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!!

CES 2018: Corsair Shows New SPEC-OMEGA and Obsidian 500D Cases

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 9, 2018 - 07:01 PM |
Tagged: tempered glass, Spec Omega, liquid cooler, enclosure, corsair, cooling, case

Corsair’s new case offering at CES features the Carbide Series SPEC-OMEGA, which adds a premium tempered glass option to the SPEC lineup.

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With SPEC OMEGA there are the trademark angular design elements we have seen from the ALPHA cases, but this new case features tempered glass window panels to compliment internals that are fully open (no bottom shroud covering the PSU and storage) for better airflow and a simplified build process.

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Also making an appearance are new Obsidian models, Corsair's premium enclosures featuring varying levels of tempered glass and aluminum with the Obsidian Series 500D in two versions.

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A version with three panels of tempered glass (both sides and the front) was on display, alongside a version with an aluminum front panel and tempered glass sides. Both versions have hinged side panels with magnetic closures for easy component access.

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As to pricing and availability, the Carbide Series SPEC-OMEGA is available for order now in black, white, or red for $99.99 from Corsair, and the Obsidian Series 500D cases shown do not have a release date just yet but are expected to retail from $149 for the standard model up to $249 for the 3-panel tempered glass version shown.

Source: Corsair
Manufacturer: Phononic

Introduction: A Hybrid Approach

The Hex 2.0 from Phononic is not your typical CPU cooler. It functions as both a thermoelectric cooler (TEC) - which you may also know as a Peltier cooler - and as a standard heatsink/fan, depending on CPU load. It offers a small footprint for placement in all but the lowest-profile systems, yet it boasts cooling potential beyond other coolers of its size. Yes, it is expensive, but this is a far more complex device than a standard air or even all-in-one liquid cooler - and obviously much smaller than even the most compact AiO liquid coolers.

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“The HEX 2.0 combines a proprietary state-of-the-art high performance thermoelectric module with an innovative heat exchanger. The small form factor CPU cooler pioneers a new category of cooling technology. The compact design comfortably fits in small chassis, including mini-ITX cases, while delivering cooling capacity beyond that of much larger coolers.”

Even though it does not always need to function as such, the Hex 2.0 is a thermoelectric cooling device, and that alone makes it interesting from a PC hardware enthusiast point of view (at least mine, anyway). The 'active-passive' approach taken by Phononic with the Hex 2.0 allows for greater performance potential that would otherwise be possible from a smaller TEC device, though our testing will of course reveal how effective it is in actual use.

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HEX 2.0 features an Active-Passive design (Credit: Phononic)

The goal for the HEX 2.0 CPU cooler was to provide similar cooling performance to all-in-one (AIO) liquid coolers or the very largest fan-heat sinks in a package that could fit into the smallest PC form factors (like miniITX). The active-passive design is what makes this possible. By splitting the CPU heat into two paths, as shown in Figure 1 (Ed. the above image), the thermoelectric device can be sized at an optimal point where it can provide the most benefit for lowering CPU temperature without having to be large enough to pump the entire CPU thermal load. We also designed electronic controls to turn off the thermoelectric heat pump at times of low CPU load, making for an energy efficient cooler that provides adequate cooling with zero power draw at low CPU loads. However, when the CPU is stressed and the CPU heat load increases, the electronic controls energize the thermoelectric heat pump, lowering the temperature of the passive base plate and the CPU itself. The active-passive design has one further benefit – when used in conjunction with the electronic controls, this design virtually eliminates the risk of condensation for the HEX 2.0.

Continue reading our review of the Phononic HEX 2.0 Thermoelectric CPU Cooler!

Corsair Announces the Carbide Air 740 Enclosure

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 2, 2016 - 12:00 PM |
Tagged: atx, enclosure, corsair, case, carbide, Air 740, dual-chamber, airflow, cooling

Corsair has announced a new member of the Carbide Air family with the new 740, and this dual-chamber case is all about airflow.

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A follow-up to the Carbide Air 540, the 740 is a cube-like design, and a fairly roomy 16.8 x 13.4 x 20.1 inches in size. There's plenty of internal room for large components, and tons of room for cooling. How much room? Corsair says the Carbide Air 740 can hold "up to eight 120mm or seven 140mm fans, a 240mm/280mm top radiator, 240mm/280mm floor radiator, and 240/280/360mm front radiator – all at once."

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Specifications from Corsair:

  • Dual-chamber Direct Airflow Path design: Utilizes dual-chambers to deliver cooler air to your CPU, graphics cards, motherboard, memory, and other PCI-E components without your drives or power supply getting in the way.
  • Industrial-style ergonomics and space-saving internal design: Offers massive internal volume by moving the power supply and drive bays into a separate chamber.
  • Includes three custom Air Series AF140L intake and exhaust fans: Based on the award-winning AF140, the included fans provide great airflow performance at lower noise levels than typical case fans.
  • Amazing cooling expansion room: For up to eight 120mm or seven 140mm fans, a 240mm/280mm top radiator, 240mm/280mm floor radiator, and 240/280/360mm front radiator – all at once.
  • 8 x Expansion slots: Can house up to 4 graphics cards.
  • I/O Port: 2 x USB 3.0, headphone and mic.
  • Dimensions: 426mm x 340mm x 510mm

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Corsair has priced the Carbide Air at $149.99, and it's available now. 

  • Stay tuned as we will have a review of this new Corsair Carbide Air 740 enclosure soon!

Full press release after the break.

Source: Corsair
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

AMD Keeps Q1 Interesting

CES 2016 was not a watershed moment for AMD.  They showed off their line of current video cards and, perhaps more importantly, showed off working Polaris silicon, which will be their workhorse for 2016 in the graphics department.  They did not show off Zen, a next generation APU, or any AM4 motherboards.  The CPU and APU world was not presented in a way that was revolutionary.  What they did show off, however, hinted at the things to come to help keep AMD relevant in the desktop space.

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It was odd to see an announcement about the stock cooler that AMD was introducing, but when we learned more about it, the more important it was for AMD’s reputation moving forward.  The Wraith cooler is a new unit to help control the noise and temperatures of the latest AMD CPUs and select APUs.  This is a fairly beefy unit with a large, slow moving fan that produces very little noise.  This is a big change from the variable speed fans on previous coolers that could get rather noisy and leave temperatures that were higher in range than are comfortable.  There has been some derision aimed at AMD for providing “just a cooler” for their top end products, but it is a push that is making them more user and enthusiast friendly without breaking the bank.

Socket AM3+ is not dead yet.  Though we have been commenting on the health of the platform for some time, AMD and its partners work to improve and iterate upon these products to include technologies such as USB 3.1 and M.2 support.  While these chipsets are limited to PCI-E 2.0 speeds, the four lanes available to most M.2 controllers allows these boards to provide enough bandwidth to fully utilize the latest NVMe based M.2 drives available.  We likely will not see a faster refresh on AM3+, but we will see new SKUs utilizing the Wraith cooler as well as a price break for the processors that exist in this socket.

Click here to continue reading about AMD's latest offerings for Q1 2016!

Author:
Manufacturer: EVGA

Its been a while...

EVGA has been around for quite some time now.  They have turned into NVIDIA’s closest North American partner after the collapse of the original VisionTek.  At nearly every trade show or gaming event, EVGA is closely associated with whatever NVIDIA presence is there.  In the past EVGA focused primarily on using NVIDIA reference designs for PCB and cooling, and would branch out now and then with custom or semi-custom watercooling solutions.

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A very svelte and minimalist design for the shroud.  I like it.

The last time I actually reviewed an EVGA products was way back in May of 2006.  I took a look at the 7600 GS product, which was a passively cooled card.  Oddly enough, that card is sitting right in front of me as I write this.  Unfortunately, that particular card has a set of blown caps on it and no longer works.  Considering that the card has been in constant use since 2006, I would say that it held up very well for those eight years!

EVGA has been expanding their product lineup to be able to handle the highs and lows of the PC market.  They have started manufacturing motherboards, cases, and power supplies to help differentiate their product lineup and hopefully broaden their product portfolio.  We know from past experiences that companies that rely on one type of product from a single manufacturer (GPUs in this particular case) can experience some real issues if demand drops dramatically due to competitive disadvantages.  EVGA also has taken a much more aggressive approach to differentiating their products while keeping them within a certain budget.

The latest generation of GTX 700 based cards have seen the introduction of the EVGA ACX cooling solutions.  These dual fan coolers are a big step up from the reference design and puts EVGA on par with competitive products from Asus and MSI.  EVGA does make some tradeoffs as compared, but these are fairly minimal when considering the entire package.

Click here to read the entire review!

Insert Thirty-Six Supapipe Jokes Here

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | February 17, 2014 - 08:36 PM |
Tagged: passive cooling, cooling

Somewhere in the world, someone is developing a passively-cooled desktop made up of copper water pipes. Thirty-six (36) of them pass through what looks like an aluminum block attached to the socket LGA 1155 heatsink mount. As the copper pipes heat up, it passes to the air within it. Convection forces this to exhaust upward through the copper chimney and replaces it with cool air from below.

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All Images, Credit: "Monster", CoolEnjoy.net Forums

From the 3D prototype, it looks like two passively-cooled discrete GPUs are intended to fit just above the elbow in the chimney. Even from the rendering, it is clear that quite a lot of thought and effort has gone into this project. I cannot tell how they intend to access PCIe slots from up there, be it a larger motherboard or an extension adapter, but options probably exist.

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Initial testing with a Core i5-4440 (stock frequencies) show around 65 deg C at full CPU load. This should be in line with a typical air-based cooler.

Either way, this is the most impressive "SuperPipe" cooler that I have seen.

Your move, MSI.

Source: CoolEnjoy

PowerColor at CES 2014: Bigger is Better!

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 8, 2014 - 08:25 PM |
Tagged: triple fans, R9 290X, r9 290, powercolor, liquid cooling, cooling, CES 2014, amd

The nice folks at PowerColor were foolish enough to invite us into their suite full of video cards.  Unhappily, we were unable to abscond with a few items that we will list here.  PowerColor has a smaller US presence than other manufacturers, but they are not afraid to experiment with unique cooling solutions for their cards.

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A sharp looking card that is remarkably heavy.

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Cooling is provided by EKWB.

In their suite they were showing off two new products based on the AMD R9 290X chips.  The first was actually released back in December, 2013.  This is the liquid cooling version of the AMD R9 290X.  This little number comes in at a hefty $799.  When we think about this price, it really is not that out of line.  It features a very high end liquid cooling block that is extremely heavy and well built.  The PCB looks like it mimics the reference design, but the cooling is certainly the unique aspect of this card.  Again, this card is extremely heavy and well built.

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Three fans are too much!

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The display outputs are the same as the reference design, which is not a bad thing.

The second card is probably much more interesting to most users.  This is a new cooling solution from PowerColor that attaches to the AMD R9 290X.  The PCS+ cooler features three fans and is over two slots wide (we can joke about it being 2.5 slots wide, but I doubt anyone can use that extra half slot that is left over).  PCS+ stands for Professional Cooling Systems.  The board again looks like it is based on the reference PCB, but the cooler is really where the magic lies.  This particular product should be able to compete with the other 3rd party coolers that we have seen applied to this particular chip from AMD.  As such, it should be able to not only keep the clockspeed at a steady state throughout testing/gaming, but it should also allow a measure of overclocking to be applied.

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The back is protected/supported by a large and stiff plate.  Cooling holes help maximize performance.

This card will be offered at $679 US and will be available on January 15.  The amount of units shipped will likely be fairly small, so keep a good eye out.  AMD is ultimately in charge of providing partners with chips to integrate into their respective products, and so far I think those numbers have been a little bit more limited than hoped.  It also doesn’t help that the market price has been inflated by all the coin miners that have been purchasing up the latest GCN based AMD cards for the past several months.

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There is no denying that this is a large cooler.  Hopefully cooling performance will match or exced that of products Ryan has already reviewed.

We also expect to see the R9 290 version of this card around the same timeframe.  This is supposed to be released around the same time as the bigger, more expensive R9 290X.  There should be more PowerColor content at PCPer over the next few months, so please stay tuned!

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

 

Source: PowerColor

NZXT's New "Grid" Hub Can Consolidate Up To 10 Case Fans

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 19, 2013 - 08:46 AM |
Tagged: nzxt, case fan, fan controller, fan hub, cooling, grid

NZXT has announced that it is making its Grid fan hub available to the masses. No longer only available with certain NZXT cases, the Grid fan hub takes a single Molex power cable and provides 3-pin power outputs for up to ten fans.

The NZXT kit will come with the Grid hub, a 200mm long Molex power adapter, a single 200mm long (3-pin) female-to-female adapter cable, and two 200mm (3-pin) fan extension cables. NZXT is also including five black cable ties to assist with cable management.

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Unfortunately, the Grid does not provide functionality to allow adjustable fan speeds. All fans connected to the Grid hub will run at 100% unless other means (such as resistors) are used inline to slow them down. If you only care for speed, and are in a situation where your motherboard does not support enough fan headers but you cannot justify a full fan controller the Grid might be for you. For the price, it is serviceable in that regard.

Speaking of pricing, the Grid fan hub will be available soon with a MSRP of $11.99. More information is available on NZXT's product page.

Is the Grid something that you could see yourself using?

Source: NZXT

Annealed Pyrolytic Graphite, your next exotic cooling solution

Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 20, 2013 - 04:02 PM |
Tagged: annealed pyrolytic graphite, cooling, exotic materials, thermal paste

Efficient cooling has always and will always be a limiter on the power of processors, especially as the processes used shrink and transistor density increases.  Over the years we have seen heatpipes become common and watercooling move into the mainstream with the advent of all-in-one coolers.  Thermal interface material has not changed much, even though we have heard of many developments nothing has been released to market.  Carbon black proved to be too long in development and might be replaced by nanotube forests though there is do it yourself thermal paste doped with diamonds that you can make right now.

From there we saw a project doping thermal paste with graphene, which could provide conductivity of up to 600 W/mK once it becomes available, hopefully in sheet form for easy installation.  Increasing the thermal conductivity of your TIM is a good thing, assuming that the heatsink absorbing the heat can keep up with the transfer which is what makes the news out of FrostyTech so interesting.  Researchers are sandwiching a material they call K-Core Annealed Pyrolytic Graphite in between layers of aluminium and other metals to create a heatsink with a thermal conductivity of up to 1092W/mK in certain situations.  It is not as simple as doping a heatsink with this new material though, it is only efficient at moving heat horizontally. Read on to find out more at FrostyTech.

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"When the thermal conductivity of copper and aluminum heat spreaders just won't cut it, the future revolves around a material called Annealed Pyrolytic Graphite. Let's consider the numbers: where a solid aluminum heat spreader has a thermal conductivity of 126W/mK, the same heatspreader with an Annealed Pyrolytic Graphite core would see thermal conductivity on the order of 1092 W/mK. That's not a typo."

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Source: FrostyTech