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!

Corsair Commander Mini Provides Ultimate Control of PC Cooling, Lighting, and Performance

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 19, 2014 - 09:16 AM |
Tagged: corsair, corsair commander, Corsair Link, Corsair Link Digital

You are probably already familiar with the Corsair Link functionality in Corsair "i" series of PSUs as well as their self contained watercoolers which allows intelligent fan control from a software control panel.  Corsair Commander is an expansion of that tool, allowing control of fans and LEDs in addition to your PSU and CPU cooler, as long as they bear the Corsair Link Digital decal.  For $60 you can think of it as a powerful, if specialized, fan controller with a few other tricks up its sleeve.

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FREMONT, California —August 19, 2014 — Corsair, a worldwide leader in high-performance PC hardware components, today announced the availability of the Corsair Commander Mini control unit. The compact Commander Mini gives users the ability to connect and control multiple lights, fans, and other Corsair devices with an intuitive software interface.

Corsair Commander Mini
The Corsair Commander Mini is a centralized control unit for Corsair Link PC control and monitoring system. Equipped with four Corsair Link Digital ports, six fan control connectors, four temperature probe inputs, and a port for connecting Corsair Link LED lighting strips, Corsair Commander Mini lets users take complete control of their PC’s lighting and cooling. The unit is easy to install with an included mounting kit and connects to your PC via a standard SATA connector for power and an included cable to connect it to a USB 2.0 header on the PC’s motherboard.

Corsair Link gives ultimate PC control
Corsair Link marks an end to the days of case fans, component fans and case lighting that must be managed manually with hardware switches and dials, while simultaneously offering more advanced control and expansion options than motherboard BIOS settings. Everything is configurable from the PC’s desktop via the Corsair Link Dashboard software interface.

Precise Monitoring
Users can see how a system is operating at a glance with an unprecedented level of detail. Coolant temperature, ambient temperature (at multiple points), and the speed of case fans and fans built-in to compatible system components can be monitored, all via the Corsair Link Dashboard software.

A New Level of Control
Corsair Link gives PC users the power to manage fan speeds individually, set up customized cooling profiles, or program fans to respond to changes in ambient or component temperature. Lighting can be programmed to relay critical system information or to change the look of the system to provide an instant visual indicator of the selected cooling profile, or just for fun.

Expandable Eco-System
The Commander Mini fan controllers work with virtually any standard PC case fan, and the included temperature sensors can be placed nearly anywhere in a PC case. Expand your control by adding compatible peripherals, including Corsair i-Series liquid CPU coolers, i-Series power supplies, and DRAM cooling systems which feature the Corsair Link Digital logo.

Source: Corsair

Also, Corsair's Cherry MX RGB Launch Date Changed

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | August 18, 2014 - 07:02 PM |
Tagged: corsair, mechanical keyboard, cherry mx rgb

So I actually did not see this until after I published the Razer story. Just a few hours ago, Corsair posted an announcement to their Facebook page that claimed a "cbange" in launch date for their Cherry MX RGB-based keyboards. I actually forgot that the K70 RGB Red was supposed to be out already, with availability listed as "late July" (the rest were scheduled to arrive in "late August"). Corsair does not yet have a new date, but will comment "in a few weeks".

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Got to say, that does look nice.

While, again, no further details are given, it sounds like a technical hurdle is holding back the launch. Corsair claims that they want the product to live up to expectations. This, of course, chips further at the company's exclusivity window and could put them in direct competition with Razer's custom design, and may even be available second, almost in spite of the exclusivity arrangement.

Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma Announced

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | August 18, 2014 - 06:17 PM |
Tagged: razer, mechanical keyboard

Earlier in the year, we reported on Corsair's exclusivity over Cherry MX RGB-based mechanical keyboards. The thing is, Razer develops their own switches and is not reliant on ZF Electronics (Cherry Corporation). The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma mechanical keyboard uses their own switches, not Cherry's, and is not subject to Corsair's exclusivity. The keyboard can be ordered now for $179.99 USD and will be available in September.

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I contacted Razer and asked them about their technology. They could not provide any direct comparison between their design and the Cherry MX RGB, but they were able to add a few details to their offering. The BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma was designed with its LEDs positioned away from moving parts and lined up with the keycap imprint. The LEDs are pointed upward for brightness.

Razer will be providing developers with Chroma SDK, allowing games and applications to control the Chroma-enabled device lighting to assist or immerse their users. I say "Chroma-enabled device" rather than "Chroma keyboards", because they already have plans for mice and headsets with the same technology. At the very least, they expect that users will appreciate coordinated colors across their gaming peripherals.

The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma is available to order, for $179.99 USD ($199.99 CDN), and ships in September. A Chroma-enabled mouse, based on the DeathAdder design, and a Chroma-enabled headset, based on the Kraken model, are announced but do not yet have pricing or availability information.

Source: Razer

Gigabyte's New Essence Chassis Enables Fanless Mini PCs

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 16, 2014 - 10:18 PM |
Tagged: SFF, mini ITX, gigabyte, fanless, essence, Bay Trail

Gigabyte recently rolled out a new small form factor case called the Essence for DIY PCs. The chassis measures 300mm x 234mm x 74mm (~11.8" x 9.2" x 2.9"), comes bundled with a 120W PSU, and will happily hold a Mini ITX motherboard and laptop-sized hard drive. Large mesh vents on the side panels allow for plenty of airflow and ventilation to run a fanless system.

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The Essence case uses a SECC frame along with ABS plastic. A rectangular base, which hosts the front IO ports, holds the machine vertically and at a slight backwards tilt. The DC power components are mounted to the bottom of the motherboard tray and are driven by a 120W external power supply (Similar to the type of setup the Xbox 360 uses). The red removable motherboard tray (accessible via the right side panel) allows you to screw in a Mini ITX motherboard and a single 2.5" SSD or HDD up to 9.5mm thick.

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The front IO includes two USB 2.0 ports, one headphone output, and one microphone jack. Aesthetically speaking, the Essence looks nice with its red faceplate, silver power button, and black mesh side panels with embossed shapes. It is small enough that it could easily sit next to a monitor and act as a low power desktop or next to the TV as a home theater PC. So long as you do not mind it not fitting into an AV rack/stack, this case could be used along with a cheap SSD and fanless Bay Trail or Kabini-based system for a silent media box or streaming client for Steam games. 

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The Gigabyte Essence is now available in Japan for 13,800 Yen or approximately $125 USD. It comes with a one year warranty. There is no word yet on availability in other countries at this time, however.

Source: FanlessTech
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!!

SilverStone's Fanless Nightjar 520W PSU keeps picking up awards

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 11, 2014 - 02:23 PM |
Tagged: SST-NJ520, SilverStone Tech, Nightjar, Fanless Power Supply, 80 Plus Platinum

Just over a month ago Lee took a look at Silverstone's Fanless Nightjar PSU, giving it a Gold Award.  It has now arrived in [H]ard|OCP's torture chamber so you can see how well it works with a different system.  At the lowest load level of 25% of max the efficiency was a mere 89.79% but at 50%, 75% and 100% loads it stayed well above 90% and the temperature difference was 9C between the lowest load and the highest, impressive for a fanless PSU.  In the end not only was this the best fanless 500W PSU [H] has tested, it was the overall best 500W PSU they've seen, justifying the high asking price.

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"What is more quiet than a computer power supply with a fan? You guessed it, a PSU with no fan. This unit has small footprint builds in mind featuring excellent Platinum efficiency, flexible flat cables, and of course no sound profile to speak of. Does the 520 watt rated SilverStone Nightjar hold up when we put it in the incubator?"

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E M Wireless Keyboard Is Unusual

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | August 6, 2014 - 05:18 PM |
Tagged: keyboard, travel keyboard, htpc keyboard

So, I am writing about a wireless, non-mechanical keyboard.

Mad Catz has made a weird keyboard layout. Honestly, it looks like something from a 1990's-era sci-fi video game. I could imagine "Lev Arris" pulling it out of his trench coat while discussing space pirates. It also includes mouse and media functionality, even when pairing with Android and iOS devices (it connects with Macs and PCs, too). It's also small.

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As stated earlier, its keys are not mechanical. They are, also, not membrane-dome. The keys are based on scissor-switches, common with laptop keyboards. While I do not know the specifics of this keyboard, I do not know of any scissor-switch keyboard with removable keys. This means that, if something gets stuck under a keycap, you cannot remove it (unless you intend to never put it back on). Again, Mad Catz could have done something special, but it is something to think about -- especially if you intend on using this keyboard in the living room while eating.

The keyboard has an adjustable, white backlight for the "main" keys. It is, also, $100. This is definitely a unique design, tailored for a living room (or hotel room) experience. It is not cheap, but interesting. I could see it being useful, especially if a user could use it for both their living room, and during travel.

Source: Mad Catz

Enermax goes big with the Liqtech 240 AIO cooler

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 6, 2014 - 04:19 PM |
Tagged: AIO, enermax, Liqtech 240

As you can see in the picture the radiator on the Enermax Liqtech 240 is not small, at 273mm x 27mm x 120mm you should ensure that it is compatible with your case or be willing to dig out the dremel to mod said enclosure.  The large fans run almost silently at lower temperatures and even when going full out this AIO cooler really does not produce a lot of noise.  As to its performance, [H]ard|OCP found it to be significantly better than the smaller 120 version though the price is higher than some of the competition however for some the quiet performance will be worth the price.  Check the full review here.

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"Enermax comes to us today with its Liqtech 240 AIO liquid cooling system for CPUs sporting healthy list of features including; copper cold plate with patented Shunt-Channel-Technology (SCT), seamless contact radiator fins, non-permeable flexible tubing, and a fan control system offering three cooling modes."

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP
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!