Cooler Master Elite 110; a small case for a small price

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 21, 2014 - 01:46 PM |
Tagged: cooler master, Elite 110, Casewarmer, mini-itx

A few months ago Lee reviewed the $40 Cooler Master Elite 110 and with the recent resurgence of mini-ITX systems it is worth revisiting this case.  Measuring 8.2" x 10.3" x 11.1" (208 x 260 x 280 mm) it is a rather small enclosure which will lead to a crowded interior but a stylish looking and easy to place system.  As you are limited to a 3" tall heatsink The Tech Report opted to go with watercooling as you can just squeeze a 120mm radiator in; in this case the Seidon 120V.  The A10-7850K based "Casewarmer" was installed and with some tweaking The Tech Report managed to keep temperature and sound levels within a decent range but you should consider your cooling components with the knowledge that this case can get warm and loud without the right fans and heatsink.

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"Cooler Master's Elite 110 is a tiny case with a price to match. Is it a good value? We loaded it up with parts and ran it through our testing gauntlet to find out."

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CASES & COOLING

Author:
Manufacturer: Corsair

It's so cool, and so tiny

Corsair continues to march down the path of making a PC case for just about every user imaginable. At Computex this past June, Corsair announced the Carbide Air 240 case, which is a smaller version of the very popular (and well reviewed) Carbide Air 540. These unique cases include two separate compartments: one for the motherboard, CPU, and graphics card and another for the power supply, storage, and miscellaneous cable clutter. The result is a sleek cube-shaped form factor that is easy to build inside.

Available in both black and white (with UV resistant paint), the $89/99 case fits both Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX motherboards allowing quite a bit of component flexibility.

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A quick look at the front of the case shows the cube-like shape that both the Air 540 and Air 240 share, a form factor resulting from the dual-compartment design. The Corsair logo in the center can actually be rotated depending on the orientation of the case which itself can be rotated to allow the windowed case door to be the top of the case rather than the side.

Keep reading our overview of the Corsair Carbide Air 240 with plenty more photos and descriptions!!

Manufacturer: Cooler Master

Features and Specifications

Introduction

As the popularity and availability of small form factor PC components continues to grow, more companies are coming out with new enclosures that support this expanding market.  Today, we are taking a detailed look at Cooler Master’s latest entry into the mini-ITX arena; the Elite 110 case. It’s amazing just how powerful a PC can be built around one of the latest mini-ITX motherboards and how much hardware can be stuffed into a small cube. In addition to basic computing needs, the Elite 110 enclosure offers a great many expansion options, with support for overclocking, a high end graphics adapter, up to four HDD/SSDs, a full size ATX power supply, and even water-cooling; all inside a small ~10” cube!

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Cooler Master Elite 110 mini-ITX case key features:
•    Small footprint: 280 x 208 x 260 mm (11.1 x 9.2 x 10.3”)
•    Supports mini-ITX motherboard
•    Front mesh panel with vents on both sides and top
•    One 120mm intake fan in front (included) or one 140mm fan (optional)
•    Two 80mm fans on the side (optional)
•    Supports a 120mm radiator in front for water-cooling
•    Supports a standard length ATX PSU (up to 180mm)
•    Supports one dual-slot graphics card (up to 210mm length)
•    Supports up to three 3.5” HDDs / four 2.5” SSDs
•    External I/O panel with two USB 3.0 ports
•    Blue LED On/Off switch on front panel

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Specifications for the Elite 110 case (Courtesy of Cooler Master):

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Please continue reading our Cooler Master Elite 110 Case review!

Computex 2014: Corsair Announces Carbide Air 240, Graphite 780T, and Graphite 380T Enclosures

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 2, 2014 - 07:00 AM |
Tagged: mini-itx, micro-atx, corsair, computex 2014, chassis, cases, atx case

Today Corsair announced three new enclosures in a lineup covering the ATX, micro-ATX, and mini-ITX form factors.

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Carbide Series AIR 240

The first announcement is a smaller version of the popular Carbide AIR 540, which promises big cooling with a small footprint. The Air 240 supports micro-ATX and mini-ITX motherboards, comes equipped with three of Corsair's high performance AF120 fans, and can support 240mm radiators and long graphics cards.

The Carbide Series AIR 240 will be shipping in August in both black and white color schemes, with a list price between $89 - $99.

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Graphite 780T in black

The Graphite 780T is a full tower case dripping with features and functionality. With a style similar to the 600T more than the previous 760T, it has the same distinctive, rounded look of that earlier Graphite case.

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Like all of today's announced cases, the 780T also comes in white

The 780T features premium latched side panels, a huge interior, and mammoth water cooling support (like, dual 360mm radiator support!), along with space for up to 9 hard drives. The Graphite 780T also includes three 140mm AF140 fans, and the case has an integrated 3-speed fan controller along with a “Start/Stop” button that looks like it came from a late-model car. 

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The Graphite 780T will be available in September and listed prices are expected to range from $179.99 - $189.99.

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Graphite 380T 

My personal favorite from this group, this full-featured case is Corsair's no compromise approach to mini-ITX, and looks like a miniature version of the 780T (or a really deluxe igloo cooler). It supports full-length graphics cards, 240mm radiators, and up to four 3.5"/2.5" hard drives - and the features don't stop here. The 380T has latched side panels (similar to the larger 780T), includes both 120mm and 140mm AF-series fans, and has a 3-speed fan controller.

The Graphite 380T will be available in August in white and black versions with a list price of $129.99.

Source: Corsair

NCASE M1 Crowdfunded Mini-ITX Case Now Available for Pre-Order

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 29, 2014 - 10:42 AM |
Tagged: ncase, mini-itx, m1, Lian Li, case, aluminium

The NCASE M1 - that impossibly small crowdfunded Mini-ITX case -  is now available for pre-order at the company’s website in both silver and black styles, and it will set those of us in the U.S. back $185 plus shipping and import charges (they are being shipped directly from Taiwan upon fulfillment).

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Ah yes, that famous Coke can photo…

Those who have had the privilege of hands-on experience with this micro-sized enclosure (myself included) come away highly impressed with not only its impossibly diminutive size compared to the component options, but to the high build quality as well. Manufactured by Lian Li, it is of all-aluminum construction and very lightweight.

Our review of the case here at PC Perspective showcases some of the build options to give a prospective buyer ideas about the flexibility of the design, but the “no compromises” approach with the M1 does command quite an investment for an enclosure. Still, if you’re looking at an ultimate-level Mini-ITX system and don’t mind spending some of that hard-earned green (on an already expensive form-factor, let's not forget), you’d be hard pressed to find a better option at this size.

Source: NCASE
Manufacturer: IN WIN

Introduction: The Elements of (Life)Style

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If this review began by describing this mini-ITX enclosure's all metal and glass construction, its rounded corners, and the premium price tag, it might easily start to sound like it came from that company in Cupertino. Come to think of it, this case would look right at home in a lifestyle magazine photo shoot...

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Living the IN WIN 901 lifestyle?

The 901 is definitely stylish, and this is in keeping with the design philosophy of a company that promotes the aesthetics of products first and foremost. So where does this design merge with functionality? This question is a fundamental part of industrial design (ID as it's known in the industry), and in our look at this striking enclosure we'll see how much substance there is to go along with all of that IN WIN style.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Computer cases are a personal thing, which is why we hesitate to make recommendations in this area. Within a certain price point there might be dozens of options for just about any need. But whether or not you're a fan of the sleek styling of a product like the 901, it's different beyond that first impression. The case starts with an aluminum quasi-unibody construction with tempered glass panels on both sides. There is a rather complex structure within this simple exterior, but it is well organized with some thoughtful (and some really smart) design choices.

IN WIN says the 901 mini-ITX case is an example of “precision craftsmanship with no compromises”, and an initial inspection would leave one hard pressed to disagree. It's apparent that some serious engineering has gone into this enclosure, and there is a high level of quality befitting something with this price tag. At $179.99 this is geared toward the high-end enthusiast community, and even a smaller subset considering it is only compatible with mini-ITX motherboards. And while mini-ITX is the supported form-factor, this is definitely not a SFF case. In fact, it’s almost big enough to be a micro-ATX enclosure, but this isn't a complaint. The size of the 901 allows it a unique internal layout.

Continue reading our review of the IN WIN 901 Mini-ITX Case!!

Manufacturer: NCASE

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging

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Image credit: NCASE

The NCASE M1 Mini-ITX case has been lusted after for about a year now by those of us interested in small form-factor (SFF) computing, ever since it made the news last spring by making its initial goal on the crowd-funding site Indiegogo. The last campaign to raise funds ended in August of last year, and not leaving anything up to chance the creators of the M1 contracted none other than Lian Li to make their dream a reality. Today, we have the privilege of seeing the finished product!

Making things happen

We’ve all talked about changing some existing product to fix problems or just add features that we’d like to have. But most of us probably wouldn’t take our idea to a public funding site to actually make it happen, and that’s exactly why the story of NCASE and the M1 is unique. The creators were members on hardforums, and the original thread for the M1 is now well over 500 pages long.

The story began with conversation about improving an existing mini-ITX design, with the SilverStone SG05 the original topic. (It's fascinating to watch the design evolve on the thread!) Two forum members joined forces and started creating designs, and ended up with the blueprint for an incredibly small case that still supported large GPU's and 240mm radiators. Then, it was on to Indiegogo to see if the interest was high enough to get this case built.

Judging by the results starting with that initial round of prototype funding, there has definitely been interest in this design! Lian Li's prototype case was a success, and the initial production run funding campaign quickly raised more than double the goal again… Fast forward to spring 2014, a black M1 case was delivered safely, and I for one can’t wait to get started building up a system with it!

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The M1 next to a BitFenix Prodigy: It's tiny!! (Image credit NCASE)

Continue reading our review of the NCASE M1 Mini-ITX Crowdfunded Case!!

A nice home for an HTPC or Steambox from CoolerMaster

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 15, 2014 - 03:36 PM |
Tagged: cooler master, Elite 110, mini-itx

The CoolerMaster Elite 110 can give your next mini-ITX system build a unique look.  The squarish case is 280x260x208mm (11.1x10.3x8.2") and can house a GPU of up to 210mm in length and cooler with a maximum height of 76mm, somewhat limiting your choice of components but not ridiculously so.  It can handle a 120 or 140mm fan or radiator in the front and two 80mm fans on the side and also has space for 3 HDDs or 4 SSDs.  [H]ard|OCP encountered some difficulties when installing multiple HDDs but not enough to stop them from awarding this case with a Silver Award; with the caveat that you should only purchase it at the MSRP of $49.99.

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"Many enthusiasts now days are trying their hands at minimizing their PC footprint. Mini-ITX motherboards have progressed a long ways in terms of stability and feature set in the last three years. Cooler Master has a new solution for those looking to minimize while not giving up cooling or features in their Mini-ITX enclosure."

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CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Subject: Memory
Manufacturer: Kingston

Ultra-Speed RAM, APU-Style

In our review of the Kingston HyperX Predator 2666MHz kit, we discovered what those knowledgeable about Intel memory scaling already knew: for most applications, and specifically games, there is no significant advantage to increases in memory speed past the current 1600MHz DDR3 standard.  But this was only half of the story. What about memory scaling with an AMD processor, and specifically an APU? To find out, we put AMD’s top APU, the A10-7850K, to the test!

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Ready for some APU memory testing!

The APU

AMD has created a compelling option with their APU lineup, and the inclusion of powerful integrated graphics allows for interesting build options with lower power and space requirements, and even make building tiny mini-ITX systems for gaming realistic. It’s this graphical prowess compared to any other onboard solution that creates an interesting value proposition for any gamer looking at a new low-cost build. The newest Kaveri APU’s are getting a lot of attention and they beg the question, is a discrete graphics card really needed for gaming at reasonable settings?

Continue reading our article on using high speed DDR3 memory with AMD APUs!!

AAEON's SoC is an impressive implementation of Bay Trail

Subject: Systems | April 10, 2014 - 02:57 PM |
Tagged: linux, mini-itx, AAEON, EMB-BT1, Bay Trail, SFF, htpc

You may not recognize the name AAEON but you will recognize its parent company, ASUS.  AAEON makes low power small form factor single board SoCs and with the introduction of Bay Trail they may become more common.  The EMB-BT1-A10-3825 sports a quad-core Atom E3845 @ 1.33GHz and Ivy Bridge era Intel HD graphics with support for up to 4GB of DDR3-1067.  It has a total TDP of 6W but unfortunately Phoronix's WattsUp meter was busy on another system so you will need to wait for an update on total power consumption.

The connectivity on this SoC is incredible, mSATA for an SSD, two SATA 6Gbps ports and two SATA-2 ports, dual gigabit LAN ports, a pair of USB 2.0 ports and a single 3.0 port, HDMI, VGA, COM, and audio jacks.  You could configure this as a small media server or as it supports dual displays it would serve wonderfully as an HTPC.

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"For those after a low-cost mini-ITX board for use within an HTPC, SOHO file server, or other low-power situations, AAEON has out an interesting board called the EMB-BT1, or more formally the AAEON EMB-BT1-A10-3825. This mini-ITX motherboard has onboard an Intel Atom E3825 "Bay Trail" SoC for delivering decent performance out of the six Watt SoC and having open-source-friendly graphics under Linux."

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Systems

Source: Phoronix