Subject: General Tech | June 11, 2018 - 07:10 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: water cooling, RGB LED, liquid cooling, Eisbaer, computex 2018, computex, Alphacool, AIO
During Computex last week Alphacool showed off an interesting customizable all in one (AIO) liquid cooler called the Eisbaer Extreme. The new cooler blurs the lines between a closed loop AIO and a custom loop with a radiator, pump, reservoir, CPU block, and tubing coming together and hooked up out of the box but with two built in quick disconnect fittings that can be used to expand the loop to include other Eisbaer equipment or your own custom loop tubing and blocks as the Eisbaer parts use G1/4” fittings.
[H] has photos of the prototype cooler as well as a video from Alphacool touring their booth.
The Eisbaer Extreme houses the radiator, pump, and 200 ml reservoir inside a thick shroud that features a fill port on the top of the radiator which should make filling and bleeding easier. Two 140mm Be Quiet! Silent Wings 3 fans cool the radiator and the power cables are routed out through a single port on the shroud to make cable management easier. The current radiator option is a 280mm model but 240mm and 360mm version are reportedly also in the works. Because the reservoir and D5 pump are housed within the radiator shroud, the radiator portion is quite thick and much longer than a normal 280mm radiator which is an important consideration for SFF builds which may not have enough clearance for it depending on the case. On the other hand, because Alphacool is using a traditional CPU block (no pump top), the CPU block is much lower profile.
Speaking of the CPU block, Alphacool is using a flat black CPU block from its XPX series with a nickel plated copper base. The Eisbaer Extreme AIO that Alphacool showed off at Computex lacked the RGB LEDs that were part of the model it showed off at CES which was a bit confusing when writing this up (heh). However, as it turns out, Alphacool will be offering both models with the non-RGB all black version coming out first and a version with RGB LEDs along the sides of the radiator and surrounding the CPU block coming later. On the latter model a ring of RGB LEDs can be fitted around the clear acrylic top block to illuminate it. (The RGB LED ring will also be sold separately as it is compatible with Alphacool’s other CPU blocks including the Eisblock XPX according to Think Computers).
Alphacool is apparently not quite finished with the Eisbaer Extreme AIO which was first demoed at CES 2018 and was still in an early prototype state at Computex where Alphacool indicated to Optimum Tech that it intends to refine the design a bit more by tweaking things such as the quick disconnect fittings which are now flat black rather than red and blue as in previous iterations. Alphacool is also not yet talking pricing or release dates, but the AIO cooler(s) should be available sometime later this year. You can see videos of the non RGB cooler at Computex by Optimum Tech or the RGB-ified cooler at CES by Think Computers and Joker Productions.
I am curious how it will perform and what price point it will hit as it tries to straddle the line between sealed AIOs that are install and go and fully custom loops that require much more research, effort, maintenance, and most importantly money to get done correctly (though don’t get me wrong it can be done on the cheap if you are willing to buy used as I did). It is in kind of an odd place though there is not as much competition here either.
What are your thoughts, is the Eisbaer Extreme cool enough for you?
Subject: Memory | June 6, 2018 - 08:06 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: gskill, G.Skill, ddr4, Trident Z RGB, RGB LED, computex, computex 2018
G.Skill teased new DDR4 memory modules at Computex this year including the mysterious and stylish Trident Z RGB Royal memory. The new memory, of which G.Skill had a single stick on display, features a metallic heatspreader with a mirror finish as well as a crystalized RGB LED light diffuser that manages to make RGB look awesome.
Unfortunately, other than admiring the aesthetics, I have not been able to find any other information on this new RGB Royal series of memory. Hopefully G.Skill will be more willing to spill the beans after the craziness of Computex is over and the memory gets closer to fruition. One thing that is almost certain is that these DIMMs are not going to be cheap!
Subject: Memory | May 3, 2018 - 04:06 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: hyperx, gaming, ddr4, ddr4-2933, RGB, RGB LED
Kingston’s enthusiast-focused HyperX brand recently launched a new set of RGB-equipped DDR4 memory modules that use IR transceivers to sync up the LEDs across all the DIMMs. The aptly named Predator DDR4 RGB memory kits feature stylized angular black aluminum heat spreaders and RGB LEDs along the top edge. The DIMMs use eight 1GB chips along a single side.
HyperX’s new Predator DDR4 modules are compatible with Asus Aura Sync, Gigabyte RGB Fusion, and MSI Mystic Light Sync RGB LED control software. The new kits are available in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB capacities using one, two, or four 8GB modules. HyperX rates (PDF) the modules at DDR4 2933 MHz with CL15-17-17 timings at 1.35V when using the Intel XMP profile. Out of the box, the modules run at 2400 MHz (CL17) and 1.2 volts, however.
The RGB modules reportedly offer smooth lighting effects with low latencies thanks to the direct module-to-module IR communication keeping everything in sync.
The HyperX Predator DDR4 RGB modules come with a lifetime warranty and have a MSRP of $257 for the 16 GB (2x8GB) kit and $513 for the 32 GB (4 x 8GB) kit. Fortunately, the kits are going for a bit less than MSRP online with the 16 GB RGB kit going for $245.99 and the 32GB RGB kit going for $491.99 or about $20 to $30 over the non-RGB Predator DDR4 3000 MHz offerings.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 10, 2017 - 03:06 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tempered glass, RGB LED, RGB, mid tower, jonsbo, eatx, atx, aluminum case
Jonsbo, a Shenzhen based case manufacturer founded in 2010 has unleashed a new stylish flagship mid tower called the UMX5. The new case measures 507mm x 224mm x 485mm and is constructed of a steel frame wrapped in anodized aluminum-magnesium alloy and tempered glass. The new case has a ribbed design that runs vertically over the top and front panels. Jonsbo claims that the valleys have been sandblasted to dull their look while the 5.5mm tall wiredrawn peaks/ribs have been polished to enhance the contrast and catch the eye.
There is a gap of 3.5cm between the bottom of the main chamber of the case and the foot for ventilation and looks (it is under-lit with RGB LEDs of course). The back panel is fairly plain though they have opted for a honeycomb style fan grill for the included 120mm exhaust fan. The side panels steal the show with 5mm thick double sided tempered glass on both sides of the case to show off all of the internals (I am less sold on the idea of the right-side panel being glass as that means I would have to actually cable manage and not just hide it all behind the motherboard tray! Custom sleeved PSU cables that are the exact length needed are going to be essential to making builds in this case look good. The tempered glass does have a bit of a tint to it though so it's not the end fo the world.)
The front 1/3 or so of the left side panel is overlaid by a honeycomb pattern that can be illuminated by a RGB LED. Front I/O includes the usual two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, and two audio jacks as well as a button to change the LEDs color scheme or to turn them off completely.
Users can set the case LEDs to color change mode where it will cycle through 264 colors, to a single color of red, green, blue, yellow, purple, pink, turquoise, or orange, to a (red only) breathing mode, or set to off.
The UMX5 is designed for ATX motherboards, but it can work with a small number of E-ATX models (305mm x 265mm maximum). Further, the UMX5 mid tower supports CPU coolers up to 166mm tall and graphics cards up to 325mm long. There are four 3.5” hard drive bays with red anodized aluminum sleds as well as room for two 2.5” drives behind the motherboard tray. The PSU sits vertically behind the motherboard tray and hidden towards the front of the case behind a glass cover along with the hard drives.
As far as cooling, there are fan mounting points in the top, bottom, and rear though Jonsbo only includes a single 120mm rear fan. Users can add up to two 120mm fans to the top and two 120mm fans to the bottom. If they are water cooling, they can use up to two 240mm radiators top and bottom and a single 120mm in the rear. If using a thick radiator, you can mount the bottom fans outside of the case in the 35mm ventilation chamber gap.
The case has an MSRP of 199.99 € (Euro) including 19% VAT (~$200 USD sans VAT). I can’t seem to find it available online anywhere quite yet, but it should hit Europe shortly. It’s not clear how long it will be (if ever) until it hits the US, however.
In general, I like the look of the case, though I wish the red drive trays and side panel could be swapped out for different colors. The silver UMX5 is a bit better in this respect as it does not have the red border on the left side panel (it’s all silver except the drive trays which are red), but the black UMX5 is stuck with the red border which is okay if you are also using red LEDs but just looks odd if you are going with any other color. Beyond that the case is on the pricier side of things, but if the build quality (and cable management) is truly there the modders and enthusiasts will come!
Subject: Motherboards | September 28, 2017 - 01:31 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: aorus, gigabyte, coffee lake, Z370, Z370 AORUS, RGB LED, gaming, overclocking
This week Gigabyte took the wraps off its lineup of Z370 motherboards that will support Intel’s 8th Generation Coffee Lake processors. The new lineup is comprised of five models that incorporate Gigabyte Ultra Durable technology, Dual BIOS, server grade digital power delivery, ESS Sabre DAC, a high-quality headphone amplifier, M.2 thermal guards, RGBW and Digital LED headers, and support for monitoring and control of fans and water pumps using RGB Fusion and Smart Fan 5 respectively. At the top of the lineup is the Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 which appears to have a lot to offer for enthusiasts planning a Coffee Lake build.
The LGA 1151 socket is surrounded by an improved digital VRM setup that is rated at 60A per power phase. The board uses 10K Ultra Durable Black capacitors as well. The VRMs are cooled by large aluminum heatsinks as well as a small fan tucked away under the “thermal armor” above the rear I/O panel connectors. Using Gigabyte’s Smart Fan 5 technology, the built-in fan as well as CPU and case fans can be set to stop when the PC is idle and only spin up when needed.
Speaking of cooling, the board has eight fan/water pump Hybrid Fan headers (one is rated at 3A) and nine temperature sensors.
There are four DDR4 DIMM slots to the right of the processor socket that support up to 4400 MHz memory clockspeeds. Storage is handled by six SATA 6Gbps ports, two M.2 (PCI-E/SATA), and one smaller PCI-E M.2 slot with support for Intel’s Optane Memory technology. Expansion slots include three PCI-E x16 slots (x16/x8/x4) and three PCI-E x1 slots. Other internal headers include a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C front panel, additional USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, two RGBW LED headers, two Digital LED headers, two temperature sensor headers, and one Thunderbolt 3 Add-in card header. Power, reset, OC, and Clear CMOS buttons are also included on the board to make running it on a test bench and overclocking a bit easier.
For the RGB fans, there are several lighting zones on this board including on the VRMs, on the “Thermal Armor”, around the DIMM slots, around the PCI-E x16 slots, on the Z370 chipset heatsink, and a LED strip along the right side of the board that you can customize the look of with a 3D printer.
In addition to the Z370 chipset, Gigabyte is also using ASMedia silicon for additional USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, a Realtek chip for a USB 3.1 Gen 1 hub, Intel GbE LAN and Rivet Networks Killer E2500 NIC for Gigabit Ethernet, and Realtek ALC1220 audio codec for audio.
On the audio front, Gigabyte is spicing things up a bit by pairing that Realtek ALC1220 audio codec with an ESS9018Q2C DAC, Nichicon and WIMA audio capacitors, independent analog power(LME49720), a smart headphone amp (auto-detects impedance), gold plated audio jacks, and support for USB DAC-UP 2 technology (adjustable voltage to compensate for voltage drop).
Around back the Aorus Gaming 7 features:
- 1 x PS/2
- 1 x DisplayPort
- 1 x HDMI
- 5 x USB 3.1 Gen 1
- 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
- 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type A
- 2 x RJ45 (Gigabit Ethernet)
- 1 x S/PDIF
- 5 x 3.5mm audio out.
It appears that Gigabyte has packed a lot of hardware into its flagship Z370 motherboard, and with the actively cooled VRMs it should be a decent overclocker even when using water cooling for the CPU (though noise from the small fan might be an issue). Unfortunately, Gigabyte has not yet released pricing information. On the bright side, there are several models in the Aorus Z370 lineup for those that do not want the Killer networking, third PCI-E x16 slot, as many LEDs, or ESS Sabre audio where there is room to save some money to put towards a graphics card or monitor. I'll leave it up to Sebastian and Morry to determine if the audio is audiophile and CMOS placement is good enough respectively.
What are your thoughts on the Aorus Z370 lineup? Is it enough to entice you to upgrade to Coffee Lake?
Subject: Motherboards | July 25, 2017 - 12:16 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ryzen, RGB LED, overclocking, e-atx, asus, AM4
Asus recently took the wraps off of its X370 ROG Crosshair VI Extreme E-ATX motherboard which is the company’s new flagship motherboard for the AMD Ryzen platform. The new board is packed with features and is aimed at extreme overclockers and gaming enthusiasts.
The massive board surrounds the AMD AM4 socket with four DDR4 DIMM slots, a 12 phase Digi+ VRM, and a plethora of expansion and storage connections including two PCI-E 3.0 x16, one PCI-E 2.0 x16, three PCI-E 2.0 x1, two M.2 slots, and 8 SATA 6Gbps ports. One of the M.2 slots sits under the passive PCH heatsink and connects directly to the CPU while the other M.2 slot does not benefit from the passive heatsink and shares bandwidth with the PCI-E 2.0 lanes coming from the chipset.
The board has a massive VRM heatsink that can also be swapped out for a monoblock that can be integrated into a custom water cooling loop with ASUS partnering with Bitspower for a monoblock that will be sold separately (the board will also work with monoblocks from other manufacturers) and will include sensors to measure flow rate, temperature, and leak detection. The board also has a header that will allow you to attach those same sensors to another point in your loop with all the sensor data being available through ASUS’ Fan Xpert 4 software. There are 13 fans headers on board (16 with fan extension card) with one dedicated pump header and two groups of four fan headers that are placed closed together to make wiring up radiators a bit cleaner. The X370 ROG Crosshair VI Extreme also sports multiple RGB LED lighting zones and two headers that will allow users to extend the lighting to RGB LED strips, fans, and cases (one header is for addressable LEDs and the other is for standard LED strips up to 3A). The on board lighting zones include the IO and VRM cooler, the two SafeSlot (metal-reinforced) PCI-E x16 slots, the chipset heatsink, and the right edge of the board. The audio jacks are also LED color coded which is actually kind of cool since it can be hard to see what colors the jacks are when the case is under a desk! Other useful features include an ROG backplate and a right angle 24-pin power connector to make cable management a bit easier. There are also the usual overclocker friendly error code display, power and reset buttons, and voltage read points for multimeters. Further, the board features a dedicated base clock generator and a “TPU” (TurboV Processing Unit) that helps manage voltage to the VRMs and controls the clock generator. The external clock generator is important when overclocking Ryzen and hitting extremely high memory frequencies.
Asus is using an Intel I211-AT Gigabit Ethernet controller for the wired networking and there is also support for Intel 8265-powered 802.11 ac Wi-Fi. Sound is handled by a SupremeFX S122 codec paired with ES9023P ESS Sabre DAC with high end capacitors and TI op-amps for a 113 dB line in (for recording) and 120 dB output.
Rear I/O is where the Extreme board is a bit wanting with:
- 2 x Antenna connectors
- 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2
- 6 x USB 3.1 Gen 1
- 4 x USB 2.0
- 5 x Gold plated 3.5mm jacks
- 1 x S/PDIF (Optical)
- 2 x Clear CMOS and BIOS Flashback buttons
On one hand, I am not sure what else they could have included (Thunderbolt is really the only missing thing and not strictly needed), but it does look a bit barren even compared to the Crosshair VI Hero.
Asus’ flagship AMD AM4 motherboard will be available in early August with an MSRP of $349.
I am interested to see if the X370 ROG Crosshair VI Extreme really does up the ante especially in the overclocking department versus the ROG Crosshair VI Hero which seems to be a popular choice for overclockers aiming to break records. I am looking forward to reviews to see whether the $100 premium is worth it (the Crosshair VI Hero is $245 or $270 with AC Wi-Fi).
Personally, I think I would rather go with a cheaper motherboard and better graphics card or SSD, but for those not on a budget I can see them opting for the board with all the bells and whistles (and RGB)!
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 3, 2017 - 11:16 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: computex, bitfenix, mid tower, E-ATX Case, RGB LED, gaming, tempered glass
BitFenix had several new PC cases on display at its Computex booth, but the one that caught my eye was the sub-$100 Enso mid-tower that has some premium features including a large tempered glass side panel, RGB LED and fan controllers, removable filters, and various cable management features. The BitFenix Enso has a clean design that out of the box limits the RGB to a nice looking front panel while allowing enthusiasts to go crazy with aftermarket LED strips and LED fans if they wish.
The BitFenix Enso mid-tower (Image credit: KitGuru)
The new Enso chassis measures 8.2" x 19.2" x 14.4" (209 x 487 x 442mm).and is clad in all black with clean lines and edges that strikes a balance between boxy and gaudy (heh). The front is a smooth panel that slightly angles out (no external drive support here) with RGB LEDs in all four corners. The front I/O is up top with two USB 3.0, two audio, and power and reset buttons. The left side is almost entirely comprised of a tempered glass side panel that is held on by black thumbscrews.
The top has a mesh grill with support for two 120mm fans along with a removable magnetic fan filter. There is also room for a 120mm fan in the back and two 120mm fans up front (where there is also a removable filter that pulls out from the left side of the front panel). There is not enough room up top for a water cooling radiator up top, but there is plenty of room for up to a 240mm radiator in the front.
The bottom of the case has a compartment for the bottom mounted up to 220mm power supply (which also has a removable dust filter) and two 3.5” drives along with space to hide excess cables. This area is covered by a simple black shroud that should make cable management easier.
Dropping support for external drive bays and extra 3.5” bays, BitFenix is able to support E-ATX motherboards, long graphics cards (up to 320mm, their demo used an Asus Strix GTX 1080), and water cooling radiators in a compact mid-tower case. BitFenix states it is possible to mount a 360mm radiator in the front, but it the specifications suggest if you would be limited to two fans with matching vents.
Lots of tie downs and space to hide cables! (Image credit: Bitwit Kyle)
The right side panel is blank, and removing it reveals the back of the motherboard tray. There is room for three 2.5” SSDs with one behind the motherboard and two behind the front fans. The motherboard tray has a large CPU cutout, lots of spots to tie up cables, and rubber grommets for passing cables through to the motherboard and graphics card. Having move of the components sitting behind the motherboard tray means that making a clean looking build will be a bit easier (no drive power cables to hide).
The front panel RGB LEDs are “addressable” which is to say that they can be controlled via the controller at the back or via software where BitFenix is working with Asus to allow its RGB LEDs to be controlled with its Aurora software. There is also a fan controller that looks to accept PWM and control 3-pin fans from that signal. The case is also compatible with LED fans and LEDs strips (the BitFenix demo used strips from Asus that could be controlled with the Asus software). As far as the front panel, you can choose a color or activate a gentle pulsing color change mode that cycles through the colors of the rainbow.
(Image credit: Bitwit Kyle)
Out of the box, the BitFenix Enso will have the front panel LEDs and controllers, but users will need to purchase fans and/or LED strips separately. This is not necessarily bad news though because it allows enthusiasts to pick the fans and LEDs they want (or don’t want), and it also allows the case to hit the budget sub-$100 market with lots of nice DIY-friendly features.
According to a BitFenix representative, the BitFenix Enso will arrive around the end of Q3 2017 or towards the beginning of Q4 with an MSRP of $79.
It looks like an impressive budget case, and if they can hit that $79 target it should be a great value that will let you show off your DIY build without breaking the bank! From the videos at Computex, I am really liking the design as well. What are your thoughts?
Subject: General Tech | January 22, 2017 - 04:29 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: RGB LED, Mushkin, mechanical keyboard, kailh brown
Memory and SSD manufacturer Mushkin appears to be branching out into other markets with the launch of its Carbon KB-001 mechanical keyboard.
The Carbon KB-001 is built from CNC anodized and brushed aluminum and offers a frameless floating key design in black and gray color scheme. The keyboard uses Kailh Brown key switches and has per-key RGB LED lighting, media playback controls on the function keys, and a Windows key lock. Further, Mushkin claims its mechanical keyboard offers N-key rollover and anti-ghosting technologies.
Other nice touches include a small wrist rest (not detachable unfortunately for those with less desk space) and braided USB cable.
The Carbon KB-001 certainly looks sleek though we will have to wait until reviews hit to known how well it performs. Mushkin has not announced pricing or availability, but The Tech Report claims it will launch for around $70 which is not bad at all if the build quality is there
Mushkin appears to be joining the likes of G.Skill, Corsair, and others in diversifying into other markets and away from only specializing in memory and mass storage. In the end this should be a good thing for Mushkin and for consumers as it means memory manufacturers are going to be able to hang in there despite low memory prices and we can continue to see competition. Compared to the spinning rust market where the small guys have gotten swallowed up and we have only three major players left, there are a ton of memory and SSD players -- and I hope it stays that way!
Subject: General Tech | August 9, 2016 - 06:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, patriot, viper v760, Kailh, RGB LED
Patriot have been focusing on peripherals as of late, while still more commonly known for volatile memory they have branched out into numerous other product lines. The Viper V760 uses Kailh switches equivalent to Cherry MX Brown; of the RGB LED variety for this is another colourful keyboard. Techgage tried out this keyboard in their latest review, appreciating many of the features of the board, perhaps most notibly the price of $100 or less.
"While mechanical keyboards have slowly become ubiquitous, not everyone has had a chance to try one out. For this article, we not only test out the latest keyboard from long-time memory company Patriot, with its Viper V760, we take a look at it from a new perspective – the perspective of someone who’s never used a mech before."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro M White @ Kitguru
- Cooler Master Masterkeys Lite L @ eTeknix
- SteelSeries APEX M800 Keyboard @ techPowerUp
- Tesoro GRAM Spectrum RGB Gaming Keyboard @ Modders-Inc
- Tt eSPORTS Ventus Z Gaming Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews
- Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum RGB Tunable Gaming Mouse Review @ NikKTech
- G.SKILL Ripjaws MX780 @ Benchmark Reviews
- Dream Machines DM1 Pro Mouse @ techPowerUp
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 29, 2016 - 02:51 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: water cooling, RGB LED, phanteks, GPU Water Block
Phanteks, a company that produces cases, CPU coolers, and fans has unveiled its first GPU cooler in the form of a full cover water block for Nvidia's GTX 1080 Founder's Edition (and any partner PCBs that use the reference design) graphics card. The PH-GB1080-X is a full cover nickel plated copper block with acrylic top and black (aluminum?) accents on the edges of the block. There are two ports for inlet/outlet on both top and bottom (so users could SLI multiple cards and water cool in series or parallel). Phanteks allegedly uses Dupont Viton for the gaskets which is a "high-performance seal elastomer" for the aerospace industry (and overkill for the temps that will be seen in a PC water loop heh).
In addition to the acrylic top, users can plug in three (1mm) RGB LEDs into the bottom edge of the card to add a glow effect. Oddly, Phanteks shows the LEDs using three individual cables that then go off to a reported proprietary power adapter that can plug into RGB motherboards or Phanteks' cases. Having the LEDs running off of a single cable (or bundled together) coming of the back edge of the card closest to the motherboard would have been helpful to cable management!
Phanteks' new water block is available for pre-order now for $129.99.
Using a water block on the GTX 1080 should allow users to easily achieve above 2000 MHz GPU clocks and have the card clockspeeds be much more stable than on air. Gamer's Nexus tested their GTX 1080 with an EVGA all in one cooler and managed to crank the GPU clockspeeds up to 2164 MHz and the memory clockspeeds up to 5602 MHz. That 2164 MHz clockspeed is quite the overclock and while it was only a bit above what they achieved on air, the clocks were much more stable and actually able to be maintained during long gaming sessions unlike on air. A custom water loop and a water block like the one Phanteks is selling should do just as well as Gamer's Nexus' results if not ever so slightly better.
If you already have a water loop in your system and have been waiting for a block to go with your GTX 1080 you now have another option!