Manufacturer: SilverStone

Introduction and First Impressions

The Fortress FT05 is the fifth iteration of SilverStone's Fortress series of enclosures, and, like the latest Raven case, this leverages the complete removal of 5.25" bays to reduce its overall size. We've seen this before as the FT03 completely removed optical support, but this enclosure is related far more closely to the current Raven enclosure than any of its predecessors.


Introduction: The Heart of a Raven

If you're familiar with SilverStone's product lineup you'll know about the Fortress and Raven enclosures which both currently feature an unusual 90° motherboard orientation. This layout places I/O on the top of the case, and helps expel warm air straight up. The Fortress was originally a more conventional design with a standard motherboard layout, but SilverStone switched this to mirror the Raven series with the second version, the FT02. However, just as the Raven series diverged from the original design language and layout of the RV01 with later versions, the Fortress series has undergone some radical changes since its introduction. With this fifth version of the Fortress SilverStone has converged the two enclosure lines, and the FT05 is essentially a more businesslike version of the Raven RV05 - though the design's more conventional exterior also contains noise-dampening material which helps to further differentiate the two enclosures.

Much as the current Raven owes much of its design to an earlier version, in that case the RV01, this new Fortress is a return to the design of the FT02. That earlier Fortress was a large (and quite expensive) case that combined great expandability with excellent cooling, taking the RV01's 90° layout and opening up the interior for an expansive, easy-to-manage interior. A considerable amount of the second gen's interior was devoted to storage, and the front of the case was dominated by 5.25" drive bays.


The second-generation Fortress FT02 interior

Continue reading our review of the SilverStone Fortress FT05 enclosure!!

Manufacturer: Lian Li

Introduction and First Impressions

The Lian Li PC-Q33 is a mini-ITX enclosure with a cube-like appearance and a hinged construction that makes it easy to access the components within.



When a builder is contemplating a mini-ITX system the primary driver is going to be the size. It’s incredible that we've reached the point where we can have a powerful single-GPU system with minimal (if any) tradeoffs from the tiny mITX form-factor, but the components need to be housed in an appropriately small enclosure or the entire purpose is defeated. However working within small enclosures is often more difficult, unless the enclosure has been specifically designed to account for this. Certainly no slouch in the design department, Lian Li is no stranger to small, lightweight mini-ITX designs like this. The NCASE M1 (a personal favorite) was manufactured by the company after all, and in some ways the PC-Q33 is reminiscent of that design - in build quality and materials if nothing else. The Q33 features aluminum construction and is very light, and while compact the design of the enclosure allows for effortless component installation. The secret? A hinged design that allows the front of the enclosure to swing down providing full access to the interior.


This approach to accessibility with a small enclosure is a welcome one, and especially so considering the price of the PC-Q33, which retails for $95 on Newegg and can be found for around $105 on Amazon as well. This is still a high cost for many considering a small build and enters the premium price range for an enclosure, but remember the Q33 features an aluminum construction which typically carries a considerably higher cost than steel and plastic. Of course if the case is frustrating to use or has poor thermals than the materials used are meaningless, so in this review we’ll look at the build process and thermal results with the Q33 to see if it’s a good value. My initial impression is that the price is actually low, but that’s coming from someone who looks at a lot of cases and develops a familiarity with the average retail prices in each category.

Continue reading our review of the Lian Li PC-Q33 SFF Chassis!!

Introduction and Features



Earlier this year we took a look at SilverStone’s ST1500-GS power supply unit, which currently has the highest rated output in the Strider Gold S Series. Today we are looking at SilverStone’s second generation Strider Gold ST75F-GS V2.0, which is a 750 watt power supply that comes housed in a short chassis; only 140mm (5.5”) deep for easy integration. It’s nice to get a different model from the same series in for review to see how the series overall performs. SilverStone claims the Strider Gold S Series are the world’s smallest, full-modular ATX power supplies.


SilverStone SST-ST75F-GS V2.0 750W ATX Power Supply

There are currently five different models available in the Strider Gold S Series, which include the ST55F-G, ST65F-G, ST75-GS, ST85F-GS, and ST1500-GS. All of the Strider Gold S Series PSUs are designed to be fully modular, 80 Plus Gold certified, and small in size. While the typical 750W power supply enclosure measures 160mm (6.3”) deep, the Strider Gold ST75F-GS is housed in a 140mm chassis (5.5”).


(Courtesy of SilverStone)

SilverStone Strider Gold S Series ST75F-GS V2.0 PSU Key Features:
•    750 watts DC power output
•    Compact design with a depth of only 140mm for easy integration
•    High efficiency with 80 Plus Gold certification
•    100% Modular cables
•    24/7 Continuous power output with 40°C operating temperature
•    Strict ±3% voltage regulation and low AC ripple & noise
•    Dedicated single +12V rail (62.5A)
•    Quiet 120mm cooling fan
•    Four PCI-E 8/2-pin connectors support multiple high-end graphic adapters
•    Conforms to ATX12V and EPS standards
•    Universal AC input (90-264V) with Active PFC
•    Dimensions: 150mm (W) x 86mm (H) x 140mm (L)
•    $134.99 USD

Please continue reading our review of the SilverStone ST75F-GS PSU !!!

Manufacturer: SilverStone

Introduction and First Impressions

The RV05 is the current iteration of SilverStone's Raven enclosure series, and a reinvention of their ATX enthusiast design with a revised layout that eliminates 5.25" drive bays for a smaller footprint.


Return to Form

The fifth edition of SilverStone's Raven is a return to form of sorts, as it owes more to the design of the original RV01 than the next three to follow. The exterior again has an aggressive, angular look with the entire enclosure sitting up slightly at the rear and tilted forward. Though the overall effect is likely less visually exciting than the original, depending on taste, in its simplicity the design feels more refined and modern than the RV01. Some of the sharpest angles have been eliminated or softened, though the squat stance coupled with its smaller size gives the RV05 an energetic appearance - as if it's ready to strike. (OK, I know it's just a computer case, but still...)


The Raven series is important to the case market as a pioneer of the 90º motherboard layout for ATX systems, expanding on the design originally developed by Intel for the short-lived BTX form-factor. In the layout implemented in the Raven series the motherboard is installed with the back IO panel facing up, which requires the graphics card to be installed vertically. This vertical orientation assists with heat removal by exploiting the tendency of warm air to rise, and when implemented in an enclosure like the RV05 it can create an excellent thermal environment for your components. The RV05 features large fans at the bottom of the case that push air upward and across the components on the motherboard, forcing warm air to exit through a well-ventilated top panel.


And the RV05 isn't just a working example of an interesting thermal profile, it's actually a really cool-looking enclosure with some premium features and suprisingly low price for a product like this at $129 on Amazon as this was written. In our review of the RV05 we'll be taking a close look at the case and build process, and of course we'll test the thermal performance with some CPU and GPU workloads to find out just how well this design performs.

Continue reading our review of the SilverStone Raven RV05 enclosure!!

Manufacturer: Cooler Master

Introduction and Technical Specifications


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Courtesy of Cooler Master

Cooler Master is known in the enthusiast community for their innovative designs with product offerings ranging from cases to desktop and laptop cooling implements. Cooler Master also offers their own line of all-in-one (AIO) CPU liquid cooling solutions for better system performance without the noise of a typical air cooler. With their Nepton 240M cooler, they enhanced the existing design of their previous AIO products, optimizing its performance with an enhanced pump and radiator design. We measured the unit's performance against that of other high-performance liquid and air coolers to best illustrate its abilities. The Nepton 240M's premium performance comes with a premium price, at a $139.99 MSRP.


Courtesy of Cooler Master


Courtesy of Cooler Master

The Nepton 240M AIO liquid cooler features a 240mm aluminum-finned radiator tied to a base unit consisting of a 120 liter per minute pump and a micro-finned copper base plate. Unlike the Glacer model, the Nepton 240M does not feature the ability to drain and refill the unit. Cooler Master designed the Nepton 240M with a 27mm deep, 2x120mm copper radiator with brass internal channels, bundled with two of its 120mm Silencio model fans. The Silencio fans are optimized for low noise and high pressure, perfect for use with a liquid cooling radiator. The radiator and unit base are connected by ribbed FEP (Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene) tubing, allowing for high flexibility without the worry of tube kinking.

Continue reading our review of the Cooler Master Nepton 240M CPU AIO liquid cooler!

Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction and Features

Our first Corsair power supply up for review in 2015 is the CS Series Modular 850W PSU; the CS850M. Corsair's CS Series Modular PSUs are designed for basic desktop use and light to moderate gaming where low energy use, low noise, simple installation, and good value are important. The Modular CS Series now includes five models; the CS450M, CS550M, CS650M, CS750M, and the new CS850M.  All of the power supplies in the CS Series feature modular cables, high efficiency (80 Plus Gold certified) and quiet operation. In addition, Corsair continues to offer a full line of high quality power supplies, memory components, cases, cooling components, SSDs and accessories for the PC market.  


Here is what Corsair has to say about their CS Series Modular PSUs: “The CS-M Series is designed for basic and midrange PCs, but offers features and performance traditionally reserved for higher-end models. 80 Plus Gold efficiency and a thermally controlled fan ensure quiet operation and lower energy use, and the modular, detachable cable set makes installations and upgrades faster and better looking.”

 “80 Plus Gold efficiency reduces operating cost and excess heat. Since it generates less heat, the fan doesn’t need to work as hard, and you’ll enjoy near silent operation. The flat black modular cables with clearly-marked connectors make installation fast and straightforward, with good-looking results.


Corsair CS Series Modular PSU Key Features:

•    Five Models: 450W up to 850W
•    Compliant with the latest ATX12V v2.4 and EPS 2.92 standards
•    Backward compatible with ATX12V 2.2, 2.31 and ATX12V 2.01 systems
•    4th Generation Intel® Core™ processor ready (Haswell & Z87 motherboards)
•    80 Plus Gold certified for high efficiency (=90% under real world loads)
•    Modular cables (only use the cables you need)
•    Low-profile, flat modular cables reduce air friction and maximize airflow
•    Active PFC with Universal AC input (100-240VAC)
•    Multi GPU ready
•    Safety: OVP, UVP, SCP, OPP, and OTP
•    3-Year warranty and lifetime access to Corsair’s tech support & customer service
•    MSRP: $139.99 USD

Please continue reading our Corsair CS850M power supply review!!!

Manufacturer: SilverStone

Introduction and Features



Last month we took a look at SilverStone’s small form-factor power supply the SFX-600, which delivered 600 watts from a compact SFX enclosure. Today we are looking at SilverStone’s new Strider Gold ST1500-GS, which is a 1,500 watt ATX form-factor power supply. The Strider Gold 1500W PSU is fully modular and built for high efficiency operation. What makes the ST1500-GS unique is the relatively short enclosure, which is only 180mm (7.1”) deep!


SilverStone ST1500-GS ATX Power Supply

There are currently five different models available in the Strider Gold S Series, which include the ST55F-G, ST65F-G, ST75-GS, ST85F-GS, and ST1500-GS. All of the Strider Gold S Series PSUs are designed to be fully modular, 80 Plus Gold certified, and small in size. While the typical 1500W power supply enclosure measures 220mm (8.7”) deep, the Strider Gold ST1500-GS is housed in a 180mm chassis.


(Courtesy of SilverStone)

SilverStone Strider Gold S Series ST1500-GS PSU Key Features:
•    1,500 watts DC power output (1600W peak power)
•    High efficiency with 80 Plus Gold certification
•    100% Modular cables
•    24/7 Continuous power output with 40°C operating temperature
•    Strict ±3% voltage regulation and low AC ripple & noise
•    Dedicated single +12V rail (125A)
•    Quiet 135mm ball bearing fan
•    Eight PCI-E 8/2-pin connectors support multiple high-end graphic adapters
•    Conforms to ATX12V and EPS standards
•    Universal AC input (100-240V) with Active PFC
•    Dimensions: 150mm (W) x 86mm (H) x 180mm (L)
•    $319.99 USD

Please continue reading our review of the SilverStone ST1500-GS PSU !!!

Manufacturer: Primochill

Introduction and Technical Specifications



Courtesy of Primochill

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


Courtesy of Primochill


Courtesy of Primochill

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

Continue reading our review of the Primochill Wet Bench kit!

Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction and Features



Corsair’s new Carbide Series 330R Titanium Edition case is an update to their popular 330R quiet mid-tower enclosure. The new 330R Titanium Edition features both cosmetic and functional changes with the addition of a Titanium-look brushed aluminum front panel and three-speed fan control switch. In addition, the 330R incorporates excellent sound absorption material for quiet operation, numerous cooling options, and support for multiple, extended length VGA cards.  The 330R enclosure features a full length, hinged front door and comes with one 140mm intake fan in the front and one 120mm exhaust fan on the back with five optional fan mounting locations along with support for liquid cooling radiators. There are currently 18 different models in the Carbide Series ranging from $49.99 up to $149.99 USD.


Foundation for a quiet PC

Here is what Corsair has to say about their Carbide Series 330R Titanium Edition enclosure: “The Carbide Series 330R Titanium Edition starts with the award-winning original 330R, and adds a brushed aluminum front panel with a three-speed fan controller. It’s designed for systems that will go into media rooms, bedrooms, dorm rooms, or any place where both silence and performance are essential. Sound damped doors and panels and clever intake fan design are combined with generous expansion room and builder-friendly features to allow you to build a silent PC that can pack a lot of power for gaming and high definition media streaming.


Please continue reading the Corsair 330R Titanium Edition Quiet case review!!!

Manufacturer: be quiet!

Introduction and Features


be quiet! claims to be Germany’s number one brand in PC power supplies and they are continuing to expand sales into North American markets. In this review we will be taking a detailed look at the new be quiet! Straight Power 10 800W power supply with Cable Management. There are four power supplies in the Straight Power 10 CM Series, which include 500W, 600W, 700W, and 800W models.

be quiet! designed the Straight Power 10 CM Series to provide high efficiency with minimal noise for systems that demand whisper-quiet operation without compromising on power quality. In addition to the Straight Power 10 Series, be quiet! offers a full range of power supplies in ATX, SFX, and TFX form factors.


(Courtesy of be quiet!)

All of the new Straight Power 10 Cable Management Series power supplies are semi-modular (all cables are modular except for the fixed 24-pin ATX cable). Along with 80 Plus Gold certified high efficiency, the Straight Power 10 800W modular power supply has been designed for quiet operation. It uses be quiet!’s latest SilentWings3 135mm fan for virtually silent operation (at low to mid power levels). The fan speed starts out very slow and remains slow and quiet through mid power levels.


be quiet! Straight Power 10 800W CM PSU Key Features:

•    800W continuous DC output (ATX12V v2.4, EPS 2.92 compliant)
•    Virtually inaudible SilentWings3 135mm cooling fan
•    80 PLUS Gold certified efficiency (up to 93%)
•    Premium 105°C rated parts enhance stability and reliability
•    Powerful GPU support with four PCI-E connectors
•    User-friendly cable management reduces clutter and improves airflow
•    NVIDIA SLI Ready and AMD CrossFire X certified
•    ErP 2014 ready and meets Energy Star 6.0 guidelines
•    Zero load design supports Intel’s Deep Power Down C6 & C7 modes
•    Fully Intel Haswell compatible
•    Active Power Factor correction (0.99) with Universal AC input
•    German product conception, design and quality control
•    Safety Protections : OCP, OVP, UVP, SCP, OTP, and OPP
•    5-Year warranty
•    MSRP for the Straight Power 10 800W CM PSU: $169.00 USD

Please continue reading our review of the be quiet! Straight Power 10 800W CM PSU!

Manufacturer: BitFenix

Introduction, Specs, and First Impressions

BitFenix has been making enclosures for the PC market since 2010 (with the massive Colossus E-ATX case), and came to prominence a couple of years later with the introduction of the Prodigy enclosure. While the company has expanded to produce power supplies and peripherals they are still primarily a case manufacturer, as evidenced by the now 31 different models on their product page. Not content to iterate on their existing designs, BitFenix has consistently introduced new chassis ideas for different form-factors and needs.

We reviewed the Colossus Micro-ATX case back in March, and it is again an enclosure built for the venerable micro-ATX form-factor that we’re looking at here. Quite the opposite of the Colossus Micro-ATX's squat design, the Pandora is smooth and very slim.


In the world of computer cases there are many variations, but they are mostly boxes with splashes of style and the occasional window. Companies like In Win are at the opposite end of the spectrum, but the design choices for a case with commitment to artistic intent often entail a considerable price tag, and In Win consistently prices itself out of the mainstream market. So what about the middle ground? Enter the BitFenix Pandora. It boasts eye-catching looks, a slim design that seems even more so given the curved panels, and even has a color LCD screen that can be programmed with the image file of your choice!


The Pandora features a programmable color LCD display, to which I affixed this incredible logo

I don’t want to dissolve into meaningless superlatives, but the Pandora is a striking design. When it was shown at Computex earlier in 2014 it was listed as a mini-ITX enclosure, and while it definitely supports mini-ITX motherboards it is the final product’s micro-ATX support that we focus on in this review. And while it would have been large as a mini-ITX enclosure the Pandora is fairly small as an mini-ATX case, most notably due to that slim profile. This comes at a price, as there won’t be as much room for storage with such a narrow width (and those looking for any optical drive support must look elsewhere). And speaking of price, while the "core" version of the case starts at around $110, this version with programmable display is currently selling for just under $160. Steep, but not outrageous either.


Continue reading our review of the BitFenix Pandora micro-ATX enclosure!!

Manufacturer: SilverStone

Introduction and Features



SilverStone has a long-standing reputation for providing a full line of high quality enclosures, power supplies, cooling components, and accessories for PC enthusiasts. Today we are going to mix it up a bit and focus our attention on smaller rather than larger. Not everyone needs or wants a 1,000W plus PC power supply. And if you have a small form factor case or are struggling to find room inside a cramped ATX enclosure, SilverStone’s new SX600-G SFX power supply may just be the solution you are looking for.

The new SX600-G SFX power supply was designed for small form factor cases but comes with an ATX adapter plate so it can be used in a standard ATX enclosure as well. In addition to its small size, the SX600-G features high efficiency (80 Plus Gold certified), all modular flat ribbon-style cables, and provides up to 600W of continuous DC output; pretty impressive for such a small package. Also new is the ability to operate in semi-fanless mode (cooling fan turns off at low power).


SX600-G SFX 600W PSU        Standard ATX 600W PSU

The last time we looked at a SilverStone SFX power supply was in 2012 when we reviewed the updated ST45SF-G, which was rated at 450W. SFX power supplies continue to occupy a niche market and address a slightly different set of needs than the standard ATX units we typically use and review at PCPerspective.

Here is what SilverStone has to say about their new SX600-G SFX PSU: “After releasing the breakthrough SFX power supply in 2012 with the ST45SF-G, SilverStone has pushed the technical envelope even further with yet another industry defining design in the SX600-G. This small form factor PSU has the exact same dimensions as its predecessor but its power density has increased from 567W per liter (in the ST45SF-G) to 756W per liter. The result is a standard sized SFX PSU with an incredible 600W of continuous power, a level that is capable of supporting any single graphics card system with ease.

Besides the power increase, the SX600-G comes standard with flexible, flat modular cables similar to those in the PP05-E short cable kit for vastly improved cable management in smaller cases. It also has added semi-fanless capability that was first introduced to SFX PSUs by the ST30SF so its quiet running fan can remain turned off during ideal low load or idle conditions for complete silence. As before, an ATX adapter bracket is included to enable users to install this PSU into any small or even larger cases that do not have SFX mounting holes. For the most ardent SFF enthusiasts, the SX600-G is truly a dream come true that combines the convenience of SFX size and all the top of the line features one can expect from high-end ATX PSUs into one product.

SilverStone SX600-G SFX Power Supply Key Features:

•    Supports standard SFX form factor (and ATX via included adapter)
•    600W Continuous DC output (up to 40°C)
•    High efficiency with 80 Plus Gold certification
•    100% Modular cables, flat ribbon-style
•    Intelligent semi-fanless operation
•    Strict ±3% voltage regulation with low AC ripple and noise
•    Class leading single +12V rail with 50A (600W)
•    Two PCI-E 6+2 pin connectors
•    Protections: OCP, OVP, OPP, and SCP
•    Universal AC input and Active PFC
•    MSRP $129.99 USD

Please continue reading our SilverStone SX600-G SFX power supply review!

Manufacturer: Multiple

Finding Your Clique

One of the difficulties with purchasing a mechanical keyboard is that they are quite expensive and vary greatly in subtle, but important ways. First and foremost, we have the different types of keyswitches. These are the components that are responsible for making each button behave, and thus varying them will lead to variations in how those buttons react and feel.


Until recently, the Cherry MX line of switches were the basis of just about every major gaming mechanical keyboard, although we will discuss recent competitors later on. Its manufacturer, Cherry Corp / ZF Electronics, maintained a strict color code to denote the physical properties of each switch. These attributes range from the stiffness of the spring to the bumps and clicks felt (or heard) as the key travels toward its bottom and returns back up again.

  Linear Tactile Clicky
45 cN Cherry MX Red
Cherry MX Brown
Razer Orange
Omron/Logitech Romer-G
50 cN    
Cherry MX Blue
Cherry MX White (old B)
Razer Green
55 cN   Cherry MX Clear  
60 cN Cherry MX Black    
80 cN Cherry MX Linear Grey (SB) Cherry MX Tactile Grey (SB)
Cherry MX Green (SB)
Cherry MX White (old A)
Cherry MX White (2007+)
90 cN     IBM Model M (not mechanical)
105 cN     Cherry MX Click Grey (SB)
150+ cN Cherry MX Super Black    

(SB) Denotes switches with stronger springs that are primarily for, or only for, Spacebars. The Click Grey is intended for spacebars on Cherry MX White, Green, and Blue keyboards. The MX Green is intended for spacebars on Cherry MX Blue keyboards (but a few rare keyboards use these for regular keys). The MX Linear Grey is intended for spacebars on Cherry MX Black keyboards.

The four main Cherry MX switches are: Blue, Brown, Black, and Red. Other switches are available, such as the Cherry MX Green, Clear, three types of Grey, and so forth. You can separate (I believe) all of these switches into three categories: Linear, Tactile, and Clicky. From there, the only difference is the force curve, usually from the strength of the spring but also possibly from the slider features (you'll see what I mean in the diagrams below).

Read on to see a theoretical comparison of various mechanical keyswitches.

Manufacturer: NZXT


In the last few years NZXT has emerged as a popular choice for computer builds with stylish cases for a variety of needs. The newest member of the H series, the H440, promises quiet performance and offers a clean look by eliminating optical drive bays entirely from the design. While this might be a deal-breaker for some, the days of the ODD seem to be numbered as more enclosures are making the move away from the 5.25" bay.


Image credit: NZXT

But we aren't looking at just any H440 today, as NZXT has sent along a completely custom version designed in alliance with gaming accessory maker Razer to be "the ultimate gamer's chassis". (This case is currently available direct from NZXT's online store.) In this review we'll look at just what makes this H440 different, and test out a complete build while we're at it. Performance will be as big a metric as appearance here since the H440 is after all an enclosure designed for silence, with noise dampening an integral part of NZXT's construction of the case.

Green with Envy?

From the outset you'll notice the Razer branding extends beyond just special paint and trim, as custom lighting is installed right out of the box to give this incarnation of the H440 a little more gaming personality (though this lighting can be switched off, if desired). Not only do the front and side logos and power button light up green, but the bottom of the case features effects lighting to cast an eerie green glow on your desktop or floor.


Image credit: NZXT

Continue reading our review of the NZXT H440 Designed by Razer!!

Introduction: Defining the Quiet Enclosure

The Define R5 is the direct successor to Fractal Design's R4 enclosure, and it arrives with the promise of a completely improved offering in the silent case market. Fractal Design has unveiled the case today, and we have the day-one review ready for you!


We've looked at a couple of budget cases recently from the Swedish enclosure maker, and though still affordable with an MSRP of $109.99 (a windowed version will also be available for $10 more) the Define R5 from Fractal Design looks like a premium part throughout. In keeping with the company's minimalist design aesthetic it features clean styling, and is a standard mid-tower form factor supporting boards from ATX down to mini-ITX. The R5 also offers considerable cooling flexibility with many mounting options for fans and radiators.

The Silent Treatment


One of two included 1000 RPM hydraulic-bearing GP-14 silent fans

There are always different needs to consider when picking an enclosure, from price to application. And with silent cases there is an obvious need to for superior sound-dampening properties, though airflow must be maintained to prevent cooking components as well. With today's review we'll examine the case inside and out and see how a complete build performs with temperature and noise testing.

Continue reading our review of the Fractal Design Define R5 enclosure!!

Manufacturer: In Win

Introduction: Caged Beast

The D Frame Mini from In Win is a wild-looking, wildly expensive case that defies convention in many ways.


First of all, calling the In Win D Frame mini an enclosure is a bit of a stretch. The design is part open-air case, part roll cage. Of course open air cases are not a new concept, but this is certainly a striking implementation; a design almost more akin to a testbench in some ways. When installed the components will be more open to the air than otherwise, as only the sides of the frame are covered (with panels made of tempered glass).


The most noticeable design aspect of the D Frame mini are the welded tubes that make up the frame. The tubes are aluminum and resemble the frame of an aluminum bicycle, right down to the carefully welded joints. Around the perimeter of the frame are rather sizable soft plastic/rubber bumpers that protect the enclosure and help eliminate vibrations. Due to the design there is no specific orientation required for the enclosure, and it sits equally well in each direction.

There is support for 240mm radiators, virtually unlimited water cooling support given the mostly open design, and room for extra-long graphics cards and power supplies. The frame looks and feels like it could withstand just about anything, but it should probably be kept away from small children and pets given the ease with which fans and other components could be touched. And the D Frame mini is extremely expensive at $350. Actually, it’s just kind of extreme in general!

Continue reading our review of the In Win D Frame mini enclosure!!

Manufacturer: High Power

Introduction and Features


In this review we will be taking a detailed look at High Power’s new Astro GD 1200W power supply. All of the power supplies in the Astro GD Series are fully modular, have a single +12V output, and are 80 Plus Gold certified for high efficiency. There are currently sixteen different power supplies in the Astro Series and nine models in the fully modular Astro GD Series. The new AGD-1200F is king of the hill with the highest rated output of 1,200 watts.


Along with 80 Plus Gold certified high efficiency, the Astro GD1200W power supply has been designed for quiet operation. It uses a dual ball bearing 135mm fan and a smart fan speed control, which automatically switches between two operating modes: silent mode and cooling mode. Unlike some other power supplies that keep the fan turned off during low output, the AGD-1200 fan spins all the time. The Smart Fan Control adjusts the fan operation mode automatically according to the system loading and ambient temperature for quiet operation. The fan speed starts out slow and quiet and gradually ramps up as the load increases. The PSU also incorporates an off-delay fan feature that keeps the fan spinning for a few seconds after the system is turned off.


High Power Astro GD-1200W PSU Key Features:

•    1,200W continuous DC output
•    80 PLUS Gold certified (87%~90% efficiency at 20-100% load)
•    Silent Design (automatically adjusts between silent and cooling modes)
•    Advanced DC-to-DC converters (3.3V and 5V)
•    Fully modular cables for easy installation
•    Flat ribbon-style, low profile cables help optimize airflow
•    High quality components including all Japanese made capacitors
•    Active Power Factor correction (0.99) with Universal AC input
•    Safety Protections : OCP, OVP, UVP, SCP, OTP, and OPP
•    MSRP for the Astro GD-1200W PSU: $239.99 USD

Please continue reading our review of the Astro GD 1200W PSU!!!

Manufacturer: Fractal Design

Introduction: The Core Series Shrinks Down


Image credit: Fractal Design

The Core 1100 from Fractal Design is a small micro-ATX case, essentially a miniature version of the previously reviewed Core 3300. With its small dimensions the Core 1100 targets micro-ATX and mini-ITX builders, and provides another option not only in Fractal Design's budget lineup, but in the crowded budget enclosure market.


The price level for the Core 1100 has fluctuated a bit on Amazon since I began this review, with prices ranging from a high of $50 down to a low of just $39. It is currently $39.99 at Newegg, so the price should soon stabilize at Amazon and other retailers. At the ~$40 level this could easily be a compelling option for a smaller build, though admittedly the design of these Core series cases is purely functional. Ultimately any enclosure recommendation will depend on ease of use and thermal performance/noise, which is exactly what we will look at in this review.

Continue reading our review of the Fractal Design Core 1100 case!!

Introduction: The HTPC Slims Down


There are many reasons to consider a home theater PC (HTPC) these days, and aside from the full functionality of a personal computer an HTPC can provide unlimited access to digital content from various sources. “Cord-cutting”, the term adopted for cancelling one’s cable or satellite TV service in favor of streaming content online, is gaining steam. Of course there are great self-contained solutions for streaming like the Roku and Apple TV, and one doesn't have to be a cord-cutter to use an HTPC for TV content, as CableCard users will probably tell you. But for those of us who want more control over our entertainment experience the limitless options provided by a custom build makes HTPC compelling. Small form-factor (SFF) computing is easier than ever with the maturation of the Mini-ITX form factor and decreasing component costs.

The Case for HTPC

For many prospective HTPC builders the case is a major consideration rather than an afterthought (it certainly is for me, anyway). This computer build is not only going into the most visible room in many homes, but the level of noise generated by the system is of concern as well. Clearly, searching for the perfect enclosure for the living room can be a major undertaking depending on your needs and personal style. And as SFF computing has gained popularity in the marketplace there are a growing number of enclosures being introduced by various manufacturers, which can only help in the search for the perfect case.

A manufacturer new on the HTPC enclosure scene is a company called Perfect Home Theater, a distributor of high-end home theater components. The enclosures from P.H.T. are slick looking aluminum designs supporting the gamut of form-factors from ATX all the way down to thin mini-ITX. The owner of Perfect Home Theater, Zygmunt Wojewoda, is also the designer of the ultra low-profile enclosure we’re looking at today, the T-ITX-6.

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As you can see it is a wide enclosure, built to match the width of standard components. And it’s really thin. Only 40mm tall, or 48mm total including the feet. Naturally this introduces more tradeoffs for the end user, as the build is strictly limited to thin mini-ITX motherboards. Though the enclosure is wide enough to theoretically house an ATX motherboard, the extremely low height would prevent it.

Continue reading our review of the P.H.T. Ultra Slim Aluminum HTPC enclosure!!

Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction and Features

Corsair recently released three new HXi Series Fully Modular power supplies: the HX1000i, HX850i, and the HX750i. All three power supplies are 80 Plus Platinum certified and support the Corsair Link digital interface. Corsair continues to offer a full line of high quality power supplies, memory components, cases, cooling components, SSDs and accessories to market for the PC enthusiast and professional alike. In this review we will be taking a detailed look at the HXi Series 1000W fully modular power supply.


All three of the new Corsair HXi Series power supplies are optimized for silence and high efficiency. Zero RPM fan mode means the fan doesn’t spin until the PSU is under heavy load, and the fan itself is custom-designed by Corsair for low noise operation even at high loads. Flat ribbon-style black cables are fully modular to facilitate fast, clean builds.

The Corsair HXi Series is built with high-quality components, including all Japanese electrolytic capacitors, and is guaranteed to deliver clean, stable, continuous power, even at ambient temperatures as high as 50°C. HXi Series users can also install Corsair Link software to monitor power usage, efficiency, and fan speed.

80 Plus Platinum: High Efficiency – Low Heat HXi Series PSUs are 80 Plus Platinum certified, making them among the most efficient on the market. With efficiency of at least 92% at 50% load, your PC will remain cool and quiet, potentially saving money in the process.

Corsair Link Ready While the HXi is an analog power supply, it features a built in analog to digital bridge to communicate vital information to the Corsair Link software via USB. This allows the user to monitor and log fan speed, current and voltage of the +3.3V, +5V, and +12V rails, monitor power out, display power in and efficiency, and enable/disable OCP on the +12V rails.

Zero RPM Fan Mode offers silent operation at low to moderate loads. Thanks to a highly efficient design, the HXi Series power supplies generate minimal heat and are able to operate in a silent, zero RPM Fan Mode for up to 40% of the PSU’s maximum load (at 25°C room temperature). This means the HXi power supply can be completely silent while the PC is performing less intensive tasks. As the load and temperatures rise within the PSU, the thermally controlled fan gradually spins up for quiet operation even during more demanding computing.

Optimized for Low Noise Corsair continues to branch out beyond memory and power supplies and is paying close attention to fans and their applications. Within a PSU, the most important feature of a fan is high static pressure, allowing the fan to push air through the relatively high density of components. The NR135P intake fan was specifically designed to move more air through the power supply components with less noise. Fan blades are properly balanced to prevent resonance at higher RPMs and the fan features fluid dynamic bearings for quiet operation and long life.

In addition to the specially designed Corsair cooling fan the components on the HXi Series PCB are laid out to allow air to easily flow between them. The HXi PSUs also include fully modular cables made flat for easy installation and reduced airflow resistance.


Corsair HX1000i PSU Features summary:

•    1,000W continuous DC output (up to 50°C)
•    7-Year Warranty and Comprehensive Customer Support
•    80 PLUS Platinum certified, at least 92% efficiency under 50% load
•    Corsair Link ready for real-time monitoring and control
•    Fully modular cables for easy installation
•    Flat ribbon-style, low profile cables help optimize airflow
•    Zero RPM Fan Mode for silent operation up to 40% load
•    Quiet fluid dynamic fan bearing for long life and quiet operation
•    High quality components including all Japanese electrolytic capacitors
•    Active Power Factor correction (0.99) with Universal AC input
•    Safety Protections : OCP, OVP, UVP, SCP, OTP, and OPP
•    MSRP for the HX100i : $229.99 USD

Please continue reading our review of the Corsair HX1000i PSU!!!