Author:
Manufacturer: be quiet!

Introduction and Features

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In this review we will take a detailed look at one of be quiet!’s top of the line power supplies, the Dark Power Pro 11 750W. There are currently six power supplies in the Dark Power Pro 11 Series, which include 550W, 650W, 750W, 850W, 1000W and 1200W models. As you might expect, be quiet! continues to be focused on delivering virtually silent power supplies and they are one of the top selling brands in Europe. All of the Dark Power Pro 11 models are certified for high efficiency (80 Plus Platinum) and come with modular cables.

be quiet! designed the Dark Power Pro 11 Series to provide high efficiency with minimal noise for systems that demand whisper-quiet operation without compromising on power quality. In addition to the Dark Power Pro 11 Series, be quiet! offers a full range of power supplies in ATX, SFX, and TFX form factors.

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(Courtesy of be quiet!)

All of the Dark Power Pro 11 Series power supplies are semi-modular (all cables are modular except for the fixed 24-pin ATX cable). Along with 80 Plus Platinum certified high efficiency and quiet operation, the Dark Power Pro 11 750W PSU features an “overclocking” key to select between multi-rail and single rail +12V outputs. The power supply uses be quiet!’s latest SilentWings3 135mm fan for virtually silent operation. The fan speed starts out very slow and remains slow and quiet through mid-power levels. And the Dark Power Pro 11 power supplies allow connecting up to four case fans, whose speed will be controlled by the PSU.

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be quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 750W PSU Key Features:

•    750W continuous DC output (ATX12V v2.4, EPS 2.92 compliant)
•    Virtually inaudible SilentWings3 135mm FDB cooling fan
•    80 PLUS Platinum certified efficiency (up to 94%)
•    Premium 105°C rated parts enhance stability and reliability
•    Powerful GPU support with seven PCI-E connectors
•    User-friendly cable management reduces clutter and improves airflow
•    NVIDIA SLI Ready and AMD CrossFire X certified
•    ErP 2014 ready and meets Energy Star 6.0 guidelines
•    Zero load design supports Intel’s Deep Power Down C6 & C7 modes
•    Overclocking key selects between single or multiple +12V rails
•    Active Power Factor correction (0.99) with Universal AC input
•    Intelligent speed control for up to four case fans
•    Safety Protections :OCP, OVP, UVP, SCP, OTP, and OPP
•    5-Year warranty

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Here is what be quiet! has to say about the Dark Power Pro 11 750W PSU: "It is a fact of the modern world that high technology requires constant refinement and unending improvement – and that is even truer for those who would be leaders. Dark Power Pro power supplies are renowned as the world’s quietest and most efficient high-performance PSUs. The Dark Power Pro 11 750W model takes that a step further with a power conversion topology that delivers 80Plus Platinum performance, add to that an unparalleled array of enhancements that augment this unit’s compatibility, convenience of use, reliability, and safety, and the result is the most technologically-advanced power supply be quiet! has ever built.”

Please continue reading our review of the Dark Power Pro 11 750W PSU!

ASUS Responds to GTX 1080 "Reviewer VBIOS" Concerns

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 17, 2016 - 04:52 PM |
Tagged: asus, GTX 1080, strix, vbios

Yesterday, there were several news stories posted on TechpowerUp and others claiming that ASUS and MSI were sending out review samples of GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 graphics cards with higher clock speeds than retail parts. The insinuation of course is that ASUS was cheating, overclocking the cards going to media for reviews in order to artificially represent performance.

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Image source: Techpowerup

MSI and ASUS have been sending us review samples for their graphics cards with higher clock speeds out of the box, than what consumers get out of the box. The cards TechPowerUp has been receiving run at a higher software-defined clock speed profile than what consumers get out of the box. Consumers have access to the higher clock speed profile, too, but only if they install a custom app by the companies, and enable that profile. This, we feel, is not 100% representative of retail cards, and is questionable tactics by the two companies. This BIOS tweaking could also open the door to more elaborate changes like a quieter fan profile or different power management.

There was, and should be, a legitimate concern about these types of moves. Vendor one-up-manship could lead to an arms race of stupidity, similar to what we saw on motherboards and base frequencies years ago, where CPUs would run at 101.5 MHz base clock rather than 100 MHz (resulting in a 40-50 MHz total clock speed change) giving that board a slight performance advantage. However, the differences we are talking about with the GTX 1080 scandal are very small.

  • Retail VBIOS base clock: 1683 MHz
  • Media VBIOS base clock: 1709 MHz
  • Delta: 1.5%

And in reality, that 1.5% clock speed difference (along with the 1% memory clock rate difference) MIGHT result in ~1% of real-world performance changes. Those higher clock speeds are easily accessible to consumers by enabling the "OC Mode" in the ASUS GPU Tweak II software shipped with the graphics card. And the review sample cards can also be adjusted down to the shipping clock speeds through the same channel.

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ASUS sent along its official statement on the issue.

ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 graphics cards come with exclusive GPU Tweak II software, which provides silent, gaming, and OC modes allowing users to select a performance profile that suits their requirements. Users can apply these modes easily from within GPU Tweak II.
 
The press samples for the ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 OC and ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1070 OC cards are set to “OC Mode” by default. To save media time and effort, OC mode is enabled by default as we are well aware our graphics cards will be reviewed primarily on maximum performance. And when in OC mode, we can showcase both the maximum performance and the effectiveness of our cooling solution.
 
Retail products are in “Gaming Mode” by default, which allows gamers to experience the optimal balance between performance and silent operation. We encourage end-users to try GPU Tweak II and adjust between the available modes, to find the best mode according to personal needs or preferences.
 
For both the press samples and retail cards, all these modes can be selected through the GPU Tweak II software. There are no differences between the samples we sent out to media and the retail channels in terms of hardware and performance.
 
Sincerely,
ASUSTeK COMPUTER INC.

While I don't believe that ASUS' intentions were entirely to save me time in my review, and I think that the majority of gamers paying $600+ for a graphics card would be willing to enable the OC mode through software, it's clearly a bad move on ASUS' part to have done this. Having a process in place at all to create a deviation from retail cards on press hardware is questionable, other than checking for functionality to avoid shipping DOA hardware to someone on a deadline. 

As of today I have been sent updated VBIOS for the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 that put them into exact same mode as the retail cards consumers can purchase. 

We are still waiting for a direct response from MSI on the issue as well.

Hopefully this debacle will keep other vendors from attempting to do anything like this in the future. We don't need any kind of "quake/quack" in our lives today.

Silverstone expands their Argon series with the AR08

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 15, 2016 - 07:48 PM |
Tagged: Argon Series, Silverstone, AR08

We have seen numerous examples of SilverStone's Argon series of heatsinks, dating back to the AR01 which Morry reviewed in 2014.  The AR08 is a new member of the series, 285g and 92x50x134mm with a 92mm fan and a $35 price tag.  The small size and price make a good choice for those on a budget and who chose a smaller case which precludes the use of a Morry special cooler.  As you might expect, the competition for this cooler is the stock cooler which came with your processor, which in [H]ard|OCP's testing that would be an i7-4770K.  Check out the full review to see how well it can outperform the stock cooler, in both heat and sound management.

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"SilverStone's Argon Series AR08 looks to address those building a budget mid-level computer that balances performance and budget. It does however bring some enthusiast features with it like direct contact heatpipes, a 92mm PWM "diamond edged" fan, and noise dampening technologies. "

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

CASES & COOLING

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

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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SilverStone is a veteran in the PC power supply industry and they continue to offer a full line of enclosures, power supplies, fans, coolers, and PC accessories. They have raised the bar in their Strider power supply series, which now includes three 80 Plus Titanium certified units, the ST60F-TI, ST70F-TI, and ST80F-TI. These three units are billed as being “the world’s smallest 80 Plus Titanium, full-modular ATX power supplies”; with a chassis that is only 150mm (5.9”) deep.

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The 80 Plus Titanium efficiency standards were introduced in 2012 and are the most demanding specifications to date. In addition to raising the efficiency requirements at 20%, 50% and 100% loads, the Titanium standard adds a new requirement at 10%. This insures that a Titanium certified power supply will operate with at least 90% efficiency over the full range of loads and deliver up to 94% efficiency at a 50% load.

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I’m also happy to report that SilverStone is now providing a 5-year warranty on both the Strider Titanium and Strider Platinum series power supplies; up from their standard 3-year warranty.

SilverStone ST60F-TI Power Supply Key Features:

•    80 Plus Titanium certified for super-high efficiency
•    Compact design with a depth of 150mm for easy integration
•    All-modular, flat ribbon-style cables
•    100% all Japanese made capacitors
•    Strict ±3% voltage regulation and low AC ripple and noise
•    Powerful single +12V rail
•    Four PCI-E connectors for multiple GPU support
•    Safety Protections: OCP, OTP, OPP, UVP, OVP, and SCP
•    Quiet 120mm fan with Fluid Dynamic bearing
•    140mm dust filter
•    5-Year warranty

Please continue reading our review of the SilverStone ST60F-TI PSU!!!

Author:
Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction and Features

Introduction

Corsair continues to expand their extensive power supply lineup with the addition of two new small form factor (SFX) units, the SF450 and SF600. The SF Series power supplies are fully modular and optimized for quiet operation and high efficiency. Both power supplies feature Zero RPM Fan Mode, which means the fan doesn’t start to spin until the power supply is under a moderate to heavy load. The SF450 and SF600 are 80 Plus Gold certified for high efficiency and come with a 5-year warranty.

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While the SF Series is designed for use in small form factor enclosures, Corsair’s SF Series power supplies can also be used in standard ATX cases to save room via the optional SFX to ATX adapter bracket. As you can see in the photo below, the SF Series power supply is much smaller in all three dimensions than a standard ATX power supply. We will be taking a detailed look at the new SF600W power supply in this review.

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SF Series 600W vs. ATX Series 650W

Corsair SF Series 600W PSU Key Features:

•    Small Form Factor (SFX) design
•    Very quiet with Zero RPM Fan Mode
•    92mm cooling fan optimized for low noise
•    80 Plus Gold certified for high efficiency
•    All-modular, flat ribbon-style cables
•    100% all Japanese made 105°C capacitors
•    ATX12V v2.4 and EPS 2.92 compliant
•    6th Generation Intel Core processor Ready
•    Safety Protections: OCP, OVP, UVP, SCP, OTP, and OPP
•    7-Year warranty

Please continue reading our review of the Corsair SF Series 600W PSU!!!

iBuypower Demos Project Snowblind

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 7, 2016 - 12:30 PM |
Tagged: project snowblind, ibuypower

So... how an LCD works is quite interesting. They do not produce light, but rather, they block it. On televisions and monitors, they are put in front of colored filters that, themselves, are in front of a white (give-or-take) light source. When they are fully open, you see the subpixel's value of red, green, or blue. When they are fully closed, you see as black as the panel is capable of producing.

This brings us to Project Snowblind, which iBuypower demoed at Computex 2016. Again, we didn't have a physical presence there (Ryan was about 500 miles away in Macau at the time) but other sites did, so we're embedding PCGamer's video below. Basically, they put an LCD panel -- just the shutter part -- on the case's side window. This allows them to output a mask over the view into your components, even with animation. They apparently even successfully made it tint the light as it passes through somehow.

Video Credit: PCGamer

The technology currently dedicates an HDMI port to itself, which could be a scarce resource for multi-monitor users with a single graphics card, but a USB version is expected at some point. It's purely aesthetic, but I could see it having a practical, aesthetic purpose: dimming. I'm not sure if iBuypower will officially support this, but I could see users outputting black, or even just a really deep shade of grey, onto their case windows if they want to, say, darken the room to view a movie.

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Currently no word on pricing, availability, or the like.

Source: PCGamer

Silverstone's TD02-E, decent all round and easy on the pocket

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 6, 2016 - 08:01 PM |
Tagged: water cooling, Tundra Series, TD02-E, Silverstone, cpu cooler, All-in-One cooler

A few years back you may remember that  Morry did a review of the SilverStone Tundra Series TD02 AiO watercooler.  More recently, Modders Inc reviewed the newer model the TD02-E, part of their high performance line.  The waterblock is compatible most modern processors but you will need a decent sized case to accommodate the radiator as it measures 278x124x27mm with two 120mm fans. The cooler performed admirably, especially for its ~$90 price tag and did so at reasonable noise levels, going full out at 2500RPM it measured  50.2 dBA, or 38dBA at a more modest 1400RPM.

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"Silverstone Technologies has made quite a career making cooling solutions for the PC DIY market. Their solutions are also quite often a unique alternative with out-of-the-box oriented ideas and far from having a "me too" design philosophy. With the all-in-one liquid cooling solution's popularity, Silverstone also has thrown their hat in the ring with alternatives from the typical Asetek OEM"

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: Modders Inc

FSP's new Hydro X series; technically the less expensive model?

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 6, 2016 - 06:55 PM |
Tagged: fsp, PSU, Hydro X, 650W, 80 Plus Gold

With all the hoopla and brouhaha caused by Computex last week some smaller launches were missed, such as the FSP Hydro X 650W PSU.  This particular PSU is non-modular but does carry a five year warranty, an 80 Plus Gold rating and a single 12V rail capable of providing 649.92W @ 54.16A.  [H]ard|OCP's testing showed it to be a solid PSU, providing stable power and meeting with the claimed standards.  Unfortunately there is currently a bit of an issue, though FSP is working to resolve it.  This PSU sells for $95 but the previous fully modular model can be picked up for $85 or less, even though the MSRP is technically higher.  [H] reached out to FSP about this issue and you can see how they plan to resolve the issue in the full review.

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"FSP does not have much to say about its Hydro X in terms of marketing speak, but it does hit the high points that enthusiast system builders are looking for: "Silent operation, High efficiency ≧ 90%, Full Japan-made electrolytic capacitors, Powerful single +12V rail design, Ribbon cables, and Complete protection: OCP, OVP, SCP, OPP, OTP."

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Introduction

Fractal Design has reduced their excellent Define S enclosure all the way down from ATX to mini-ITX, and the Define Nano S offers plenty of room for a small form-factor case.

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Large mini-ITX cases have become the trend in the past year or so, with the NZXT Manta the most recent (and possibly the most extreme) example. Fractal Design's Nano S isn't quite as large as the Manta, but it is cavernous inside thanks to a completely open internal layout. There are no optical drive bays, no partitions for PSU or storage, and really not much of anything inside the main compartment at all as Fractal Design has essentially miniaturized the Define S enclosure.

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We have the windowed version of the Define Nano S for review here, which adds some interest to a very understated design. There is still something very sophisticated about this sort of industrial design, and I must admit to liking it quite a bit myself. Details such as the side vents for front panel air intake do add some interest, and that big window helps add some style as well (and builders could always add some increasingly ubiquitous RGB lighting inside!).

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

SilverStone Announces SX800-LTI 800W Titanium SFX-L Power Supply

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 6, 2016 - 12:03 PM |
Tagged: SX800-LTI, small form-factor, Silverstone, SFX-L, SFX, SFF, PSU, power supply, computex 2016, computex, 80 Plus Titanium

SilverStone introduced a 700W SFX-L power supply at CES in January, and with that SX700-LPT PSU now officially released the company has raised the bar again as no less than 800W is coming to the SFX-L form-factor.

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Image credit: TechPowerUp

SilverStone's SX800-LTI not only offers a massive 800W, but does so with an 80 PLUS Titanium certification (!). The power supply pushes this massive wattage along a single +12V rail, and the SX800-LTI features a fully-modular design for a clean build. An added benefit to the SFX-L form-factor, other than the potential for these powerful designs, is the use of a 120 mm fan, which allows for much quieter operation under load compared to the smaller SFX variant.

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Image credit: TechPowerUp

We are now approaching full ATX power with these SFX-L PSUs, and indeed the 800-850W range should be all most users would need for even a dual-GPU system (especially as we enter the era of 14-16nm GPUs with their lower power requirements).

No word yet on price or availability.

Source: TechPowerUp