Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 8, 2016 - 03:09 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: mid-tower, enclosure, corsair, case, Carbide SPEC-ALPHA, atx case
Corsair has officially released the Carbide SPEC-ALPHA case they were showing off at CES 2016, and this mid-tower is a striking design that offers an alternative to more traditional look of the company's recent Carbide offerings.
The White/Red SPEC-ALPHA at CES
"With its modern, angular appearance, the SPEC-ALPHA really stands out in a crowd. But its looks aren’t all that are modern – the SPEC-ALPHA features native USB 3.0 support, room for up to four SSDs, and a three-speed fan controller for the three included 120mm fans. A large window shows off internal components and the Direct Airflow Path layout, which provides superior cooling by getting rid of unnecessary drive bays."
The inclusion of a 3-speed fan control is definately welcome at this price, which is an attractive $79.99 MSRP. We'll have to wait until we get one in to test to see how it performs, but at first glance it looks promising. Doubtless the look won't be for everyone, but if you look at a lot of enclosures (like someone I know) unusual designs are always welcome!
Inside the Black/Red version
Technical specifications from Corsair:
- Expansion Slots: 7
- 5.25” Drive bays: N/A
- 3.5” Hard Drive Bays: 3
- 2.5” Drive Bays: 4
- Cooling Layout:
- Front: 2 x 120mm (2 x 120mm LED included)
- Top: 2 x 120mm
- Rear: 1 x 120mm (included)
- Radiator Compatibility:
- 240mm: Front only
- 120mm: Front, or Rear
- Integrated dust filters for front and bottom intakes
- Front I/O Panel includes:
- USB 3.0 port (x2)
- Three-Speed Fan Controller
- Headphone and Microphone jacks
- Power on and Reset buttons
- Dimensions (LxWxH) 518 x 220 x 474 mm (20.39 x 8.66 x 18.66 inches)
- Maximum GPU Length: 380 mm
- Maximum CPU Cooler Height: 156 mm
- Maximum PSU Length: 190 mm
- 2 Year Warranty
(Image credit: Corsair)
As stated above the Carbide SPEC-ALPHA retails for $79.99 and is available now.
Introduction and First Impressions
Today we’re looking at an enclosure from VIVO, a new company on the scene who has created their new Titan mid-tower enclosure to enter the enthusiast case market. We’ll see how it stacks up in an already crowded market.
A search on Amazon for enclosures will turn up the usual suspects, from Antec to Thermaltake (with BitFenix, Corsair, In Win, NZXT, Lian Li, Phanteks, SilverStone, and others in between). And right there in those search results is VIVO. Their Athena mid-tower is a nice-looking budget enclosure that sells for only $54.99, and with the Titan VIVO offering a more understated design, and some modern conveniences.
The Titan is spacious, with an open internal layout that places drive storage behind and below the motherboard tray, a common trend (Corsair’s Carbide 400C and the NZXT H440 have similar layouts). The cost of such a design (as with the aforementioned competitors) is a reduction in drive support, as only two 3.5-inch and a single 2.5-inch drive bay are included (with support for an addition pair of SSDs inside the case). This trend has its detractors, to be sure, but if your needs are limited to an SSD and a pair of hard drives, you’ll be just fine - and the Titan offers a pair of 5.25-inch bays, if desired.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 12, 2016 - 07:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: small form-factor, SFF, NCASE M1, Kimera Industries, enclosure, crowdfunding, Cerberus, case
Micro-ATX offers a compelling option for smaller system builds without the limitations inherent with the mini-ITX form-factor, and a new company aims to offer one of the smallest micro-ATX enclosures possible while still supporting full-size components. That company is Kimera Industries, a newcomer (founded in 2014) that will be turning to Indiegogo to fund the Cerberus mATX enclosure, to be built right here in the United States.
Known previously as Project Nova, the Cerberus is reminiscent of the NCASE M1, a crowdfunded mini-ITX design that is ridiculously small even for mITX. In addition to supporting the larger mATX form-factor motherboard, the Cerberus is constructed from steel (rather than the M1's aluminum), and boasts an extremely compact size for an enclosure that can easily house a dual-GPU gaming setup.
“At just 18.2L, Cerberus is smaller than nearly all mATX (and many mITX) cases in industry today, yet supports flagship graphics and high-end PC components, making it a potent enclosure for hardware enthusiasts that want a compact and portable computer without compromises on performance.”
A look at the interior with a complete system installed shows just how much can be crammed into this small space, just as with the NCASE M1. The inclusion of a hinged bracket for a liquid cooler (or other components) is a nice touch that should aid in system building with the Cerberus.
So, just how small is the Cerberus? A look at the full specs (available here) reveals dimensions of 320 mm height, 170 mm width, and 364 mm depth (12.60 x 6.69 x 14.33 inches). The enlosure, made from 20 gauge steel internally with 18 gauge steel panels on the outside, weighs in at 11.68 lbs.
Here’s a list of the features of the Cerberus enclosure from Kimera:
- Size: At just 18.2L, Cerberus is smaller than some of the most popular mITX cases on the market, from Fractal Design’s Node 304, or BitFenix’s Prodigy. When compared to most mATX cases, Cerberus typically bests the competition by 10L or more - a whopping 40%+ volume reduction.
- Quality: Made entirely of powder coated steel, and assembled in the United States, Cerberus is built to last for the long haul, with thoughtful features such as user-replaceable parts, durable metal hardware, and all-steel panel clips and pins.
- Design: Cerberus embraces a minimalist, refined aesthetic, with a luxurious matte finish and industrial design that embraces clean edges and understated features over bright lights and garish plastic accents.
- Customizability: With multiple colors on offer, additional colors available as stretch goals, and the option to add an optional metal handle and/or plexiglass window, Cerberus is engineered to be customized to enthusiasts’ exact preferences.
- Flexibility: From SFX and ATX PSU support, to the hinged side bracket, to the innovative Infinite Vent system, Cerberus retains some of the most diverse hardware support in industry, and can comfortably contain systems as simple as HTPCs and as sophisticated as water-cooled, multi-GPU gaming powerhouses.
- Craftsmanship: Through a unique partnership with Sliger Designs, every Cerberus is built by trained and talented engineers on Sliger’s production floor, located in Sparks, Nevada, USA. By manufacturing enclosures domestically, instead of through nondescript factories in China or Taiwan, Kimera Industries is able to maintain strict quality controls, communicate constantly with engineers on the floor, and greatly expedite production and shipment of units to backers - all while supporting local workers, businesses, and communities.
The Cerberus is also available in white, shown with optional handle
The Indiegogo campaign launches March 1st, and additional information can be found at the Kimera Industries site.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 9, 2016 - 01:33 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: small form-factor, SFF, PC-M25, micro tower, mATX, Lian Li, hot-swap, enclosure, case, aluminum case
The PC-M25 is Lian Li’s latest enclosure; a small micro-ATX tower with an emphasis on storage.
“The PC-M25 includes a hot-swap HDD rack where users can conveniently install and remove up to five 3.5” drives with rubber suspension and without needing tools. The bottom HDD tray can mount an additional three 2.5” or two 3.5” drives. This makes a total of as many as seven 3.5” hard drives for advanced RAID storage applications.”
While a small form-factor design (all aluminum, of course), there is still room for a full system including long graphics cards and power supplies; though you’ll want a lower-profile CPU cooler as there is only 80 mm of clearance above the processor. Fans are included, with 140 mm intake and 120 mm exhaust pre-installed, though there is only a screen filter on the bottom intake (below the PSU).
- Model: PC-M25 A/ B
- Case Type: Mini Tower Chassis
- Color: Silver, Black
- Material: Aluminum
- M/B Type: Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
- Expansion Slot: 4
- HDD rack: 3.5" HDD x5 (Hot-swap)
- HDD tray: 2.5" HDD x3 or 3.5" HDD x2
- System Fan (Front) 140mm Fan x1; System Fan (Top) 120mm Fan x1
- I/O Ports: None
- Maximum Compatibility
- VGA Card length: 410mm
- PSU length: 230mm
- CPU cooler height:80mm
- PSU Type: ATX
- Dimensions (W x H x D) 199 x 322 x 441 mm (7.83 x 12.68 x 17.36 in)
- Net Weight: 3.74 kg (8.25 lbs)
Storage options for the PC-M25
The PC-M25 will be available this month with an MSRP of $169.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 9, 2016 - 09:06 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: RGB, phanteks, mid-tower, enclosure, Eclipse Series, Eclipse P400S, Eclipse P400, case
Phanteks has announced a new enclosure series called ‘Eclipse’, which take the internal layout of the Enthoo lineup and packages it in a pair of affordable new enclosures; the P400 and P400S.
“Without much effort, the P400 allows users to create a clean and beautiful system. Ambient RGB illumination adds character while the solid metal exterior gives the case a simple elegant design. The P400 is suitable for beginners and experienced system builders with all the extra features; the P400S comes with sound damping panels and a 3-speed fan controller to enhance acoustical performance.”
The internal layout of these enclosures will be familiar to you if you’ve seen the Enthoo series, with an open main chamber, a bottom partition for the PSU and hard drives, and all storage accessible from behind the system. There are a couple of notable differences between the Eclipse P400 and P400S, primarily the latter’s noise-reducing insulation and the addition of a 3-speed fan controller.
Exploded view of Eclipse P400S
Side panel windows are available, with added style from the ambient RGB lighting on both models. The P400 and P400S are available in black, white, or grey, and the body panels are metal, which should contribute to a more premium feel.
- Form Factor: Mid-tower
- Materials: Steel chassis, steel exterior, ABS
- Motherboard Support: ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX, E-ATX (up to 272mm wide, cannot use rubber grommets)
- Expansion Slots: 7
- Internal 3.5” bays: 6x (2x trays included)
- Internal 2.5” bays (dedicated): 2x (2x included)
- 120 mm fan: Front, 3x (1 included); Top, 2x; Rear, 1x (1 included)
- 140 mm fan: Front, 2x; Top, 2x
- Front I/O: 2x USB 3.0, Mic, Headphone, Reset, LED control, 3-speed Fan controller (only available for P400S)
- Side Window: Yes (also available with closed panel)
- Soundproofing panels: (only available for P400S) Front/Top/Sides
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 210 x 465 x 470 mm (8.3 x 18.3 x 18.5 inches)
No specific release date was announced, but full suggested pricing information is available:
- Eclipse P400 (PH-EC416P) Black/Grey: $69.99 / White: $79.99
- Eclipse P400S (PH-EC416PS) Black/Grey: $79.99 / White: $89.99
- (P400S pricing identical for Silent Window and Silent Closed Panel versions)
Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 26, 2016 - 10:00 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: small form factor, SFF, nzxt, mini-itx, Manta, enclosure, curved steel, case
NZXT has announced their newest enclosure, a mini-ITX design with curved steel panels called Manta.
This design looks quite round from the outside, and those added curves provide a lot of additional room for different cooling options in what is a very large case for mini-ITX. In fact, the Manta is actually bigger in overall volume than their Source S340, an ATX design! (The Source S340 is 7.87 x 17.52 x 17.01 inches, while this Manta is 9.65 x 16.77 x 17.72 inches.) So how did NZXT allocate all of that internal space?
The Manta offers a lot of room for fans and radiators.
Here's a look at the specs from NZXT:
- Motherboard Support: mini-ITX
- Expansion Slots: 2
- Power Supply Support: ATX
- Cooling System:
- Front: 2x 140/120mm (2 x 120mm included)
- Top: 2x 140/120mm
- Rear: 1x 120mm (Included)
- Radiator Support:
- Front: Up to 280mm
- Top: Up to 280mm
- Rear: 120mm
- Drive Bays
- Internal 3.5”: 2
- Internal 2.5”: 3
- CPU Clearance: 160mm
- GPU Clearance: 363mm
- PSU Length: 363mm
- I/O Panel: LED On/Off, Audio/Mic, USB 3.0
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 245 x 426 x 450 mm (9.65 x 16.77 x 17.72 inches)
- Weight: 7.2 kg (15.87 lbs)
Front view of the Manta enclosure
The Manta Mini-ITX case is up for pre-order now with a retail of $139.99, with availability estimated for February.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 18, 2016 - 12:39 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: small form factor, silent case, SFF, mini-itx, fractal design, enclosure, define s, define nano s, case
Fractal Design has introduced the Define Nano S enclosure; a new, mini-ITX version of their popular Define S mid-tower.
The Fractal Design Define S was our pick for 2015 enclosure of the year (in our year-in-review podcast), and this new mini-ITX version retains the larger enclosure's design aesthetic - and its support for full-size components.
"The Define Nano S is an ITX case that features compatibility with high end, full-size components, superior sound dampening, and an ATX-like layout."
Key features for the Define Nano S from Fractal Design:
- A Define Series ITX case designed for silent computing with sound dampening and ModuVent™ technology
- User-friendly construction with superior cable management and compatibility for full-size components
- Flexible storage options with room for up to 4 drives
- Accommodates a variety of radiator sizes and includes brackets for reservoir and pump mounting
- Features two Dynamic Series fans — 1 GP-12 and 1 GP-14 — with an adapter included for motherboards with limited fan headers
- Featuring an open interior allowing an unobstructed airflow path from the front of the case to the rear exhaust
- Easy-to-clean filters on the top and bottom, spanning the PSU position, with the bottom filter ejecting from the front for easy-access.
The Define Nano S offers a great deal of room for a mini-ITX enclosure (the Nano S is approximately 13.5 inches high, 8 inches wide, and 16.2 inches deep), with support for up to a 240/280 mm radiator on both top and front fan mounts, with 6 fan mounts overall (two of Fractal's Dynamic Series fans - 120 mm and 140 mm - are included). And an important detail; both the bottom and front fan mounts feature removable dust filters.
The enclosure offers the same "ModuVent" removable top vents, allowing more silent operation if the user doesn't need to use the upper fan mounts. There is sound dampening in place throughout, allowing for a quiet build. Storage mounts are behind the rear panel (as in the Define S) supporting two each 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch drives. GPUs up to 315 mm and CPU coolers up to 160 mm are supported along with ATX PSUs up to 160 mm deep.
Pricing will be $64.99 for the standard version, and $69.99 for the version with a window. Availability is set for March 2016.
You can check out the full specs for this new enclosure after the break.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 10, 2016 - 01:02 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Silverstone, NAS, mini-itx, enclosure, CS380, CS280, CES 2016, CES, case, atx case
SilverStone had a pair of CS Series enclosures on display at CES this year, with both ATX and Mini-ITX form-factors covered with these storage-oriented designs.
Beginning with the larger CS380, an enclosure that had previously been shown at Computex in a Micro-ATX form-factor. This slightly modified final version now supports a standard ATX motherboard for additional build flexibility, but this enclosure is really all about the hard drives. With eight 3.5-inch HDD trays up front (along with a pair of 5.25-inch bays that can each be replaced with hot-swap HDD trays, sold separately), there is plenty of storage space for a NAS or storage server build.
Inside, a pair of 120 mm fans keep the hard drives cool, and while the bare metal interior looks plain by modern standards these CS Series enclosures were build with enterprise standards in mind. The rest of the interior is pretty standard for an ATX enclosure, with a bottom PSU placement, 120 mm rear fan, and 7 expansion slots.
The smaller of the two storage enclosures, the CS280, is a mini-ITX design that scales storage support down to 2.5-inch drives.
Offering 8 HDD/SSD trays and supporting standard mini-ITX motherboards with up to a 2-bay, full-height expansion card, the CS280 provides a lot of build flexibility. While it would make a very compact storage server or hold a tremendous amount of SSD storage for a high-speed NAS, the CS280 could also house a compact, high-power gaming rig with a GPU like AMD's R9 Nano - if you desired this much storage support, that is.
Panels in the front of both cases allow view of HDD activity lights
The two enclosures differ beyond size as the CS380 has a plastic front panel/door, and the smaller CS280 features a brushed aluminum front panel and a more rounded appearance. These enclosures will be priced a little higher than typical consumer drives given their construction and purpose, but we will await final retail pricing (and availability) to see where they fit in the market.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 9, 2016 - 02:27 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: tempered glass, In Win 509, in win, full tower, enclosure, CES 2016, CES, case
Among the enclosures in the colorful In Win booth at CES was the 509, a new steel and tempered glass full-tower design.
(Left to right:) In Win 805 concept, 909, and new 509 full tower
The 509 is another striking design that looked particularly good with RGB lighting shown, and offers these features according to In Win:
- Tempered Glass Front and Side Panels
- Supports Versatile Cooling Options
- User Friendly Installation
- Excellent Expandability and Optimized Gaming Performance
- Form-Factor: Full Tower
- Material: SECC, Tempered Glass
- Motherboard: E-ATX /ATX/ Micro-ATX (Max: 12" x 13")
- Expansion Slots: 8
- Supports graphic card length up to 370mm, height up to 186mm
- Storage Support:
- External 5.25” x1
- Internal 3.5” / 2.5" x5, 2.5" x2
- Air Cooling Support:
- Front: 120/140mm Fan x3
- Vertical: 120/140mm Fan x2
- Rear: 120/140mm Fan x1
- Side: 120/140mm Fan x1
- Bottom: 120/140mm Fan x 1
- Water Cooling:
- Front: 360/280mm Radiator (HDD bracket must be repositioned)
- Vertical: 280/240mm Radiator (HDD bracket must be repositioned)
- CPU Cooler: Supports at least 184 mm in height
- PSU Support: ATX 12V, PSII Size and EPS up to 230mm (215mm with Bottom Fan)
- Front I/O: USB 3.0 x2, USB 2.0 x2, HD Audio
No specifics on pricing or availability just yet.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Introduction and First Impressions
Antec’s P-series enclosures have been around for quite a while, and have been known as quiet, stylish cases for a premium build. It had been quite a while since the last entry in the series as the previous model, the P280, which received our Gold Award when Ryan reviewed it way back in 2011, and this current version hit the market in January of 2015. Needless to say, Antec’s Performance enclosures have some staying power. So how does this latest entry stack up?
The new P380 carries an MSRP of $229.95, placing it in the higher end of the premium enclosure market. While it can certainly be found for less (around $140 currently on Amazon) the bar is still set pretty high when the price exceeds $100, though the P380 is in a different world than Antec's Signature S10 enclosure, which launched at a mind-boggling $499 (it has since come down considerably). With the highly competitive enclosure market offering a number of spacious and quiet options, the P380 will need to differentiate to succeed.
“When only the best can satisfy your needs, the P380 is the answer. Known for its minimalistic design, the Performance series focuses on delivering the perfect balance between performance and Quiet-Computing. Whether you’re designing your ultimate dream PC or, just creating a monster file server, the P380 should be the choice, without hesitation.”
Antec is obviously confident about this newest P-series enclosure and I’ll be putting it to the test using a new, more stringent enclosure review process. We'll take a look at the case inside and out, and then see how it performs with a gaming build using both a closed-loop liquid CPU cooler, and a conventional air CPU cooler to see how the case airflow affects warm components.