laptop I ever bought with my own funds. Looking at the other models in-store, they either had weak video cards, or were of the Asus tier laptops, that honestly looked really crappy with all the big plastic cases and odd curvature. I didn’t want a laptop that looked like a malformed lego and weighed 10 lbs. I would say Razer is owning that market segment, for anyone wanting a fast, light weight and smooth looking laptop.

Continuing my researching, I took for Razer support forums, reddit and some review sites. Review sites are good for some insight but can gloss over some big issues. Especially if they are getting a review model, instead of a consumer production model. I started with deciding between QHD or a FHD display. That actually led me to read some folks who had an older model QHD+ but decided to go with FHD both for less pixels on a 14″ LCD, and the increased visibility from a matte finish.
The wireless card that comes in the laptop is a Killer Wireless-AC 1535 card that some reddit users noted, kind of sucks. I did run the Killer wifi briefly, but since I have a wired cable by the couch, I used a Plugable USB-C / Thunderbolt LAN NIC dongle. Using the Killer in FFXIV, I was getting some in-game lag. Also doing some ping tests on local devices, I saw quite a few 50 ms+ replies. Switching out the Killer for the Intel reduced the amount of high ping replies. YMMV, but for $25 and the use of a T5 screwbit, it’s a fairly simple replacement. As the linked reddit page notes, I also went with that Intel 8260 wifi card.

Speaking of the wired connection, it’s super fast. I was steady steam downloading, network transferring and the laptop didn’t slow up at all. My internet connection was being worked but the internal network and this wired adapter kept up without fault.

The Chroma keyboard is quite nice. Quality typing experience and the lighting effects are really enjoyable. I use the starlight pattern most of the time, unless I’m playing an MMO in the dark. Dark playing with a fixed color is really nice. If you press the ‘Function’ key, your F1 to F12 will be the only lit keys to use the multimedia functions. However the icons for the brightness, track skip, volume, etc will not light up. Because the smallness of those indicators and the main letters, I figure the light bleed would be too intense. Speaking of intense, if you pick a white-based color, you might see some blur reading the keys at night in a dark room, because they are so bright. Disclaimer / reminder that I wear glasses. Still a factor with my glasses on. In the Razer application you can juggle your lighting options for the keyboard, pick a color or pattern, and adjust the brightness of the keyboard illumination. Have fun messing with the ripple effects and other keyboard light presets.

Oh yeah. You will have 3x USB 3 standard ports, 1x USB-c connection, and 1x HDMI connection on the laptop. In addition you have the power brick connector on your left and the kensington mount on the right side. In respect to battery life, I haven’t done any benchmarks yet. If you are playing games, I would just keep it plugged into the wall, as that is exactly what I was doing. By the way, here is the laptop product page. I will get some game benchmarks and comparisons later in this thread.

Benchmark of the battery gave me about 2 hours before I was on the hunt for a charger. If you happen to travel to co-locations and work on a server rack, you may want to get a PDU to 3 pin adapter so you can charge up on extended sessions. Here is a usage breakdown of battery life.

9:25 – Laptop boot. Chilling Idle
9:34 – 97 % battery. 100% brightness.
9:38 – Chrome – emergencyfm music streaming started.
9:40 – 93 %
9:53 – 87 %
10:08 – 79 %
10:13 – 76 %
10:16 – Nmap installer. 74 %
10:19 – Scan Local Lan 73 %
10:20 – Completed sn scan. 72 % Lan
10:22 – Starting intense scan. 71 %
10:37 – Scan active. 62 %
11:05 – Scan nearly finished. 46 %
11:19 – 37 %
(Went to remote site)
Ran web browser to configure devices. Battery below 20 % in about 20 more minutes. Condensing that list of times, I was in the critical low battery around 2.5 hours.

Let me step back here, I forgot to detail machine specs.

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-6700HQ (Skylake)
  • 512 GB M.2 SSD. Samsung PM951 model MZVLV512CJH.
  • 1080p LCD @ 60 Hz
  • 16 GB DDR4 RAM
  • Nvidia 1060 GTX (6 GB VRAM) on driver 376.33
  • Wireless Killer AC is what it shipped with. I replaced this with an Intel 8260 Dual-Band Wireless card.
  • Ports: 1x USB-c, 1x HDMI, 3x USB 3, 1x Headphone / Mic input combo jack, Power charger input, Kensington security lock mount

Cooling is controller by 2 fans on the bottom of the unit. They are your air inlets, as the exhaust is behind the top of the keyboard. Under the display you will see some vent holes with a grill on them. It’s in the join between the bottom of the laptop and the display. You may also see dust collect on the bottom of the monitor, as I did cleaning up the apartment and playing FFXIV. If you want to clean the fans and open up the bottom of the laptop, you will need a T5 screwdriver to remove the 8 or so screws. Bottom plate removes similar to a dell laptop (or most kinds, to be honest).

Heavensward Final Fantasy XIV Benchmark on Maximum settings in DirectX 11 for 1080p scores in over 10334 with a Extremely High rating. Game plays crystal smooth @ 60 FPS in actual server gameplay, questing and dungeons. Run the benchmark a 2nd time to be sure, as I had some other stuff open and it game me a score in the 8900 threshold. Also of note, alt-tabbing to check a web browser does not cause any significant performance drops.

Glitch warning. If you hook up to an external display, you may see slower gaming performance, as it seems to try and use the Intel HD 530 GPU on the processor. I saw this testing the HDMI port, running the FFXIV Benchmark and seeing my normal score of 10516, dropping to 8900. I rebooted and had got back into the 10000 score threshold. I can confirm this by running a benchmark with an external display hooked up and getting a lower score, then unhooking the hdmi cable (without a reboot) and re-running the benchmark to get a score in the 10000+ range.
Be warned that I had to switch to GPU-Z for thermal monitoring, as HWMonitor started showing the Intel 530, since I hooked up an external display. This resolved and HWMonitor is showing both cards, thermals for the Nvidia 1060.

In respect to fan noise at idle, I can hear them if I’m in a silent room. Confirmed that this morning before I left. However it’s pretty rare I’m in a quiet room and even so I didn’t find the noise to be bothersome. Keep in mind I’ve spent some time in server closets and have a desktop server at home in my bedroom. YMMV. I know people call this laptop a Mac Killer, but have had complaints about noise from the fans at low load.

In respect to keyboard usage and interaction, this laptop works great. 1080p desktop resolution allows me to control consoles clearly, the keyboard feels nice and responsive, while the touchpad does work, I prefer to use a trackball or mouse instead of hovering a hand over the touchpad. I cannot think of an instance where my hands accidentally moved the mouse cursor when typing, so that is a large benefit for me, as I have this issue fairly often on most other laptops.

Temperature wise rundowns over load are as follows:
CPU: Max 89 C / 192 F – Idle 45 C / 111 F with a low of 37 C / 98 F
GPU: Max 82 C / 179 F – Idle 46 C / 114 F with a low of 42 C / 107 F
SSD: Max 58 C / 136 F – Idle 38 C / 100 F with a low of 35 C / 95 F

Additional benchmarks continue in the linked thread here.

Hardware Software

Forensic talk slides

Hello! I was able to do a fire talk @ Drexel CCI in the Rush building last night. It was fresh to get feedback from people, sharing my presentation and getting to see everyone else present and to chat with people.

If you would like some slides about the use of dd, sha256sum and exiftool, you are welcome to the slides. :)

For fun, you can run exiftool on this ppt, exported from LibreOffice.

For accessibility and ease of access, I added the text contents of the slides below in this post. Also of note, I used photos, because I finished the slides the day I presented them. :p

Text from slides below:

|+| Slide 01


A data backup and verification chat.

Backing up and ripping data, making test beds and using equipment.

This fire talk will cover:

Write-blockers (hardware), dd, sha256sum, exiftool.

|+| Slide 02

Disclaimer (01 of 02)

Formal forensics is a wide field and circles around the notion of backing up information, with minimal to no changes of the source data.

Deeper forensic scope also involves analyzing the platform / Operating System, in order to determine OS level access (Example – thumbs.db folder indexers) versus manually viewed files.

|+| Slide 03

Disclaimer (02 of 02)

This talk is based on using your own test data to use analytic tools and to understand how they work, without worrying about client liability. Use some test data you are familiar with, as this makes finding ‘the needle in the haystack’ tremendously easier to find patterns.

Testing with the tools will give you the comfort to provide services for others.

|+| Slide 04


Howdy. I got into data imaging over the years from system building and also doing support for friends, family and businesses. Originally plugging a hard drive into another machine, I would target C:\Users and grab profile data. Also including application data and whatever else.

After awhile I got into Linux for file ripping. Some files are protected in windows, even as a 2nd drive.

|+| Slide 05

Tool usage

There are plenty of tools and applications with forms you can use. However they can be quite expensive.

Personally, I like having built-in command line tools available. Especially for the sake of booting up a live cd at any location and being able to work, based on what I’m being asked to do or recover.

|+| Slide 06

Write Blocker Imaging

Using a hardware write-blocker is an assured way to not modify the contents of the source drive.

They are around $300 USD, so you have some cheaper options to do software write blocking… but if you forget to turn it on, you can contaminate your data source.

(Such as browsing a folder, having windows make new thumbs.db files)

|+| Slide 07

[Picture of write blocker source drive, and output drive]

|+| Slide 08

Imaging Drives


sudo dd if=/dev/sdf of=/dev/sdg bs=16384k


For a 500 GB HDD, it took about 3 hours. (results below)


29808+1 records in

29808+1 records out

500107862016 bytes (500 GB, 466 GiB) copied, 10836.7 s, 46.1 MB/s


So how do you come up with the device names?


ls /dev/sd*









|+| Slide 09

Verifying disk image

Now that your drive is imaged, let’s start verifying with the source drive, hooked up to the write-blocker.

This is for the source drive.


sudo sha256sum /dev/sda



cc73a7aefba01ee7550dab0870b1ef52elf7dc3d7f685357a5712fc5c2c4c7bf /dev/sda


Unhooking the source drive, plug in the target / copied drive and run the same command.


sudo sha256sum /dev/sda



cc73a7aefba01ee7550dab0870b1ef52elf7dc3d7f685357a5712fc5c2c4c7bf /dev/sda


In the above, I hooked up the cloned drive, powered up the Write-blocker, confirmed the disc mounted, then calculated the cryptographic checksum.

Boom! It’s a match :)

|+| Slide 10

Cryptographic Checksums

There are plenty of options for generating checksums. While sha-1 and md5 are commonly used, there are some theoretical attacks against their memory space.

Signature based anti-virus seems to have some clashes in the MD5 space.

Tools to get a checksum for a file are:




|+| Slide 11

Checksum examples

Here I made a text file, saved it then calculated what the file’s crypto hash is (in sha256).

Making a new file called ‘sampleChecksum.txt’ with the contents of ‘Hello checksum’ and saving it.


nano sampleChecksum.txt


Obtaining the checksum of said file:


sha256sum sampleChecksum.txt



9f8135859f0d32a46093fdf272952fb1133a8995af32f0b3e0f39daacfb78ffs sampleChecksum.txt


Making a second file with a single character change, I calculated that hash. New file called ‘sample02Checksum.txt’ with the contents of ‘Hello Checksum’ and saving it.


sha256sum sample02Checksum.txt



65762af89d327b44f6b824689cbe7169869ebf054384bab9a699aae25e51fb7f sample02Checksum.txt


File contents are covered above. The same, short of one having an upper-case C in checksum, with the original file being in lower case. Noting how different the checksum output is for 2 files, with similar names and 1 character different in file contents.

|+| Slide 12

Other checksum examples

ISO downloads and similar downloads tend to use MD5, so here are some extra output_examples using the same 2 base files we made.


md5sum sampleChecksum.txt



9938b398bc883db337fb41431545955b sampleChecksum.txt



md5sum sample02Checksum.txt



65019593d2acc1e5fb4138dc18facd87 sample02Checksum.txt


sha1sum displays a similar but unique output for each file. Slightly more ( 8) characters a return value than md5sum.

|+| Slide 13

(Duplicate slide of slide 12)

Reminder that I did add a little more elaboration than was in the original slide show, since I made it pretty quickly after collecting my test results.

|+| Slide 14

BONUS ROUND – exiftool

Here I am grabbing the logo image from my site, then checking the image metadata for extra details.




|+| Slide 15

Exiftool (continued)

Now that we have a local copy of ftb-logo.png, let’s see what details we get from the file.


exiftool ftb-logo.png



ExifTool Version Number : 10.26

File Name : ftb-logo.png

Directory : .

File Size : 29 kB

File Modification Date/Time : 2013:05:29 11:45:14-04:00

File Access Date/Time : 2016:09:26 12:20:58-04:00

File Inode Change Date/Time : 2016:09:22 14:26:31-04:00

File Permissions : rw-r–r–

File Type : PNG

File Type Extension : png

MIME Type : image/png

Image Width : 465

Image Height : 100

Bit Depth : 8

Color Type : RGB with Alpha

Compression : Deflate/Inflate

Filter : Adaptive

Interlace : Noninterlaced

SRGB Rendering : Perceptual

Background Color : 255 255 255

Pixels Per Unit X : 2835

Pixels Per Unit Y : 2835

Pixel Units : meters

Modify Date : 2009:10:13 17:45:32

Comment : Created with GIMP

Image Size : 465×100

Megapixels : 0.046


|+| Slide 16

Exiftool conclusion

Checking the Modify Date we see it was modified on 2009/10/13 around 5:45 PM. This matches up to the logo creation date.

Checking the Comment we see the image was edited in GIMP. I can confirm that as a fact, as I left the comment export option

Looking at the File Modification Date/Time that is consistent to when I uploaded that file into WordPress for my front page of the site.

There are TONS of supported file types for use with the EXIFTOOL and this is only one tool. Have fun and explore!