Just Delivered: EVGA Torq X10 Gaming Mouse

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | May 27, 2014 - 12:19 AM |
Tagged: mouse, laser mouse, gaming mouse, evga

It has been a while since I reviewed hardware and, when I did, they were all keyboards. Being a southpaw, it is fairly difficult to review higher-end mice. When offered to review the EVGA Torq X10 Gaming Mouse, I noticed that it is a (nearly) symmetric design with nine (9) buttons: five (5) on the top, two (2) on the left for right-handed thumbs, and two (2) more, identical buttons on the right for left-handed thumbs.

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Of course, the off-hand buttons can still be used for time-insensitive commands, like pinging the map of a strategy game. Personally, I tend to rebind mouse sensitivity to the pinky-buttons and rebind what is usually meant for DPI adjustments to pinging maps or, on games like Battlefield: Bad Company 2, fly up and down (for the UAV).

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A quick unboxing shows the underside of the mouse, an accessory pouch made out of paper with a getting started guide and what looks to be sticker-based grips, a plastic bag of weights, and that metal thing beside the mouse is a torx screwdriver. This screwdriver is what will be used to customize the palm angle by turning its adjustment at the rear of the mouse.

While I have not yet plugged it in, I did play around with its grip adjustment. You probably will not notice its effects unless you are looking for it, but it does result in significant changes to the touch. I will discuss this, and its other features, more in my upcoming full review.

As for pricing, EVGA is currently accepting pre-orders through Newegg. The base version is available for $49.99 (pre-order price, $99.99 MSRP) with a "carbon fiber" version, an identical mouse outside of the surface material, also on pre-order for $69.99 (pre-order price, $129.99 MSRP). It is unclear whether they will ever make it up to their MSRP but, if they do, an almost half-price pre-order (with a free mouse pad if you pre-order, register your mouse, and upload your invoice, apparently) is pretty gigantic.

It is expected to ship in a month (late June). I hope to have at least a preliminary review, if not a full one, up with time left for pre-orders.

Source: EVGA

It's been a long time since we've seen a Peltier cooler

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 23, 2014 - 03:29 PM |
Tagged: peltier, TEC, V3 Components, Voltair

Peltier cooling, also called Thermoelectric cooling, has been around for a long time and briefly enjoyed popularity with overclockers as a way to cool high end CPUs.  After heatpipes and other less complicated cooling systems became more effective and as TDP slowly dropped they disappeared from the mainstream market.  V3 Components just changed that with the release of the massive Voltair TEC which combines TEC with an impressive heatsink.  The cooler measures 167 x 120 x 172mm (6.69 x 4.72 x 6.77") and weighs in at 1.45kg which limits the cases it can fit in as well as causing some concern about having your board bend under the weight.  It is compatible with all current AMD and Intel processors and provides decent cooling when compared to watercooling.  In their testing Legit Reviews also simulated running the cooler without the benefit of TEC and found that the temperatures increased a mere 3 degrees Celsius which does raise the question of the necessity of including TEC.  Read on to get the full story.

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"We have taken a look at many different types and brands of CPU coolers over the years, with each manufacturer coming up with their own unique way to control the massive amounts of heat your CPU can throw off. A new company, called V3 Components, wants to start off by introducing a cooler with little used technology called Thermoelectric Cooling (TEC) – We’ll get more into the specifics on that in a bit. Basically what V3 is targeting is your liquid CPU coolers, stating that this cooler should be as good as or better than the AIO liquid cooling kits on the market today; not to mention safer due to no liquid..."

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

CASES & COOLING

Cooler Master V1200 Platinum PSU Launches

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | May 18, 2014 - 02:53 AM |
Tagged: cooler master, V1200 platinum, PSU, modular psu

The Cooler Master V1200 Platinum power supply (PSU) is, as the name suggest, capable of delivering 1200 watts of power to your gaming PC, with a platinum 80 PLUS efficiency rating. At half load, which is probably its best-case scenario, this unit is 93% efficient. Cooler Master also says that it is backed by a 7-year "extended" warranty, although they do not clarify what is "extended" about it. If they just mean "really long" and it comes standard, without weird restrictions, then that is obviously a long guarantee.

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The PSU is also fully modular and single rail. You can set it up such that the only cables coming off of it are ones that are in use, an obvious bonus for cable management. Also, being single-rail, the +12V can support loads of up to 100A. Users do not need to plan ahead and balance components across separate cables because they all draw from the same pool. Users with Haswell-based machines will also be able to use all C0-to-C7 power states, although it has been out long enough that it should not be an issue for anyone, anymore.

Pricing and availability is currently unknown and varies by region.

Manufacturer: IN WIN

Introduction: The Elements of (Life)Style

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If this review began by describing this mini-ITX enclosure's all metal and glass construction, its rounded corners, and the premium price tag, it might easily start to sound like it came from that company in Cupertino. Come to think of it, this case would look right at home in a lifestyle magazine photo shoot...

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Living the IN WIN 901 lifestyle?

The 901 is definitely stylish, and this is in keeping with the design philosophy of a company that promotes the aesthetics of products first and foremost. So where does this design merge with functionality? This question is a fundamental part of industrial design (ID as it's known in the industry), and in our look at this striking enclosure we'll see how much substance there is to go along with all of that IN WIN style.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Computer cases are a personal thing, which is why we hesitate to make recommendations in this area. Within a certain price point there might be dozens of options for just about any need. But whether or not you're a fan of the sleek styling of a product like the 901, it's different beyond that first impression. The case starts with an aluminum quasi-unibody construction with tempered glass panels on both sides. There is a rather complex structure within this simple exterior, but it is well organized with some thoughtful (and some really smart) design choices.

IN WIN says the 901 mini-ITX case is an example of “precision craftsmanship with no compromises”, and an initial inspection would leave one hard pressed to disagree. It's apparent that some serious engineering has gone into this enclosure, and there is a high level of quality befitting something with this price tag. At $179.99 this is geared toward the high-end enthusiast community, and even a smaller subset considering it is only compatible with mini-ITX motherboards. And while mini-ITX is the supported form-factor, this is definitely not a SFF case. In fact, it’s almost big enough to be a micro-ATX enclosure, but this isn't a complaint. The size of the 901 allows it a unique internal layout.

Continue reading our review of the IN WIN 901 Mini-ITX Case!!

Introduction

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Typical Flow Diagram for Single Block Loop

All-in-one liquid coolers seem to be all the rage with several companies introducing expandable systems for integration of a system chipset or graphics cooling block to the loop. We will be exploring the performance of two of our previously reviewed coolers to see just how well those liquid coolers can handle the addition of an additional in-line graphics card block. Both the Koolance EXT-440CU Liquid Cooling System and the Cooler Master Glacer 240L Liquid CPU Cooler were used with the ASUS Poseidon GTX 780 graphics card placed in-line for testing.

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Typical Flow Diagram for Multi-Block Loop

Several key factors come into play in a liquid cooling loop that the addition of a second block effects including:

  • heat dissipation capacity of the radiator
  • flow rate of the system
  • resistance of the system components

Basically, additional liquid cooling blocks add more heat and longer tube runs to the system. This increases the amount of heat that the system must dissipate and introduces increased flow resistance to the system because of the increase of the loop size as well as the internal makeup of the added cooling blocks. The increase resistance and loop size directly effects the system flow rate and how hard the pump must work to keep the coolant flowing through the system.

For the purpose of this testing, we did not measure the liquid flow of the system directly. Rather, we measured the temperature of both components (the CPU and GPU) which directly correlates to the flow and heat dissipation capacity of the system. The ASUS Poseidon block adds little resistance to the system, besides the added length of the liquid channel, because of its simple U-loop channel internal to the block.

For additional information about the components used for this article, please see our review of the Koolance EXT-440CU Cooling System here, the Cooler Master Glacer 240L Liquid CPU Cooler here, and the ASUS Poseidon GTX 780 graphics card here.

Continue reading our analysis of Cooling capacity in a Multi-block Liquid Cooling loop!

Noctua Announces Some New Fans - During a Brownout?

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 13, 2014 - 11:05 PM |
Tagged: noctua, fans, cpu cooling, case fan

Noctua, well-known Austrian maker of high-performance fans and CPU coolers, announced two new fan product lines today – and there’s something very different about them.

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Do not adjust your monitor. These fans are in full color (or lack thereof)

Of some interest here is the “redux” line. True to its name, “redux” is a reissue of some of Noctua’s best-know models but with a very different look. Gone is the trademark brown and tan! Noctua also plans on selling these for “3/4 the price” of the standard models.

According to Noctua’s official statement, “the introduction of the two new product lines allows us to respond to the recurring demands for Noctua fans in different colors." So the voices have been heard. (While I personally don’t mind the old color scheme there are certainly people who do!)

The “redux” lineup will include PWM and 3-pin versions of the existing NF-P14, NF-S12B, NF-B9 and NF-R8, in a gray/darker gray color scheme.

So what of this second new product line? That would be the “industrialPPC” fan lineup with high speed offerings for use in “challenging environments” – and Noctua makes mention of “PC enthusiasts striving for extreme performance”. Sounds like these might warrant some overclocking trials...

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The industrialPPC lineup consists of “ruggedized” 2000 and 3000rpm versions of the NF-F12 and NF-A14 fans, and they feature an all-black color scheme.

Competition is a good thing, and it’s nice to see Noctua diversify their offerings and offer some lower pricing (with the redux line) in this market, though their fans will still demand a premium price.

Check out Noctua’s official announcement for more information including MSRP’s.

Source: Noctua

The beautiful and talented Corsair Graphite 760T Full Tower

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 7, 2014 - 05:40 PM |
Tagged: graphite series, corsair, 760T Arctic White

Corsair's Graphite 760T is a metal case with a huge window to show off your components and a front panel that is secured by magnets as opposed to plastic tabs.  For pet owners and clean freaks there are two filtre panels, one for the front and one that slides out of the bottom to discourage a systems natural tendency to act as a vacuum cleaner.  The dimensions of 22.2"H x 9.7"W x 22.4"L allow for a triplet of 120/140mm fans to be installed at the front and similar single fan at the back of the case, with the PSU being inserted at the bottom.  [H]ard|OCP were more than impressed with this case, its aesthetics and performance for both cooling and acoustics put it among the best cases on the market with the icing on the cake being a price tag under $200.

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"Corsair's new Graphite Series 760T Arctic White Full Tower Windowed Case is extremely easy on the eyes and as the name implies it allows us to see in, but with the 760T it is a full clear panel that gives it an elegant look. There is room for plenty of fans with speed controllers to keep it cool as well, plus a host of other features."

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CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Manufacturer: NCASE

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging

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Image credit: NCASE

The NCASE M1 Mini-ITX case has been lusted after for about a year now by those of us interested in small form-factor (SFF) computing, ever since it made the news last spring by making its initial goal on the crowd-funding site Indiegogo. The last campaign to raise funds ended in August of last year, and not leaving anything up to chance the creators of the M1 contracted none other than Lian Li to make their dream a reality. Today, we have the privilege of seeing the finished product!

Making things happen

We’ve all talked about changing some existing product to fix problems or just add features that we’d like to have. But most of us probably wouldn’t take our idea to a public funding site to actually make it happen, and that’s exactly why the story of NCASE and the M1 is unique. The creators were members on hardforums, and the original thread for the M1 is now well over 500 pages long.

The story began with conversation about improving an existing mini-ITX design, with the SilverStone SG05 the original topic. (It's fascinating to watch the design evolve on the thread!) Two forum members joined forces and started creating designs, and ended up with the blueprint for an incredibly small case that still supported large GPU's and 240mm radiators. Then, it was on to Indiegogo to see if the interest was high enough to get this case built.

Judging by the results starting with that initial round of prototype funding, there has definitely been interest in this design! Lian Li's prototype case was a success, and the initial production run funding campaign quickly raised more than double the goal again… Fast forward to spring 2014, a black M1 case was delivered safely, and I for one can’t wait to get started building up a system with it!

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The M1 next to a BitFenix Prodigy: It's tiny!! (Image credit NCASE)

Continue reading our review of the NCASE M1 Mini-ITX Crowdfunded Case!!

Introduction: Budget Cooling Options and the Seidon 120V

The Seidon 120V is Cooler Master's newest 120mm all-in-one liquid CPU cooler, and its affordable price adds another option to anyone looking for an aftermarket cooler on a budget. But when we start comparing low-cost options it's valid to wonder just how much better a liquid cooler in this price range might perform over air. To find out we'll test the Seidon 120V against a popular budget air solution, and see how these aftermarket coolers compare against the stock solutions from AMD and Intel.

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Image courtesy of Cooler Master

Cooling on a Budget

When you’re pricing out a new computer build these days it’s pretty easy to put together a solid group of components for $500 or so, and these will get you going on all the latest games at HD resolution. Sounds awesome! Of course, within that tight budget certain things are going to have to wait, and right up there on the list is probably some better cooling. It’s easy enough to change out a CPU cooler later, but if the stock cooler is doing the job within the thermal specs of the processor is it really needed? Clearly, AMD and Intel are not going to ship a cooler with their product that can’t keep it cool enough under stock workloads, but having better cooling can allow for overclocking as well as extend the life of not only the CPU, but the components around it on your motherboard. Aftermarket coolers are often able to cool more efficiently as well, producing less noise.

So...many...options...

The selection of aftermarket coolers available is, well, ridiculous. As easy as it is to get lost looking at, say, every virtually identical stick of DDR3 memory, scrolling through product pages for CPU cooling is on another level entirely. Liquid cooling systems are much easier to navigate, as there are not only fewer of them, but the pricing segmentation allows for easier selection if you’re on a budget.  For instance, the Seidon 120V at around $50 was the least expensive AIO option on Amazon when this review was started (actually coming in at 47.99 shipped, though this has been fluctuating quite a bit lately). Finding a suitable budget air cooler was not so easy, and it needed to be at least comparable to the performance of a liquid cooler, while coming in at or below the $50 mark of the 120V. (This might take a while…)

On the air-cooling side of things narrowing the selection to $50 or less doesn’t help much, as there are still (roughly) 50 million to choose from in that price range. There are going to be so many different preferences and opinions on these, so an easier alternative would be to simply follow the consensus pick, e-tail style. This intensive research project involved visiting Amazon and typing “cpu cooler” into the search box. (OK, that was pretty easy!) The plan was to put whatever came up first under $50 in the cart. Turns out the most popular air-cooler is also under $50 (not surprising). This top result was also from Cooler Master, their Hyper 212 EVO which was selling for under $34 shipped. Done.

Continue reading our review of hte Cooler Master Seidon 120V Liquid Cooler!!

BitFenix Releases Their "Fury" on the Power Supply Market

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 30, 2014 - 12:16 PM |
Tagged: Power Supplies, modular psu, bitfenix

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BitFenix, well known among system builders for their sizeable lineup of enclosures, today announces a new line of power supplies. The “Fury” PSU’s are will be offered in 550W, 650W, and  750W versons, and feature 80 PLUS Gold certification. What’s special about them? They come pre-sleeved with braided cables for a custom look.

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TechPowerUp has a review of the 750 watt model up, and though the power supply performed respectably they had reservations on the reported MSRP of $169 (though no official prices have been released). BitFenix says the PSU’s will carry a 5-year warranty, which should make investing in the Fury a bit more palatable.

Not interested in shelling out for a fancy-looking PSU just yet? The folks at Performance-PCs.com are already offering a giveaway on their Facebook page.

The Fury line is set to be released in May, and we’ll see soon enough what kind of demand there is for a PSU with a premium on style in a very crowded market.


From BitFenix:

The BitFenix Fury Power Supply Series delivers a trifecta of performance, reliability, and aesthetics like no other PSU before it. From the brushed aluminum accents and stamped BitFenix logos, to the metallic fan grill and powder coated exterior, Fury is the first PSU designed to not be hidden away, but shown off. The semi-modular design allows for better cable management, and the cables themselves are sleeved with Alchemy sleeving for a premium look. Beyond good looks, Fury delivers the performance and reliability demanded by today's modern hardware with 80Plus Gold certification, single-rail power delivery, and active power factor correction. Equipped with exclusive BitShield™ Six-Point Protection and a five-year warranty, users can count on Fury to power their systems day-in and day-out.

Nanosleeve™ Braided Cables

With an ultra-dense weave and superb flexibility, the Nanosleeve braiding found on our Alchemy cable extensions is the premier choice of the world's top modders. The cable that come with Fury are pre-sleeved with this exact sleeving - no more voiding your warranty and spending hours sleeving cables yourself. With Fury, you get that premium modded look straight out-of-the-box.

Source: BitFenix