Best answer: Yes, the Surface Go 3 has a microSDXC port and supports microSD cards. This allows you to expand the capacity of storage available to you by up to about 2TB.
Surface Go 3 loves microSD
Like its predecessor, the Surface Go 3 is restricted to just 128GB for internal storage, making it a prime example of a device that can benefit from the utilization of its microSDXC port. This port will handle most microSD cards, supporting SD, SDHC, and SDXC for capacities up to 2TB.
MicroSD cards are no replacement for onboard storage and offer considerably slower transfer speeds than an SSD, but these can prove useful in adding far more capacity to your device. The microSD card slot is just one reason why you should consider the Surface Go 3.
The third generation of Surface Go introduced Intel processors to replace the ARM chips used by Microsoft. These CPUs offer better compatibility with software, as well as a boost in performance. You can configure the Surface Go 3 with up to 8GB of RAM, and it should last for around 11 hours between charges.
When shopping around for a microSD card, we highly recommend the Samsung EVO Select range. These SD cards offer solid read and write speeds for expandable storage and range between 32GB and 512GB. The Surface Go 3 is positioned to be among the best Surface PCs.
If you want entry to the Surface family of devices for one of the lowest possible prices, the Surface Go 3 tablet is an option to consider. For now, it's a Wi-Fi device, though LTE options are on the way.
Here are our NAS recommendations for your home server.
Should you happen to be working from home due to quarantine enforcement and are looking at setting up your own home media server, Plex is a great way to go. This service allows you to configure a single location to host and stream all your music, movies, shows, and more.
Plex requires a solid server to get the most out of the service, though a capable network-attached storage (NAS) enclosure will suffice. It's possible to build your own, which is the desired method for those with the know-how. On the other hand, what if you simply wish to purchase one of the best NAS for Plex, plug everything in, and get going? There are some solutions available from various companies, but not all are suitable for Plex, which can be fairly resource-intensive.
One thing worth noting before you part with hard-earned cash is, the less you fork out for a NAS, the more likely the system will not be able to effectively transcode and stream 4K content to other devices. This depends on the device you wish to enjoy content on. Should a tablet or phone require some assistance from your server for playback, and it's not quite up to the task of handling the intensive request, things may not go smoothly.
What you need to transcode 4K media on Plex
So how does one guarantee high performance for transcoding with Plex? Take a good look at the CPU deployed by companies in the NAS devices you're considering. There's a fantastic NAS guide for Plex, which shows just how well each supported NAS system will perform. Does it support 720p, 1080p, or 4K transcoding? You'll be able to easily check using the following resource.
How to pick the Plex NAS for you
Not all NAS enclosures and processors will run Plex Media Server the same. More affordable NAS models with less powerful processors will fall behind more expensive NAS servers with beefier internals for 4K streaming and multiple connections being made simultaneously. This spreadsheet will show you just how capable each enclosure is for NAS media transcoding.
Generally speaking, you'll want to go with an Intel-powered NAS for optimal performance, but a high-end ARM processor can do well if you don't have the spare funds to part with for a more expensive solution. For storage and other features, you'll need to make sure the NAS has everything you require, and this will differ on a case-by-case basis.
4K transcoding will not be possible with anything less than a multi-core Intel Celeron processor, which itself can struggle to keep up with larger files, especially when more than one Plex account is streaming media simultaneously. If you want to handle 4K transcoding, it's better to build your own NAS or put aside thousands to fund a high-end pre-built NAS server enclosure.
Transcoding occurs when the NAS cannot stream a movie file to a device because it doesn't support the format, which can happen more frequently with smart TVs. The server would then need to transcode the movie into a format accepted by the recipient device. So if the device you need to watch a 4K movie on happily runs the formats you have stored on the NAS, you're golden — it's only when you need to transcode that you would need a powerful CPU.
Our NAS for Plex recommendations
1. QNAP TVS-672XT: Best overall for Plex
Bottom line: The QNAP TVS-672N-i3 was designed with media consumption in mind. You can tell this thanks to the HDMI ports on the rear of the enclosure. Not only that, but QNAP opted to go with a powerful Intel Core i3-8100T processor, which is more than capable of handling 4K transcoding.
This is an expensive option but well worth the investment for those serious about setting up a capable NAS machine that will handle various applications without issue. There's a ton of functionality, with support for 4K playback and transcoding, and even on-the-fly editing.
There are also two 2.5Gb Ethernet ports for faster speeds (backed by a supported network), full support for VMware, Citrix, and Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization platforms. When it comes to security, QNAP hasn't cut corners and offers full NAS encryption, as well as an antivirus.
An Intel Core-i3 processor is joined by 8GB RAM (upgradable to 32GB) and HDMI out with XBMC. Overall, this unit is not only good at being a Plex server but is also a killer NAS unit with a total of six bays.
A pricey NAS, but well worth it if you need six bays, an Intel Core i3 processor, and excellent software support. You can't get better than this for Plex and 4K movies.
2. Synology DiskStation DS920+: Best value NAS for Plex
Bottom line: The best value NAS enclosure for Plex goes to the DS920 from Synology. It's got four drive bays for plenty of storage capacity, a rather reliable Intel Celeron processor, and plenty of features like upgradable RAM and dual-1Gb LAN ports with link aggregation support.
You don't have to fork out countless hundreds for a 4K-capable NAS. The DS920+ is a reliable option, sporting an Intel Celeron J4025 CPU, 2GB DDR4 RAM (supports up to 6GB), and two 1Gb Ethernet connections. This processor will even handle 4K transcoding without issue, allowing you to build the foundations of a great home media server.
When it comes to Plex and enjoying some content, the DS920+ is capable of handling up to 4K H.264, as well as outputting it to a capable display, though we'd recommend only keeping 1080p in mind for transcoding. Just make sure the recipient device supports the same format as the 4K movie, and you'll be fine.
And because it's the DS920, you could expand the four included drive bays up to nine with an expansion unit, something you cannot do with the DS220+ or DS420+.
The Synology DiskStation DS920+ is a cracking NAS enclosure with a capable Intel Celeron processor, 2GB of DDR4 RAM, four drive bays, dual-1Gb LAN, and an excellent OS.
3. TerraMaster F2-221: Best affordable NAS for Plex
Bottom line: Two bays is what you'll find in more affordable NAS enclosures like the TerraMaster F2-221. It's not the most capable but does come rocking an Intel Celeron J3355 processor. This little server can power through 4K movies, so long as you don't need to transcode anything.
Powered by the Intel Celeron J3355 processor, the TerraMaster F2-221 may be an affordable listing for NAS solutions, but don't let that excellent price tag fool you into thinking it's not a capable unit. We're talking 4K Ultra HD video playback and H.265 (HEVC) support. This allows for quality content to be pumped out to an accompanying TV set.
What sets the F2-221 aside is just how easy it is to set up and configure. If you need to install Plex, copy movies across, connect to an Xbox Series X/S console, and other in-home devices, it takes no time at all. Whether you want to throw music, video, or photos at the TerraMaster unit, it'll handle everything without issue.
If you want to save money, look no further than the TerraMaster F2-221. It's affordable, comes equipped with a relatively good Intel Celeron processor, and supports plenty of third-party apps and services.
You're going to want the best motherboards for your PC build to get the most out of your components. Depending on your budget, available size support, and which CPU you plan on choosing, there's a good selection of boards out there. Here's a collection of our favorite motherboards for the Corsair 275R Airflow.
Best for AMD
ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming
Rocking a fantastic chipset, the ASUS ROG Strix X570-E is a great motherboard for any Ryzen 3000 or 5000 Series CPU. You can install plenty of RAM and take advantage of the excellent stability and build quality.
The Z590 is an excellent chipset for new Intel-powered PC builds, and this motherboard from ASUS has it all at a solid price. Whether you're going with 10th or 11th Gen from intel, this is a solid foundation for your Corsair 275R Airflow gaming PC.
Don't let the price tag fool you into thinking this motherboard isn't worth considering for budget-orientated builds. It's powered by the AMD B550 chipset and has plenty going for it. There's even a good enough power delivery design here for a Ryzen 9 processor.
A good Z590 motherboard doesn't have to cost more than half your PC budget, which is where the ASUS PRIME Z590M-PLUS comes into play. Coming in below $200, this board comes with an 8+1 power phase design, high-quality components, Fan Xpert 4 for a quiet and cool PC, as well as all the rear USB ports you'll need.
The X570 chipset and Mini-ITX form factor allow you to install this board inside a toaster. It'll handle even the more powerful processors, including the AMD Ryzen 9. This is a great option for a sleeper build inside the Corsair 275R Airflow case.
The Corsair 275R Airflow is a great compact case in that it doesn't require an ITX motherboard, but if you really want to use one with an Intel CPU, the MSI MEG Z590I UNIFY is a solid choice. This is a seriously compact motherboard but still manages to support DDR4-5333MHz RAM, PCIe 4.0, Thunderbolt 3, 2.5Gb LAN, and Wi-Fi 6.
We're fans of the Corsair 275R Airflow for its excellent value and thermal performance. This case can support up to ATX motherboards, and we'd recommend AMD and Intel processor owners go with the ASUS ROG Strix X570-E Gaming and ASUS ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming, respectively. These are largely the same board from ASUS but with an AMD or Intel chipset, as well as a few other minor differences.
You can go with a more affordable motherboard and still have an excellent time without stability issues, so long as you don't go overboard with overclocking. The ASUS TUF Gaming B550-PLUS and ASUS PRIME Z590M-PLUS are great choices for those on a tighter budget.
Best answer: Yes, Microsoft's Surface Pro 8 supports the output of video to dual 4K external panels with up to a refresh rate of 60Hz.
Connectivity changes for the future
The Surface Pro 8 is the latest in the family lineup from Microsoft, rocking USB-C 3.1 with Thunderbolt 4 support. Since Microsoft included Thunderbolt 4, it's possible to connect directly to a maximum of two 4K monitors with nothing but a Thunderbolt cable (if supported as an input on the monitor) or a small adapter, as demonstrated in the above official video.
Doing so improves productivity while traveling with the Surface Pro 8 or creating a mobile office. There are numerous 4K monitors, depending on your requirements. There are some portable screens that can connect to a Thunderbolt 4 port directly and then you have the usual monitor affair that can range between budget friendly to professional grade.
More pricey monitors like the BenQ PD2725U (one of the best 4K PC monitors we've reviewed) will come with Thunderbolt support, allowing you to connect it directly to the Surface Pro 8. But some more affordable screens may only have HDMI and DisplayPort, which is when you'll need an adapter. We've got two from Cable Matters, one for hooking up a single monitor and another for two.
NZXT answers community calls for better PC case airflow.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it certainly works for PC cases, but there's always room for improvement. The NZXT H510 is an excellent mid-tower chassis that allows anyone to create a sleek-looking PC build with very little effort. We believe it to be one of the best PC cases you can buy, and NZXT has just created a new version for better airflow.
As the name suggests, the NZXT H510 Flow focuses on increasing the amount of air that can be pulled inside the case with less effort on the part of installed fans. How did the company achieve this? By swapping out the solid front panel for one with plenty of perforated holes. This should decrease internal temperatures and lower emitted noise.
NZXT H510 Flow
Bottom line: NZXT took everything that made the H510 great and improved the one area that was viewed as a letdown: airflow.
The NZXT H510 Flow is available right now for $110. Launched in September 2021, it's going to be difficult to locate this case at a discount since it's the most recent addition to NZXT's lineup of chassis. For the price, the H510 Flow offers good value, including a tempered glass panel and some handy features not found inside competitor cases.
NZXT provided Windows Central with a unit for this review.
NZXT H510 Flow: What's good
The NZXT H510 Flow doesn't alter much from other versions of the case, including the NZXT H510 Elite. That's not a bad thing since the H510 series looks excellent. The only way you'll be able to tell the difference with the new Flow edition is with the perforated front panel.
Traditionally, you had the choice of solid plastic or tempered glass front panel, which forced front intake fans to pull air through some small slits on the side. This restricted the air fans could pull through the front, which is what this new panel solves. NZXT worked this new panel into the existing design so it matches the tempered glass window.
Now, regardless of which color you choose, the lower metal portion of the side panel wraps around the front. Up top is where you'll find the front I/O, consisting of USB-A and USB-C 3.0 ports, as well as the usual audio jack. Towards the rear is a fan grill for a single 120mm or 140mm blower.
The rear of the H510 Flow contains the usual 120mm fan mount, cut-out for motherboard I/O, PSU mount, and seven PCI slots. The H510 looks stunning and NZXT didn't really have much to improve upon visually for the Flow.
NZXT H510 Flow
Mini-ITX Micro-ATX ATX
1x USB-A 3.0 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 1x headphone/microphone
7 horizontal PCI
2x 2.5-inch SSD 2x 2.5-inch/3.5-inch HDD
1x 120mm 1x 140mm
2x 120mm 2x 140mm
GPU: 380mm CPU: 165mm
18.11 x 8.27 x 16.85 inches (460mm x 210mm x 428mm)
14.55 pounds (6.6kg)
Steel Tempered glass
Inside the NZXT H510 Flow is also unchanged. There's a spacious interior with a PSU shroud to keep everything looking clean. Behind the front panel, which can be removed easily by hand, is a radiator mounting door. Loosening two thumbscrews allow for it to be removed for more convenient AIO installation.
The largest radiator the H510 Flow will take is 280mm, allowing you to enjoy the use of the included HDD cage in the lower section of the case. And building your entire PC inside this case is an incredibly straightforward process. NZXT provides numerous tools to allow even those with very little PC building experience to create clean rigs.
The highlight feature is the cable management routing behind the motherboard tray. This is among the best in the business. To test the improved airflow, I installed the same high-performance parts used in other case reviews, which include an AMD Ryzen 9 5950X CPU and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPU.
be quiet! Silent Base 802
Corsair 275R Airflow
NZXT H510 Flow
Fractal Design Meshify C
Performance was excellent, especially compared to the NZXT H510i, knocking a good 7C off the CPU temperature under load. Because fans don't have to work as hard, we picked up a notable reduction in noise even though additional holes in a case will allow more vibrations to pass through.
NZXT H510 Flow: What's not good
I didn't have any complaints about building a PC inside the NZXT H510 Flow. I did notice the PCI bracket screws being firmly secured to the chassis, requiring considerable force to remove them by hand. This could have been an issue with the sample we received for review.
Something that will affect all units is the front I/O. It's great to see USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, but I would have liked to have an additional USB-A port. But that's a minor nitpick and something you could overlook if you don't have many accessories to connect.
NZXT H510 Flow: Competition
More case manufacturers are coming out with "airflow optimized" cases. It has recently been discovered that not impeding front access to cool air improves thermal performance. The H510 Flow has serious competition, the most notable being Lian Li's PC-O11 Dynamic (we reviewed the exceptional Lian Li O11-D Mini version).
The be quiet! Silent Base 802 is another contender with a large mesh front panel. This case ranked among the best in our thermal testing and was whisper quiet with the included Silent Wings fans from be quiet! It's larger than the H510 and has a few odd design choices, but it's the go-to case for low internal temperatures.
NZXT H510 Flow: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
You want a mid-tower PC case
You have a Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, or ATX motherboard
You don't plan on using RGB accessories
You want to use AIO water cooling
You shouldn't buy this if ...
You want out-the-box RGB lighting
You have an E-ATX motherboard
The H510 Flow is designed for those who like the design of the H510 series but desire better thermal performance. The redesigned front panel certainly helps to reduce heat by allowing front-facing fans to easily pull in cool air. This makes the H510 Flow one of the best mid-tower PC cases, so long as you don't want RGB lighting.
5out of 5
The cable management routing is industry-leading, making it possible for anyone to create a clean-looking PC. There's plenty of internal space to install all your expensive components, and the side tempered-glass panel makes peeking into the case a sight to behold. Throw in a white NZXT Kraken 280mm AIO and you've got a killer machine.
NZXT H510 Flow
Bottom line: NZXT addressed one of the more prominent issues some had with the H510 PC case. With a new perforated front panel, it's now easier than ever to build a sleek-looking PC that doesn't take much effort to keep cool.
NZXT rolls out new AIO colors for a fresh new look.
What you need to know
NZXT releases white versions of its Kraken X3 and Z3 AIO CPU coolers.
The new white AIOs come with white AER RGB 2 fans.
All new white variants are available today, starting from $170.
NZXT has launched new white variants of its X-3 and Z-3 Kraken all-in-one (AIO) water-cooling solutions. Previously, the range was only available in black. With the company offering both black and white variants of its cases and motherboards, it's good to see a move to finally offer its best AIO coolers in both flavors.
The X-3 range is the more affordable option with Aer RGB 2 fans and a water block with an RGB lit logo mirror effect. The Z-3 counterparts swap out the water block for one with a small display, which can show temperature information or even animated GIFs. The rest of the specs between the two families of AIOs are identical.
NZXT Kraken X53 (240mm): $170
NZXT Kraken X63 (280mm): $190
NZXT Kraken X73 (360mm): $230
NZXT Kraken Z53 (240mm): $260
NZXT Kraken Z63 (280mm): $280
NZXT Kraken Z73 (360mm): $310
I positively reviewed the Kraken series of AIOs, notably the Kraken Z63 and Z73 for their excellent cooling performance, out-the-box Intel and AMD support, smart OLED display, and reliable Asetek pump. The Z-series came with non-RGB Fans, but you can now buy the Z53, Z63, or Z73 with RGB Aer 2 fans.
As well as the new white varients of existing Kraken coolers, NZXT also announced the new Kraken 120 for $90. This is a 120mm AIO, as the name suggests, and is an upgrade to the existing Kraken M22 with a new pump, larger reservoir, and RGB support. All announced AIOs, including the new Kraken 120, are available right now from NZXT direct or through participating retailers.
To make the most of your PC components, you're going to need a power supply unit (PSU). This is the most important component of your PC build since it's what is responsible for providing power to the entire system. It's vital to choose a PSU from a reputable brand with enough capacity to support your PC. Here is our list of options for the best power supply for gaming PCs in 2021.
Best overall: EVGA SuperNOVA P2 650W
EVGA SuperNOVA P2 650W
80 Plus Platinum
1x 140mm fan
650W is a good sweet spot for gaming PCs in 2021, especially if you're considering the best graphics card from NVIDIA or AMD. The SuperNOVA P2 from EVGA is a monster of a PSU. It's fully modular, allowing you to use only the cables that are required by your motherboard and connected components.
The PSU is cooled by a single 140mm blower, which has a decent curve depending on current load and the ECO mode switch on the rear of the unit allows one to choose between performance and noise. The 80 Plus Platinum badge sees this PSU as 94% efficient at converting AC to DC when under 50% load, which should be about right for most single GPU PC builds.
If all that wasn't enough already, EVGA backs this PSU up with a full 10-year warranty. It could be viewed as a little too pricey for some builds, but this is one of the best power supplies for gaming PCs.
You'll find it difficult to find a better value PSU than this EVGA example. It's rated for 80 Plus Platinum and has enough power for gaming PCs.
Best budget: Corsair CX Series 450W
Just one PCIe connection
Not fully modular
Corsair CX Series 450W
80 Plus Bronze
1x 120mm fan
The Corsair CX450 is an interesting power supply and that's not just because it can be found for as little as $50. This 450W variant is actually made by two manufacturers: Great Wall and Channel Well Technology. Depending on which version you manage to purchase, you'll have slightly different efficiency figures and audible fan curves.
But really, when it comes down to it, the CX450 is an extremely good PSU for the price, backed by Corsair's fair five-year warranty. The 80 Plus Bronze efficiency rating ensures this PSU is good at converting as much AC power into DC with little waste. It's not all good news, however. The single PCIe connection may restrict expansion or use with GPUs that require additional cables.
Then there's the fact this PSU is only semi-modular, meaning the main power rails are hard-wired into the unit.
Corsair is a household name for gaming hardware and the company's range of PSUs are solid choices, especially the CX series.
Best 550W PSU: Seasonic Focus 550W
Seasonic Focus 550W
80 Plus Gold
1x 120mm fan
Seasonic may not be the most renowned brand for power supplies, but it's actually responsible for plenty of PSUs out there from reputable brands like NZXT. The Focus series is Seasonic's mid-range line of power plants and this 550W unit is more than enough for most PCs. It's semi-modular, is rated at 80 Plus Gold, and delivers stable power to all your components.
It may be semi-modular, but Seasonic allows you to pick and choose which peripheral cables you wish to use, as well as an optional PCIe cable if your GPU requires it. It's a little pricey for an 80 Plus Gold PSU, but the level of quality you receive with a Seasonic power supply shouldn't be overlooked.
Seasonic makes some of the best PSUs out there, and the Focus range is a great choice for most PC builds.
Best 850W PSU: Corsair RM850x
80 Plus Gold
1x 135mm fan
If you plan on using the latest GPUs from AMD or NVIDIA and want a capable processor with plenty of other components connected, you'll want to step up your power headroom estimation to about 850W. Corsair's RM850x has more than enough to supply reliable, stable power to all your expensive parts.
It's fully modular, as expected at this price point, is cooled by a magnetic 135mm fan, and is 80 Plus Gold rated. Backed by a full 10-year warranty and using premium Japanese capacitors rated for 105C, you'll have no issues running your PC with this best power supply for gaming PCs.
Corsair's RM range of PSUs is fantastic for mid-range PCs with the latest NVIDIA 30-series graphics cards.
Best 1000W PSU: be quiet! Dark Power Pro 12
80 Plus Titanium rating
be quiet! Dark Power Pro 12
80 Plus Titanium
1x 135mm fan
be quiet! makes some high-quality PC components and the company's PSU range is renowned for low noise and stable operation. Take those traits and throw in 1000W and 80 Plus Titanium efficiency rating and you get the be quiet! Dark Power Pro 12. This 1000W unit is an absolute behemoth in power delivery.
It's expensive — and I'm talking the price of a GPU or CPU expensive — but you get a fully modular PSU with a 135mm fan to keep everything cool under load. There are eight PCIe connections, which shows just how serious this PSU is at supplying power, and you can choose between multi or single-rail 12V modes.
You likely don't require a 1000W power supply, nor should you reserve a good portion of your budget to buy one. But this is one of the best PSUs around.
Best SFX: FSP Dagger Pro
80 Plus Gold rating
FSP Dagger Pro
80 Plus Gold
1x 92mm fan
FSP is a manufacturer of PSUs that makes units for other companies, including be quiet! They make solid power supplies that are reliable and provide clean and stable current to connected hardware. We're big fans of the FSP Dagger Pro range of SFX units that are well designed for use inside more compact PC builds.
This 650W model is fully modular, has enough capacity to handle a full gaming rig, is 80 Plus Gold rated, has a warranty of seven years, and has a powerful 12V rail. The fan can get a little loud when pushed with a heavy load, but it's not something that you'll notice much above other fans spinning up inside the case.
FSP makes some great PSUs for other brands and its own collection of power supplies is also worth considering.
What about other PSUs?
It's difficult to choose a good PSU for your build as there are many out there from reputable companies. PCs only really need around 500W with a single dedicated GPU, and a 1000W PSU from an unknown brand will likely not be as good as an 850W option from the likes of Corsair.
One thing we strongly recommend avoiding is saving too much money. It's best to spend a little more on this component to get a unit that sports necessary protective features, as well as great reliability and support from the manufacturer. Just remember one thing when shopping: Wattage isn't everything. Don't go for the highest number you see.
How much wattage do you need?
Depending on what components you plan on installing inside the PC, you'll want to have a power supply with additional headroom in addition to providing enough power to all the components. PSU manufacturers have their own calculators, which you can find below, but we recommend around 700W for most PC builds.
NVIDIA also recommends PSU wattage limits depending on which 30-series GPU is selected. There's likely not going to be a scenario where more than 900W of power will be required by your system, making such a PSU rather pointless, unless you're building an enthusiast rig.
Higher efficiency means less waste
80 Plus is a certification system to show the efficiency a PSU is capable of. Percentages are provided for 20%, 50%, and 100% loads. If your system uses about 250W at peak demand and the PSU is capable of handling 500W, you're reaching the 50% threshold. This is where power supplies are generally considered to be most efficient.
80 Plus Bronze
80 Plus Silver
80 Plus Gold
80 Plus Platinum
80 Plus Titanium
The higher up in the table you go, the more expensive the PSU will become. An 80 Plus Bronze is considerably more affordable than a range-topping 80 Plus Titanium, for example. When it comes down to it, you won't notice much of a difference between the 80 Plus tiers, aside from a heat output and power draw.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Rich Edmonds is a staff reviewer at Windows Central, which means he tests out more software and hardware than he cares to remember. Joining Mobile Nations in 2010, you can usually find him inside a PC case tinkering around when not at a screen fighting with Grammarly to use British words. Hit him up on Twitter: @RichEdmonds.
I'm a fan of the Corsair 275R Airflow and believe it offers excellent value for those wanting to build a PC on a tighter budget. Even the best PC cases require good cooling to keep components running within optimal temperature ranges, and the 275R Airflow is no exception. Here are our recommendations for best AIO cooler for the Corsair 275R Airflow.
NZXT Kraken Z63 280mm
We're big fans of NZXT's Kraken series of AIO coolers. The Kraken Z63 is a 280mm AIO with a fancy smart water block. There's a 2.36-inch display that can be controlled through the company's CAM software to display important information related to temperatures or even your own images.
The Corsair Hydro Series is a range of strong AIO liquid coolers that comes in a clean white (or black) look. If you're someone who wants a two-toned look in their case and the benefits of an easy-to-install cooler, this is it. The fans and water block are RGB friendly, which is great since the Airflow case doesn't come with any RGB lighting.
be quiet! makes some of the best fans on the market for PC cooling so it only makes sense that the company should know a thing or two about water cooling. The PURE LOOP series offers excellent value for keeping the CPU in check under load. It's a 280mm AIO without any RGB lighting but does come with a detached pump for less vibration and noise.
Think of the Kraken Z73 as the same AIO as our top recommendation, but with three 120mm fans instead of two larger 140mm blowers. The radiator has also been extended from 280mm to 360mm. This will still fit just fine inside the Corsair 275R Airflow and offer more thermal capacity for overclocking.
The Corsair 275R Airflow is a great budget case that can support AIO coolers with radiators up to 360mm in length. This opens up a large collection of supported coolers, some of which have been highlighted in this collection. We'd recommend at least 240mm as a sweet spot for most processors.
NZXT's Kraken Z63 is a beast of a cooler. This thing can handle an overclocked AMD Ryzen 9 5950X without issue. It's available in black or white, has a small display to show temperatures or cool GIFs, and has two very good static pressure-optimized fans.
The rest of our recommendations are great for keeping with the same Corsair brand, saving some money in the process, or splashing out and getting the best thermal capacity for overclocking.
Affordable PC case with impressive thermal performance.
There are so many PC cases to choose from, especially in the mid-tower segment. In this highly competitive space, Corsair is attempting to differentiate its more affordable offering in the form of the 275R with an Airflow version that focuses on maximizing how much air can be pushed through the chassis.
Available in either black or white, this value case comes with a tempered glass side panel, which is a luxury feature in itself. As well as the glass viewing window, there's a front panel with lattice cutout lines for both style and function. Support for up to a 360mm radiator allows for considerably powerful processors and larger AIO solutions.
Not everything is great for this affordable Corsair case. Upon closer inspection, it's clear there's a lack of any USB-C ports on the front panel. This could be a deal-breaker for those using accessories that lack a USB-A adapter and is something even value competition offerings offer.
Corsair 275R Airflow
Bottom line: If you consider the Corsair 275R Airflow with the price in mind, this is a difficult case to beat, so long as you don't require front USB-C. It has three fans to get you started, plenty of AIO support, and enough space for larger motherboards and GPUs.
The main highlight of the Corsair 275R Airflow is the price. It's available for around $80, though you'll be able to find it less when on sale. We managed to snag one in the UK for £40 ($55). For a case with a tempered glass panel and good airflow, this is an absolute steal for those on tighter budgets.
Corsair 275R Airflow: What's good
Corsair PC cases cover a wide spectrum, ranging from aggressive gamer styling to outrageous functionality. The 1000D is a super tower that can house two computers (yes, two) with up to eight fans on the front panel alone. That's more than what the Corsair 275R Airflow can handle altogether. But that case also costs considerably more than this one.
Where the 275R fits in is between the super affordable and mid-range, offering some premium features reserved for more expensive cases. After unboxing the cases, it doesn't look cheap at all. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised at just how well designed the 275R is, aside from the small gap between the front panel and main body.
Speaking of the front panel, we've got the lattice style cutouts for pulling in air. This is on the sides of the front panel too and it looks great in black. On the right side, it's the usual bare metal side panel. The opposite side is the tempered glass window, which is held to the chassis with four thumbscrews. The top houses the dust filter and fan grill.
Corsair 275R Airflow
Mini-ITX Micro-ATX ATX
2x USB-A 3.0 1x Headphone/Microphone
7 horizontal PCI 2 vertical PCI
4x 2.5-inch SSD 2x 3.5-inch HDD
2x 120mm 1x 140mm
3x 120mm 2x 140mm
Front Top Bottom
GPU: 370mm CPU: 170mm
17.99 x 8.5 x 17.91 inches (457mm x 216mm x 455mm)
15.2 pounds (6.9kg)
Steel Tempered glass
The Corsair 275R supports motherboard sizes up to ATX. Don't even consider installing a larger board as the tray protrudes with the cable grommets. Seven horizontal PCI expansion slots are located on the rear, though Corsair does allow the vertical mounting of GPUs and two further PCI slots are available for this reason.
It's possible to install up to four 2.5-inch and two 3.5-inch drives. Up to seven fans can be installed, allowing for one super-cooled PC. The hard drive cage does not need to be removed in order to maximize front space for a 360mm radiator. This is an issue I found with the Fractal Design Meshify C. Fan filtering is present on front, top, and bottom panels.
Where things become a little basic and dated is behind the motherboard tray. The grommets are large for routing cables, but there aren't any channels and minimal mounting locations. This doesn't mean you can't create a clean finish but makes it a little trickier to get everything in place.
The Corsair 275R Airflow offers impressive thermal performance for the price.
As for building inside the Corsair 275R, which is the most important part of even the best PC cases, it's a smooth process. There's plenty of space to work in and panels can be removed with thumbscrews. The front panel is held on via plastic clips and requires some considerable force. It would have been nice to see the use of magnets here.
The PSU shroud will support ATX power supplies, though I'd avoid installing any that are larger than the standard dimensions. It's possible, but you will eat into valuable cable management space. As with all the other recent case reviews, I put together a test rig with an AMD Ryzen 9 5950X to see how the Corsair 275R would handle even the more power-hungry processors.
As expected, the Corsair case performed really well, beating out the Fractal Design Meshify C, but within a margin of error. These cases are priced similarly, though you often find the Corsair 275R on sale more frequently. The be quiet! Silent Base 802 is still the go-to case for maximum cooling performance in this segment of cases, however.
Corsair 275R Airflow: What's not good
There are a few drawbacks to the Corsair 275R Airflow, which starts with the feeling of cheapness in areas. Corsair clearly cut corners to keep the price low, and there's no more obvious part than the front panel. It's held to the main body with outdated plastic clips that prove difficult to remove.
The cable management is also from before 2020, and you may find it difficult to keep everything tidy behind the motherboard tray. If you'd rather have the case maker provide specific channels for routing spaghetti, this case isn't for you. Oddly enough, there's no front panel USB-C, which isn't good considering many motherboards today support the feature.
Corsair 275R Airflow: Competition
The competition is fierce in this price range. There are numerous solid PC cases to choose from, including the aforementioned Fractal Design Meshify C, which is a little more modern with better cable management. The NZXT H510i Elite has weaker thermal performance, but has a vastly more premium styling, making it appear far more expensive.
Then there's the impressive be quiet! Silent Base 802, which costs more than the 275R, but comes with more features and better overall build quality, should your budget be able to stretch.
Corsair 275R Airflow: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
You're on a tight budget
You want a cool PC under load
You plan on using a 360mm radiator AIO
You want an understated design
You shouldn't buy this if ...
You want RGB lighting out the box
You want more premium features
You want the best cable management
You need front panel USB-C
You should consider the Corsair 275R Airflow if you're on a tighter budget, want a cooler PC under load, plan on using AIO for CPU cooling, and prefer a subtle design. It's an attractive case that's easy to work with. It's just a shame it doesn't have better cable management and front panel USB-C connectivity.
4out of 5
I appreciate what Corsair has done with the 275R Airflow. It's aggressively priced and frequently on sale, offers those with tighter budgets tempered glass, and performs admirably in synthetic benchmark tests. It's not the most modern case around, nor will it win any awards, but this is one seriously good value case.
Corsair 275R Airflow
Bottom line: The Corsair Z275R Airflow has plenty of positive points, including a large intake, good thermal performance, and a fantastic price.
If you want the absolute best performance from AMD processors, the Threadripper range and best motherboards with TRX40 chipset are the combinations to go for. But if you don't have thousands of fiat money to spare on such a setup, motherboard vendors have been able to push the AMD X570 chipset considerably, which allows one to use high-end platforms with more affordable CPUs.
This is where the ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Extreme comes into play. It's in the region of $800, which is a considerable amount for a motherboard, but supports AMD Ryzen processors and has a host of features you won't find on less-capable boards. We're going to take a look at this flagship X570 board from ASUS and see whether it's worthy of a spot in your next AMD PC build.
ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Extreme
Bottom line: ASUS goes all-out when designing and building the Crosshair range of motherboards and the X570 VIII Extreme is no exception. It's about as good as you can get for AMD processors, so long as you don't mind the high price tag.
ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Extreme: Price and availability
The ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Extreme is the company's flagship AMD X570 motherboard. Performance-wise, it's about the same as most X570 motherboards, but this beast comes rocking considerably more features. This is the price you pay for a high-end, enthusiast motherboard.
Priced at $800 at the time of writing, the Crosshair VIII isn't for those on tighter budgets. This is about as much as some spend on an entire PC, let alone a single component. It's expensive, but well worth the cost if you plan on taking advantage of many of the more advanced features not available with more affordable options.
ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Extreme: What's good
Like other X570 motherboards, the ROG Crosshair VIII Extreme from ASUS is a premium foundation for a PC build. Some notable feature highlights with the AMD X570 chipset include PCIe 4.0 for speedier SSD storage and more headroom for GPUs. But where the Crosshair VIII Extreme differentiates itself from the competition is everything else that comes with it.
ASUS did a solid job designing the ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Extreme.
Inside the box, alongside the ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Extreme, you'll find an ASUS fan controller, DIMM.2 SSD expansion card, Wi-Fi antenna, ROG Audio cable, as well as the usual SATA cabling and other accessories one would expect with a motherboard. You'll notice the little touches when unboxing everything. Instead of chucking all the accessories underneath the board, ASUS packaged it all inside the sturdy foam.
For the motherboard itself, there's full support for the Ryzen 2000, 3000, and 5000 series of processors. It's possible to install up to 128GB of DDR4 RAM at speeds of up to 5GHz (2.5GHz x2). There are two PCIe 4.0 x16 slots with full support for NVIDIA and AMD dual-GPU configurations. Then you've got five M.2 slots (three on the board and two on the expansion card), three of which are capable of running at PCIe 4.0 speeds.
But that's not all, ASUS managed to throw in 2.5Gb and 10Gb LAN connections for more network bandwidth, not to mention the Realtek ALC4082 audio codec. Then there's the array of rear ports, which includes eight USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and illuminated audio jacks. It's a board with plenty of features, which is the biggest selling point.
USB BIOS FlashBack Button(s) 1x 10G LAN 1x 2.5G LAN 1x ASUS Wi-Fi 2x Thunderbolt 4 8x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 (up to 10Gbps) 2x DisplayPort in 1x Optical S/PDIF out 5x Illuminated audio jack
305mm x 277mm
To cram all this tech onto a PCB that fits inside most mid- and full-tower PC cases, ASUS made full use of the rather confusing EATX "standard," measuring in at 305mm x 277mm. It's essentially an ATX motherboard that's a little bit wider. Compared to the outgoing X470 Crosshair VII, this latest entry in the AMD series from ASUS sports a slightly less aggressive design, which should fit in with builds that don't rely on RGB lighting.
It's a sleek, all-black PCB with an extensive metal shroud. We've come to know and appreciate how ASUS approaches the covering of M.2 slots without making anything important inaccessible, though this comes short of what NZXT offers with its N7 B550 motherboard. It's incredibly heavy for a motherboard, also in part due to the full metal backplate. This is an EATX board, however, so you will need to make sure your chassis can take a 277mm-wide platform.
Should you have an adequate case, you'll appreciate all the extra features present on this board. Let's start with the dual 8-pin CPU ProCool II power connections in the top left, which is common on high-end boards such as this. Next, we have the 18+2 power stages (rated for a total of 90 amps) with microfine alloy chokes and 10K Japanese-made black metallic capacitors.
This EATX motherboard is laden with enthusiast features for powerful PC builds.
It's a fantastic foundation for high-performance Ryzen 9 processors. There are four DIMM slots, as well as an additional DIMM.2 slot for adding an optional (but included) PCIe 4.0 M.2 expansion card. There's the return of the small OLED panel just below the CPU socket, which can display temperatures, clock speeds, and other data.
The usual 24-pin ATX power connection is present on the right with an additional onboard 8-pin PCIe port. ASUS has generously added two USB-C and two USB-A 3.0 ports for cases that support either. Enthusiast features are towards the bottom of the board, below the usual array of six SATA points of contact.
To play with, you've got physical buttons for safe boot, retrying a BIOS config, and switching BIOS altogether. And to get the most out of your processor, you'll need water cooling. Using a custom water-cooling loop, the ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Extreme can control the pump, radiator fans (two headers can supply 4A of current), and even monitor water temperatures and flow rate.
The three M.2 slots are covered by metal shrouds, as is the case with many motherboards today. The top-most M.2 slot is hidden behind the 2-inch OLED panel. It's removed easily, as is the case with the two other M.2 slots, and ASUS makes use of a toolless design to secure the SSD to the board, which is brilliant. There are also thermal pads present both below and above the primary M.2 drive.
The ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Extreme has a lot going for it. Really there's not much to dislike with the motherboard. If you have an expansive case with numerous front panel USB ports, more than three M.2 SSDs, a powerful Ryzen 9 processor, and plan to do a custom water-cooling solution to keep everything within a specific temperature range, this is the board for you.
Having fancier features is one thing, but how does the motherboard compare to the competition in terms of performance? We put the Crosshair VIII Extreme to the test with an AMD Ryzen 9 5950X CPU, ASUS ROG GeForce RTX 3080 GPU, and Sabrent PCIe 4.0 SSD to see how much of a difference it would make. We weren't expecting huge gains since even mid-tier motherboards perform very well.
We've not tested many enthusiast motherboards and as such don't have numbers to compare apples to apples, but compared to mid-range motherboards like the ASUS ROG Strix X570-E, the difference is negligible when running stock settings through the UEFI BIOS. But that's doing the Crosshair motherboard a disservice and cranking everything up allowed for a very slight edge on everything else we've tested. I'm talking in the region of up to 5%.
VRM temperatures were measured at 44C stock settings. Overclocking components brought this up to 49C. It was possible to push the Ryzen 9 5950X to 5.1GHz at 1.45v without issue. I was able to get the installed G.SKILL Trident Z Royal RAM running stable at full rated speeds and 1.49V (versus the rated 1.5V). Running the RTX 3080 in games saw the same amazing results one would expect from such a GPU at 1440p and 4K resolutions (see the card review for more details).
ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Extreme: What's not good
I didn't come across anything I disliked about the Crosshair VIII Extreme. It does mostly everything right, which should be expected given how many revisions ASUS has gone through with previous chipsets. The latest X570 iteration is a world-class motherboard, so long as you can afford it.
The major problem with such a premium product is the audience. Do you really need a motherboard with up to five M.2 slots, more power delivery headroom than you'll ever require, overclocking tools like physical boot buttons, and 10Gb LAN? The answer is likely to be no, which makes it difficult to recommend the ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Extreme to anyone other than a PC enthusiast.
ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Extreme: Competition
You can compare this motherboard against all other X570 offerings since they'll mostly all be compatible with the same processors. When put up against more affordable X570 motherboards, you'll be gaining a slight boost in performance, but not one that's worth the additional cost. If you're only after computing power, it's best to go with a better value board.
In terms of features, this is where the Crosshair series from ASUS shines. You've got countless M.2 slots, fantastic water-cooling support, advanced overclocking support, a better power delivery setup, and both 10G and 2.5G LAN connections. This is a solid foundation for an enthusiast build or for a creator PC.
To fit all this functionality on a single PCB, ASUS had to stretch the dimensions a little, meaning this motherboard is slightly wider than standard ATX. This may rule out some cases that are unable to support such a size. And if you're considering a compact PC build you'll want to look at a Mini-ITX motherboard like the Gigabyte X570-I AORUS Pro Wi-Fi.
ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Extreme: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
You have an AMD Ryzen 9 processor
You plan to overclock your CPU
You want to use 10Gb LAN or Wi-Fi 6
You want an enthusiast-grade motherboard
You can spare $800 from your PC budget
You shouldn't buy this if ...
You don't have much money to spare
You don't have at least a Ryzen 7 processor
You don't plan on overclocking the CPU
You won't utilize most of the features
The question of "should you buy this motherboard" comes down to how much budget you have to spare. If you can spend $800 on a motherboard alone without feeling a little down afterward, you should go right ahead and do so. But that's only if you plan on using most of the more advanced features, including the DIMM.2 expansion card, front USB connections, overclocking support, and water-cooling features.
5out of 5
If you're not going to use any of that, the ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Extreme becomes a harder sale. That's not to say it's a bad motherboard; it's absolutely the opposite. This is a fantastic foundation for an AMD Ryzen PC build. It looks stunning, is built to a very high standard, and uses premium components for stable power delivery. All the most important boxes are ticked.
The issue is most PC builds won't require any of these features. Most gamers don't create their own water-cooling loops, nor do they need to connect up to five M.2 SSDs to their PC. Even ASUS' own mid-range motherboards, such as the exceptional ROG Strix X570-E Gaming, offer similar performance at a vastly more affordable price. But such boards likely won't have an OLED panel, physical buttons for BIOS switching, and more.
ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Extreme
Bottom line: There's so much to love about this motherboard, including the robust BIOS and power delivery, expansion options, and impressive performance.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is a big hit for simulator games. The title uses real-world data streamed from the cloud to create one of the most realistic world environments available in gaming. While you don't need a beefy RTX 3090 GPU to play it, having quite the capable gaming rig will make this game more immersive, which is where these pre-built desktop PCs come into play. Here are our top choices for the best pre-built computer for Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Budget gaming PC
CyberPowerPC Gamer Master
This gaming rig from CyberPowerPC comes rocking an AMD Ryzen 3 3100 processor, AMD Radeon RX 570 GPU, 8GB RAM, 240GB SSD, and a 1TB hard-disk drive (HDD). The best part: This is a standard case that you'll find from other vendors, allowing you to upgrade to your heart's content. It also meets the minimum specifications for Flight Simulator 2020.
A laptop? Why yes! It's pre-built, ready to go, and can be taken anywhere you wish. The Razer Blade 15 is slim, packed with powerful gaming hardware, and has excellent display options. This model we selected here comes with an 11th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, NVIDIA RTX 3070 GPU, and 16GB of RAM. But you can improve the specifications if you have more funds to spare.
The OMEN 30L is a serious gaming machine, as one can tell from the name. HP went all out with this PC, and the most affordable model comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 CPU, AMD RX 5500 GPU, and 8GB of RAM. You can configure it up to an Intel Core i7, NVIDIA RTX 3080, and 32GB of RAM, depending on how well you want the game to run. It's one of the best gaming desktop PC choices available today.
NZXT makes some excellent cases and cooling solutions, but the company also runs its own custom PC build service, allowing you to pick and choose parts and receive a complete NZXT PC ready on which to play games. The prices are pretty good, too, allowing you to save on a neat-looking gaming rig.
This Shiva gaming PC from Skytech has it all for a good value build. Inside, you'll find an AMD Ryzen 5 5600 processor, which is still more than current, NVIDIA RTX 3070 GPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB SSD. These specs are great for Microsoft Flight Simulator and other PC games.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is an ambitious game. Still, it doesn't have seriously high system requirements for playing on anything but the best gaming desktop PC. All you need is an AMD Ryzen 3 1200 or Intel i5-4460 CPU, Radeon RX 570 or NVIDIA GTX 700 GPU, and 8GB of RAM. All of our recommended PCs in this collection meet these requirements.
If we were to offer a single recommendation, we'd go with the HP OMEN 30L. Not only does the OMEN 30L look sleek, but it's also got everything packed inside that you'll need, including an RTX 2060 SUPER GPU and Intel Core i7 processor at an affordable price. It's possible to even upgrade the PC at a later date with a more capable Ryzen CPU and NVIDIA GPU if you want to play some more demanding games.
Should you have the available budget and wish to go all out from the get-go, the CyberPowerPC Gamer Master has enough to handle the game without destroying your bank balance. It's also completely made from standard parts, allowing you to swap out, sell, and upgrade parts as you desire.