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What should I write a "review" of?

Poll ended at Wed May 29, 2019 12:16 pm

Potato cannoning
4 (8%)
Cooling fan blowout
7 (13%)
Bluetooth OBD2 dongles
3 (6%)
Optane experimentation
10 (19%)
Exotic steak preparations
9 (17%)
Portable NAND grudge match
14 (27%)
Real world RX 560 performance
5 (10%)
 
Total votes: 52
 
drfish
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TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - we have a winner!

Tue May 07, 2019 10:15 am

Alright, stick with me because this is an experiment I've been kicking around for awhile. I'm nearly through my list of stuff to write about, so, I'm looking to put you guys in the driver's seat.

The idea is that anyone can make suggestions in this thread for something they would like me to review on the front page. The only rule is that whatever it is needs to cost less than $100 (sorry, this is self-funded and I've got solar panels to pay off). You can suggest a gadget, a game, a cheese, or even something more conceptual. Whatever you can dream up, and are at least semi-serious about, is fair game. After an indeterminate amount of time I'll stop taking suggestions and, based largely on practicality, put my top 4 or 5 picks into a poll in this thread. After a week or so, the option with the most votes will officially become the subject of a TR review.

If this goes well, it's something I could see doing 2-4 times a year.

So, post a suggestion or two, make your case and we'll all see what happens together. :)
Last edited by drfish on Thu May 30, 2019 6:12 am, edited 4 times in total.
 
Captain Ned
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 10:20 am

Well, you better plan on spending some time at BBQ understanding the mechanics and design of the cannon, as it's prime fodder for something like this.
What we have today is way too much pluribus and not enough unum.
 
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 10:26 am

On the compter tech side, i'd love to see a more thorough testing of the real-world impact of Optane. We've debated here on the forums quite a bit. How much time would it take to compare HDD+Optane+more RAM vs SDD+Less RAM (Say 1TB HDD+16GB Optane+4GB RAM vs 256 SDD+4GB RAM vs 1TB HDD+8GB RAM).

On the other-tech side, how about compare some of the cheap-o bluetooth OBD2 readers?
 
drfish
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 10:34 am

I'm curious about Optane as well, just bear in mind that I don't have access to the normal TR rigs for such testing. For $100 I could probably get a 32GB Optane module and a 512 GB Intel 660P and pit that against the 500 GB Samsung 960 EVO already in my rig, but that's about it. I mean, I'd get creative, but it would be a fully self-contained review.
 
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 10:58 am

If there's a push for anything more expensive in terms of reviews, perhaps crowd-funding the hardware/whatever involved is an option?
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drfish
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 11:01 am

That thought had crossed my mind, but it introduces complications that I'd rather avoid for the first couple rounds.
 
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 11:05 am

Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption

(by the same folks responsible for Quest for Glory)
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 11:28 am

Captain Ned wrote:
Well, you better plan on spending some time at BBQ understanding the mechanics and design of the cannon, as it's prime fodder for something like this.

That's a threefer. I suspect a dad is nearby.
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 11:53 am

drfish wrote:
I'm curious about Optane as well, just bear in mind that I don't have access to the normal TR rigs for such testing. For $100 I could probably get a 32GB Optane module and a 512 GB Intel 660P and pit that against the 500 GB Samsung 960 EVO already in my rig, but that's about it. I mean, I'd get creative, but it would be a fully self-contained review.

After testing the performance you could do a repeat of the SSD endurance test with Optane to see if its endurance is really much better than flash memory. Of course, that would require you to tie up a system to torture the Optane module for several months.
 
superjawes
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 12:10 pm

Well this is a cool idea! Sounds like a great way to throw in some variety as well.

You could take some ideas for common recipes and review a handful to determine who has the best one...I recently did a cast iron mac n' cheese that turned out pretty good :lol:

On the gadget side of things, Fantom Wallet got my attention with their "card fanning" design (I was looking to slim down my wallet), but $84 was a steep ask for something I was unsure of. Instead, I went with this guy, who was only ~$15 from Amazon and still covers the 2-plate concept. Anyway, it could be a good idea for an everyday carry article.
On second thought, let's not go to TechReport. Tis a silly place.
 
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 12:43 pm

ludi wrote:
Captain Ned wrote:
Well, you better plan on spending some time at BBQ understanding the mechanics and design of the cannon, as it's prime fodder for something like this.

That's a threefer. I suspect a dad is nearby.
Are we talking potato cannon? That would be fun, I've enjoyed mine a long time. But I wonder if its strictly legal to do a show and tell.
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 12:46 pm

The best second-hand computer you can get for <$100 inside 3 days?

Or, a sound card: AFAICT from the website, it's been nearly 7 years since the last review of an internal soundcard (ASUS Xonar DGX & DSX) and nearly 5 since the last 'quick look' at a USB one (Diamond Xtreme Sound XS71HDU).
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Captain Ned
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 12:53 pm

Topinio wrote:
Or, a sound card: AFAICT from the website, it's been nearly 7 years since the last review of an internal soundcard (ASUS Xonar DGX & DSX) and nearly 5 since the last 'quick look' at a USB one (Diamond Xtreme Sound XS71HDU).

How many discrete sound cards are sold these days?
What we have today is way too much pluribus and not enough unum.
 
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 12:58 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
Topinio wrote:
Or, a sound card: AFAICT from the website, it's been nearly 7 years since the last review of an internal soundcard (ASUS Xonar DGX & DSX) and nearly 5 since the last 'quick look' at a USB one (Diamond Xtreme Sound XS71HDU).

How many discrete sound cards are sold these days?

This. I think the vast majority of people find onboard audio "good enough", and those who want better SQ are more likely to have a dedicated DAC/amp setup. That leaves very few people in the discrete card market.
On second thought, let's not go to TechReport. Tis a silly place.
 
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 12:59 pm

1) I would like to see a how-to-choose-and-configure a Linux system. Its been years since I tried SUSE.
2) I read about various gerbils getting hits on their firewall/router systems. I'd like to know how to do that or even a guide to let a gerbil know what resources are avialable to roll your own.
3) I'd like to know if a Standard Vapor Chamber placed between the CPU and the heatsink could have a good effect on CPU cooling. They come in several form factors.
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Topinio
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 1:05 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
How many discrete sound cards are sold these days?

Few, but it's still interesting! The latest Sound Blaster is the AE-9, announced in December at $300 but not out yet; the AE-5 was a 2017 model IIRC and I just checked and it's £110 on Amazon... I have Xonar's in both my PC's at home still too ...

superjawes wrote:
This. I think the vast majority of people find onboard audio "good enough", and those who want better SQ are more likely to have a dedicated DAC/amp setup. That leaves very few people in the discrete card market.

... but you're right, I should probably just figure out how to do around-PC-desk 5.1 without a soundcard in 2019.
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 6:15 pm

Mounting sun-tracking mirrors on your neighbor's roof to overclock the performance of your photovoltaic panels?
Your co-workers who congratulated you on your 172 kWh on Cinco de Mayo will be amazed.
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 8:14 pm

The tech audience is switching from PC to console/mobile and from written journalism to vlogging/streaming.
Why not critically review that?

Take your favourite current cross-platform game and rather than reviewing the game itself, review the differences between the experience of the different versions of it, PC, Console, Mobile (if there is one) and hey - in the spirit of things, why not make a short video conclusion that's digestible in a short coffee break?
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 9:02 pm

I’d like to see some DACs and external sound cards, things like that.

Also, whatever happened to that behemoth of a PSU tester that JBI built? I’d like to see that return.
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 9:40 pm

One other thought that I think would be very relevant for low to mid-end gamers: a comparison between different configurations at a single price point. Say you had $600 for the cpu, ram, and video card. I see a few obvious scenarios with many more permutation potentials:
$200 GPU + $200 RAM + $200 CPU
$300 GPU + $100 RAM + $200 CPU
$400 GPU + $100 RAM + $100 CPU

I would rather see multiple configurations and fewer settings. Take whatever game you play at. Run it at 1080p. You could probably even simulate most of the cpu/ram choices by underclocking and taking sticks out. The simple output would be the various 5% FPS.
 
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 9:45 pm

Maybe a look into gaming on Linux? I think most of us already know the broad strokes(still kinda sucks), but if someone else were to do some current research for me I'd be interested in reading that. :P
Last edited by Redocbew on Tue May 07, 2019 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 9:47 pm

My suggestion:

How come my USB flash drives always die so quickly? Do these things really last as long as they claim? Get a few different ones and redo the SSD endurance test with them.
 
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 10:04 pm

Yan wrote:
My suggestion:

How come my USB flash drives always die so quickly? Do these things really last as long as they claim? Get a few different ones and redo the SSD endurance test with them.

They die because they get the bottom-of-the-bin NAND flash chips that aren't good enough to be used in SSDs...
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 10:25 pm

FireGryphon wrote:
Also, whatever happened to that behemoth of a PSU tester that JBI built? I’d like to see that return.

I'll have to dig, but I think The Beast (its official name) was designed when 3.3V and 5V were the key loads for a PSU, not 12V.
What we have today is way too much pluribus and not enough unum.
 
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 10:33 pm

A few things that I have a personal interest in, for your consideration. Not all are in your price range, though at least in the case of the joystick I could probably be convinced to buy one for myself and send it your way for a few weeks...

Steelseries Sensei 310: The low profile ambidextrous counterpart to the Rival 310. Ambi mice don't get much attention, which is a shame because I prefer the ergonomics.

Zowie EC or FK/ZA series mouse: Not a lot of features, but many competitive gamers swear by this stuff. Does it live up to the hype?

VirPil flight stick, WarBRD base w/Constellation Delta grip (or its successor which is supposedly coming): The slightly cheaper, more accessible enthusiast grade flightstick I mentioned in my Gunfighter mini-writeup that 'only' requires waiting for a few months rather than years for the other guy.

Thrustmaster T.16000m joystick: The one kinda-decent mainstream stick still on the market. Did it learn the right lessons from years of mediocre Saitek and Logitech products? Plus the double entendres practically write themselves.

Inland (Microcenter) SSD: Gerbils love Micro Center, and they've got their own house brand SSDs now. But what's on the inside, and how does it compare to the established brands?

Radeon RX 560 GPU: In theory, someone wanting older games or medium settings can get by with a low end graphics card just fine but there's very little in the way of objective analysis outside of synthetic benchmarks. How well does a $100 GPU actually perform for gaming?
 
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Tue May 07, 2019 10:43 pm

NovusBogus wrote:
Radeon RX 560 GPU: In theory, someone wanting older games or medium settings can get by with a low end graphics card just fine but there's very little in the way of objective analysis outside of synthetic benchmarks. How well does a $100 GPU actually perform for gaming?

I'll second this. What are the minimum GPUs for?

1080p/Medium
1080p/Everything
1440p/Medium
1440p/Everything

Assume gaming titles 2+ YO.
What we have today is way too much pluribus and not enough unum.
 
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Wed May 08, 2019 10:05 am

I gotta vote real world performance and torture test of Optane. Second choice would be DACs add-ons for PC.

third choice would be Cast iron/oven Ribeye vs. Aluminum or stainless steel/ oven vs. Grilled.
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Wed May 08, 2019 10:07 am

Grilled on charcoal is the only correct way to cook a ribeye. I'll take mine medium rare, thanks.

I think the Optane endurance test would be very fun.
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Wed May 08, 2019 10:38 am

I don't have a grill, so reverse-seared with a cast iron finish is my method. Butter basting with garlic, thyme, and rosemary optional.

You could turn that into a long-term test, though. Whatever your cooking method, there are some kitchen hacks that would let you dry age at home. Imagine home cooking steaks that you aged for a month...sorry, drooled a little there.
On second thought, let's not go to TechReport. Tis a silly place.
 
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Re: TR Gerbil's Choice Review I - Official Thread

Wed May 08, 2019 11:12 am

If it wasn't for the clean up afterward, I would totally get the MMM ripping hot and then just drop a sous vide steak on it for like 30 seconds each side. I've used cast iron to similar effect previously.

Thanks for the suggestions so far everyone, keep them coming. Something to keep in mind with your nominations, especially for ones that are close to our hearts like PC hardware, there are a lot of things I don't have experience testing. I feel like I could put an interesting spin on Optane testing, but I know I don't have the ears for testing anything audio related. In either case though, I would be taking my first crack at reviewing something that other folks have already established quality testing conventions for/are experts on. My preference skews toward things that would be a bit more experimental in nature. Don't let that stop you from sharing your idea, it's just a heads-up about what I'm mostly likely to put on the upcoming poll.

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