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!!

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.

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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).

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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

Introduction

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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!!!

Manufacturer: be quiet!

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

be quiet! is a relative new comer to the US computer component market with an award-winning reputation for high quality power supplies and components in their native Germany. Recently, they have branched out into the highly competive cooling space with their Dark Rock and Shadow Rock cooler lines. The Dark Rock Pro 3 is the newest member of their Dark Rock cooler line, featuring a massive dual tower radiator and dual fan design. The Shadow Rock Slim is a recent addition to their Shadow Rock line, featuring a smaller footprint single radiator design to maximize motherboard compatibility with the cooler. The Dark Rock Pro 3 comes with a premium MSRP of $89.99, while the Shadown Rock Slim is available at an MSRP of $49.99.

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Courtesy of be quiet!

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Courtesy of be quiet!

As a flagship solution, the Dark Rock Pro 3 cooler has most of the nice to haves to find on top-end coolers from other manufactures - copper base plate and heat pipes, nickel plating on all copper surfaces, thick dual radiator construction, dual fans, and a massive amount of heat pipes to wick the heat away from the CPU surface as fast as possible. be quiet! developed the cooler using dual fans, a 120mm front fan and a 135mm inner fan. Heat is transfered from the copper base plate to the dual aluminum radiators by a dense array of seven copper heat pipes. All surfaces are nickel coated for corrosion protection and scratch resistance with the nickel plating black colored to give the cooler a sleek and menacing appearance.

Continue reading our review of the be quiet! CPU air coolers!

Manufacturer: Seasonic

Introduction and Features

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Today we have a double header for your reading enjoyment. Not one, but two Platinum Series power supplies from Seasonic. The two latest additions to Seasonic’s flagship product line are the Platinum 1050W and Platinum 1200W PSUs. The power supplies feature tight voltage regulation (±1~2%), quiet operation (fanless mode), and high efficiency (80Plus Platinum certified). Both PSUs are fully modular and come backed by a 7-year warranty.

Seasonic is a well known and highly respected OEM that produces some of the best PC power supplies on the market today. In addition to supplying power supplies to many big-name companies who re-brand the units with their own name, Seasonic also sells a full line of power supplies under the Seasonic name. Both new power supplies feature an improved Hybrid Fan control circuit and upgraded copper conduction bars on the main PCB, which together help increase efficiency and performance.

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Seasonic Platinum 1050W & 1200W Special Features

Ultra Tight Voltage Regulation Improved load voltage regulation keeps the voltage fluctuations on the 12V output within +2% and -0% (no negative tolerance), and on the 3.3V and 5V outputs between +1% and -1%, which (under 80 Plus load conditions) results in smooth and stable operation.

Seasonic Hybrid Silent Fan Control The industry first, advanced three-phased thermal control balances between silence and cooling. The Hybrid Silent Fan Control provides three operational stages: Fanless, Silent and Cooling Mode.  In addition, a selector switch is provided to allow for manual selection between the Seasonic S2FC (fan control without Fanless Mode) or S3FC (fan control including Fanless Mode).

Reduced Cooling Fan Hysteresis is achieved by a new fan control IC, which optimizes how frequently the fan switches on and off. At 25°C ambient temperature the fan turns on when the load rises above 30% (±5%) and turns off when the load drops below 20% % (±5%). Due to this lag in response the fan switches on and off less frequently, which reduces power loss in Fanless and Silent Mode.

Dual Copper Conduction Bars on the power supply PCB help reduce impedance and minimize voltage drop, which further improves efficiency and performance.

80Plus Platinum The Platinum 1050W & 1200W power supplies are certified in accordance to the 80PLUS organization's Platinum standards, offering performance and energy savings with up to ≥92% efficiency and a true power factor of greater than 0.9 PF.

Full Modular Design (DC to DC) The Seasonic Platinum Series power supplies feature an integrated DC connector panel with onboard VRM (Voltage Regulator Module) that enables not only near perfect DC-to-DC conversion with reduction of current loss/impedance and increase of efficiency but also a fully modular DC cabling that enables maximum flexibility of integration and forward compatibility.

Seasonic Platinum Series 1050W & 1200W PSU Key Features:

•    80Plus Platinum certified super high efficiency
•    Ultra tight voltage regulation
•    Fully Modular Cable design with flat ribbon-style cables
•    Seasonic DC Connector Panel with integrated VRMs
•    DC to DC Converter design
•    Hybrid Silent Fan Control (3 modes of operation: Fanless, Silent and Cooling)
•    High-quality Sanyo Denki San Ace dual ball bearing fan with PWM
•    Ultra-tight voltage regulation (+2% and -0% +12V rail)
•    Dual copper conduction bars on PCB for improved efficiency and performance
•    Supports multi-GPU technologies
•    Conductive polymer aluminum solid capacitors
•    High reliability 105°C Japanese made electrolytic capacitors
•    ErP Lot 6 2013 compliant and Intel Haswell processor ready
•    High current Gold plated terminals with Easy Swap connectors
•    Active PFC (0.99 PF typical) with Universal AC input
•    7-Year manufacturer's warranty worldwide

Please continue reading our Seasonic Platinum 1050W & 1200W power supply review!

Manufacturer: Noctua

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Noctua

Noctua is a well known player in the CPU cooling business with their focus on high quality solutions that don't kill your eardrums. The NH-D15 cooler is their current flagship product, building upon the design of their much loved NH-D14 cooler for an even higher performance product offering. The NH-D15 is composed of dual cooling towers, threaded through by six heat pipes. The heat pipes and copper base are all nickel-plated, giving the unit the signature Noctua look. We put the NH-D15 up against other high-performance solutions to best gage its cooling abilities. High performance comes at a cost with the NH-D15 being no exception at a $99.99 MSRP.

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Courtesy of Noctua

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Courtesy of Noctua

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Courtesy of Noctua

The NH-D15 incorporates everything that Noctua has learned in designing its NH-D14 and U-series coolers, coming up with an extreme performance product that maintains almost universal motherboard compatibility. The cooler features twin 150mm wide cooling towers with airflow provided by dual NF-A15 150mm, 1500RPM fans. The heat transfers from the copper base plate to the aluminum radiator towers via six copper heat pipes. The copper base and heat pipes are all nickel-plated, providing scratch and corrosion resistance without affecting thermal transfer capabilities. To ensure optimal acoustics, the NH-A15 fans have rubber corner guards on all four corners to minimize fan vibration and vibration transfer to the radiator. The CPU base plate is seamless and polished to a mirror finish, ensuring an optimal mating surface.

Continue reading our review of the Noctua NH-D15 CPU air cooler!

Manufacturer: Fractal Design

Introduction: A Crowded Market

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The case market is not only saturated at every conceivable price point, but there is enough of a builder’s DNA in their enclosure selection that making recommendations in this area can be a galvanizing undertaking. The enclosure with less usefulness can have perceived deficiencies mitigated by style, and vice versa. For some, style is the most important attribute. But functionality alone, when unnecessary elements are stripped away, can be attractive as well. Here we have a bit of both.

Fractal Design is a Swedish company specializing in computer enclosures, though much like Corsair (which started life as a memory company) they have diversified their product offerings with a line power supplies and all-in-one liquid CPU coolers, as well as case fans and accessories. The company cites Scandinavian design as the influence behind their aesthetic, with the minimalist approach of 'less is more'. With the “Core” series Fractal Design has just what that nomenclature indicates. An entry-level offering that still provides the essentials for a solid build. 

With the Core 3300 ATX case the basics are all represented, and it seems that nothing has been included for artistic reasons alone. The Core 3300 does not have a side window, and inside you won't see convenience features like toolless drive bays. Ultimately it’s a rather nondescript matte black case that’s mostly steel, but there are touches that help it stand out in this particular segment of a crowded market.

Continue reading our look at the Fractal Design Core 3300 case!!

Manufacturer: EVGA

Introduction and Features

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EVGA continues to raise the bar with the introduction of two new power supplies in their popular SuperNOVA line, the 1000 P2 and 1200 P2. Both new power supplies are 80Plus Platinum certified and feature all modular cables, high-quality Japanese brand capacitors, a single high-power +12V rail, and a 140mm dual ball bearing cooling fan (with the ability to operate in silent, fan-less mode at low power levels). The 1000 P2 and 1200 P2 are also backed by a 10-year warranty (with registration). And last but not least, many PC PSU enthusiasts will be happy to know the new 1000 P2 and 1200 P2 are being supplied by Super Flower; the same OEM that EVGA has been using for many of their higher output, premium PSUs!

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 now includes seventeen models ranging from the high-end SuperNOVA 1600 G2 to the budget minded EVGA 430W power supply.

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In this review we will be taking a detailed look at the EVGA SuperNOVA 1200 P2 power supply.

Here is what EVGA has to say about the new SuperNOVA P2 Gold PSUs: “Introducing the EVGA SuperNOVA 1200 P2 power supply. This power supply raises the bar with 1200W of continuous power delivery and 92% (115 VAC) / 94% (220~240 VAC) efficiency. A fully modular design reduces case clutter and 100% Japanese Capacitors ensure that only the absolute best components are used. What does that mean? The best stability, reliability, overclockability and unparalleled control. The EVGA SuperNOVA 1200 P2 is the ultimate tool to eliminate all system bottlenecks and achieve unrivaled performance."

EVGA SuperNOVA 1200 P2 PSU Key Features:

•    10-Year Warranty and unparalleled EVGA Customer Support
•    80PLUS Platinum certified, with up to 92~94% efficiency under typical loads
•    Tight voltage regulation (2%), stable power with low AC ripple and noise
•    Highest quality Japanese brand capacitors ensure long-term reliability
•    Fully modular cables to reduce clutter and improve airflow
•    Quiet dual-ball bearing fan for exceptional reliability and quiet operation
•    ECO Intelligent Thermal Control allows silent, fan-less operation at low power
•    NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire Ready
•    Intel 4th Generation CPU Ready (Haswell, C6/C7 idle modes)
•    Compliance with ErP Lot 6 2013 Requirement
•    Active Power Factor correction (0.99) with Universal AC input
•    Heavy-duty Protections: OVP, UVP, OCP, OPP, and SCP
•    MSRP for the 1000 P2 PSU : $219.99 USD (181.99 after mail-in rebate, Amazon.com)
•    MSRP for the 1200 P2 PSU : $269.99 USD ($225.99 after mail-in rebate, Amazon.com)

Please continue reading our review of the EVGA SuperNOVA 1200 P2 Platinum PSU!!!

Author:
Manufacturer: Corsair

Little. Yellow. Different.

Corsair just can't help themselves, they just can't stop building new cases. Obsidian, Carbide, Graphite; the obsession is never ending it seems. That's good news for enthusiasts though as Corsair's entries to the case market have almost always been high quality. Today's official launch of the Graphite 380T, available in yellow, black and white color schemes, brings yet another entry to the Mini-ITX form factor. It's a market that has been getting a lot of attention lately and one that requires more careful thought in design.

With a price of $139-149 depending on color, the Graphite 380T isn't a cheap case by most users descriptions but it is quite unique - both from the look and style as well as the implementation of components. You get a 3-speed fan controller as well as an interior dome light that adds a little character to an exterior that will already get a lot attention. And maybe some comparisons to a Dewalt portable worksite stereo.

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The front panel removes with a simple spring-loaded click release and acts as both air inlet and filter for the large 140mm fan included up front.

Continue looking through pictures of the Corsair Graphite 380T Mini ITX Case!!

Manufacturer: Cooler Master

Welcome Back to Part 2

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(Courtesy of Cooler Master)

Welcome back to the second part of our Cooler Master HAF Stacker Series case review. In Part 1 we took a detailed look at the construction, specifications, and features of the HAF Stacker 935 and HAF Stacker 915R/F enclosures.

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HAF Stacker 935 Mod-Tower Enclosure

Cooler Master’s new HAF Stacker modular cases offer great flexibility and expandability. You can easily build a dual system in one enclosure by installing a full-size ATX system in the lower mid-tower section with a complete, self-contained mini-ITX system in the HAF 915 chassis up top. The HAF Stacker modular design offers tremendous room with virtually unlimited options for serious water-cooling. And if you want even more room, you can stack HAF case modules on top of each other in a virtually endless combinations!

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Dual Peltier Water Chiller

Now in Part 2, we are going to complete our review by checking out component installation, building two complete systems in the Stacker cases (full ATX gaming rig and a mini-ITX based system), and look at various cooling options including the potential to house a full-blown water-cooling system with a Thermoelectric (TEC) water chiller.

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HAF Stacker 915R/F Stackable Enclosures

Please continue reading Part 2 of our CM HAF 935 Case review!!!

Manufacturer: PC Perspective

Introduction

Introduction

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Since the introduction of the Haswell line of CPUs, the Internet has been aflame with how hot the CPUs run. Speculation ran rampant on the cause with theories abounding about the lesser surface area and inferior thermal interface material (TIM) in between the CPU die surface and the underside of the CPU heat spreader. It was later confirmed that Intel had changed the TIM interfacing the CPU die surface to the heat spreader with Haswell, leading to the hotter than expected CPU temperatures. This increase in temperature led to inconsistent core-to-core temperatures as well as vastly inferior overclockability of the Haswell K-series chips over previous generations.

A few of the more adventurous enthusiasts took it upon themselves to use inventive ways to address the heat concerns surrounding the Haswell by delidding the processor. The delidding procedure involves physically removing the heat spreader from the CPU, exposing the CPU die. Some individuals choose to clean the existing TIM from the core die and heat spreader underside, applying superior TIM such as metal or diamond-infused paste or even the Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra metal material and fixing the heat spreader back in place. Others choose a more radical solution, removing the heat spreader from the equation entirely for direct cooling of the naked CPU die. This type of cooling method requires use of a die support plate, such as the MSI Die Guard included with the MSI Z97 XPower motherboard.

Whichever outcome you choose, you must first remove the heat spreader from the CPU's PCB. The heat spreader itself is fixed in place with black RTV-type material ensuring a secure and air-tight seal, protecting the fragile die from outside contaminants and influences. Removal can be done in multiple ways with two of the most popular being the razor blade method and the vise method. With both methods, you are attempting to separate the CPU PCB from the heat spreader without damaging the CPU die or components on the top or bottom sides of the CPU PCB.

Continue reading editorial on delidding your Haswell CPU!!

Manufacturer: Cooler Master

Introduction and Features

Introduction

Today we are going from one extreme to another. Two months ago we took an in-depth look at Cooler Master’s Elite 110 enclosure, which is a compact small form-factor case designed to house a mini-ITX system. Now we are going to the opposite end of the spectrum and will be taking a detailed look at the largest case Cooler Master (or most anyone else for that matter) has released to date, the HAF Stacker 935 Modular-Tower Case. In addition, the good folks at Cooler Master sent along a HAF Stacker 915F to show off how easy it is to expand a HAF Stacker system by adding one or more HAF Stacker case modules.

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(Courtesy of Cooler Master)

Because this case is so large (we will actually be reviewing three different cases together: HAF 915F, 925 mid, and 915R) we are going to split the review into two parts. In Part 1 we are taking a detailed look at the three chassis (features, specifications, etc.) and the in Part 2 we will start installing parts and build a full-size ATX system along with a mini-ITX system and also look at various cooling solutions.  

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CM HAF Stacker 935 (HAF 925/HAF 915R)                   (3) HAF 915s Stacked

The Cooler Master HAF Stacker 935 case consists of two pieces: a HAF 925 Mid-Tower enclosure and a HAF 915R mini-ITX case stacked together. The HAF 935 comes with the 915 mini-ITX chassis mounted on top of the HAF 925 Mid-Tower case but you can swap them around if you like because all of the HAF Stacker Series cases are interchangeable. This offers great flexibility for building multi-PCs in one chassis and provides a large amount of room for mounting all sorts of components like high-end water cooling systems, huge HDD arrays, etc. The HAF Stacker series can provide an excellent base system for some extreme case modding if desired.

Please continue reading our CM HAF Stacker 935 Case review!

Author:
Manufacturer: Corsair

It's so cool, and so tiny

Corsair continues to march down the path of making a PC case for just about every user imaginable. At Computex this past June, Corsair announced the Carbide Air 240 case, which is a smaller version of the very popular (and well reviewed) Carbide Air 540. These unique cases include two separate compartments: one for the motherboard, CPU, and graphics card and another for the power supply, storage, and miscellaneous cable clutter. The result is a sleek cube-shaped form factor that is easy to build inside.

Available in both black and white (with UV resistant paint), the $89/99 case fits both Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX motherboards allowing quite a bit of component flexibility.

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A quick look at the front of the case shows the cube-like shape that both the Air 540 and Air 240 share, a form factor resulting from the dual-compartment design. The Corsair logo in the center can actually be rotated depending on the orientation of the case which itself can be rotated to allow the windowed case door to be the top of the case rather than the side.

Keep reading our overview of the Corsair Carbide Air 240 with plenty more photos and descriptions!!

Manufacturer: Seasonic

Introduction and Features

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Seasonic is a well known and highly respected OEM that produces some of the best PC power supplies on the market today. In addition to supplying power supplies to many big-name companies who re-brand the units with their own name, Seasonic also sells a full line of power supplies under the Seasonic name. The new XM2-1250 is the latest addition to the X-Series and features an improved Hybrid Fan control circuit and upgraded copper conduction bars on the main PCB, which together increase efficiency and performance.

The new XM2-1250 is a second generation X-Series power supply that comes with fully modular cables and a 120mm Sanyo Denki cooling fan. It is designed to provide ultra-tight voltage regulation along with high efficiency (80 Plus Gold certified).

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Seasonic X-Series XM2-1250 Special Features

Ultra Tight Voltage Regulation Improved load voltage regulation keeps the voltage fluctuations on the 12V output within +2% and -0% (no negative tolerance), and on the 3.3V and 5V outputs between +1% and -1%, which (under 80 Plus load conditions) results in smooth and stable operation.

Seasonic Hybrid Silent Fan Control The industry first, advanced three-phased thermal control balances between silence and cooling. The Hybrid Silent Fan Control provides three operational stages: Fanless, Silent and Cooling Mode.  In addition, a selector switch is provided to allow for manual selection between the Seasonic S2FC (fan control without Fanless Mode) or S3FC (fan control including Fanless Mode).

Reduced Cooling Fan Hysteresis is achieved by a new fan control IC, which optimizes how frequently the fan switches on and off. At 25°C ambient temperature the fan turns on when the load rises above 30% (±5%) and turns off when the load drops below 20% % (±5%). Due to this lag in response the fan switches on and off less frequently, which reduces power loss in Fanless and Silent Mode.

Dual Copper Conduction Bars on the power supply PCB help reduce impedance and minimize voltage drop, which further improves efficiency and performance.

80Plus Gold The XM2-1250 power supply is certified in accordance to the 80PLUS organization's Gold standards, offering performance and energy savings with up to =90% efficiency and a true power factor of greater than 0.9 PF.

Full Modular Design (DC to DC) The Seasonic X-Series power supplies feature an integrated DC connector panel with onboard VRM (Voltage Regulator Module) that enables not only near perfect DC-to-DC conversion with reduction of current loss/impedance and increase of efficiency but also a fully modular DC cabling that enables maximum flexibility of integration and forward compatibility.

Seasonic XM2-1250 PSU Key Features:

•    High efficiency, 80Plus Gold certified
•    7-Year manufacturer's warranty worldwide
•    Fully Modular Cable design with flat ribbon-style cables
•    Seasonic DC Connector Panel with integrated VRMs
•    Hybrid Silent Fan Control (3 modes of operation: Fanless, Silent and Cooling)
•    High-quality Sanyo Denki San Ace dual ball bearing fan with PWM
•    Ultra-tight voltage regulation (+2% and -0% +12V rail)
•    Dual copper conduction bars on PCB for improved efficiency and performance
•    Supports multi-GPU technologies
•    Conductive polymer aluminum solid capacitors
•    High reliability 105°C Japanese made electrolytic capacitors
•    ErP Lot 6 2013 compliant and Intel Haswell processor ready
•    PCI-E 8/6 pin x 10, EPS12V/ATX12V x 2, SATA x 14, 4-pin Molex x 5, FDD x 1
•    High current Gold plated terminals with Easy Swap connectors
•    Active PFC (0.99 PF typical) with Universal AC input

Please continue reading our Seasonic XM2-1250 power supply review!

Manufacturer: Corsair

Features and Specifications

Introduction

Corsair is on a roll in 2014 as they continue to expand their PC enclosure lineup. Today we are taking a detailed look at Corsair’s new Graphite Series 760T Arctic White Full-Tower Windowed case (the 760T is also available in black). In addition to the 760T, the Graphite Series currently includes the 730T Full-tower, the 600T Mid-Tower, and the 230T Compact Mid-Tower cases.  And Corsair continues to offer one of the largest selections of memory products, SSDs, power supplies, coolers, gaming peripherals, and PC accessories currently on the market today!

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760T Arctic White (with white LED fans)                    760T Black (with red LED fans)

The new Graphite Series 760T is a large full-tower enclosure that supports numerous motherboards ranging in size from mini-ITX up to Extended ATX and XL-ATX form factors. Corsair states the 760T is a visually stunning case and we have to agree; it made an outstanding first impression, which continued as we spent more time working with the case.

The Graphite Series 760T Arctic White Full-Tower Windowed case features two swing-out side panel doors that can be easily removed when working on the case. The left side panel incorporates a large smoked-acrylic window. The 760T offers internal storage locations for up to six 3.5”/2.5” HDD/SSDs with four more locations for 2.5” SSDs. The case comes with three Corsair AF140L fans pre-installed and provides mounting locations for up to eight fans total. And if you want to include water-cooling in your build, the 760T supports numerous options for mounting different fan/radiator combinations in single, dual and triple 120mm and single or dual 240mm sizes.

Key Features for the Corsair Graphite Series 760T Full-Tower Windowed Case:
•    Stylish, elegant design with swing-out side panel doors
•    Large full-tower enclosure with smoked acrylic side window
•    Supports mini-ITX, micro-ATX, ATX, E-ATX, and XL-ATX motherboards
•    Two 140 LED intake fans and one 140mm exhaust fan included
•    Built-in two speed fan controller
•    Locations for up to eight total case fans
•    Supports 120mm, 240mm, and 360mm radiators for water-cooling
•    Modular drive cage system for highly customizable layouts
•    Three external 5.25” drive bays
•    Six internal 3.5”/2.5” drive bays
•    Four internal 2.5” SSD drive bays
•    Removable mesh dust filters on front panel and under PSU
•    External I/O panel with two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports
•    Excellent cable routing with rubber grommets around cutouts
•    Designed for fast and straight forward builds

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Please continue reading our Corsair 760T Case review!

Author:
Manufacturer: Puget Systems

Clearly a contender

Open air cases are a pretty niche market. The number of DIY users that are interested or willing to have their components fully exposed need to have some specific goals in mind. You could be a full time overclocker, looking for easy access to the CPU socket for LN2 or to hit that BIOS reset button. You could also be an enthusiast that is always swapping out components so the ability to bypass getting under a desk and removing a door makes things faster. Or you could just be a show off and want to be certain your friends and family see the gear you have purchased to power your PC gaming.

Just don't be someone with curious cats. 

Puget Systems is a high end system builder based in the north west United States and though they don't plan on making a living selling these open air cases, called the Puget Systems EATX V1 Test Bench, they decided if they were making it, they might as well sell it too. Used primarily for the company's own internal testing and evaluation, the open air test bench is an acrylic structure that holds the power supply and storage on a bottom level along with the motherboard and other components up top, totally open to the elements.

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It is expensive though, at $170.

The stand out features include support for a 120mm or even 240mm water cooler mount, triple GPU support and of course, as the name implies, the capability to hold EATX motherboards. Check out the full video review above and if you just want to see some more photos, click the link below!

Continue to see some more photos of the Puget Systems Test Bench EATX Version 1!!

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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XSPC Raystorm D5 Photon RX480 V3 WaterCooling Kit
Courtesy of XSPC

XSPC is well known in the water cooling community for their high performance, yet affordable cooling product design. XSPC's latest release comes in the form of their Raystorm D5 Photon RX480 V3 WaterCooling kit, featuring a massive 480mm (4 x 120mm) radiator, a Photon 170 Reservoir with integrated D5 pump, and a Raystorm CPU block. They were kind enough to provide us with a sample of this kit to see how it stacks up against other liquid and air coolers we've tested previous. With a retail price at $314.99, the kit comes at a premium price, but remains a fair price considering the components included in the kit.

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D5 Photon 170 Reservoir/Pump Combo
Courtesy of XSPC

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D5 Photon 170 Reservoir/Pump Combo with LED
Courtesy of XSPC

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RX480 Quad Fan Radiator V3
Courtesy of XSPC

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Raystorm CPU Waterblock
Courtesy of XSPC

XSPC bundled in many of their high end components into the Raystorm D5 Photon RX480 V3 kit, including the Raystorm CPU block, the RX480 quad fan radiator, the D5 Photon 170 reservoir / pump, two meters of 7/16" inner diameter / 5/8" outer diameter clear tubing, black chrome compression barbs, four 1650 RPM 120mm fans, four fan guards, both Intel and AMD bracket/mounting kits, LEDs for both the reservoir and CPU block, and all the hardware necessary to put it all together. The Photon 170 reservoir is capable of holding up to 410mL of liquid, direct feeding the inlet of the integrate D5 pump. XSPC's D5 pump can process up to 1200 lph (liters per hour) of fluid, translating to a US-style flowrate of about 5 gpm (gallons per minute). All components are copper, brass, Acetal, or glass to minimize the possibility of mixed-metal corrosion occurring in the loop.

Continue reading our review of the XSPC Raystorm D5 Photon RX480 V3 water cooling kit!