A New Take on the Budget Legend

It is not hyperbole to call Cooler Master’s Hyper 212 family some of the most important CPU air coolers in the industry, with the 212 EVO dominating sales in the DIY segment for years now based on Amazon rankings. In the last five years I have reviewed a number of coolers here at PC Perspective, and feedback from readers almost always includes mention of, and requests for comparison to, that Hyper 212 EVO. I have tested this venerable cooler more than once over the years, but it has proven to be such a vital part of any CPU air-cooling discussion that it demands to be part of every cooler review lineup. Today we will benchmark that cooler yet again using the current test platform, and compare it to a new generation of Hyper 212: the Black Edition.

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The Hyper 212 Black Edition coolers, available with or without an RGB fan, add a level of style that had been missing from the 212 EVO, trading exposed copper heat pipes and bare aluminum heatsink fins for a polished, all-black finish. Naturally style means nothing without performance, and with the RGB Black Edition we are still looking at a single tower heatsink design with four heat pipes that are designed to make direct contact with the CPU, and air is still being moved via a single 120 mm fan.

Features from Cooler Master:

  • Sleek Finishing - Anodized gun-metal black with brushed aluminum surface finish to the top cover for a more refined look
  • Precise Air Flow with Nickel Black - Stacked fin array ensures least airflow resistance which allows cooler air flow into the heatsink. The nickel plated jet black also enhances radiation cooling performance
  • Direct Contact Technology - 4 heat pipes with exclusive Direct Contact Technology providing effective and excellent heat dissipation
  • The New SF120R RGB Fan - Certified to sync with Motherboard RGB software or controlled by our controller. The wide speed range can be fine-tuned for maximum cooling performance or silent operation
  • Optional Push-Pull Fan Configuration - To avoid dynamic losses and help accelerate heat exhaust, an additional fan helps pulling heat away faster from heatsink
  • RGB in the Palm of Your Hand with Included Wired RGB Controller - A compact size RGB LED controller that allows you to easily customize your RGB devices without the need for either an RGB capable motherboard or software. You can have the colorful rig you’ve always wanted with just the touch of a button

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Continue reading our review of the Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition cooler!

be quiet! Launches Shadow Wings 2, Pure Wings 2 high-speed Fans

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 22, 2019 - 01:15 PM |
Tagged: silent, Shadow Wings 2, rifle bearing, quiet, pwm, Pure Wings 2, fans, cooling, case, be quiet!

be quiet! has officially launched their two new fan series shown at CES, with the Shadow Wings 2 silent fans and the Pure Wings 2 high-speed series of fans, both in 120 and 140 mm sizes as well as standard and PWM versions.

We start with the Shadow Wings 2, which is their lowest-noise fan option:

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"Shadow Wings 2 is a slowly spinning and highly optimized case fan and the most silent fan series in the be quiet! lineup. It relies on an array of features to keep its noise level as low as only 15.9 dB(A) at maximum speed. Airflow-optimized fan blades provide reliable cooling and whisper-quiet operation. A new anti-vibration mounting system and rubberized fan frame ensure easy installation and decoupling from the case frame. High-grade rifle bearing technology guarantees a lifespan of up to 80,000 hours. Shadow Wings 2 comes in 120mm and 140mm sizes, with 3-pin connectors or PWM control. Maximum rotational speed for the 120mm models is 1,100 rpm, and 900 rpm for its 140mm sibling."

Next is the Pure Wings 2 high-speed,  which favors cooling performance with speeds of up to 2000 RPM:

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"be quiet!’s Pure Wings 2 offers an extremely versatile fan with a great price-performance ratio. High air pressure makes this fan the perfect choice for water-cooling radiators, heatsinks or as a performance-oriented case fan. The versatility of Pure Wings 2 is evident from its integration in several other be quiet! products such as air and water coolers as well as the Silent Base and Pure Base chassis series. Nine airflow-optimized fan blades reduce noise-generating turbulence and ensure high airflow while high-quality rifle bearings guarantee a long lifetime of up to 80,000 hours. Users demanding even higher cooling performance can now opt for high-speed versions of Pure Wings 2. Available in 120mm and 140mm versions with 3-pin or PWM connectors, these offer higher rotational speeds up to 2,000 rpm (120mm), or 1,600 rpm (140mm). Even at full speed, the maximum noise level is no higher than 37.3 dB(A)."

Both new fan series are available now, with pricing as announced as follows for the various models:

  • Shadow Wings 2
    • 120 mm: $15.90 
    • 120 mm PWM: $16.90
    • 140 mm: $17.90
    • 140 mm PWM: $18.90
  • Pure Wings 2 high-speed
    • 120 mm: $12.50
    • 120 mm PWM: $12.90
    • 140 mm: $13.50
    • 140 mm PWM: $13.90
Source: be quiet!

be quiet! Dark Rock Slim CPU Cooler, Shadow Wings 2 and Dark Wings 2 Fans

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 9, 2019 - 03:27 AM |
Tagged: Shadow Wings 2, Dark Wings 2, Dark Rock Slim, cooling, cooler, ces 2019, CES, be quiet!, air cooler

The Dark Rock 4 from be quiet! is their highest-end air cooler, with a large footprint and distinctive sleek all-black aesthetic that has been a welcome alternative to more ostentatious designs on the market. But be quiet! is aware that this large heatsink, like many of this type on the market, can present clearance issues for taller RAM. Enter the Dark Rock Slim, a more compact single-tower cooler design that offers better RAM compatibility while still maintaining powerful cooling capabilities, handling up to a 180W TDP processor. The same stealthy aesthetic from the other Dark Rock coolers is retained with the new slim model, including a black brushed aluminum top cover and black heatsink fins and heat pipes.

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The Dark Rock Slim poses for the camera (via be quiet! on Twitter)

Features from be quiet! include:

  • 180W TDP
  • Slim heat sink design for maximum RAM compatibility
  • Silent Wings 3 120mm PWM funnel shaped front fan: Airflow-optimized blades, six-pole fan
    motor and fluid dynamic bearing (FDB)
  • Decoupled fan mounting
  • Four advanced high-performance copper heat pipes maximize heat conductance
  • Small dots on the fin surface increase cooling area
  • Special black coating with ceramic particles for perfect heat transfer
  • Brushed aluminum top cover with high-grade diamond cut finish
  • Convenient top mounting
  • Support for an additional 120mm fan – installation clamps for standard fans included

The Dark Rock Slim launches in Q2 2019 with a retail price expected to be around $50.

Also shown at the be quiet! suite was Shadow Wings 2, which are low-RPM case fans that feature a decoupled mounting system, airflow optimized fan blades, and a rubber frame and mounting system with optional push-pin installation. There is also a white version on the way which is made of white plastic, and not simply painted, and provides a unified look inside white enclosures such as the Dark Base 700 White Edition.

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The Shadow Wings 2 fans launch this month beginning with the black version, with the white version slated for Q2 2019. Pricing will range from $15.90 - $18.90.

And finally we have the Pure Wings 2 high-speed fans, which spin at up to 2000 RPM in the 120 mm version, and 1600 RPM in the 140 mm version. The fans offer a rifle bearing with 80,000 hour operating life, and are available in both PWM and 3-pin versions. The fans will be available this month at prices ranging from $12.50 - $13.90.

Source: be quiet!

Cooler Master Announces Hyper 212 Black Edition CPU Coolers

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 29, 2018 - 10:27 AM |
Tagged: tower cooler, RGB, Hyper 212, heatsink, cpu cooler, cooling, cooler master, black edition, air cooler

The legendary Hyper 212 series from Cooler Master has a stealthy new look, with the upcoming Hyper 212 Black Edition coolers. Not just a cosmetic change, these new Black Edition coolers (available with or without RGB lighting) offer what Cooler Master is calling an "improved installation process from previous models with the same best-in-class performance for an affordable price".

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The Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition cooler (via Cooler Master)

"Designed with PC enthusiasts in mind, the new Hyper 212 Black Edition coolers keep with the familiar four heat pipe design of the original Hyper 212 and continues to offer direct contact technology for more thorough heat dissipation.
 
The updated brushed aluminum top cover, nickel plated anodized fins and heat pipes, and metallic heat pipe caps give the Hyper 212 Black Edition models a premium, aesthetic appeal. The Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition comes equipped with the new SF120R RGB fan and RGB LED controller for lighting customization, while the Hyper 212 Black Edition offers users a more simplified look via the all-black Silencio fan with exclusive Silent Drive IC technology."

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A look at the hardware kit with revised mounting system (via Cooler Master)

The Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition will carry an MSRP of $39.99, with the non-RGB Hyper 212 Black Edition at $34.99. Both coolers go on sale November 5.

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!