AMD Keeps Q1 Interesting
CES 2016 was not a watershed moment for AMD. They showed off their line of current video cards and, perhaps more importantly, showed off working Polaris silicon, which will be their workhorse for 2016 in the graphics department. They did not show off Zen, a next generation APU, or any AM4 motherboards. The CPU and APU world was not presented in a way that was revolutionary. What they did show off, however, hinted at the things to come to help keep AMD relevant in the desktop space.
It was odd to see an announcement about the stock cooler that AMD was introducing, but when we learned more about it, the more important it was for AMD’s reputation moving forward. The Wraith cooler is a new unit to help control the noise and temperatures of the latest AMD CPUs and select APUs. This is a fairly beefy unit with a large, slow moving fan that produces very little noise. This is a big change from the variable speed fans on previous coolers that could get rather noisy and leave temperatures that were higher in range than are comfortable. There has been some derision aimed at AMD for providing “just a cooler” for their top end products, but it is a push that is making them more user and enthusiast friendly without breaking the bank.
Socket AM3+ is not dead yet. Though we have been commenting on the health of the platform for some time, AMD and its partners work to improve and iterate upon these products to include technologies such as USB 3.1 and M.2 support. While these chipsets are limited to PCI-E 2.0 speeds, the four lanes available to most M.2 controllers allows these boards to provide enough bandwidth to fully utilize the latest NVMe based M.2 drives available. We likely will not see a faster refresh on AM3+, but we will see new SKUs utilizing the Wraith cooler as well as a price break for the processors that exist in this socket.
Its been a while...
EVGA has been around for quite some time now. They have turned into NVIDIA’s closest North American partner after the collapse of the original VisionTek. At nearly every trade show or gaming event, EVGA is closely associated with whatever NVIDIA presence is there. In the past EVGA focused primarily on using NVIDIA reference designs for PCB and cooling, and would branch out now and then with custom or semi-custom watercooling solutions.
A very svelte and minimalist design for the shroud. I like it.
The last time I actually reviewed an EVGA products was way back in May of 2006. I took a look at the 7600 GS product, which was a passively cooled card. Oddly enough, that card is sitting right in front of me as I write this. Unfortunately, that particular card has a set of blown caps on it and no longer works. Considering that the card has been in constant use since 2006, I would say that it held up very well for those eight years!
EVGA has been expanding their product lineup to be able to handle the highs and lows of the PC market. They have started manufacturing motherboards, cases, and power supplies to help differentiate their product lineup and hopefully broaden their product portfolio. We know from past experiences that companies that rely on one type of product from a single manufacturer (GPUs in this particular case) can experience some real issues if demand drops dramatically due to competitive disadvantages. EVGA also has taken a much more aggressive approach to differentiating their products while keeping them within a certain budget.
The latest generation of GTX 700 based cards have seen the introduction of the EVGA ACX cooling solutions. These dual fan coolers are a big step up from the reference design and puts EVGA on par with competitive products from Asus and MSI. EVGA does make some tradeoffs as compared, but these are fairly minimal when considering the entire package.
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | February 17, 2014 - 08:36 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: passive cooling, cooling
Somewhere in the world, someone is developing a passively-cooled desktop made up of copper water pipes. Thirty-six (36) of them pass through what looks like an aluminum block attached to the socket LGA 1155 heatsink mount. As the copper pipes heat up, it passes to the air within it. Convection forces this to exhaust upward through the copper chimney and replaces it with cool air from below.
All Images, Credit: "Monster", CoolEnjoy.net Forums
From the 3D prototype, it looks like two passively-cooled discrete GPUs are intended to fit just above the elbow in the chimney. Even from the rendering, it is clear that quite a lot of thought and effort has gone into this project. I cannot tell how they intend to access PCIe slots from up there, be it a larger motherboard or an extension adapter, but options probably exist.
Initial testing with a Core i5-4440 (stock frequencies) show around 65 deg C at full CPU load. This should be in line with a typical air-based cooler.
Either way, this is the most impressive "SuperPipe" cooler that I have seen.
Your move, MSI.
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 8, 2014 - 08:25 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: triple fans, R9 290X, r9 290, powercolor, liquid cooling, cooling, CES 2014, amd
The nice folks at PowerColor were foolish enough to invite us into their suite full of video cards. Unhappily, we were unable to abscond with a few items that we will list here. PowerColor has a smaller US presence than other manufacturers, but they are not afraid to experiment with unique cooling solutions for their cards.
A sharp looking card that is remarkably heavy.
Cooling is provided by EKWB.
In their suite they were showing off two new products based on the AMD R9 290X chips. The first was actually released back in December, 2013. This is the liquid cooling version of the AMD R9 290X. This little number comes in at a hefty $799. When we think about this price, it really is not that out of line. It features a very high end liquid cooling block that is extremely heavy and well built. The PCB looks like it mimics the reference design, but the cooling is certainly the unique aspect of this card. Again, this card is extremely heavy and well built.
Three fans are too much!
The display outputs are the same as the reference design, which is not a bad thing.
The second card is probably much more interesting to most users. This is a new cooling solution from PowerColor that attaches to the AMD R9 290X. The PCS+ cooler features three fans and is over two slots wide (we can joke about it being 2.5 slots wide, but I doubt anyone can use that extra half slot that is left over). PCS+ stands for Professional Cooling Systems. The board again looks like it is based on the reference PCB, but the cooler is really where the magic lies. This particular product should be able to compete with the other 3rd party coolers that we have seen applied to this particular chip from AMD. As such, it should be able to not only keep the clockspeed at a steady state throughout testing/gaming, but it should also allow a measure of overclocking to be applied.
The back is protected/supported by a large and stiff plate. Cooling holes help maximize performance.
This card will be offered at $679 US and will be available on January 15. The amount of units shipped will likely be fairly small, so keep a good eye out. AMD is ultimately in charge of providing partners with chips to integrate into their respective products, and so far I think those numbers have been a little bit more limited than hoped. It also doesn’t help that the market price has been inflated by all the coin miners that have been purchasing up the latest GCN based AMD cards for the past several months.
There is no denying that this is a large cooler. Hopefully cooling performance will match or exced that of products Ryan has already reviewed.
We also expect to see the R9 290 version of this card around the same timeframe. This is supposed to be released around the same time as the bigger, more expensive R9 290X. There should be more PowerColor content at PCPer over the next few months, so please stay tuned!
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 19, 2013 - 08:46 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nzxt, case fan, fan controller, fan hub, cooling, grid
NZXT has announced that it is making its Grid fan hub available to the masses. No longer only available with certain NZXT cases, the Grid fan hub takes a single Molex power cable and provides 3-pin power outputs for up to ten fans.
The NZXT kit will come with the Grid hub, a 200mm long Molex power adapter, a single 200mm long (3-pin) female-to-female adapter cable, and two 200mm (3-pin) fan extension cables. NZXT is also including five black cable ties to assist with cable management.
Unfortunately, the Grid does not provide functionality to allow adjustable fan speeds. All fans connected to the Grid hub will run at 100% unless other means (such as resistors) are used inline to slow them down. If you only care for speed, and are in a situation where your motherboard does not support enough fan headers but you cannot justify a full fan controller the Grid might be for you. For the price, it is serviceable in that regard.
Speaking of pricing, the Grid fan hub will be available soon with a MSRP of $11.99. More information is available on NZXT's product page.
Is the Grid something that you could see yourself using?
Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 20, 2013 - 04:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: annealed pyrolytic graphite, cooling, exotic materials, thermal paste
Efficient cooling has always and will always be a limiter on the power of processors, especially as the processes used shrink and transistor density increases. Over the years we have seen heatpipes become common and watercooling move into the mainstream with the advent of all-in-one coolers. Thermal interface material has not changed much, even though we have heard of many developments nothing has been released to market. Carbon black proved to be too long in development and might be replaced by nanotube forests though there is do it yourself thermal paste doped with diamonds that you can make right now.
From there we saw a project doping thermal paste with graphene, which could provide conductivity of up to 600 W/mK once it becomes available, hopefully in sheet form for easy installation. Increasing the thermal conductivity of your TIM is a good thing, assuming that the heatsink absorbing the heat can keep up with the transfer which is what makes the news out of FrostyTech so interesting. Researchers are sandwiching a material they call K-Core Annealed Pyrolytic Graphite in between layers of aluminium and other metals to create a heatsink with a thermal conductivity of up to 1092W/mK in certain situations. It is not as simple as doping a heatsink with this new material though, it is only efficient at moving heat horizontally. Read on to find out more at FrostyTech.
"When the thermal conductivity of copper and aluminum heat spreaders just won't cut it, the future revolves around a material called Annealed Pyrolytic Graphite. Let's consider the numbers: where a solid aluminum heat spreader has a thermal conductivity of 126W/mK, the same heatspreader with an Annealed Pyrolytic Graphite core would see thermal conductivity on the order of 1092 W/mK. That's not a typo."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Zalman FX100 CPU Cooler Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Noctua NH-L9i Review @ HCW
- Thermalright Silver Arrow SB-E Special Edition @ Kitguru
- Prolimatech Megahalems Red Series CPU Cooler Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Noctua NH-L12 @ techPowerUp
- DeepCool IceBlade Pro V2.0 Heatsink Review @ Frostytech
Scythe Kabuto II CPU Cooler Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Enermax ELC 240 Liquid CPU Cooler @ eTeknix
- Corsair Hydro Series H110 Liquid CPU Cooler @ eTeknix
- Corsair Hydro Series H110 Review @ OCC
- Corsair Hydro Series H110 AIO CPU Cooler @ Tweaktown
- Corsair Hydro H110 280mm AiO CPU Cooler Review @ Pro-Clockers
Compact Liquid Cooling Systems Roundup. Part I: Water on a Budget @ X-bit Labs
- NZXT Phantom 630 Computer Case @ Benchmark Reviews
- Zalman Z11 Plus @ Hardware.info
- IN WIN GT1 Mid-Tower ATX @ [H]ard|OCP
- Anidees AI-06W Midi Tower Review @ NikKTech
- Cooltek Coolcube Black @ techPowerUp
- Sharkoon REX8 Value Chassis @ eTeknix
- CM Storm Scout II Advanced Chassis @ eTeknix
- Nanoxia Deep Silence 2 Mid-Tower @ Tweaktown
- In Win D-Frame @ techPowerUp
- Coolermaster Centurion 6 @ Rbmods
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Hydro Series™ H110 Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
Courtesy of Corsair
Hydro Series™ H90 High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
Courtesy of Corsair
Corsair has upped their presence in the cooling field with the new 140mm fan-based additions to the Hydro Series™ CPU water cooler lineup. Corsair was kind enough to provide us with samples of their H90 and H110 series cooling units, both using 140mm fans. We put these coolers up against their H80i 120mm fan-based unit as well as our custom-built Swiftech Apogee HD cooling system to see how well these new Corsair units performed. Starting at a base price of $99.99 for the Corsair H90 cooler, you can't go wrong with either unit.
Hydro Series™ H110 Extreme Performance CPU Cooler without fans
Courtesy of Corsair
Hydro Series™ H90 High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler without fans
Courtesy of Corsair
Corsair worked with Asetek to design their new 140mm-based line of coolers with the H90 and H110 introduced to enhance their current line of coolers. Both coolers are built using aluminum radiators capable of holding 140mm fans and copper cold plates. The rubber coated tubing used is low permeability 1/4 inch based tubing with multiple layers used to prevent liquid evaporation and to provide maximum tubing flexibility. Unlike their Corsair Link™ based coolers, the Corsair H90 and H110 units do not have integrated LEDs nor the Corsair Link™ based monitoring system.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 1, 2012 - 10:18 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: vapor-x, sapphire, hsf, cpu cooler, cooling
Sapphire, a popular graphics card add-in-board partner in the US recently announced a new product that strays from the norm. Called the Vapor-X, it is a new tower-style CPU cooler aimed at enthusiasts.
The new cooler has the Vapor-X designation because it uses the company’s vapor chamber heatsink technology to take heat away from the processor into an aluminum fin array. The vapor chamber makes contact with the CPU, and from there four 7mm heatpipes transfer heat to the aluminum fins where two 120mm fans and a black plastic shroud channel cool air through. The fans are rated at 77 CFM and a maximum of 40 dBA. Both fans have variable (PWM) speeds from 495 to 2200 RPM.
The Vapor-X heatsink has a gross weight of 1524.8 grams (approximately 3.4 pounds) including the fans. Dimensions are 135 x 110.4 x 163.5mm, and it is designed to work within the constraints of the LGA 2011 socket without limiting you to low profile memory modules.
Unfortunately, Sapphire does not list a TDP rating for this heatsink, but it is aimed at high end processors with support for the following processor sockets:
- AMD: FM1, FM2, AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+
- Intel: LGA 1366, LGA 1155, LGA 1156, LGA 775
While it has yet to show up at Newegg, it is reportedly on its way with a MSRP of $69.99. You can find more photos and specifications on Sapphire's product page.
My first major gaming graphics card was from Sapphire, so it is neat to see the company taking its graphics card cooling expertise and applying it to CPUs. The reviews should be interesting – particularly whether the shroud really helps to lower temps.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 25, 2012 - 05:45 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: sandia, impeller, heatsink, cooling, cooler, air bearing
A white paper by Sandia National Laboratories caught the attention of the media last year with big claims for high performance cooling. The researchers had claimed to invent a new type of heatsink based on a impeller design that was allegedly 30% more efficient at heat transfer while being smaller and quieter than traditional air coolers.
Dubbed the Sandia Cooler, the team has come up with an updated prototype that is nearly ready to come to market. Shown off in a recent video, the cooler is a small heatsink based on three relatively simple parts. A stationary disk acts as the base and area that comes into contact with the Integrated Heat Spreader (IHS) of a CPU. Then, a spinning array of curved fins resembling an impeller design is spun up by a small motor mounted in the center of the cooler.
During an industry day, they reportedly signed two license option agreements with two companies to bring the product to market in the areas of solid state lighting (LEDS, et al) and computer hardware cooling, implying that it is getting closer to a final product that it was last year.
Interestingly, the cooler uses an “hydrodynamic air bearing” such that the spinning part of the cooler is spun up to 2,000+ RPM such that the top part separates from the bottom stationary part and rides (they use the analogy of a car hydroplaning) on a very thin layer of air. (Update: as KngRider noted, there is still some friction from the motor spinning the upper part of the cooler, however.) That thin layer of air is what facilitates heat transference from the stationary part to the spinning fins. It does raise questions of efficiency, however. How a layer of air is more efficient than thermal interface material, for example. Reportedly, the air bearing is not an issue that will impact cooling performance but it is a difficult concept to grasp considering TIM and metal-to-metal contact has always been touted as the best cooling situation.
Sandia explains that cool air is drawn into the center of the impeller as heated air is forced outwards through the spinning fins, which reportedly enables efficient heat transfer. In the video, they demonstrate that it is capable of being extremely quiet (nearly silent) despite spinning at an extremely fast rate – the noise in the first part of the video is due to the prototype motor that is not covered. They claim that the final design will use a brush-less motor that will be much quieter.
It’s an intriguing design because of its simplicity and form factor. It is reportedly able to cool more efficiently than some of the best air coolers on the market, which use such techniques as heatpipes that come into direct contact with the CPU IHS, larger fin arrays, and multiple fans. Compared to those coolers, the Sandia prototype is much smaller and simpler in its construction.
The company has further released a white paper (PDF) and has an area of its website dedicated to more information on the Sandia cooler. While I cannot vet the fluid dynamics they detail, it certainly looks good on paper. I’m excited to see this come to market and whether or not it will live up to its promise of more efficient (and quiet!) cooling. It could be an important asset in cooling computer hardware in everything from desktops to server rooms. Also, it might just be the advancement that air coolers have been looking for as far as the next jump in performance – more than simply adding additional heatpipes or fins (and dealing with weight, size, and diminishing returns as a result) can do alone.
I’ll say that I’m skeptically optimistic on this one, but I do hope that it’s the real deal. What do you think of the impeller cooler? Does it appear promising?
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | April 10, 2012 - 06:03 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: graphene, cooling
Researchers at NC State University have tested the heat dissipation properties of copper-graphene. Their findings suggest that the material could be cheaper and more effective than pure copper.
Some people have gone to ridiculous lengths to cool their components. Some people flush their coolant regularly. Some people will never live down mineral oil jokes. No two computers are not on fire. Awwww.
Copper is regularly used as a method of dissipating heat as it is highly efficient when sufficiently pure. While copper is expensive, it is not expensive enough to be prohibitive for current use. Alternatives are still being explored and a researcher at NC State University believes graphene might be part of the answer.
Some people stick a bathroom suction fan out a window and run a 3” drier hose into their case.
As always, I become immediately skeptical when a team of researchers make a claim such as this. Whether or not these issues are valid have yet to be seen, but they come to mind none-the-less. The paper claims that the usage is designed for power amplifiers and laser diodes.
My first concern is with geometry. Effective cooling is achieved by exposing as much surface area between two materials as is possible for the situation. Higher heat conductance allows heat to get away much more efficiently, but the heat still needs to be removed to a reservoir of some sort, such as your room. There has not been much talk about the possibilities to then remove the heat after copper-graphene so efficiently sucks from the heat source.
My second concern is with the second layer of indium-graphene. While it seems as though the amount of indium required is quite small -- just a single layer between the heat source and the copper-graphene -- we do not really know for certain how that relates to real world applications. Indium is still a very rare element which is heavily mined for touch screen devices. It might prove to be cheap, but there is only so much of it. Would we also be able to reclaim the Indium later, or will it end up in a landfill?
These concerns are probably quite minor but it is generally good practice to not get too excited when you see a research paper. Two points if you see any of the following: Nano, Graphene or Carbon Nanotubes, Lasers, and anything related to High-Frequency.