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.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 22, 2014 - 09:03 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: prodigy m, mATX, bitfenix
In response to customer feedback, BitFenix has announced new color options and optional windowed side panels for its Prodigy M chassis. New versions of the Micro ATX case will be available later this month in Fire Red, Atomic Orange, Vivid Green, and Cobalt Blue with or without a case window (which can also be available separately). The new color choices join the existing Arctic White and Midnight Black Prodigy M cases.
The Prodigy M (including the new color versions) is essentially a larger version of the Prodigy chassis intended to support Micro ATX motherboards and dual graphics cards. BitFenix's steel and plastic Prodigy M chassis measures 250mm x 404mm x 359mm (~9.8"x15.9"x14.1") and features the company's "FyberFlex" flexible carrying handles on the top and bottom (the bottom handles do double duty as case feet) and SofTouch exterior finish. Two audio jacks, two USB 3.0 ports, and a single externally-accessible 5.25" drive bay round out the external I/O.
The case comes bundled with two 120mm Spectre fans installed in the rear and bottom fan mounts. Beyond that, users can add a slim 240mm radiator (27mm thick with a single GPU installed) up top and swap out the included rear fan for a larger 140mm model.
The Prodigy M supports Mini ITX and Micro ATX motherboards, a bottom mounted power supply up to 160mm long, CPU coolers up to 160mm tall (with the storage rack installed), and graphics cards as long as 320mm (there are five PCI slots in total). Using the bottom case mounts, users can have two 3.5" drives and two 2.5" drives. Additionally, users can install the removable storage rack (which mounts above the motherboard for an extra two 3.5" drives and three 2.5" drives. There is also a 5.25" drive bay which could house additional storage drives with the right adapter.
BitFenix also announced the availability of windowed side panels that come in each of the six case colors. The windowed side panels will be sold along with windowed versions of the Prodigy M case or as a separate purchase that customers can add to their existing black or white Prodigy M.
The new Prodigy M Color cases will be available later this month for around $100. There is no word on pricing for the individual windowed side panels, however.
It is nice to see BitFenix responding to customer feedback, and the new colorful cases seem to be a welcome update to the series.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 21, 2014 - 01:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: cooler master, Elite 110, Casewarmer, mini-itx
A few months ago Lee reviewed the $40 Cooler Master Elite 110 and with the recent resurgence of mini-ITX systems it is worth revisiting this case. Measuring 8.2" x 10.3" x 11.1" (208 x 260 x 280 mm) it is a rather small enclosure which will lead to a crowded interior but a stylish looking and easy to place system. As you are limited to a 3" tall heatsink The Tech Report opted to go with watercooling as you can just squeeze a 120mm radiator in; in this case the Seidon 120V. The A10-7850K based "Casewarmer" was installed and with some tweaking The Tech Report managed to keep temperature and sound levels within a decent range but you should consider your cooling components with the knowledge that this case can get warm and loud without the right fans and heatsink.
"Cooler Master's Elite 110 is a tiny case with a price to match. Is it a good value? We loaded it up with parts and ran it through our testing gauntlet to find out."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- In Win 901 @ techPowerUp
- Thermaltake Core V71 Full-Tower Case Review @ Legit Reviews
- Thermaltake Core V1 Mini-ITX Case @ [H]ard|OCP
- Phanteks Enthoo Luxe Full-Tower @ Benchmark Reviews
- CORSAIR CARBIDE SPEC 01 Gaming Case Review @ Madshrimps
- Corsair Carbide Air 240 Micro-ATX @ eTeknix
- Corsair Carbide Air 240 @ techPowerUp
- Corsair Carbide Air 240 @ Kitguru
- Phanteks Enthoo Pro Chassis @ Funky Kit
- Phanteks Enthoo Pro @ techPowerUp
- DeepCool Steam Castle mATX @ eTeknix
- BitFenix Neos @ Benchmark Reviews
- NZXT Kraken X41 AIO Liquid CPU Cooler @ [H]ard|OCP
- NZXT Kraken X31 & X41 Liquid CPU Coolers @ SPCR
- Thermaltake Water 3.0 Extreme Liquid CPU Cooler Review @ NikKTech
- Thermalright Archon IB-E X2 CPU Cooler Review @ NikKTech
- Raijintek Pallas Low Profile Heatsink Review @ Hardware Asylum
Introduction and Features
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.
(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.
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.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 19, 2014 - 12:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
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.
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.
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.
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | August 18, 2014 - 10:02 PM | Scott Michaud
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".
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.
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | August 18, 2014 - 09:17 PM | Scott Michaud
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.
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.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 17, 2014 - 01:18 AM | Tim Verry
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 11, 2014 - 05:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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:
- PSU deathmatch: Cooler Master V750 vs. Rosewill Capstone-750-M @ The Tech Report
- EVGA SuperNOVA P2 1200 W @ techPowerUp
- Super Flower Leadex Platinum 1000W Modular @ eTeknix
- Cooler Master V750 Semi-Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- Be Quiet! Power Zone 750 Watt Power Supply Review @HiTech Legion
- Cooler Master V750 Semi-Modular 750 W @ techPowerUp
- Seasonic SS-760XP2 760W Power Supply Review @ NikKTech
- Seasonic Platinum Series 660W Modular @ eTeknix