Hide your CPU under a Dark Rock Pro

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 25, 2013 - 03:18 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."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Corsair Announces Hydro Series H75 Liquid CPU Cooler

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 24, 2013 - 10:34 AM |
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 - 04:10 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 20, 2013 - 10:39 PM |
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 - 12:46 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."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

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

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 15, 2013 - 02:39 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."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

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

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 15, 2013 - 10:42 AM |
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.

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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 - 04:19 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 - 12:08 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."

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Source: FrostyTech

Corsair Announces Air Series LED High Airflow PC Case Fans

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 1, 2013 - 03:15 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 - 11:42 AM |
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.

steam-controller.jpg

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.

steam-controller_bindings.jpg

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 - 12:42 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.

750D_BUILT_hero_low.png

"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

Just Delivered: Razer Naga (2014, Left Handed) + Mini Review

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | September 20, 2013 - 09:13 PM |
Tagged: razer, Naga, Lefties

So, after a few years of regular use, I wore out my Razer Lachesis. I am a lefty who never sold out to the right-handed world of computer peripherals. Joysticks do not count, I am naturally right-handed with those for some reason... scissors too... but that is beside the point. Most of the mice out there, for me to use at least, are ambidextrous and thus symmetric.

razer-naga-2014-left-06.png

The Razer Naga (2014) is the first truly left handed mouse that I have owned. These are my impressions over my first day of usage.

Being a left-handed mouse Razer decided that it would, by default, switch the left and right mouse buttons. This can be changed in the drivers by first assigning your right mouse button to a left mouse button and then assigning your left mouse button to a right mouse button. Not the other way around.

The reason for this user experience seems to be, since all changes in the driver are applied immediately (without "ok" or "apply" buttons), Razer did not want users to accidentally lose every left mouse button. Imagine fixing that problem without a left mouse button. I would have prefered the app to, instead, fire a popup telling users to bind something else to "left mouse button" before removing it. Greying out the box is confusing and users might think they cannot, ever, rebind that button. That is just a minor complaint.

A slightly bigger issue is how they included a tilt-wheel without allowing the drivers to bind ScrollLeft and ScrollRight events. This can easily be fixed with a Razer Synapse update but why was that not included at launch? They are aware of the problem, too, as their support pages suggest users bind scroll wheel tilt to keyboard left and right. A great alternative for web browsers, but will not work in Photoshop or word processors.

Yes, you can make a custom profile for each application to input whatever horizontally scrolls them; better yet, just let us bind left and right scroll commands. Do it Razer! Dooooo it!

Weird quirks in the drivers aside, I really like the mouse. Each of the buttons, both in the side and on the top, are crisp. The build quality is solid. The body is comfortable. My only (physical) complaint is that the mouse body tends to get quite warm if you hold it for a couple of hours. That is, it feels warmer than other mice I have used. Otherwise it is basically what I have been looking for over the last decade.

So many buttons to bind!

Source: Razer

Akasa's heatsink sandwich, the Venom Medusa

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 17, 2013 - 04:05 PM |
Tagged: akasa, venom medusa, air cooling, heatsink

If you are looking for a cooler that screams high performance then the Akasa Venom Medusa is the heatsink for you, assuming you have a double wide case.  At 1.3kg this is one of the heaviest coolers on the market, with measurements of 129.5x144x163mm (5x5.7x6.4") without fans, it is also one of the largest.  The two 140mm fans [H]ard|OCP used in their testing ensured that the cooler performed very quietly and it performs as well as any of the other high end aircoolers on the market.  The one drawback is the price, at $85 it costs almost as much as some self contained watercoolers.

H_Akasa.jpg

"Akasa is a smaller thermal solution company that does have a solid reputation. The Venom Medusa CPU air cooler is a massive unit that promises better cooling with eight high capacity heatpipes, dual 14cm "Viper" fans that promise more airflow, most of all we get promised it is a "Monster of All Extremes." Does it have a place in your next build?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Corsair Announces Nearly-Silent RM Series Power Supplies

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 14, 2013 - 11:53 AM |
Tagged: rm series, PSU, Corsiar, 80 Plus Gold

Corsair has introduced its new RM series of power supplies. The new lineup replaces the TX series and sits between the existing HX and AXi series. RM-series PSUs are optimized for efficient and nearly silent operation.

Corsair RM1000.png

The new fully modular RM series power supplies are 80 PLUS Gold certified and range from 450W to 1000W. The PSUs reportedly use low noise capacitors and transistors along with a 135mm fan that only starts spinning under high load (what Corsair calls the “ZeroRPM Fan Mode”) such as gaming. In addition to quiet operation, the RM series supports monitoring functionality. Using Corsair Link software, users can monitor PSU fan speed and power delivery. A cable, called the Corsair Digital Bridge Cable, runs from the PSU to either the system motherboard or a Corsair Link Hub and enables the monitoring features. This cable comes bundled with the highest-end RM1000 (1000W) unit, but is an additional charge for the other RM series.

Corsair RM1000 Cables.png

The fully modular RM1000 and its bundled cables.

The lineup includes the RM450, RM550, RM650, RM750, RM850, and RM1000 in 450W to 1KW maximum loads respectively. These new PSUs will be available at the end of October for the following prices:

RM Series Power Supply SKU Price (MSRP)
RM450 $99.99
RM550 $109.99
RM650 $119.99
RM750 $129.99
RM850 $159.99
RM1000 $199.99
Source: Corsair

EVGA Launches Mini ITX Hadron Air Case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 13, 2013 - 10:44 AM |
Tagged: mini ITX, hadron air, hadron, evga

EVGA has launched a new barebones Mini ITX case called the Hadron Air. The new case is in the same vein as the MiniBox chassis it showed off at Computex earlier this year. The new Hadron Air measures 12" x 6.6" x 12.1" (HxWxD) and is constructed of aluminum with a black brushed finish on the outside.

EVGA Hadron Mini ITX Case_angled.jpg

The Hadron Air has curved edges and rounded corners. The front of the case is lifted up slightly by case feet, putting the case at a slight angle. There are vents on the top and right side of the case as well as an acrylic window on the left side panel. A bay for a slim slot loading optical drive and the front IO port are located on the right side of the case. The front IO includes two USB 3.0 ports and two HD audio jacks. The back of the case has a bottom mounted power supply, two PCI slots, and two water cooling passthrough grommets.

EVGA Hadron Mini ITX Case.jpg

EVGA is bundling the case with a small form factor 500W power supply. The PSU is 80 PLUS Gold rated and offers up 40A on the 12V rail. The case supports Mini ITX motherboards, two 2.5" or 3.5" storage drives, and dual slot graphics cards up to 267mm in length. As far as cooling, the case supports two 120mm exhaust fans in the top panel and the power supply has its own small intake fan. A list of compatible CPU coolers can be found here.

EVGA Hadron Mini ITX Case_bundled components.jpg

The case comes bundled with a 500W power supply, manual, AC power cord, two SATA cables, and a bracket for a slim slot loading optical drive.

The Hadron Air is available now for $189.99. The Mini ITX chassis is part of the Hadron series of cases which includes the Air and a water cooling optimized version called the Hadron Hydro which is reportedly "coming soon."

More information on the Hadron Air can be found on this EVGA product page.

Source: EVGA

In Win Unveils Full Tower Tou Chassis

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 5, 2013 - 10:12 PM |
Tagged: in win, tou, full tower, atx, tempered glass

In Win, a manufacturer of cases, power supplies, and storage drives showed off a prototype full tower ATX case at Computex 2013 that is now officially launching as a production model in limited quantities. The case, called the Tou, is constructed of a sand case aluminum frame and surrounded by tempered glass with a mirror finish.

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The glass is such that when the internal case LEDs are off, the various case panels act as mirrors. However, when the internal blue LEDs are turned on, light passes through the glass and users can see the PC internals through the glass panels.

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The full tower chassis is roughly rectangular with angular edges, a large mesh vent on the top panel, bottom mounted 5.25” drive bay, and two handles attached to the front panel. The front panel has two skinny vents on either side to allow the front 120mm intake fan to pull in cool air. The top panel supports 360mm water cooling radiators or three 120mm fans. Front IO includes two USB 3.0 ports and two audio ports.

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Internally, the In Win Tou case supports ATX motherboards, ATX power supplies, three 3.5” hard drives, two 2.5” SSDs, and GPUs up to 380mm in length.

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According to Hexus.net, the limited edition Tou case will be available soon for around $800. IT is an interesting design, and the mirrored panels are unique. I don't care for the particular angular edges and bolt pattern on the side panel, and the internal features are at a bare minimum, which is less than I would have expected from an $800 case. I'm interested to see what case modders are able to do with it though, and how enthusiasts take advantage of the mirrored glass to show off their systems.

Source: In Win

Quoth the Raven, "SilverStone"

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 4, 2013 - 03:46 PM |
Tagged: Silverstone, Raven RV04

When the front of your case has a pair of 180mm fans in it you know it is big, 219x581x497mm (8.6x22.8x19.5") or as they describe it on the spec sheet, 63.2 litres, which is a lot of mineral oil.  This does mean you have space for oversized coolers and massive GPUs as well as over a dozen drives of varying sizes as well as radiators for watercooling.  [H]ard|OCP were not impressed with the door on this case but were quite impressed at the capabilities of what seemed at first glance to be mediocre fan filters.  See what you think of the overall design as well as the functionality in their full review.

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"The SilverStone Raven series of computer cases have been favorites around the HardOCP offices for years. This new Raven RV04 has a somewhat different spin, literally. Long gone is the 90 degree rotation on the mainboard which brings the Raven back into the realm of "normal" cases. SilverStone is preaching an even better thermal profile."

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Digital Storm Releases HydroLux Liquid Cooling System

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 2, 2013 - 08:31 PM |
Tagged: Digital Storm, hydrolux, aventum II, water cooling

Last week, boutique OEM Digital Storm unleashed the HydroLux cooling system for its high end desktops. The HydroLux system is a high end, custom water cooling system for all of the major system components paired with custom software that allows users to monitor and manage the cooling system.

Digital Storm Hydrolux Cooling.jpg

The Hydrolux loop is essentially a highly customized water loop with some interesting extra features. The water loop is designed to cool the CPU, VRMs, and GPUs with water. The various water blocks have chrome fittings and are connected using red tubing. A large cylindrical reservoir, high flow pump, and two 360mm radiators make up the rest of the water loop. The two radiators each have three LED-lit 120mm fans. Other features include quick disconnects to facilitate easy component upgrades and a high flow pumps rated at 300 gallons per hour.

digital-storm-hydrolux.jpg

Using the HydroLux software, users can monitor the temperatures of the components (CPU, GPU, HDD, ect) and the water temperature itself. The LEDS used in the chassis and on the fans can be set to certain user-selected colors or to automatic mode which will gradually change the color from blue to red as the system temperature increases from higher system load be it gaming, rendering, or other intensive activities.

Digital Storm HydroLux Cooling Software.jpg

Enthusiasts are also able to choose from three pre-set modes that will control the fan speeds to get the best balance of noise and cooling performance.

The HydroLux cooling system will be available on all of Digital Storm's desktops, including the new Aventum II. In short, while it is essentially just a custom water loop, the company has added some nice features to make it interesting and if you are going the OEM/boutique route it looks to be one of the better pre-built custom water options.

CODE Keyboard Is Probably Pretty Good

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 1, 2013 - 11:12 PM |
Tagged: WASD Keyboards, mechanical keyboard, keyboard, CODE

... But if you read the blog post, you would think it is the one keyboard to rule them all.

The CODE is the product, literally, of a collaboration between Stack Overflow co-founder Jeff Atwood and Weyman Kwong of WASD Keyboards. I recognize the tongue-in-cheek humor and I acknowledge that the team are clearly (that was not a Cherry MX switch pun... that I would admit to) well suited to the challenge of designing a keyboard for programmers.

code-trio.jpg

Before we run through the opinion, its key touted perks are:

  • Cherry MX Clear switches
    • Similar to Cherry MX Brown with much more resistance. Hard to bottom out.
  • DIP switches to customize functionality without software.
  • White LED backlighting
  • Very stable rubberized ergonomic flaps and angled pads.
  • Detachable Micro USB cable

The thing is, WASD Keyboards already allows users to purchase customized keyboards. As far as I can tell, the CODE is just a variant of the existing WASD V2 104-key Custom Mechanical Keyboard with white backlighting. Both Keyboards are priced at $149.99. The CODE limits your choice but provides you with the illuminated keys and the MX Clear switches, normally a $10 upgrade, in exchange for just taking what you are offered without question. Okay, you can ask for a 104-Key or an 87-Key version, so one question is allowed. Still, the CODE is a good value; as I mentioned, you basically get free key lighting and a free upgrade to Cherry MX Clear.

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But it is still not an epiphany for mechanical keyboard lovers.

At one point, I hoped to take some time for a hobby and modify a mechanical keyboard to fit my specifications. I envisioned an aluminum body enclosing solidly built buckle-spring keys. I did not know about Cherry MX Green switches at the time. For keycaps, I imagined two pieces of glass sandwiching a translucent white plastic sheet masked with a black symbol for each letter. I figure the feel of glass would be more pleasing to the fingers than warm plastic. Each key would, of course, be let from underneath with a soft white (blue-doped-white) LED. Each translucent sheet would softly diffuse the light except for the shadow of whatever characters the key represents.

That would be a revolution... for me. I think I would like the feel of cool glass under my fingers.

So I guess I leave the post with a question for the viewers: What would your "perfect" keyboard be?

Source: CODE