Manufacturer: DR ZABER

A Console-Size Mini-ITX Option

Examining the lower limits of enclosure volume has become something of a cottage industry in the last few years, with crowdfunded projects such as the NCASE M1 and the DAN Cases A4-SFX providing backers with custom designs that attempt to reduce the mini-ITX computer case concept to its absolute minimum size. The Sentry 2.0 differs in a few ways from those previous efforts, most obviously in that it is not a “shoebox” design, opting instead for a narrow game console-style layout. It is also a steel enclosure rather than the all-aluminum designs from DAN Cases and NCASE (both produced by Lian Li), making it quite a bit heavier while promising a more rugged construction.

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“Sentry is the world's first truly console-sized gaming PC chassis. It houses powerful components within a volume below 7 litres, which over the decades has been considered the optimal size for all media appliances residing in front of a TV. Sentry 2.0 is an evolution of Sentry, bringing more features and more performance in the same sub-7 litre package.”

The Sentry 2.0 is the follow up to the crowdfunded original Sentry case, both of which are game console-sized mini-ITX enclosures that are designed to house standard components within the limits of a 6.9-liter total volume. Unusually we are reviewing this case during its crowdfunding campaign - though it has actually been fully funded at this point and you can check out the page on Indigogo here. Pricing is similar to what we have seen from other crowdfunded cases, and while $260 might seem high (especially for a steel case rather than aluminum) there has been quite a bit of thought packed into the Sentry 2.0 design.

In addition to supporting mini-ITX motherboards the Sentry 2.0 makes use of SFX form-factor power supplies and can support a full-length graphics card if you are air-cooling the CPU (the extra space beyond an ITX-sized GPU could then support a 120mm radiator and slim fan). It’s a pretty straightforward internal layout, so without further preamble let’s check out the design and then move on to the build I came up with for this pre-production Sentry 2.0, which DR ZĄBER was kind enough to send to us.

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First, however, a look at the specifications:

  • Main body dimensions (WxDxH): 340 x 310 x 66mm, 6.9L
  • Motherboard format: Mini-ITX
  • Power supply support: SFX 100mm (SFX-L not supported)
  • Expansion slots: 2, full height, ATX reference PCB width
  • Drives:
    • Main drive installation mounts:
    • 1 x 2.5" partially above motherboard
    • 1 x 2.5" next to SFX power supply
    • Secondary drive installation mounts:
    • 2 x 3.5" inside VGA bay
  • Memory Compatibility:
    • Standard profile DIMM modules
    • Max 31.4mm tall pcb/34mm with heatspreaders
    • Tall modules will obstruct 2.5" drive bracket
  • VGA Card Compatibility:
    • Full Length GPU for use without AIO Liquid Cooling or 3.5" HDDs
    • ITX-sized GPU for use with AIO Liquid Cooling or single 3.5" HDD
  • CPU cooler support:
    • CPU Socket far from PCI-E Slot:
      • Max height of 47mm (standard intel box cooler height)
      • 120mm All-In-One Liquid Cooler, radiator + fan max height of 50mm
    • CPU Socket near the PCI-E Slot:
      • Max height of 47mm and primary 2.5" mount obstructed
      • Max height of 37mm and primary 2.5" mount available
  • Front ports: 2 x USB 3.0
  • PCI-E 16X Riser: high-quality shielded 50mm ribbon
  • Material: 1mm galvanized steel with structural powder coating
  • Security: Kensington slot

Pricing and Availability: $260, Indigogo campaign

Continue reading our review of the Sentry 2.0 console-size crowdfunded case

Crowdfunding Campaign for Sentry 2.0 Console Size Enclosure Underway

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 3, 2019 - 08:38 PM |
Tagged: small form factor, SFF, sentry, enclosure, DR ZĄBER, crowdfunding, case

DR ZĄBER launched the crowdfunding campaign for the Sentry 2.0 on April 1, and the campaign on indigogo is well under way. Version 1.1 of the Sentry was successfully funded in 2017, and three days into this Sentry 2.0 campaign over a third of the $260,000 goal has already been reached.

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What exactly is this new case from the Małopolska, Poland-based company?

"Sentry 2.0 is an evolution of Sentry, a 7L console-sized PC chassis that was crowdfunded in 2017, quickly reaching over 1000% of its campaign goal. Sentry 2.0 brings many improvements based on feedback from backers and sff enthusiasts community over original Sentry delivered in 2017.

Sentry 2.0 is a PC case highly anticipated by the small form factor PC enthusiasts, developed and improved upon original Sentry with community support, and was covered by leading PC hardware youtube channels such as LinusTechTips, Bitwit or Paul's Hardware.”

We are happy to report that a Sentry 2.0 has found its way to our secret enclosure testing facility, and a review is coming soon here at PC Perspective.

Source: DR ZĄBER

The Nightjar sings again; 450W of sweet silence

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 20, 2018 - 03:35 PM |
Tagged: small form factor, SFX-L, NJ450-SXL, Fan-less PSU, 80 Plus Platinum, modular psu

Lee just posted a review of one of SilverStone's passively cooled Nightjar PSUs, the NJ450-SXL which grabbed a Gold Award for its performance and design.  If his tests somehow didn't convince you of just how impressive this tiny, fanless 450W PSU is then please head over to [H]ard|OCP as they just unstrapped this unit from the bed in their torture chamber.  Sure it is expensive for a 450W modular PSU but there is simply nothing else to compete with the quality of this Nightjar in silent, SFF builds.

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"SilverStone is no stranger to small form factor PC power supplies as it is the most complete supplier of these to the enthusiast PC marketplace. Today SilverStone is adding complete silence to these SFF PSUs with the 450 watt Nightjar. Excellent efficiency makes silence easier, but can the Nightjar stand up to an extremely hot case?"

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Manufacturer: SilverStone

Introduction and Features

Introduction

SilverStone Technology Co. has been a pioneer in promoting both fan-less and Small Form Factor power supplies for PC enthusiasts. Now they have combined these two features in the new Nightjar Series 450W silent power supply. The NJ450-SXL power supply is fan-less and comes housed in an extended length SFX chassis.

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Most fan-less PC power supplies incorporate an open design to allow airflow in through all sides but the NJ450-SXL is unique in that it uses a closed chassis with thick extruded aluminum sides to dissipate waste heat. The target audience is people who want a silent power supply (no fan noise and any potential high frequency coil whine or other electrical noises are sealed off) in small enclosure. This design could also be of interest to someone who needs a SFX-L power supply for use in a dirty-dusty environment that might quickly choke a standard fan-cooled unit.

NJ450-SXL

(NJ = Nightjar Series, 450 = 450W, SXL = SFX-L Form Factor)

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(Courtesy of SilverStone)

As you might expect, the SilverStone NJ450-SXL power supply features high efficiency (80 Plus Platinum certified) and comes with all modular flat ribbon-style cables.

SilverStone NJ450-SXL PSU Key Features:

•    Fan-less power supply (0 dB noise)
•    Small Form Factor (SFX-L) design
•    450W continuous power output up to 40°C
•    80 Plus Platinum certified for high efficiency
•    Powerful single +12V rail with 37.5A capacity
•    All-modular, flat ribbon-style cables
•    Support for high-end GPUs with four PCI-E 8/6-pin connectors
•    Safety Protections: OCP, OPP, OVP, OTP, and SCP
•    Compatible with ATX 12V v2.4
•    MSRP $189.99 USD

Please continue reading our review of the SilverStone NJ450-SXL PSU!!!

Introduction and Case Exterior

Corsair's new Crystal Series 280X RGB enclosure brings tempered glass and lighting effects down to the size of the company's previous micro-ATX Carbide Air 240 case (reviewed here back in 2014), creating a high-end take on this compact dual-chamber design. Beyond the stylish appearance an important question presents itself: can the Crystal 280X RGB offer sufficient airflow for good cooling with all of those glass panels? We will find out!

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There is no more pervasive trend in the world of PC hardware than RGB lighting, and with the Crystal Series of enclosures Corsair adds the one component you will need to see as much of that colorful lighting as possible: glass, glass, and more glass. Yes, no fewer than three panels of the tinted, tempered glass variety adorn the 280X RGB, with the side, front, and top of the case covered - or, with the front and top, partially covered. About a third of the front is a solid panel, as is a third of the top, and this serves to help illustrate from the exterior that we are actually looking at a dual-chamber design.

Not so 'micro' ATX?

There are those who feel that an enclosure's internal volume must be low to qualify as "small form-factor", and that can certainly be argued; consider this design (like that of the Air 240), then, a compact take on the larger cube-like dual-chamber case that started with the Carbide Series Air 540 which we reviewed way back in 2013. As you will see, the ease with which a clean-looking build can be completed in such a case, and the ample storage and fan support, help mitigate the size. This case is wide for its height, though the rear chamber allows for the easy installation of a full-size ATX power supply, simultaneous installation of two standard hard drives and another three SSDs, and plenty of room for cable management.

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Continue reading our review of the Corsair Crystal Series 280X case!

Manufacturer: BitFenix

Introduction and First Impressions

The Portal isn't a new case by any means, but it's still a unique mini-ITX offering from BitFenix that blends an unusual design with an easy build process thanks to a sliding "dual-frame" design for unfettered component access. It offers a compact footprint while still supporting a full-length graphics card, and the aluminum exterior provides light weight and a high-end appearance.

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Our review sample includes a top window to showcase the graphics card, and between the white finish and black trim and stand this case really stands out. How well did it perform? Read on to find out!


Specifications

  • Chassis Type: ITX Chassis
  • Colors: Black or White
  • Materials: Aluminum, SECC Steel, ABS, Transparent acrylic
  • Compatibility:
    • Motherboard: Mini-ITX
    • CPU Cooler: Up to 125mm Height
    • Graphic Card Length: Up to 300mm
    • Power Supply: SFX Form Factor
  • Storage Capacity: 
    • 3.5" HDD x2
    • 2.5" HDD 1+2
  • Cooling Capacity
    • (Front) 120mm x 1 (Included)
    • (Rear) 80mm x 1 (Included)
    • Radiator Capacity (Front): Up to 120mm
  • Front I/O ports: USB 3.0 x2, 3.5 mm Audio
  • Dimensions with stand (WxHxD): 247 x 395 x 411 mm (9.72 x 15.55 x 16.18 inches)
  • Weight 5.81 kg (12.81 lbs)

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The Portal doesn't look like your typical mini-tower mITX case, but there is just enough room for a full system inside.

Continue reading our review of the BitFenix Portal mini-ITX enclosure!

Airtop2 Inferno: Compact Fanless Gaming PC Featuring a Core i7-7700K and GTX 1080

Subject: Systems | February 14, 2018 - 01:49 PM |
Tagged: small form factor, silent, SFF, nvidia, mini PC, Intel, Inferno, GTX 1080, gaming, fanless, core i7 7700k, compulab, Airtop2

Compulab, maker of mini systems such as the fitlet and Airtop is bringing the compact, fanless concept to a powerful gaming system - with no less than an Intel Core i7-7700K and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080. The catch? Is is not yet available, pending an upcoming Kickstarter campaign beginning February 24.

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The teaser image of the upcoming Airtop2 Inferno fanless gaming system

The Airtop2 is already available for purchase in a fanless workstation version, built-to-order with up to an Intel Xeon E3-1275 v6 and NVIDIA Quadro P4000 (starting at $2575 for that configuration before adding memory/storage), and this new "Inferno" version of the Airtop2 promises to be very interesting to silent computing enthusiasts.

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Front and rear views of the Inferno system

A fanless gaming system with high-end components is only going to be as effective as its cooling system, and here Compulab has a lot of experience on the industrial/embedded side of things.

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Exploded view of the standard Airtop2 design (no images of the Airtop2 Inferno interior available yet)

Compulab lists these specs for the Airtop2 Inferno (along with the teaser, "and a little more..."):

  • Unlocked Intel Core-i7 7700K
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
  • Up to 64 GB DDR4 2400 RAM
  • 2x NVMe + 4x 2.5″ SSD / HDD
  • 2x USB 3.1 + 7x USB 3.0 | dual LAN | front (and back) audio

Compulab has also provided some benchmark results to demonstrate how effective their fanless implementation of these components is, with results using 3DMark and Unigine Heaven available on the Inferno product page.

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The company has set up a Q&A page for the Airtop2 Inferno, but pricing/availability info will probably have to wait until February 24th when the Kickstarter campaign is active.

Source: Compulab

CES 2018: Digital Storm Announces Project SPARK PCs

Subject: Systems | January 9, 2018 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: small form-factor, small form factor, project spark, Digital Storm, desktop pc

Digital Storm has just announced a new water-cooled, enthusiast PC, called Project SPARK. As the video shows, the device is about the width of a coffee mug and its handle, although it’s a bit deeper and taller. This cuts down on the amount of surface area the PC covers, which matters more than height for something that sits on a desk. The specs? Up to an Intel Core i7-8700k and an NVIDIA GTX 1080.

One of the interesting aspects of Project SPARK is that it is also user-upgradable. Digital Storm designed the system to have an accessible CPU and GPU, not just RAM and storage (but those are, of course, accessible too). Speaking of storage, the PC uses up to 3x M.2 SSDs. I should note that the PC uses MXM slot GPUs, so you can’t just plug in a triple-slot PCIe card in there… but, come on. You’re buying a small form factor PC.

The Digital Storm Project SPARK launches in Q2 with prices starting at $1299 USD (GTX 1060 SKU).

CES 2018: New ASUS Mini PCs, Chromebox, and Tinker Board

Subject: Systems | January 8, 2018 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: Tinker Board 3, tinker board, small form factor, SFF, PN40, PB40, mini PC, Chromebox 3, Chromebox, CES 2018, CES, asus

ASUS has four new small form-factor devices on display at CES, with mini-PC hardware as well as a new Chromebox 3 and Tinker Board 3. We start with the mini-PCs:

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ASUS PB40 mini PC

“The ASUS PB40 mini PC offers unparalleled connectivity with up to six USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C™ ports and a flexible I/O port design with VGA/DP/COM/HDMI support. Its metallic chassis houses the latest 8th Generation Intel Pentium® Silver processor for powerful performance. The PB40 is also offered in a fanless design with Intel Celeron® processors for completely silent operation. In addition to its compact design, the PB40 supports optional stackable modules such as optical drives to provide space-saving versatility for a wide range of usage scenarios.”

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ASUS PN40 mini PC

“Powered by 8th Generation Intel Pentium Silver and Celeron processors, the new ASUS PN40 mini PC features a sliding bottom case design for easy upgrades. Compact and lightweight, it measures 114 x 114 x 49mm and weighs just 1.54lbs. With a wide range of connectivity options including USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C for fast data transmission, and a changeable I/O port for VGA or COM support, the PN40 is ideal for both home entertainment and business solutions.”

Next we have the third-generation Chromebox, ASUS's Chrome OS mini-PC:

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ASUS Chromebox 3

“ASUS Chromebox 3 is the latest addition to the ASUS Chromebox family and is powered by an 8th Generation Intel Core processor and DDR4-2400 memory for faster, smoother and more energy-efficient performance. It is equipped with a versatile USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port for quick data transfers, dual-band 802.11ac WiFi and Gigabit LAN for faster streaming along with DisplayPort and HDMI connectivity for 4K UHD playback of your favorite videos.”

Finally we have the new Tinker Board S, with "S" clearly meaning storage here as this new Tinker Board adds 16GB of onboard eMMC. This should make getting a project started that much easier as the previous design only offered a memory card slot, requiring a microSD card of at least 8GB.

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ASUS Tinker Board S

“The new Tinker Board S features 2GB of RAM and 16GB of eMMC storage, while retaining the same board size and component placement as the original Tinker Board.”

Availability for all of these products - PB40, PN40, Chromebox 3, and Tinker Board S - is expected in the first half of 2018, with pricing to be announced at launch.

Source: ASUS
Author:
Manufacturer: SilverStone

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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It has been several years since we looked at a true SFX form factor power supply, but today we are going to take a detailed look at one of SilverStone’s new SFX units, the SX650-G. As one of the original manufacturers of SFX power supplies, Silverstone Technology Co. is meeting demand with new products; continuing to expand their product offering with two new SFX units, the SX500-G and SX650-G.

SX650-G

(SX = SFX Form Factor, 650 = 650W, and G = 80 Plus Gold certified)

SilverStone has a long-standing reputation for providing a full line of high quality enclosures, power supplies, cooling components, and accessories for PC enthusiasts. With a continued focus on smaller physical size and support for small form-factor enthusiasts, SilverStone added the new SX-G power supplies to their SFX form factor series. There are now ten power supplies in SilverStone’s SFX Series, ranging in output capacity from 300W to 800W. Unlike the larger SX-L units which are 30mm (1.2”) longer than a standard SFX chassis, the SX650-G retains the original SFX dimensions.

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(Courtesy of SilverStone)

The new SX650-G power supply features high efficiency (80 Plus Gold certified) and comes with all modular flat ribbon-style cables.

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SilverStone SX650-G PSU Key Features:

•    Small Form Factor (SFX) design
•    650W continuous power output
•    Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) fan for quiet, reliable operation
•    80 Plus Gold certified for high efficiency
•    Powerful single +12V rail with 54.2A capacity
•    All-modular, flat ribbon-style cables
•    High quality construction with all Japanese capacitors
•    Strict ±3% voltage regulation and low AC ripple and noise
•    Support for high-end GPUs with four PCI-E 8/6-pin connectors
•    Safety Protections: OCP, OVP, UVP, SCP, OTP, and OPP

Please continue reading our review of the SilverStone SX650-G PSU!!!