Bittboy New PocketGo V2.1 Review

In 2019, Bittboy released a successor/upgraded model to their budget retro handheld, the PocketGo. The New PocketGo, also known as the PocketGo V2, added a bigger display, additional buttons, a joystick, and much better internals. Coming in to 2020, Bittboy decided to refresh their new flagship by addressing a few common complaints with the original model while also changing a few other features. What’s the differences between the two models?

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I 3D Printed My Own 10.8L Open-Frame SFF ITX PC Case

Had been noodling around with creating an Open Frame case for a while now, but after seeing this case ( I finally decided to make one.

Immediately there were things this case did that I wanted to change:

1. That case was over 400mm tall, much bigger than needed.
2. Wanted to make something printable by most people, so designed to print in an Ender 3.
3. Use no supports.
4. Use SFX PSU instead of ATX.
5. Minimal assembly/parts.

This case prints in 4 pieces taking ~4-6 hours a piece. You’ll need 12 pegs total and it’s recommend your glue the pegs and pieces together. A good strategy is to print one piece at a time along with the pegs for to connect to the next piece. That way you can glue in the pegs while waiting for the next piece to print.

Recommended printing order: MB, Back, PSU, Base.

PSU piece has pass through peg holes that you will probably need to hammer in. Use case screws for MB and GPU, normal screws for PSU.

Supports SFX PSU, Mini-ITX MB, Two-Slot GPU. Should be easy to modify if you want to add a HDD slot or 3-slot GPU.

Power Switch:
Thumb Case Screws:

.32mm Layer Height
3 outer layers
3 top/bottom layers
20% infill (I used cubic infill)
No supports

Download STLs:

SFF On A Budget: 3D Printed PC Case

I wasn’t thrilled with the price of the very small SFF cases so I decided to take a stab at designing one myself. My last attempt still required several additional components so I decided to try to make the most bare-bones case I could.

Original Case:

1) Printable on regular 3D printers. Normal version was printed on an Ender 5, but the shorter version can print on an Ender 3.

2) Have as much as possible 3D printed. Other than case screws and a power button you shouldn’t need any other pieces!

3) Print with zero supports. Hate removing them, so design around them.

4) Needed to hold an dual-slot GPU (280mm on the full-size case, ~170mm ITX card in the shortened version), 70mm CPU cooler, and SFX PSU. Only officially supports M.2 drives, but has space up front if you want to add HDD mounts.

5) Minimal Assembly. Prints in two parts which can be attached with case screws, though not needed.

Power Switch:
Thumb Case Screws:

There is space for 1 120mm fan (or 140mm fan with 120mm holes). I used this fan:

.32mm Layer Height
4 outer layers (Could go less, but since we are screwing things into plastic I went the safe route)
20% Infill
No Supports

At 60mm/s (.4mm nozzle) inside takes ~17 hours, cover you may want to print at a slower speed to keep the vents straight so plan for 48hrs+.

Will use ~1KG of PLA. ~.6KG for cover, ~.4KG for interior. Shorter version should be under 0.9KG.

Everything should mount with case screws.

Ender 5/3 Silent Motherboard Upgrade

The Ender 5 is a pretty unique 3D printer. Very few printers in 2019 have an H-bot design, something typically found in higher end printers, are around $300, and are not a kit. One thing that that is not unique is the noise it makes.

Ender 5 Firmware:
CH340 Drivers:
Silent MB (now black pcb):

That almost dot-matrix printer-like sound may be endearing to some, but with large prints taking days to complete, the noise is not exactly ideal. While some printers, like the Anycubic i3 Mega, have user upgradeable boards, Creality ones do not for cost saving measures. Luckily Creality has thought of this and makes a complete board swap to bring TMC2208 goodness to the Ender 3 and Ender 5. At $50, is it all upgrade?

I’m not going to go too deep into the installation of this part, seeing as it is literally unplugging everything in one place and plugging it in somewhere else. No changes, no surprises. I moved each cable one at a time to ensure I put them all in the right place, but you don’t have to.

If you have an Ender 3 then you are done, installation complete, enjoy your new motherboard. With an Ender 5, time to flash the motherboard. Unfortunately this is not a streamlined process, and the internet wasn’t much help. Creality does host the file you need to flash, but it does not make the software to flash it. All the tutorials for flashing the Ender 3 and 5 all require you purchase additional hardware, something the new motherboard doesn’t need.

So what will you need? First you’ll need the file from Creality, the drivers from gogotronics, and AVRDude. Links to everything below. Once you install the driver, plug in your printer to the computer using the USB cable, and install AVRDude, you are ready to flash your printer. I renamed the creality firmware as ender5.hex and put it in the root folder for AVRDude. Then load up CMD Prompt to the AVRdude location and type the following:

avrdude -c arduino -p m1284p -P COM3 -U flash:w:ender5.hex

My usb ended up being COM3, but yours may differ. Once that is done your printer should be ready to print.

BUT, it isn’t exactly the same. It seems like the voltages are lower for the stepper motors with the new motherboard which, while doesn’t change most things, it can no longer reliably support travel speeds above 100mm/s. This isn’t too far off the 120mm/s I was using before, and the printer is now almost silent other than the fans, but it is one downgrade to an otherwise good, if not costly, upgrade and it may ruin a few prints if you forget to change this.

Should you get the silent motherboard for your Ender 5? If you have your printer in a common area like I do, 100% yes. Is yours in a closet where you can’t hear it? Your printer is probably already silent enough.

*Yes, I know this board does offer a few more enhancements, but most of them you can add/simulate using other means if needed. Bootloader, TL Smoothers, etc.

I 3D Printed My Own 6.6L SFF PC Case

I wasn’t thrilled with the price of the very small SFF cases so I decided to take a stab at designing one myself. Sorry about the audio quality. Not sure what happened.

Get the STL’s here:

I already had a parts list in mind so this isn’t the smallest I could make it, but had a few qualifications in mind.

1)Printable on regular 3D printers. I designed this initially to print on a Cetus3D Extended, but also kept it in line with a Creality Ender 3. Printed dimensions 147x179x250mm (6.58L)

2) Have as much as possible 3D printed. Only thing you need is standoffs for the PSU, a power button, and a PCIe Riser if you want a GPU. You could probably mount several 3.5in Drives where the GPU would go, though I didn’t try. Depending on your PSU standoffs, you may need a right-angle power cord.

3) Print with zero supports. Hate removing them, so design around them.

4) Needed to hold an ITX GPU (~170mm), 70mm CPU cooler, and SFX PSU. Only officially supports M.2 drives.

5) Minimal Assembly. Prints in two parts which can be attached with case screws, though not needed.

Power Switch:
PCIe Riser: (may want to go longer depending on MB, get 300mm if unsure)
35mm M3 Standoffs:
1ft C13 Right Angle Extension:
Thumb Case Screws:
C14 Socket (if you want to hard mount power cable):

Extended version adds space for 1 120mm fan (or 140mm fan with 120mm holes). Interior remains the same. I used this fan:

If PCIe cable is short, try wrapping cable through M.2 cut-out.

.3mm Layer Height
4 outer layers (Could go less, but since we are screwing things into plastic I went the safe route)
20% Infill
No Supports

At 60mm/s (.4mm nozzle) inside takes ~17 hours, cover takes ~38.

Will use ~.8KG of PLA. ~.5KG for cover, ~.3KG for interior.

Other than PSU, everything should mount with case screws.

I Bought an AMD R9 Nano in 2019

When the AMD R9 Nano was released in 2015 it was something of an experiment. What happens when you put a thermal leash on a power-hungry flagship? The R9 Fury X was such a powerhog that it came tethered to a water-cooler, and yet AMD decided to take that same chip and ITX board and cool it with a single fan. It could have been awesome, but sadly was saddled with the same flagship price for lower performance. Fast forward 4 years and you can now buy that same flagship for $125, 20% of what it used to cost. At that price, does the little ITX card that could still have game? Let’s find out.

Buy one on ebay:

Right off the bat, I should mention I swapped the fan on my Nano. The stock fan was never very quite so I decided to swap it out for something a bit more modern. This fan mod brought the noise level down a few decibels and gave the noise a lower pitch note, but the performance is unchanged.

The R9 Nano is so similar to the Fury X that some applications can’t keep them straight. At stock clocks and +50% power, my R9 Nano scores an 84.4% in UserBenchmark and pairs well with budget CPU’s like the 2200G. Running at stock would reduce performance by about 10%, but would run much quieter.

On average the R9 Nano should beat the RX 590/580/570. The additional RAM may come into play in some games at higher resolutions, but in most cases you’ll be limited first by performance than RAM. It also comfortably beats the GTX 1060 and matches the 1660 non-Ti, though that largely depends on the games you play.

Looking at some benchmarks, the Nano gets a 3221 in SuperPosition which is above the 2920 of the RX 590 and 3018 of the GTX 1660. 24fps average is also ahead of the 23fps and 22fps from the 1660 and 590 as well. In Timespy the Nano graphics score comes in just above 5000 points, in between the the 1660 and 590.

This is more than enough performance to play any game at any resolution, provided you don’t need the ultra quality levels. Mainstream games like Overwatch easily play at over 100fps at 1440p, more than enough to make full use of a high-refresh monitor. For more intense games like Anthem, 21:9 ultrawide gaming at console quality settings and performance is possible as well. Paired with a Freesync monitor, the card keeps up well even in intense situations.

So should you get one? You can get a new RX 590 for under $250 now and it does include 3 games, so if you are interested in the bundles that might be a better option. A GTX 1660 runs around $220 and should have equal or better performance and run cooler, though you aren’t getting any games.

If you can find an R9 Nano at $125 it’s a real bargain. At the resolutions and settings this card does well at, the 4GB of HBM don’t hinder it and has enough performance to play anything for the next few years. It may not be the best card for everyone, but it’s a great budget alternative.

Boyue Likebook Muses: Review

The Boyue Likebook Muses is a 7.8” Android tablet with a Wacom-style pen and a 1404×1872 E Ink display. It has 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a sufficiently speedy Freescale RK3365 8-core processor, and runs Android 6.0. While the specs are nothing to write home about, they are on par with other Android devices in this category.

The Muses is the pro model to the Likebook Mars, each playing competitor to the Boox Nova and Nova Pro. While the core specs of the devices are mostly the same, there are a few differences between the two models. The Muses adds USB-C, an additional 16GB of internal storage, the pressure sensitive pen, built-in speakers, built-in microphone, and a dedicated back button. What’s strange is Likebook removed the 3.5mm headphone jack and the microSD card, two decidedly “pro” features, from their pro model. Users who need either of those features will need to stick with the Mars or upgrade to the larger Mimas.

The main purpose of any e-reader is reading, which the Muses is unsurprisingly adept at doing. The default software can load a multitude of formats including epub, mobi, and PDF, while the screen resolution is high enough to make all the words and images sharp and clear. Page turns are sufficiently speedy and, for those seeking even more speed, you can enable “A2” mode to increase the page-turn speed while sacrificing detail. The nearly 8” screen is large enough that reading with larger fonts or seeing small details in comics is easily accomplished, but is still small enough to fit into a small bag or purse. I couldn’t personally fit it in my pocket however, so it may be too large for those wishing to travel light. The larger Mimas has a 10.3” screen which, in theory, should make it more suited to Comics or Manga, but has the same screen resolution so you aren’t sacrificing any detail by sticking with the smaller size. Most manga and comic books are physically larger than the Muses so the artwork/words will be smaller than “lifesize”… Something to keep in mind if you struggle to read smaller text. The screen is frontlit in either white or orange lights so reading in the dark is both customizable and possible. Battery life while reading is good, and the estimated 12 hours of reading time with wifi and backlight off seems easily attainable. The Muses battery is 10% larger than the competing Boox Nova Pro’s.

The hardware is well built with no creaking when holding the device. The front is white plastic which should hide skin oil and grease better than black, though it may look dirtier over time. The back plate is metal and is easy to grip. Even under heavy use the Muses never gets too warm and maxed out around 31C/88F when stress testing. There are only two buttons on the Muses, the power and back button, which leaves you touching the screen for page turns, volume changes, exiting apps, etc. Not a deal break by any means as many reading devices use touch screens for everything, but there isn’t currently a way to reassign the unlabeled back button to anything else so you are stuck with it. I find the lack of volume controls the most unusual on a device with physical speakers, but I don’t suspect many people will use them often. The speakers do get quite loud, slightly quieter than my Pixel 2 at full volume, and are definitely usable in a pinch. The microphone is so well integrated into the housing that I thought it was a manufacturing defect at first, but it does capture your voice well enough. The included pen works well and has a dedicated eraser function at the other end, but there is a side button that seeming does nothing. Not sure if it will do something in the future or just a byproduct of using a generic pen (the Boox devices appear to use the same one). There isn’t a place to store the pen inside the device (the often bundled cases does have a loop for it) so I’m sure some people will leave it at home.

Like any device there are always quirks to their operation and the Likebook Muses is no exception. The most obvious is the lack of documentation. Outside of a very simple quickstart guide in the box, there isn’t much to help you learn about what your tablet can and can’t do. Want to figure out how to change an obscure setting? Ask online. While a paper manual isn’t required, I would have expected a full guide to be included as an epub (this IS an ereader after all). A sometimes odd translation doesn’t help things, I stared at the “boot from boot” option until I hopefully surmised correctly that it means “load on boot” and not “remove from boot”, and often you need to discover how an unlabeled icon works by trial and error. I STILL haven’t figured out how to take native screenshots on the Muses even though there is an option menu for them. Further complicating the issue is the Likebook has two settings menus: one by them, the other the default Google setting menu. Many settings are listed in both places, but some settings, like Lockscreen Wallpaper, are only found in the Boyue settings. Some seemingly easy tasks like changing the wallpaper become multi-step processes (you have to manually move your images into a folder using the Files app for them to even be recognized and then it will stretch the images if the aspect ratio isn’t the same as the screen), and others just plain don’t (currently) work. The “pull-down” notification window from every other Android device is present, but it will only stay open if you press the notification bar instead of pull. Want to install Google Play Books, one of only 12 apps included in the devices app store? It does install, but then won’t run since the Muses doesn’t ship with Google services. Things like this annoy people who know how to work around them, but those who don’t may find the lack of polish disappointing or frustrating. Google Play and all Google services should be coming in a future firmware, but as of now almost nothing Google will work at all.

So what are the downsides of getting the Muses versus a traditional ereader (aka Kindle) or Android tablet? Battery life is very good when reading for an Android device, although still far short of what a Kindle will give you. Just like an Android device, though, load it up with CPU intensive tasks and you can drain the battery in 90 mins. To increase battery the system wants to shut down after as little as 30 mins of use, which thankfully you can disable, but a Kindle would remain on 24/7 by default. You can increase the battery life by limiting the number of background processes in the Developer Settings, but it’s not something every user would know about. The screen is multitouch, but only for two fingers and you can’t use the pen and your fingers at the same time. The screen is frontlit with only a little bit of light bleed at the bottom, but you can’t mix the two lighting colors like you can on other devices and, since there is no light sensor, it can be hard to enable the light if you are already in a dark location. There are two different display modes, standard and A2, and each one has its advantages. Standard produces more shades of gray and cleaner images, but refreshes slowly and can produce gradient bands. A2 limits the shades of gray in exchange for a faster refresh rate and dithers the display to produce smooth gradients, but increased ghosting and loss in detail due to dithering can reduce the quality. Luckily you can change which mode you are in with a dedicated software button in the menu bar or on an app-by-app basis in the settings, but neither is always the better option. You also have contrast controls to help dial the shades of gray, but leaving it close to the minimum seems to work best for me and there are still times when things like text on a colored background is hidden since they are both assigned the same shade. When it comes to actually reading, the default reader is great for PDFs and simple epubs, but more complex files can become unreadable. You can always install something like Moon+ Reader which handles everything fine, but this is one more step which a Kindle wouldn’t have. Kindle devices don’t currently offer pen support so notetakers and doodlers will be better suited with a Muses, but the Muses lacks the native handwriting recognition of the Boox Nova Pro and the pen makes a scratching noise until the tip is worn down. While it is technically possible for the Muses to play video, the lag from the display makes the video always behind the audio by at least half a second so a proper tablet would be better suited if you needed video. The Muses adds USB Type C, which is great for users trying to carry only one charger, but it doesn’t support USB OTG so loading files from a flashdrive isn’t possible (you can send files using the included WiFi app) and oddly it won’t even recognize all USB Fast Chargers (the included charger from my Samsung Chromebook works fine on my Pixel 2, but the Muses won’t charge at all) so you may need two chargers anyways.

So who is the Likebook Muses for and should you get one? If you are looking for a primarily reading device and are either not tied to one ebook store (Amazon, B&N, Kobo) or want to be able do a bit more with your hardware than the more unitasker approach from Amazon and Kobo, the Muses may be what you are looking for. Anyone looking at the Muses should cross-shop the Likebook Mars since that device is cheaper, the Likebook Mimas since it’s larger and includes a 3.5mm headphone jack and TF card reader, and the Onyx Boox Nova Pro which is similarly equipped and priced to the Muses but does offer handwriting recognition and better frontlight control. All are similarly capable devices and should perform most tasks identically well. But for $300, the Muses hits a nice middle point of features, portability, and price. You may want to hold off until the Google Play Store is available, but even now the Muses is a good option for users who want more out of their ebook reader and can work around its limitations.

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Boyue Likebook Muses: First Look

We unbox and try out the new Boyue Likebook Muses Android e-ink tablet. This is a Android 6.0 device with an 8 inch e-ink display, pressure sensitive pen, and a octo-core RK3365 processor. This is the model up from the Likebook Mars and shares most of the same features, but supports the pen and USB-C. The main competitor would be the Onyx Boox Nova Pro. Both devices share most of the same specs (storage, pen, screen, usb-c, Android version) and only differ in processor (faster quad-core vs slower octo-core) and the fact the Likebook includes built-in speakers. If you are looking for a medium-sized eink tablet, is this the one to get?

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7.8″E-ink Touchscreen: 300ppi high resolution, reads like paper without glare. Use a special anti-glare process, 16-level grayscale, effectively reduce the reflective light and protect the screen.

High-speed Quad-core Processor: Use Freescale RK3365 8 Core 1.5GHz chips, features faster response, smoother turn page, lower power consumption, and more stable performance.

Adjustable Built-in Front-light: Step-less adjustable. Protect your eyes and enables you to read day and night.

Convenient PDF Reading: Functions of adjusting grey-scale, edge cutting, re-layout, rotating direction would bring much convenience to you.

Voice Reading Function: High sound quality. You can listen to audiobook and music. Just enjoy the endless fun!

16GB Super Storage: Support to accommodate more than 2000 books. Built-in 3100mAh battery supports 1 hour offline reading for 12 days once fully charged.


Color: White

Storage: 2G+32G

CPU: RK3365 8 Core 1.5GHz

Screen: 7.8″ 300ppi E-ink touchscreen. High Resolution 1404*1872

System: Android 6.0

Reading Light: 24 scales adjustable reading light, front light

Battery: 5V, 1A, 3100mAh

Charging Time: 4-5 hours

Support File Formats: EPUB/ TXT/ DOC/ MOBI/ PDF/ FB2/ JPG/ PNG/ GIF/ PPT/ HTML, etc.

Item Size: 19.8 * 14.4 * 0.93cm/ 7.8 * 5.7 * 0.3in

Item Weight: 245g/ 10oz

Package Size: 22 * 16.5 * 3.7cm/ 8.7 * 6.5 * 1.4in

Package Weight: 604g/ 1.3lb.