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In Win Announces the Affordable 503 Enclosure

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 15, 2015 - 02:01 PM |
Tagged: mid-tower, In Win 503, in win, enclosure, case

In Win has announced an affordable new mid-tower option with the 503, and there is no shortage of the company's trademark style even at this low price point.

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A steel enclosure is to be expected for the $49.99 asking price, and though the company is known for its aluminum construction there is enough tempered glass to keep In Win fans happy. In fact, not only is the front of the In Win 503 made from glass, but it slides down to reveal a 5.25" optical drive bay. To say this is unexpected in a $50 case is a severe understatement.

In Win has posted a short product video which touches on the basic features of the 503:

Drive bays are toolless, and there seems to be a lot of room inside the case. The enclosure will be available in both black/red and white/black color schemes. I personally can't wait to get my hands on one of these and see if it lives up to the lofty standards of prior In Win cases, or if more was compromised than just material selection to meet the low price target.

Source: In Win

My that's a big world you have there, CD Projekt RED's new Witcher 3 trailer

Subject: General Tech | April 15, 2015 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: gaming, The Witcher 3, CD Projekt RED

Every trailer of the Witcher 3 so far has made the game look larger and more complex and the latest trailer continues along that vein.  Some scenes will be familiar, such as a certain griffin's head but others are completely new, especially the in town scenes.  The voiceover implies a much greater breadth of choice in how you play the story than the binary elves or humans choice of Witcher 2 but we have been disappointed by other franchises in the past.  Hopefully this game will not disappoint, it has a very devoted team who are not afraid to include uncomfortable choices or nasty dialogue in the world they have created.  It will also be interesting to see how the size of the open world translates into interesting gameplay, especially once you have cleared an area and civilians move in to settle it.  Check out the trailer below and catch additional coverage at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN ... and maybe even here, you never know.

"Hi, you. That’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Watch this new trailer, it’ll explain.  This shiny new five-minute trailer’s a broad overview of the game, its basic premise, the lay of its land, a few japes, and the sort of larks you’ll get up to."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

HD video streaming drone with autopilot; have fun with the 3DR Solo

Subject: General Tech | April 15, 2015 - 12:35 PM |
Tagged: drone, linux, 3DRobotics, Cortex A9, solo

The 3DR Solo drone is powered by a Cortex A9 processor running at 1GHz which gives the Pixhawk 2 autopilot feature some power to work with, a good thing as some pilots will be too busy watching the HD video stream.  If you buy the model with the GoPro gimbal or knock one up yourself, the Solo is capable of wireless streaming 720p video up to a distance of 1.2 miles (1.9km) with a delay of about 180ms.  You will have a flight time of 25 minutes unladen, 20 minutes if you are hauling a GoPro or any other equivalent payload.  It will not be cheap, it is being released on May 29th at a price of $1000 or $1400 with a GoPro gimbal, but you can check out more of the stats at Linux.com if you are still interested.

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"3DRobotics today announced its first Linux-based drone, a Solo quadcopter touted as the first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to support full control of GoPro cameras and deliver live-streaming HD video to mobile devices."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Linux.com

Logitech G Intelligent Illumination Shown Using Battlefield Hardline

Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2015 - 08:28 PM |
Tagged: logitech g, logitech, gaming keyboard, gaming, battlefield hardline

Logitech has created an SDK to bring a new concept to PC gaming: in-game illumination integration with G series gaming peripherals. Logitech is calling this "Intelligent Illumination", and they have created a video to show off the new tech from their work with EA on Battlefield Hardline.

Switching sides in the game alternates the keyboard color, and the lights blink when taking damage. It's certainly a novel concept, and in this instance adds additional user feedback by taking advantage of the RGB color capabilities of a modern gaming keyboard (this is the G910 Orion Spark). The possibilities seem endless, but a simple idea like context-specific keyboard mapping through custom illumination would make the controls for some games much easier to learn.

Source: Logitech

Forcing HTTPS Is Being Discussed

Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2015 - 08:08 PM |
Tagged: mozilla, http, https, firefox

On the Mozilla Dev-Platform Newsgroup, hosted at Google Groups, a proposal to deprecate insecure HTTP is being discussed. The idea is that HTTPS needs to be adopted and organizations will not do it without being pushed. The plan is to get browser vendors to refuse activating new features, and eventually disable old features, unless the site is loaded as a “privileged context”.

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This has sparked a debate, which was the whole point of course, about how secure do we want the Web to be. What features should we retroactively disable unless it is done through HTTPS? Things that access your webcam and microphone? Things that write to your hard drive? Then there is the question of how to handle self-signed certificates to get encryption without verification, and so forth.

Note: Websites cannot access or create files on your hard drive, but standards like localStorage and IndexedDB allow websites to have their own spaces for persistence. This is to allow, for instance, a 3D game to cache textures (and so forth) so you don't need to download them every time.

Personally, this concerns me greatly. I started helping Mozilla a couple of years ago, a few weeks after I saw Microsoft's Windows 8 developer certification program. I do not like the thought of someone being able to stifle creation and expression, and the web was looking like it might be the last bastion of unrestricted development for the general public.

In the original Windows Store requirements, no browser could exist unless it was a skin of Trident. This meant that, if a site didn't work in Internet Explorer, it didn't exist. If you didn't want to play by their rules? Your app didn't get signed and your developer certificate could even be revoked by Microsoft, or someone with authority over them. You could imagine the problems a LGBT-focused developer might have in certain countries, even if Microsoft likes their creations.

This is obviously not as bad as that. In the Windows Store case, there was one authority whereas HTTPS can be authenticated by numerous providers. Also, if self-signed certificates are deemed “secure enough”, it would likely avoid the problem. You would not need to ask one of a list of authorities permission to exist; you could secure the connection yourself. Of course, that is a barrier of skill for many, and that is its own concern.

So we'll see, but I hope that Mozilla will take these concerns as a top priority in their decisions.

Source: Mozilla

The new SSSSSSamsung Galaxy

Subject: Mobile | April 14, 2015 - 03:33 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, galaxy s6, Android 5.0

Samsung's new Galaxy S6 is unique in that it has metal sides and Gorilla Glass on both the back and front of the phone.  The body is 143x71x6.8mm and it weighs a total of 138g, compared the the iPhone 6 at 138x67x6.9mm and 129g.  The screen is 2560x1440, a density of 577PPI which compares favourably to the iPhone's 1334x750 at 326 PPI.  The Inquirer was impressed by the quality of the screen as well as the colour calibration that they felt was significantly better than on the S5. As far as performance, the phone was tested by playing three hours of XCOM and it did so without stuttering or becoming uncomfortably warm.  They tested the non-removable battery by looping a video, which the phone could manage for just over eight hours, slightly better than the competition though they lose the benefit of battery swapping thanks to the new design.  Check out the images taken with the new camera and answers to other specific questions in their full review.

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"Aware of customers' and reviewers' complaints, Samsung made a sweep of reforms in its smartphone division and "went back to the drawing board" with the 2015 Galaxy S6."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

Source: The Inquirer

A philosophical look at SSD benchmarking

Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2015 - 01:42 PM |
Tagged: ssd, benchmarking, synthetic

[H]ard|OCP will be resuming their benchmarking of SSDs in the near future and wanted to introduce both their new contributor and his thoughts on benchmarking SSDs.  These drives offer several challenges when comparing performance that are not present when benchmarking spinning rust.  For instance some controllers use compression to increase IOPS whenever possible but slow down when incompressible data is passed through the drive, providing a challenge to properly show performance comparisons to similar drives with difference or no compression whatsoever.  Read through the article to see which synthetic benchmarks will remain as well as Chris' thoughts on new tests to accurately contrast the performance of SSDs.

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"Many of our readers embrace our "real world" approach with hardware reviews. We have not published an SSD review for almost 2 years while we have been looking to revamp our SSD evaluation program. Today we wanted to give you some insight as to how we learned to stop worrying and love the real world SSD benchmark."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: [H]ard|OCP

USB Type C for you and me

Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2015 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: usb type-c, usb 3.1, dell, asus

DigiTimes has seen evidence that non-Apple fanatics will have a chance to get their hands on USB 3.1 Type C connectors in the near future.  Dell will be releasing a Windows 10 powered, 11" LCD Venue 11 Pro in the fall which will sport Type-C connectors for the new USB standard.  ASUS will also be releasing gaming laptops with Type-C connectors this year as well although we do not have a specific date nor do we know when they will be included on less expensive models.  If you are wondering when we will start to see USB 3.1 devices on the market you can check the list that ASUS provided The Tech Report here.

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"After Apple's adoption of the USB Type-C port on its 12-inch MacBook, Dell also recently announced to use the technology for its 11-inch tablet and Asustek Computer is planning to launch gaming notebooks with USB Type-C support in the second half at the earliest, according to a Chinese-language Apply Daily report."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction

The tale of the Samsung 840 EVO is a long and winding one, with many hitches along the way. Launched at the Samsung 2013 Global SSD Sumit, the 840 EVO was a unique entry into the SSD market. Using 19nm planar TLC flash, the EVO would have had only mediocre write performance if not for the addition of a TurboWrite cache, which added 3-12GB (depending on drive capacity) of SLC write-back cache. This gave the EVO great all around performance in most consumer usage scenarios. It tested very well, was priced aggressively, and remained our top recommended consumer SSD for quite some time. Other editors here at PCPer purchased them for their own systems. I even put one in the very laptop on which I'm writing this article.

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An 840 EVO read speed test, showing areas where old data had slowed.

About a year after release, some 840 EVO users started noticing something weird with their systems. The short version is that data that sat unmodified for a period of months was no longer able to be read at full speed. Within a month of our reporting on this issue, Samsung issued a Performance Restoration Tool, which was a combination of a firmware and a software tool that initiated a 'refresh', where all stale data was rewritten, restoring read performance back to optimal speeds. When the tool came out, many were skeptical that the drives would not just slow down again in the future. We kept an eye on things, and after a few more months of waiting, we noted that our test samples were in fact slowing down again. We did note it was taking longer for the slow down to manifest this time around, and the EVOs didn't seem to be slowing down to the same degree, but the fact remained that the first attempt at a fix was not a complete solution. Samsung kept up their end of the bargain, promising another fix, but their initial statement was a bit disappointing, as it suggested they would only be able to correct this issue with a new version of their Samsung Magician software that periodically refreshed the old data. This came across as a band-aid solution, but it was better than nothing.

Read on for our full evaluation of the new firmware and Magician 4.6!

NVIDIA Released 350.12 WHQL and AMD Released 15.4 Beta for Grand Theft Auto V

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 14, 2015 - 01:27 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, amd, GTA5

Grand Theft Auto V launched today at around midnight GMT worldwide. This corresponded to 7PM EDT for those of us in North America. Well, add a little time for Steam to unlock the title and a bit longer for Rockstar to get enough servers online. One thing you did not need to wait for was new video card drivers. Both AMD and NVIDIA have day-one drivers that provide support.

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You can get the NVIDIA drivers at their landing page

You can get the AMD drivers at their release notes

Personally, I ran the game for about a half hour on Windows 10 (Build 10049) with a GeForce GTX 670. Since these drivers are not for the pre-release operating system, I tried running it on 349.90 to see how it performed before upgrading. Surprisingly, it seems to be okay (apart from a tree that was flickering in and out of existence during a cut-scene). I would definitely update my drivers if they were available and supported, but I'm glad that it seems to be playable even on Windows 10.

Source: AMD

Recently Picked Up: Asus RT-AC66R

Subject: Networking | April 13, 2015 - 03:52 PM |
Tagged: asus, router, 802.11ac, rt-a66r, rt-a66u

Until recently, we have been using a Linksys WRT54G. No, not the WRT54GL. We have been using the cheap, $30 v8.0 unit with 8MB of RAM. Since it has been eight years since its manufacturing date, and about the same length of time since it received a firmware upgrade, we decided to upgrade to a newer model. After searching for a while, we settled on the ASUS RT-AC66. We bought it from a retail store, because it was the same price and I could get it the same day without paying for shipping, so our model has an “R” suffix, rather than the direct-from-ASUS “U”. The units are identical besides the model name though.

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We are using the stock ASUS firmware.

So what has happened in the last half-dozen years? First, this device has quite a few more features than the Linksys, although not many are applicable to me personally. The most interesting to me is that ASUS offers a dynamic DNS service for their routers. It seems pretty straight-forward honestly. I was looking for a place to register, but it seems like it was just a matter of inputting the desired URL into the router, and ASUS will give it to you if it is available. I was able to use the subdomain within a few minutes too, although I did not try doing much with it.

Its 2.4 GHz range is pretty good too, much wider than the WRT54G. The 5.0 GHz makes it from the basement to the TV on the main floor. It reports less than full signal, but I have nothing to compare that with (neither a second 5.0 GHz device nor another 5.0GHz router). The antenna are detachable and higher sensitive versions are available, which is probably good for edge cases, although the default ones seem to work fine for me.

It definitely seems like a good router. I don't feel it getting in-between me and my internet connection. This is not a review though, just my impressions after using it for a bit.

Move over Fatal1ty, the cool kids want ocelote peripherals now

Subject: General Tech | April 13, 2015 - 01:39 PM |
Tagged: ocelote, input, gaming mouse

Carlos “Ocelote” Rodriguez was a competitive LoL player who recently retired from competition but is using his fame to promote a gaming mouse and mat from Ozone.  You will recognize the shell of the mouse from previous links to reviews of the Argon, with a new colour scheme and logo.  It uses an ADNS 9800 laser sensor that can be adjusted from 800 to 8200 DPI and sports 128kb of memory onboard to help you program those 9 OMRON buttons in different profiles.  The weight is adjustable thanks to the four 4.5g weights which ship with the mouse and lefties will be glad to know this mouse goes both ways.  Also make sure to check out the rather unique aluminium mouse mat in KitGuru's review found here.

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"Even though a lot of pro-gamers are endorsing gaming peripherals these days, it is rare that you see one named after a particular player. Still, that is exactly what has happened with Ozone’s latest hardware, which is named after one of the highest earning eSports gamers in the world: Carlos “Ocelote” Rodriguez."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: KitGuru

A quiet upgrade to Linux 4.0

Subject: General Tech | April 13, 2015 - 12:28 PM |
Tagged: linux, Linux 4.0

The upgrade to version 4.0 of the Linux kernel happened quietly over the weekend, less a huge step forward than an incremental improvement.  The most interesting feature for those who support Linux boxes will be the non-disruptive kernel patching, allowing you to apply patches without causing downtime; assuming you properly tested the patches that is.  As well support for Intel's new Quark processor has been added and support for the Z13 found in IBM machines has also been improved.  It was hinted to The Inquirer that version 4.1 is likely to see far more changes incorporated in its release.

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"The new number isn't a sign of a major upgrade. As we've chronicled, Torvalds thinks that it looks a bit silly when version numbers go beyond x.19. He therefore decided it would be best to tick over from 3.19 to 4.0 for the sake of neatness, rather than to celebrate any particular milestone in the kernel."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register
Manufacturer: SilverStone

Introduction and First Impressions

SilverStone has another contender for a budget ATX build with the Kublai KL05 enclosure, and today we’ll take a look at the windowed variant of this mid-tower design.

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What would life be like without computer cases? Various components strewn about on desks, tables, and floors, creating headaches and tripping hazards everywhere. Fortunately, they exist, and I'm thankful for this every day. However there are now so many that scrolling down the list on any site in any price range is like shopping for RAM or power supplies these days: endless selection of similar things. But it's not enough to make sure the specs match your build as enclosures can vary a great deal even with the same component support. So, when looking for a good case for a build or upgrade you just end up reading a review like this. I hope I don't disappoint you, and we have a pretty interesting offering from SilverStone here to consider.

I've been enamored of late with lower-priced components. Sure, I've reviewed $300 cases but as cool as the high end can be it's not realistic for a lot of people (myself included). Finding great value has always been kind of fun, and to me a great value for a PC enclosure is something well under the $100 mark. I had the pleasure of reviewing NZXT's excellent S340 enclosure recently, and the SilverStone Kublai we're about to take a look at carries the same $69.99 MSRP. A larger case than the NZXT, the Kublai retains support for 5.25" optical drives and makes use of this added space up front for plenty of hard drives. The case looks and it sounds like a good value, but there's only one way to find out (and it involved actually reviewing it).

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Continue reading our review of the SilverStone Kublai KL05-W Case!!

3D displays go professional; HP's Zvr

Subject: Displays | April 10, 2015 - 01:52 PM |
Tagged: hp, 3d display, Zvr

3D displays have had limited success in the gaming market, while interesting most gamers have instead opted for high resolution and high refresh rate monitors over 3D.  However there is great potential for 3D displays in professional applications such as CAD/CAM and medicine; imaging actually seeing a 3D representation of a model or organ instead of trying to visualize it from a 2D screen.  NitroWare.net had a change to see the HP Zvr 23.6-inch Virtual Reality Display in action and you can too by following the link.

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"HP Australia gave NitroWare.net an exclusive preview in Sydney of its new zSpace powered 3D Virtual Reality Monitor aimed to complement its professional desktop and mobile workstation line. The Zvr Display introduces head-tracking and an interactive stylus to enable 3D/VR interactivity and manipulation via an off-the-shelf product from a mass-market OEM."

Here are some more Display articles from around the web:

Displays

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The X99-SOC Champion is GIGABYTE's Intel X99-based answer for the extreme overclocking crowd, over-engineered to take the abuse that extreme overclockers punish their boards with. The board supports all Intel LGA2011-3 based processors paired with DDR4 memory in up to a quad channel configuration. As a member of their Overclocking series of boards, the X99-SOC Champion board enjoys the series-specific orange and black aesthetics. With an MSRP of $299.99, the board remains an approachable product for most enthusiasts.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

GIGABYTE designed the X99-SOC Champion with overclockers in mind, starting with its 8+4-phase digital power system. Its power circuity was built using International Rectifier Gen 4 digital PWM controllers and Gen 3 PowIRstage controllers, Cooper Bussmann Server Level chokes, and long life Durable Black Solid capacitors. Overclocker-friendly features include a CPU Mode switch, enabling enhanced voltage settings for the processor, the OC Trigger switch specifically for LN2-based overclocking, and a plethora of on board voltage measurement points.

Continue reading our review of the GIGABYTE X99-SOC Champion motherboard! 

Stacking NAND higher means stacking prices higher

Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2015 - 12:41 PM |
Tagged: 3d nand

SSDs using traditional planar NAND have seen a nice price reduction curve over the years with costs per gigabyte often well under $0.50.  This may not hold true for 3D NAND if the number crunching over at The Register is accurate.  The scaling is quite intense when fabbing 3D NAND, planar NAND can require up to three deposition layers for charge trap or four for floating gate style flash.  Multiply those numbers by the 128 layers present on Intel's 3D NAND and you can see why the fabrication is going to be more expensive, be produced more slowly and be more prone to errors.  That will all add up to expensive SSDs whose price is unlikely to fall as quickly as did planar.  Currently about 5% of NAND produced is 3D but Sandisk is quoted as expecting that to climb to 50% by 2018, hopefully the process will have matured significantly by then.

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"Stifel MD Aaron Rakers bas been crunching numbers and comparing foundry capital costs for NAND over the next few years with those for disk drive fabs."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Windows 10 Build 10056 Leaks

Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2015 - 07:30 AM |
Tagged: windows 10, windows, microsoft, build 10056

Moving up five steps from the 10051 leak that was published just a few days ago, another build was leaked: 10056. The first thing Neowin, who reported on the WZor leak, noticed is the new Recycling Bin icon. People were not a fan of the change that occurred with 10041, which honestly looked like it was out of a Mike Judge cartoon. It is now a semi-transparent, almost prism-shaped bin from a dimetric viewpoint. That should make some people happy.

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Also visible is a new “Virtual Desktop” icon and a relocation of the power menu button from the top right to the bottom left. This shift puts it alongside every other control except the Start menu's fullscreen button, which remains in the corner. To me, this looks a lot more organized.

On the topic of future builds, Gabe Aul seems to be implying that Slow Ring users would not get 10049. This likely means that Fast will get another build soon, which we would expect to trickle down to the “Slow” users on 10041. The proximity to Build confuses that slightly though. It is possible that Microsoft will do what they did with 9926 and delay Fast builds so they can have a highly-tested preview build (“Technical Preview 3” or something) pushed to both Fast and Slow rings to surprise attendees of the conference. Well, as much as they can hide stuff given that every few builds are being dissected online. I'm sure they have a lot of work being done in external branches though.

Either way, we'll find out soon... even if that's by not finding out soon.

Source: Neowin

Square Enix Announces Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2015 - 07:00 AM |
Tagged: tressfx, square enix, eidos montreal, dx12, DirectX 12, deus ex: mankind divided, deus ex

Deus Ex: Human Revolution came out in 2011 as a prequel to Ion Storm's Deus Ex and Deus Ex: Invisible War. Human Revolution was made after Warren Spector left the company and Eidos closed down the Austin, Texas developer, leaving the franchise to Eidos Montreal. By the time of Human Revolution's release, Eidos was already purchased by the Japanese publisher, Square Enix. Deus Ex was set in 2052 and Invisible War was set in 2072. Human Revolution, being a prequel as mentioned earlier, rewound the clock to 2027 and introduced a new main character, Adam Jensen. It explored the rise of machine-human augmentations that formed much of the lore in the original titles.

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Timeline and theme established, Square Enix has just announced Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the sequel to the prequel with a great looking (albeit a little bloody) trailer. It is set in 2029, which is just two years after events of Human Revolution. It will be coming to the PC, as well as the two most-next-gen consoles. As expected, Adam Jensen returns as the main character. Now that Square Enix and its subsidiary, Eidos, spent so much to build him up as a brand, it makes sense that they would continue with the consumer recognition. Makes sense from a business perspective, although it probably means the franchise will meander less through time. I will leave that up to the reader to decide whether that's good or bad.

AMD Gaming has also tweeted out that Mankind Divided, or its PC version at the very least, will utilize both DirectX 12 and TressFX. I am curious whether TressFX has been updated to take advantage of the new API, given how important GPU compute is to the new graphics standards. No release date has been set.

Source: Square Enix

This is your Steampunk on DARKCOOL

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 9, 2015 - 06:25 PM |
Tagged: Deepcool

If slanted faux vents with LED lights in them and a front grill say Steampunk to you then the DEEPCOOL Steam Castle might just be up your alley.  On the other hand if sturdy construction, colour matching and a design which is ornate yet functional is closer to your preference then this might not be the case you are looking for.  Style design aside, the case does sport well designed filters, large fans to lower the noise generated and providing cooling performance that was far better than [H]ard|OCP is used to seeing.  The MSRP is also under $100, giving you a unique looking and well performing enclosure without a large investment.

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"It is one of those moments that you go, "Uh, what?" Deepcool Industries comes to us today with its Steam Castle micro-ATX and mini-ITX computer case for smaller system configurations. While your definition of "steam-punk" may differ from Deepcool's, one thing for sure is this case is unique in its look. How does it perform however?"

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP