The Cherry MX Low Profile Difference
The market for mechanical gaming keyboards is exploding. Everyone, even companies you would never expect (I’m looking at you Creative Labs!), seems to have their own line of PC gaming accessories. But what really sets them apart? The answer is, sadly, not much; the existence of media keys or a volume roller, how good the software is, the occasional quirky layout.
Then there are the unique keyboards. We’ve looked at a few of them here. Today we’re adding another one to the list with the Cooler Master SK630 Low Profile Gaming Keyboard.
The SK630 features a flat, slimmed down design that could make any Apple fan feel right at home. Add to that full RGB backlighting, brand new Cherry MX RGB Low Profile Red switches, and massive amounts of software-free programmability and you can begin to see why this might catch more than a few eyes. With a list price of $119.99 this is not exactly a budget option, so let’s dive in and see if it’s worth the cost of entry.
- Switch Type: Cherry MX RGB Low Profile Switch
- Actuation Point: 1.2mm
- Travel Distance: 3.2mm
- Switch Lifespan: 50M actuations
- Material: Aluminum/Plastic
- Color: Gunmetal Black
- LED Color: RGB
- Polling Rate: 1000 Hz
- Response Rate: 1ms / 1000Hz
- MCU: 32-bit ARM Cortex M3
- Onboard Memory: 512KB
- On-the-fly System: Yes, for multimedia, Macro recording, and lighting control
- Multimedia Keys: Through Function Key (FN)
- Cable: 1.8m, USB Type-C Detachable & Braided
- Software Support: Yes, through Portal
- Dimensions: 353.5 x 125.5 x 29.8 mm (L*W*H)
- Product Weight (without cable): 552g
- Weight: 593g
- Warranty: 2 years
- List Price: $119.99
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.
“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.
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.
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 17, 2017 - 10:31 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SFF, pascal, low profile, GTX 1050 Ti, gtx 1050, gigabyte
Introduction and First Impressions
The CRYORIG C7 is a compact air cooler for Intel and processors, designed to fit anywhere a stock solution will. Standing just 47 mm tall, and featuring a footprint close in size to an Intel stock cooler, CRYORIG claims this ultra-compact design will still outperform the stock solution.
An attractive design, the C7 is further sweetened by a $29.99 retail, which places it in a favorable position in the compact CPU cooler market. Designs like these are rarely useful for enthusiasts, but there it certainly a need for good aftermarket options when overclocking isn't a consideration. There was a time when the stock Intel cooler was sufficient for many basic builds, and for some that may still be the case. But if you've spent a little more to get higher performance, a better heatsink can certainly help; and if you're an enthusiast, the stock cooler was never adequate anyway (even before Intel stopped shipping it in K series CPUs).
In this review we'll find out if this small cooler can deliver on its performance promise, and see just how much noise it might make in the process.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 23, 2015 - 06:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: reeven, steropes, low profile, air cooling
The Reeven heatsink stands a mere 125x60x129 mm and weighs barely over a pound even with the included fan installed. This will be perfect for an incredibly thin system and with its small foot print it won't interfere with your RAM as it is not big enough to overhang the DIMMs on most boards. This will by necessity reduce the cooling capabilities as you can see in techPowerUp's testing with an i7-4770K. For those looking for a tiny system that is not going to be an issue and at full speed the fan doesn't reach more than 47dBA so it is also good for those who desire quiet as well as small size. This one is worth checking out if you are looking at this type of build.
"Reveen looks to impress with their small-form-factor friendly Steropes low-profile CPU cooler. At just 60 mm tall, this diminutive cooler may lack size, but it certainly doesn't lack style. Offering solid performance and low noise, it might be just what you need for a SFF or HTPC."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- be quiet! Pure Rock CPU Cooler Review @HiTech Legion
- DeepCool GamerStorm Captain 240 All-in-One Liquid CPU Cooler @ Modders-Inc
- Cooler Master Nepton 240M AIO CPU @ eTeknix
- Nanoxia Deep Silence 4 mATX/mITX PC Case Review @ NikKTech
- Thermaltake Core V21 Stackable Micro-ATX Chassis @ eTeknix
- Lian Li PC-T80 Modular Test Bench Chassis @ eTeknix
- Raijintek Metis Mini-ITX Aluminum Chassis @ eTeknix
- Corsair Carbide 330R Titanium Edition Review @ OCC
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 2, 2014 - 03:14 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: sapphire, R7 240, htpc, SFF, low profile, steam os
Sapphire is preparing a new low profile Radeon R7 240 graphics card for home theater PCs and small form factor desktop builds. The new graphics card is a single slot design that uses a small heatsink with fan cooler that is shorter than the low profile PCI bracket for assured compatibility with even extremely cramped cases.
The Sapphire R7 240 card pairs a 28nm AMD GCN-based GPU with 2GB of DDR3 memory. There are two HDMI 1.4a display outputs that each support 4K 4096 x 2160 resolutions. Specifically, this particular iteration of the Radeon R7 240 has 320 stream processors clocked at 730 MHz base and 780 MHz boost along with 2GB DDR3 memory clocked at 900 MHz on a 128-bit bus. The card further has 20 TMUs and 8 ROPs. The card has a power sipping 30W TDP.
This low profile R7 240 is a sub-$100 part that can easily power a home theater PC or Steam OS streaming endpoint. Actually, the R7 240 itself can deliver playable gaming frame rates with low quality settings and lowered resolutions delivering at least 30 average FPS in modern titles like Bioshock Infinite and BF4 according to this review. Another use case would be to add the card to an existing AMD APU-based system in Hybrid CrossFire (which has seen Frame Pacing fixes!) for a bit more gaming horsepower under a strict budget.
The card occupies a tight space where it is only viable in specific situations constrained by a tight budget, physical size, and the requirement to buy a card new and not an older (single and faster, not Hybrid CrossFire) generation card on the used market. Still, it is nice to have options and this will be one such new budget alternative. Exact pricing is not yet available, but it should be hitting store shelves soon. For an idea on pricing, the full height Sapphire R7 240 retails for around $70, so expect the new low profile variant to be around that price if at a slight premium.
Subject: General Tech | August 6, 2013 - 07:57 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: thermalright, low profile, htpc, cpu cooler, axp-200
Thermalright recently released the AXP-200, a new low profile CPU cooler suitable for HTPCs and other systems with CPU HSF hieght restrictions. The AXP-200 is the successor to the existing AXP-100, and is available in Europe for €50 Euros, which is approximately $67 USD.
Thermalright’s AXP-200 measures 150mm x 140mm x 73mm including the bundled TY-14013 140mm fan and weighs 475 grams (~1.04 lbs). Features include a nickel plated copper base plate that connects to an aluminum heatsink with 49 fins via six soldered 6mm nickel plated heatpipes. Thermalright logos are etched onto the heatpipe caps and fan shroud. Speaking of the fan, it is rated at 700-1300 RPM, 64.52 CFM, and a maximum of 30.6 dBA.
Interestingly, the AXP-200 comes with a TY-150 mounting frame that allows it to support a150mm TY-150 fan instead of the bundled 140mm model.
The cooler supports all of the latest CPU sockets including:
- 775, 1150, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011
- AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2
The low profile AXP-200 is available now in Europe for €50 and will hopefully hit the US soon. It should be a decent little cooler for your next HTPC or mini-ITX desktop build, though it is on the pricier side of things.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 17, 2013 - 07:05 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: thermalright, axp-100, heatsink, low profile
If you need a heatsink for a low profile PC like an HTPC your choices are much more limited and the high end coolers with kilogram of metal are simply not going to fit unless you cut a blower into your case. Thermalright saw an opening that they could fill perfectly with their new AXP-100, which weighs under 400g and is (L) 121.1mm x (W) 105.47mm x (H) 44.15mm, significantly smaller than most heatsinks on the market. [H]ard|OCP slapped in on their test bench and were pleased to see that it beat the stock cooler handily and were even more pleased to see that it could handle an overclock. Check out their full review here.
"Thermalright, one of [H]’s long time favorites when it comes to CPU cooling, reaches out today with a cooler designed for smaller ITX and HTPC systems. Full nickel plating, 140mm and 120mm fan compatibility, and a mere 5.8cm height with the fan installed allows a big compatibility footprint in a very small package."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- NZXT Respire T20 CPU Cooler Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Thermalright Archon SB-E Cooler @ X-bit Labs
- Noctua NH-L9i Low-Profile CPU Cooler @ Tweaktown
- Spire Air Force 120 and Air Force 120 LED Cooling Fans Review @ Pro-Clockers
- NZXT Respire T20 CPU Cooler @ Tweaktown
- Thermalright AXP-100 Low-Profile CPU Cooler Review @ NikKTech
- NZXT Respire T40 CPU Cooler Review @ Hardware Secrets
- NZXT Respire T40 Heatsink Review @ Frostytech
- Lamptron FC9 Fan Controller Review @ Neoseeker
- NZXT Kraken X40 All-In-One Liquid CPU Cooler Review @ Pro-Clockers
- Cooler Master Silencio 650 Mid Tower Case Review @ Madshrimps
- Fractal Design Node 605 @ techPowerUp
- Enermax Fulmo GT review - HTPX chassis @ Guru of 3D
- Lian Li PC-A76 Full Tower Case Review @ Hardware Canucks
- CM Storm QuickFire TK Review @ Custom PC Review
- Cooler Master HAF XB @ techPowerUp
Subject: Memory | March 23, 2012 - 03:56 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, Samsung Green PC3-12800, low profile, low power
There is a reason that Samsung's branding of these new DIMMs is green; they suck a mere 1.35V at their full speed of DDR3 1600MHz @ 11-11-11-28 and with the low profile they will fit in just about any machine. Of more interest to some readers would be their overclocking potential, which TechPowerUp explored and discovered that 2400 MHz with 1.575V was not only possible but also stable. They also went the other way and discovered the DIMMs could still run at stock speeds at 1.2V which gives you a lot to tweak on this RAM. Read on to see how the DIMMs performed and to learn a little about tWCL as well.
"Several tech forums are buzzing about Samsung's lastest "Green" 30 nm DDR3, that sips the voltage, and sits on a tiny low-profile PCB. We snagged a pair to see what all the fuss is about, and boy, were we surprised!"
Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:
- G.Skill RipjawsX F3-2133C9-32GXH 32 GB PC3-17000 1.6 V DDR3 @ techPowerUp
- Topower Gold Vapour Injection-HD DDR3 1866MHz 8GB Memory Kit Review @ eTeknix
- GSkill RipjawsZ PC3 17000 CL9 Quad Channel Memory Kit @ Ninjalane
- G.Skill ARES 16GB 2133mhz Memory Kit @ Kitguru
- G.Skill ARES PC3-17000 16GB @ Tweaktown
- Ivy Bridge High-Speed RAM Run with G.Skill PC3-20800 2666MHz RipjawsZ @ Tweaktown
- Patriot Viper Extreme PC3-16000 CL9 1.65 V DDR3 @ techPowerUp
- Crucial Ballistix Elite 8GB 1866MHz @ OC3D
- Kingston HyperX Red Limited Edition DDR3-1600 2x4GB Memory Kit Review @ Hi Tech Legion
Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 12, 2012 - 04:19 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: low profile, low noise, heatsink, arctic cooling alpine 64 plus
If you spent around $100 on your CPU you are unlikely to want to spend a large percentage of that again on a high powered third party heatsink but that doesn't mean you have to stick with the cooler in the retail package. Arctic Cooling's Alpine 64 Plus stands 69mm x 99mm x 116mm making it perfect for smaller systems and weighs in at only 430g as well. The price is something you will love, the MSRP is $15 which should sit within anyone's budget. FrostyTech tried it out on their testbench and as you might expect it did not top the cooling charts but did perform adequately and it was one of the quietest active coolers they've tested.
"With the release of AMD's socket FM1 Fusion A8-3850 processors late last year there's been a growing need for inexpensive yet relatively quiet CPU coolers of moderate power. The 'Llano' processor only has a 100W TDP and costs just over $120 bucks, so expensive tower heatpipe coolers can be a little bit of an overkill. Arctic Cooling's Alpine 64 Plus heatsink is one economical option to consider; it's rated for 100W and stands 70mm tall so it fits in most media PC cases with ease."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- SilenX EFZ-120HA5 Performance CPU Cooler Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Akasa Venom Voodoo @ Kitguru
- NZXT Havik 140 CPU Cooler Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Deepcool Assassin: Coldblooded Killer of Heat @ X-bit Labs
- Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile CPU Cooler Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Prolimatech Panther CPU Cooler Review @ eTeknix
- Arctic Cooling RC Pro and RC Turbo Module PWM Fan RAM Cooler Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- SilverStone TJ04-Evolution Mid-Tower @ Tweaktown
- Cougar Evolution Enthusiast Mid Tower@ Pro-Clockers
- Corsair Carbide Series 500R Mid Tower Case @ Pro-Clockers
- Antec One Case Review @ HardwareHeaven
- CM Storm Trooper Tower @ Hardwareoverclock
- Enermax Fulmo GT @ Kitguru
- BitFenix Shinobi XL @ techPowerUp
- Antec Three Hundred Two @ Tweaktown
- Antec One Mid-Tower Case Review @Hi Tech Legion
- Silverstone SG08 @ OC3D
- Xilence Black Hornet Case Review @ Madshrimps
- InWin Buc 101 Mid Tower Computer Chassis @ TechwareLabs
- Cougar Evolution Mid Case Review @ XtremeComputing
- Zalman Z11 Plus Case Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Rosewill Blackhawk-Ultra Super Tower Computer Case Review @ Legit Reviews