Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 2, 2015 - 09:39 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: phanteks, mini-itx, matx case, Enthoo Mini XL, dual system, dual motherboard
Phanteks has announced a new version of their Enthoo Mini XL enclosure, adding their PSU splitter to the package to allow both systems to use a single PSU, and now including the optional mini-ITX upgrade kit.
"With the overwhelming response from the community, users have requested for a solution to the Enthoo Mini XL's dual system configuration setup. Today, Phanteks announces the release of the Enthoo Mini XL Dual System. The Mini XL Dual System will have Phanteks Power Splitter and the Mini ITX upgrade kit pre-installed. With Enthoo Mini XL Dual System, users can run two fully functional system independently of one another. The Mini XL Dual System provides users to have the option of having a high powered gaming system and workstation or Gaming system and streaming system all in one case."
The need for a dual-motherboard system is confined to a small percentage of builders, but the appeal of this enclosure package might create some additional interest. It's a cool idea, and while the Mini XL has been around since January the PSU splitter is a fairly new product, and interesting on its own.
"Using the Power Splitter, a dual system configuration can operate independently of one another. Powering ON/OFF on one system will not affect the other and vice versa. As long as one system is running the power supply will be fully operational until both systems are off."
The Enthoo Mini XL Dual System enclosure will be available this month, and the press release listed 209.90 Euro (about $222 US) indicating this might not be available in the US just yet.
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 23, 2015 - 12:29 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: r9 nano, mITX, mini-itx, graphics card, gpu, asus, amd
AMD's Radeon R9 Nano is a really cool product, able to provide much of power of the bigger R9 Fury X without the need for more than a standard air cooler, and doing so with an impossibly tiny size for a full graphics card. And while mini-ITX graphics cards serve a small segment of the market, just who might be buying a white one when this is released?
According to a report published first by Computer Base in Germany, ASUS is releasing an all-white AMD R9 Nano, and it looks really sharp. The stock R9 Nano is no slouch in the looks department as you can see here in our full review of AMD's newest GPU, but with this design ASUS provides a totally different look that could help unify the style of your build depending on your other component choices. White is just starting to show up for things like motherboard PCBs, but it's pretty rare in part due to the difficulty in manufacturing white parts that stay white when they are subjected to heat.
There was no mention on a specific release window for the ASUS R9 Nano White, so we'll have to wait for official word on that. It is possible that ASUS has also implemented their own custom PCB, though details are not know just yet. We should know more by the end of next month according to the report.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 22, 2015 - 04:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: mini-itx, fractal design, core 500
For those building an HTPC or who prefer a tiny system to a full sized ATX build, Fractal Design is a common choice for a case maker. Their newest is the Core 500 Mini-ITX case, measuring 250x213x380mm (9.8x8.0x14.4"), with a single 5.25" bay on the front, up to six internal drives mixed between 3.5" and 2.5" and a front panel with two USB 3.0 and headphone and microphone jacks. The Tech Report liked the spartan exterior but did have some problems when installing components in the system, the all-in-one liquid cooler they used had issues fitting and larger GPUs will also prove problematic. On the other hand with a $60 price tag the case is much less expensive than other mini-ITX cases and if you plan your components carefully you shouldn't have issues fitting them into the Core 500.
"Fractal Design's Core 500 is the company's take on a Mini-ITX case that stays compact while making room for big radiators and graphics cards, along with plenty of storage. We poked around and put our Casewarmer test system inside to see how the Core 500 measures up."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Thermaltake Suppressor F51 Mid-Tower Case Review @ Neoseeker
- Nanoxia Deep Silence 5 Rev. B @ techPowerUp
- SilverStone Fortress FTZ01 Mini-ITX @ Benchmark Reviews
- Silverstone Raven RVZ02B-W & SX500-LG @ Legion Hardware
- Noctua NH-D15S CPU Cooler Review: How the Best Got Better @ Modders-Inc
- Scythe Ninja 4 @ techPowerUp
- Noctua NH-C14S CPU Cooler Review: Balance Through Asymmetry @ Modders-Inc
Subject: Motherboards | October 9, 2015 - 06:00 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Z170, Skylake, SFF, ROG, motherboard, mini-itx, Maximus VIII Impact, lga1151, asus
ASUS has announced their latest mini-ITX offering in the Republic of Gamers series, and the Maximus VIII Impact motherboard packs an outrageous number of features into one formidable little 6.7-inch square. In fact, short of the second PCIe slot afforded the larger mATX form-factor, the newest Impact board looks to be every bit as powerful as the recently released Maximus VIII Gene motherboard.
"To push performance even further, Maximus VIII Impact has a full-scale voltage-regulator module (VRM) dubbed Impact Power III vertically-mounted onto the tiny board, allowing you full access to digital power management for ultra-precise and stable overclocks with your processor and memory. ROG has also managed to squeeze in 5-Way Optimization auto-tuning and Pro Clock technology so you can get the most out of your 6th Gen. Intel processor and overclocked DDR4 memory which goes up to 4133MHz or higher."
Let’s check out the specs on this new Impact board:
- CPU: LGA1151 socket for 6th Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron processors
- Chipset: Intel Z170 Express
- Memory: Dual-channel memory architecture
- 2x DIMM, max. 32GB DDR4-4133(OC) non-ECC, un-buffered memory
- PCIe Slot: 1x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot (supports x16 mode)
- Graphics: Integrated Intel HD Graphics Processor
- HDMI 1.4b
- Intel InTru 3D/Quick Sync Video/Clear Video HD Technology/Insider
- Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac supports dual frequency band 2.4/5GHz; MU-MIMO
- Bluetooth: V4.1, 4.0LE
- USB: 2x USB 3.1 ports (1 Type-A and 1 Type-C) powered by Intel USB 3.1 controller; 6x USB 3.0 ports (2 at mid-board)
- Storage: 1x U.2 port (PCIe x4, 32Gb/s), 4x SATA 6Gb/s ports. Supports Intel Smart Response Technology
- LAN: Intel® I219-V Gigabit LAN with Anti-surge LANGuard, ROG GameFirst Technology
- HD Audio: SupremeFX Impact III
- ROG SupremeFX 2015 High Definition Audio Codec
- ESS® ES9023P DAC with Hyperstream™ Architecture
- 2Vrms Headphone Amp into 32-600 Ohms
- SupremeFX Shielding Technology
- Optical S/PDIF output at back panel
- Sonic Studio II; Sonic Radar II; Sonic SenseAmp; DTS Connect
- Fan headers: 2x 4-pin onboard; 3x 4-pin on daughter card
- Form Factor: Mini-ITX, 6.7" x 6.7" (17 cm x 17 cm)
Update, 10/11/15: The ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Impact motherboard is now available at Newegg.com for $248.99.
Subject: Motherboards | August 27, 2015 - 03:41 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Z170i Gaming Pro AC, Z170, msi, motherboard, mini-itx, Intel Skylake
MSI has announced a new mini-ITX motherboard for Intel's latest chipset, the Z170I Gaming Pro AC.
Mini-ITX boards have been hard to come by for Skylake thus far, with very few models and limited availability in the first month (though not quite as elusive as the i7-6700K). With this new gaming-oriented board MSI offers another option, and it looks pretty impressive with 5-phase power delivery, 802.11ac wireless, an Intel onboard NIC, and M.2 support from a slot on the back of the PCB.
Pricing isn't immediately available, but the existing Mini-ITX Z170 motherboards (EVGA and ASRock each have one) have been selling for $199 so I'd expect something in that vicinity.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 26, 2015 - 01:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: SFF, micro-atx, mini-itx, SG12, Silverstone
The SilverStone SG12 is an SFF case which dreams big, built for Mini-ITX through Micro-ATX motherboards it is still large enough to fit a GPU over a foot long. Overall it is 266x210x407mm (10.5x8.3x16") in size, still small enough to fit in a living room or cart around with you thanks to the built in handle but large enough to fit high end components. Bjorn3D installed an i7-4790K on an ASUS Z97M-PLUS with a GTX 970 powered by a SilverStone SST-ST55F-G PSU which is about 40mm shorter than the majority of PSUs. For a cooler they used the SilverStone SST-ST55F-G, the 140x82x139mm size comes close to the maximum size you can fit into the case. Check out their full review here.
"Here at Bjorn3D we are no strangers to the SilverStone brand. They have been creating awesome cases, power supplies, coolers and more since 2003, and we have been fortunate enough to take a look at many of their offerings over the years. Early on in their history, they created the Sugo series of cases, a line which caters to those that wish to build a small form factor PC."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Silverstone Sugo SG12 Case Review @ Hardware Asylum
- SilverStone Sugo SG12 @ Benchmark Reviews
- Element Gaming Hyperian Micro-ATX Chassis @ eTeknix
- Cougar QBX Mini-ITX Gaming Chassis @ eTeknix
- Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ITX SE @ Modders-Inc
- Cooler Master MasterCase 5 @ techPowerUp
- Rosewill WolfAlloy Review Case Review @ Hardware Asylum
- Cooler Master MasterCase 5 & Pro 5 @ Kitguru
- MAINGEAR Shift @ Modders-Inc
- Thermaltake Suppressor F51 Midi Tower Review @ NikKTech
- Alphacool Custom 480mm Watercooling Kit Review @ NikKTech
- Enermax Liqmax II 240mm AIO CPU Cooler @ eTeknix
- Optimized CPU Cooling with Top-Down Heatsinks @ Benchmark Reviews
- be quiet! Shadow Rock LP @ techPowerUp
- Deepcool Assassin II Review @ OCC
Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 18, 2015 - 12:26 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Lian Li, ASUS ROG, mini-itx, enclosure, case, gaming
Lian Li has announced a new mini-ITX enclosure featuring ASUS ROG branding, and this compact gaming case supports full size power supplies and larger liquid coolers, though not everything will fit inside this tiny enclosure.
There are more than a couple of similarities to the NCASE M1, that crowdfunded mini-ITX enclosure that Lian Li built for NCASE, but the PC-Q17 doesn’t support dual-width liquid coolers the same way. Part of this has to do with the side window in this new case, essential to show off your diminutive gaming rig. So where does that 240mm radiator fit?
Not everyone will like having the cooler outside of the enclosure, but it’s nice that the case offers this functionality without having to modify it should you desire this level of CPU (or in the case of an AMD Fury X, GPU) cooling. For many a smaller air cooler could suffice, and as we can see from this build photo it does look very nice housing a complete system.
As usual no pricing or availability information accompanies this announcement.
Subject: Motherboards | July 17, 2015 - 05:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: X99, asrock, X99E-ITX/ac, mini-itx
This ASRock board will not be for everyone, many enthusiast who want to build an X99 system are not looking for a mini-ITX board but there are always some who want a lot of power in a small area. The form factor limits this board to a single PCIe 3.0 16x port but ASRock did manage to incorporate a half sized mini PCIe 1x slot as well. Storage options are impressive with a half dozen SATA 6Gbps ports, eSATA, a single SEx port and even a four lane M.2 port. The dozen assorted USB plugs include a pair which support USB 3.1, and there are two LAN ports, on a board this size there is a lot of potential for peripherals and exotic storage solutions. Of course overall performance is also key to deciding if this board is worth using and after reading the full review at [H]ard|OCP you will have no doubts this is an impressive motherboard.
"There is a small subset of computer enthusiasts that have been asking for an X99 option in the mini-ITX form factor. Ask and you shall receive, right? ASRock steps up to the plate to provide small form factor enthusiasts with just such a motherboard. We evaluate the X99E-ITX/ac and experience the good, the bad, and the ugly...if any."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- MSI X99A Gaming 9 ACK Motherboard Review @ Modders-Inc
- Asus TUF Sabertooth X99, Military Tough @ Bjorn3d
- ASUS X99 Sabertooth Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks
- ASUS Sabertooth X99 Review @ OCC
- ASRock X99 Extreme6/3.1 Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- BIOSTAR GAMING Z97X Motherboard Review @ Madshrimps
- Asrock Z97 Extreme 4 Motherboard Review @ Modders-Inc
Subject: Motherboards | May 1, 2015 - 09:25 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: sodimm, quad-channel, mini-itx, EPC612D4I, ddr4, ASRock Rack, asrock
They finally did it! A new mini-ITX LGA 2011-3 has been announced by ASRock, the EPC612D4I, and this server-grade product will offer full quad-channel memory support with a switch to SoDIMM RAM.
Image credit: Tom’s IT Pro
While ASRock had previously released a mini-ITX X99 motherboard (the X99E-ITX/ac) there were concessions made based on the limitations of the form-factor, and the motherboard was limited to dual-channel memory with only two DDR4 DIMM slots. So for a full quad-channel experience it became obvious that a switch to SoDIMM’s would be required. So are there any DDR4 SoDIMMs available? They certainly aren’t cheap, but a quick search for the model number of this new board finds a page from Crucial for compatible DDR4 modules – at a cost of $555.99 for a massive 32GB (4x8GB) of 1.2V DDR4-2133 ECC memory.
Specs for the EPC612D4I from ASRock:
- LGA 2011 R3 Intel Xeon processor E5-1600/2600 v3 series
- 4x SO-DIMM slots, supports quad-channel DDR4 2133/1866 ECC
- 4x SATA 6Gb/s by C612
- 1x PCIe 3.0 x16
- Integrated IPMI 2.0 with KVM and Dedicated LAN (RTL8211E)
- Intel Dual GLAN (Intel i210 + Intel i217)
The new board was first reported by Tom's IT Pro and their article lists the retail price for the ASRock EPC612D4I at $265, which isn’t bad for a product like this. While definitely targeting the server market this could potentially be implemented for a very compact workstation setup (and allow creation of a PC to rival the diminutive Mac Pro, perhaps).
Subject: Motherboards | March 13, 2015 - 11:34 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: X99, mini-itx, Haswell-E, CeBIT 2015, asrock
AnandTech is reporting that motherboard maker ASRock will be showing off a new Haswell-E motherboard at CeBIT 2015, and it would represent an industry first as this new X99 board is in the mini-ITX form factor.
Cramming an X99 system into mini-ITX does limit the platform, as the form-factor's two-DIMM limitation means this can only support dual-channel memory. The other obvious penalty is the single x16 PCI Express slot, though ASRock has incorporated an M.2 connector that may be using a x4 connection (the article points out the "Ultra M.2" listing on the box).
The LGA 2011-3 socket is apparently a slim version according to the report, but it still dominates the tiny motherboard. Dual Intel NICs and included 802.11ac WiFi make this very capable from a networking standpoint, but with limited expansion and reduced memory bandwidth this will appeal to only a limited number of users. Very compact micro-ATX enclosures and existing X99 motherboards in the mATX form-factor can already provide a platform for a very powerful small build, but there is something to be said for the engineering that has made the move the mini-ITX possible.
Image credit: SweClockers
One item of interest is the inclusion of a heatsink and fan with the motherboard, and given the unusual layout and socket design it is unclear what the aftermarket cooler support might be like with this motherboard. We should see further details soon as CeBIT 2015 kicks off next week.