Manufacturer: SilverStone

Introduction and First Impressions

SilverStone has another contender for a budget ATX build with the Kublai KL05 enclosure, and today we’ll take a look at the windowed variant of this mid-tower design.

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What would life be like without computer cases? Various components strewn about on desks, tables, and floors, creating headaches and tripping hazards everywhere. Fortunately, they exist, and I'm thankful for this every day. However there are now so many that scrolling down the list on any site in any price range is like shopping for RAM or power supplies these days: endless selection of similar things. But it's not enough to make sure the specs match your build as enclosures can vary a great deal even with the same component support. So, when looking for a good case for a build or upgrade you just end up reading a review like this. I hope I don't disappoint you, and we have a pretty interesting offering from SilverStone here to consider.

I've been enamored of late with lower-priced components. Sure, I've reviewed $300 cases but as cool as the high end can be it's not realistic for a lot of people (myself included). Finding great value has always been kind of fun, and to me a great value for a PC enclosure is something well under the $100 mark. I had the pleasure of reviewing NZXT's excellent S340 enclosure recently, and the SilverStone Kublai we're about to take a look at carries the same $69.99 MSRP. A larger case than the NZXT, the Kublai retains support for 5.25" optical drives and makes use of this added space up front for plenty of hard drives. The case looks and it sounds like a good value, but there's only one way to find out (and it involved actually reviewing it).

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Continue reading our review of the SilverStone Kublai KL05-W Case!!

Manufacturer: Noctua

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Noctua

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Courtesy of Noctua

Noctua is a well known player in the enthusiast market for highly efficient, low-noise CPU cooling solutions. The latest additions to their lineup, the NH-D9L and NH-U9S, are smaller than the typical coolers we've reviewed here at PC Perspective in recent times. However, Noctua again proves their design prowess with the fact that these coolers held up to the rigorous demands of our testing at both stock and overclocking settings. And we all know that the Haswell and Haswell-E processors put major pressure on the cooling solution as the core speed and voltage is increased. Both coolers come standard with Noctua's SecuFirm2™ mounting mechanism, ensuring a secure mount between the cooler and CPU.

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Courtesy of Noctua

The NH-D9L CPU cooler is a dual tower cooler with a single included fan sandwiched between the two cooling towers. The unit can support up to three fans if desired. Noctua designed the cooler with their typical hybrid approach, combining a copper base plate and heat pipes with aluminum finned cooling towers. The base plate and heat pipes are nickel-plated for looks and to prevent corrosion. At an MSRP of $59.90, the Noctua NH-D9L offers puts a premium cooler within reach of the majority of computer enthusiasts.

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Courtesy of Noctua

The NH-U9S CPU cooler is single tower cooler with a single included fan, whose radiator is about double the thickness of a standard 25mm fan. The unit offers support for up to two fans if desired. Like the NH-D9L, the NH-U9S combines a copper base plate and heat pipes with aluminum finned cooling towers for an optimal hybrid cooling solution. The base plate and heat pipes are nickel-plated for looks and to prevent corrosion. The NH-U9S also retails at an MSRP of $59.90, giving potential users another affordable choice for cooling their processor.

Continue reading our review of the Noctua 9 series CPU coolers!

Manufacturer: NZXT

Introduction and First Impressions

NZXT has created a stylish mid-tower enclosure with their Source 340 chassis, and made it an especially attractive option with a retail of just $69.99. Can this new case contend in a crowded market? We will find that out here!

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With several interesting designs under their belt NZXT isn’t a surprising name when it comes to nice-looking enclosures. I looked at their H440 Razer Edition recently, and the H440 it was based on is a popular mid-tower enclosure with good looks and performance. This new S340 is very similar to the H440 but on a slightly reduced scale, and offers a more open internal layout with a reduction in hard drive storage space. This is a move that won’t work for everyone, but as I mentioned in the recent SilverStone Raven RV05 review being limited to a pair of hard drives and SSDs a fair tradeoff for a gaming or productivity setup.

On the subject of storage, like the aforementioned H440 and RV05 this Source 340 enclosure is another example of a optical bay-free design. There are no hidden slim-ODD bays here, and for any optical data needs a user will be required to use an external solution. I personally like an open layout and don’t use 5.25” bays at all anymore, and the added room in the S340 provides nearly unlimited space for long GPUs and stays clean with a clever approach to cable routing.

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Continue reading our review of the NZXT S340 enclosure!!

Manufacturer: Miller Electric

Features and Specifications

If you are looking for the biggest, baddest, power supply on the planet, then we have an exclusive review for you today.  But you better have a truck, a couple of strong friends, and very deep pockets!  

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Miller Electric has been manufacturing large, industrial-grade power supplies since 1929.  They are one of the few power supply manufactures who actually design and build their own products, right here in the USA.  Miller’s The Power of Blue series of high-capacity power supplies includes models that go all the way up to an astounding 10,500 watts!

While we were not able to obtain a review sample of Miller’s flagship 10.5kW unit, we do have an exclusive review of the Miller XMT 300 PC, which can deliver up to 4,500 watts of pure DC power.   Talk about having some extra reserve capacity… wow!

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The Miller XMT 300 PC is an external power supply that is about twice the size of a typical mid-tower case and is designed to normally sit on the floor.  It features a unique single, high-capacity +12V rail capable of delivering up to 375A (4,500W).  A power distribution module mounts inside the PC where the normal ATX power supply would go and breaks down the incoming +12V to the minor rails +3.3V, +5V, etc., along with providing a standard set of cables and connectors.  This allows one XMT 300 PC to power multiple PCs at the same time; up to twenty computers.

Miller XMT 300 PC Key Features:

•    Monstrous, single rail +12V output (up to 375A peak)
•    External main power unit sits on the floor
•    Can support multiple PCs at the same time
•    #6AWG copper cables for minimal voltage drop
•    Automatic fan speed control for optimal cooling and minimal noise
•    High efficiency operation (up to 87%)
•    Active Power Factor Correction  
•    1-Phase or 3-Phase line voltage
•    3-Year warranty  

Miller XMT 300 PC Specifications:

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Please continue reading our review of the Miller 10,000W PSU !!!

Manufacturer: EVGA

Introduction and Features

Introduction

EVGA has just announced the arrival of two new GS power supplies in their popular SuperNOVA line, the 550GS and 650GS. Both power supplies are 80 Plus Gold certified and feature all modular cables, high-quality Japanese brand capacitors, and a super quiet 120mm cooling fan (with the ability to operate in silent, fan-less mode at low power levels). The 550GS and 650GS are housed in a compact chassis (150mm deep) and are backed by a 5-year warranty. These new GS units are manufactured by Seasonic and will start selling for $89.99 (550GS) and $99.99 (650GS) this spring.

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EVGA was founded in 1999 with headquarters in Brea, California. They continue to specialize in producing NVIDIA based graphics adapters and Intel based motherboards and keep expanding their PC power supply product line, which currently includes twenty-two models ranging from the high-end 1,600W SuperNOVA T2 to the budget minded EVGA 400W power supply.

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In this review we will be taking a detailed look at both the EVGA SuperNOVA 550GS and 650GS power supplies. It’s nice when we receive two slightly different units in the same product series to look for consistency during testing.

Here is what EVGA has to say about the new SuperNOVA GS Gold PSUs: “The EVGA GS power supply lineup has arrived. These power supplies offer superior performance, at extremely low noise levels making these the perfect power supplies for a low noise environment. These power supplies also feature ECO mode meaning that the fan will run only when necessary, further reducing noise level and power consumption.

The EVGA SuperNOVA 550GS/650GS power supply raises the bar with 550W/650W of continuous power delivery and 90% (115VAC) / 92% (220VAC-240VAC) efficiency. A fully modular design with compact dimensions reduces case clutter and 100% Japanese capacitors ensures that only the absolute best components are used. This gives you the best stability, reliability, overclockability and unparalleled control. The EVGA SuperNOVA 550GS/650GS is the ultimate tool to eliminate all system bottlenecks and achieve unrivaled performance."

 

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EVGA SuperNOVA 550 GS and 650 GS Gold PSU Key Features:

•    Fully modular cables to reduce clutter and improve airflow
•    80PLUS Gold certified, with up to 90% (115VAC) / 92% (240VAC) efficiency
•    Tight voltage regulation (2%), stable power with low AC ripple and noise
•    Highest quality Japanese brand capacitors ensure long-term reliability
•    Quiet 120mm Teflon Nano-Steel bearing cooling fan
•    ECO Intelligent Thermal Control allows silent, fan-less operation at low power
•    NVIDIA SLI & AMD Crossfire Ready
•    Compliance with ErP Lot 6 2013 Requirement
•    Active Power Factor correction (0.99) with Universal AC input
•    Complete Protections: OVP, UVP, OPP, and SCP
•    Compact chassis only 150mm (5.9”) deep
•    5-Year warranty

Please continue reading our review of the EVGA SuperNOVA 550/650 GS Gold PSUs!!!

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.

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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.

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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.

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Introduction

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.

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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

Introduction

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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.

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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”).

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(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.

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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...)

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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.

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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

Introduction

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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.

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Courtesy of Cooler Master

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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.  

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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.

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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
•    Approvals: FCC, ICES, UL, CUL, TUV, CCC, CE, RCM, CB, EAC, KC, BSMI, ROHS, WEEE
•    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

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Introduction

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!

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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.

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(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

Introduction

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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.

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Courtesy of Primochill

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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

Introduction

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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.

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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.

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

Manufacturer: be quiet!

Introduction and Features

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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.

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(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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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

Manufacturer: SilverStone

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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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).

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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.

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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

Introduction

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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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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!!