Manufacturer: NZXT

Introduction

In the last few years NZXT has emerged as a popular choice for computer builds with stylish cases for a variety of needs. The newest member of the H series, the H440, promises quiet performance and offers a clean look by eliminating optical drive bays entirely from the design. While this might be a deal-breaker for some, the days of the ODD seem to be numbered as more enclosures are making the move away from the 5.25" bay.

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Image credit: NZXT

But we aren't looking at just any H440 today, as NZXT has sent along a completely custom version designed in alliance with gaming accessory maker Razer to be "the ultimate gamer's chassis". (This case is currently available direct from NZXT's online store.) In this review we'll look at just what makes this H440 different, and test out a complete build while we're at it. Performance will be as big a metric as appearance here since the H440 is after all an enclosure designed for silence, with noise dampening an integral part of NZXT's construction of the case.

Green with Envy?

From the outset you'll notice the Razer branding extends beyond just special paint and trim, as custom lighting is installed right out of the box to give this incarnation of the H440 a little more gaming personality (though this lighting can be switched off, if desired). Not only do the front and side logos and power button light up green, but the bottom of the case features effects lighting to cast an eerie green glow on your desktop or floor.

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Image credit: NZXT

Continue reading our review of the NZXT H440 Designed by Razer!!

Thermaltake Launches Liquid Cooling Friendly Core V41 Case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 7, 2014 - 12:45 AM |
Tagged: water cooling, thermaltake, mid-tower, liquid cooling, core v41, atx

Thermaltake added a new mid-tower case to its Core series this week that is well-suited to water cooling systems. The new Core V41 is the smallest chassis in the family which includes the full tower Core V71 and the Core V51 mid-tower. Thermaltake's new case is a slightly more compact version of the Core V51 that maintains the curved metal mesh design. The Core V51 supports full ATX motherboards, multiple graphics cards, tool-free storage, and a large acrylic window.

Thermaltake Core V41 LCS MidTower.jpg

The Core V41 has a full mesh front panel with two externally-accessible 5.25" drive bays, two audio ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. The case has eight PCI expansion slots on the rear. It supports up to ATX motherboards, 170mm processor heatsinks, 275mm long graphics cards, and 180mm power supplies. Thermaltake includes a massive CPU cutout that should accommodate installation of just about any CPU backplate without needing to remove the motherboard. There are four large cable routing cutouts (sans grommets) around the motherboard tray as well as three water cooling grommets to allow external radiators and up to 1/2" diameter tubing.

Thermaltake Core V41 LCS Mid-Tower Case.jpg

Storage consists of two 5.25" drive bays, six 3.5" bays, and two stealth 2.5"/3.5" bays behind the motherboard tray. In a neat twist, all three tool-free bays are removable to allow for longer graphics cards and top-mounted liquid cooling radiators.

Thermaltake Core V41 LCS Mid-Tower Case Angled.jpg

The case supports a wide range of cooling configurations with vents along the top, front, rear, and bottom of the case (the Core V41 has rather tall feet which should make a bottom-mounted fan actually useful). Thermaltake includes magnetic dust filters on the top and front of the case, and it has been designed with front-to-back intake/exhaust airflow in mind. Thermaltake bundles the case with a single 120mm front intake and one 120mm rear exhaust.

Thermaltake Core V41 LCS Mid-Tower Case_LED.jpg

For air cooling, users can add two 120mm fans to the bottom and two 200mm fans to the top of the case. Alternatively, water cooling radiators can be set up as follows:

  • 1 x 360mm radiator in the front
  • 1 x 360mm radiator up top
  • 1 x 120mm radiator (common for sealed loop CPU coolers) in place of the rear exhaust fan.

There are some minor compromises, but overall the Core V41 looks to be a decent case with some useful features for its price range. Thermaltake has not yet revealed pricing or availability, but it should hit below the $100 mark at retail. For reference, the Core V51 retails for just under $110 USD and you are getting slightly less case with the V41.

Also read: 

Source: Thermaltake

ASRock Shows Off Upcoming X99 Extreme6 Haswell-E Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | August 30, 2014 - 01:43 AM |
Tagged: X99, socket 2011-3, lga 2011, Haswell-E, atx, asrock

Today, ASRock unveiled the X99 Extreme6 motherboard, a high end board for enthusiasts featuring Intel's X99 chipset and support for Haswell-E processors and all of the latest connectivity options (short of SATA Express).

This ATX motherboard uses a black PCB, gold capacitors, and blue heatsinks to create an appealing color scheme. A 12 power phase "Digi Power" design feeds the LGA 2011-3 CPU socket. Eight total DDR4 memory slots surround the processor socket (four on each side) with support for up to 128GB of DDR4 running at 3000+MHz (w/ requisite CPU/IMC overclock).

The bottom half of the motherboard hosts the PCI-E slots, PCH, and 10 SATA 3 ports. Specifically, the X99 Extreme6 features three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (supporting Triple SLI or CrossFire), two PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots, a single Mini PCI-E connector, and one "Ultra M.2" PCI-E 3.0 x4 M.2 slot for SSDs. Ten right angled SATA III 6Gbps ports sit to the right of the southbridge.

ASRock X99 Extreme6 LGA 2011-3 Haswell-E Motherboard.jpg

Using internal headers, users can add four USB 3.0, four USB 2.0, one Thunderbolt port (requires an add-on card to work), and one COM port(s) for additional connectivity and connecting case front panel ports.

Rear IO on the Extreme6 includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 6 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x eSATA
  • ​7.1 Channel Purity Sound 2 Audio (Realtek ALC1150)
    • 5 x Analog audio
    • 1 x Optical audio output
  • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
    • 1 x Intel 1218V NIC
    • 1 x Qualcomm Atheros NIC

The X99 Extreme6 is part of ASRock's new "Super Alloy X99" lineup. It is available now from retailers for $279.99 with a three year manufacturer warranty.

Also read: Haswell-E: The Intel Core i7-5960X 8-core Processor Review at PC Perspective.

Source: ASRock

The Gigabyte Z87X-UD7-TH is a fully packed ATX board

Subject: Motherboards | March 24, 2014 - 05:39 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, Z87X-UD7-TH, lga 1150, atx, Thunderbolt 2

Gigabyte's Z87X-UD7-TH goes all out in terms of expansion slots with 5 PCIe 3.0 16x capable of running 4 cards at 8x simultaneously, along with two PCIe 2.0 1x slots in case you need even more cards to be plugged in.  The Intel DSL5520 adds support for Thunderbolt 2 and there are 10 SATA 6Gbps ports, 10 USB 3.0 ports and even 4 legacy USB ports which should be enough for just about any user.  Peripheral support is not everything though, find out about overclocking and stability under load in [H]ard|OCP's full review.

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"We’ve covered a lot of budget motherboards lately and shown that you can get quite a lot for your dollar. The GIGABYTE motherboard we are looking at today is not a budget motherboard. In fact it’s on the complete opposite of the spectrum, competing with ASUS’ WS offerings and MSI’s Big Bang XPower series."

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Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

MSI Intros Trio Of Low-Cost FM2+ Motherboards Using A58 Chipset

Subject: Motherboards | February 28, 2014 - 01:23 AM |
Tagged: msi, A58, Kaveri, FM2+, micro ATX, atx

MSI has launched three new low cost FM2+ motherboards based around AMD's budget A58 chipset. The new boards include an ATX form factor MSI A58-G41 PC Mate and two micro ATX boards: the A58M-E35 and the A58M-E33. The boards are compatible with AMD's Richland, Trinity, and Kaveri APUs and support PCI-E 3.0. The cost savings come from using the A58 chipset which drops support for SATA III 6Gpbs and USB 3.0. The boards further have smaller heatsinks and fewer overclocking features. Despite the restrictions, the new MSI A58 FM2+ motherboards still incorporate MSI's OC Genie 4, Click BIOS 4, and Command Center technologies along with the company's Military Class 4 hardware components.

MSI A58-G41 FM2+ Motherboard.png

The MSI A58-G41 PC Mate is an ATX form factor board with an FM2+ CPU socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots, six SATA II 3Gbps ports, two PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, two PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots, and three legacy PCI expansion slots. Rear IO on this board includes two PS/2 ports, six USB 2.0 ports, a single Gigabit LAN port, three analog audio jacks, and three video outputs (HDMI, VGA, and DVI).

MSI A58M-E35 FM2+ AMD Motherboard.png

The Micro ATX A58M-E35 also has an FM2+ socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots, and six SATA II ports, but the expansion slot layout is scaled down. There is a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, one PCI-E 3.0 x1 slot, and one PCI slot. Rear IO on this board is identical to the A58-G41 board above (six USB 2.0, two PS/2, one GbE port, three audio, and three video outputs).

MSI A58M-E33.png

Finally, MSI's lowest-end A58M-E33 is a Micro ATX board similar in layout to the A58-E35, but with fewer port options. The expansion slot and memory slot configuration stays the same as the E35, but there are two fewer SATA II ports (four total) and two fewer USB 2.0 ports on the rear IO panel. Speaking of I/O, the board is similar to the E35 except that it lacks a DVI video output and two USB 2.0 ports.

MSI has not yet released exact pricing, but expect these boards to be well under $100, and the two micro ATX variants to be closer to the $50 mark based on prices of the higher-end A78 and A88 chipset-based motherboards. All three will be available for purchase later this year.

Source: MSI

The Corsair case you could have won

Subject: General Tech | November 14, 2013 - 07:21 PM |
Tagged: corsair, Graphite Series 230T, atx

You may recognize the Corsair Graphite Series 230T ATX from the Halloween contest which has yet to be won, Ryan promises to do it soon.  While you wait you can read [H]ard|OCP's review of this case and their thoughts on its construction.  As you can see from the picture below the case can hold GTX 280 cards, it is 505x210x440mm (19.9x8.3x17.3") which gives you quite a bit of space to work with.  It is not often you see a case that costs less than $90 picking up a Silver Award.

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"Corsair has been known for RAM for well over a decade now, but it has become a big player in the computer case market in the last few years. The Corsair Graphite Series 230T ATX case is designed for "fast and straightforward system building, by design." Its list of features is impressive, so let's see how it hold up under pressure."

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CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

In Win Unveils Full Tower Tou Chassis

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 6, 2013 - 01:12 AM |
Tagged: in win, tou, full tower, atx, tempered glass

In Win, a manufacturer of cases, power supplies, and storage drives showed off a prototype full tower ATX case at Computex 2013 that is now officially launching as a production model in limited quantities. The case, called the Tou, is constructed of a sand case aluminum frame and surrounded by tempered glass with a mirror finish.

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The glass is such that when the internal case LEDs are off, the various case panels act as mirrors. However, when the internal blue LEDs are turned on, light passes through the glass and users can see the PC internals through the glass panels.

Feature08.jpg

The full tower chassis is roughly rectangular with angular edges, a large mesh vent on the top panel, bottom mounted 5.25” drive bay, and two handles attached to the front panel. The front panel has two skinny vents on either side to allow the front 120mm intake fan to pull in cool air. The top panel supports 360mm water cooling radiators or three 120mm fans. Front IO includes two USB 3.0 ports and two audio ports.

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Internally, the In Win Tou case supports ATX motherboards, ATX power supplies, three 3.5” hard drives, two 2.5” SSDs, and GPUs up to 380mm in length.

Feature03.jpg

According to Hexus.net, the limited edition Tou case will be available soon for around $800. IT is an interesting design, and the mirrored panels are unique. I don't care for the particular angular edges and bolt pattern on the side panel, and the internal features are at a bare minimum, which is less than I would have expected from an $800 case. I'm interested to see what case modders are able to do with it though, and how enthusiasts take advantage of the mirrored glass to show off their systems.

Source: In Win

MSI Launches Budget Haswell-Ready H81-P33 Motherboard

Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2013 - 03:09 PM |
Tagged: msi, haswell, h81-p33, H81, atx

MSI recently launched its own Haswell-ready motherboard equipped with Intel’s H81 chipset. Aimed at budget builds, the new MSI H81-P33 is a sub-$100 ATX board.

The H81-P33 features an LGA 1150 CPU socket and two DDR3 DIMM slots (32GB DDR3 1600 MHz maximum) fed by a 6-phase VRM. Below the CPU socket is a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot, two PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots, and three legacy PCI connectors. To the left of the PCI slots sit two SATA III 6Gbps ports and two SATA II 3Gbps ports. A USB 3.0 header sits at the bottom of the board.

MSI H81-P33 ATX Motherboard.jpg

Rear IO on the MSI H81-P33 includes:

  • 2 x PS/2
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x RJ45
  • 3 x Analog audio jacks

MSI has not announced specific pricing or availability, but expect it to be under $100. It should be a good starting point for a budget Haswell build.

NZXT Launches Phantom 630 Windowed Edition

Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2013 - 03:10 AM |
Tagged: nzxt, phantom 630, atx, side panel

NZXT launched the Phantom 630 case earlier this year for $180 in black, white, or gunmetal gray. Reportedly responding to enthusiast demand, NZXT announced a new version of the Phantom 630 with a larger acrylic side window.

The NZXT Phantom 630 Windowed Edition is identical to the original Phantom 630 except for a side panel with a large acrylic side window that shows off the entire motherboard. It has curved corners and a diagonal right side.

NZXT Phantom 630 Windowed Edition ATX Case_black.jpg

NZXT states on the product page that “you have been asking for this for a while and we've delivered...” The company further claims that the Phantom 630 Windowed Edition presents “the same  revolutionary, award-winning chassis that took bold innovation to the next level with a large side panel window. “

The Phantom 630 case measures 9.7x24.7x23.6" (245mm (W) x 627mm (H) x 600mm (D) ) and is constructed of SECC Steel and ABS plastic. The case supports four 5.25” drives, eight SSDs, and seven 140mm fans (with filtered intakes). You can read more about the case here.

NZXT Phantom 630 ATX Case.jpg

The Phantom 630 Windowed Edition has an MSRP of $179.99. Alternatively, enthusiasts who already have the original Phantom 630 can upgrade to the larger side window by replacing the side panel--which will be available for purchase from NZXT in October for $29.99.

Source: NZXT

ASUS Launches Six New H81 Motherboards For Budget Haswell Systems

Subject: General Tech | August 21, 2013 - 06:32 PM |
Tagged: H81, haswell, mini ITX, mATX, atx, motherboard, asus

ASUS recently announced six new Haswell-compatible motherboards using Intel's budget H81 chipset. The new motherboards come in full ATX, Micro ATX, and Mini ITX form factors. The new boards include the ATX H81-Plus, the Mini-ITX H81I-Plus, and four Micro ATX boards: the H81M-Plus, H81M-A, H81M-C, and H81M-E. 

All of the boards have two DDR3 DIMM slots, a LGA 1150 CPU socket, and four SATA ports (two SATA III 6Gpbs and two SATA II 3Gbps). Aside from the physical dimensions, the boards vary in the number and type of PCI-E 2.0 connectors and rear IO port selection. Further, the motherboards feature ASUS' DIGI+ VRM and 5X protection (eg. overcurrent) technologies.

ASUS H81-Plus.jpg

The H81-Plus features four PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots and two PCI-E x1 slots. Rear IO includes:

  • 2 x PS/2
  • 1 x COM
  • 1 x Parallel
  • 1 x VGA
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x RJ45 LAN
  • 3 x analog audio ports

The Micro ATX H81M-Plus has a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot and three PCI-E x1 slots. It does not inlclude the parallel or COM ports on the rear IO, and instead provides digital video outputs. Specifically, the H81M-Plus provides the following rear IO.

  • 2 x PS/2
  • Video:
    • 1 x HDMI
    • 1 x DVI-D
    • 1 x VGA
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x RJ45 LAN
  • 3 x Analog audio ports

The other micro ATX boards are variations of this design with slightly different IO and PCI-E .1 configurations. The ASUS H81M-A has the same rear IO as the H81M-Plus but has only two PCI-E x1 slots. The H81M-E is nearly identical to the H81M-Plus above except that there is no HDMI video output on the back panel. Finally, the H81M-C features two PCI-E 2.0 x 16 slots, two PCI-E x1 slots, and switches out the HDMI port for a LPT parallel port stacked on top of the DVI and VGA ports on the rear IO panel.

ASUS H81I-Plus.jpg

In addition to the ATX and Micro ATX motherboards, ASUS is launching the H81I-Plus, which is a Mini ITX motherboard for Intel Haswell processors and using the budget H81 chipset. The board has a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 connector and four SATA ports (two SATA 6Gbps). Rear IO on the Mini ITX H81I-Plus includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • Video
    • 1 x HDMI
    • 1 x VGA
    • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x RJ45 LAN
  • 3 x Analog audio jacks

ASUS has not released official pricing or availability information, but expect the boards to be available soon for under $100.

Read more about H81 motherboards at PC Perspective.

Source: ASUS