ASUS Republic of Gamers Launches the ROG Strix Helios Enclosure

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 13, 2019 - 10:45 AM |
Tagged: ROG Strix, RGB, mid-tower, Helios, gaming, enclosure, chassis, case, ASUS ROG, asus, aluminum

The Republic of Gamers division of ASUS has launched the ROG Strix Helios, a deluxe EATX enclosure which is the "first ROG mid-tower gaming chassis made for showcase builds with tempered-glass panels, aluminum frame, Aura Sync lighting and an array of cooling options", according to ASUS. This is certainly a striking design, with a sharply angular look from an exterior that combines aluminum and tinted glass.

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"Strix Helios is designed for those who want to create a gaming rig that will stand out in any crowd. It boasts three 4mm-thick, smoked, tempered-glass panels fitted in a refined brushed-aluminum frame, plus a stunning display of Aura RGB lighting integrated into the front panel. The LEDs are individually addressable, and can be customized with a palette of millions of colors and a range of preset effects – all easily synced with the vast Aura Sync hardware ecosystem to augment the build."

Key points include (via ASUS):

  • Three 4mm, smoked tempered-glass panels, refined brushed-aluminum frame and integrated front panel Aura Sync RGB lighting
  • Innovative multifunction cover with integrated GPU braces, two-piece PSU shroud and translucent rear cover offer effortless cable management
  • Supports up to EATX motherboards, with ample space for 420mm front / 360mm top radiators and water-cooling pump and reservoir

While we have seen an ASUS ROG case in the past - with custom enclosures part of the ROG Strix GL12 and ROG Huracan G21 systems - this is a standalone product targeting the high-end enthusiast segment.

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"Strix Helios has been thoughtfully designed with flexible covers and a comprehensive cable-management system to keep the interior tidy, clean and sharp. An adjustable multifunction cover with GPU braces cleverly hides cabling, provides sturdy support to graphics cards and allows for an SSD or ROG Aura Terminal to be mounted for display. There’s also a two-piece PSU shroud with a front cut-out to enable compatibility with ROG Thor or other OLED-integrated power supplies. In the back, a translucent cable cover conceals unsightly wiring while allowing illuminations from RGB devices to shine through."

ASUS ROG also emphasizes the convenience features of the new enclosure, which offers unique tool-free side panels that have a hinge on the bottom, and a full compliment of dust filters.

"Building with and maintaining a Strix Helios is also made simple. Release buttons at the rear of the chassis allows builders to swing down the side panels for instant, tool-less access to the interior. The panels are bottom-hinged, and will remain supported at an angle until they’re ready to be completely detached. The case also comes with fan and radiator mounts, and removable filters on the top, front and underside for all-round dust protection."

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So how much will the new ASUS ROG Strix Helios enclosure set you back? It has an MSRP of $279.99 and is available now at Newegg, "and soon available at other leading retailers" according to ASUS.

Source: ASUS ROG
Manufacturer: DR ZABER

A Console-Size Mini-ITX Option

Examining the lower limits of enclosure volume has become something of a cottage industry in the last few years, with crowdfunded projects such as the NCASE M1 and the DAN Cases A4-SFX providing backers with custom designs that attempt to reduce the mini-ITX computer case concept to its absolute minimum size. The Sentry 2.0 differs in a few ways from those previous efforts, most obviously in that it is not a “shoebox” design, opting instead for a narrow game console-style layout. It is also a steel enclosure rather than the all-aluminum designs from DAN Cases and NCASE (both produced by Lian Li), making it quite a bit heavier while promising a more rugged construction.

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“Sentry is the world's first truly console-sized gaming PC chassis. It houses powerful components within a volume below 7 litres, which over the decades has been considered the optimal size for all media appliances residing in front of a TV. Sentry 2.0 is an evolution of Sentry, bringing more features and more performance in the same sub-7 litre package.”

The Sentry 2.0 is the follow up to the crowdfunded original Sentry case, both of which are game console-sized mini-ITX enclosures that are designed to house standard components within the limits of a 6.9-liter total volume. Unusually we are reviewing this case during its crowdfunding campaign - though it has actually been fully funded at this point and you can check out the page on Indigogo here. Pricing is similar to what we have seen from other crowdfunded cases, and while $260 might seem high (especially for a steel case rather than aluminum) there has been quite a bit of thought packed into the Sentry 2.0 design.

In addition to supporting mini-ITX motherboards the Sentry 2.0 makes use of SFX form-factor power supplies and can support a full-length graphics card if you are air-cooling the CPU (the extra space beyond an ITX-sized GPU could then support a 120mm radiator and slim fan). It’s a pretty straightforward internal layout, so without further preamble let’s check out the design and then move on to the build I came up with for this pre-production Sentry 2.0, which DR ZĄBER was kind enough to send to us.

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First, however, a look at the specifications:

  • Main body dimensions (WxDxH): 340 x 310 x 66mm, 6.9L
  • Motherboard format: Mini-ITX
  • Power supply support: SFX 100mm (SFX-L not supported)
  • Expansion slots: 2, full height, ATX reference PCB width
  • Drives:
    • Main drive installation mounts:
    • 1 x 2.5" partially above motherboard
    • 1 x 2.5" next to SFX power supply
    • Secondary drive installation mounts:
    • 2 x 3.5" inside VGA bay
  • Memory Compatibility:
    • Standard profile DIMM modules
    • Max 31.4mm tall pcb/34mm with heatspreaders
    • Tall modules will obstruct 2.5" drive bracket
  • VGA Card Compatibility:
    • Full Length GPU for use without AIO Liquid Cooling or 3.5" HDDs
    • ITX-sized GPU for use with AIO Liquid Cooling or single 3.5" HDD
  • CPU cooler support:
    • CPU Socket far from PCI-E Slot:
      • Max height of 47mm (standard intel box cooler height)
      • 120mm All-In-One Liquid Cooler, radiator + fan max height of 50mm
    • CPU Socket near the PCI-E Slot:
      • Max height of 47mm and primary 2.5" mount obstructed
      • Max height of 37mm and primary 2.5" mount available
  • Front ports: 2 x USB 3.0
  • PCI-E 16X Riser: high-quality shielded 50mm ribbon
  • Material: 1mm galvanized steel with structural powder coating
  • Security: Kensington slot

Pricing and Availability: $260, Indigogo campaign

Continue reading our review of the Sentry 2.0 console-size crowdfunded case

Manufacturer: Cooler Master

Cooler Master has offered many different takes on PC enclosures since they started producing them in the 1990s, and the new MasterBox Q500L is among the more interesting of their recent designs. What makes this compact case special? It is the rare breed of enclosure that holds a full ATX motherboard within a micro-ATX form-factor.

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Features of the MasterBox Q500L from Cooler Master:

  • Highly Compact Standard ATX Orientation
  • Movable I/O Panel
  • Versatile PSU Bracket
  • Fully Perforated Chassis
  • Magnetic Dust Filters
  • Edge-to-Edge Transparent Side Panel
  • Clean Routing Space

The Q500L also affords the assembled system a flexible orientation, with support for both vertical and horizontal placement as the rubberized thumbscrews on the rear panel cleverly double as feet. Additionally, the case I/O is housed in a modular panel, and this can be placed in different positions to further enhance the flexibility of this design.

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Continue reading our review of the Cooler Master MasterBox Q500L compact ATX case

Crowdfunding Campaign for Sentry 2.0 Console Size Enclosure Underway

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 3, 2019 - 08:38 PM |
Tagged: small form factor, SFF, sentry, enclosure, DR ZĄBER, crowdfunding, case

DR ZĄBER launched the crowdfunding campaign for the Sentry 2.0 on April 1, and the campaign on indigogo is well under way. Version 1.1 of the Sentry was successfully funded in 2017, and three days into this Sentry 2.0 campaign over a third of the $260,000 goal has already been reached.

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What exactly is this new case from the Małopolska, Poland-based company?

"Sentry 2.0 is an evolution of Sentry, a 7L console-sized PC chassis that was crowdfunded in 2017, quickly reaching over 1000% of its campaign goal. Sentry 2.0 brings many improvements based on feedback from backers and sff enthusiasts community over original Sentry delivered in 2017.

Sentry 2.0 is a PC case highly anticipated by the small form factor PC enthusiasts, developed and improved upon original Sentry with community support, and was covered by leading PC hardware youtube channels such as LinusTechTips, Bitwit or Paul's Hardware.”

We are happy to report that a Sentry 2.0 has found its way to our secret enclosure testing facility, and a review is coming soon here at PC Perspective.

Source: DR ZĄBER

A Fresh Take on the Dark Base 700

The be quiet! Dark Base 700 White Edition is a limited-edition enclosure of only 3,000 units, and it is not only one of the first white cases from be quiet!, but also joins the Dark Base 900 (rev. 2) in featuring RGB lighting - though as tastefully implemented as one might expect from be quiet!.

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So what can you expect from a case that - at first glance - appears to be another white mid-tower with a tempered glass side panel and RGB lighting? Quite a bit more than you might think, unless you have first-hand experience with a be quiet! enclosure. My impressions of their products to this point has shown them to have characteristically superior material selection, build quality, overall fit and finish, and attention to detail. In short, a level of perfectionism must surely exist within this German company, and it is impressive to behold.

While this version might only be available for a brief period of time (as long as the 3000 manufactured may last), that does not mean that one cannot purchase the standard black version, which will be identical to this one other than appearance and costs $20 less. Tastes on these matters vary, but from the moment I spotted this at CES in January I really liked this white version with its bright appearance, crystal-clear glass, and subtle lighting around the edges of the front panel.

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Features from be quiet!:

  • Motherboard tray and HDD slots with enhanced possibilities for individual requirements
  • Two Silent Wings 3 140mm PWM fans
  • 4-step dual-rail fan controller is switchable between Silence and Performance Mode
  • Ready for radiators up to 360mm
  • PSU shroud, ingenious cable routing and HDD slot covers for a neat interior
  • Fully windowed side panel made of tempered glass
  • Exterior RGB LEDs with six switchable colors and motherboard control option

Continue reading our review of the be quiet! Dark Base 700 White Edition case

A new take on the low-noise mid-tower

CORSAIR's Carbide Series has a new low-noise option in the 678C, a mid-tower enclosure with internal sound damping panels and full tempered glass side panel. Convenience features include the hinge and magnetic closure of the glass side panel, along with a hinged front panel that opens to reveal the front fans and corresponding screen filter - and a rare 5.25-inch bay which allows for installation of an optical drive for those of us who still use discs (this author included).

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So does the Carbide 678C provide a compelling mix of features in the premium segment of the case market, and provide real competition for the Define R6 from Fractal Design against which it will be inevitably compared? Let's find out.

Features for the Carbide Series 678C from CORSAIR:

  • Sophisticated Style: Defined by clean lines and smooth steel construction, with a crystal-clear tempered glass side panel to show off your system’s components.
  • Extensive Sound Damping: Sound damping material on the side, front and roof panels ensure quiet operation – or swap in the included dust filter on the roof when performance is your top priority.
  • A Multitude of Cooling Options: Includes space for 360mm push/pull radiators in the front and roof, 280/240mm radiators on the floor, and 140/120mm radiators in the rear.
  • Massive Cooling Potential: Powerful and efficient airflow, with room to install up to 9x 120mm or 7x 140mm fans for massive cooling potential.
  • Take Command of Your Cooling: A PWM fan controller regulates three included SP140 PWM fans and up to three more. Reduce fan speed when you want keep your system quiet, or increase when you want to push its performance.
  • High-Speed USB 3.1 Gen-2 Type-C Port: Front panel connector puts future-proof connectivity within easy reach.
  • Expand Your Storage Options: Install up to 6x 3.5in and 3x 2.5in drives. A versatile HDD/ODD design includes six modular trays that can be moved to eight mounting locations to give you the exact layout you want.
  • Easy Accessibility: Both the front panel and tempered glass side panel are hinged for tool-free easy access.

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The insulated front door opens to provide access to the fan filter and 5.25-inch drive bay

Continue reading our review of the CORSAIR Carbide Series 678C low-noise case

Cooler Master Launches MasterBox NR400 and NR600 Cases

Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 19, 2019 - 03:35 PM |
Tagged: tempered glass, mesh, MasterBox NR600, MasterBox NR400, enclosure, cooler master, chassis, case, airflow

Cooler Master has launched a pair of new cases today with the MasterBox NR400 and the MasterBox NR600. These budget-friendly cases offer a minimalist approach with clean lines and no flashy lighting effects, and should offer good airflow with their full mesh front panels.

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The Cooler Master MasterBox NR600 is an ATX mid-tower

The MasterBox NR400 is the smaller of the two cases, supporting mini ITX and micro ATX motherboards, with the larger MasterBox NR600 offering support for standard ATX motherboards.

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Cooler Master provides this list of features for these two new NR series cases:

  • Minimalistic Mesh Design - Elegant design elements are applied to mesh for optimal thermal performance.
  • Optimal Thermal Performance – The full mesh front panel and ventilated top panel provide a high potential for thermal performance.
  • Flush Tempered Glass Side Panel – The tempered glass side panel, fastened by thumbscrews on the rear panel, keeps the surface completely flush.
  • Headset Jack – The single 4 pole headset jack features both audio and microphone capabilities simultaneously so separate jacks are not needed.
  • Graphics Card Support Up to 346mm (NR400) / 410mm (NR600) – Generous clearance space is provided to support the latest graphics cards.
  • Cable Management – High quality, longer length rubber grommets paired with generous clearance behind the motherboard offers ample room for cable management.

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"Thermal performance is at the core of the NR Series, with the combination of two pre-installed fans for intake and exhaust and the fine mesh front panel. Generous support for radiator mounting and unrestricted ventilation on the top and front panel ensure that even the most demanding components are efficiently cooled while the two USB 3.1 gen 1 ports at the top of the case provide ample connectivity for everyday use."

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The Cooler Master MasterBox NR400 is a smaller mATX design

The MasterBox NR400 has an MSRP of $59.99, with the NR600 at $69.99. Both cases are available for pre-sale today, though no listings have yet found their way to Amazon or Newegg at time of writing.

CORSAIR Launches the Carbide Series 678C Low-Noise ATX Case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 12, 2019 - 09:05 AM |
Tagged: SP140, quiet, mid-tower, enclosure, corsair, chassis, case, Carbide Series 678C, atx

Launching today alongside the Crystal Series 680X (see our review here), CORSAIR's Carbide Series 678C is designated a low-noise ATX case thanks to what CORSAIR says is extensive sound damping within the enclosure.

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We have the Carbide Series 678C in for review right now (the black version), and will have that available soon as we explore just how quiet this new enclosure is, and of course how effective the airflow is from the trio of included SP140 PWM fans as we measure temps from our test platform.

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Features of the Carbide Series 678C from CORSAIR:

  • Sophisticated Style: Defined by clean lines and smooth steel construction, with a crystal-clear
  • tempered glass side panel to show off your system’s components.
  • Extensive Sound Damping: Sound damping material on the side, front and roof panels ensure quiet operation – or swap in the included dust filter on the roof when performance is your top priority.
  • A Multitude of Cooling Options: Includes space for 360mm push/pull radiators in the front and roof, 280/240mm radiators on the floor, and 140/120mm radiators in the rear.
  • Massive Cooling Potential: Powerful and efficient airflow, with room to install up to 9x 120mm or 7x 140mm fans for massive cooling potential.
  • Take Command of Your Cooling: A PWM fan controller regulates three included SP140 PWM fans and up to three more. Reduce fan speed when you want keep your system quiet, or
  • increase when you want to push its performance.
  • High-Speed USB 3.1 Gen-2 Type-C Port: Front panel connector puts future-proof connectivity within easy reach.
  • Expand Your Storage Options: Install up to 6x 3.5in and 3x 2.5in drives. A versatile HDD/ODD design includes six modular trays that can be moved to eight mounting locations to give you the exact layout you want.
  • Easy Accessibility: Both the front panel and tempered glass side panel are hinged for tool-free easy access.

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One of my favorite aspects of both new cases launched by CORSAIR today are the hinged door panels, which make accessing the components a breeze.

The case is available with either a black or white finish, and as to pricing the new Carbide Series 678C case is squarely in the premium category, launching at $199.99.

Source: CORSAIR
Manufacturer: Corsair

Corsair has launched a pair of new enclosures today including the Crystal Series 680X RGB, a roomy dual-chamber design with plenty of tempered glass and RGB to keep things visually interesting. And we just so happen to have procured one before release, preparing our launch-day review secretly, and in the dead of night. And so it is that today we can, should, and will share this with you - or as soon as you move past this rambling opening paragraph and on to the meat of the review itself.

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As you may know the Crystal Series is a line of premium cases featuring multiple tempered-glass panels and RGB fans, and going back to 2016 we have reviewed the Crystal Series 570X, the smaller Crystal Series 460X, and most recently the Crystal Series 280X, a dual-chamber micro-ATX design. The new 680X RGB is also a dual-chamber enclosure, but on a much larger scale with support for up to EATX motherboards. It is available in both black and white finishes, and we opted for the white version to help set off the RGB fans.

The CORSAIR Crystal Series 680X RGB is a dual-chamber tempered glass ATX smart case that keeps your system running cool with room for up to eight fans and four radiators, including one 360mm. Enjoy superb airflow and brilliant RGB lighting from three LL120 RGB fans, controlled by an included CORSAIR Lighting Node PRO and powered by iCUE software. Show off a stunning view of your PC’s components with three tempered glass panels on the front, roof, and hinged side door, while an optional vertical GPU mount allows you to put your graphics card center stage. Make your next custom build incredibly easy and undeniably cool with the 680X RGB.

One of the things that stands out immediately with the Crystal Series 680X RGB are the clear glass panels, which make this feel a little more contemporary after a few years of varying degrees of dark tinting in most cases we've seen implementing tempered glass. But this is far more than another cases with a glass side panel (it also has a glass front and top panel), as its dual-chamber design - which has origins dating back to Corsair's Air 540 which we reviewed way back in 2013 - offers a level of room and ease of build that is quite a departure from the typical mid-tower design.

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Continue reading our review of the Corsair Crystal Series 680X RGB case

NZXT Announces H500 Overwatch Edition Mid-Tower Case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 19, 2019 - 10:02 AM |
Tagged: special edition, overwatch, nzxt, H500 Overwatch Edition, H500, gaming, enclosure, chassis, case

NZXT is announcing today that they have teamed up with Blizzard Entertainment for "the First Overwatch-themed PC chassis" with the new Overwatch Edition of their H500 mid-tower enclosure.

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"The new, special edition H500 Overwatch Edition midtower showcases NZXT’s signature design with a sleek look that any hero would be proud to have in their arsenal. Featuring an all-steel construction in black, a cable management system for streamlined building, and a luminous Overwatch logo on the front panel, this special H500 chassis is perfect for the Overwatch player looking to outfit their rig for battle."

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The Overwatch logo on the front panel is illuminated

NZXT lists these features for the H500 Overwatch Edition mid-tower case:

  • Features the iconic Black, White, and Orange colors of Overwatch
  • A luminous Overwatch logo brightly displayed on the front panel
  • Modern design and builder-friendly features
  • Premium, all-steel construction with the sleek H Series aesthetic
  • Tempered glass side panel showcases your build
  • Wire management is made easy with an intuitive, patent-pending cable management system
  • Water-cooling installation is simplified using a removable bracket for either all-in-one CPU coolers or custom loop configurations

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The new H500 Overwatch Edition mid-tower case is available globally from NZXT, with U.S. pricing set at $149.99.

Source: NZXT