Manufacturer: Fractal Design

Introduction and Case Exterior

The Meshify C - TG from Fractal Design is a high-airflow ATX case design with some added style from its unique angled front panel. Throw in a tempered glass side panel and a pair of pre-installed Dynamic X2 GP-12 120 mm fans and the $89.99 price tag looks pretty good - but how did it perform? We'll find out.

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Having reviewed a few Fractal Design cases in the past three years I have come to expect a few things from their enclosures: solid construction, intelligent internal layouts, and excellent cable management. As to style, their cases are generally understated, and the Meshify's black color scheme with a tinted glass side certainly fits the bill - though the angled front mesh design catches the light and does add some visual interest.

More than a single enclosure, Meshify is now a dedicated line from Fractal Design, with a new Meshify C Mini for mATX/mITX motherboards, as well as variants of this Meshify C including a model with a solid side panel (the standard Meshify C) and one with dark-tinted glass (Meshify C - Dark TG). Regardless of which model you might be considering, they share a common design focused on high airflow (with a full compliment of filters), flexible storage options, and maximizing component space within their compact dimensions.

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Continue reading our review of the Fractal Design Meshify C Tempered Glass case!

Manufacturer: NZXT

Introduction and First Impressions

NZXT has proven to be willing to adapt and innovate in the competitive DIY PC space, introducing their own software control suite (CAM) to control cooling and lighting effects in 2014, and this year launching their first motherboard. We have have seen CAM in action with products like the Kraken AiO liquid CPU coolers, which required the software to fully unlock their potential - both thermally and visually (RGB) speaking, and it's an integral part of the new H700i enclosure.

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“The H700i showcases NZXT’s vision for modern PC building. This premium mid-tower case features a unique CAM Powered Smart Device that digitally drives RGB lighting and fan performance. You can effortlessly control RGB lighting and fans, while Adaptive Noise Reduction optimizes your build’s acoustics through machine learning and ideal fan settings. Includes four integrated Aer F fans and two RGB LED to enhance the aesthetics of your build as seen through the H700i’s stunning tempered glass panel.”

Now that NZXT has brought that CAM software feature-set to enclosures beginning with the H700i mid-tower we have for you today, we will pay close attention to the way the integrated "Smart Device" - a module that controls fans and lighting - fits into the usual thermal/noise equation. OEM systems from the likes of Dell with their Alienware desktops have used similar dedicated hardware for cooling and lighting control, and it's interesting to see this enter the DIY space. How important is software control of cooling and RGB effects to you? That depends, of course, and partly on how easy it is to use.

We will take a close look in and around this new enclosure, and while it’s on the test bench we will see how the stylish H700i stacks up with thermal and noise results vs. some other recent cases - and test the H700i both with and without CAM software optimization to see what sort of difference it makes in practice. Let’s get started!

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Continue reading our review of the NZXT H700i enclosure!!

Manufacturer: Fractal Design

Introduction and First Impressions

The Define R6 marks the sixth generation of the Define series, and Fractal Design’s flagship ATX case now sports a cleverly-designed tempered glass side panel and a redesigned interior. Does the new R6 again define the ATX mid-tower market? We’re about to find out!

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Looking at the front panel alone it would be very difficult to tell the Define R6 from its predecessors, as it still has the trademark solid front door panel, nicely finished here with aluminum. 5.25-inch drive support is down to a single bay, but it is there if you need it for an optical drive or fan controller - though the Define R6 also includes a new PWM fan hub (more on that later on).

The most obvious change to the design is the tempered glass side panel, which makes sense considering that has been the biggest industry trend of the past couple of years. Fractal Design does it a little differently than you’ll see elsewhere, however, with a pop-in design that makes screws optional. The Define cases were already very clean and simple externally, and this implementation of a glass side panel fits that aesthetic perfectly.

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Improvements such as the third-gen ModuVent top panel and additional storage and cooling capacity from the redesigned interior make this release a bigger upgrade than it might at first appear, and in this review we’ll go over the case inside and out to see how this latest Define enclosure stacks up in this ever-crowded market.

Continue reading our review of the Fractal Design Define R6 case!

CES 2018: SilverStone's Compact Strider Platinum 1000W and 1200W PSUs

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 11, 2018 - 02:50 PM |
Tagged: CES, CES 2018, Silverstone, PSU, power supply, 80 Plus Platinum, 1000W, 1200w, 140mm, atx, compact, SFF

SilverStone's Strider Platinum lineup now includes 1000 and 1200 watt models with a depth of only 140 mm. These are both fully modular ATX PSUs, and 80 Plus Platinum certified.

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The compact 140 mm depth is popular with small form-factor builds - and sometimes a requirement for a fully modular PSU like this depending on the enclosure. The power density is obviously getting really high for 2018, and 1200W is likely the highest you will find at 140 mm.

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Pricing and release dates have not been revealed just yet for either power supply.

Source: SilverStone

Jonsbo Launches Ribbed UMX5 Mid Tower Case With RGB LEDs

Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 10, 2017 - 03:06 AM |
Tagged: tempered glass, RGB LED, RGB, mid tower, jonsbo, eatx, atx, aluminum case

Jonsbo, a Shenzhen based case manufacturer founded in 2010 has unleashed a new stylish flagship mid tower called the UMX5. The new case measures 507mm x 224mm x 485mm and is constructed of a steel frame wrapped in anodized aluminum-magnesium alloy and tempered glass. The new case has a ribbed design that runs vertically over the top and front panels. Jonsbo claims that the valleys have been sandblasted to dull their look while the 5.5mm tall wiredrawn peaks/ribs have been polished to enhance the contrast and catch the eye.

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There is a gap of 3.5cm between the bottom of the main chamber of the case and the foot for ventilation and looks (it is under-lit with RGB LEDs of course). The back panel is fairly plain though they have opted for a honeycomb style fan grill for the included 120mm exhaust fan. The side panels steal the show with 5mm thick double sided tempered glass on both sides of the case to show off all of the internals (I am less sold on the idea of the right-side panel being glass as that means I would have to actually cable manage and not just hide it all behind the motherboard tray! Custom sleeved PSU cables that are the exact length needed are going to be essential to making builds in this case look good. The tempered glass does have a bit of a tint to it though so it's not the end fo the world.)

The front 1/3 or so of the left side panel is overlaid by a honeycomb pattern that can be illuminated by a RGB LED. Front I/O includes the usual two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, and two audio jacks as well as a button to change the LEDs color scheme or to turn them off completely.

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Users can set the case LEDs to color change mode where it will cycle through 264 colors, to a single color of red, green, blue, yellow, purple, pink, turquoise, or orange, to a (red only) breathing mode, or set to off.

The UMX5 is designed for ATX motherboards, but it can work with a small number of E-ATX models (305mm x 265mm maximum). Further, the UMX5 mid tower supports CPU coolers up to 166mm tall and graphics cards up to 325mm long. There are four 3.5” hard drive bays with red anodized aluminum sleds as well as room for two 2.5” drives behind the motherboard tray. The PSU sits vertically behind the motherboard tray and hidden towards the front of the case behind a glass cover along with the hard drives.

As far as cooling, there are fan mounting points in the top, bottom, and rear though Jonsbo only includes a single 120mm rear fan. Users can add up to two 120mm fans to the top and two 120mm fans to the bottom. If they are water cooling, they can use up to two 240mm radiators top and bottom and a single 120mm in the rear. If using a thick radiator, you can mount the bottom fans outside of the case in the 35mm ventilation chamber gap.

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Jonsbo’s UMX5 is a decent looking case that will come in either black (with red accents on the HDD trays and around the left side panel) or silver.

The case has an MSRP of 199.99 € (Euro) including 19% VAT (~$200 USD sans VAT). I can’t seem to find it available online anywhere quite yet, but it should hit Europe shortly. It’s not clear how long it will be (if ever) until it hits the US, however.

In general, I like the look of the case, though I wish the red drive trays and side panel could be swapped out for different colors. The silver UMX5 is a bit better in this respect as it does not have the red border on the left side panel (it’s all silver except the drive trays which are red), but the black UMX5 is stuck with the red border which is okay if you are also using red LEDs but just looks odd if you are going with any other color. Beyond that the case is on the pricier side of things, but if the build quality (and cable management) is truly there the modders and enthusiasts will come!

Source: Jonsbo
Manufacturer: SilverStone

The PM01 Gets an Upgrade

SilverStone’s Primera PM01-RGB is an updated version of the PM01 we reviewed last year, and in addition to new RGB lighting effects indicated by the name, the PM01-RGB also features a tempered glass side panel rather than the plastic window of the first version. We will take a look at the matte black version - (glossy black and white are also available) and see how it performs.

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SilverStone fans will likely have noticed that the Primera PM01 had some of the Raven DNA, with a sloping top panel and slightly aggressive style, though somewhat softer than cases like that first RV01 enclosure. The Primera PM01-RGB is a standard ATX mid-tower, and due to a large partition hiding the lower section of the case it is a little smaller internally that it appears from the outside.

While things were a little tight with a liquid cooler installed on the upper mounts with our PM01 last year, the case still held a standard build without issue and offered very good cooling thanks to the large mesh front panel and included intake fans. And it’s this front intake area that provides much of the difference this time around, as it now features RGB lighting for the fans along with an integrated light strip for the side panel, both of which are managed with an onboard LED control (or ASUS Aura Sync with compatible motherboards).

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Continue reading our review of the SilverStone Primera PM01-RGB ATX case!

Manufacturer: Corsair

The Smaller Crystal Series Case

Corsair’s Crystal Series of mid-tower enclosures offer plenty of tempered glass to show off your build and are available with both single-color and full RGB case fans pre-installed. We previously reviewed the RGB version of the larger Crystal 570X, and today we are looking at the RGB version of the more compact Crystal 460X.

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The Crystal cases differ in more than size, as the big 570X is a four-panel design that includes tempered glass on the left side, right side, case front, and top. This smaller Crystal 460X is a two-panel design with tempered glass on the left (component) side and case front, with a standard steel back panel and vented top. There is a cost difference between the two as well, with the $139.99 MSRP of the RGB 460X set $40 below the 570X at $179.99.

The design of the Crystal 460X is reminiscent of the Carbide Clear 400C (see our review here), another compact mid-tower crom Corsair with essentially the same internal layout. The appeal of these tempered glass cases is obviously to show off your build and lighting, and in that department the Crystal 460X stands out against other smaller mid-towers - in the era of tempered glass case side panels - with the matching full glass front panel.

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Continue reading our review of the Corsiar Crystal Series 460X RGB case!

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ECS

Introduction and Specifications

For Intel’s Z270 chipset ECS has a pair of motherboard options, with the ATX Z270-LIGHTSABER and mini-ITX Z270H4-I. We have a look at both of these offerings today.

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The Z270-LIGHTSABER tries to live up to that name with customizable LED lighting around the board, which is controlled through the system setup. It boasts a 14-phase power delivery and all solid caps, and offers simplified overclocking through the ECS MIB X interface and Intel XMP 1.2 and 1.3 memory support. Additionally the LIGHTSABER offers comprehensive storage options with a PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slot (Intel Optane is supported), U.2 port, and a full complement of SATA III ports. There is also a Killer E2500 NIC, and premium audio with a dedicated TI headphone amp, among the other features.

For its part the Z270H4-I packs many of the same features as its ATX cousin, though this mini-ITX motherboard only provides a 6-phase power design, and does not feature the LED lighting or dedicated headphone amp of the Z270-LIGHTSABER. It does provide the same full PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slot with Intel Optane support, and while the Z270H4-I does not have a Killer NIC it replaces this with a pair including an Intel I-219V and Realtek LAN. The Z270H4-I also supports M.2 wireless cards and includes an optional pair of wireless antennae.

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I installed my Core i7-7700K in both motherboards and in addition to some baseline benchmarks I tried out some casual overclocking and will provide general usage impressions with both boards.

Continue reading our review of the ECS Z270-LIGHTSABER and Z270H4-I motherboards!

Manufacturer: BitFenix

Introduction and First Impressions

A large mid-tower design featuring tempered glass side panels and a mix of aluminum and steel exterior construction, the RGB-imbued Shogun is every bit what you would expect a ‘flagship’ enclosure from BitFenix to be. So did it get our seal of approval? Read on to find out!

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The BitFenix Shogun appears at first glance to be a full-tower enclosure, but it is actually using a form-factor that BitFenix calls “super mid-tower”, and it has the seven expansion slots of a mid-tower design. It supports E-ATX motherboards on down, and has some interesting features to help set it apart in a highly competitive enclosure market.

The Shogun’s compatibility with ASUS Aura motherboard lighting effects makes it a good option for the RGB lighting inclined, and there are some nice exterior touches such as the sculpted top and bottom aluminum panels and (of course) those tempered glass sides. The Shogun competes in the premium space, but is still palatable at $149 for what is on the surface a pretty impressive-looking package.

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The open interior and glass side panel invite impressive builds (Image credit: BitFenix)

Continue reading our review of the BitFenix Shogun Super Mid-Tower Enclosure!

Computex 2017: EVGA Announces Intel X299 Series Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | May 31, 2017 - 11:25 AM |
Tagged: x299, motherboard, micro ATX, mATX, LGA 2066, Intel, evga, computex 2017, computex, atx

EVGA has announced their new X299 Series motherboard lineup, with two EATX models and a compact solution for Micro-ATX.

"Introducing the EVGA X299 motherboard lineup - built for the Next Generation Intel® X299 platform. The EVGA X299 motherboard lineup combines incredible features, overclocking and the latest SSD standards, including M.2, U.2 and Intel® Optane™ support. EVGA's GUI BIOS focuses on functionality and overclocking support to give you power and ease of use. With these features and more, it is easy to see how the EVGA X299 Motherboards are Built to Perfection."

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The first of these is the X299 DARK, an EATX motherboard that EVGA says is "designed from the ground up to be the best overclocking motherboard on the planet". The motherboard has an unusual PCB design as it is meant for serious overclocking, whittling memory support down to just 4 DIMM slots (overclocking of 4133MHz+ is supported) and EVGA includes a 'bench stand plate' for open test bench setups. The X299 DARK also features an integrated M.2 cooling solution that looks a little bit like a small GPU blower fan of old.

Features from EVGA:

  • Supports x16 PCIe Graphics with all CPUs
  • Audio – Creative Sound Core3D Quad-Core Audio Processor + Optical
  • Highly-Efficient 14 Phase Digital VRM
  • 12 Layer PCB Design
  • Bundled Bench Stand Plate
  • Dedicated M.2 Cooling
  • Onboard Power, Reset and Clear CMOS
  • EVGA E-LEET X Tuning Utility
  • Triple BIOS Support
  • M.2 NVMe PCI-E SSD Support
  • U.2 NVMe SSD Support
  • Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
  • Switchable DC / PWM Fan Control
  • 10-zone Temperature Monitor
  • Onboard Voltage Display

Next up is the X299 FTW K, another EATX design that is a little more conventional as it offers 8 DIMM slots for up to 128GB of DDR4 memory, and less of the OC-specific design of the X299 DARK.

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Features for the X299 FTW K include:

  • RGB LED I/O and Heatsink
  • RGB Fan Header Support
  • Audio – High Definition 8 Channel Audio + Optical
  • Highly-Efficient 14 Phase Digital VRM
  • Onboard Power, Reset and Clear CMOS
  • EVGA E-LEET X Tuning Utility
  • Dual BIOS Support
  • M.2 NVMe PCI-E SSD Support
  • U.2 NVMe SSD Support
  • Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
  • Switchable DC / PWM Fan Control
  • Onboard CPU Temperature Monitor

Last but not least (unless you're talking about size) is the X299 MICRO, which is EVGA's Micro-ATX X299 offering.

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Certain changes are necessitated by the mATX size contstraints such as 4 DIMM slots (though EVGA's X299 DARK shares this limitation) and fewer PCIe slots, but this is still a full-fledged enthusiast platform with many high-end features including an impressive 12-phase Digital VRM design.

Features for the X299 MICRO include:

  • RGB Fan Header Support
  • Audio – High Definition 8 Channel Audio + Optical
  • Highly-Efficient 12 Phase Digital VRM
  • Onboard Power, Reset and Clear CMOS
  • EVGA E-LEET X Tuning Utility
  • M.2 NVMe PCI-E SSD Support
  • U.2 NVMe SSD Support
  • Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
  • Switchable DC / PWM Fan Control
  • Onboard CPU Temperature Monitor

Release dates and MSRPs for these motherboards have not been announced.

Source: EVGA