Manufacturer: Multiple

Finding Your Clique

One of the difficulties with purchasing a mechanical keyboard is that they are quite expensive and vary greatly in subtle, but important ways. First and foremost, we have the different types of keyswitches. These are the components that are responsible for making each button behave, and thus varying them will lead to variations in how those buttons react and feel.

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Until recently, the Cherry MX line of switches were the basis of just about every major gaming mechanical keyboard, although we will discuss recent competitors later on. Its manufacturer, Cherry Corp / ZF Electronics, maintained a strict color code to denote the physical properties of each switch. These attributes range from the stiffness of the spring to the bumps and clicks felt (or heard) as the key travels toward its bottom and returns back up again.

  Linear Tactile Clicky
45 cN Cherry MX Red
Cherry MX Brown
Razer Orange
Omron/Logitech Romer-G
 
50 cN    
Cherry MX Blue
Cherry MX White (old B)
Razer Green
55 cN   Cherry MX Clear  
60 cN Cherry MX Black    
80 cN Cherry MX Linear Grey (SB) Cherry MX Tactile Grey (SB)
Cherry MX Green (SB)
Cherry MX White (old A)
Cherry MX White (2007+)
90 cN     IBM Model M (not mechanical)
105 cN     Cherry MX Click Grey (SB)
150+ cN Cherry MX Super Black    

(SB) Denotes switches with stronger springs that are primarily for, or only for, Spacebars. The Click Grey is intended for spacebars on Cherry MX White, Green, and Blue keyboards. The MX Green is intended for spacebars on Cherry MX Blue keyboards (but a few rare keyboards use these for regular keys). The MX Linear Grey is intended for spacebars on Cherry MX Black keyboards.

The four main Cherry MX switches are: Blue, Brown, Black, and Red. Other switches are available, such as the Cherry MX Green, Clear, three types of Grey, and so forth. You can separate (I believe) all of these switches into three categories: Linear, Tactile, and Clicky. From there, the only difference is the force curve, usually from the strength of the spring but also possibly from the slider features (you'll see what I mean in the diagrams below).

Read on to see a theoretical comparison of various mechanical keyswitches.

A uniquely designed radiator, the Hardware Labs Black Ice Nemesis 360GTX

Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 11, 2014 - 05:39 PM |
Tagged: Hardware Labs, Nemesis 360GTX, radiator, Black Ice

The Black Ice Nemesis 360GTX from Hardware Labs is a radiator sold separately for modders and extreme coolers who want a custom built water cooling system.  It is designed for three 120mm fans to push air through its 54mm thick body and is optimized for low noise fans operating at sub-800 rpm speeds.  The textured matte black finish is unique to this company and will look impressive on any machine but more so one specifically designed with the finish in mind.  HiTech Legion tested it out and saw good cooling results even at low fan speeds.

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"In looking at the new Nemesis 360GTX, I saw a lot of buzzwords thrown out there by Hardware Labs; “Stealth”, “Supercruise”, “Dark Matter”. Buzzwords usually scare me a bit, as it seems they usually turn out to be a gimmicky name for something either underachieving or completely irrelevant. Thankfully, that is not the case with the Nemesis 360GTX."

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

CASES & COOLING

Another look at the Corsair H75

Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 5, 2014 - 04:35 PM |
Tagged: corsair, Hydro H75, AIO, water cooler

[H]ard|OCP are returning to several of the CPU coolers that they have reviewed over the past year to provide a more up to date and accurate comparison of their current performance.  They have deployed a new testbench and so there are a few coolers that were tested on older hardware and so the performance they observed does not refer to current hardware.  In order to give you an informed opinion on the current contenders for your cash they have replicated their Corsair Hydro H75 with comparison charts that show the performance of various coolers all on the same hardware and with current pricing.  If you are already familiar with the H75 then you can jump to the last page for the overall results and price to performance measurements, those who did not read their initial review should take the time to read through the full review.

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"Corsair has been in the liquid CPU cooling game for over 10 years now. As sealed system liquid CPU coolers have become the norm among hardware enthusiasts, the competition has gotten stiff to say the least. Another thing that has changed over the years is that many DIYers are going to smaller cases for their systems."

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Manufacturer: NZXT

Introduction

In the last few years NZXT has emerged as a popular choice for computer builds with stylish cases for a variety of needs. The newest member of the H series, the H440, promises quiet performance and offers a clean look by eliminating optical drive bays entirely from the design. While this might be a deal-breaker for some, the days of the ODD seem to be numbered as more enclosures are making the move away from the 5.25" bay.

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Image credit: NZXT

But we aren't looking at just any H440 today, as NZXT has sent along a completely custom version designed in alliance with gaming accessory maker Razer to be "the ultimate gamer's chassis". (This case is currently available direct from NZXT's online store.) In this review we'll look at just what makes this H440 different, and test out a complete build while we're at it. Performance will be as big a metric as appearance here since the H440 is after all an enclosure designed for silence, with noise dampening an integral part of NZXT's construction of the case.

Green with Envy?

From the outset you'll notice the Razer branding extends beyond just special paint and trim, as custom lighting is installed right out of the box to give this incarnation of the H440 a little more gaming personality (though this lighting can be switched off, if desired). Not only do the front and side logos and power button light up green, but the bottom of the case features effects lighting to cast an eerie green glow on your desktop or floor.

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Image credit: NZXT

Continue reading our review of the NZXT H440 Designed by Razer!!

When you absolutely postively have to have 1500W but little space to put it

Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 3, 2014 - 06:01 PM |
Tagged: Strider Gold 1500W, Silverstone, modular psu, kilowatt, 80 Plus Gold

At 1500W peak power, 120A max on the 12V rails, the SilverStone Strider Gold 1500W will power any system you throw it in.  There are other PSUs with that level of power but none measuring just a hair bigger than the 120mm cooling fan, a hair over 7" in length.  In [H]ard|OCP's testing they found it to have a bit more variance in the voltages than they prefer but well within spec and at as good if not better than any of the other 1500W PSUs that they have reviewed.  If you truly do need the power and can afford the asking price then you should check out the full review.

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"SilverStone is a well known name among computer hardware enthusiasts. It has a good record of building solid PSUs, some of those good, some of those great. Today it comes to us with 1500 watts of power in an extremely small footprint, sporting 100% fully modular cables, and claiming extremely good efficiency."

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

NZXT's H440,now with Razer on the front

Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 1, 2014 - 05:18 PM |
Tagged: razer, nzxt, h440

The NZXT H440 Razer Edition matches the layout and design of the regular H440 but now you can show off additional brand loyalty if you are into that sort of display.  There is glowing Razer logo embedded in the front panel with clear plastic over top to protect it and give it a raised look.  The interior is now much darker, which can make your LED lighting stand out more and does improve the looks of the cases interior.  When all is said and done there is nothing about the case that has been improved over the base model; as Benchmark Reviews rightfully points out, you are paying $30 for looks if you chose this case and there will be those that do.

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"Razer, creator of all things peripheral, has finally released their hotly anticipated entry into the chassis market. This is the NZXT H440 – Designed by Razer. With a completely new appearance featuring a matte black exterior and interior, four black NZXT fans, a large tinted window, and plenty of LED lighting, this chassis will be sure to make every Razer fan’s wish list, especially given that it retains the original H440 quality and simplicity."

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

CASES & COOLING

Revisiting an old favourite, Corsair's H60 is still going strong

Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 25, 2014 - 12:57 PM |
Tagged: corsair, h60, AIO, water cooler

It is somewhat surprising to realize that the Corsair H60 has not been updated since 2013 and even more surprising that it remains relevant even after what equates to a huge slice of time in the component industry.  It retails for $60 and is compatible with every modern AMD and Intel socket and thanks to its compact design it can fit in smaller systems that the competitions larger coolers cannot.  The H60 now falls towards the middle of [H]ard|OCP's performance charts with larger coolers providing a better result but only in systems which they can fit into and also commanding a much higher price than the H60. It may no longer be at the top of the cooler rankings but when you look at the price to performance and flexibility the H60 remains a viable choice for those shopping for an aftermarket cooler.

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"Today we are re-reviewing an older All-in-One CPU from Corsair that is surely a stalwart in the CPU cooling industry. The H60 AIO CPU cooler is a cost effective choice for those enthusiasts looking for a good solution at a good price. The redesigned H60 has been in the market place for 2 years now, which is saying something if it is still competitive."

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Introduction: Defining the Quiet Enclosure

The Define R5 is the direct successor to Fractal Design's R4 enclosure, and it arrives with the promise of a completely improved offering in the silent case market. Fractal Design has unveiled the case today, and we have the day-one review ready for you!

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We've looked at a couple of budget cases recently from the Swedish enclosure maker, and though still affordable with an MSRP of $109.99 (a windowed version will also be available for $10 more) the Define R5 from Fractal Design looks like a premium part throughout. In keeping with the company's minimalist design aesthetic it features clean styling, and is a standard mid-tower form factor supporting boards from ATX down to mini-ITX. The R5 also offers considerable cooling flexibility with many mounting options for fans and radiators.

The Silent Treatment

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One of two included 1000 RPM hydraulic-bearing GP-14 silent fans

There are always different needs to consider when picking an enclosure, from price to application. And with silent cases there is an obvious need to for superior sound-dampening properties, though airflow must be maintained to prevent cooking components as well. With today's review we'll examine the case inside and out and see how a complete build performs with temperature and noise testing.

Continue reading our review of the Fractal Design Define R5 enclosure!!

Manufacturer: In Win

Introduction: Caged Beast

The D Frame Mini from In Win is a wild-looking, wildly expensive case that defies convention in many ways.

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First of all, calling the In Win D Frame mini an enclosure is a bit of a stretch. The design is part open-air case, part roll cage. Of course open air cases are not a new concept, but this is certainly a striking implementation; a design almost more akin to a testbench in some ways. When installed the components will be more open to the air than otherwise, as only the sides of the frame are covered (with panels made of tempered glass).

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The most noticeable design aspect of the D Frame mini are the welded tubes that make up the frame. The tubes are aluminum and resemble the frame of an aluminum bicycle, right down to the carefully welded joints. Around the perimeter of the frame are rather sizable soft plastic/rubber bumpers that protect the enclosure and help eliminate vibrations. Due to the design there is no specific orientation required for the enclosure, and it sits equally well in each direction.

There is support for 240mm radiators, virtually unlimited water cooling support given the mostly open design, and room for extra-long graphics cards and power supplies. The frame looks and feels like it could withstand just about anything, but it should probably be kept away from small children and pets given the ease with which fans and other components could be touched. And the D Frame mini is extremely expensive at $350. Actually, it’s just kind of extreme in general!

Continue reading our review of the In Win D Frame mini enclosure!!

Corsair's Carbide Series Air 240, dual chambered to reduce heat and increase free space

Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 18, 2014 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: SFF, mini-itx, micro-atx, corsair, carbide series air 240

Corsair's new Air 240 is a decent choice for a high end Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX system as it is 15.6" x 10.2" x 12.6" (397 x 260 x 320 mm ) which is enough to squeeze in a larger sized GPU although not deep enough for most high end air coolers.  A self contained LCS is not a bad idea as the case ships with three 120mm fans and can fit another three 120mm fans and a pair of 80mm fans for air coolers, or up to a 240mm radiator instead if that is your preference.  The drive cages are all tool-less and strategically placed to give you more room for other components, it will be a tight squeeze for your hands while installing your system.  The Tech Report were impressed with the case and while it did lack some extra features like a fan controller it is worth the impressively low price, currently $90.

Ryan did a video review of this case back in August if you want a more visual overview.

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"The Carbide Series Air 240 is a small-form-factor case with an interesting dual-chamber design. We loaded it up with our Casewarmer system and took it for a spin."

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

CASES & COOLING