Razer Designs New Mechanical Switches

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | March 6, 2014 - 10:22 PM |
Tagged: razer, Cherry MX, cherry, mechanical keyboard

So Razer has a history of doing the unexpected. The peripheral manufacturer has branched out into other segments, including laptops, tablets, software, exercise equipment, and so forth. Their April Fools announcements are often hilarious but their real products sometimes feel as far-fetched, except that they release and apparently find an audience. If Project Christine comes out then it would be the best example, but Project Fiona and the Razer Blade seemed just as unlikely - and I've seen multiple Blades in the wild.

And yet it is their keyboard announcement which surprises me, today.

It turns out that Razer decided to design their own key switch modules, instead of ordering them off-the-shelf from ZF Electronics (Cherry). Razer will not manufacture these key modules, and they look enough like Cherry MX switches that I could guess who their third party manufacturer is, but they did push their own specifications. Razer claims that the main advantage is a higher actuation point, leading to less latency between when your finger starts moving, and when it has moved enough to activate the button.

Razer has developed two switches: "Green", which is their analogy of the Cherry MX Blue, and "Orange", which is analogous to the Cherry MX Brown. The former is clicky while the latter has a relatively silent bump.

The Green switches are available in the BlackWidow, BlackWidow Tournament, and BlackWidow (with the Orange switches in each Stealth variant). Some models will ship in late March with the rest shipping in April.

Source: Razer

Corsair Blogs About... Oh Come On!

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | March 1, 2014 - 09:51 PM |
Tagged: corsair, mining

When mining some form of cryptographic coin, very few components in the system are utilized. A GPU is basically a self-contained massively parallel cruncher with its own memory and logic. The host system just needs to batch the tasks which leads to PCs with dirt-cheap CPUs, a very modest amount of RAM, and quite literally a half-dozen high-end graphics cards.

If you thought that gaming machines skew a little too much towards GPUs, you should see a mining rig with five R9 290X cards fed by a Sempron.

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As you can guess, since many GPUs are double-slot, it might be difficult to fit seven of them in a seven-slot motherboard with a limited number PCIe lanes. To get around this limitation, miners attach their graphics cards to extension cables. Thankfully (for them), mining does not pass a lot of data across the bus to the host system. Even a single PCIe fails to be a bottleneck, apparently.

Anyway, the Corsair blog created an open-air rack which hangs six graphics cards (five HD 7970s and a R9 290X) above a motherboard housing an Intel Celeron G1830. For air, a quartet of Corsair fans suck air upwards and around the graphics cards. For power, of course they use the Corsair AX1500i because why not mine with an arc welding torch. It apparently had more power capacity than the breaker they originally hooked it up to. Whoops.

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While ridiculous, I do hope to see systems with multiple (even mismatched) graphics processors as we move toward batches of general mathematics. PhysX was not entirely successful in teaching users that GPUs do not need to be in SLi or Crossfire configurations to load balance. It is just finding an appropriate way to split tasks without requiring a lot of bottlenecks in setting it up.

I might not mine coins, but I could see some benefit to having 35 TeraFLOPs across seven compute devices. I could also see Corsair wanting to sell me a power supply for said PC.

Source: Corsair
Manufacturer: Antec

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Antec

Antec is an established company and brand-name in the computer component space, offering quality solutions for everything from cases and power supplies to thermal paste and case-mounted fan controllers. Their latest foray is into the world of liquid cooling. The KUHLER H20 1250 is their flagship liquid cooler, featuring an all-in-one dual pump design, a 240mm x 120mm x 25mm aluminum radiator, and hardware monitoring support via the integrated USB cable and the included Antec Grid software. The KUHLER H2O 1250 comes standard with support for all current Intel and AMD CPU offerings. To gage the performance of Antec's flagship cooler, we set it against several other high-performance liquid and air-based coolers. With a retail MSRP of $109.99, the KUHLER H2O 1250 cooler comes at a premium for all the premium features it has to offer.

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Courtesy of Antec

The KUHLER H2O 1250 liquid cooler was designed for a single purpose, to keep your process as cool as possible. Antec includes two pumps with the unit, one integrated into each fan. The top pump pulls liquid through the radiator and pushes it to the CPU block through the radiator outlet, while the bottom pump pulls water from the CPU block through the radiator inlet and pushes it through the radiator towards the top pump.

Continue reading our review of the Antec KUHLER H20 1250 all-in-one liquid cooler!

Antec bumps up it's Kuhler series with the 1250

Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 24, 2014 - 02:45 PM |
Tagged: antec, all in one, water cooler, KUHLER H20 1250

As you might expect from the name, the Antec Kuhler 1250 is a larger version of the popular all in one liquid CPU coolers. This model is designed for overclockers, with a radiator measuring 159mm x  120mm x  27mm which does limit the amount of enclosures it will fit in unless you plan on an external mount.  As it is only $10 more than the smaller 950 it comes out ahead on [H]ard|OCP's dollar to performance ratio; at $120 it is a bit of an investment but for overclockers it is a decent solution to heat problems.

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"Antec and its All-In-One sealed system CPU coolers have been around for a good while now. We still have some of its first series working well here in the HardOCP offices. Today we have Antec's newly designed high end Kuhler model 1250. It has some unique offerings all based on new cold plates and big double fan radiator."

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Seasonic's S12G-550; you have to pay for prime power

Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 21, 2014 - 05:49 PM |
Tagged: PSU, seasonic, S12G-550, 550W, 80 Plus Gold

With an 80 Plus Gold rating and the ability to deliver 45A on its single 12V rail the 550W Seasonic S12G-550 PSU is perfect for a mid-range rig.  A pair of 6+2 PCIe connectors gives you a choice of powering a single high end GPU or two low or midrange GPUs.  It is also relatively small, barely larger than the 120mm cooling fan it uses though some may be turned off by its non-modular cables.  At around $85 it is not the least expensive model at that wattage but [H]ard|OCP's Silver Award proves it is worth it if you want solid power for your system.

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"Seasonic builds some of the best computer power supplies on the market. When do we ever get a power supply that is actually a better product than what it is marketed to be? Not often, but that is the case with the S12G-550 PSU. It is not terribly inexpensive, but it is a great value for your hard earned dollars."

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

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of SilverStone

SilverStone Technology is a well known brand name with high quality solutions in the form of everything from cases to case-mounted fan controllers and displays. They have also gone through several iterations of CPU all-in-on liquid cooling solutions with their newest models being part of the Tundra Series. The Tundra Series TD02 liquid cooler is designed to cool CPUs of any make, including the latest offering from both Intel and AMD. The cooler is comprised of a massive 2x120mm radiator attached to a copper base plate with integrated pump. To best measure the TD02's performance, we set it against several other high-performance liquid and air-based coolers. With a retail MSRP of $129.99, the TD02 comes in at the higher end of the all-in-one cooler price range.

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Courtesy of SilverStone

Continue reading our review of the SilverStone Tundra Series TD02 all-in-one liquid cooler!

Insert Thirty-Six Supapipe Jokes Here

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | February 17, 2014 - 08:36 PM |
Tagged: passive cooling, cooling

Somewhere in the world, someone is developing a passively-cooled desktop made up of copper water pipes. Thirty-six (36) of them pass through what looks like an aluminum block attached to the socket LGA 1155 heatsink mount. As the copper pipes heat up, it passes to the air within it. Convection forces this to exhaust upward through the copper chimney and replaces it with cool air from below.

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All Images, Credit: "Monster", CoolEnjoy.net Forums

From the 3D prototype, it looks like two passively-cooled discrete GPUs are intended to fit just above the elbow in the chimney. Even from the rendering, it is clear that quite a lot of thought and effort has gone into this project. I cannot tell how they intend to access PCIe slots from up there, be it a larger motherboard or an extension adapter, but options probably exist.

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Initial testing with a Core i5-4440 (stock frequencies) show around 65 deg C at full CPU load. This should be in line with a typical air-based cooler.

Either way, this is the most impressive "SuperPipe" cooler that I have seen.

Your move, MSI.

Source: CoolEnjoy

bequiet! lives up to their name with the Dark Rock Pro 3

Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 12, 2014 - 03:50 PM |
Tagged: heatsink, Dark Rock Pro 3, bequiet!

At 150x137x163mm (6x5.4x6.4") in size and 1197g the Dark Rock Pro 3 is a hefty chunk of copper and aluminium.  The extra size does allow for the use of a 135mm fan on the interior with the more common 120m variety on the side which helps make this cooler very quiet even at full load.  The performance was decent but a bit of a let down considering [H]ard|OCP saw better performance from its predecessor, the Dark Rock Pro 2.  Still, if it is quiet performance you need then this is certainly a cooler worth consideration.

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"There is no doubt that when it comes to CPU air cooling, marketing terms like "category leader" and "virtually inaudible" will get your attention. be quiet!'s Dark Rock Pro 3 air cooler touts cooling up to 250 watts, which is stout at best in the world of air cooling. Does the Darck Rock Pro 3 perform and bring with it a cooling value."

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

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Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Manufacturer: Corsair

The Mini ITX Surge Continues

For years now the enthusiast crowd has been clamoring for Corsair to bring its case building prowess down to the Mini ITX market and with the Obsidian 250D it has done just that.  By combining the design features that have make Corsair's units so popular with the aesthetic touches of the most recent Obsidian lineup, the 250D is an interesting and combination of size and performance.

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The Corsair 250D is unlike most other Mini ITX designs out today in that it supports a lot of full size components.  You'll be able to use a standard ATX power supply, many self contained water coolers, full size graphics card and won't have to suffer through the most painful cable routing aspects of other small form factor cases.

Continue to see more photos of the Corsair Obsidian 250D Mini ITX case!!

Manufacturer: Koolance

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Koolance EXT-440CU Liquid Cooling System
Courtesy of Koolance

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Koolance CPU-380I CPU Water Block with Intel CPU mounting plate
Courtesy of Koolance

Koolance has effectively transformed itself from a minor player in the cooling community to a powerhouse at the forefront of high performance liquid cooling products. Koolance recently released the EXT-440CU Liquid Cooling System, an apparatus integrating the cooling system's reservoir, pump, and radiator into an aluminum assembly. In addition to the EXT-440CU unit, Koolance provided us with their CPU-380I CPU water block for testing as a complete kit. We tested the Koolance kit in conjunction with other all-in-one and air coolers to see how well the Koolance kit stacks up. The EXT-440CU Liquid Cooling System retails at an MSRP of $274.99 with the CPU-380I water block available for a $74.99 MSRP. While not the cheapest solution, the adage "You get what you pay for" fits the bill for this Koolance kit.

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Koolance EXT-440CU Liquid Cooling System, side view
Courtesy of Koolance

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Koolance EXT-440CU Liquid Cooling System, rear view
Courtesy of Koolance

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Koolance CPU-380A CPU Water Block with AMD CPU mounting plate
Courtesy of Koolance

Continue reading our review of the Koolance EXT-440CU Liquid Cooling System!