Will PC Power and Cooling be Silenced?

Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 13, 2013 - 02:12 PM |
Tagged: modular psu, 750w, silencer mk III, pc power & cooling

PC Power & Cooling have been providers of high quality PSUs for a long time and are keeping up the pace, recently with the updated 750W Silencer Mk III.  They have a unique style, black and white colouring and a proprietary connector for their modular cabling that both looks and connects better than some of the recessed plastic connectors seen on other models.  Unfortunately since OCZ purchased the company they have gone from being the PSU all other companies try to match to a mid-range supplier that provides decent PSUs but lack the incredible quality they once possessed, as you can see by [H]ard|OCP's Pass marking without an award.  This may well be one of the last models you see labelled PC Power & Cooling, with OCZ's bankruptcy the continuation of the PSU business is in doubt.

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"PC Power & Cooling is back on our test bench today and it has been a while. Today it is promising "industrial-grade performance and stability," with "ultimate efficiency," and "ultra-quiet operation" with its Silencer Mk III 750 watt PSU. We put it to the test to see if OCZ has done anything to return its PSUs to your next build."

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

CASES & COOLING

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

NZXT G10 Allows Users To Unleash The AIO Water Cooler Kraken On Graphics Cards

Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 12, 2013 - 04:03 AM |
Tagged: water cooling, nzxt, kraken, gpu cooler

NZXT has a new cooling product coming out next week that caught my attention recently. Called the KRAKEN G10, it is a bracket and fan assembly that allows users to attach All In One (AIO) water coolers – those traditionally aimed at CPUs – to graphics cards. The Kraken G10 consists of a steel bracket with a CPU waterblock mounting hole, 92mm fan, and water tube routing space.

Red Kraken G10 AIO Water Cooler Bracket.jpg

The Kraken G10 is a stylish approach to pairing cheap sealed water coolers to graphics cards with reference PCBs – a feat that has traditionally been limited to adventurous enthusiasts armed with zip ties and a good deal of patience. The bracket is compatible with many recent GPUs from both AMD and NVIDIA, and it allows enthusiasts to mount AIO water coolers from NZXT as well as other manufacturers. The water cooler is then able to efficiently cool the GPU while the pre-installed 92mm fan works to keep the VRM and memory areas of the graphics card cool. The G10 bracket measures 177 x 32.5 x 110.6 mm (WxHxD) and comes in white, black, or red with white fan blades and NZXT logos on the side and fan.

NZXT KRAKEN G10 GPU Bracket With Fan.jpg

Specifically, the KRAKEN G10 supports the following graphics card models (with reference PCBs only).

AMD NVIDIA
  • R9 290X
  • R9 270X
  • HD 7870
  • HD 7850
  • HD 6970
  • HD 6950
  • HD 6870
  • HD 6850
  • HD 6790
  • HD 6770
  • HD 5870
  • HD 5850
  • HD 5830
  • GTX TITAN
  • GTX 780
  • GTX 770
  • GTX 760
  • GTX 680
  • GTX 670
  • GTX 660 Ti
  • GTX 580
  • GTX 570
  • GTX 560 Ti
  • GTX 560
  • GTX 560SE

Further, users can use the G10 to mount the waterblocks of the following sealed loop water coolers.

Antec Corsair NZXT Thermaltake Zalman
KUHLER H2O 920V4 H110 KRAKEN X60 Water 3.0 Extreme LQ-320
KUHLER H2O 620V4 H90 KRAKEN X40 Water 3.0 Pro LQ-315
KUHLER H2O 920 H55   Water 3.0 Performer LQ-310
KUHLER H2O 620 H50   Water 2.0 Extreme  
      Water 2.0 Pro  
      Water 2.0 Performer  

It is a niche, but useful, product that can allow users to more easily upgrade the cooling of their graphics cards to allow for higher overclocks and/or quieter operation. The NZXT KRAKEN G10 will be available on December 16, 2013 for $29.99 from NZXT’s website. Update: It appears the first batch of G10 brackets has sold out already. Fret not, a second batch of Kraken G10s will be available towards the middle of next month according to NZXT. (End of update.)

NZXT KRAKEN G10 GPU Bracket Installed In System.jpg

Are you planning to unleash the Kraken G10 on your GPUs (I expect crypto currency miners might be especially interested in this product heh).

Source: NZXT

Cool, queit and customizable; Enermax wins again with the iVektor ATX case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 10, 2013 - 02:17 PM |
Tagged: enermax, iVektor, atx case

The Enermax iVektor is an ATX case with quite a few drive bays, all tool-less installation and space at the top of the case for a radiator if you prefer watercooling.  Three 5.25" bays and seven 3.5" of which four can be converted to 2.5" for SSDs ought to give you enough space for storage and controllers.  Up to six 120mm fans can be installed, that number drops to four if you install a 240mm radiator at the top of the case.  [H]ard|OCP were impressed with both the thermal performance and low noise of the case as well as the with customization possible, earning this ~$80 case a Gold Award.

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"Enermax has long been an enthusiast brand associated with some of the best computer power supplies made in the industry. Over the last couple of years it has also developed a very strong following in computer case arena with DIYers. Today we look at the iVektor case designed by Enermax and it looks to be a strong contender for your next build."

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

CES 14: Corsair & Cherry Partner on RGB-backlit Keyboard(s)

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | December 4, 2013 - 03:52 AM |
Tagged: mechanical keyboard, corsair, Cherry MX, cherry, CES 2014

The three little letters that instill fear in tech journalists (and vendors) right around the holiday season: CES. This will be the first of many news posts coming out of that event -- it is still a month away! Companies are already preparing for what will come after the holidays. Brace yourselves!

januaryiscoming.jpg

Corsair and Cherry have just released a preview of their upcoming CES announcement. Mechanical keyboards (at least those based on Cherry MX switches) were only rarely backlit. Pretty much every model of Cherry MX-based keyboard with per-key LED lighting was, at one point, developed by iOne (they produced the XArmor line of backlit keyboards and collaborated with Razer on the BlackWidow). I am not particularly sure what the difficulty was from an engineering standpoint but I do know it was rare.

cherry-mx-rgb.jpg

Cherry, themselves, are assisting the next evolution of this technology. The company has developed a special version of their MX Red-class switch with built-in RGB illumination. The mixture of these three colors allows for a key to be lit by any color in the visible spectrum (up to the precision allowed by hardware and software). Their press release suggests 8-bit per channel control (~16.7 million colors). Their exclusive launch partner for this 2014 debut will be Corsair.

Clearly their K-series keyboards sold well.

If you want to learn more about the Cherry MX switches, be sure to check out our overview from 2012. Also, check out the Cherry website for a ridiculously informative breakdown of the switch all each of its components. Seriously, this puts my animation to shame; it is kind of depressing.

Also, check out the press blast after the break.

Source: Cherry

Noctua puts their new NH-U12S on a diet

Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 25, 2013 - 01:37 PM |
Tagged: noctua, NH-U12S, heatsink

Noctua have attempted to strike a balance between performance and profile with the NH-U12S, slimming it down to allow for tall heatspreaders to be used on RAM but without shaving off too much performance.  From the tests performed at [H]ard|OCP it seems that Noctua did exactly what they claimed, there is plenty of space to fill all your DIMM slots with any brand of RAM and the performance at stock speeds was better than average.  It is a little more expensive than some alternatives and is not the best at cooling an overclocked CPU but but of you want a slim profile and reasonably quiet performance this is a good choice.

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"The Noctua NH-U12S is well known in enthusiast circles for a few reasons. Noctua states it is because, "the NH-U12S is a complete premium quality solution that combines outstanding performance, quiet operation and excellent compatibility." And quite frankly Noctua would be very correct. Where does the value stand today?"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: [H]ard|OCP

AMD Releases Catalyst 13.11 Beta 9.2 Driver To Correct Performance Variance Issue of R9 290 Series Graphics Cards

Subject: Graphics Cards, Cases and Cooling | November 8, 2013 - 02:41 AM |
Tagged: R9 290X, powertune, hawaii, graphics drivers, gpu, GCN, catalyst 13.11 beta, amd, 290x

AMD recently launched its 290X graphics card, which is the new high-end single GPU solution using a GCN-based Hawaii architecture. The new GPU is rather large and incorporates an updated version of AMD's PowerTune technology to automatically adjust clockspeeds based on temperature and a maximum fan speed of 40%. Unfortunately, it seems that some 290X cards available at retail exhibited performance characteristics that varied from review units.

Retail versus Review Sample Performance Variance Testing.jpg

AMD has looked into the issue and released the following statement in response to the performance variances (which PC Perspective is looking into as well).

Hello, We've identified that there's variability in fan speeds across AMD R9 290 series boards. This variability in fan speed translates into variability of the cooling capacity of the fan-sink. The flexibility of AMD PowerTune technology enables us to correct this variability in a driver update. This update will normalize the fan RPMs to the correct values.

The correct target RPM values are 2200RPM for the AMD Radeon R9 290X "Quiet mode", and 2650RPM for the R9 290. You can verify these in GPU-Z. If you're working on stories relating to R9 290 series products, please use this driver as it will reduce any variability in fan speeds. This driver will be posted publicly tonight.

From the AMD statement, it seems to be an issue with fan speeds from card to card causing the performance variances. With a GPU that is rated to run at up to 95C, a fan limited to 40% maximum, and dynamic clockspeeds, it is only natural that cards could perform differently, especially if case airflow is not up to par. On the other hand, the specific issue pointed out by other technology review sites (per my understanding, it was initially Tom's Hardware that reported on the retail vs review sample variance) is  an issue where the 40% maximum on certain cards is not actually the RPM target that AMD intended.

AMD intended for the Radeon R9 290X's fan to run at 2200RPM (40%) in Quiet Mode and the fan on the R9 290 (which has a maximum fan speed percentage of 47%) to spin at 2650 RPM in Quiet Mode. However, some cards 40% values are not actually hitting those intended RPMs, which is causing performance differences due to cooling and PowerTune adjusting the clockspeeds accordingly.

Luckily, the issue is being worked on by AMD, and it is reportedly rectified by a driver update. The driver update ensures that the fans are actually spinning at the intended speed when set to the 40% (R9 290X) or 47% (R9 290) values in Catalyst Control Center. The new driver, which includes the fix, is version Catalyst 13.11 Beta 9.2 and is available for download now. 

If you are running a R9 290 or R9 290X in your system, you should consider updating to the latest driver to ensure you are getting the cooling (and as a result gaming) performance you are supposed to be getting.

Catalyst 13.11 Beta 9.2 is available from the AMD website.

Also read:

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more information on the Radeon R9 290 series GPU performance variance issue as it develops.

Image credit: Ryan Shrout (PC Perspective).

Source: AMD

Are you still lapping your heatsinks?

Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 4, 2013 - 04:14 PM |
Tagged: lapping, heatsink, DIY

Back in the ancient past of aircooling, when heatsinks did not weigh a kilogram and 120mm fans were a novelty item and not the standard many enthusiasts practiced the art of lapping.  With a water tray and automotive grade sandpaper of increasingly fine grit you could not only flatten the base of the heatsink, something that was all too necessary for some models, you could also acheive a mirror finish which helped your heat paste spread evenly.  Today you do not hear much talk of lapping either heatsinks nor the integrated heatspreader on CPUs and SPCR decided to test if it remains a good practice.  Check out the difference a proper lapping job still makes, though keep in mind lapping the IHS on your CPU will void the warranty and could weaken its structure.

SPCR_a4.jpg

Not what you want to see!

"Lapping the CPU in a heatsink test platform is probably a controversial move that's bound to provoke reactions. Funny thing is, it was done a year ago, and photos of the CPU showing the copper top exposed by the lapping have been featured in many of our reviews. Yet, not a single comment. This article goes through the problems, investigations and explorations that led us to lap our Core i7-965 Extreme test CPU, and analyzes the results and implications."

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

CASES & COOLING

Price, performance and efficiency from be quiet!, the Pure Power L8 700W

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 29, 2013 - 05:23 PM |
Tagged: PSU, be quiet!, Pure Power L8, 700W, 80 Plus Bronze

Be Quiet! could have a value-priced winner with their Pure Power L8 700W PSU, which has enough power to handle SLI/CrossFire but with a non-modular design which should keep the price fairly reasonable.  With two 12V lines capable of providing up to 53 amps you will be able to run two powerful GPUs, though perhaps not paired flagship cards.  As far as efficiency goes, Legit Reviews found it to deserve the 80 Plus Bronze rating it carries and the power regulation and ripple were both very good for any PSU, let alone a value priced one.  You can't buy it yet but you can see the review right here.

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"Be Quiet! is an European company which, despite the strange name, is a very well-known manufacturer amongst enthusiasts, mostly for their high quality (and notoriously expensive) power supply units. We had an encounter with their very impressive Dark Power Pro 10 series a few months ago; however, impressive as it was, the price tag of such a power supply would certainly drive the vast majority of users away. Today we will be having a look at the least expensive PSU series currently offers, the Pure Power L8."

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

CASES & COOLING

Hide your CPU under a Dark Rock Pro

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 25, 2013 - 06:18 PM |
Tagged: be quiet!, Dark Rock Pro 2, LGA1150

The be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 2 is an imposing cooler standing 166mm tall, 147mm wide and 138mm deep (6.5x5.8x5.4") and weighing in at 1.25kg which means not all cases can accommodate it and it will dwarf an mATX board.  The two fans are mismatched, one is 135mm and one is 120mm however [H]ard|OCP's testing proved that does not mean it is a loud cooler.  It's cooling ability is quite impressive and puts it at the top of the chart; unfortunately so does its $90 price tag which is higher than other competitive coolers.  If you can find it on sale it is well worth investing in.

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"CPU air cooling and huge cooler sizes have become synonymous. One thing that is not synonymous with high end air cooling are muted sound profiles. be quiet! looks to remedy this issue with its Dark Rock Pro 2 CPU air cooler that sports a tremendous 220 watt cooling capacity all in that be quiet! package."

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Corsair Announces Hydro Series H75 Liquid CPU Cooler

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 24, 2013 - 01:34 PM |
Tagged: liquid cooling system, Hydro Series, H75, corsair

Fremont, California — October 24, 2013 — Corsair, a worldwide designer of high-performance components for the PC hardware market, today announced the Hydro Series H75 dual-fan 120mm liquid CPU cooler. The easy-to-install H75 provides PC users with quieter and more effective cooling than stock CPU coolers, all in a 120mm footprint that is widely compatible with most PC cases on the market. The Hydro Series H75 will be available in November at a suggested retail price of $84.99 (USD).

H75_hero.png

The Hydro Series H75 is comprised of a low-profile CPU cooling block connected to a 120mm radiator and fan assembly via kink-resistant rubber tubing. The H75’s new cooling block is designed with a micro-fin copper cold plate and a high-quality, ceramic bearing pump that provides reliable, low-noise heat transfer away from the CPU. The slim 25mm thick radiator is surrounded by dual SP120L PWM 120mm fans resulting in design that is quieter and thinner than other dual fan coolers, and more effective at dispersing heat than single fan designs. The H75’s fans work with PWM motherboard fan headers, allowing users to control the fan speed and noise levels from their motherboard’s built-in software or BIOS.

“The H75 is a great choice for PC enthusiasts who want the streamlined features of our H60 120mm cooler but desire the additional cooling performance of a dual fan design,” said Xavier Lauwaert, Director of Product Marketing at Corsair.

The Hydro Series H75 features a simple, tool-free mounting system and wide Intel and AMD socket compatibility. Like all Hydro Series liquid CPU coolers, the H75 is completely self-contained and does not require filling or maintenance.

H75_hardware.png

Features and Specifications

  • 120mm aluminum radiator
    • 120mm x 152mm x 25mm
  • Two SP120L PWM 120mm high static pressure fans
    • 120mm x 25mm
    • 2000 RPM (+/- 10%)
    • 54 CFM
    • 31.4 dBA
  • PWM fan control for customizable cooling
  • Support for AMD and Intel CPUs
  • AM2, AM3, FM1, FM2, LGA 1156, 1155, 1150, 1366, 2011
  • Advanced copper cold plate and manifold design
  • Tool-free bracket for simple installation on most Intel and AMD motherboards
  • Sealed all-in-one design, pre-filled and maintenance free
  • 5-year limited warranty

Video Overview of the Hydro Series H75 A video overview the Hydro Series H75 and the installation process can be viewed here:

To learn more about Corsair PC cooling products, please visit: http://www.corsair.com/cpu-cooling-kits/hydro-series-water-cooling-cpu-c...

Source: Corsair

Seasonic PSUs Will Power HashFast Bitcoin Miners

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Systems | October 22, 2013 - 07:10 PM |
Tagged: seasonic, Power Supplies, mining, bitcoin, asic

Seasonic (Sea Sonic Electronics) has announced a design win that will see its power supplies used in HashFast’s bitcoin mining rigs. The upcoming HashFast mining rigs feature the company’s “Golden Nonce” ASIC(s) and all-in-one water coolers. HashFast has a single ASIC Baby Jet and multi-ASIC Sierra rig. Both units will be available December 15 starting at $2,250 and $6,300 respectively.

The Seasonic power supplies are high efficiency models with Japanese capacitors and at least 80 PLUS Bronze. On the high end, Seasonic has PSUs that are up to 93% efficient. HashFast stated that it chose Seasonic for its mining rigs because of the build quality and efficiency. The Baby Jet and Sierra mining rigs allow users to overclock the ASICs, and the systems can be rather demanding on PSUs.

HashFast Baby Jet BTC Miner.jpg

The Golden Nonce ASIC is a 28nm chip that is rated at 400 GHash/s and 0.65 Watts per Gigahash.

Beyond that, the companies have not gone into specifics. It is good news for Seasonic, and should mean a stable system for bitcoin miners (the 93% efficiency rating is nice as well, as it means less wasted electricity and slightly more bitcoin mining profit).

The full press blast is below for reference.

Read more about Bitcoin @ PC Perspective!

Source: Seasonic

Cooler Master Launches New GM Series Power Supplies

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | October 21, 2013 - 01:39 AM |
Tagged: c7, modular psu, gm series, cooler master, 80 Plus Bronze

Cooler Master has launched a new series of power supplies aimed at gamers. The new Cooler Master GM Series is a line of 80 PLUS Bronze rated semi-modular PSUs that come in 450W, 550W, 650W, and 750W models.

Cooler Master GM Series G750M Semi-Modular PSU.jpg

The GM series feature a semi-modular design with a permanently attached ATX and CPU cable paired with modular ports for attaching the flat ribbon power cables with SATA, Molex, and PCI-E power connectors. The power supplies have a single 120mm cooling fan and a 3D circuit board that eliminates some internal cabling and improves cooling as a result (according to Cooler Master). The 80+ Bronze PSUs have a single 12V rail design that can deliver up to 62 amps on the 12V rail. They are also compatible with Haswell’s C6 and C7 sleep states.

Cooler Master GM Series G750M Power Supply Internals.jpg

The G750M, which is the 750W PSU, has the following connectors:

  • 1 x 24 pin ATX
  • 1 x 4+4 pin CPU
  • 4 x 6+2 pin PCI-E
  • 8 x SATA
  • 6 x Molex
  • 1 x Floppy power

More information on the new GM series can be found on the Cooler Master website. As is usually the case with product launches, exact pricing and availability in the US is still unknown.

Corsair's RM750 struggles to match the competition

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 19, 2013 - 03:46 PM |
Tagged: rm750, PSU, modular psu, corsair, 80 Plus Gold, 750w

As the picture below makes clear, the Corsair RM750 is a fully modular PSU which lets you pick and choose exactly what cables you want present in your system.  The single 12v rail is rated at 62.5A which should handle two fairly powerful GPUs, there are four 6+2 PCIe power connectors to do so.  This unit is rated 80 Plus Gold and it did live up to that rating in [H]ard|OCP's testing.  Unfortunately the efficiency and silent operation were the only things [H] was impressed by as this unit really struggled in their testing and even those tests where it could manage a passing grade the PSU lagged behind the competition.

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"We have all read about Corsair power supplies and it is quite likely that many [H]'ers have one in their computer case right now. Today we are looking at Corsair's newest RM series power supply rated at 750 watts. The RM is built, "fully modular and optimized for silence and high efficiency." Let's see how it handles our grueling power tests."

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Check out the heatpipes on Scythe's Grand Kama Cross 2

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 15, 2013 - 05:39 PM |
Tagged: scythe, Grand Kama Cross 2, heatsink

Scythe have made some uniquely shaped coolers in the past but perhaps not as strange as some of Zalman's designs.  This cooler has a V shape to it with the inner parts of that V being extended up until they touch the cooling fan and to give a bit more surface area for heat to dissipate to.  That could have made the cooler much shorter than other heatsinks if it wasn't for the height of the heatpipes beneath the actual heatsink.  That does give you a lot of clearance for RAM with tall heatspreaders, something many other coolers do not offer.  Check out [H]ard|OCP's review to see if the cooler is as quiet and effective as the advertising claims.

H_.jpg

"Many times in the world of CPU cooling, heatsinks look much the same from one to the next. The Grand Kama Cross 2 caught our eye due to its very unique design and we wanted to see if there was more to it than just aesthetics. The design is somewhat reminiscent of V type engine, but let's see if it has any horsepower to back it up."

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Corsair Blends Flash and Flexibility in New Graphite Series 230T PC Case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 15, 2013 - 01:42 PM |
Tagged: corsair, graphite series, 230T

Fremont, California — October 15, 2013 — Corsair®, a worldwide designer of high-perform­­­­­­ance components for the PC hardware market, today announced the new Graphite Series 230T mid-tower PC case. Available in three colors, Battleship Grey, Rebel Orange, and Black, the new case combines dramatic, angular styling and the builder-friendly features, expandability, and flexibility that Corsair cases are known for.

230T_threequarter_hero_low_orangeW.png

The Graphite Series 230T case features a sculpted, aggressively styled steel exterior with color coordinated LED intake fans and a tinted side panel window. Inside, the matte black interior has plenty of room for multi-GPU configurations and mass storage with seven expansion slots along with four 2.5”, four 3.5”, and three 5.25” drive bays. The case also includes dual 120mm LED front intake fans and a rear 120mm exhaust fan, and has mounts to add two 120mm or 140mm fans on the top and a 120mm or 140mm fan on the bottom.

The Graphite Series 230T is designed with smart features that make builds and upgrades quick and easy. An innovative cable management system with cable routing cutouts is provided for clean-looking builds and better airflow. A convenient CPU cutout allows for cooling upgrades without removing the motherboard, and tool-free side panels, PCI-E expansion slots, and drive bays eliminate the search for screwdrivers and screws.

230T_Hero_low.png

“Our Graphite Series cases are designed to be visually exciting, with a design aesthetic that reflects their superior performance and quality,” said Xavier Lauwaert, Director of Product Marketing at Corsair. “The Graphite Series 230T exemplifies this, making it a great platform for gaming PCs, graphics design workstations, or any application where high performance and high style both matter.”

Graphite Series 230T Specifications

  • Aggressively styled steel panels with a high-airflow polymer front fascia
  • Available in 3 colors with color matched power and HDD activity LEDs
    • Rebel Orange chassis with orange LED fans
    • Battleship Grey chassis with blue LED fans
    • Black chassis with red LED fans
  • Four 2.5”, four 3.5”, and three 5.25” tool-free drive bays
  • Seven tool-free expansion slots for multi-GPU compatibility
  • Front panel with two USB 3.0 ports, headphone and mic ports, and power and reset buttons
  • Three 120mm fans – two front LED intake fans, one standard rear exhaust fan Six fan mount locations
    • Front: two 120mm (included, with LEDs)
    • Rear: one 120mm (included, no LEDs)
    • Top: two 140/120mm
    • Bottom: one 140/120mm
  • Cable routing cutouts in motherboard tray
  • CPU cutout for easy CPU cooler upgrades
  • Thumbscrew side panel
  • Two removable air filters (front intake and under PSU)
  • Support for ATX, Micro ATX, and Mini ITX motherboards
  • Weight and dimensions (L x W x H)
    • Metric (mm): 550 x 210 x 440
    • Imperial (inches): 21.7 x 8.2 x 17.3
  • Weight
    • Metric (kg): 6.16 kg
    • Imperial (pounds): 13.6 lbs

230T_built_side_view_opened_greyW.png

Pricing, Availability, and Warranty
The Graphite Series 230T has a suggested retail price of $79.99 USD and is available now from Corsair's worldwide network of authorized distributors and resellers. The case is backed by a two year warranty and Corsair’s excellent customer service and technical support.

Source: Corsair

Steam Machine Specifications Revealed...?

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Cases and Cooling, Systems | October 4, 2013 - 07:19 PM |
Tagged: valve, Steam Machine

Well, that did not take long.

Valve announced the Steam Machines barely over a week ago and could not provide hardware specifications. While none of these will be available for purchase, the honor of taking money reserved for system builders and OEMs, Valve has announced hardware specifications for their beta device.

Rather, they announced a few of them?

steam-os-machines.png

The raw specifications, or range of them, are:

  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce Titan through GeForce GTX660 (780 and 760 possible)
  • CPU: Intel i7-4770 or i5-4570, or i3-something
  • RAM: 16GB DDR3-1600 (CPU), 3GB GDDR5 (GPU)
  • Storage: 1TB/8GB Hybrid SSHD
  • Power Supply: 450W
  • Dimensions: approx. 12" x 12.4" x 2.9"

Really the only reason I could see for the spread of performance is to not pressure developers into targeting a single reference design. This is odd, since every reference design contains an NVIDIA GPU which (you would expect) a company who wants to encourage an open mind would not have such a glaring omission. I could speculate about driver compatibility with SteamOS and media streaming but even that feels far-fetched.

On the geeky side of things: the potential for a GeForce Titan is fairly awesome and, along with the minimum GeForce 660, is the first sign that I might be wrong about this whole media center extender thing. My expectation was that Valve would acknowledge some developers might want a streaming-focused device.

Above all, I somewhat hope Valve is a bit more clear to consumers with their intent... especially if their intent is to be unclear with OEMs for some reason.

A skinny air cooler from SilverStone

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 2, 2013 - 03:08 PM |
Tagged: Silverstone, Argon AR01

Silverstone's new Argon AR01 is the first heatsink tested on FrostyTech's new 200W test platform which will put more stress on it than you would ever encounter in a PC.  It is quite thin compared to some heatsinks on the market, at 159x124x77mm and 420g it should fit inside of most systems unlike some other high end air coolers.  SilverStone chose to use unique plastic tabs to mount the fan which FrostyTech were not overly impressed by as they felt that wire mounts would not create the possibility of them coming lose over time.  Check out their full review to see how well it cools.

STArgonAR01_pspc.jpg

"We're throwing the new 200W Frostytech Mrk.III Intel LGA2011 test platform thermal test platform into the mix today! Silverstone's Argon AR01 is constructed around three beefy 8mm diameter copper heatpipes which are exposed at the base of the cooler. Putting the heatpipes in direct contact with the top of the processor makes for a very thermally efficient path with a minimum of thermal joint resistance."

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: FrostyTech

Corsair Announces Air Series LED High Airflow PC Case Fans

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 1, 2013 - 06:15 PM |
Tagged: air cooling, fans, corsair, AF120 LED, Air Series AF140 LED, Quiet Edition

Fremont, California — October 1, 2013 — Corsair, a worldwide designer and supplier of high-performance components to the PC hardware market, today announced the immediate availability of the Air SeriesTM AF120 LED Quiet Edition and Air Series AF140 LED Quiet Edition high airflow PC case fans. The new fans are the only LED fans to use Corsair’s award-winning AF series impeller designs to produce higher airflow at lower noise levels. The Air Series LED fans are available in 120mm and 140mm sizes with red, white, blue, or purple LED lighting.

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The Air Series LED Quiet Edition high airflow PC case fans are designed with custom-molded, ultra-thin, clear frosted blades with a sleeved bearing system and four vivid LEDs. The result is a visually striking fan which helps users build great looking PCs while delivering outstanding cooling with exceptionally low vibration, noise and turbulence. The fans are ideal for mounting at the rear or top of PC cases to exhaust heat from a PC’s CPU, graphics accelerators, and other heat generating components. The Air Series LED fans work equally well as unrestricted intake fans for areas like side panels or bottom intakes.

“Users often feel they are sacrificing quality when using LED fans,” said Xavier Lauwaert, Director of Product Marketing at Corsair. “Our new Air Series LED fans combine the proven low-noise, high-performance design of our standard Air Series fans with just the right amount of LED visual flair. Now users can enhance and customize the look of their PCs with LED fans without compromising performance.”

Air Series Specifications

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Pricing, Availability, and Warranty
The Air Series LED high airflow PC case fans are available immediately from Corsair's worldwide network of authorized distributors and resellers. They are backed with a limited 2-year warranty and Corsair’s excellent customer service and technical support.

Models and suggested prices are as follows:

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Source: Corsair

Valve Hardware Pt. 3: Steam Controller

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Systems | September 27, 2013 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: SteamOS, Steam Controller, reverse-consolitis

Steam Controller is the third, and final, announcement in the Steam Hardware event. Sure, the peripheral looks weird. It looks very weird. The first thing(s?) you will notice, and likely the driving influence for the iconography, is... or are... the touch pads which replace the expected thumbsticks. The second thing you will notice is the "high resolution" (no specific resolution or dimension was provided) touchscreen.

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The most defining aspect of the controllers, as previously stated, is its pair of trackpads. This input method might actually stand the chance of precise controls while maintaining comfort for a couch. To start, I will quote Valve:

In addition, games like first-person shooters that are designed around precise aiming within a large visual field now benefit from the trackpads’ high resolution and absolute position control.

The emphasis was placed by me.

Last year, almost to the date, I published an editorial, "Is the Gamepad Really Designed for Gaming?" In it, I analyzed console controllers from an engineering standpoint. I blamed velocity-based joystick control for the need to enable auto-aim on console titles. Quoting myself, which feels a little weird to be entirely honest:

Analog sticks are a velocity-oriented control scheme where the mouse is a relative position-oriented control scheme. When you move a joystick around you do not move the pointer to a target rather you make it travel at some speed in the direction of the target. With a mouse you just need to move it the required distance and stop. It is easier to develop a sensitivity to how far you need to pull a mouse to travel to the target than a sensitivity to how long to hold a joystick in a given direction to reach a target. Joysticks are heavily reliant on our mental clocks and eye coordination.

Each trackpad can also be clicked, like the thumbsticks of current controllers just probably more comfortably, to provide extra functionality. From a User Experience (UX) standpoint, I can envision a first-person shooter which emulates a (velocity-based) joystick when the right trackpad is pressed (assuming it is very light to press and comfortably to rub your thumb against while pressing) but switches to position-based when touched but not pressed.

The implication is quick rotation when firing from the hip, but positionally-based targeting when precision is required. Maybe other methods will come up too? I find the technology particularly exciting because Valve, clearly, designed it with the understanding of position-based versus velocity-based control. This challenge you rarely hear discussed.

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The touchscreen is also a large clickable surface. The controller recognizes touch input and overlays the contents of the screen atop the user's screen but it will not commit the action until the touchpad is pressed. This is designed so the gamer will not need to look at their controller to see what action they are performing.

Personally, I hope this is developer-accessible. Some games, as the WiiU suggests, can benefit from hiding information.

Haptic feedback also ties into the trackpads. Their intent is to provide sensations to the thumbs and compensate for loss of mechanical sensation with thumbsticks. Since they are in there, Valve decided to offer a large, programmable, data channel to very precisely control the effect.

They specifically mention the ability to accept audio waveforms to function as speakers "as a parlour trick".

The devices will be beta tested, via the Steam Machine quest, but without wireless or touchscreen support. Instead of a touchscreen, the controller will contain a four-quadrant grid of buttons mapped to commands.

Thus wraps up the three-pronged announcement. Valve directs interested users to their Steam Universe group for further discussion.

Source: Steam

Corsair Announces Obsidian Series 750D Full-Tower PC Case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 24, 2013 - 03:42 PM |
Tagged: obsidian 750d, corsair

Fremont, California — September 24, 2013 — Corsair®, a designer and supplier of high-performance components to the PC hardware market, today announced the immediate availability of the Obsidian Series® 750D performance full-tower PC case. Like all Obsidian Series cases, the 750D features an elegant black monolithic design, brushed aluminum and solid steel construction, and generous expansion flexibility.

The Obidian Series 750D’s rigid, rugged exterior surrounds a frame that has ample room for high-performance components as well as sophisticated cooling for users who want to push their components to the limits. The case is designed to make building a PC fast and simple with features such as tool-free side panels and drive bays, cable routing grommets and mount points, and motherboard rear CPU access and alignment pegs.

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“When we launched our enormously successful, supersized Obsidian 900D case, enthusiasts raved about its sleek design, solid metal construction, and expandability, but not everyone needs so much room,” said Xavier Lauwaert, Director of Product Marketing at Corsair. “Obsidian 750D is built for those users that demand full-on Obsidian quality in a standard full-tower form factor with plenty of innovative features and cooling options.”

Obsidian Series 750D Specifications
Expansion Room

  • 9 expansion slots for larger motherboards and running multiple graphics cards or expansion boards simultaneously.
  • Six tool-free 3.5”/2.5” combo bays in two modular hard drive cages, with room for two more cages for up to 12 total combo drive bays.
  • Four tool-free 2.5” side-mounted drive cages for SSDs, out of the airflow path.
  • Three tool-free 5.25” bays for expansion
  • Four front mounted USB ports for easy peripheral or external storage device connection.

Cooling Flexibility

  • Three included AF140L high-airflow 140mm fans (2 front, 1 rear) for excellent airflow and low noise levels.
  • Room for up to 8 fans
  • Radiator compatibility: Top – 360mm or 280mm Front – 280mm or 240mm Bottom – 240mm Rear – 140mm or 120mm

Storage Layout Options

  • Modular hard drive cages can be located in four separate mounting locations.
  • Side-mounted 2.5” cages allow quick, easy removal of the 3.5” drive cages for better airflow or room for radiators, while maintaining capacity for up to four 2.5” drives.

Builder Friendly Features

  • Thumbscrew side panel removal and expansion slots and tool-free 3.5”, 2.5”, and 5.25” drive bays.
  • Center-post standoff holds motherboard in place while you secure the other screws.
  • Easily accessible (and removable) front, rear, and top dust filters.
  • Outstanding cable routing with rubber grommets for superior airflow and cleaner, neater builds.
  • Four USB ports (two USB 3.0) and headphone/mic jacks in the front panel for easy access.

Dimensions and Weight

  • Length x Width x Height 21.5 x 9.25 x 22 inches or 546 x 235 x 560mm
  • Weight 9.7kg or 21.4 lbs

Pricing, Availability, and Warranty
The Obsidian Series 750D has a suggested retail price of $159.99 in the US and is available immediately from Corsair's worldwide network of authorized distributors and resellers. It is backed with a limited 2-year warranty and Corsair’s excellent customer service and technical support.

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"The Obsidian Series 750D is, according to Corsair, the successor to the acclaimed 650D. This newcomer is priced at $159.99, making it cheaper than its predecessor, and it has a different mix of features. Is it a worthwhile choice, or are you better off springing for the 650D?"

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Source: Corsair