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Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Cases and Cooling, Systems | October 4, 2013 - 07:19 PM | Scott Michaud
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.
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.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 2, 2013 - 03:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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:
- Cooler Master V8 GTS CPU Cooler Review @HiTech Legion
- Gamer Storm Lucifer CPU Cooler @ Kitguru
- be quiet! Shadow Rock 2 @ techPowerUp
- Zalman Reserator 3 MAX Nanofluid AIO Liquid CPU Cooler @ Benchmark Reviews
- Noctua 120mm NF-S12A (ULN, FLX, PWM) Fan @ Overclockers Club
- Thermaltake Chaser A31 @ LanOC Reviews
- Spire X2 6018 Chassis @ Funky Kit
- Corsair Carbide 330R Review @ OCC
- Corsair Obsidian Series 750D Full Tower @ [H]ard|OCP
- Corsair Obsidian 750D Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Corsair Obsidian Series 350D @ LanOC Reviews
- Silverstone Fortress FT04 Review: Improving the Formula? @ Techspot
- Aerocool Strike-X Xtreme Black Edition Case @ Kitguru
- Cooler Master N600 (NSE-600-KKN1) Mid-Tower Case Review @HiTech Legion
- Lian Li PC-D8000 @ techPowerUp
- Phanteks Enthoo Primo Case Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Nanoxia Deep Silence 1 Case @ Kitguru
- Fractal Design Node 304 White SFF Chassis Review @MissingRemote
Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 1, 2013 - 06:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
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
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:
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Systems | September 27, 2013 - 02:42 PM | Scott Michaud
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.
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.
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.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 24, 2013 - 03:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
“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
- 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.
- 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.
"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?"
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Corsair Obsidian 750D @ Kitguru
- Cooler Master Cosmos SE Full Tower Case Review @ Legit Reviews
- Corsair Obsidian 350D @ Hardware.info
- Corsair Obsidian 750D @ eTeknix
- In Win Tou Tempered Glass Special Edition @ eTeknix
- Cooler Master COSMOS SE Review @ OCC
- SilverStone Temjin TJ04-E Evolution Chassis Review @ OCIA
- Cooler Master Silencio 352 mATX Mini Tower @ eTeknix
- X2 6018B MOD Series chassis @ NikKTech
- BitFenix Ronin Mid-Tower Chassis @ eTeknix
- XSPC Photon 170 Tube Reservoir Review @ HiTech Legion
- Cooler Master V8 GTS 140mm POM Heatsink CPU Cooler @ Benchmark Reviews
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | September 21, 2013 - 12:13 AM | Scott Michaud
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.
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!
Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 17, 2013 - 07:05 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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?"
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Raijintek Themis @ techPowerUp
- Silverstone AR01 and AR02 CPU Cooler Review @ HiTech Legion
- Thermalright AXP-200 Low-Profile CPU Cooler @ NikKTech
- The Best CPU Coolers: 10-Way Roundup @ Techspot
- XSPC Raystorm 750 EX240 Liquid Cooling Kit Upgrade @ HiTech Legion
- SilverStone SST-TD03 All-In-One Liquid CPU Cooler @ Benchmark Reviews
- Fractal Arc Midi R2 Computer Case Review @ Madshrimps
- Lian Li PC-Q28 Aluminum Mini-ITX Tower PC Case @ Benchmark Reviews
- Corsair Hydro Series H100i Extreme Performance CPU Cooler Review @ Legit Reviews
- Zalman Reserator 3 Max watercooling setup @ Rbmods
- NZXT Kraken X40 & X60 CPU Water Cooler Reviews @ Legit Reviews
- Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Mid-Tower Chassis Review @ Techgage
- Corsair Carbide 330R Silent Mid-Tower Case Review @ HiTech Legion
- Corsair Obsidian 900D Super Tower Case @ NikKTech
- Phanteks Enthoo Primo Full-Tower Case Review @ HiTech Legion
- Corsair Carbide Series 330R Quiet Case @ Kitguru
- Antec GX700 ATX Computer Case @ [H]ard|OCP
- Rosewill Throne Full Tower Case Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Aerocool GT-S (Black Edition) Chassis @ Funky Kit
- EVGA Hadron Air Mini ITX Case Review @ Hardware Canucks
Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 14, 2013 - 02:53 PM | Tim Verry
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.
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.
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)|
Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 13, 2013 - 01:44 PM | Tim Verry
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.
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 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.
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.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 6, 2013 - 01:12 AM | Tim Verry
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 4, 2013 - 06:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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:
- SilverStone Fortress FT04 Case @ AnandTech
- Aerocool Strike-X GT Devil Red Edition Mid-Tower @ eTeknix
- Thermaltake Chaser A71 Full Tower PC Case Review @ Legit Reviews
- Nanoxia Deep Silence 2 @ Kitguru
- NZXT Phantom 530 Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Thermaltake Chaser A71 VP400M1W2N Computer Case @ Benchmark Reviews
- Spire X2.6018 Mid-Tower @ Funky Kit
- Rosewill FBM-01 Mini-Tower Case Review @ HiTech Legion
- Enermax Coenus (ECA3290A) Mid-Tower Case Review @ HiTech Legion
- Phanteks Enthoo Primo @ techPowerUp
- Cooltek Coolcube Maxi Micro-ATX/Mini-ITX Case @ NikKTech
- Thermaltake WATER3.0 Extreme Liquid CPU Cooler Review @ Techgage
- SilverStone Tundra TD02 & TD03 CPU Liquid Coolers @ [H]ard|OCP
- Which is The Best Position for a Tower CPU Cooler? @ Hardware Secrets
- be quiet! Shadow Rock 2 CPU Cooler Review @ HiTech Legion
- Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 CPU Cooler @ eTeknix
- Thermalright Archon SB-E X2 CPU Cooler @ NikKTech
- Sandia Cooler: Air Bearing Heatsink Prototype Update @ Frostytech
- Gelid Black Edition Heatsink Review @ Frostytech
- be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 2 @ techPowerUp
- Thermaltake BigTyp Revo CPU Cooler Review @ OCC
- Scythe Mugen 4 CPU Cooler @ Funky Kit
- SilverStone SST-AR01 CPU Cooler @ Benchmark Reviews
- DeepCool Gammaxx S40 Heatsink Review @ Frostytech
- Scythe Ashura CPU Cooler @ Funky Kit
- SilverStone SST-AR03 CPU Cooler Heatsink @ Benchmark Reviews
- be quiet! Shadow Rock 2 CPU Cooler Mini @ eTeknix
- Enermax's white and black ETS-T40 CPU coolers @ The Tech Report
Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 2, 2013 - 11:31 PM | Tim Verry
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.
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.
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.
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.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 2, 2013 - 02:12 AM | Scott Michaud
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.
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.
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?
Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 29, 2013 - 09:21 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: mini ITX, htpc, elite 130, cooler master
Cooler Master recently released the Elite 130 Mini ITX case, which is an update to the existing Elite 120. The Elite 130 measures 9.4” x 8.1” x 14.9” (240mm x 205mm x 377.5mm) and will be available for under $50.
The Elite 130 weighs 6.8 pounds and is constructed of a steel alloy body with a polymer mesh front panel. The all black chassis has a mesh front panel with IO on the left and a single 5.25” drive bay. There is an 80mm vent on the right panel and a vent (without a fan) on the left side panel. The rear of the case features two PCI slots and a single rubber grommet for water cooling or USB 3.0 pass through cables. The case supports standard ATX power supplies through the use of an extension bracket. The PSU sticks out slightly from the back of the case and a vent on the case’s top panel allows for the power supply to pull in cool air from the outside rather than from the case internals.
Front IO on the Cooler Master Elite 130 includes two USB 3.0 ports and two audio jacks.
Internally, the Elite 130 supports a single 5.25” drive, two 3.5” hard drives, and a single solid state drive mounted in a side bracket. Alternatively, users can forgo an optical drive in favor of having three total 3.5” drives or four total 2.5” drives.
The case comes pre-installed with a 120mm intake fan and users can add a single 80x15mm fan on the right side panel. Users can swap out the front intake fan for water cooling radiator.
The Elite 130 supports Mini ITX motherboards, graphics cards up to 13.5,” CPU coolers up to 2.5” tall, and power supplies up to 180mm long.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 28, 2013 - 04:18 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Lian Li, Lian Li PC-A79, full tower, e-atx, XL-ATX, hptx, aluminum
Lian Li recently showed off a new full tower case -- clad in the company’s traditional brushed aluminum -- called the PC-A79. The PC-A79 measures 24.3” x 9” x 23.4” and offers up ample space for high end PC components.
On the outside, the Lian Li PC-A79 is covered in dark brushed aluminum. It has two front case feet and two rear wheels to make transporting the system easier. The front of the case hosts 12 individually filtered mesh 5.25” bay covers. There are also two LEDs for power and HDD activity in the top right corner of the front panel. The bezel surrounding the bay covers can be removed with needing tools to allow for easy removal of the bay covers and hard drives (depending on which way you install the hard drive cages). The left side panel comes with two pre-installed 120mm fans. Interestingly, Lian Li has designed a connector and routed the fan wires such that the side panel can be removed without needing to worry about disconnecting the fans. Additionally, the top of the case has a filtered vent that can hold up to two 140mm fans (or a 280mm radiator). The fans get screwed into a bracket which in turn is screwed into the top panel, making installation a bit easier.
Front IO on the PC-A79 is hidden under a cover on the front edge of the top panel. IO options include two audio jacks, four USB 3.0 ports, and a single eSATA port.
Rear IO includes six water cooling grommets, a single 120mm exhaust fan, a bottom-mounted PSU, and 11 PCI slots. There is a filter for the bottom mounted power supply that can be removed from the side of the case which is a nice option to have.
Internally, the full tower supports motherboards up to HTPX, E-ATX and XL-ATX in size, graphics cards up to 350mm (13.78”) in length, and CPU coolers up to 165mm (5.7”) tall. The PC-A79 comes with three hard drive cages, each of which can hold three 3.5” hard drives and two 2.5” solid state drives. In addition to the drive cages, users can mount two 2.5” drives on the bottom of the case for a total of nine 3.5” drives and eight SSDs. The drives mount into the cages using brushed aluminum brackets that double as handles. The drives slide into the cages and are locked in place by a thumbscrew latch. The case features a removable motherboard tray with a large CPU cutout and eight rubber grommets that allow for routing cables behind the motherboard tray.
The case supports up to seven total fans (not counting the PSU fan), including:
- 2 x 120mm side panel fans
- 3 x 120mm front panel fans (mounted on hard drive cages)
- 2 x 120 or 140mm fans on top panel
The massive full tower case will be available in September with an MSRP of $389. While PC gamers may opt for more sylish cases, the Lian Li PC-A79 would be a good fit for workstation builds.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 27, 2013 - 03:56 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: X-650, Seasonic X-Series, PSU, modular psu
Seasonic's X-650 PSU is fully modular, allowing you to choose exactly what cables you use though the ATX power is mandatory. It has four 6+2 PCIe power connectors and can deliver 648W @ 54A to the 12V rail making this a solid choice for a multi-GPU system. The performance on [H]ard|OCP's test bench was excellent, the only complaint they've had is that Seasonic really hasn't changed much about their PSUs in quite a while. That might be a little boring for reviewers but for enthusiasts, great performance at a variety of wattage is a good thing.
"Seasonic's X-Series computer power supply comes to us boasting a patented fully modular design that minimizes voltage drops and impedance while greatly maximizing efficiency, cooling, and overall performance. Being a Seasonic unit, we can also count on it targeting the users looking for a quiet computing experience."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Be Quiet! Straight Power E9 680W CM Semi Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- Cougar Power X 550W Non-Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- Vantec Voltra 650 Watt Power Supply Overview @ Pro-Clockers
- EVGA Bronze 500 W @ techPowerUp
- Cooler Master V Series 700W @ Kitguru
- XFX Pro 750W Black Edition Fully Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- Enermax Platimax 850W Semi Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- EVGA SuperNOVA G2 1300 W @ techPowerUp
- Lepa G1000-MA Semi Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- Rosewill Hercules 1600 W @ techPowerUp
Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 25, 2013 - 06:34 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: PC-Q33, mini ITX, Lian Li, aluminum
Lian Li recently posted information about a new prototype chassis on the Xtreme Systems forum. The new case, called the PC-Q33 is a Mini ITX chassis with a unique hinged front panel that allows unfettered access to the internal hardware. Coming in bare aluminum or black brushed aluminum, the case supports Mini ITX or Mini DTX motherboards, 220mm long graphics cards, 200mm long power supplies, and 180mm tall CPU coolers. The PC-Q33 itself measures 229mm (W) x 330mm (H) x 248mm (D) which works out to approximately 9” x 13” x 10”.
Silver case feet hold up the case which has mesh grills on the front and both side panels. There is a mesh vent for a 120mm fan on the back of the case along with a vent on the bottom of the case for the bottom mounted power supply. Lian Li has stated that a removable dust filter may be added to the case if there is enough interest. Users can unscrew the side panels to access the hardware or additionally unscrew two thumscrews to release the top and front panels which open on a hinge to make installing all of the components easier.
Internally, the case supports three 2.5” drives and two 3.5” drives. Drives can be installed in a cage below the motherboard or on the inside of the front panel. The back of the case features two grommets for water cooling tubes (for external radiators) along with a removable PSU bracket and two expansion slots (ie for a graphics card).
Lian Li has asked enthuiasts to comment on the new prototype case, which you can do here.
Personally, I think the PC-Q33 looks great and I hope that it comes to fruition as a real product. The hinged front panel is a neat idea and should make it extremely easy to work on the PC. I could definitely see myself using a case like this for my next Mini-ITX build along with a card like the ASUS GTX 760 Direct CU Mini. I’m also interested to see what the modders and water cooling enthusiasts are able to do with the new case!
Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 24, 2013 - 02:17 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: mid-tower, gamescom, cosmos se, cosmos, cooler master, aluminum
At GamesCom in Germany earlier this week, Cooler Master showed off an updated mid-tower version of its Cosmos S: the Cosmos SE. This new case was on display at the company's GamesCom booth and is an aluminum mid-tower clad in all black. The Cosmos SE shares a similar outward appearance and form factor to the existing (full tower) Cosmos S, except it is shorter and features a redesigned front bezel. The side panel window shape is the same on the two Cosmos S-series cases. The new Cosmos SE does keep the solid aluminum handles and raised legs, however. The front IO is located above the 5.25" bays on the top edge of the case and includes two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, and two audio jacks.
Internally, the case can accommodate ATX motherboards, three 5.25" drives, and at least five 3.5" or 2.5" hard drives or SSDs. A bottom mounted power supply sits below the motherboard, but with enough room for two dual slot graphics cards.
As far as cooling, the Cosmos SE can fit a 240mm radiator on the top of the case and a 360mm radiator with the front hard drive bays removed. Cable management has reportedly been tweaked as well.
The case looks nice but the ability to mount a 360mm rad (even at the cost of removing the 5.25" bays) to the top of the case would have been a welcome feature.
Unfortunately, beyond the photos coming out of GamesCom, details on the new case are scarce. Pricing and availability in particular are still unknown.
Are you excited for the Cosmos SE?
Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 19, 2013 - 01:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nzxt, H630 Silent, full tower
This case is not the cream colour that once graced the enclosures of computers everywhere but a very bright and clean white. The default cooling system consists of 200mm fans which help to keep the noise generated by the system at a minimum but you can choose to use 120 or 140mm fans as well as to mount radiators if you choose watercooling. At 245 x 547 x 567mm (9.6 x 21.5 x 22.3") you will be able to fit the tallest CPU coolers and longest GPUs without issue and the huge number of expansion bays should satisfy storage junkies. Thanks to the wide variety of toolless installation adapters and living up to the name silent, [H]ard|OCP gave this case a Silver Award; it is worth checking out if you are shopping for a full tower.
"NZXT leads its H630 charge with the key talking points of, "Clean. Modern. Silent." Surely we think these are thee things that many enthusiast look for when putting together a new system build. Its huge fan support, steel construction, and airflow qualities that are reported to be specifically engineered for silent high performance operation are reviewed here."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Corsair's Obsidian Series 350D case @ The Tech Report
- Cooler Master N600 PC Case Review @ Legit Reviews
- NZXT H630 @ techPowerUp
- NZXT H630 Silent Ultra Tower Computer Case @ Benchmark Reviews
- Lian Li PC-9N Review @ OCC/A>
- Thermaltake Chaser A31 Mid Tower @ Modders-Inc
- Aerocool XPredator X3 @ Hardware.info
- Corsair Obsidian 350D @ Techspot
- Phanteks Enthoo Primo @ Kitguru
- Coolermaster N400 Mid-Tower @ eTeknix
- Fractal Design Define XL R2 Computer Case @ Modders-Inc
- Phanteks Enthoo Primo Case @ AnandTech
- Corsair Carbide AIR 540 Review @ Hardware Canucks
- NZXT H230 Classic Silent Mid-Tower @ eTeknix
- Corsair Carbide Series 330R Quiet Mid-Tower Chassis @ eTeknix
- Enermax Fulmo-ST Midi-Tower Chassis @ eTeknix
- Lian Li PC-TU100 M-ITX @ eTeknix
- COUGAR Dual-X LED Fans (140 & 120mm) Review @ Techgage
- Prolimatech Vortex Fan @ eTeknix
- Go Custom With The Cooler Master Eisberg Prestige @ eTeknix
- Silverstone Tundra TD02 & TD03 AiO Liquid Cooler Review @ HiTech Legion
- Deepcool Gamer Storm Assassin Heatsink Review @ Ninjalane
- SilverStone TD02 CPU Cooler Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Prolimatech Panther CPU Cooler @ eTeknix
- Prolimatech Samuel 17 Low Profile CPU Cooler @ eTeknix
- SilverStone TD03 CPU Cooler Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Raijintek Ereboss CPU Cooler Review @ Pro-Clockers
- Prolimatech Black Megahalems CPU Cooler @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | August 14, 2013 - 08:46 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows rt, mouse, microsoft, keyboard
I would normally begin a product announcement with some introduction but, this time, a quote from Mary Jo Foley seems a better fit:
These new peripherals work with Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows RT, though only "basic functionality" is provided when used with Windows RT.
Problems with Windows RT, it is now obvious, go beyond Ethernet dongles and I would be shocked if Microsoft Hardware are the only ones suffering. We have already heard Plugable, an adapter and peripherals company, complain about Microsoft and their demand for Plugable to pull Surface RT drivers from their website. I cannot see this being a few localized issues.
These are the problems you will experience with a platform where the owner has complete control. Imagine how bad Windows RT will be if Microsoft slips behind, again, in Internet Explorer development; the only browsers allowed must be Internet Explorer reskins. But I digress.
The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop is a mouse, keyboard, and number pad with a unique appearance. Non-uniform keys pushing upward to a split should conform to the hand of a typical home row typist. WASD gamers might as well stop reading by this point. Microsoft is not known for mechanical switches so I would expect this keyboard to be typical membrane-based activation.
Side-on shows off the depth better.
That said, most Microsoft peripherals I have used tends to keep up with mechanical in terms of durability and performance... except wired Xbox headsets. Those little turds snap within a matter of hours.
The mouse, on the other hand (literally), does not seem to include extra mouse buttons except for a dedicated Windows button. If you have not figured it out by now: gamers are not the target audience. It seems fairly standard otherwise, from a feature standpoint, although comfort and durability are the big deciding factors for many users which we are not in a position to give an honest opinion on.
Together, the devices are available within the week and retail for $129.95. The keyboard, separately, will be available in September for $80.95; the mouse, separately, will be available for $59.95. High price, but it might just be worth it for dedicated typists.