Our Favorite Products of 2020

As we come to the end of another year here at ThinkComputers we always take time to look back and see what our favorite products were. This year has been quite different that is for sure! Many people have been working from home and building new PCs, which we love to see. Also with new launches from NVIDIA and AMD it is the perfect time to upgrade (if you can find parts!). Our list of our favorite products of the year is a little different than others. All of the products in our list we have personally reviewed and we are not going to list a product if we’ve say only taken a look at 1 or 2 in that category (we really don’t think that is fair). So if you are looking for some awesome products to spend that holiday cash on, here is the list of our favorite products of 2020!

CPU – AMD Ryzen 5 5600X

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X Processor
When it comes to CPUs the Ryzen 5000 Series is at the top of our list. With the Ryzen 5000 Series AMD really focused on single-core and gaming performance, while still giving multi-core a boost too. With the 5000 Series we saw a massive jump in gaming performance, even from the 3000 series of just a year ago. We would always say go Intel if you are only going to be gaming, but not we can really choose. I could easily recommend every chip in the series, but I think the Ryzen 5 5600X is the real winner. This is a 6-core, 12-thread part with a base clock of 3.7 GHz and boost clock of 4.6 GHz. It comes in at $299, which is a great price for affordable gaming builds. (Review | Buy on Amazon)

Graphics Card – NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Graphics Card
NVIDIA really turned heads this year with the release of their GeForce RTX 3070 series. The RTX 3070 Series brings with it excellent performance as well as excellent pricing. My pick out of the series is the GeForce RTX 3070. The reason I am picking this card is that it is an excellent 1440p card where you are easily going to see over 60 FPS in games with the settings all the way turned up. 4K gaming at over 60 FPS is very possible as well, but you may need to turn some settings down. The best thing about the RTX 3070 is its price. At $499 you really can’t go wrong, especially when you are getting the same performance as a RTX 2080 Ti that was $1200 not that long ago. (Review | Buy on Amazon)

Motherboard (Intel) – ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero (WiFi)

ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero Motherboard
Out of all of the Intel motherboards we’ve taken a look at this year the one that really sticks out to me is the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero. There is always something special about ROG Maximus boards. The ROG Maximus XII Hero is a Z490 motherboard and is the most affordable Maximus board in ASUS’s Z490 lineup. Don’t let that fool you though, this board has many features you’ll only find on flagship boards from other vendors. ASUS has outfitted this board with a 14+2 power phase design with 60A power stages, 5G Ethernet, WiFi 6, three M.2 slots (when you typically see 2), and other cool things like the FlexKey and waterflow headers. If you are an enthusiast this is a board that should be on your radar. (Review | Buy on Amazon)

Motherboard (AMD) – Gigabyte B550i AORUS PRO AX

Gigabyte B550i AORUS PRO AX Motherboard
When it comes to AMD motherboards you would think I would pick an X570 motherboard, but actually a B550 motherboard really surprised me this year. It was the Gigabyte B550i AORUS PRO AX. Going B550 on an mini-ITX system makes sense as you’ll only have a single PCI-Express slot. Gigabyte has outfitted the B550i AORUS PRO AX with pretty much everything you would want. The 6+2 VRM uses 90A power stages, there are two M.2 slots (1x Gen4, 1x Gen4), USB 3.2 support, WiFi 6, and more. This really is one little beast of a board! (Review | Buy on Amazon)

Case – NZXT H1

NZXT H1 Mini-ITX Case
I never thought a mini-ITX case would be my favorite case of the year, but this year NZXT really impressed us with their H1. The H1 is designed to be a vertical small form factor case. It is actually one of the smallest cases you’ll find as it is only 13.6L! The cool thing that NZXT did with the H1 was take most of the hard work out of the equation for you. The case comes with a pre-installed all-in-one liquid CPU cooler, a 650W 80-PLUS Gold power supply, as well as a riser cable for your graphics card. This takes a lot out of guessing out of what parts to get. The case support full-size graphics cards up to 2.5 slots too! NZXT not only has made a super-small case, but it is very elegant as well. This will look amazing sitting on your desk. (Review | Buy on Amazon)

M.2 Storage – SK hynix Gold P31 M.2 NVMe

SK hynix Gold P31 M.2 NVMe Solid State Drive
There is so much M.2 NVMe storage out there it is really hard to choose as many drives have almost identical specifications. Well the drive that stood out to me this year was the SK hynix Gold P31 M.2 NVMe solid state drive. This is a PCI-Express 3.0 x4 drive that offers read and write speeds of 3500 MB/s and 3200 MB/s respectively. Every part of the drive is made by SK hynix, the controller, DRAM, flash, and even the firmware. This means they have full control over everything. The thing that is really impressive about this drive is that the “Cepheus” controller that Sk hynix is using is only a 4-channel controller, yes has better performance and does not overheat like its 8-channel competitors. SK hynix also backs this drive up with a 5-year warranty and a 750 TBW rating. (Review | Buy on Amazon)

Portable Storage – SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD

SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD
If you’ve been following our reviews for any amount of time you know I am a huge fan of portable solid state drives. They make great travel drives, editing drives, and much more. This year we saw SanDisk release their Extreme Pro Portable SSD, which is a USB 3.2 gen 2 drive boasting transfer speeds of 1050 MB/s. On top of that you have a very sleek design, IP55 water and dust resistance, and SanDisk’s SecureAccess software included. Everyone should have a portable solid state drive and this is definitely my #1 pick for 2020! (Review | Buy on Amazon)

Cooling – NZXT Kraken Z73 Liquid CPU Cooler

NZXT Kraken Z73
We’ve taken a look at quite a lot of all-in-one CPU coolers this year. The one that really stands out is the NZXT Kraken Z73, which is a 360 mm unit, so it features a 360 mm radiator and three of NZXT’s Aer P120 120 mm fans. Being a 360 mm unit you are going to get good performance, but the really cool thing about this unit is the pump / block housing. NZXT has outfitted it with a fully-fledged LCD! It can show relative stats from NZXT’s CAM software, but on top of that you can add logo and even animated GIFs! This really allows you to really make the inside of your system unique! (Review | Buy on Amazon)

Keyboard (Large) – iQunix F96

iQunix F96 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard
This year I was impressed by two keyboards so much they both have made this list! First up is the iQunix F96. One of my favorite things about this keyboard is actually its size. Many full-size keyboards are just massive and take up so much space, but the iQunix F96 is a 100-key keyboard that basically is around the same size as a tenkeyless. With the F96 are you getting a full number pad, arrow keys, and function row, which are things you definitely miss once you start going down in size. The keyboard features an all aluminum construction, Cherry MX mechanical key switches, PBT keycaps, and some really awesome color options. I am still using this keyboard as my daily driver to this day. (Review | Buy on Amazon)

Keyboard (Small) – HyperX x Ducky One 2 Mini

HyperX x Ducky One 2 Mini Gaming Keyboard
My second favorite keyboard of the year is one you really can’t buy anymore, but you can buy just the Ducky version, which is just as good. HyperX did a collaboration with Ducky bringing their red linear mechanical key switches to the One 2 Mini with a custom colorway and a few custom keycaps. The Ducky One 2 Mini is a 60% keyboard so it is quite small, I think 60% is as small as you can go without really losing a ton of functionality. Even though the chassis of the board is plastic it is one of the most solid keyboards that I’ve ever used and the keycaps are PBT. I routinely switch between this keyboard and the iQuinix F96. (Review | Buy on Amazon)

Mouse – Glorious PC Gaming Race Model D

Glorious PC Gaming Race Model D Gaming Mouse
Over the past year I’ve fallen in love with lightweight gaming mice. I honestly thought they were pretty dumb, but after using them I was converted! That means my favorite gaming mouse of 2020 is of course lightweight! It is the Glorious PC Gaming Race Model D, which comes in at only 68g. The Model D is a slight change from Glorious PC Gaming Race’s Model O, which they are more known for. The Model O is ambidextrous while the Model D is designed for right-hand use. I feel there is a better comfort level with the Model D. Another thing I like about the Model D is its cabling, which Glorious calls their Ascend cable. You barely even notice it when you are gaming. (Review | Buy on Amazon)

Accessory – Sabrent NVMe M.2 to PCI-Express Adapter Card

Sabrent NVMe M.2 to PCI-Express Adapter Card
Ever since super-fast NVMe storage came out I’ve wanted to load up my system with M.2 drives. The problem with this is that most systems only have two M.2 slots. Well there is a way around that, which is to get a NVMe M.2 to PCI-Express Adapter Card. These work in any PCI-Express x4 (electrical) slot and allow you to install another M.2 drive. Sabrent’s NVMe M.2 to PCI-Express Adapter Card is very simple and supports a single 80 mm M.2 drive. It also includes a heatsink if you have a drive that might overheat. This adapter is under $20, which makes it a no-brainer to pick up! (Review | Buy on Amazon)

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