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Techspin Guides: Table of Contents
UPS BUYING GUIDE- Techspin stamina tests 3 great Cyberpower units
UPS Buying Guide- Quick Tips
Are you looking for battery backup? What kind of features are you looking for in a UPS? Please leave your thoughts in the comments. First let’s start this UPS Buying Guide with a Quick Tips section.
First, to ensure the battery’s maximum charge capacity, it’s recommended that you charge the battery for at least 8 hours, some manufacturers and higher capacity models may require a different amount.
Second, check the wiring fault light. If it’s on, you need to check your outlet to make sure it’s correctly wired and grounded. The surge protection features won’t work if it’s not properly wired and grounded, and you won’t be covered by any Connected Equipment Guarantee. Get a wiring technician to fix it.
Third, don’t connect power strips or extensions into either the battery plus surge or just surge protected UPS outlets, as it increases the risk of electrical fire. You also can’t use it for aquariums or on any transportation as condensation or vibration can cause a short.
Number four, don’t plug a laser printer, paper shredder, copier, space heater, vacuum cleaner, pump, compressor, or power hungry devices like hairdryers into the Battery and Surge Protected Outlets. We’d recommend getting a separate surge protector power strip if you’re safeguarding heavy demand devices.
Finally, to maximize battery runtime during a brownout or blackout, only battery backup your absolutely essential equipment.
TLDR; How to pick a UPS
TLDR- after testing and research on models and performance for price, pick a UPS with an LCD screen, 500 to 600 watts minimum, and USB connectivity. A two minute summary: for a network, at minimum get a 250 to 300 watt backup, with no LCD goes for 50 us and lasts an 1 hour 20 minutes. Around 500 watts with LCD for 100 us, 80 on sale, network stays up just under to 3 hours. These are Standby models, so a Line-interactive mini-tower CP1000AVRLCD 600 watt for 120 bucks should get you past the 3 and a half hour mark.
For a PC and monitor being minimally used at the 600 watt level, gets around 30 minutes for 120 USD, and 1000 watts lasts 49 minutes for 210usd, with Pure sine wave for AV equipment. Out of our options today, the best bang for buck will be the CyberPower CP1000AVRLCD, however the power brick form factor with 4 AC adapter spots is a deal, on sale for 80 bucks. If you’ve got high-end A/V equipment, grab a PFC Pure sine wave model, though I didn’t hear noise introduced with the 1000AVR, your results may vary.
For the best stamina per dollar, a 900 watt PC only UPS and 600 watt monitor and peripheral UPS combo for 270 dollars should last you just over an hour with minimal usage, of course gaming with the latest AAA titles, rendering and the age of the battery will factor into cutting that time.
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UPS Buying Guide- What’s a UPS?
A UPS or Uninterruptible Power Supply kicks on if the power goes out, powering whatever is connected to the battery side. UPSes are rated by VA and watts- watts equals volts times amps, often referred to as VA or Volt-amps. Bigger wattage batteries give longer run times, and newer UPSes provide surge protection. You can keep your network online if it’s essential, keep a PS4 or Switch and TV on during a power failure, or have your main PC and monitor on battery backup so that you can save and power down safely.
There’s two areas we’re looking at, keeping your network up, and preventing computers or even game consoles from abruptly turning off. If you’re a PS4 owner, you know about that 2 to 3 minute wait while your console becomes operational again! Protection from data loss is important too, if your PC suddenly loses power you can get corrupted documents, or a badly timed windows update could leave you having to reinstall windows again. At minimum, it saves you time recreating lost work or fixing drive issues, even if your hard drive/SSD or hardware survives intact.
No matter where you live, you’ll get voltage surges, sags and brownouts depending on the demands of the power network around you, even in your own home, from turning on an old fridge or A/C unit, which can really put a spike in the voltage. They also help mitigate spikes from lightning strikes which is the Joule rating on surge protectors. And lightning’s common in Taipei from the tropical weather, having extra protection for our data is the main reason we bought one. Onto more of our UPS Buying Guide.
UPS Buying Guide- How do they work?
How does a UPS work? Installed between a properly wired and grounded socket and your devices, the UPS battery charges and remains topped off, and during a brownout or blackout, the battery kicks in, delivering power to all battery-side connected devices until the battery is exhausted.
UPSes usually offer half their sockets as battery and surge protected, the other half being just surge protected. USB connectivity can tell your computer the remaining battery time, and trigger a shutdown through software.
There’s two types of UPS- standby, and line interactive, both can switch over in the case of power failure in a few milliseconds. Standby units during surge, sag or brownout conditions, they switch fully over to battery draw. Line-interactive models have AVR or automatic voltage regulation, that cleans incoming current without switching over to battery, so they last longer due to less wear on the battery. We recommend Line-interactive units.
As AC wall power reverses smoothly 60 times per second, UPSes must produce a smooth sine wave to mimic this from the DC powered battery. If the AC sine wave is rough, some computer power supplies will whine or even be damaged by the rough current. Importantly, if you’re working with A/V equipment, you want Pure Sine Wave over simulated sine wave, as power irregularities often introduce noise to sensitive audio gear.
Factoring into operational cost, you’ll pay a tiny bit more in electricity monthly for the backup protection, and usually 3 to 6 years down the road, need to replace batteries as they lose charge, which your UPS will beep or light an LED to tell you it’s time.
UPS Buying Guide- CyberPower models
We have three models we’re testing for our UPS Buying Guide. First is the Cyberpower EC850LCD, a standby type with simulated sine wave and surge protection. This model prices at just under 100 us dollars, on sale sometimes for 80 bucks on Amazon, and 110 Canadian. In Taiwan there’s the 650VA for 1600nt, in the UK nothing yet in this form factor and capacity at this time. Key features are the 850 VA, 510 watt capacity, LCD screen, 12 surge protected outlets, 6 of those are battery backup, along with USB connectivity, and auto-shutdown software.
A circuit breaker reset button, 100 thousand connected equipment guarantee when connected properly, and the LCD displays current/load level, battery level, output voltage, overload, normal mode, runtime, input voltage, battery in use, and silent mode, with a typical transfer time of 4 milliseconds.
CyberPower’s Ecologic series has an interesting function, when your PC is off or sleeping, it can cut power to three surge-protect only outlets on this model to save power. Useful for turning off PC speakers… something I always forget to do. This is also user configurable in software if you don’t need this functionality, working with PowerPanel Personal, a free download, we’ll get into this later.
The CyberPower EC850LCD has a surge rating of 526 joules, joules is the amount of energy that a surge protector can absorb. Battery recharge time is 8 hours from total discharge, battery life is quoted from 3 to 6 years. The CyberPower EC850LCD has a three year product warranty, and audible alarms for Battery Mode, Low Battery, and Overload conditions. It says the battery is replaceable by qualified technician.
This socket layout allows for 4 larger AC adapters to be plugged in without interfering with other sockets, really good planning there. It comes with a USB cable to connect to PC, and the LCD is blue backlit with white segments, readable left to right and above nicely. One thing you might notice is that Taiwan’s voltage is actually 110 volts at 60 hertz. 99% of electronics have input tolerance at the 120 volt mark, so 10 volts below isn’t an issue. The UPS delivers 120 volts when running, no problems to equipment in Taiwan, everything working fine.
Next up is the Cyberpower CP1000AVRLCD, a Line Interactive unit with Simulated Sine wave and surge protection and part of CyberPower’s Intelligent LCD lineup, it prices at 120 USD, 191 Canadian and 3200nt in Taiwan, I saw it for sale at 2700, which is a great deal if you live here.
This unit is 1000 VA, 600 watt capacity, with a sharp, clear black LCD screen, it’s the brightest of the three LCD screens we’re looking at, with white segments and white LED power button. With 9 surge protected outlets, 5 of those battery backup, and has coax and gigabit network RJ-45 protection in and out, with USB and serial port connectivity.
With 350,000 dollar connected equipment guarantee, the LCD shows all the previous items like input/output voltage, current/load/battery levels, runtime, overload and silent, again with a typical transfer time of 4 milliseconds.
Additional features of the intelligent LCD is displaying input and output Hertz, output kilowatts, volt-amps and amps, along with kilowatts and volt-amps percentages. There’s a slight bit of light bleed from the segments which barely catches other elements in the LCD display. Powerpanel personal is the software that interfaces with this model.
This CyberPower CP1000AVRLCD has a surge rating of 1080 joules, double the previous model. Battery recharge time is typically 8 hours from empty, battery life isn’t listed but should also range around 3 to 6 years. The website lists a three year product warranty, though that varies by region, in Taiwan we get two years. There’s audible alarms for Battery Mode, Low Battery, Overload and Fault conditions, and there’s a user-replaceable battery for a list price of 40 bucks when eventually you need to replace it.
This socket layout is packed together so if you want to use AC adapters you can grab a UL listed 3 prong AC power extension cord 10 pack for about 17 bucks off Amazon.
It comes with a USB cable to connect to PC, and the LCD has much better legibility due to the contrast of white segments showing on pure black, and for visibility, it’s readable left to right and above very well. This is the unit we grabbed ourselves initially, and have been using for about 6 months, and there was a tiny issue with the white power LED flickering but CyberPower swapped us a new unit, no question asked.
Our biggest unit today is the Cyberpower CP1500PFCLCD, a Line Interactive unit with Pure Sine wave and surge protection is part of CyberPower’s PFC Sine-wave line for high-end audio/visual equipment. It prices at around 210 USD, 299 Canadian and 4500nt in Taiwan.
This unit is 1500 VA, 1000 watt capacity, with a color segment LCD screen over black and white LED power button. With 12 surge protected outlets, 6 of those battery backup, one outlet on each side spaced away for AC adapters. It has gigabit network RJ-45 protection in and out, with USB and serial port connectivity.
One upgrade is the remote management SNMP expansion port, Simple Network Management Protocol is a way for different devices running different software on a network all to communicate. CyberPower’s RMCARD205 allows remote management through tons of protocols. SNMP is the entering office and server tech side of things, so real-time monitoring and event notification starts around $230 dollars for an expansion card, I see an ARM chip in the photo so it’s basically a micro-computer.
Also coming with a $500,000 equipment guarantee, the color LCD Panel tilts 4 notches, up to 22° degrees for easy viewing, with almost the same screen info as the AVR1000, dropping input hertz and output Amps, but adding event number, to tell you if there’s any important issues, with the typical 4 millisecond power transfer time. Software is handled by the upgraded PowerPanel Business package.
Another cool addition is you can charge your phones or tablets from battery power, connecting with USB Type A or C, they are shared 3.1 amp charge ports. This CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD has a surge rating of 1445 joules, up from the previous model. There’s audible alarms for Battery Mode, Low Battery, Overload and Fault conditions, and battery recharge time is listed at 8 hours from empty, with a three year product warranty in the USA. With user-replaceable batteries, this unit takes two, for a list price of 100 bucks for that eventuality.
It comes with a USB cable to connect to PC, and the LCD is a touch dimmer but has no light bleed and great legibility due to the adjustable screen angle. It’s very readable from left to right and above, too. The notches as you adjust the screen are a bit rough, built more for function, but the mechanism doesn’t seem flimsy. That being said, there’s a big warning on top not to use the front LCD as a handle to lift up the UPS.
UPS Buying Guide- Network testing
First section in our UPS Buying Guide testing is for your network. To ensure continued network operation, you’ll need to consider your modem, Wi-fi router; any Ethernet switches/smart home hub or Voice over IP boxes if you need them on, and especially Network Attached Storage, those should get battery backup. How many large AC adapters do you need to plug in? If your setup is just a modem/router combo, or all devices are close together, you may decide extended parts of your network aren’t essential if you lose power.
For a UPS protected modem/router setup, that’ll keep your internal network online, maybe also keeping internet connected IF the closest hop is still getting power, if not at least you can still access network attached media in your home, as long as it’s battery-backed up.
Remembering that watts equals volts times amps, add up all the devices you need to plug in, and then using an online calculator, you can determine the total run time you can expect to get for a certain battery size. We have a Nokia Fiber modem at 12 volts 1.5 amps so that’s 18 watts, a D-Link DIR-882 gigabit router at 12 volts times 2.5 amps so up to 30 watts, and a D-Link DGS-108 gigabit switch with a 5 volt 1 amp draw, so 5 watts. A theoretical 53 watts max, but real draw is far less, and attaching an Ammeter we measured current draw at just 12.6 watts.
After charging each UPS for 8 hours as covered in our quick tips at the start, we pulled the power and ran the two smaller UPSes until dead, powering the modem, router and switch. Our test with the CyberPower EC850LCD gives us a runtime of 2 hours 49 minutes, which was pretty amazing.
Next we waited for the CP1000AVRLCD to recharge for 8 hours from a concurrent PC test, and we saw 3 hours 51 minutes minutes of runtime.
UPS Buying Guide- PC Stamina tests
Next in our UPS Buying Guide we’ll cover the most common use case, a UPS setup for a slightly power hungry PC setup, the main idea is to be able to finish whatever we’re doing and shutdown properly. While most of our extra devices for our main editing workstation are plugged in to the surge protected side, in order to maximize runtime on the ups, we’re choosing only the main 32″ 1440p screen, i9-9900K PC with 2070 Super, and computer speakers, because hey, I might be working on audio at the time.
My 4K preview monitor and side 1080p monitors are both only on surge protection, to extend runtime. Having a USB connection to the computer lets us know how much runtime is left, and with installed software you can also schedule a safe shutdown when the battery reaches a certain percentage.
We also have that Seagate External 8TB backup drive we reviewed earlier this quarter, link up here if you wanna check that review. It’s always off, however it is plugged into battery backup, because having a hard drive lose power when doing data transfer is a sure way to get data corruption.
Whatever your setup, you should choose the essentials only; your PC, your main screen, and any essential connected drive, so that you can save your work or finish your stream or render before the backup is exhausted. This particular setup measured by Ammeter is pulling an average of 120 watts while running. So, after 8 hours minimum charge time, and waited 5 minutes until the computer was on idle and ran Netflix until the USB connection triggered auto-shutdown.
The CyberPower EC850LCD was up first, giving us a runtime of 17 minutes, 24 seconds before auto-shutdown occurred, the battery had the closest remaining time with just 1 minute left.
Next up our CP1000AVRLCD powered through to the 30 minute, 27 second mark before shutdown was initiated, roughly 5 minutes left on the battery.
Finally CyberPower’s CP1500PFCLCD went for the marathon mark with 49 minutes 1 second before auto-shutdown was triggered, this happened with about 9 minutes of power still available.
After a full 8 hour recharge, we tried a stamina test, running the PC only off the 1500VA, and the monitor and speakers off the 1000VA, and we reached a very impressive 1 hour, 17 minutes and 24 seconds before shutdown was triggered on the PC, with the 1500VA still at 10% reserve. Very impressive result.
UPS Buying Guide- Alternate selections
Considering the runtime we got and looking at CyberPower’s lineup, if you need only an hour for network backup, we might look at the CyberPower EC450G which is Standby type 450 VA, 260 watt model, at about half capacity rounding down, you should get around an hour and twenty minutes for uptime for about 45 us dollars.
However this is the entry level option without an LCD screen, and that screen proves to be pretty useful, even more so with that sale price of 80 bucks. If you want Line interactive for network backup, the AVRG750LCD (CP825AVRLCD) is a good picks for about the same original price at 105 bucks and 60 watts less at 450 watts, and should give you about 2 hours 10 minutes for a similar setup.
We got some pretty interesting results for this UPS Buying Guide- it used to be good to get 10 minutes of PC time on UPS backup, so with cost down and battery capacity up, I’m really amazed to see half an hour from the CyberPower CP1000AVRLCD, and 49 minutes from the CP1500PFCLCD. If you don’t need the Pure Sine Wave, at 155 USD on Amazon there’s the CyberPower CP1500AVRLCD, 1500 VA with 100 watts less, should give about 44 minutes for this setup. If you need Pure Sine Wave then the CyberPower CP1000PFCLCD starts around $140 dollars on Amazon.
From the 1500 VA mark, the price steeply increases, the next cheapest, larger rack-mount 2200VA 1320W model is 450 bucks, only 320 watts more for a 240 dollar increase. If you must have added runtime, consider using the 1500VA only for PC battery backup, and grab a 1000VA for 120 bucks to backup a monitor and connected hard drives, saving 330 bucks.
In summary, picking up a 1500 and 1000VA Line-interactive simulated sine wave UPSes, you may be able to run a PC setup over an hour doing minimal tasks for just 270 dollars. Remember that gaming or rendering will seriously cut down that time. And, keep in mind all this testing is done with fresh units, after a year or two this time will decrease, so plan accordingly.
We’ll quickly touch on CyberPower’s software, Powerpanel Personal. First section, Home, you see status, summary and event logs. Section two, Energy reporting, where you can see consumption, and in the settings tab, set the country and update cost, and click Apply at the bottom. Third is Settings, where you can schedule, set Notifications, modify Runtime behavior, Voltage intervention, perform a Self-test, and Advanced for Sensitivity and Shutdown type. Finally, Info gives you hardware and firmware, and support links.
UPS Buying Guide- Summary
For a power brick Standby type UPS, the CyberPower EC850LCD Simulated Sine wave has 510 watt capacity for 100 bucks, sometimes as low as 80. Its LCD displays enough info, connects with USB, and it’s really well suited as a stamina network battery backup, keeping ours running for almost 3 hours.
Still our favorite of the bunch is the Line-interactive CyberPower CP1000AVRLCD Simulated Sine wave UPS, the 600 watt mini-tower is plenty to finish whatever task you’re doing and shutdown safely. The bright white segment LCD looks great, has lots of info, with USB and serial connections, coax and Ethernet surge protection, and double the surge protection with a Joule rating of 1080. For 120 bucks and everything it offers, it’s definitely our top pick. If you decide you need battery backup and grab one of these through our affiliate links below, it does support us here with no extra cost to you.
A higher-end offering, the Line-interactive Pure sine wave CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD 1000 watt capacity ran our PC for 49 minutes before triggering the auto-shutdown, which was astounding. The color segment LCD was slightly dimmer than the 1000VA, but there was less light bleed, and we did like the angle adjustment.
The USB Type A and C shared 3.1 amp ports can charge tablets and does fast charge phones on battery, a very nice addition. With USB and serial connections, Ethernet protection and SNMP expansion support, it gives options, and at 210 USD it handles up to 1445 joules for surge protection. If you need something higher-end with longer run time, this may be your UPS.
As for things to be improved… the power brick type EC850LCD isn’t user serviceable for battery replacement, our only nitpick about the unit. Next, the CP1000AVRLCD’s white power LED did start flickering and went out on us after about 5 months, but CyberPower did fix that with a unit swap. Nothing else there, we’ve been very happy with the unit overall. As for the CP1500PFCLCD, the only thing we’d improve is the angled screen mechanism, which feels rough, though it stays where you adjust it. It’s a small thing as likely you’ll set and forget it, and the stamina was really impressive.
Even though I’m very happy with the product, as a tech reviewer doing research for this buying and product guide, I found the huge amount of UPS options on CyberPower’s website very confusing. The consumer focused lines of UPS alone are 8 Standby, 5 Ecologic, 28 PC Battery Backup, 7 AVR, 15 Intelligent LCD and 10 PFC Sine-wave models, for a total of 73 models, for the lower end from 5 to 10 dollar jumps. Needless to say, 73 options is too many.
Older products can be retired to a legacy products page, and lines should really be pared down. Keeping only non-LCD entry level models, and offering say 4 types of compact power-brick types, 4 types of slim mini-tower with and 4 without Pure Sine wave, 3 fatter industrial mini-towers, and 3 consumer rack-mounts comes to only 18 total products, plenty of choice for consumers. CyberPower, you could simplify further by offering Pure Sine wave versions on mid to higher watt models, and use USB charging ports as a selling point for mid to higher tier offerings.
Anyways, the products we tested we found to be high quality, so with a clearer offering for consumers I think CyberPower will continue to deliver backups that people can easily decide and depend on. Thanks to CyberPower for sending over the 850 and 1500 VA models for today’s episode. And give us a quick follow on social media, you can find us at techspinreview on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and you can be notified of new contests and as we hinted at last episode, we’re working on an overclocking Intel 10-series guide with MSI right now, so we should have access to new gear for review soon, stay tuned!
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AMAZING Logitech MK470, MK315 & more; Techspin MEGA review
Welcome to our Logitech MK470, MK315 wireless combo MEGA REVIEW. Starting off we have the Logitech MK315 Quiet, which is the K235 keyboard with the M330 mouse. This retails for 40 bucks American, about 40 pounds, under 60 Canadian bills, 950nt in Taiwan for the combo.
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The Logitech K235 keyboard has a spill resistant design with low-profile keys, and 15 function keys. Inside the Logitech MK315 box you get the M330c mouse, the Nano USB receiver, a pack of three Duracell OEM batteries, and the MK235 keyboard./ Batteries are quoted as lasting 36 months for the keyboard, and 24 months for the mouse.
The K235 is 43.6 cm wide by 13.8 deep, and just under 21 millimeters high, and weighs in at 475 grams including the batteries. Build quality is okay with flex and a little creaking.
Logitech MK315; full, decent feel
For this Logitech MK315 wireless keyboard, the power switch has been removed. Full sized keys have a decent enough feel for a membrane type keyboard. At the top, the Function keys double as media keys, with assignments from F1 through F12.
Two feet provide a height adjustment from 2 to 8 degrees. And the K235 uses two AAA batteries, with a sliding cover to close the compartment. Here’s the typing test for the K235. This Nano USB receiver is the non-unifying 2.4 Gigahertz type, with a quoted range of 10 meters. We tried a quick test around the studio and didn’t have any issues.
Tracking is decent for the Logitech m330 Silent Plus, very usable and no problems. If your gaming mouse has issues, you can still help your team with this one, though probably not making leader-boards. The mouse included in this bundle costs about 20 dollars separately so you do save a few dollars getting the combo, and have just one receiver to plug in.
The M330 should be also the B330 in different regions, as it has the exact same specs. Now the M330 no-c looks exactly the same as the M331 with a shell design upgrade, but the M331 has a noisy scroll wheel. If you have a M330 no-C, please let us know if you have the noisy or quiet scroll wheel. And we’ll show you comparison tests later.
Also sold separately for about 25 dollars, the M330c is 10.5cm long by 6.7 wide, and 3.8 high. With battery, it weighs 91 grams, almost into middleweight territory for mice, which we consider to start about 95 grams.
Logitech MK315’s mouse is quiet
Logitech says the M330 has 1000 DPI High Precision Optical Tracking. Made for right-handed users, the top is one-piece matte finish with gloss trim. The plastic sides have slightly less grip than the 331, with a simple dot pattern that tapers off near the front of the mouse.
The bottom has a large pad at the bottom, and two tiny pads up top for gliding. Here’s the battery compartment which takes one double-A battery, and the spot for storing the Nano when traveling. We did some test slides, it glides pretty well.
Turning on the power you get a green light on the top, which goes off after 10 seconds.It has some really nice quiet clicking on both buttons… and the scroll wheel is quiet with a quiet click also.
So the MK315 is the K235 keyboard and M330 mouse. The newer Logitech MK235 combo has the K235 keyboard and a different mouse, the M171. Killing two birds with a social distanced stone, the MK235 keyboard is the same, so we ran out and grabbed a Logitech M171 to cover this configuration.
Note the bundled mouse is gray, not this blue. Since we bought it separately, we had a choice of black, blue or red, looks like the gray only is shipped with the bundle. The M171’s solo price is just under 15 bucks US.
The MK235 combo is priced at 30 us dollars, 25 pounds, 41 Canadian, and 600nt in Taiwan for the set. Since we covered the MK235 already, let’s move on to the M171.
The m171 is 9.8 cm long by 6.2 wide, and 35 mm high. With 1000 DPI using 2.4 gigahertz, it weighs 71 grams including battery, so we’re talking ultra-lightweight here. It has a symmetrical design which can be used for either left or right handed usage.
The M171 is good for smaller sized hands, and has a solid one-piece top construction, with Advanced optical tracking though no DPI listed, and a 12 month battery life.
The tiny triangle design actually provides fairly good grip/ on the matte plastic panels that make up the sides.The bottom has a smaller bottom pad left to right due to the reduced size, top pads are the same size as the m330.
The battery compartment houses a double-A battery with a Nano storage spot. On to slide tests. The m171 appears to slide better or more, but that’s simply due to the reduced weight. Turning on the power…. there’s no light up top.
We had no problems with the m171, we found it tracked pretty well and when playing some easy games, it functioned fairly well. With a symmetrical design, the trade off is that the grip isn’t as form fitting, though good for lefties or ambit-mousers like me since developed RSIs in my right, working 12 to 14 hour days doing tech support way back when. And for 5 dollars less, you don’t get the silent features, so it has a pretty typical sound.
Logitech MK470’s thin minimal design
Moving on in our Logitech MK470 wireless combo MEGA REVIEW. Next we have the Logitech MK470 Slim Wireless Combo. This refined looking set comes in both in graphite, and the white version we have here. The MK470 at time of production goes for 50 dollars US, 50 pounds in the U.K., 60 Canadian, and 1490nt in Taiwan.
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The K470 has a thin minimal design which looks and feels great taking it out of the box. The K470 is 37.4 cm wide by 14.4 deep, and just over 21 millimeters high, and weighs in at 558 grams including the batteries. Standing the box up for the camera is easy because the box has an unorthodox top opening design. Inside is the mouse, receiver and keyboard.
The batteries come per-installed and are an easy pull-out tab to get you up and running quickly, with 36 months quoted for the keyboard, and 18 months for the mouse. It looks like Logitech has ended the age-old debate as to whether you need to power off your wireless keyboard… by removing it completely. And the Nano receiver has a quoted range of 10 meters, again, no issues around the studio with usage over distance.
Logitech MK470 has a great feel
The Logitech MK470’s keyboard design has full-sized chick-let keys with a reduced footprint due to the home/end and page keys going above the keypad, and the arrows in a rectangle below right-shift. Build quality is very good with barely any flex, and no creaking.
On the back there’s only a bump to accommodate electronics and batteries, raising the keyboard slightly. Pads on the bottom really grip the desk very well, it won’t slide around easily.
Media keys are integrated into the top Function F1 to F12 keys. The K470’s sliding top covers two AAA batteries, with a spot here to store the non-unifying Nano receiver. The attention to detail on the cover provides rigidity when this could be flimsy. Well done here. Listen to the sound of the quiet chicklet keys.
Logitech MK470’s Pebble mouse is futuristic
Moving on to the Logitech MK470’s mouse, Logitech also sells this individually as the Pebble Wireless Mouse M350 which comes in black, white, or pink, and for you girl gamers, that is the Logitech K380 and Logitech Pebble M350 Wireless Mouse Pink Rose. The Logitech Pebble M350 wireless sells separately for 30 dollars US, 25 pounds in the UK, 40 Canadian rubles, and in Taiwan, 700nt.
Measuring 10.7 centimeters long by 6 wide and 27 millimeters high, its 100 grams which is firmly in middleweight territory. The rounded sides are untextured and have slightly grippy plastic. The bottom sports rounded pads and one-piece construction, showcasing the sensor and the power switch. The pads handle the 100 gram weight pretty well.
With the one-piece bottom, access to the battery is through the top, which is held on by three tiny magnets. Inside there’s a spot for the NanoUSB, and there’s no power LED. The top clicks back on when done.
Using the Pebble was actually kinda fun, this futuristic looking mouse has a different feel to it due to it being a bit flatter and narrower than other mice tested. No issues to report with usage and we found the mouse tracked well on-screen.
Here we have our first ever mega test, starting with keyboards. We’re including the entry-level K120, nothing wrong with having a sub 10 dollar keyboard for emergencies, and it’s saved my life a few times, until I got my last wireless combo set, the MK270. Let’s start, and first up is flex.
So the Logitech MK470 is really the winner here if you want a quiet wireless keyboard with great build quality and a beautifully designed minimal keyboard and mouse. The extra weight really is a great trade off for a better build, just slightly more to carry but a much more refined and sturdy keyboard. If you don’t have the budget but absolutely need quiet, get the Logitech MK315 combo. The MK235 has the quiet keyboard, but the mouse is not.
I’ve been a fan of Logitech products for a long time, a trusted name for a reason, as their products last a long time, even entry-level ones. Of course they need to update their product lines over the years, and while its true there may not be much innovation to be had in the realm of keyboards and mice, quiet features are a tangible benefit to consumers and to offer this in a slick cool package which is wireless is pretty awesome.
One thing Logitech needs to address is build quality on the K235, you’d certainly expect a higher level keyboard to not be creaky compared to its 10 dollar counterpart. And although Logitech needs to offer different layouts and colors for different regions, we hope they can standardize its product numbering across regions, as doing research for this episode was challenging enough as a product reviewer, as a consumer with global search results, it can be really confusing.
We received questions on the channel like, are the m330 and 331 the same? Why can’t I buy red or blue in my region? Are the b330 and m330 the same? So please, Logitech, make it easier for consumers so find the same colors, the same numbers, the same products globally.
For a different kind of offering, if you are more interested in a great gaming keyboard combo going for 15 dollars higher, we’ll throw the link up here for the HyperX Alloy Core and we just reviewed, which has gaming level performance and RGB without the wireless and quiet features we saw today.
See more Techspin keyboard and mouse reviews
How to Paint a PC / How to Build a PC / our #1 beautiful white build
Hey everyone, I’m Rick with Techspin and we’ve been hard at work behind the scenes here, with a how to paint a PC guide for the nice case that Enermax sent us! Between Enermax and MSI, consumers can actually achieve a fully white PC build, so I thought, let’s go for it and see what can be done with the right components.
First we’ll talk about hot to paint a pc, then we’ll get onto how to build a PC. So to prep the case I had to remove the front and top, and take out the grill from inside the top, and the metal panel covering it. For the front I removed all the wiring, grills from both sides and unscrewed all the buttons, and carefully remove the case logo.
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How to Paint a PC- custom design
And remove all the buttons from the case front. It was originally black, but I used a coat of gray first and let it dry. Here (in the video) you can see just one coat of white over the gray, and I don’t cover everything in one coat. White tends to take longer than other colors to dry, up to 20 minutes or more depending on temperature and humidity.
If you put down too much paint at once, your paint will run which is a huge pain to fix. You’ll need to clean all off or sand it off and redo it. The main case had just one coat of gray with a touch-up coat, and I gotta say, it looked really nice already like this. I almost wanted to stop the white PC build and try a silver one!
The gray dried quickly and was super easy to work with, and I did all sides and angles, which takes some time to dry in-between. I left the bottom for last and did the sides first, so I could lean the case back. And if you want to try this, you’ll need a well ventilated area, and use a mask, even a medical one will help to keep paint out of your nose.
Hangers are great for painting smaller pieces, you can get the front and back easily, just careful the hanger doesn’t scratch the paint. The gray case is all ready to go, make sure you paper the area. I’ve used newspaper before but construction paper works much better. This is the second time I’m doing a custom white PC build, and white spray paint is difficult to work with, since it shows the color underneath. Don’t spray white over black, as it takes 5 to 6 coats of paint to make it look really white.
Using gray or gray primer first, the result is much easier to achieve with just two coats of white after the grey fully dries, with minimal touch-up. The grey coat dries fast, too, about 10 minutes and it was ready. You can check by touching a not-important surface very softly, you can see if the paint is tacky or dry. You shouldn’t move freshly sprayed pieces, but even after it dries, be super careful moving them or you get smudges, which are hard to fix.
Since the paint is already dry on this piece, I’m using 600 grit wet sandpaper to gently grind down the corner so it’s flat. Ideally I’d be using some power tools but this has to get finished asap. Time and patience, and be careful with the sandpaper. If you have OCD, painting cases is probably not for you.
For me I want to do the best paint job possible, and if I do that, I call it finished. Off camera I’m running my thumb over the spot, it should be perfectly flush if done right. I’ll rinse to clean the area. This turned out okay but I still feel some small power sander tools would have worked better. Anyways, it’s the best I can do, so it’s time to move forward.
Using newer cloth towels to softly pat the surface first and a hair dryer you can get the piece ready to be painted again quickly, but it has to be bone dry. Clean, newer hand towels are better as you don’t want lint on your surface you’re gonna paint. Also, heating up the surface, the paint will become tacky again so don’t touch or bump it.
Okay, this took about two days time, one full day on Sunday pretty much with work stoppages for real life things like sleep, work and getting food. This was so much easier using a gray coat first, and wow, the end result is really stunning. Now my actual install is happening Friday, as there’s a difference between dried paint, and cured paint, which takes 3 to 7 days.
How to Build a PC
Inside the case it turned out really well, I did have a problem spot but from most angles you can’t really see it. I’ve already put the motherboard standoffs back in carefully. The front, back and side turned out well too, I think. I’m not worried about a perfect job inside the power supply and hard drive area as it won’t be visible, but I did get some white in there.
I will use a towel for all my work on the case, as the paint is still fairly new and can easily scratch or chip, so I’m not going to scratch it on the desk, and take care as you put hardware in. That ends our How to Paint a PC section, Time for How to build a PC!
Installing the CPU
We’re using an Intel i3-8100 for the build. Always ground yourself by touching metal surfaces before and during working on your computer. To install, first we’ll release the cover using the lever. Then lift the cover.
Align the notches at the top with the socket and place it down. The CPU text will be facing UP as you look at the board upright. Wiggle slightly to make sure it’s properly in the socket. Next lower the cover and make sure it fits under the holding screw at the bottom. Push the lever down and the top will pop up. Putting the lever in will take more force than before.
Save the socket cover in case you need to return or sell the board!
If you’re using an Intel cooler then it can be a little tricky to get the tabs locked in properly, but you can do it with a bit of patience. The cooler won’t be loose if you’ve done it right.
Installing the CPU cooler
We cover installation of the Enermax ETS-T50 in a previous video, watch above. Their new version now has an ARGB fan.
The five copper pipes come down to the contact plate for the CPU, which has plastic we’ll remove to install the cooler.
-First, attach the backplate.
I’ll be choosing the middle of these three spots which is the mounting position for LGA 11-50 X sockets. The plate reads “this side for Intel” we’ll use for the MSI B360 Gaming Arctic board.
I’m inserting the bolt and making sure it’s completely flush, you may have to turn it a bit to get it aligned properly. Then slide on the plastic shroud which keeps the bolt in place and makes for an easier installation process. And repeating this for the remaining 3 bolts.
Finished, I’ll put the bracket on the back of the Gaming Arctic. Note the AMD legs we aren’t using are raised up and away from the board, so it doesn’t short out and kill your shiny new hardware.
-Time to attach the top plates and cooler.
First, the spacers slide down the bolts. Next the Intel plates go down. They will also use the middle slot to match our choice earlier. Nuts go on the top to lock down the top mounting plates. The CPU already has some grease applied from my test fitting in the morning. Put down two thin lines to form an ‘X’ for the thermal paste on the top of the CPU.
Undoing the clips is easy, as we remove the front fan and back shroud from the cooler. The front of the mounting plate is easy to get to as the cooler is positioned off center towards the back.
Enermax supplied a hefty amount of cooling compound, you should use a couple of grains of rice sized dollops on the top of the CPU. You can use the spreader to help cover the top, though the cooler pressing down will spread the compound evenly.
So the cooler female bolts sit on the male bolts coming up from the middle of the plates. Everything looking good so far, I’m just tightening it down halfway. Installed, it’s time for the back shroud to go on, which is very easy. And the front fan is last, it just clips right on. Let’s continue with how to build a PC.
Installing the DDR4 RAM
We picked up Kingmax stick of DDR4 8 gig 2400 memory for 78 bucks and a Kingmax m.2 NVMe Gen3 256 gig SSD with 1600 meg read and 850 meg write speeds for 65 dollars. Not the fastest, but over 3 times as fast as a regular SSD.
For the fastest you can choose an AData SX8200 240 gig with 3200 meg write and 1100 read speed for 100 bucks, or the king, the Samsung 970 Evo 250 gig with 3400 read and 1500 write speeds for 110 dollars, or the double capacity 500 gig with 3400 read speed and an improved 2300 write speed for 230 bucks.
Always check the module installation guide in your motherboard’s manual to get the best performance and the least issues. Here it says to install just one module in slot 2. Tab out the clips. Some motherboards the bottom clip won’t move, just FYI. Line up the notch… and press down firmly to install.
Installing the NVMe drive
Installing an m.2 drive is easy. First we test fit the drive. The standoff to the left is too far away, so we need to move it to the correct position. The printed label will usually be facing you. Wiggle in the m.2 at a 45 degree angle, should be pretty easy. Carefully press down. Inside this motherboards accessories in a single plastic bag is a special screw. Don’t lose it! And we’ll secure the m.2 drive. All done.
Installing the main power, test
Next connect up the ATX 24 pin and make sure the hook gets fully over the tab, so it’s locked in place for testing. To remove, press on the back of the tab so it clears. Then wiggle the connector up and off.
Finally, switch the Power supply on. It’s possible to turn on the motherboard by connecting the power switch leads with a screwdriver.
The power leads are the two I’m pointing out here, they match the legend to the right, or in your motherboard manual. Be super careful not to touch any other components or you’ll fry your board!
You should always test your setup before installing it into the case. So that’s installing the CPU, the CPU cooler, memory, an m.2 or SATA SSD for windows and motherboard power. Test with onboard graphics first before using any graphics cards. Always disconnect power and wait 10 seconds before adding or removing hardware.
Test outside first, Install I/O shield
Standoffs in and checked they match all the holes in the board, first we install the I/O cover. Next is the motherboard, and checking that we have clearance for the ATX 8-pin, we’ll put in all the screws.
Since we’re doing a custom build I’ve pre-ordered Silverstone custom white cables to match. The cable combs I believe were from CableMod…? First the Enermax RevoBron 700 watt power supply will go in, and I’m attaching it with screws on the back.
Next the ATX 8-pin power goes in, then the 24pin main power onto the board. I like to do the 8-pin first as occasionally you’ll have issues with some cases, but not this one.
Next we’ll move on to the top case fans, which install easily. Snapping the top panel of this case back into place is easy, and needs to come first before the front panel. Other cases may have a different panel assembly method.
And before we do the case connectors, we should sort out those front fans which I’ll install here. These are Cluster Advance white 120 millimeter fans which were kindly all sponsored by Enermax, so in go the first three.
We’re finished with the front so we can carefully put it on. Try to put the panels on just once to minimize damaging the new paint. And then we’ll need to hook up the front panel connectors, I find working left to right is a bit easier being right handed. Power and Hard drive light are on, then the power switch and reset switch.
The RevoBron 700 watt comes with this Coolergenie unit, which connects in-between the CPU cooler and the CPU fan port. This way it detects your BIOS fan setting, on Whisper mode below 40% the fans don’t spin. On Silence mode below 55% the fans are off. And on OFF mode the fans spin according to the BIOS setting.
Anyways I’ll hook up the front three fans to it. It has a Velcro or magnetic strip option which we’ll use to lightly secure it inside the case. If you have more fans than motherboard headers and don’t have a Coolergenie you can always pick up a PWM Fan Hub, with either 4 or 8 fan capable variants.
Make sure fans are on PWM mode in BIOS
With any fans or fan hubs you hook up, you’ll need to go into the BIOS and set all your System fans to PWM, as most motherboards default will be DC mode, so they’ll run loudly at full speed and LEDs may not show full brightness. This way you’ll get quieter and bright LED case fans. Attach cables onto the SYStem fan ports on the motherboard.
Make sure your front panel USB 3, USB 2 and audio connectors are all connected up to the motherboard first. Then it’s time to connect the bottom two case fans. And position and thread the screws into the fans on the power supply cover. Use a screwdriver to finish. Simple enough.
If you have SSDs or hard drives, now is the time to hook those up too. Always have the power supply turned fully off. Never connect drives with the power on otherwise you can fry your drive’s circuit board. Ask me how I know.
Anyways these Transcend SSDs have the graphic the wrong way around as the connector here is actually on the right hand side.
We had a discussion at Techspin and ultimately decided not to paint the grills black in this white PC build, as we thought they would accent the case grills and match the buttons. That ends our How to Build a PC section.
I’m pretty impressed with the end result, it turned out pretty well I think. Of course with different cases and components your results may vary, but this is mostly to give you some ideas about what you can do with just a bit of effort and time, and you too can have a custom white PC build.
I really hope you enjoyed this how to paint a PC and how to build a PC guide, it took me several weeks of planning and about a week total to paint, assemble and film everything. A big thanks go to Enermax for sponsoring the RevoBron 700 watt power supply, the ETS-T50 Axe white CPU cooler, and all the case fans, without which this would not have been possible. And if you have questions about the build, design or components please let us know in the comments and we’ll try to answer as many as we can.
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