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."

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

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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?"

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

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Source: Corsair
Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction and Features

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Corsair offers a full line of high quality power supplies, memory components, cases, cooling components, SSDs and accessories to the PC market.  Corsair's new RM Series includes six models; the RM450, RM550, RM650, RM750, RM850 and RM1000.  All of the power supplies in the RM Series feature all-modular cables, an energy-efficient design (80 Plus Gold certified) and quiet operation thanks to their ability to run without a cooling fun up to 40% load. The RM Series offers many of the same features as the Corsair HX Series (fanless operation, Gold level efficiency, fully-modular cables) but are a little less expensive. And all RM Series power supplies are Corsair Link ready, which means you can monitor the PSU fan speed and +12V output right from your desktop if you have a Corsair Link system set up on your PC. Previously the Corsair Link option was only available on Corsair’s premium AX Series Digital power supplies.

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Here is what Corsair has to say about their RM550 PSU we will be looking at in this review: “The Corsair RM550 is fully modular and optimized for silence and high efficiency. It’s built with low-noise capacitors and transformers, and Zero RPM Fan Mode ensures that the fan doesn’t even spin until the power supply is under heavy load. And with a fan that’s custom-designed for low noise operation, it’s whisper-quiet even when it’s pushed hard.

80Plus Gold rated efficiency saves you money on your power bill, and the low-profile black cables are fully modular, so you can enjoy fast, neat builds. And, like all Corsair power supplies, the RM550 is built with high-quality components and is guaranteed to deliver clean, stable, continuous power. Want even more? Connect it to your Corsair Link system (available separately) and you can even monitor fan speed and +12V current directly from your desktop.

Corsair RM550 PSU Key Features:

• Silent, fan-less operation up to 40% load
• 80Plus Gold certified, delivering over 92% efficiency under real world loads
• Fully modular, low-profile flat cables help maximize case airflow
• Corsair Link ready!
• High-quality capacitors provide uncompromised performance and reliability
• Active PFC and Universal AC input (100-240 VAC)
• Safety: FCC, ICES, CE, C TUV US, RCM, TUV, CB, CCC, BSMI, GOST, ROHS, WEEE, KC, TUV-S
• 5-Year warranty and lifetime access to tech support and customer service

Please continue reading our Corsair RM550 power supply review!!!

Just Delivered: Razer Naga (2014, Left Handed) + Mini Review

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | September 20, 2013 - 09:13 PM |
Tagged: razer, Naga, Lefties

So, after a few years of regular use, I wore out my Razer Lachesis. I am a lefty who never sold out to the right-handed world of computer peripherals. Joysticks do not count, I am naturally right-handed with those for some reason... scissors too... but that is beside the point. Most of the mice out there, for me to use at least, are ambidextrous and thus symmetric.

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The Razer Naga (2014) is the first truly left handed mouse that I have owned. These are my impressions over my first day of usage.

Being a left-handed mouse Razer decided that it would, by default, switch the left and right mouse buttons. This can be changed in the drivers by first assigning your right mouse button to a left mouse button and then assigning your left mouse button to a right mouse button. Not the other way around.

The reason for this user experience seems to be, since all changes in the driver are applied immediately (without "ok" or "apply" buttons), Razer did not want users to accidentally lose every left mouse button. Imagine fixing that problem without a left mouse button. I would have prefered the app to, instead, fire a popup telling users to bind something else to "left mouse button" before removing it. Greying out the box is confusing and users might think they cannot, ever, rebind that button. That is just a minor complaint.

A slightly bigger issue is how they included a tilt-wheel without allowing the drivers to bind ScrollLeft and ScrollRight events. This can easily be fixed with a Razer Synapse update but why was that not included at launch? They are aware of the problem, too, as their support pages suggest users bind scroll wheel tilt to keyboard left and right. A great alternative for web browsers, but will not work in Photoshop or word processors.

Yes, you can make a custom profile for each application to input whatever horizontally scrolls them; better yet, just let us bind left and right scroll commands. Do it Razer! Dooooo it!

Weird quirks in the drivers aside, I really like the mouse. Each of the buttons, both in the side and on the top, are crisp. The build quality is solid. The body is comfortable. My only (physical) complaint is that the mouse body tends to get quite warm if you hold it for a couple of hours. That is, it feels warmer than other mice I have used. Otherwise it is basically what I have been looking for over the last decade.

So many buttons to bind!

Source: Razer

Akasa's heatsink sandwich, the Venom Medusa

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 17, 2013 - 04:05 PM |
Tagged: akasa, venom medusa, air cooling, heatsink

If you are looking for a cooler that screams high performance then the Akasa Venom Medusa is the heatsink for you, assuming you have a double wide case.  At 1.3kg this is one of the heaviest coolers on the market, with measurements of 129.5x144x163mm (5x5.7x6.4") without fans, it is also one of the largest.  The two 140mm fans [H]ard|OCP used in their testing ensured that the cooler performed very quietly and it performs as well as any of the other high end aircoolers on the market.  The one drawback is the price, at $85 it costs almost as much as some self contained watercoolers.

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"Akasa is a smaller thermal solution company that does have a solid reputation. The Venom Medusa CPU air cooler is a massive unit that promises better cooling with eight high capacity heatpipes, dual 14cm "Viper" fans that promise more airflow, most of all we get promised it is a "Monster of All Extremes." Does it have a place in your next build?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP