SilverStone's AR07, a quiet small sized cooler for a small sized system

Subject: General Tech | May 18, 2016 - 04:25 PM |
Tagged: Silverstone, Argon ar07, SFF

SilverStone's Argon series are specialized for systems built in small cases and where noise can be an issue.  It measures 140x50x159mm, perfect for fitting into a smaller system and from [H]ard|OCP's testing we see the cooler produces 40.9db(A) maximum.  This does mean the cooler is not for systems you plan to heavily overclock but the performance is good enough to support a minor boost if your HTPC needs a bit more power.  Check out the full review here.

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"The Argon Series AR07 CPU air cooler is billed by Silverstone as being, "For users looking for a no-nonsense top performing cooler without the premium price, the Argon AR07 is the perfect choice." Three heatpipes, some fins, and a 140mm fan is no-nonsense in our book, so how does it cool?"

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CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Manufacturer: NZXT

Introduction and First Impressions

The NZXT Manta is a mini-ITX enclosure that boasts better than average room for components and cooling, and is packaged in a rather unusual, rounded design.

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There is a reason for the Manta's somewhat bulbous appearance, and it's part of a recent trend in mini-ITX enclosure design; bigger is better. While you might think that mITX is all about fitting components into the smallest enclosure possible, there have been some recent examples of cases which expand the chassis to micro-ATX sizes (or above).

The Manta from NZXT is actually large enough to be a micro-ATX case, and its total volume exceeds their S340 enclosure; a full ATX design (!). So why on earth would you want a mini-ITX enclosure with that much volume? Three words: cooling, cooling, and cooling.

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As you can see from NZXT's graphic above, the Manta's protruding top and front panels provide a the additional space needed to allow for thicker cooling setups.

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Before we dive in for a closer look at the new Manta enclosure, let's take a look at the full specs from NZXT:


Specifications:

  • Motherboard Support: mini-ITX
  • Expansion Slots: 2
  • Drive Bays
    • Internal 3.5”: 2 
    • Internal 2.5”: 3
  • Cooling System
    • Front: 2 x 140/120mm (2 x 120mm included) 
    • Top: 2 x 140/120mm 
    • Rear: 1 x 120mm (Included)
  • Radiator Support
    • Front: Up to 280mm 
    • Top: Up to 280mm 
    • Rear: 120mm
  • Clearance
    • CPU Clearance: 160mm
    • GPU Clearance: 363mm 
    • PSU Length: 363mm
  • Power Supply Support: ATX
  • External Electronics:
    • I/O Panel LED On/Off
    • 1x Audio/Mic
    • USB 3.0
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 245 x 426 x 450mm (9.65 x 16.77 x 17.72 inches)
  • Weight: 7.2 kg (15.87 lbs)

Our thanks to NZXT for providing the Manta enclosure for our review.

First Impressions

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At first glance the Manta is a departure from the typical enclosure design. The rounded panels are built around a standard rectangular frame, so it's really quite conventional underneath.

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The look from the front of the enclosure really shows off the rounded sides, and this will certainly not be everyone's favorite look - but anything beyond the norm tends be divisive in this market.

Continue reading our review of the NZXT Manta Mini ITX Enclosure!!

A tiny fanless PC from CompuLab, check out the Broadwell powered Airtop

Subject: Systems | April 5, 2016 - 01:25 PM |
Tagged: compulab, airtop, passive cooling, linux, SFF

Phoronix has spent a bit of time with the CompuLab Airtop PC, a SFF machine with passive cooling and no moving parts.  It sports decent components, an i7-5775C Broadwell processor, 16GB of RAM, 256GB ADATA SSD, and a GeForce GTX 950, with Linux Mint installed and support for just about any other flavour of that OS you might prefer.  It also has a very impressive array of outputs on the back including dual LAN ports and antennae for wireless connectivity, two power connectors for redundancy and a plethora of USB 3.0, HDMI, DisplayPort and other ports.  Check out this overview of the construction and a quick peek at the performance of this passively cooled machine.

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"At the end of February I posted my initial hands-on with the passively-cooled Airtop PC that's been exciting many readers over its unique design and being Linux-friendly. As I hadn't written anymore about it in the past few weeks, some Phoronix readers had emailed me and tweeted, curious what the deal was and if it wasn't living up to expectations. That's not the case at all and the Airtop PC continues to exhibit great potential and is yet another solid offering from CompuLab."

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Systems

Source: Phoronix
Manufacturer: CRYORIG

Introduction and First Impressions

The CRYORIG C7 is a compact air cooler for Intel and processors, designed to fit anywhere a stock solution will. Standing just 47 mm tall, and featuring a footprint close in size to an Intel stock cooler, CRYORIG claims this ultra-compact design will still outperform the stock solution.

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An attractive design, the C7 is further sweetened by a $29.99 retail, which places it in a favorable position in the compact CPU cooler market. Designs like these are rarely useful for enthusiasts, but there it certainly a need for good aftermarket options when overclocking isn't a consideration. There was a time when the stock Intel cooler was sufficient for many basic builds, and for some that may still be the case. But if you've spent a little more to get higher performance, a better heatsink can certainly help; and if you're an enthusiast, the stock cooler was never adequate anyway (even before Intel stopped shipping it in K series CPUs).

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In this review we'll find out if this small cooler can deliver on its performance promise, and see just how much noise it might make in the process.

Continue reading our review of the CRYORIG C7 Ultra-Compact CPU Cooler!!

ZOTAC Introduces ZBOX MAGNUS EN980 VR Ready Mini-PC

Subject: Graphics Cards, Systems | March 10, 2016 - 11:38 AM |
Tagged: zotac, zbox, VR, SFF, nvidia, mini-pc, MAGNUS EN980, liquid cooling, GTX980, GTX 980, graphics, gpu, geforce

ZOTAC is teasing a new mini PC "ready for virtual reality" leading up to Cebit 2016, happening later this month. The ZBOX MAGNUS EN980 supplants the EN970 as the most powerful version of ZOTAC's gaming mini systems, and will come equipped with no less than an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980.

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(Image via Guru3D)

Some questions remain ahead of a more formal announcemnent, and foremost among them is the version of the system's GTX 980. Is this the full desktop variant, or the GTX 980m? It seems to be the former, if we can read into the "factory-installed water-cooling solution", especially if that pertains to the GPU. In any case this will easily be the most powerful mini-PC ZOTAC has released, as even the current MAGNUS EN970 doesn't actually ship with a GTX 970 as the name would imply; rather, a GTX 960 handles discrete graphics duties according to the specs.

The MAGNUS EN980's GTX 980 GPU - mobile or not - will make this a formidable gaming system, paired as it is with a 6th-gen Intel Skylake CPU (the specific model was not mentioned in the press release; the current high-end EN970 with dicrete graphics uses the Intel Core i5-5200U). Other details include support for up to four displays via HDMI and DisplayPort, USB 3.0 and 3.1 Type-C inputs, and built-in 802.11ac wireless.

We'll have to wait until Cebit (which runs from March 14 - 18) for more details. Full press release after the break.

Source: ZOTAC

Corsair Releases SF450 and SF600 SFX Power Supplies

Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 8, 2016 - 11:06 AM |
Tagged: small form-factor, SFX, SFF, SF600, SF450, PSU, power supply, corsair

Corsair has released their first SFX form-factor power supplies today, with the SF450 and SF600. Both are fully modular designs, and offer high-quality components as well as an 80 Plus Gold certification.

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The Corsair SF600 SFX power supply

The power output for these PSUs are indicated by the naming, with the SF450 outputting up to 450W, and the SF600 up to 600W. These power supplies both feature "Zero RPM Fan Mode", which allows them to run without the fan during less strenuous loads, and all capacitors are Japanese made, and rated for up to 105 °C operation.

Here are the specifications and features from Corsair:

  • SFX Form Factor: Designed for high performance small form factor systems.
  • 80 PLUS Gold certified: High-efficiency operation for less excess heat and lower operating costs.
  • Fully modular cable set: Detachable DC cables make builds and upgrades easy, with clean, great-looking results.
  • 100% All Japanese 105°C capacitors: Premium internal components ensure solid power delivery and long term reliability.
  • Zero RPM Fan Mode: Virtually silent operation at low and medium loads.
  • Seven year warranty: Your guarantee of reliable operation that will last across multiple system builds.
  • MSRP: SF600 $119.99, SF450 $89.99

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The SF600 pictured with its flat, ribbon style cables

Pricing is listed at $89.99 for the 450W version, and $119.99 for the 600W version. As to availability, the companty states that the SF450 and SF600 are "available immediately worldwide from Corsair’s worldwide network of authorized retailers and distributors".

Source: Corsair

No bigger than a breadbox; a little love for a tiny system

Subject: Systems | February 16, 2016 - 03:36 PM |
Tagged: SFF, system build, gigabyte, ocz, G.Skill, evga, logitech

The Tech Report have put together a video tour of their Breadbox system, a SFF gaming system built around the Z170 chipset.  The machine uses a i5-6600K on the Gigabyte GA-Z170N-Gaming 5 motherboard with 16GB of DDR4-3000 and Gigabyte's tiny version of a GTX 970.  The components are all housed in a EVGA Hadron Hydro, a tight fit but sufficient to hold the parts.  Check out the video for more information on the components and how the system performs when gaming.

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"We recently built a small-form-factor PC we like to call the Breadbox with some help from our sponsors at Gigabyte, OCZ, G.Skill, EVGA, and Logitech. We documented this Breadbox on video, and now it's ready to make its Hollywood debut. Grab some popcorn and enjoy our tour of this pint-sized gaming PC."

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Systems

Meet Cerberus: Crowdfunded Micro-ATX Case Made in USA

Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 12, 2016 - 07:00 AM |
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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

Manufacturer: Phanteks

Introduction and First Impressions

The Enthoo EVOLV ITX it is not a new enclosure, but this striking color scheme - black with a glossy red interior - is. We'll take a thorough look at this mini-ITX enclosure in this review, and see how well it performs enclosing a gaming build.

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The EVOLV series from Phanteks includes ATX, micro-ATX, and this mini-ITX versions; with all three sharing a common design language, though some of the features naturally differ. With this smallest design Phanteks decided to retain enough size to permit the use of standard components, with room for ATX power supplies, full length graphics cards, and liquid CPU cooling with up to a 280 mm radiator.

The EVOLV ATX was my first experience with a Phanteks enclosure, and I was impressed with the build quality and thoughtful design touches. There is a different approach to building with mini-ITX that introduces new elements, including the ability of a system to remain cool and quiet with components in much tighter quarters.

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Continue reading our review of the Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV ITX case!!

Lian Li PC-M25: mATX Enclosure with 5 Hot-Swap HDD Bays

Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 9, 2016 - 01:33 PM |
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.

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“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).

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Specifications:

  • 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
  • Storage:
  • 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)

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Storage options for the PC-M25

The PC-M25 will be available this month with an MSRP of $169.

Source: Lian Li