Check out the heatpipes on Scythe's Grand Kama Cross 2

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 15, 2013 - 02:39 PM |
Tagged: scythe, Grand Kama Cross 2, heatsink

Scythe have made some uniquely shaped coolers in the past but perhaps not as strange as some of Zalman's designs.  This cooler has a V shape to it with the inner parts of that V being extended up until they touch the cooling fan and to give a bit more surface area for heat to dissipate to.  That could have made the cooler much shorter than other heatsinks if it wasn't for the height of the heatpipes beneath the actual heatsink.  That does give you a lot of clearance for RAM with tall heatspreaders, something many other coolers do not offer.  Check out [H]ard|OCP's review to see if the cooler is as quiet and effective as the advertising claims.

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"Many times in the world of CPU cooling, heatsinks look much the same from one to the next. The Grand Kama Cross 2 caught our eye due to its very unique design and we wanted to see if there was more to it than just aesthetics. The design is somewhat reminiscent of V type engine, but let's see if it has any horsepower to back it up."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Corsair Blends Flash and Flexibility in New Graphite Series 230T PC Case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 15, 2013 - 10:42 AM |
Tagged: corsair, graphite series, 230T

Fremont, California — October 15, 2013 — Corsair®, a worldwide designer of high-perform­­­­­­ance components for the PC hardware market, today announced the new Graphite Series 230T mid-tower PC case. Available in three colors, Battleship Grey, Rebel Orange, and Black, the new case combines dramatic, angular styling and the builder-friendly features, expandability, and flexibility that Corsair cases are known for.

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The Graphite Series 230T case features a sculpted, aggressively styled steel exterior with color coordinated LED intake fans and a tinted side panel window. Inside, the matte black interior has plenty of room for multi-GPU configurations and mass storage with seven expansion slots along with four 2.5”, four 3.5”, and three 5.25” drive bays. The case also includes dual 120mm LED front intake fans and a rear 120mm exhaust fan, and has mounts to add two 120mm or 140mm fans on the top and a 120mm or 140mm fan on the bottom.

The Graphite Series 230T is designed with smart features that make builds and upgrades quick and easy. An innovative cable management system with cable routing cutouts is provided for clean-looking builds and better airflow. A convenient CPU cutout allows for cooling upgrades without removing the motherboard, and tool-free side panels, PCI-E expansion slots, and drive bays eliminate the search for screwdrivers and screws.

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“Our Graphite Series cases are designed to be visually exciting, with a design aesthetic that reflects their superior performance and quality,” said Xavier Lauwaert, Director of Product Marketing at Corsair. “The Graphite Series 230T exemplifies this, making it a great platform for gaming PCs, graphics design workstations, or any application where high performance and high style both matter.”

Graphite Series 230T Specifications

  • Aggressively styled steel panels with a high-airflow polymer front fascia
  • Available in 3 colors with color matched power and HDD activity LEDs
    • Rebel Orange chassis with orange LED fans
    • Battleship Grey chassis with blue LED fans
    • Black chassis with red LED fans
  • Four 2.5”, four 3.5”, and three 5.25” tool-free drive bays
  • Seven tool-free expansion slots for multi-GPU compatibility
  • Front panel with two USB 3.0 ports, headphone and mic ports, and power and reset buttons
  • Three 120mm fans – two front LED intake fans, one standard rear exhaust fan Six fan mount locations
    • Front: two 120mm (included, with LEDs)
    • Rear: one 120mm (included, no LEDs)
    • Top: two 140/120mm
    • Bottom: one 140/120mm
  • Cable routing cutouts in motherboard tray
  • CPU cutout for easy CPU cooler upgrades
  • Thumbscrew side panel
  • Two removable air filters (front intake and under PSU)
  • Support for ATX, Micro ATX, and Mini ITX motherboards
  • Weight and dimensions (L x W x H)
    • Metric (mm): 550 x 210 x 440
    • Imperial (inches): 21.7 x 8.2 x 17.3
  • Weight
    • Metric (kg): 6.16 kg
    • Imperial (pounds): 13.6 lbs

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Pricing, Availability, and Warranty
The Graphite Series 230T has a suggested retail price of $79.99 USD and is available now from Corsair's worldwide network of authorized distributors and resellers. The case is backed by a two year warranty and Corsair’s excellent customer service and technical support.

Source: Corsair
Manufacturer: XSPC

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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XSPC Raystorm 750 EX240 Watercooling Kit
Courtesy of XSPC

XSPC has a well known presence in the enthusiast water cooling community with a track record for high performance and affordable water cooling products. Recently, XSPC released new version of their DIY cooling kits, integrating their EX series radiators into the kit. They were kind enough to provide us with a sample of their Raystorm 750 EX240 Watercooling Kit with an included EX240 radiator. We tested this cooler in conjunction with other all-in-one and air coolers to see how well the XSPC kit stacks up. With a retail price at $149.99, this kit offers an affordable alternative to the all-in-one coolers.

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X2O 750 Dual Bayres/Pump V4 reservoir
Courtesy of XSPC

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EX240 Dual Radiator
Courtesy of XSPC

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Raystorm CPU Waterblock
Courtesy of XSPC

Continue reading our review of the XSPC Raystorm 750 EX240 Watercooling Kit!!

Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction and Features

The 750D is Corsair’s latest addition to their top of the line Obsidian Series and is the third new Obsidian case for 2013. The new 750D is a full-tower enclosure that offers a little more room, enhanced cooling, with expanded drive mounting options, than Corsair’s ever popular 650D mid-tower enclosure. The 750D is being introduced with an MSRP of $159.99 USD, which also makes it a little less expensive than the 650D. In addition to PC enclosures, 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.

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The 750D full-tower case is positioned mid-way between Corsair’s huge 900D Super-Tower and 350D Micro-ATX enclosures and shares many of the same styling and design features as the 900D and 350D. Corsair is saying the 750D is a successor to the 650D but we hope the 650D mid-tower enclosure doesn’t go away any time soon as the two enclosures are still different enough to appeal to different users.

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(Courtesy of Corsair)

Continue reading our review of the Corsair Obsidian 750D case!!

Steam Machine Specifications Revealed...?

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Cases and Cooling, Systems | October 4, 2013 - 04:19 PM |
Tagged: valve, Steam Machine

Well, that did not take long.

Valve announced the Steam Machines barely over a week ago and could not provide hardware specifications. While none of these will be available for purchase, the honor of taking money reserved for system builders and OEMs, Valve has announced hardware specifications for their beta device.

Rather, they announced a few of them?

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The raw specifications, or range of them, are:

  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce Titan through GeForce GTX660 (780 and 760 possible)
  • CPU: Intel i7-4770 or i5-4570, or i3-something
  • RAM: 16GB DDR3-1600 (CPU), 3GB GDDR5 (GPU)
  • Storage: 1TB/8GB Hybrid SSHD
  • Power Supply: 450W
  • Dimensions: approx. 12" x 12.4" x 2.9"

Really the only reason I could see for the spread of performance is to not pressure developers into targeting a single reference design. This is odd, since every reference design contains an NVIDIA GPU which (you would expect) a company who wants to encourage an open mind would not have such a glaring omission. I could speculate about driver compatibility with SteamOS and media streaming but even that feels far-fetched.

On the geeky side of things: the potential for a GeForce Titan is fairly awesome and, along with the minimum GeForce 660, is the first sign that I might be wrong about this whole media center extender thing. My expectation was that Valve would acknowledge some developers might want a streaming-focused device.

Above all, I somewhat hope Valve is a bit more clear to consumers with their intent... especially if their intent is to be unclear with OEMs for some reason.

A skinny air cooler from SilverStone

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 2, 2013 - 12:08 PM |
Tagged: Silverstone, Argon AR01

Silverstone's new Argon AR01 is the first heatsink tested on FrostyTech's new 200W test platform which will put more stress on it than you would ever encounter in a PC.  It is quite thin compared to some heatsinks on the market, at 159x124x77mm and 420g it should fit inside of most systems unlike some other high end air coolers.  SilverStone chose to use unique plastic tabs to mount the fan which FrostyTech were not overly impressed by as they felt that wire mounts would not create the possibility of them coming lose over time.  Check out their full review to see how well it cools.

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"We're throwing the new 200W Frostytech Mrk.III Intel LGA2011 test platform thermal test platform into the mix today! Silverstone's Argon AR01 is constructed around three beefy 8mm diameter copper heatpipes which are exposed at the base of the cooler. Putting the heatpipes in direct contact with the top of the processor makes for a very thermally efficient path with a minimum of thermal joint resistance."

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Source: FrostyTech

Corsair Announces Air Series LED High Airflow PC Case Fans

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 1, 2013 - 03:15 PM |
Tagged: air cooling, fans, corsair, AF120 LED, Air Series AF140 LED, Quiet Edition

Fremont, California — October 1, 2013 — Corsair, a worldwide designer and supplier of high-performance components to the PC hardware market, today announced the immediate availability of the Air SeriesTM AF120 LED Quiet Edition and Air Series AF140 LED Quiet Edition high airflow PC case fans. The new fans are the only LED fans to use Corsair’s award-winning AF series impeller designs to produce higher airflow at lower noise levels. The Air Series LED fans are available in 120mm and 140mm sizes with red, white, blue, or purple LED lighting.

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The Air Series LED Quiet Edition high airflow PC case fans are designed with custom-molded, ultra-thin, clear frosted blades with a sleeved bearing system and four vivid LEDs. The result is a visually striking fan which helps users build great looking PCs while delivering outstanding cooling with exceptionally low vibration, noise and turbulence. The fans are ideal for mounting at the rear or top of PC cases to exhaust heat from a PC’s CPU, graphics accelerators, and other heat generating components. The Air Series LED fans work equally well as unrestricted intake fans for areas like side panels or bottom intakes.

“Users often feel they are sacrificing quality when using LED fans,” said Xavier Lauwaert, Director of Product Marketing at Corsair. “Our new Air Series LED fans combine the proven low-noise, high-performance design of our standard Air Series fans with just the right amount of LED visual flair. Now users can enhance and customize the look of their PCs with LED fans without compromising performance.”

Air Series Specifications

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Pricing, Availability, and Warranty
The Air Series LED high airflow PC case fans are available immediately from Corsair's worldwide network of authorized distributors and resellers. They are backed with a limited 2-year warranty and Corsair’s excellent customer service and technical support.

Models and suggested prices are as follows:

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Source: Corsair
Manufacturer: Be Quiet!

Introduction and Features

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Be Quiet! has been a market leader for PC power supplies in Germany for seven years straight and now they are bringing their value-minded Pure Power L8 series to North American markets.  Earlier this year, we reviewed Be Quiet!’s top-of-the-line Dark Power Pro 10 850W PSU and found it to be an outstanding high-end, enthusiast grade power supply. Now we are going to take a look at the budget-oriented Pure Power L8 700W PSU.  The Pure Power L8 series features a 120mm Be Quiet! SilentWings L8 fan, are certified for 80Plus Bronze efficiency, come with fixed cables, and are backed by a 3-year warranty.

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Be Quiet! is targeting the Pure Power L8 series for gaming with multi-GPU capacity, silent PC builds, multimedia and Home Theater systems, and photo and video editing desktops.

Here is what Be Quiet! has to say about their Pure Power L8 700W PSU: “The Pure Power L8 700W provides true affordability, peerless dependability and best-in-class features – not cutting corners and settling for less. Pure Power L8 700W features rock-solid voltages, strong reliability, high efficiency and exceptional quiet – simply the best combination of features, performance and quality in the class – at a very popular price.

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Be Quiet! Pure Power L8 700W PSU Key Features:

• Exceptionally quiet operation: 120mm SilentWings fan
• 700W of continuous power output
• Two independent +12V rails for improved power stability
• 80Plus Bronze certification (up to 88% power conversion efficiency)
• Meets Energy Star 5.2 Guidelines
• Fulfills ErP 2013 Guidelines
• Ready for Intel Haswell platform
• Supports Intel’s Deep Power Down C6/C7 mode
• Sleeved cables for improved cooling and more attractive looks
• NVIDIA SLI Ready and AMD CrossFireX certified
• Four PCI-E connectors for multi-GPU support
• 3-Year warranty

Please continue reading our Pure Power L8 700W power supply review!!!

Valve Hardware Pt. 3: Steam Controller

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Systems | September 27, 2013 - 11:42 AM |
Tagged: SteamOS, Steam Controller, reverse-consolitis

Steam Controller is the third, and final, announcement in the Steam Hardware event. Sure, the peripheral looks weird. It looks very weird. The first thing(s?) you will notice, and likely the driving influence for the iconography, is... or are... the touch pads which replace the expected thumbsticks. The second thing you will notice is the "high resolution" (no specific resolution or dimension was provided) touchscreen.

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The most defining aspect of the controllers, as previously stated, is its pair of trackpads. This input method might actually stand the chance of precise controls while maintaining comfort for a couch. To start, I will quote Valve:

In addition, games like first-person shooters that are designed around precise aiming within a large visual field now benefit from the trackpads’ high resolution and absolute position control.

The emphasis was placed by me.

Last year, almost to the date, I published an editorial, "Is the Gamepad Really Designed for Gaming?" In it, I analyzed console controllers from an engineering standpoint. I blamed velocity-based joystick control for the need to enable auto-aim on console titles. Quoting myself, which feels a little weird to be entirely honest:

Analog sticks are a velocity-oriented control scheme where the mouse is a relative position-oriented control scheme. When you move a joystick around you do not move the pointer to a target rather you make it travel at some speed in the direction of the target. With a mouse you just need to move it the required distance and stop. It is easier to develop a sensitivity to how far you need to pull a mouse to travel to the target than a sensitivity to how long to hold a joystick in a given direction to reach a target. Joysticks are heavily reliant on our mental clocks and eye coordination.

Each trackpad can also be clicked, like the thumbsticks of current controllers just probably more comfortably, to provide extra functionality. From a User Experience (UX) standpoint, I can envision a first-person shooter which emulates a (velocity-based) joystick when the right trackpad is pressed (assuming it is very light to press and comfortably to rub your thumb against while pressing) but switches to position-based when touched but not pressed.

The implication is quick rotation when firing from the hip, but positionally-based targeting when precision is required. Maybe other methods will come up too? I find the technology particularly exciting because Valve, clearly, designed it with the understanding of position-based versus velocity-based control. This challenge you rarely hear discussed.

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The touchscreen is also a large clickable surface. The controller recognizes touch input and overlays the contents of the screen atop the user's screen but it will not commit the action until the touchpad is pressed. This is designed so the gamer will not need to look at their controller to see what action they are performing.

Personally, I hope this is developer-accessible. Some games, as the WiiU suggests, can benefit from hiding information.

Haptic feedback also ties into the trackpads. Their intent is to provide sensations to the thumbs and compensate for loss of mechanical sensation with thumbsticks. Since they are in there, Valve decided to offer a large, programmable, data channel to very precisely control the effect.

They specifically mention the ability to accept audio waveforms to function as speakers "as a parlour trick".

The devices will be beta tested, via the Steam Machine quest, but without wireless or touchscreen support. Instead of a touchscreen, the controller will contain a four-quadrant grid of buttons mapped to commands.

Thus wraps up the three-pronged announcement. Valve directs interested users to their Steam Universe group for further discussion.

Source: Steam

Corsair Announces Obsidian Series 750D Full-Tower PC Case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 24, 2013 - 12:42 PM |
Tagged: obsidian 750d, corsair

Fremont, California — September 24, 2013 — Corsair®, a designer and supplier of high-performance components to the PC hardware market, today announced the immediate availability of the Obsidian Series® 750D performance full-tower PC case. Like all Obsidian Series cases, the 750D features an elegant black monolithic design, brushed aluminum and solid steel construction, and generous expansion flexibility.

The Obidian Series 750D’s rigid, rugged exterior surrounds a frame that has ample room for high-performance components as well as sophisticated cooling for users who want to push their components to the limits. The case is designed to make building a PC fast and simple with features such as tool-free side panels and drive bays, cable routing grommets and mount points, and motherboard rear CPU access and alignment pegs.

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“When we launched our enormously successful, supersized Obsidian 900D case, enthusiasts raved about its sleek design, solid metal construction, and expandability, but not everyone needs so much room,” said Xavier Lauwaert, Director of Product Marketing at Corsair. “Obsidian 750D is built for those users that demand full-on Obsidian quality in a standard full-tower form factor with plenty of innovative features and cooling options.”

Obsidian Series 750D Specifications
Expansion Room

  • 9 expansion slots for larger motherboards and running multiple graphics cards or expansion boards simultaneously.
  • Six tool-free 3.5”/2.5” combo bays in two modular hard drive cages, with room for two more cages for up to 12 total combo drive bays.
  • Four tool-free 2.5” side-mounted drive cages for SSDs, out of the airflow path.
  • Three tool-free 5.25” bays for expansion
  • Four front mounted USB ports for easy peripheral or external storage device connection.

Cooling Flexibility

  • Three included AF140L high-airflow 140mm fans (2 front, 1 rear) for excellent airflow and low noise levels.
  • Room for up to 8 fans
  • Radiator compatibility: Top – 360mm or 280mm Front – 280mm or 240mm Bottom – 240mm Rear – 140mm or 120mm

Storage Layout Options

  • Modular hard drive cages can be located in four separate mounting locations.
  • Side-mounted 2.5” cages allow quick, easy removal of the 3.5” drive cages for better airflow or room for radiators, while maintaining capacity for up to four 2.5” drives.

Builder Friendly Features

  • Thumbscrew side panel removal and expansion slots and tool-free 3.5”, 2.5”, and 5.25” drive bays.
  • Center-post standoff holds motherboard in place while you secure the other screws.
  • Easily accessible (and removable) front, rear, and top dust filters.
  • Outstanding cable routing with rubber grommets for superior airflow and cleaner, neater builds.
  • Four USB ports (two USB 3.0) and headphone/mic jacks in the front panel for easy access.

Dimensions and Weight

  • Length x Width x Height 21.5 x 9.25 x 22 inches or 546 x 235 x 560mm
  • Weight 9.7kg or 21.4 lbs

Pricing, Availability, and Warranty
The Obsidian Series 750D has a suggested retail price of $159.99 in the US and is available immediately from Corsair's worldwide network of authorized distributors and resellers. It is backed with a limited 2-year warranty and Corsair’s excellent customer service and technical support.

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"The Obsidian Series 750D is, according to Corsair, the successor to the acclaimed 650D. This newcomer is priced at $159.99, making it cheaper than its predecessor, and it has a different mix of features. Is it a worthwhile choice, or are you better off springing for the 650D?"

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Source: Corsair