A nice home for an HTPC or Steambox from CoolerMaster

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 15, 2014 - 12:36 PM |
Tagged: cooler master, Elite 110, mini-itx

The CoolerMaster Elite 110 can give your next mini-ITX system build a unique look.  The squarish case is 280x260x208mm (11.1x10.3x8.2") and can house a GPU of up to 210mm in length and cooler with a maximum height of 76mm, somewhat limiting your choice of components but not ridiculously so.  It can handle a 120 or 140mm fan or radiator in the front and two 80mm fans on the side and also has space for 3 HDDs or 4 SSDs.  [H]ard|OCP encountered some difficulties when installing multiple HDDs but not enough to stop them from awarding this case with a Silver Award; with the caveat that you should only purchase it at the MSRP of $49.99.

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"Many enthusiasts now days are trying their hands at minimizing their PC footprint. Mini-ITX motherboards have progressed a long ways in terms of stability and feature set in the last three years. Cooler Master has a new solution for those looking to minimize while not giving up cooling or features in their Mini-ITX enclosure."

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CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction, Specifications, and Contents

Corsair has added another double-width liquid cooler to their growing lineup of all-in-one solutions with the H105, joining the existing H100i and larger H110 in this category.

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Image courtesy of Corsair

Initially, the H105 might leave you scratching your head. It's listed on Corsair’s site with the same $119.99 MSRP as the H100i, and both are 240mm designs featuring the same high performance fans. The similarities end there, however, as the design of the H105 is more akin to Corsair's new 120mm H75 (which we recently reviewed) than to the existing 240mm H100/H100i. With the H75 already a solid price/performance pick in Corsair’s lineup - and the various other options still available - it's reasonable to wonder exactly where H105 fits in.

While this new cooler is using the same pair of excellent SP120L PWM fans as the earlier H100i (and H80i), it's the radiator they will be connected to that should separate the H105 from prior efforts. Corsair has implemented a much thicker 240mm rad with the H105 at 35mm (vs. only 27mm on earlier products), and this added thickness should have an noticeable impact on cooling performance, and possibly fan noise as well.

Continue reading our review of the Corsair H105 Liquid Cooler!!

Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler Announced

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | April 8, 2014 - 05:44 PM |
Tagged: cpu cooler, NH-D15, noctua

Known primarily for large and quiet CPU coolers, Noctua is not shy to attach a pair of 140mm fans to a chunk of metal. The NH-D15, announced today, can cool just about any current, mainstream or enthusiast CPU from AMD or Intel. It attaches to the CPU with a copper plate, which is connected to several copper heatpipes, which leads into two towers of aluminum fins. It is plated with nickel to prevent corrosion (I am not sure about the bottom).

As is common for these types of heat sinks, they are daunting to look at. Of course, that is not a bad thing, unless you have a very small case, but it might make you look at your stock fan differently. Noctua is claiming that their two fans spin at a maximum of 1500 RPM and a minimum of 300 RPM. This leads to a listed maximum noise value of 24.6 dBA, around the background noise of a quiet rural area at night.

The NH-D15 will be available mid-April for just shy of $100 USD.

Source: Noctua

Corsair Released Vengeance K70 Mechanical Keyboard

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | April 8, 2014 - 11:42 AM |
Tagged: Vengeance K70, corsair

Update (4/8/2014 @ 8:48 PM EDT): Some commenters pointed out that the K70 already exists and has been on sale for quite some time. That is true, however Corsair has refreshed the line, apparently adding Cherry MX Blue and Brown along with the "original MX Red". It is a new product that will be released mid-April.

No, this is not the Cherry MX RGB keyboard; we still do not know when that will come out. The K70 is a mechanical keyboard made out of blackened (anodized) aluminum with red backlights in each keycap. It comes in either Cherry MX Blue, Red, or Brown. Unlike some of their previous models, every key is mechanical. It is advertised as "100% anti-ghosted with full n-key rollover". Being a USB keyboard, it is unclear whether it actually allows every key to be pressed simultaneously or whether it is limited by the interface.

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That said, previous Corsair keyboards registered as 3 USB devices and split inputs between the three to overcome 6KRO limits, thus allowing for 18-key rollover. This should be sufficient for all quadridextrous typists. For the mental image of someone typing with their eight fingers, two thumbs, and all but two of their ten toes, you are welcome.

Also, and I have said this before, but it kills me when a keyboard based on an NKRO key matrix (even if it is limited by USB) needs to describe itself as "Anti-ghosting". Anti-ghosting is a hack which prevents unintended keypresses by locking-out the keyboard when it gets confused. Many keyboards, to save money, group keys together in their grid of circuits. Basically, each key is assigned to two circuits and the keyboard can thus see which switches are pressed by their pairings. The keyboard does not know how many switches are open on each circuit, just that at least one is. Ghosting occurs when three or more keypresses cause the same signals as four or more keys. The keyboard then has two options: register all possible keypresses or jam and ignore everything (anti-ghosting). An NKRO-based matrix uses diodes to further isolate keys so that each can be individually addressed.

Thus an NKRO keyboard never needs to jam. It is immune to the conditions. Unfortunately, if they did not advertise anti-ghosting, the uninformed will think it is an inferior keyboard... rather than so superior that it is immune to the problem in the first place.

Back on the Vengeance K70, it will be available this month for $129.99 USD (MSRP).

Source: Corsair

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of SilverStone

SilverStone Technology is a well known company in the enthusiast space, offering high quality solutions from cases to case-mounted fan controllers and displays. SilverStone has also gone through several generations of CPU all-in-on liquid cooling solutions with the Tundra series being the culmination of these past designs. The Tundra Series TD03 liquid cooler is designed to cool CPUs of any make, including the latest processor offerings from both Intel and AMD. The cooler is comprised of a thick 120mm radiator attached to a uni-body aluminum CPU cooler with integrated copper base plate and pump. To best measure the TD03's performance, we set it against several other high-performance liquid and air-based coolers. The TD03 cooler comes with a retail MSRP of $99.99, putting it at the higher end of the all-in-one cooler price range.

Continue reading our review of the SilverStone Tundra Series TD03 All-in-One liquid cooler!

HCW Reviews Vortex KBT Race II Mechanical Keyboard

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | April 4, 2014 - 03:59 PM |
Tagged: vortex, mechanical keyboard

Carl Nelson of hardCOREware published a review of the Vortex KBT Race II mechanical keyboard. The quick summary is that he was impressed by several of its features but found that it was not as pleasant to type on, compared to other keyboards that he used - even with the same switch. It is a compact keyboard, slightly smaller than a Tenkeyless layout. The keycaps are laser-etched (which should give decent durability) with the same font as Windows 8. It is also backlit, the black model glows white and the white model glows green.

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H...C...W... how subtle, Carl.

They keyboard itself is about $130 USD and comes in Cherry MX Red, Brown, or Blue. It supports 6-key rollover but he does not mention whether there are any other limitations. For instance, does the interface allow for 6 buttons to be pressed, but you are screwed if press shift, up, and right together? This was the case with my old Logitech G15v1 and it made for an impossible task to play The Scout with the arrow keys in TF2. On the other hand, if it was based on an NKRO keyboard with the limitations of the USB interface, that is not so bad. I just do not know.

To see a little more, check out the review at HCW.

Source: HCW

A bright white tower from NZXT

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 1, 2014 - 12:41 PM |
Tagged: water-cooling, nzxt, Mid-Tower Case, h440, fn v2

Lee had great things to say about the NZXT H440 when he reviewed this mid-sized white beast and for those seeking a second opinion, [H]ard|OCP is ready to provide.  They received the same model of case, which we are not allowed to call Stormtrooper White, testing the feasibility and performance of both single and dual 120 and 140mm self contained watercoolers.  The review will give you a good idea what you can expect to fit within this case, ensuring you don't end up purchasing a combination of components which simply will not fit inside the case. 

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"The NZXT H440 Mid Tower Case is a steel enclosure that is solidly built and not priced incredibly high. Its designers have focused on a very clean look inside and out without forgetting about all the actual needs and wants enthusiasts have when it comes to a new chassis. NZXT do not short you on quality fans to make sure you keep your cool either."

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CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Manufacturer: BitFenix

Introduction, Packaging, and Specifications

The BitFenix Colossus has grown into a family of enclosures, from the massive E-ATX original all the way down to their diminutive mini-ITX version. But somewhere in between there lies a case offering some impressive flexibility, while still retaining a small footprint.

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As the PC industry has evolved over the last decade, the days of high-performance rigs requiring large towers and full-size ATX and E-ATX motherboards are gone. Of course there is still a market (and need) for full tower systems, and the majority of enthusiast motherboards available are still full ATX. But the evolution in process technology and platforms has allowed for more and more to be done within a smaller footprint, and the micro-ATX form factor has emerged as a solid option for anything from budget systems to extreme multi-GPU gaming powerhouses. Regardless of the path you choose, all of those sweet components need a home, and finding the right computer case has long been a very personal odyssey.

BitFenix entered the PC enclosure market in 2010 with the original Colossus, and since then they have grown into a respected brand with a large and differentiated product offering. From that first massive Colossus to the popular Prodigy mini-ITX, they have created an enclosure for just about any build. And while many cases specialize in one or two particular areas, once in a while you will find an enclosure that just begs for experimentation. The micro-ATX variant of the Colossus from BitFenix is just such a case. Every aspect of this small enclosure has been given a close look by BitFenix, and there are options galore for a variety of builds.

Continue reading our review of the BitFenix Colossus Micro-ATX Case Review!!

Manufacturer: Cooler Master

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Cooler Master

Cooler Master is known in the enthusiast community for their innovative designs with product offerings ranging from cases to desktop and laptop cooling implements. Like many other manufacturers, Cooler Master offers its own line of all-in-one liquid cooling solutions. Unique to their Glacer 240L cooler is the ability to easily add additional cooling blocks into the base loop. The Glacer 240L has an fill port integrated into the base of the radiator for drain and refill and uses removable clamps on all connections for easy maintenance and tube reconfiguration. To measure the performance of the Glacer 240L, we set it against several other high-performance liquid and air-based coolers. With a $139.99 MSRP, the Glacer 240L comes at a premium price.

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Courtesy of Cooler Master

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Courtesy of Cooler Master

Continue reading our review of the Cooler Master Glacer 240L liquid CPU cooler!

Raidmax Cobra Power 500W; can an old PSU learn new tricks?

Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 27, 2014 - 01:53 PM |
Tagged: Raidmax, Cobra, RX-500AF-B, 500W, PSU

The new Raidmax Cobra Power 500W PSU is actually a 6 year old RX-500AF with a new paintball splattered colour scheme.  [H]ard|OCP felt that really showed when they looked at the power it delivers, a single 12V rail is our preference but the 384W max at 32A seems low compared to current 500W models on the market.  That lack of power as well as other features which performed to specifications less than expected lead them to advise people to stay away from this PSU even with the attractively low price you will not be getting a great unit.

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"We tread off the beaten PSU path today with a power supply from Raidmax that is part of the Cobra series. The RX-500AF-B unit sports 500 watts of "Haswell Ready" power, a Bronze efficiency rating, advertised stable voltages, a "strong single +12V rail for high-end system heavy load configuration," plus a paint ball stained exterior."

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CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP