Introduction and First Impressions

Supermicro recently entered the consumer space with a new line of enthusiast motherboards and today we’re looking at a gaming enclosure from the well-known enterprise manufacturer.


While many component manufacturers have diversified their product offerings to include everything from cooling fans to thumb drives, Supermicro is not a name that anyone familiar with the company would have likely suspected of this trend. With recent Z97 and X99 motherboard offerings Supermicro has made an effort to enter the enthusiast market with boards that don’t exactly look like gaming products, but this is to be expected from a company that specializes in the enterprise market.

It was something of a surprise to hear that Supermicro had created a new enclosure for the consumer segment, and even more so to hear that it was to be a gaming enclosure. And while the term “gaming” gets thrown around quite a bit the new enclosure does have the look we tend to associate with the moniker, with flashy red accents and a brushed aluminum front panel to go along with all-black steel enclosure.


Continue reading our review of the Supermicro SuperChassis S5 enclosure!!

A new and improved AiO watercooler from SilverStone, the Tundra TD02-E

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 19, 2015 - 02:55 PM |
Tagged: Silverstone, Tundra TD02-E, CPU Water Block

SilverStone's Tundra TD02-E is a 240mm radiator, 278x124x27mm in total, with a hefty weight of 1.5kg which you should keep in mind when thinking where to place it.  We have had quite a few reviews of SilverStone's Tundra series, from Ryan's look at the original model 9 years ago, to Morry's recent reviews of the TD02 and TD03.  The TD02-E is an updated model with newer tubing and a slimmer radiator, which [H]ard|OCP compared to previous models and other competitors.  Their testing showed equivalent performance to the initial model with reduced noise and if you shop around, a reduced price as well.


"SilverStone is no stranger to us when it comes to All-In-One liquid CPU coolers. The new Tundra Series TD02-E AIO is SilverStone's updated version of its TD02 120mm dual fan cooler. SilverStone is not very clear on what exactly is better about this cooler, but we will put it through its paces to see if we have a better AIO."

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


Source: [H]ard|OCP

Revisiting the Corsair AX1500i

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 14, 2015 - 01:27 PM |
Tagged: Digital Power Supply, Corsair Link, AX1500i, 80 Plus Titanium

It has been almost a year since Lee reviewed the Corsair AX1500i, one of the best high wattage PSUs it has been his pleasure to test so it seems appropriate to remind you of it's quality with this review from [H]ard|OCP.  While the PSU is not new and still costs more than the competition at $400 the 7 year warranty is better than most.  The review is of two Corsair AX1500i PSUs, one provided by Corsair and one purchased from a retail outlet for reasons you can read about in the full review.  In the end [H] gave this PSU a pass, they felt that the unchanged price was a strike against Corsair as are the claims of the marketing team but as far as performance this PSU provided solid power in even their torture tests.


"It is not every day that a company has the moxie to come out and say that it makes "the best" of anything, but that is exactly what Corsair is saying about its AX1500i computer power supply; "The best enthusiast power supply you can own." Of course that begs one question, "Is it, or isn't it the best enthusiast PSU you can own?" We answer that."

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


Source: [H]ard|OCP
Manufacturer: Fractal Design

Introduction and First Impressions

The Define S from Fractal Design is a mid-tower enclosure based on the company’s excellent Define R5, and this version has a new interior for enhanced cooling support with an innovative approach to storage.



I've mentioned before that the PC enclosure market is crowded with options at every price point, but this can actually be a good thing because of the high level of individual preference this permits. Selecting a case is a multi-faceted thing, and while they all (well, mostly) keep components safely housed, once that need has been met there's a lot more to consider. Let's face it, aesthetics are important since the enclosure is the outward-facing representation of your build (and personal style). Support for your preferred type of cooling, storage, and future expandability are high on the list when selecting a finalist as well, and then there's the thermal/noise performance element to consider. It was Fractal Design's own Define R5 (review here) which offered a balanced approach to these needs, and while not looking especially flashy with understated style and a standard ATX layout, the R5 was an exceptionally well-done effort overall. Now, months later, enter the Define S.

With the Define R5 offering a solid combination of silence, expandability, and build quality, why would Fractal Design create another very similar case right on its heels? It’s all about giving people choice, and that’s something I can certainly stand behind - even when it means further segmenting a market that seems almost impossibly crowded now. And when we dive deeper into the Define S we see what is essentially a companion to the Define R5, and not a replacement. At first glance this might appear to be an identical case, but the interior layout clearly separates the two. In summary, the Define S loses 5.25” storage support found in the R5, and while that previous model had no less than 8 hard drive trays the S employs a novel approach to HDD support, but cuts the drive support from 8 standard 3.5" drives to just 3 in the process.


Continue reading our review of the Fractal Design Define S enclosure!!

Dual watercooling loops in a Mid-Tower

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 11, 2015 - 05:21 PM |
Tagged: define r5, fractal design, water cooling

Over at Techgage is an interesting post about installing dual watercooling loops, GPU and CPU, in to a Fractal Design R5.  It is more of a work log than a how to but it covers all the basic investigation you should do before installing a watercooling loop as well as the steps involved in putting it together.  That they managed to fit a pair of 240mm Nemesis radiators into a mid-sized case is impressive, the overall tidiness of the build even more so.  Check out the build log with pictures right here.


"After we posted our look at Fractal Design’s Define R5 a couple of months ago, it didn’t take long before Matt was craving not just a chassis upgrade, but a water cooling one, as well. With the chassis in hand, join him as he takes you through the process of setting up a dual loop setup, and tells you what he thinks of working with the Define R5."

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



Source: Techgage
Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction and First Impressions

Corsair's venerable single and double-width liquid CPU coolers based on 120mm fans have been refreshed with added style and a new underlying design. How do they perform? We're about to find out!



There isn't much left to say about all-in-one (AIO) liquid CPU coolers these days, other than they are often better performing and more expensive than traditional air coolers. A good design gives an AIO liquid cooler a distinct advantage with overclocking headroom, and often in noise output as well (at higher levels of performance). This is not to dismiss air cooling as massive dual-tower coolers from Noctua and others certainly have the potential to out-perform all but the very best AIO liquid coolers, though not every enclosure will have the room for such a cooler. Thus, a good AIO liquid CPU cooler can offer not only space savings but potentially outstanding cooling performance as well. But this is a road we have traveled many times, with cost often the deciding factor even in the face of compelling evidence in favor of what are often very expensive solutions. Has that changed in 2015?

Corsair has done as much as any manufacturer to make AIO liquid CPU cooling mainstream, and their original H100 cemented the AIO's place as an enthusiast-level cooler and not simply a shortcut to traditional water cooling. The 240mm H100 and corresponding 120mm H80 have been refined a couple of times since their introduction, and though other variants such as the H105 and H75 (at the same 240/120mm sizes) have been released and crowded the market further, the H100/H80 series still occupy an important position.


Continue reading our review of the Corsair H100i GTX and H80i GT liquid CPU coolers!!

Silverstone expands its Argon Series with the AR06

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 4, 2015 - 04:43 PM |
Tagged: Silverstone, SFF, Argon Series, AR06

If the Silverstone Argon Series AR05 was a little too small for you and your SFF system needs something with a little more cooling power you can check out the AR06.  At 105x92x58mm it is a little taller than the AR05 and at 263g naked it is a little heavier.  [H]ard|OCP tested it on a 4770K overclocked to 4.4GHz and it could keep it at a temperature of 88.5C, a little warm but very impressive for such a little cooler. Even more impressive is that the MSRP for the AR06 is the same as the AR05.  Check out their full review right here.


"Many enthusiasts are opting for smaller footprint cases now days, and SilverStone comes to us with its higher performance low profile cooler that measures in at just 52mm tall. It has double the heatpipes of the last SilverStone cooler we reviewed and services a host of CPU sockets for both AMD and Intel."

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


Source: [H]ard|OCP

Xigmatek Launches SFF Nebula C Cases In Several New Colors

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 3, 2015 - 09:33 PM |
Tagged: xigmatek, SFF case, SFF, nebula c, mini ITX

Looking for a cute and cuddly case? Xigmatek may have you covered with its latest Mini ITX-friendly Nebula C chassis which will soon be available in pink, purple, yellow, lime, and emerald colors.

Xigmatek Nebula C Angled.jpg

Measuring 305 mm (H) x 260 mm (W) x 260mm (D) or roughly 12" x 10" x 10", the Nebula C has a SECC Steel frame paired with an ABS plastic exterior. There is a power button nestled in the top right corner, front I/O (two USB 3.0 and two audio ports) on the right side, and a triangular orange cutout in the bottom left corner for aesthetic reasons. Apart from that, the Nebula C is smooth plastic with little in the way of vents, logos, or other garnishments. Cooling is handled by a large passive mesh vent on the bottom of the case and a single 120mm fan on the rear panel. There is space for regular ATX power supplies, two expansion slots, and external water cooling radiators by way of two rubber grommets.

Xigmatek Nebula C Internals.jpg

Internally, the Nebula C can hold a standard Mini ITX motherboard, a CPU heatsink up to 80mm tall, a full height graphics card up to 230mm in length, one 3.5" drive bay and one 2.5" bay. Using an adapter, you can fit a maximum of three 2.5" drives in this system. The support for ATX power supplies is nice to see as there are many more options in this space as well as better quality parts with lower noise at similar price points ( you would have to spend more money to get these features in a small form factor PSU where available).

Judging from Bit-Tech's review of the glossy white Nebula C, the case looks very easy to work with and the ability to remove all three side panels should make it easy to get at just about every bit of hardware without needing to take anything out of the case. They do note that cable management is a pain, and that a modular power supply is recommended. Since the motherboard is mounted on the bottom with the drive bays and PSU mounted above that, I can see how it could easy start to look like a rats nest in there if you don't plan ahead on this part of the build process. In all, it may be a worthy small form factor case if you have less than $100 and want something with a bit of color.

Xigmatek Nebula C Front IO.jpg

The refreshed Nebula C cases in pink, purple, lime, emerald, an yellow will be available soon. There is no official word on pricing or availability, but expect them to go for around $80 USD (if the glossy white version is any indication).

Source: Xigmatek

NZXT Announces the Noctis 450 Gaming Mid-Tower Enclosure

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 28, 2015 - 09:29 PM |
Tagged: nzxt, Noctis 450, mid-tower, enclosure, case

NZXT proclaims that “bold is back” with their new enclosure design, a striking-looking case based (at least internally) on the popular H440.


The Noctis 450 takes the H440 and combines it with an angular external construction that looks similar to the company’s Phantom enclosure series. As the interior is identical to the H440 this new enclosure features the spacious interior and excellent cooling support from the previous model. As a nice addition the Noctis 450 adds a PWM fan controller (and includes 4 fans), further simplifying cooling for a build with this case.

NZXT has created a product video to showcase the new design:

In the appearance department the Noctis 450 really does look good (although style is always a personal thing), with dramatic black/red and the familiar NZXT white/black color schemes available to help accent the interesting angles, and there is an adjustable LED lighting system as well.


Plenty of storage room (unless you're Allyn) with 5 slide-out HDD trays

The MSRP is set at $139.99 and the Noctis 450 is currently available for pre-order on the NZXT site.

Source: NZXT

Cirrus7 Shows Off Fanless Nimbini Broadwell NUC PC

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | April 28, 2015 - 08:15 PM |
Tagged: cirrus7, SFF, nuc, broadwell-u, fanless

Next month, German manufacturer Cirrus7 will begin shipping its new Nimbini system. The Nimbini is an even smaller variant of the company’s small form factor Nimbus PC. This time, Cirrus7 has managed to pack a Intel NUC system into a fanless case with multiple layers of stacked laser cut aluminum panels that double as a heatsink for the internals. Even better, the Nimbini supports Intel’s Rock Canyon and Maple Canyon NUC boards, and supports Broadwell-U processors up to the 28W Core i7 models with Iris Graphics (e.g. the two core, four thread, Core i7-5557U with Iris Graphics 6100).

Cirrus7 Nimbini Fanless Broadwell NUC Case.jpg

The Nimbini will come as a complete system (150 x 150 x 87mm) preloaded with Windows or Ubuntu Linux operating systems or as a barebones DIY kit – which at upwards of 90 pieces (per FanlessTech) is not for the faint-of-heart! This case can be customized to add different covers and to vary the thickness of the case by adding or removing layers. The standard configuration leaves room for a 2.5” drive in addition to the usual M.2 SSD used with NUCs. If you aren’t using that second storage drive, you can make the case thinner or expand it for maximum cooling. While also aesthetically pleasing, the best part about the aluminum construction is that it is a fanless design which is perfect for a HTPC (home theater PC) or audio engineering setup. Cirrus7 claims to support up to 28W processor TDPs without any fans.

Cirrus7 Nimbini Fanless Broadwell NUC Case Back.jpg

Rear IO for the Intel Maple Canyon NUC installed in the layered Nimbini chassis.

Cirrus7 will being taking pre-orders in May. Among others, both the Rock Canyon (with its IR receiver and accompanying case window) and Maple Canyon internal hardware (NUC boards) with dual DisplayPort outputs will be on offer. Pricing has not yet been announced, but it looks promising if you are looking for a premium silent SFF PC.

Source: Cirrus7