Author:
Manufacturer: Cooler Master

Cooler Master Aims to Impress

Right at the start of 2012, Cooler Master released a new case that was trumpeted as an "Ultra ATX" design.  And while the name itself is purely a Cooler Master creation, the Cosmos II chassis fits the name more than anything we have seen in recent memory.  Even though we posted this video on our PC Perspective YouTube channel before CES, I didn't get a chance to write up this short post and embed our host of images below.  

This is an impressive chassis design with tons of features and great layout decisions that needs to be seen to be understood - hence the video review below!

Cooler Master's new Cosmos II case is going to cost you $349 and while that price is extremely high, the fact is this is designed exactly for the PC builder that doesn't want to compromise on anything.  It weights nearly 50 pounds without a single component installed and feels like it could take more than its fair share of beating without showing damage.  Still, it is unique and stylish enough to look good at the same time. 

If you have the space and the money for the Cosmos II, then you will undoubtedly be happy with the purchase.

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If you still want to see some photos of the Cosmos II, I have included an assortment of them below along with some descriptions and notes. 

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Continue reading our review of the Cooler Master Cosmos II Case!!

Video Perspective: Corsair Obsidian 550D case with unique features and $149 price

Subject: Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2012 - 08:26 PM |
Tagged: video, obsidian, corsair, CES, 550d

Corsair had a handful of new items on display at CES 2012, the most interesting of which to me was the new Obsidian 550D case that will be available in the next 3-4 weeks with a $149 price tag.  It offers the same cable routing system we are used to seeing on Corsair designs but adds an interesting twist with a dual-hinged front panel door and magnetic air intake filters.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Video Perspective: AMD A8-3850 vs Intel Core i3-2105 Gaming Comparison

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | December 6, 2011 - 04:45 PM |
Tagged: video, sandy bridge, core i7, APU, amd, a8-3850

Our collection of videos comparing the AMD A8-3850 Llano APU to the Sandy Bridge-based Core i3-2105 have been very popular.  We thought we would wrap up 2011 with one final video that looks at the integrated graphics solutions on both processors in five of the top games released in 2011.  Here is what and how we compared them:

  • Batman: Arkham City - 1920x1080 - Low
  • Portal 2 - 1920x1080 - Very High
  • Battlefield 3 - 1366x768 - Low
  • Skyrim - 1920x1080 - Low
  • Modern Warfare 3 - 1920x1080 - High

Not to give away the secret but...

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Be sure you check out our Video Perspective below!!

Author:
Manufacturer: Antec

Welcome to The Inside Perspective

Welcome!  The Inside Perspective is a new series on PC Perspective that will take you further behind the scenes of the industry than we typically go, with interviews of industry personnel.  I hope you find these discussions to be both informative as well as eye opening into the world behind the reviews, behind the press releases and the marketing speak that everyone sees on a daily basis.  http://pcper.com/tip

 

The Inside Perspective 001 - Antec's Jessie Lawrence

Antec was at one time the leader in enthusiast and gamer case design and much of what the company built years ago, like the P180 series, has endured years of modifications to remain relevant and these chassis remain some of the favorites of our staff.  However, in the past several years, the case world has seen new entrants, new designs and new feature sets that Antec has been slow to adopt and as such they have fallen out of the leaders position in the mind-set of enthusiasts, even if they haven't in sales in revenue.

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With the release of the new P280 and Eleven Hundred cases though (the former of which we have already reviewed) Antec is hoping to make a resurgence into the enthusiast market.  And while I definitely was impressed with the P280 there is still some work to do and, luckily, Antec knows it and is moving forward in the right direction. 

Recently, Antec's Communications Manager Jessie Lawrence stopped by the office and we sat down for a small interview to ask him about the new case designs, what he likes about working in this cut throat industry and how Antec plans to stem the tides against the competition.

 

While we are getting The Inside Perspective started, we are including it in our PC Perspective Podcast RSS feed.  Also, the video version which we would encourage you to check out can be seen below, embedded via YouTube.  You can be sure to find all of our episodes of The Inside Perspective at http://pcper.com/tip

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
  • Video - See YouTube embed below (RSS to come soon!)

Host: Ryan Shrout

Guest: Jessie Lawrence, Antec

Program Length: 13:49

Program Schedule:

  1. 01:08 Introduction
  2. 02:15 Questions about new P280 and Eleven Hundred Cases
  3. 04:40 Target audience for each new case
  4. 05:50 Background with Jessie Lawrence
  5. 09:20 Memorable moments in the industry
  6. 11:20 How can Antec return to enthusiast roots?
  7. 13:45 Conclusion

Video Perspective: AMD A8-3850 vs Core i3-2105 on Modern Warfare 3

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | November 21, 2011 - 10:00 PM |
Tagged: video, sandy bridge, mw3, modern warfare 3, Intel, APU, amd

There is little denying that Call of Duty: Modern Warfar 3 is a success; I think it sold like 19 billion copies on the first night.  Something like that.  So, as we have done quite a bit in recent months, we wanted to see how our processor-graphics based solutions compared to each other in the title.  We recently took a look at how Battlefield 3 performed and we had a lot of great feedback on that post - so let's try this again!  

Luckily for gamers (or not, depending on your point of view), MW3 is pretty light on graphics hardware.  We did our testing at 1920x1080 with the following quality settings:

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With 2x anti-aliasing enabled and most quality settings turned up to their highest options, the game still looked pretty good during our testing.  No, it's no Battlefield 3, but very few titles are.

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Both systems come in with a total cost of about $450 with the Core i3-2105 and A8-3850 at the center of each configuration. 

As you might guess, the integrated graphics on the AMD Llano APU outperforms the Sandy Bridge graphics, but by how much?  Check out the video for all the details!

X79 Motherboard Roundup Video Preview

Subject: Motherboards | November 14, 2011 - 02:51 AM |
Tagged: x79, video, msi, Intel, gigabyte, asus

I am sure by now you have been reading our review of the new Sandy Bridge-E processors, in particular the Core i7-3960X, but we only had a brief mention of the various X79 motherboards we had in-house in that article.  (Which if you haven't read yet, you definitely should!)

Over the course of the last 14 days or so, we have seen and played with:

  • ASUS Rampage IV Extreme
  • ASUS Sabertooth X79
  • ASUS P9X79 Pro
  • MSI X79A-GD65 8D
  • Gigabyte X79-UD3
  • Intel DX79SI

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We will have reviews of all of these boards in the coming days, but I wanted to at least make sure you saw each of these motherboards in our video roundup and preview.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more on the X79 platform and Sandy Bridge-E!!

Video Perspective: AMD A8-3850 vs Core i3-2105 on Battlefield 3

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | October 31, 2011 - 02:22 PM |
Tagged: video, sandy bridge, Intel, bf3, battlefield 3, APU, amd

Everyone is playing Battlefield 3 these days; we even had a virtual LAN party this weekend where forum members and PC Perspective team members played from about 10am until well after 1am ET. We have done more than our fair share of Battlefield 3 articles as well including hardware performance on high end graphics cards, multi-GPU scaling and more.  

We had some requests and questions about what was the lowest priced hardware you could play the game on and while we had run some tests on the GeForce 9800 GT, I decided to take a stab at running BF3 at its lowest settings with integrated graphics on Intel's Sandy Bridge processor and AMD's A-series APU.  Here were our test settings:

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We ran at a fairly low resolution of 1366x768 (both indicative of mobile resolutions as well as low-end hardware restrictions) and the Low in-game preset.  As it turns out this was the level at which the A8-3850 Llano APU was able to maintain an average around 30 FPS while the Intel Core i3-2105 (both priced around $140) was able to reach only a third of that. 

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With both systems coming in at the ~$450 mark, this could qualify as the lowest priced PC that is capable of getting you into the BF3 action!

You can see our full comparison right here in this short video!

AMD Bulldozer Processor hits 8.429 GHz - New World Record!

Subject: Processors | September 13, 2011 - 09:03 AM |
Tagged: video, overclocking, FX, bulldozer, amd

There is a sub-culture in the computing world that is more or less analogous to the world of NHRA drag racing: liquid nitrogen overclocking.  And if you are really serious, liquid helium.  During a press event in Austin, TX in August to discuss the upcoming Bulldozer processor, a team of overclockers pushed the new architecture to frequencies well beyond safety and well beyond where they should be.  Without giving away the whole story yet, AMD was able to set a new frequency world record...

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Sami Mäkinen and his team hit 8.429GHz on liquid nitrogen and liquid helium with a near-production FX processor sample.  This bests the reigning record of 8.308 GHz that was hit on a Celeron processor with LN2. 

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You can read AMD's take on the accomplishment by hitting up the AMD Blogs website or looking up Simon Solotko's directly.

On August 31, an AMD FX processor achieved a frequency of 8.429GHz, a stunning result for a modern, multi-core processor. The record was achieved with several days of preparation and an amazing and inspired run in front of world renowned technology press in Austin, Texas. This frequency bests the prior record of 8.309GHz, and completely blows away any modern desktop processor. Based on our overclocking tests, the AMD FX CPU is a clock eating monster, temporarily able to withstand extreme conditions to achieve amazing speed. Even with more conservative methods, the AMD FX processors, with multiplier unlocked throughout the range, appear to scale with cold.  We achieved clock frequencies well above 5GHz using only air or sub-$100 water cooling solutions.

I was in attendance for the event and have to say that group put on a spectacular show and anytime you can play with liquid helium running at near absolute zero temperature, it's worth paying attention!  In fact, I put together a video of the event that you can see below and if you haven't participated or seen something of this nature, it is worth checking out!!

Now I need to temper some dreams right now - the chances of you or I reaching these types of clock speeds on the Bulldozer CPUs upon release are pretty close to nil.  What was more interesting was the casual overclocking we saw pushing upwards of 4.8+ GHz without breaking a sweat and that is what we will be investigating with our review of the processor later this year.

Update: Here is the screenshot from the official HWBot frequency rankings as well as a different video created by AMD themselves summarizing the event.  

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Source: AMD

PC Perspective Hardware Workshop Video

Subject: Editorial, Shows and Expos | August 10, 2011 - 07:14 PM |
Tagged: workshop, video, quakecon, pcper

If you weren't at Quakecon 2011 last weekend and didn't get a chance to watch our live stream of the event, you can still catch it right here.  What did we do at 3rd Annual PC Perspective Hardware Workshop?  We gave out a TON of hardware and prizes thanks to our many sponsors (listing here) and also showed off some great case mods, some new technology including a 5 display capable Galaxy graphics card and of course, a demo from NVIDIA's own Tom Petersen.

Again, a HUGE thanks goes out to our sponsors for helping out with the event, providing interesting things to show off and prizes for all the gamers.  We had a blast as did the 1100+ attendees and 2000+ viewers live online that day!! A big thanks specifically goes out to Corsair, NVIDIA and OCZ for exceptional help getting it all together!

Here is to next year...or who knows...maybe even sooner...?  ;)

Video Perspective: AMD Steady Video Technology on AMD A-Series APUs

Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards | July 25, 2011 - 02:23 PM |
Tagged: amd, APU, llano, steady video, a8-3850, video

In our continuing coverage of the AMD Llano-based A-Series of APUs we have another short video that discusses and evaluates the performance of AMD's Steady Video technology publicly released to the world with the 11.6 driver revision this month.  Steady Video, as we described it in our initial AMD Llano A8-3850 review is:

Using a heterogeneous computing model AMD's driver will have the ability to stabilize "bouncy" video that is usually associated with consumer cameras and unsteady hands.

Basically, AMD is on the war path to show you that your GPU can be used for more than just gaming and video transcoding.  If the APU and heterogeneous computing is to thrive, unique and useful applications of the GPU cores found in Llano, Trinity and beyond must be realized.  Real-time video filtering and stabilization with Steady Video is such an example and is exclusive to AMD GPUs and APUs.

As you can see there are no benchmarks in that video, no numbers we can really quote or reference to tell you "how much" better the corrected videos are compared to the originals.  The examples we gave you there were NOT filtered or selected because they show off the technology better or worse than any others; instead we used it for what AMD said it should be used for - amateur video taken without tripods, etc.  

And since this feature works not only AMD A-Series APUs but also on recent Radeon GPUs, I encourage you all to give it a shot and let us know what you think in our comments here below - do you find the feature useful and effective?  Would you leave the option enabled full time or just turn on when you encounter a particularly bouncy video?

If you haven't seen our previous Video Perspectives focusing on AMD A-Series of APUs, you can catch them here: