Manufacturer: AMD

Four High Powered Mini ITX Systems

Thanks to Sebastian for helping me out with some of the editorial for this piece and to Ken for doing the installation and testing on the system builds! -Ryan

While some might wonder where the new Radeon R9 Nano fits in a market that offers the AMD Fury X for the same price, the Nano is a product that defines a new category in the PC enthusiast community. It is a full-scale GPU on an impossibly small 6-inch PCB, containing the same core as the larger liquid-cooled Fury X, but requiring 100 watts less power than Fury X and cooled by a single-fan dual-slot air cooler.

The R9 Nano design screams compatibility. It has the ability to fit into virtually any enclosure (including many of the smallest mini-ITX designs), as long as the case supports a dual-slot (full height) GPU. The total board length of 6 inches is shorter than a mini-ITX motherboard, which is 6.7 inches square! Truly, the Nano has the potential to change everything when it comes to selecting a small form-factor (SFF) enclosure.


Typically, a gaming-friendly enclosure would need at minimum a ~270 mm GPU clearance, as a standard 10.5-inch reference GPU translates into 266.7 mm in length. Even very small mini-ITX enclosures have had to position components specifically to allow for these longer cards – if they wanted to be marketed as compatible with a full-size GPU solution, of course. Now with the R9 Nano, smaller and more powerful than any previous ITX-specific graphics card to date, one of the first questions we had was a pretty basic one: what enclosure should we put this R9 Nano into?

With no shortage of enclosures at our disposal to try out a build with this new card, we quickly discovered that many of them shared a design choice: room for a full-length GPU. So, what’s the advantage of the Nano’s incredibly compact size? It must be pointed out that larger (and faster) Fury X has the same MSRP, and at 7.5 inches the Fury X will fit comfortably in cases that have spacing for the necessary radiator.

Finding a Case for Nano

While even some of the tiniest mini-ITX enclosures (EVGA Hadron, NCASE M1, etc.) offer support for a 10.5-in GPU, there are several compact mini-ITX cases that don’t support a full-length graphics card due to their small footprint. While by no means a complete list, here are some of the options out there (note: there are many more mini-ITX cases that don’t support a full-height or dual-slot expansion card at all, such as slim HTPC enclosures):

Manufacturer Model Price
Cooler Master Elite 110 $47.99,
Cooltek Coolcube  
Lian Li PC-O5 $377,
Lian Li PC-Q01 $59.99,
Lian Li PC-Q03 $74.99,
Lian Li PC-Q07 $71.98,
Lian Li PC-Q21  
Lian Li PC-Q26  
Lian Li PC-Q27  
Lian Li PC-Q30 $139.99,
Lian Li PC-Q33 $134.99,
Raijintek Metis $59.99,
Rosewill Legacy V3 Plus-B $59.99,

The list is dominated by Lian Li, who offers a number of cube-like mini-ITX enclosures that would ordinarily be out of the question for a gaming rig, unless one of the few ITX-specific cards were chosen for the build. Many other fine enclosure makers (Antec, BitFenix, Corsair, Fractal Design, SilverStone, etc.) offer mini-ITX enclosures that support full-length GPUs, as this has pretty much become a requirement for an enthusiast PC case.

Continue our look at building Mini ITX systems with the AMD Radeon R9 Nano!!

Taming your gaming laptop's heat with CM's NotePal Ergostand III

Subject: Mobile | September 25, 2015 - 05:36 PM |
Tagged: laptop cooler, NotePal Ergostand III, cooler master

We've talked about gaming laptops and the mobile GTX 980 recently on the podcast and mentioned the fact that powerful gaming laptops need help keeping cool.  One product worth considering would be the NotePal Ergostand III from CoolerMaster which has a 230mm adjustable fan covering its backside.  At around $50 it is a decent price for this sort of product and worthy of consideration if you happen to be a gamer who prefers laptops.  You can learn more about it over at Benchmark Reviews.


"That’s where notebook coolers come in, such as the Cooler Master NotePal Ergostand III used as our example in this article about keeping hot laptops cool and running fast."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:


Cooler Master Launches QuickFire XTi Mechanical Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2015 - 06:28 PM |
Tagged: cooler master, quickfire xti, mechanical keyboard

Once again, a mechanical keyboard with 104-key rollover claims to have 100% anti-ghosting, because that is expected from a marketing perspective. Once you have a key matrix that has each key isolated, which 104-key rollover strongly suggests, then ghosting cannot occur so “anti-ghosting” is meaningless. Unfortunately, keyboard companies are still compelled to advertise the feature on the box, but I hope our readers understand the difference.


Regardless, Cooler Master has launched the QuickFire XTi mechanical keyboard. It uses official Cherry MX switches, but not the Cherry MX RGB switches that were once exclusive to Corsair. Instead of 16 million colors in the typical human spectrum, it allows for 35 colors on the red-blue spectrum. This could be a problem for people who want yellow, white, or green keys, but acceptable if you'll keep it at colors in the range of red, blue, or magenta. I'm not particularly sure why they cut so much of the spectrum away, but it clearly made sense to them. The lighting can be animated, though.

Cooler Master is proud of their cable management, though. The cable is detachable with a micro USB head and braided. They also have a few different ways of routing the wire under the keyboard, allowing the cable to come out on the side that makes the most sense for your desk, which is particularly good for lefties.

The Cooler Master QuickFire XTi is available now for $150 USD. I've found it on Amazon for $123.86, though.

Cooler Master Launches V Series PSUs

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 19, 2015 - 06:08 PM |
Tagged: cooler master, PSU

Cooler Master has "announced the availability of" six power supplies in their “V” series. They are high efficiency products that are fully modular with flat cables for routing. They each use “100% high quality Japanese capacitors” and introduce “exclusive 3D Circuit Design”. Models are available in 550W, 650W, 750W, 850W, 1000W, and 1200W. The highest-end one was announced a while ago, back in 2014, but the line is now available and larger.


The V550, V650, V750, V850, and V1000 each carry an 80PLUS Gold certification for efficiency, while the V1200 is rated at 80PLUS Platinum. Cooler Master claims that their 3D technology, which uses full, separate circuit boards to distance noisy circuits from each other, provides three benefits. First, it reduces heat and improves heat dissipation. Second, it reduces inefficiency that could be introduced by signal noise, which sounds a bit weird for direct current but makes a bit of sense. Third, the reduced ripple and noise can lower long-term stress on the capacitors, which definitely does make sense to me.

Five of the six power supplies come with five-year warranties (the 1200W has a seven-year one). They are available now and range from around 90$ USD to around 300$ USD. The V1200 is currently 30$ off at 270$ USD on Amazon.

Cooler Master Pitch Pro Earbuds are great when you are on the go

Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2015 - 02:40 PM |
Tagged: audio, cooler master, CM Storm Pitch Pro, gaming headset

Cooler Master's CM Storm Pitch Pro earbuds come with a bit more options than many others that are for sale, the splitter and airplane connector are good inclusions for the traveller.  They use 10mm neodymium drivers which will have some trouble with bass but are about as big as is feasible for inserting into your ears.  As you might expect, Kitguru was not overly impressed with the inline microphone though it is certainly good enough for casual usage.  Check out their reveiw here.


"Back in 2013, Cooler Master launched the CM Storm Pitch gaming ear buds and at the time, they were positively received, we even gave them our ‘WORTH BUYING’ award. Now here we are two years later with Cooler Master launching the revamped CM Storm Pitch Pro ear buds. Are they worth a purchase?"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: KitGuru

Making the most of the MasterCase 5

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 10, 2015 - 05:19 PM |
Tagged: cooler master, MasterCase 5, MasterCase Pro 5

The new MasterCase 5 is up for review at The Tech Report, billed as flexible for those who like to have choice when positioning components in their enclosures.  It can handle up to ATX motherboards in its 235x512x548mm (9.3x20.2x21.6") shell and depending on where you locate your drive cage, GPUs of up to 16" in length.  In their testing they discovered some inconsistencies in the manual, which they were able to overcome and set up the case in their preferred configuration.  While they do like both the MasterCase 5 and the Pro version they point out that purchasing the Pro model makes sense financially as it would cost more to buy the non-Pro model and the various components needed to match the Pro mode.  Either way, the review is worth looking over as this is a very unique case.


"Cooler Master's MasterCase 5 is the company's first product based on an ambitious design philosophy it calls "FreeForm." We put the MasterCase to the test to see how FreeForm works out in practice."

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


Not everyone needs a kilowatt; nor perhaps the Cooler Master G550M?

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 9, 2015 - 06:46 PM |
Tagged: cooler master, G550M, 550W, modular psu, 80 Plus Bronze

At 550W and an 80 Plus Bronze rating the Cooler Master G500M is not as powerful as many of the PSUs we have seen lately, then again at $75 it is also more affordable.  Unfortunately for Cooler Master the competition tends to be lower priced, with Corsair, SeaSonic and Thermaltake all having slightly better PSUs of a similar wattage for an equal or lesser price.  On the other hand Cooler Master's five year warranty is longer than any of the other brands and [H]ard|OCP feels that the G500M shows improvements over previous models as it passed all of their tests.  This particular model may not be a great choice but if CM continues to improve the quality of their budget priced models the next release might be a solid contender.


"Today we spend our time with a computer power supply from Cooler Master that is towards the lower end of the wattage scale coming in at 550 watts. Cooler Master claims "notably higher efficiency and voltage stability than other designs." We will see if its Bronze efficiency G550M PSU will stand up to our gauntlet and its own claims."

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


Source: [H]ard|OCP

Cooler Master Launches ‘Make It Yours.’ with the MasterCase and MasterCase Pro

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 4, 2015 - 04:16 PM |
Tagged: cooler master, MasterCase, MasterCase Pro, MasterCase Maker 5, freeform

Cooler Master announced three cases aimed at the modding community at Computex 2015.  Part of their new 'Make It Yours.' campaign are the MasterCase and MasterCase Pro as well as the MasterCase Maker 5.  All of the external parts are modular and easily removed with a clip and click system implemented on the cases allowing you to not only change the configuration of your case but also to modify them or design new ones if you have the tools.

MasterCase 5 FreeForm Modularity System.jpg

All the cases follow a similar overall design to the MasterCase5 pictured above, a 460mm tall tower, deep enough to fit 260mm radiators and long enough for lengthy high end GPUs.  With a half dozen mounts for 140mm fans the case should move heat efficiently and depending on the fans you chose, quietly as well.  The MasterCase5 sports handles on the top, though it is perhaps a bit large to be considered portable they could come in handy for cases that spend time being shown off at conventions and shows.  The Pro model forgoes the rear handle for an elevated mesh cover good for installing a radiator while the Maker 5 has a solid top but vented front door for those who might want to do their own work to the top.  All have a separate bottom compartment for your PSU and drive bays for both 2.5 and 3.5" drives which can be mounted in a variety of ways or removed altogether.

MasterCase Pro 5 FreeForm Modularity System.jpg


Cooler Master updates their headset lineup with the CM Storm Sirus-C

Subject: General Tech | April 8, 2015 - 03:08 PM |
Tagged: Sirus, headphones, gaming headset, cooler master, CM Storm, audio

Many, many moons ago Josh reviewed the CM Storm Sirus Surround headphones, the first of their line and good for gaming, if not for music.  Cooler Master have released an updated version called the Sirus-C which keep the infamous gold plated USB plug while shrinking the inline sound card and reducing the number of drivers in the earcups to two, a 44 mm full range and 40 mm sub. TechPowerUp provided an overview of the new headset and came to the conclusion that these would better serve a console gamer looking for a good plug and play audio solution, but feel there are better choices for the PC gamer.  This especially holds true with the current asking price of $156 on Amazon, as there is a lot of competition at that price point.


"CM Storm's newest do-it-all headset is put to the test. The Sirus-C is compatible with all major console systems and features its own in-line USB sound card. The design is like previous Sirus headsets on the outside, but it now uses a dual-driver setup on the inside."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: techPowerUp
Manufacturer: Cooler Master

Introduction and Technical Specifications


02-17_Product_RL-N24M-24PK-R1_01 - Copy.jpg

Courtesy of Cooler Master

Cooler Master is known in the enthusiast community for their innovative designs with product offerings ranging from cases to desktop and laptop cooling implements. Cooler Master also offers their own line of all-in-one (AIO) CPU liquid cooling solutions for better system performance without the noise of a typical air cooler. With their Nepton 240M cooler, they enhanced the existing design of their previous AIO products, optimizing its performance with an enhanced pump and radiator design. We measured the unit's performance against that of other high-performance liquid and air coolers to best illustrate its abilities. The Nepton 240M's premium performance comes with a premium price, at a $139.99 MSRP.


Courtesy of Cooler Master


Courtesy of Cooler Master

The Nepton 240M AIO liquid cooler features a 240mm aluminum-finned radiator tied to a base unit consisting of a 120 liter per minute pump and a micro-finned copper base plate. Unlike the Glacer model, the Nepton 240M does not feature the ability to drain and refill the unit. Cooler Master designed the Nepton 240M with a 27mm deep, 2x120mm copper radiator with brass internal channels, bundled with two of its 120mm Silencio model fans. The Silencio fans are optimized for low noise and high pressure, perfect for use with a liquid cooling radiator. The radiator and unit base are connected by ribbed FEP (Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene) tubing, allowing for high flexibility without the worry of tube kinking.

Continue reading our review of the Cooler Master Nepton 240M CPU AIO liquid cooler!