Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2016 - 11:02 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: CES, CES 2016, cooler master, mechanical keyboard, RGB LED
Back in September, we mentioned that the CoolerMaster QuickFire XTi was launched worldwide. They have now launched three more keyboards. Two of them have Cherry MX switches and RGB LEDs, while the third uses a supposedly high-quality membrane switch.
According to The Tech Report at the show, Cooler Master has apparently used their own LED solution, rather than just purchase Cherry MX RGB switches directly. They also say that they needed to change the housing to fit those. The MasterKeys Pro L and S are fairly minimalist keyboards. I assume L stands for long, and S stands for short, because the S is the tenkeyless version of the L (which means it is cut off to the right of the arrow keys).
The Devastator II has switches that Cooler Master calls “Mem-chanical.” They apparently created high-end membrane switches that are supposed to feel like tactile mechanical ones. I guess this means that they were trying to emulate the Cherry MX Brown force curve. This doesn't say what quality the keyboard will end up being, that said, one of the most precise keyboards I've had (according to my straight-edge test) was a Microsoft Media keyboard from the early 2000s.
The Devastator II also has an ambidextrous mouse. Not sure about pricing and availability, though. The Tech Report claims $30, which is right around what the original Devastator costs today.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Graphics Cards | December 6, 2015 - 11:29 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: gigabyte, cooler master, asetek, amd
AMD and Gigabyte have each received cease and desist letters from Asetek, regarding the Radeon Fury X and GeForce GTX 980 Water Force, respectively, for using a Cooler Master-based liquid cooling solution. The Cooler Master Seiden 120M is a self-contained block and water pump, which courts have ruled that it infringes on one of Asetek's patents. Asetek has been awarded 25.375% of Cooler Master's revenue from all affected products since January 1st, 2015.
This issue obviously affects NVIDIA less than AMD, since it applies to a single product from just one AIB partner. On AMD's side, however, it affects all Fury X products, but obviously not the air-cooled Fury and Fury Nano cards. It's also possible that future SKUs could be affected as well, especially since upcoming, top end GPUs will probably be in small packages adjacent HBM 2.0 memory. This dense form-factor lends itself well to direct cooling techniques, like closed-loop water.
Even more interesting is that we believe Asetek was expecting to get the Fury X contract. We reported on an Asetek press release that claimed they received their “Largest Ever Design Win” with an undisclosed OEM. We expected it to be the follow-up to the 290X, which we assumed was called 390X because, I mean, AMD just chose that branding, right? Then the Fury X launched and it contained a Cooler Master pump. I was confused. No other candidate for “Largest Ever Design Win” popped up from Asetek, either. I guess we were right? Question mark? The press release of Asetek's design win came out in August 2014 while Asetek won the patent case in December of that year.
Regardless, this patent war has been ongoing for several months now. If it even affects any future products, I'd hope that they'd have enough warning at this point.
Four High Powered Mini ITX Systems
Thanks to Sebastian for helping me out with some of the editorial for this piece and to Ken for doing the installation and testing on the system builds! -Ryan
Update (1/23/16): Now that that AMD Radeon R9 Nano is priced at just $499, it becomes an even better solution for these builds, dropping prices by $150 each.
While some might wonder where the new Radeon R9 Nano fits in a market that offers the AMD Fury X for the same price, the Nano is a product that defines a new category in the PC enthusiast community. It is a full-scale GPU on an impossibly small 6-inch PCB, containing the same core as the larger liquid-cooled Fury X, but requiring 100 watts less power than Fury X and cooled by a single-fan dual-slot air cooler.
The R9 Nano design screams compatibility. It has the ability to fit into virtually any enclosure (including many of the smallest mini-ITX designs), as long as the case supports a dual-slot (full height) GPU. The total board length of 6 inches is shorter than a mini-ITX motherboard, which is 6.7 inches square! Truly, the Nano has the potential to change everything when it comes to selecting a small form-factor (SFF) enclosure.
Typically, a gaming-friendly enclosure would need at minimum a ~270 mm GPU clearance, as a standard 10.5-inch reference GPU translates into 266.7 mm in length. Even very small mini-ITX enclosures have had to position components specifically to allow for these longer cards – if they wanted to be marketed as compatible with a full-size GPU solution, of course. Now with the R9 Nano, smaller and more powerful than any previous ITX-specific graphics card to date, one of the first questions we had was a pretty basic one: what enclosure should we put this R9 Nano into?
With no shortage of enclosures at our disposal to try out a build with this new card, we quickly discovered that many of them shared a design choice: room for a full-length GPU. So, what’s the advantage of the Nano’s incredibly compact size? It must be pointed out that larger (and faster) Fury X has the same MSRP, and at 7.5 inches the Fury X will fit comfortably in cases that have spacing for the necessary radiator.
Finding a Case for Nano
While even some of the tiniest mini-ITX enclosures (EVGA Hadron, NCASE M1, etc.) offer support for a 10.5-in GPU, there are several compact mini-ITX cases that don’t support a full-length graphics card due to their small footprint. While by no means a complete list, here are some of the options out there (note: there are many more mini-ITX cases that don’t support a full-height or dual-slot expansion card at all, such as slim HTPC enclosures):
|Cooler Master||Elite 110||$47.99, Amazon.com|
|Lian Li||PC-O5||$377, Amazon.com|
|Lian Li||PC-Q01||$59.99, Newegg.com|
|Lian Li||PC-Q03||$74.99, Newegg.com|
|Lian Li||PC-Q07||$71.98, Amazon.com|
|Lian Li||PC-Q30||$139.99, Newegg.com|
|Lian Li||PC-Q33||$134.99, Newegg.com|
|Rosewill||Legacy V3 Plus-B||$59.99, Newegg.com|
The list is dominated by Lian Li, who offers a number of cube-like mini-ITX enclosures that would ordinarily be out of the question for a gaming rig, unless one of the few ITX-specific cards were chosen for the build. Many other fine enclosure makers (Antec, BitFenix, Corsair, Fractal Design, SilverStone, etc.) offer mini-ITX enclosures that support full-length GPUs, as this has pretty much become a requirement for an enthusiast PC case.
Subject: Mobile | September 25, 2015 - 05:36 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: laptop cooler, NotePal Ergostand III, cooler master
We've talked about gaming laptops and the mobile GTX 980 recently on the podcast and mentioned the fact that powerful gaming laptops need help keeping cool. One product worth considering would be the NotePal Ergostand III from CoolerMaster which has a 230mm adjustable fan covering its backside. At around $50 it is a decent price for this sort of product and worthy of consideration if you happen to be a gamer who prefers laptops. You can learn more about it over at Benchmark Reviews.
"That’s where notebook coolers come in, such as the Cooler Master NotePal Ergostand III used as our example in this article about keeping hot laptops cool and running fast."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- ASUS ZenPad 7.0 @ Tech ARP
- OnePlus 2 @ The Inquirer
- Acer Liquid Jade Z @ Kitguru
- Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Smartphone Review @ Hardware Secrets
Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2015 - 06:28 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: cooler master, quickfire xti, mechanical keyboard
Once again, a mechanical keyboard with 104-key rollover claims to have 100% anti-ghosting, because that is expected from a marketing perspective. Once you have a key matrix that has each key isolated, which 104-key rollover strongly suggests, then ghosting cannot occur so “anti-ghosting” is meaningless. Unfortunately, keyboard companies are still compelled to advertise the feature on the box, but I hope our readers understand the difference.
Regardless, Cooler Master has launched the QuickFire XTi mechanical keyboard. It uses official Cherry MX switches, but not the Cherry MX RGB switches that were once exclusive to Corsair. Instead of 16 million colors in the typical human spectrum, it allows for 35 colors on the red-blue spectrum. This could be a problem for people who want yellow, white, or green keys, but acceptable if you'll keep it at colors in the range of red, blue, or magenta. I'm not particularly sure why they cut so much of the spectrum away, but it clearly made sense to them. The lighting can be animated, though.
Cooler Master is proud of their cable management, though. The cable is detachable with a micro USB head and braided. They also have a few different ways of routing the wire under the keyboard, allowing the cable to come out on the side that makes the most sense for your desk, which is particularly good for lefties.
The Cooler Master QuickFire XTi is available now for $150 USD. I've found it on Amazon for $123.86, though.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 19, 2015 - 06:08 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: cooler master, PSU
Cooler Master has "announced the availability of" six power supplies in their “V” series. They are high efficiency products that are fully modular with flat cables for routing. They each use “100% high quality Japanese capacitors” and introduce “exclusive 3D Circuit Design”. Models are available in 550W, 650W, 750W, 850W, 1000W, and 1200W. The highest-end one was announced a while ago, back in 2014, but the line is now available and larger.
The V550, V650, V750, V850, and V1000 each carry an 80PLUS Gold certification for efficiency, while the V1200 is rated at 80PLUS Platinum. Cooler Master claims that their 3D technology, which uses full, separate circuit boards to distance noisy circuits from each other, provides three benefits. First, it reduces heat and improves heat dissipation. Second, it reduces inefficiency that could be introduced by signal noise, which sounds a bit weird for direct current but makes a bit of sense. Third, the reduced ripple and noise can lower long-term stress on the capacitors, which definitely does make sense to me.
Five of the six power supplies come with five-year warranties (the 1200W has a seven-year one). They are available now and range from around 90$ USD to around 300$ USD. The V1200 is currently 30$ off at 270$ USD on Amazon.
Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2015 - 02:40 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: audio, cooler master, CM Storm Pitch Pro, gaming headset
Cooler Master's CM Storm Pitch Pro earbuds come with a bit more options than many others that are for sale, the splitter and airplane connector are good inclusions for the traveller. They use 10mm neodymium drivers which will have some trouble with bass but are about as big as is feasible for inserting into your ears. As you might expect, Kitguru was not overly impressed with the inline microphone though it is certainly good enough for casual usage. Check out their reveiw here.
"Back in 2013, Cooler Master launched the CM Storm Pitch gaming ear buds and at the time, they were positively received, we even gave them our ‘WORTH BUYING’ award. Now here we are two years later with Cooler Master launching the revamped CM Storm Pitch Pro ear buds. Are they worth a purchase?"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Tesoro Kuven Pro 5.1 Gaming Headset @ Kitguru
- JBL Synchros E50 BT Bluetooth Around-Ear Headphones Review @ NikKTech
- Creative Sound Blaster Review Roundup @ Hardwareheaven
- UE MEGABOOM Wireless Speakers @ techPowerUp
- Jam Titanium Bluetooth Wireless Stereo Speaker @ Kitguru
- Antec Mobile Products WAV Bluetooth Wireless Speaker Review @ NikKTech
Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 10, 2015 - 05:19 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: cooler master, MasterCase 5, MasterCase Pro 5
The new MasterCase 5 is up for review at The Tech Report, billed as flexible for those who like to have choice when positioning components in their enclosures. It can handle up to ATX motherboards in its 235x512x548mm (9.3x20.2x21.6") shell and depending on where you locate your drive cage, GPUs of up to 16" in length. In their testing they discovered some inconsistencies in the manual, which they were able to overcome and set up the case in their preferred configuration. While they do like both the MasterCase 5 and the Pro version they point out that purchasing the Pro model makes sense financially as it would cost more to buy the non-Pro model and the various components needed to match the Pro mode. Either way, the review is worth looking over as this is a very unique case.
"Cooler Master's MasterCase 5 is the company's first product based on an ambitious design philosophy it calls "FreeForm." We put the MasterCase to the test to see how FreeForm works out in practice."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Supermicro Gaming S5 Mid-Tower @ [H]ard|OCP
- NZXT S340 Razer Special Edition Mid-Tower @ eTeknix
- Antec ISK 310-150 Mini-ITX Chassis With Built-in 150w PSU @ eTeknix
- Rosewill STAR PREDATOR Case Review: Balance Between Price and Value @ Modders-Inc
- Fractal Design NODE 202 @ techPowerUp
- Silverstone Kublai KL06 Case Review @ Hardware Asylum
- Thermaltake Suppressor Chassis @ eTeknix
- Corsair H110i GTX @ Bjorn3d
- Noctua NH-L9x65 Review @ OCC
- Scythe Ninja 4 CPU Cooler Review @ NikKTech
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 9, 2015 - 06:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: cooler master, G550M, 550W, modular psu, 80 Plus Bronze
At 550W and an 80 Plus Bronze rating the Cooler Master G500M is not as powerful as many of the PSUs we have seen lately, then again at $75 it is also more affordable. Unfortunately for Cooler Master the competition tends to be lower priced, with Corsair, SeaSonic and Thermaltake all having slightly better PSUs of a similar wattage for an equal or lesser price. On the other hand Cooler Master's five year warranty is longer than any of the other brands and [H]ard|OCP feels that the G500M shows improvements over previous models as it passed all of their tests. This particular model may not be a great choice but if CM continues to improve the quality of their budget priced models the next release might be a solid contender.
"Today we spend our time with a computer power supply from Cooler Master that is towards the lower end of the wattage scale coming in at 550 watts. Cooler Master claims "notably higher efficiency and voltage stability than other designs." We will see if its Bronze efficiency G550M PSU will stand up to our gauntlet and its own claims."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- EVGA SuperNOVA 650GS @ Kitguru
- Seasonic Snow Silent 750W PSU @ Kitguru
- COUGAR GX-1050 V3 1050W Power Supply Unit Review @ NikKTech
- LEPA MaxPlatinum Series 1700 W @ techPowerUp
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 4, 2015 - 04:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: cooler master, MasterCase, MasterCase Pro, MasterCase Maker 5, freeform
Cooler Master announced three cases aimed at the modding community at Computex 2015. Part of their new 'Make It Yours.' campaign are the MasterCase and MasterCase Pro as well as the MasterCase Maker 5. All of the external parts are modular and easily removed with a clip and click system implemented on the cases allowing you to not only change the configuration of your case but also to modify them or design new ones if you have the tools.
All the cases follow a similar overall design to the MasterCase5 pictured above, a 460mm tall tower, deep enough to fit 260mm radiators and long enough for lengthy high end GPUs. With a half dozen mounts for 140mm fans the case should move heat efficiently and depending on the fans you chose, quietly as well. The MasterCase5 sports handles on the top, though it is perhaps a bit large to be considered portable they could come in handy for cases that spend time being shown off at conventions and shows. The Pro model forgoes the rear handle for an elevated mesh cover good for installing a radiator while the Maker 5 has a solid top but vented front door for those who might want to do their own work to the top. All have a separate bottom compartment for your PSU and drive bays for both 2.5 and 3.5" drives which can be mounted in a variety of ways or removed altogether.