Corsair Unleashes the Bulldog, an Upgradeable, Liquid Cooled 4K Gaming PC For The Living Room

Subject: General Tech, Systems | June 1, 2015 - 07:30 AM |
Tagged: steam os, living room gaming, liquid cooling, gaming, DIY, corsair, computex 2015, computex, barebones, 4k

Today at Computex, Corsair unveiled a new barebones gaming PC aimed at the living room. The compact Bulldog PC is an upgradeable barebones DIY kit that offers gamers an interesting base from which to build a living room PC capable of 4K gaming. The chassis resembles an overbuilt console in that it is a short but wide design with many angular edges and aesthetic touches including stylized black case feet and red accents surrounding the vents. A hidden panel in the lower right corner reveals two USB 3.0 ports and two audio jacks. It looks ready to fight in the next season of Robot Wars should you add a flamethrower or hydraulic flipper (heh).

Corsair Bulldog DIY PC 4K Gaming In The Living Room_Front.jpg

The Bulldog kit consists of the chassis, motherboard, small form factor power supply, and a customized Hydro H55F series closed loop liquid CPU cooler. From there, users need to bring their own processor, RAM, and storage devices. There is no operating system included with the kit, but it, being a full PC, supports Windows, Linux, and SteamOS et al.

As far as graphics cards, Corsair is offering several liquid cooled NVIDIA graphics cards (initially only from MSI with other AIB partner cards to follow) that are ready to be installed in the Bulldog PC. Currently, users can choose from the GTX TITAN X, GTX 980, and GTX 970.

Alternatively, Corsair is offering a $99 (MSRP) upgrade kit for existing graphics cards with its Hydro H55 cooler and HG110 bracket.

Corsair Bulldog DIY PC Kit.jpg

The Bulldog case supports Mini ITX form factor motherboards and it appears that Corsair is including the Asus Z97I-Plus which is a socket 1150 board supporting Haswell-based Core processors, DDR3 memory, M.2 (though you have to take the board out of the case to install the drive since the slot is on the underside of the board), a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, four SATA 6.0 Gbps ports, and the usual fare of I/O options including USB 3.0, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and optical and analog audio outputs (among others).

Corsair Bulldog DIY PC 4K Gaming In The Living Room H55F CPU Cooler.jpg

A mini ITX motherboard paired with the small from factor Corsair H55F CPU cooler (left) and the internal layout of the Bulldog case with all components installed (right).

User purchased processors are cooled by the included liquid cooler which is a customized Hydro series cooler that mounts over the processor and exhausts air blower style out of the back of the case. The system is powered by the pre-installed 600W Corsair FS600 power supply. The PSU is mounted in the front of the system and the graphics card radiator and fan are mounted horizontally beside it. Along the left side of the case are mounts for a single 2.5" drive and a single 3.5" drive.

Corsair Bulldog DIY PC 4K Gaming In The Living Room Liquid Cooled Graphics Cards.jpg

GPU manufacturers will be selling card with liquid coolers pre-installed. Users can also upgrade existing air cooled graphics cards with an optional upgrade kit.

The liquid cooling aspect of the Bulldog is neat and, according to Corsair, is what is enabling them to cram so much hardware together into a relatively small case while enabling thermal headroom for overclocking and quieter operation versus air coolers.

I am curious how well the CPU cooler performs especially as far as noise levels go with the compacted and shrouded design. Also, while there is certainly plenty of ventilation along the sides of the case to draw in cool air, I'm interested in how well the GPU HSF will be able to exhaust the heat since there are no top grilles.

Corsair is marketing the Bulldog as the next step up from your typical Steam Machine and game console and the first 4K capable gaming PC designed for the living room. Further, it would be a nice stepping stone for console gamers to jump into PC gaming.

From the press release:

“Bulldog is designed to take the 4K gaming experience delivered by desktop gaming PCs, and bring it to the big 4K screens in the home,” said Andy Paul, CEO of Corsair Components. “We knew we needed to deliver a solution that was elegant, powerful, and compact. By leveraging our leading expertise in PC case design and liquid cooling, we met that goal with Bulldog. We can’t wait to unleash it on gamers this fall.”

The Bulldog DIY PC kit is slated for an early Q4 2015 launch with a MSRP of $399. After adding in a processor, memory, storage, and graphics, Corsair estimates a completed build to start around $940 with liquid cooled graphics ($600 without a dedicated GPU) and tops out at $2,250.

Corsair Bulldog DIY PC 4K Gaming In The Living Room.jpg

Keep in mind that the lowest tier liquid cooled GPU at launch will be the MSI GTX 970 (~$340). Users could get these prices down a bit with some smart shopping and component selection along with the optional $99 upgrade kit for other GPU options. It is also worth considering that the Bulldog is being positioned as a 4K gaming machine. If you were willing to start off with a 1080p setup, you could get buy with a cheaper graphics card and upgrade later along with your TV when 4K televisions are cheaper and more widespread.

At its core, $400 for the Bulldog kit (case, quality power supply, high end motherboard, and closed loop CPU cooler) is a decent value that just might entice some console gamers to explore the world of PC gaming (and to never leave following their first Steam sale heh)! It is a big commitment for sure at that price, but it looks like Corsair is using quality components and while there is surely the usual the small form factor part price premium (especially cases), it is far from obnoxious.

What do you think about the bulldog? Is it more bark than bite or is it a console killer?

Source: Corsair

Computex 2015: EVGA Shows GTX 980 Ti Variants - Classified, Hybrid and Hydro

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 1, 2015 - 06:00 AM |
Tagged: maxwell, hydro copper, GTX 980 Ti, gm200, evga, computex 2015, computex, classified, acx

With the release of the brand new GeForce GTX 980 Ti from NVIDIA stirring up the week just before Computex in Taipei, you can be sure that all of NVIDIA's partners are going to be out in force showing off their custom graphics card solutions.

980ti.jpg

EVGA has several lined up and they were able to share some information with us. First up is the standard but custom cooled GTX 980 Ti that uses the ACX 2.0+ cooler. This new version of the ACX 2.0 cooler includes a "memory MOSFET Cooling Plate (MMCP) reduces MOSFET temperatures up to 13%, and optimized Straight Heat Pipes (SHP) additionally reduce GPU temperature by 5C. ACX 2.0+ coolers also feature optimized swept fan blades, double ball bearings and an extreme low power motor, delivering more air flow with less power, unlocking additional power for the GPU." We're looking forward to some hands-on testing with this card when it shows up on Monday morning.

Classified.jpg

Also due for an update is the EVGA Classified line, often considered one of the best cards you can buy for overclockers and extreme enthusiasts. Though the card is also using the ACX 2.0+ cooler it will include additional power delivery improvements on the PCB that help stretch available performance headroom.

Hybrid.jpg

Following in the footsteps of the recently released Titan X Hybrid comes the GTX 980 Ti version. This card will use a standard blower cooler for the memory and power delivery while attaching a self-contained water cooler for the GPU itself. This should keep the GPU temperature down quite a bit though the benefit to real-world overclocking is debatable with the voltage lock that NVIDIA has kept in place. If only they were to change that...

Hydro.jpg

Finally, for the water cooling fans among us we have the GTX 980 Ti Hydro Copper, using a water block from EK.

Interested in clock speeds?

  • EVGA 980 Ti ACX 2.0
    • Base: 1000 MHz
    • Boost: 1076 MHz
    • Memory: 7010 MHz
  • EVGA 980 Ti Classified
    • Base: 1152 MHz
    • Boost: 1241 MHz
    • Memory: 7010 MHz
  • EVGA 980 Ti Hybrid
    • Base: 1140 MHz
    • Boost: 1228 MHz
    • Memory: 7010 MHz

I am still waiting for pricing and availability information which we will pass on as soon as we get it!

Computex 2015: New ASUS ROG Notebooks include G-Sync, Thin-and-Light Options

Subject: Mobile | June 1, 2015 - 02:00 AM |
Tagged: ROG, gl552, g751, g501, computex 2015, computex, asus

Launching with Computex this week, ASUS has a set of three new ROG (Republic of Gamers) notebooks for potential mobile gamers to take a look at. First up is the G751JT and G751JY machines that feature Intel Core i7 processors (likely Haswell) and GeForce GTX 980M discrete graphics. After the recent announcement of G-Sync for notebooks, it should be no surprise that this updated G751 will feature an impressive 75 Hz 1920x1080 screen that supports variable refresh gaming!

G751 Left Open135 Top.jpg

ASUS G751JT/JY Notebook

For those more interested in a thin-and-light gaming machine, ASUS has the ROG G501. This will be available with either 2560x1440 or 3840x2160 resolution displays and will feature Intel Core i7 processors, again without specification on if that is Haswell or Broadwell based. ASUS claims that the G501 "features dual independent fans and copper heat sinks to ensure efficient thermal management for smooth and stable performance even at high loads."

G501_Left Open135 Top.jpg

ASUS G501 Notebook

Finally, the ROG GL552 looks to be a more standard gaming rig with a Haswell-based Intel processor, non-descript "discrete graphics" and an "optional" solid state drive. The GL552 will feature an "easy-access design for additional storage and memory upgrades."

GL552-14.jpg

ASUS GL552 Notebook

Look for more details on these notebooks and hopefully reviews very soon!

Computex 2015: ASUS Announces ROG Poseidon GTX 980 Ti

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 1, 2015 - 02:00 AM |
Tagged: computex, Poseidon GTX 980 Ti, GTX 980 Ti, gpu, ASUS ROG, computex 2015

ASUS has already announced a Poseidon version of the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti graphics card, which is part of the company's Republic of Gamers (ROG) lineup.

poseidon980.png

No photo of the GTX 980 Ti available yet, so here's the GTX 980 version for reference

From ASUS:

"ROG Poseidon GTX 980 Ti incorporates the DirectCU H2O hybrid cooling solution with a combined vapor chamber and water channels to give users cooler temperatures along with improved noise reduction for 3x quieter performance. ASUS graphics cards are produced via exclusive Auto-Extreme technology, an industry-first 100% automated process, and feature aerospace-grade Super Alloy Power II components for unsurpassed quality and reliability. ROG Poseidon GTX 980Ti also features GPU Tweak II with XSplit Gamecaster for intuitive performance tweaks and gameplay streaming."

We'll keep you posted on pricing and availability (and actual product photos) once they're available!

Source: ASUS

Computex: 2015: ASUS Announces Two Systems with Intel Skylake Processors

Subject: Systems | June 1, 2015 - 02:00 AM |
Tagged: vivopc, vc65, g11cb, computex 2015, computex, asus

First, don't get too excited: there isn't much information that has been confirmed with this announcement. But I did find it interesting that ASUS launched not one but two different systems using 6th Generation Intel Core processors, codenamed Skylake. No specifications, no pricing, no time for release; but they do offer varied specifications.

ASUS-G11-CB-small.jpg

The ASUS G11CB is a gaming desktop PC that is powered by a 6th generation Intel Core processor and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 graphics card. It delivers impressive high-speed performance, with M.2 SSD, DDR4 SDRAM, and USB 3.1. The G11CB has an aggressively-designed chassis, with a central zone on its front façade showcasing 8-million color LED light effects, with three red-lit “flames” on its flanks. Aegis II software improves the overall gaming experience, with GameAlive allowing gamers to record and edit their game videos to share on social media sites.

ASUS VivoPC VC65.jpg

ASUS VivoPC VC65 is the latest flagship in the VivoPC line. VivoPC VC65 is powered by a 6th generation Intel Core i processor. VivoPC VC65 provides flexible storage options and can accommodate a total of two storage drives. VivoPC accepts both solid-state drives (SSD) and hard disk drives; with RAID support giving users the option to use it as a mini server or NAS. It can also serve as a media library to provide users with non-stop entertainment; and allows for easy software installation through its optical disc drive. VivoPC does away with an external power adapter, resulting in neater, clutter-free placement options; it can even be VESA-mounted.

The G11CB will be a true desktop system with the added weight of a GeForce GTX 980 for gaming performance. Note that the system does use DDR4 memory, confirming that Skylake will utilize it, as expected. The smaller, more business friendly VC65 uses Skylake but for general computing. ASUS actually is pitching the VC65 as a mini server or NAS with its flexible storage options. Can you do that with your VESA-mounted PC??

Computex 2015: ASUS Announces the Transformer Book T100HA

Subject: Mobile | June 1, 2015 - 02:00 AM |
Tagged: Transformer Book T100HA, quad-core, intel atom, computex 2015, computex, Cherry Trail, asus, 2-in-1

ASUS has announced the newest version of their Transformer Book 2-in-1, and the T100HA features a Intel Atom Cherry Trail X5 series quad-core processor and will run Windows 10 when released later this year.

T100HA.png

From ASUS:

"ASUS Transformer Book T100HA is the successor to the best-selling Transformer Book T100TA 2-in-1, and combines the power of a stylish 10.1-inch laptop with the convenience of a super-slim tablet. This new iteration has up to 14 hours of battery life, and has an ultra-thin 8.45mm chassis that weights just 580g. It has a metallic finish and is available in Silk White, Tin Grey, Aqua Blue and Rouge Pink.

The T100HA is powered by a choice of quad-core Intel® Atom™ ‘Cherry Trail’ X5 series processors, and has 4GB RAM and a USB Type-C port. This device comes pre-installed with Windows 10 and will be available in the third quarter of 2015."

T100HA_1.png

Source: ASUS

Computex 2015: ASUS Announces the Zenfone Selfie

Subject: Mobile | June 1, 2015 - 02:00 AM |
Tagged: Zenbook Selfie, snapdragon 615, computex 2015, computex, asus zenbook

Looking for a way to snap "the best possible selfies quickly and simply"? Then you just might want to check out the new Zenfone Selfie.

ZenFone_Selfie.png

Unlike the current Zenfone this new "Selfie" version of the phone features dual 13 MP cameras (front and back) and is powered by a Qualcomm SoC, specifically the Snapdragon 615.

Here are some of the specs for the new Zenfone:

  • Dual 13MP pixel master
  • 5-prism Largan lens
  • Toshiba 1/3.2-inch sensor
  • Dual LED real tone flash
  • Front camera – F/2.2, 24mm wide angle
  • Rear camera – F/2.0, 28mm
  • Laser autofocus (rear camera)
  • Super HDR, low-light, beautification, selfie panorama, etc… modes
  • Qualcolmm Snapdragon 615
  • Quad-core ARM Cortex A53 (1.7 GHz) + quad-core A53 (1.0 GHz)
  • Adreno 405 GPU
  • 4G/LTE up to 150Mbit/s
  • 5.5-inch IPS 1080p  display
  • TruVivid technology (direct bonded glass)
  • 403ppi pixel density
  • 400 nits brightness
  • 3.3mm bezel
  • 7 available colors
  • Pastel – Pure white, chic pink and aqua blue
  • Metallic hairline finish – Osmium black, sheer gold, glacier gray, glamor red
  • Android 5.0 with ZenUI & ZenMotion
Source: ASUS

Computex 2015: SilverStone to Show 700W SFX-L Power Supply

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 1, 2015 - 12:12 AM |
Tagged: SX700-LPT, small form factor, Silverstone, SFX-L, SFX PSU, computex 2015, computex

The SX700-LPT is a SFX-L (the longer variant of the SFX form-factor) power supply with mighty 700W of power for its size, up 200W from the prior SX500-LG.

SX700-LPT_01.jpg

The “sneak peak” photo from SilverStone also shows a pair of PCI-E connectors on the PSU, which would be a first for an SFX/SFX-L power supply and permit the use of power hungry cards (or even Crossfire/SLI setups). As for efficiency, the image shows an 80 PLUS Platinum certification, which would also be a first for an SFX/SFX-L PSU. Cable management will be easy for existing SilverStone PSU owners as well as the new SX700-LPT uses SilverStone’s standard cable interface (and this also allows the use of their PP05-E short cable set).

No specifics on price or release just yet, only that the SX700-LPT power supply is coming “later this year”.

Source: SilverStone

NVIDIA G-Sync Update: New Monitors, Windowed Mode, V-Sync Options

Subject: Displays | May 31, 2015 - 06:00 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, gsync, g-sync, computex 2015, computex

In conjunction with the release of the new GeForce GTX 980 Ti graphics card today, NVIDIA is making a handful of other announcements around the GeForce brand. The most dramatic of the announcements center around the company's variable refresh monitor technology called G-Sync. I assume that any of you reading this are already intimately familiar with what G-Sync is, but if not, check out this story that dives into how it compares with AMD's rival tech called FreeSync.

First, NVIDIA is announcing a set of seven new G-Sync ready monitors that will be available this summer and fall from ASUS and Acer.

980ti-42.jpg

Many of these displays offer configurations of panels we haven't yet seen in a G-Sync display. Take the Acer X34 for example: this 34-in monitor falls into the 21:9 aspect ratio form factor, with a curved screen and a 3440x1440 resolution. The refresh rate will peak at 75 Hz while also offering the color consistency and viewing angles of an IPS screen. This is the first 21:9, the first 34x14 and the first curved monitor to support G-Sync, and with a 75 Hz maximum refresh it should provide a solid gaming experience. ASUS has a similar model, the PG34Q, though it peaks at a refresh rate of 60 Hz.

ASUS will be updating the wildly popular ROG Swift PG278Q display with the PG279Q, another 27-in monitor with a 2560x1440 resolution. Only this time it will run at 144 Hz with an IPS screen rather than TN, again resulting in improved color clarity, viewing angles and lower eye strain. 

Those of you on the look out for 4K panels with G-Sync support will be happy to find IPS iterations of that configuration but still will peak at 60 Hz refresh - as much a limitation of DisplayPort as anything else though. 

Another technology addition for G-Sync with the 352-series (353-series, sorry!) driver released today is support for windowed mode variable refresh.

gsync-windows.jpg

By working some magic with the DWM (Desktop Window Manager), NVIDIA was able to allow for VRR to operate without requiring a game to be in full screen mode. For gamers that like to play windowed or borderless windowed while using secondary or large displays for other side activities, this is a going to a great addition to the G-Sync portfolio. 

Finally, after much harassment and public shaming, NVIDIA is finally going to allow users the choice to enable or disable V-Sync when your game render rate exceeds the maximum refresh rate of the G-Sync monitor it is attached to.

gsyncsettings2.png

One of the complaints about G-Sync has been that it is restrictive on the high side of the VRR window for its monitors. While FreeSync allowed you to selectively enable or disable V-Sync when your frame rate goes above the maximum refresh rate, G-Sync was forcing users into a V-Sync enabled state. The reasoning from NVIDIA was that allowing for horizontal tearing of any kind with G-Sync enabled would ruin the experience and/or damage the technology's reputation. But now, while the default will still be to keep V-Sync on, gamers will be able to manually set the V-Sync mode to off with a G-Sync monitor.

Why is this useful? Many gamers believe that a drawback to V-Sync enabled gaming is the added latency of waiting for a monitor to refresh before drawing a frame that might be ready to be shown to the user immediately. G-Sync fixes this from frame rates of 1 FPS to the maximum refresh of the G-Sync monitor (144 FPS, 75 FPS, 60 FPS) but now rather than be stuck with tear-free, but latency-added V-Sync when gaming over the max refresh, you'll be able to play with tearing on the screen, but lower input latency. This could be especially useful for gamers using 60 Hz G-Sync monitors with 4K resolutions.

Oh, actually one more thing: you'll now be able to enable ULMB (ultra low motion blur) mode in the driver as well without requiring entry into your display's OSD.

gsyncsettings1.png

NVIDIA is also officially announcing G-Sync for notebooks at Computex. More on that in this story!

MSI X99A Motherboards Win Computex Best Choice Awards

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | May 27, 2015 - 08:01 PM |
Tagged: computex, computex 2015, msi, x99a xpower ac, x99a gaming 9 ack, X99

Even though COMPUTEX 2015 doesn't begin for almost a week, the organizers have presented their “Best Choice Award”. Many devices won from a variety of categories, such as the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet and the 19” Stainless Fanless Industrial Panel PC from Wincomm Corporation. Being COMPUTEX, they appreciate PC gaming and overclocking, which led to MSI winning a pair of awards for its X99-based motherboards.

The MSI X99A GAMING 9 ACK motherboard won the Best Choice Golden Award for Gaming and Entertainment because of its Streaming Engine Module. This feature uses an AVerMedia encoder to stream 60 megabit, 1080p, H.264 gaming video over the internet, to compensate for the lack of Intel Quicksync on Haswell-E. I have never seen it in action, but it seems to have interested the judges. MSI's second award is for the MSI X99A XPOWER AC motherboard, which won the Best Choice Award for Computer and System because of its overclocking capability.

COMPUTEX starts on June 2nd in Taiwan, which is next week, but expect more news before then.

Source: Computex