In Win Unveils Full Tower Tou Chassis

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 6, 2013 - 01:12 AM |
Tagged: in win, tou, full tower, atx, tempered glass

In Win, a manufacturer of cases, power supplies, and storage drives showed off a prototype full tower ATX case at Computex 2013 that is now officially launching as a production model in limited quantities. The case, called the Tou, is constructed of a sand case aluminum frame and surrounded by tempered glass with a mirror finish.

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The glass is such that when the internal case LEDs are off, the various case panels act as mirrors. However, when the internal blue LEDs are turned on, light passes through the glass and users can see the PC internals through the glass panels.

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The full tower chassis is roughly rectangular with angular edges, a large mesh vent on the top panel, bottom mounted 5.25” drive bay, and two handles attached to the front panel. The front panel has two skinny vents on either side to allow the front 120mm intake fan to pull in cool air. The top panel supports 360mm water cooling radiators or three 120mm fans. Front IO includes two USB 3.0 ports and two audio ports.

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Internally, the In Win Tou case supports ATX motherboards, ATX power supplies, three 3.5” hard drives, two 2.5” SSDs, and GPUs up to 380mm in length.

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According to Hexus.net, the limited edition Tou case will be available soon for around $800. IT is an interesting design, and the mirrored panels are unique. I don't care for the particular angular edges and bolt pattern on the side panel, and the internal features are at a bare minimum, which is less than I would have expected from an $800 case. I'm interested to see what case modders are able to do with it though, and how enthusiasts take advantage of the mirrored glass to show off their systems.

Source: In Win

Quoth the Raven, "SilverStone"

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 4, 2013 - 06:46 PM |
Tagged: Silverstone, Raven RV04

When the front of your case has a pair of 180mm fans in it you know it is big, 219x581x497mm (8.6x22.8x19.5") or as they describe it on the spec sheet, 63.2 litres, which is a lot of mineral oil.  This does mean you have space for oversized coolers and massive GPUs as well as over a dozen drives of varying sizes as well as radiators for watercooling.  [H]ard|OCP were not impressed with the door on this case but were quite impressed at the capabilities of what seemed at first glance to be mediocre fan filters.  See what you think of the overall design as well as the functionality in their full review.

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"The SilverStone Raven series of computer cases have been favorites around the HardOCP offices for years. This new Raven RV04 has a somewhat different spin, literally. Long gone is the 90 degree rotation on the mainboard which brings the Raven back into the realm of "normal" cases. SilverStone is preaching an even better thermal profile."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Digital Storm Releases HydroLux Liquid Cooling System

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 2, 2013 - 11:31 PM |
Tagged: Digital Storm, hydrolux, aventum II, water cooling

Last week, boutique OEM Digital Storm unleashed the HydroLux cooling system for its high end desktops. The HydroLux system is a high end, custom water cooling system for all of the major system components paired with custom software that allows users to monitor and manage the cooling system.

Digital Storm Hydrolux Cooling.jpg

The Hydrolux loop is essentially a highly customized water loop with some interesting extra features. The water loop is designed to cool the CPU, VRMs, and GPUs with water. The various water blocks have chrome fittings and are connected using red tubing. A large cylindrical reservoir, high flow pump, and two 360mm radiators make up the rest of the water loop. The two radiators each have three LED-lit 120mm fans. Other features include quick disconnects to facilitate easy component upgrades and a high flow pumps rated at 300 gallons per hour.

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Using the HydroLux software, users can monitor the temperatures of the components (CPU, GPU, HDD, ect) and the water temperature itself. The LEDS used in the chassis and on the fans can be set to certain user-selected colors or to automatic mode which will gradually change the color from blue to red as the system temperature increases from higher system load be it gaming, rendering, or other intensive activities.

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Enthusiasts are also able to choose from three pre-set modes that will control the fan speeds to get the best balance of noise and cooling performance.

The HydroLux cooling system will be available on all of Digital Storm's desktops, including the new Aventum II. In short, while it is essentially just a custom water loop, the company has added some nice features to make it interesting and if you are going the OEM/boutique route it looks to be one of the better pre-built custom water options.

CODE Keyboard Is Probably Pretty Good

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 2, 2013 - 02:12 AM |
Tagged: WASD Keyboards, mechanical keyboard, keyboard, CODE

... But if you read the blog post, you would think it is the one keyboard to rule them all.

The CODE is the product, literally, of a collaboration between Stack Overflow co-founder Jeff Atwood and Weyman Kwong of WASD Keyboards. I recognize the tongue-in-cheek humor and I acknowledge that the team are clearly (that was not a Cherry MX switch pun... that I would admit to) well suited to the challenge of designing a keyboard for programmers.

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Before we run through the opinion, its key touted perks are:

  • Cherry MX Clear switches
    • Similar to Cherry MX Brown with much more resistance. Hard to bottom out.
  • DIP switches to customize functionality without software.
  • White LED backlighting
  • Very stable rubberized ergonomic flaps and angled pads.
  • Detachable Micro USB cable

The thing is, WASD Keyboards already allows users to purchase customized keyboards. As far as I can tell, the CODE is just a variant of the existing WASD V2 104-key Custom Mechanical Keyboard with white backlighting. Both Keyboards are priced at $149.99. The CODE limits your choice but provides you with the illuminated keys and the MX Clear switches, normally a $10 upgrade, in exchange for just taking what you are offered without question. Okay, you can ask for a 104-Key or an 87-Key version, so one question is allowed. Still, the CODE is a good value; as I mentioned, you basically get free key lighting and a free upgrade to Cherry MX Clear.

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But it is still not an epiphany for mechanical keyboard lovers.

At one point, I hoped to take some time for a hobby and modify a mechanical keyboard to fit my specifications. I envisioned an aluminum body enclosing solidly built buckle-spring keys. I did not know about Cherry MX Green switches at the time. For keycaps, I imagined two pieces of glass sandwiching a translucent white plastic sheet masked with a black symbol for each letter. I figure the feel of glass would be more pleasing to the fingers than warm plastic. Each key would, of course, be let from underneath with a soft white (blue-doped-white) LED. Each translucent sheet would softly diffuse the light except for the shadow of whatever characters the key represents.

That would be a revolution... for me. I think I would like the feel of cool glass under my fingers.

So I guess I leave the post with a question for the viewers: What would your "perfect" keyboard be?

Source: CODE

Cooler Master Elite 130 Is A Mini ITX Case With Full Mesh Front Panel

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 29, 2013 - 09:21 PM |
Tagged: mini ITX, htpc, elite 130, cooler master

Cooler Master recently released the Elite 130 Mini ITX case, which is an update to the existing Elite 120. The Elite 130 measures 9.4” x 8.1” x 14.9” (240mm x 205mm x 377.5mm) and will be available for under $50.

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The Elite 130 weighs 6.8 pounds and is constructed of a steel alloy body with a polymer mesh front panel. The all black chassis has a mesh front panel with IO on the left and a single 5.25” drive bay. There is an 80mm vent on the right panel and a vent (without a fan) on the left side panel. The rear of the case features two PCI slots and a single rubber grommet for water cooling or USB 3.0 pass through cables. The case supports standard ATX power supplies through the use of an extension bracket. The PSU sticks out slightly from the back of the case and a vent on the case’s top panel allows for the power supply to pull in cool air from the outside rather than from the case internals.

Cooler Master Elite 130 Mini ITX Case Rear IO.jpg

Front IO on the Cooler Master Elite 130 includes two USB 3.0 ports and two audio jacks.

Internally, the Elite 130 supports a single 5.25” drive, two 3.5” hard drives, and a single solid state drive mounted in a side bracket. Alternatively, users can forgo an optical drive in favor of having three total 3.5” drives or four total 2.5” drives.

Cooler Master Elite 130 Cooling.jpg

The case comes pre-installed with a 120mm intake fan and users can add a single 80x15mm fan on the right side panel. Users can swap out the front intake fan for water cooling radiator.

The Elite 130 supports Mini ITX motherboards, graphics cards up to 13.5,” CPU coolers up to 2.5” tall, and power supplies up to 180mm long.

According to Maximum PC, the Cooler Master Elite 130 is available from Amazon for $43.26. The Mini ITX case comes with a two year warranty.

Lian Li Shows Off Massive PC-A79 Full Tower

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 28, 2013 - 04:18 PM |
Tagged: Lian Li, Lian Li PC-A79, full tower, e-atx, XL-ATX, hptx, aluminum

Lian Li recently showed off a new full tower case -- clad in the company’s traditional brushed aluminum -- called the PC-A79. The PC-A79 measures 24.3” x 9” x 23.4” and offers up ample space for high end PC components.

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On the outside, the Lian Li PC-A79 is covered in dark brushed aluminum. It has two front case feet and two rear wheels to make transporting the system easier. The front of the case hosts 12 individually filtered mesh 5.25” bay covers. There are also two LEDs for power and HDD activity in the top right corner of the front panel. The bezel surrounding the bay covers can be removed with needing tools to allow for easy removal of the bay covers and hard drives (depending on which way you install the hard drive cages). The left side panel comes with two pre-installed 120mm fans. Interestingly, Lian Li has designed a connector and routed the fan wires such that the side panel can be removed without needing to worry about disconnecting the fans. Additionally, the top of the case has a filtered vent that can hold up to two 140mm fans (or a 280mm radiator). The fans get screwed into a bracket which in turn is screwed into the top panel, making installation a bit easier.

Front IO on the PC-A79 is hidden under a cover on the front edge of the top panel. IO options include two audio jacks, four USB 3.0 ports, and a single eSATA port.

Rear IO includes six water cooling grommets, a single 120mm exhaust fan, a bottom-mounted PSU, and 11 PCI slots. There is a filter for the bottom mounted power supply that can be removed from the side of the case which is a nice option to have.

Internally, the full tower supports motherboards up to HTPX, E-ATX and XL-ATX in size, graphics cards up to 350mm (13.78”) in length, and CPU coolers up to 165mm (5.7”) tall. The PC-A79 comes with three hard drive cages, each of which can hold three 3.5” hard drives and two 2.5” solid state drives. In addition to the drive cages, users can mount two 2.5” drives on the bottom of the case for a total of nine 3.5” drives and eight SSDs. The drives mount into the cages using brushed aluminum brackets that double as handles. The drives slide into the cages and are locked in place by a thumbscrew latch. The case features a removable motherboard tray with a large CPU cutout and eight rubber grommets that allow for routing cables behind the motherboard tray.

Lian Li PC-A79 Full Tower Workstation Case Internals.jpg

The case supports up to seven total fans (not counting the PSU fan), including:

  • 2 x 120mm side panel fans
  • 3 x 120mm front panel fans (mounted on hard drive cages)
  • 2 x 120 or 140mm fans on top panel

The massive full tower case will be available in September with an MSRP of $389. While PC gamers may opt for more sylish cases, the Lian Li PC-A79 would be a good fit for workstation builds.

Source: Lian Li

Seasonic seems to be competing against its self with the X-Series

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 27, 2013 - 03:56 PM |
Tagged: X-650, Seasonic X-Series, PSU, modular psu

Seasonic's X-650 PSU is fully modular, allowing you to choose exactly what cables you use though the ATX power is mandatory.  It has four 6+2 PCIe power connectors and can deliver 648W @ 54A to the 12V rail making this a solid choice for a multi-GPU system.  The performance on [H]ard|OCP's test bench was excellent, the only complaint they've had is that Seasonic really hasn't changed much about their PSUs in quite a while.  That might be a little boring for reviewers but for enthusiasts, great performance at a variety of wattage is a good thing.

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"Seasonic's X-Series computer power supply comes to us boasting a patented fully modular design that minimizes voltage drops and impedance while greatly maximizing efficiency, cooling, and overall performance. Being a Seasonic unit, we can also count on it targeting the users looking for a quiet computing experience."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Manufacturer: Corsair

A unique enthusiast chassis

The Corsair Carbide Air 540 is a very unique case.  It fits a full size ATX motherboard and up to four dual-slot graphics cards but it's shorter than you might expect thanks to a design choice that splits the active components from the mostly passive ones.  The result is a case that is more square than rectangular yet still combines the charm of Corsair designs with the performance enthusiasts want.

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For the best view of the case check out the video review below and then continue on for some additional photos and commentary.

Divided into two side by side compartments, the Air 540 has a unique front style merging a mesh look on the left with matte black paint on the right.

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The right hand side includes two 5.25-in optical drive bays turned 90 degrees to fit in the smaller right hand compartment.  Honestly, I am looking forward to the day that a case vendor is gutsy enough to leave off optical bays completely in an enthusiast design as I just think they take away from the overall appeal and looks.

Continue reading our review of the Corsair Carbide Air 540 Case!!

Lian Li Shows Off PC-Q33 Prototype Mini ITX Case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 25, 2013 - 06:34 PM |
Tagged: PC-Q33, mini ITX, Lian Li, aluminum

Lian Li recently posted information about a new prototype chassis on the Xtreme Systems forum. The new case, called the PC-Q33 is a Mini ITX chassis with a unique hinged front panel that allows unfettered access to the internal hardware. Coming in bare aluminum or black brushed aluminum, the case supports Mini ITX or Mini DTX motherboards, 220mm long graphics cards, 200mm long power supplies, and 180mm tall CPU coolers. The PC-Q33 itself measures 229mm (W) x 330mm (H) x 248mm (D) which works out to approximately 9” x 13” x 10”.

Lian Li PC-Q33 Mini-ITX case_front.jpg

Silver case feet hold up the case which has mesh grills on the front and both side panels. There is a mesh vent for a 120mm fan on the back of the case along with a vent on the bottom of the case for the bottom mounted power supply. Lian Li has stated that a removable dust filter may be added to the case if there is enough interest. Users can unscrew the side panels to access the hardware or additionally unscrew two thumscrews to release the top and front panels which open on a hinge to make installing all of the components easier.

Lian Li PC-Q33 Mini-ITX case.jpg

Internally, the case supports three 2.5” drives and two 3.5” drives. Drives can be installed in a cage below the motherboard or on the inside of the front panel. The back of the case features two grommets for water cooling tubes (for external radiators) along with a removable PSU bracket and two expansion slots (ie for a graphics card).

Lian Li has asked enthuiasts to comment on the new prototype case, which you can do here.

Personally, I think the PC-Q33 looks great and I hope that it comes to fruition as a real product. The hinged front panel is a neat idea and should make it extremely easy to work on the PC. I could definitely see myself using a case like this for my next Mini-ITX build along with a card like the ASUS GTX 760 Direct CU Mini. I’m also interested to see what the modders and water cooling enthusiasts are able to do with the new case!

Cooler Master Shows Off Cosmos SE At GamesCom

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 24, 2013 - 02:17 PM |
Tagged: mid-tower, gamescom, cosmos se, cosmos, cooler master, aluminum

At GamesCom in Germany earlier this week, Cooler Master showed off an updated mid-tower version of its Cosmos S: the Cosmos SE. This new case was on display at the company's GamesCom booth and is an aluminum mid-tower clad in all black. The Cosmos SE shares a similar outward appearance and form factor to the existing (full tower) Cosmos S, except it is shorter and features a redesigned front bezel. The side panel window shape is the same on the two Cosmos S-series cases. The new Cosmos SE does keep the solid aluminum handles and raised legs, however. The front IO is located above the 5.25" bays on the top edge of the case and includes two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, and two audio jacks.

Internally, the case can accommodate ATX motherboards, three 5.25" drives, and at least five 3.5" or 2.5" hard drives or SSDs. A bottom mounted power supply sits below the motherboard, but with enough room for two dual slot graphics cards.

Cooler Master Cosmos SE Mid-Tower PC Case.jpg

As far as cooling, the Cosmos SE can fit a 240mm radiator on the top of the case and a 360mm radiator with the front hard drive bays removed. Cable management has reportedly been tweaked as well.

The case looks nice but the ability to mount a 360mm rad (even at the cost of removing the 5.25" bays) to the top of the case would have been a welcome feature.

Unfortunately, beyond the photos coming out of GamesCom, details on the new case are scarce. Pricing and availability in particular are still unknown.

Are you excited for the Cosmos SE?