AMD's Small Form Factor Project Quantum PC Is a Dual Fiji Powerhouse [Updated]

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | June 16, 2015 - 01:34 PM |
Tagged: water cooling, SFF, Fiji, E3 2015, E3, dual fiji, amd

AMD revealed a new liquid cooled small form factor PC called Project Quantum during an E3 livestream today.

AMD Project Quantum with Dual Fiji.JPG

On the outside, an angled dual compartment aluminum case with rounded edges houses the processing hardware in the bottom and all the cooling components in the top part. AMD is using liquid cooling for the processor and graphics with the tubing running up the center column joining the two pieces together to a radiator or radiators. Red LEDs light up the center column while Radeon R9 branding sits in the bottom left corner. 

AMD Project Quantum.JPG

While at first glance that Radeon R9 branding might be unassuming, it is actually referring to AMD's latest Fiji architecture. That's correct, Project Quantum is part of the Fiji product family and is, in fact, powered by two AMD Fiji-based graphics procesors!

Update: AMD has posted a behind-the-scenes video on the development of Project Quantum which you can watch below.

In the video, AMD reveals that they are using a modified ASRock Z97E-ITX/ac motherboard (thanks to djotter in the comments for pointing that out) which means that Project Quantum is using an Intel Haswell processor in addition to the two Fiji-based GPUs. AMD has removed all of the rear IO connectors save two USB 3.0 ports and an Ethernet jack. They have also moved the 8-pin CPU power connector to the back panel of the board next to the USB ports. My guess is that they did this for cable management and height restriction reasons within the bottom compartment. Specifically, from the CAD render shown in the video, it appears that the AMD graphics card sits horizontally on top of the motherboard which meant that at least some of the rear IO ports had to be removed or relocated.

AMD Project Quantum PSU.jpg

Another bit of information from that AMD video is that Project Quantum is using what looks like an external power supply. The power brick connects to the system over a single cable to an internal board. This board provides power to a Pico PSU that is plugged into the ATX 24-pin connector on the motherboard and provides power to the AMD branded Solid State Drive (SSD) as well as the motherboard and CPU 8-pin connectors (which have both been modified to right angles for height and cable management reasons). The internal power board that connects to the socket at the back likely also powers the Radeon graphics card via PCI-E connectors, but it is difficult to tell from the photo (it is that red PCB towards the top of the photo).

AMD Radeon R9 Quantum Dual Fiji SFF Prototype.jpg

Interestingly AMD has switched out the power and USB 3.0 headers with right angle models and removed the blue ASRock heatsinks covering the VRMs and PCH. AMD is instead using two large waterblocks to cool the components on the motherboard and graphics card. A large radiator and pump sit in the top compartment cooled by an 180mm Enermax Apollish fan. The 180mm radiator should result in quieter, or at least less annoying, fan noise since the large fan can spin slower while moving similar amounts of air as smaller fans paired with 120 or 140mm radiators. Using a single large radiator for both the CPU and GPU is an interesting choice here, and I think a correct one.

AMD Project Quantum Waterblocks.jpg

A rendering of the water loop layout on Project Quantum. Image from AMD with annotations by Aibohphobia.

It was actually djotter and Aibohphobia in the comments who spotted the Pico PSU and provided an example. (I did not notice that in the video initially, so thanks for pointing that out!)  This power brick and tiny Pico PSU setup would certainly help to explain how AMD was able to make Project Quantum so thin (though an external PSU isn't necessarily a bad thing). The Pico PSU does suggest that the dual Fiji GPUs may be closer to lower end R9 Nanos than two high end Fury Xs (heh) or maybe some other yet unannounced cut-down Fiji chip entirely.

(End of update)

Update 9:30PM:

During the PC Gamer E3 Twitch stream, AMD CEO Lisa Su showed off Project Quantum, and Ken was able to snap a photo of the back panel.

AMD Project Quantum Rear IO.JPG

Project Quantum has, from left to right, a single power input (see above), two analog audio jacks, two USB 3.0 ports, an Intel-powered Gigabit Ethernet jack, four USB 2.0 ports, and a single horizontal PCI slot. A Radeon R9 graphics card is installed in this slot and features three DisplayPort and one HDMI 1.4 video outputs. We still do not know all the specs of this card, but is is Fiji-based and supports LiquidVR along with AMD's other features including FreeSync and Frame Rate Target Control.

(End Update 9:30PM)

Beyond that, we do not know many details on Project Quantum. From the other announcements around Fiji today, particularly the R9 Nano and R9 Fury X, this little machine is going to be a powerhouse with impressive power efficiency and performance per watt – especially for its size!

Of course, pricing and availability were not discussed at the event. Stay tuned to PC Perspective as we get more details closer to its official release!

Source: AMD

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

The measure of a true modder is not in how powerful he can make his system by throwing money at it, but in how well he can innovate to make his components run better with what he or she has on hand. Some make artistic statements with their truly awe-inspiring cases, while others take the dremel and clamps to their beloved video cards in an attempt to eek out that last bit of performance. This article serves the later of the two. Don't get me wrong, the card will look nice once we're done with it, but the point here is to re-use components on hand where possible to minimize the cost while maximizing the performance (and sound) benefits.

EVGA GTX 970 SC Graphics Card

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Courtesy of EVGA

We started with an EVGA GTX 970 SC card with 4GB ram and bundled with the new revision of EVGA's ACX cooler, ACX 2.0. This card is well built with a slight factory overclock out of the box. The ACX 2.0 cooler is a redesigned version of the initial version of the cooler included with the card, offering better cooling potential with fan's not activated for active cooling until the GPU block temperature breeches 60C.

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Courtesy of EVGA

WATERCOOL HeatKiller GPU-X3 Core GPU Waterblock

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Courtesy of WATERCOOL

For water cooling the EVGA GTX 970 SC GPU, we decided to use the WATERCOOL HeatKiller GPU-X3 Core water block. This block features a POM-based body with a copper core for superior heat transfer from the GPU to the liquid medium. The HeatKiller GPU-X3 Core block is a GPU-only cooler, meaning that the memory and integrated VRM circuitry will not be actively cooled by the block. The decision to use a GPU only block rather than a full cover block was two fold - availability and cost. I had a few of these on hand, making of an easy decision cost-wise.

Continue reading our article on Modding the EVGA GTX 970 SC Graphics Card!

Computex 2015: Zotac Reveals Custom Cooled GTX TITAN X ArcticStorm Graphics Card

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 2, 2015 - 05:56 PM |
Tagged: zotac, water cooling, titan x, gtx titan x, computex 2015, computex, arcticstorm

NVIDIA’s AIB partners are out in full force at Computex 2015 with new graphics cards and new coolers. Among the fray is Zotac with a customized GTX TITAN X card using the ArcticStorm Hybrid cooler which is an air cooler that also features a water block and can be integrated into your custom water cooling loop.

Zotac GeForce GTX Titan X ArcticStorm Graphics Card.jpg

Of course, the TITAN X is NVIDIA’s top end Maxwell (GM200) graphics processor built on a 28nm process. It has 3,072 CUDA cores, 192 texture units, 96 ROPs, and a 250W TDP. 

Zotac is factory overclocking this GPU to 1026 MHz base and 1114 MHz boost. The 12GB of GDDR5 memory sits on a 384-bit bus and is also (slightly) factory overclocked at 7010 MHz.

The card itself has the same array of video outputs (three DisplayPort, one HDMI, and one DL-DVI) and the same PCI-E power connectors (6-pin + 8-pin) as the reference card.

The ArcticStorm Hybrid cooler can work as an air cooler or as an air + water cooler similar to ASUS’ Poseidon cards. The Zotac cooler features a copper cold plate paired with heatpipes and a large aluminum fin array cooled by three 90mm shrouded fans.

Zotac GeForce GTX Titan X ArcticStorm Graphics Card PCI-E Power.jpg

This cooler should run quieter than the NVIDIA reference card and, especially when connected to your custom liquid cooling loop, and offer lower temperatures. Zotac did not opt for two 8-pin PCI-E so extreme overclocking might be out of the question, but the card should still be heavily overclockable in general should you get a good chip.

Naturally, Zotac is holding off on pricing and availability details of the GTX TITAN X ArcticStorm (ZT-90402-10P) until it is ready to ship which should be soon. Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more details.

Source: Zotac
Manufacturer: Fractal Design

Introduction and First Impressions

The Define S from Fractal Design is a mid-tower enclosure based on the company’s excellent Define R5, and this version has a new interior for enhanced cooling support with an innovative approach to storage.

define_s_cover.jpg

Introduction

I've mentioned before that the PC enclosure market is crowded with options at every price point, but this can actually be a good thing because of the high level of individual preference this permits. Selecting a case is a multi-faceted thing, and while they all (well, mostly) keep components safely housed, once that need has been met there's a lot more to consider. Let's face it, aesthetics are important since the enclosure is the outward-facing representation of your build (and personal style). Support for your preferred type of cooling, storage, and future expandability are high on the list when selecting a finalist as well, and then there's the thermal/noise performance element to consider. It was Fractal Design's own Define R5 (review here) which offered a balanced approach to these needs, and while not looking especially flashy with understated style and a standard ATX layout, the R5 was an exceptionally well-done effort overall. Now, months later, enter the Define S.

With the Define R5 offering a solid combination of silence, expandability, and build quality, why would Fractal Design create another very similar case right on its heels? It’s all about giving people choice, and that’s something I can certainly stand behind - even when it means further segmenting a market that seems almost impossibly crowded now. And when we dive deeper into the Define S we see what is essentially a companion to the Define R5, and not a replacement. At first glance this might appear to be an identical case, but the interior layout clearly separates the two. In summary, the Define S loses 5.25” storage support found in the R5, and while that previous model had no less than 8 hard drive trays the S employs a novel approach to HDD support, but cuts the drive support from 8 standard 3.5" drives to just 3 in the process.

define_s_powered.jpg

Continue reading our review of the Fractal Design Define S enclosure!!

Dual watercooling loops in a Mid-Tower

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 11, 2015 - 05:21 PM |
Tagged: define r5, fractal design, water cooling

Over at Techgage is an interesting post about installing dual watercooling loops, GPU and CPU, in to a Fractal Design R5.  It is more of a work log than a how to but it covers all the basic investigation you should do before installing a watercooling loop as well as the steps involved in putting it together.  That they managed to fit a pair of 240mm Nemesis radiators into a mid-sized case is impressive, the overall tidiness of the build even more so.  Check out the build log with pictures right here.

IMG_0468.1-680x616.jpg

"After we posted our look at Fractal Design’s Define R5 a couple of months ago, it didn’t take long before Matt was craving not just a chassis upgrade, but a water cooling one, as well. With the chassis in hand, join him as he takes you through the process of setting up a dual loop setup, and tells you what he thinks of working with the Define R5."

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

CASES & COOLING

 

Source: Techgage

Cougar Launches QBX Mini ITX Case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 20, 2015 - 06:47 PM |
Tagged: water cooling, mini ITX, Cougar, air cooling

Cougar recently launched the QBX mini ITX case. The small form factor chassis is aimed squarely at gamers and enthusiasts looking for a high performance PC in a tiny box. 

The QBX is a completely black angular case measuring 7” x 10.2” x 14.5” packed with filtered vents. Front I/O is fairly standard including two USB 3.0 and two audio jacks. The case supports both air and water cooling while holding a ton of hardware. Specifically, the QBX is built to host Mini ITX motherboards, standard size (140mm) ATX power supplies, dedicated graphics cards (350mm), and CPU coolers up to 105mm tall. As far as storage, the QBX can hold a single 3.5” hard drive and four 2.5” solid state drives as well as a single vertically mounted slim optical drive.

Cougar QBX Mini ITX Computer Case.jpg

The case comes pre-installed with a single 90mm rear fan, and users can install up to six additional fans on the front, top, and side panels. The front and bottom vents have removable dust filters. A 120mm or 240mm radiator can be installed on the left side panel, but at most you can install one 120mm fan to cool the radiator.

Cougar QBX Mini ITX Case Interior.jpg

Cougar has engineered the case such that the power supply draws in cool air from the right side panel and exhausts it out of the top of the case to prevent adding extra heat to the system (it will be difficult enough to cool high end components in such a small case). Further, removing the left side panel reveals a hinged bracket that holds a fan (or the water cooling radiator) as well as the 3.5” drive bay and two 2.5” bays. Note that with a 240mm radiator installed, you will only be able to access a single 2.5” bay. This is a neat design but installing the CPU block of a closed loop water cooler is going to be a challenge depending on the length of the tubing.

Cougar QBX Mini ITX Motherboard Tray.png

There is some space behind the motherboard try to hide cables but you will likely need to do some custom cabling to not have it ultimately look like a rats nest considering how small this case is and how little area you have to work with, especially if you do end up installing all seven fans and five disk drives!

The Cougar QBX has an MSRP of $60 and will be available soon. More information can be found on this product page. Hopefully we can get one in for review to see how it stacks up to the Ncase M1 and Lian Li PC-Q33 Mini ITX cases.

Source: Cougar
Manufacturer: Cooler Master

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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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.

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Courtesy of Cooler Master

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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!

Is the Swiftech H240-X AIO watercooler worth the premium price tag?

Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 3, 2015 - 01:51 PM |
Tagged: swiftech, H240-X, AIO, water cooling

The Swiftech H240-X will be released with an MSRP of $150, $10 more than the smaller H220-X which [H]ard|OCP had a chance to review previously.  This model shares the same same pump and water block as the H220-X but uses a pair of 140mm fans to move heat away from the radiator.  [H]ard|OCP tested the watercooler twice, once with the included fans which are designed for quiet operation as well as a second set designed for more powerful cooling which did give them slightly better performance.  If you prefer peace and quiet the included fans are definitely the way to go, at maximum speed they hit about 41dBA and can operate at lower speeds and noise levels at the cost of increased CPU temperature.  [H]ard|OCP does find the price to be a bit high compared to the competition but as they point out, these two Swiftech kits are the only ones on the market with enough cooling power that you could easily add a GPU into the cooling loop without needing to upgrade your pump or radiator.

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"Swiftech's H240-X is not your typical All-in-One, aka "AIO," CPU cooler. It is also a bit more expensive than your usual AIO. It does however deliver to you a tremendously upgradable equipment set that allows its buyers a economical ramp into a fully custom liquid cooling system for your entire computer."

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Manufacturer: Primochill

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Primochill

The Wet Bench open-air test bench is Primochill's premier case offering. This acrylic-based enclosure features an innovative design allowing for easy access to the motherboard and PCIe cards without the hassle of removing case panels and mounting screws associated with a typical case motherboard change out. With a starting MSRP of $139.95, the Wet Bench is priced competitively in light of the configurability and features offered with the case.

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Courtesy of Primochill

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Courtesy of Primochill

The Wet Bench is unique in its design - Primochill built it to support custom water cooling solutions from the ground up. The base kit supports mounting the water cooling kit's radiator to the back plate, up to a 360mm size (supporting 3x120mm fans). Primochill also offers an optional backplate with support for up to a 480mm radiator (supporting up to 4x120mm fans).

Continue reading our review of the Primochill Wet Bench kit!

Thermaltake Launches Liquid Cooling Friendly Core V41 Case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 7, 2014 - 12:45 AM |
Tagged: water cooling, thermaltake, mid-tower, liquid cooling, core v41, atx

Thermaltake added a new mid-tower case to its Core series this week that is well-suited to water cooling systems. The new Core V41 is the smallest chassis in the family which includes the full tower Core V71 and the Core V51 mid-tower. Thermaltake's new case is a slightly more compact version of the Core V51 that maintains the curved metal mesh design. The Core V51 supports full ATX motherboards, multiple graphics cards, tool-free storage, and a large acrylic window.

Thermaltake Core V41 LCS MidTower.jpg

The Core V41 has a full mesh front panel with two externally-accessible 5.25" drive bays, two audio ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. The case has eight PCI expansion slots on the rear. It supports up to ATX motherboards, 170mm processor heatsinks, 275mm long graphics cards, and 180mm power supplies. Thermaltake includes a massive CPU cutout that should accommodate installation of just about any CPU backplate without needing to remove the motherboard. There are four large cable routing cutouts (sans grommets) around the motherboard tray as well as three water cooling grommets to allow external radiators and up to 1/2" diameter tubing.

Thermaltake Core V41 LCS Mid-Tower Case.jpg

Storage consists of two 5.25" drive bays, six 3.5" bays, and two stealth 2.5"/3.5" bays behind the motherboard tray. In a neat twist, all three tool-free bays are removable to allow for longer graphics cards and top-mounted liquid cooling radiators.

Thermaltake Core V41 LCS Mid-Tower Case Angled.jpg

The case supports a wide range of cooling configurations with vents along the top, front, rear, and bottom of the case (the Core V41 has rather tall feet which should make a bottom-mounted fan actually useful). Thermaltake includes magnetic dust filters on the top and front of the case, and it has been designed with front-to-back intake/exhaust airflow in mind. Thermaltake bundles the case with a single 120mm front intake and one 120mm rear exhaust.

Thermaltake Core V41 LCS Mid-Tower Case_LED.jpg

For air cooling, users can add two 120mm fans to the bottom and two 200mm fans to the top of the case. Alternatively, water cooling radiators can be set up as follows:

  • 1 x 360mm radiator in the front
  • 1 x 360mm radiator up top
  • 1 x 120mm radiator (common for sealed loop CPU coolers) in place of the rear exhaust fan.

There are some minor compromises, but overall the Core V41 looks to be a decent case with some useful features for its price range. Thermaltake has not yet revealed pricing or availability, but it should hit below the $100 mark at retail. For reference, the Core V51 retails for just under $110 USD and you are getting slightly less case with the V41.

Also read: 

Source: Thermaltake