Manufacturer: Alphacool

Introduction and Specifications

Alphacool's Eisbaer is a line of pre-assembled liquid CPU coolers using standard parts that add quick-release connections to make adding components to the loop simple. Today we'll have a look at the 360 mm and 280 mm versions of the Eisbaer and see what kind of performance you can expect from an all-in-one solution from a respected brand in custom liquid cooling.

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"With the Alphacool “Eisbaer”, we’re offering an extremely quiet high-performance cooler for every CPU on the market currently. A closed water cooling system that’s easy to install and can be easily and safely expanded with its quick-lock closure."

Not all AiO liquid coolers are created equal, of course, with different materials and approaches; and there are generally tradeoffs to be made between design and pricing. The best performance can result in pumps and fans that produce more noise than a high-performance air solution, while some liquid coolers manage to balance noise and performance in a way that makes liquid a far more attractive option - especially when overclocking a CPU.

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True to the premium nature of a product line like this, Alphacool has incorportated first-rate components into the Eisbaer series including all-copper radiators, high-performance fans, and touches like anti-kink springs for the hoses. The capability of easily adding a GPU to the loop with the quick-lock closure (Alphacool offers a line of GPU products called "Eiswolf" that connect with these quick-lock closures) is a nice plus, and the use of standard G1/4 fittings ensures compatibility with custom parts for future expansion/modification.

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The Eisbaer 360 spending some quality time on the test bench

Continue reading our review of the Alphacool Eisbaer 360 and 280 liquid CPU coolers!

Author:
Manufacturer: Seasonic

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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Sea Sonic Electronics Co., Ltd has been designing and building PC power supplies since 1981 and they are one of the most highly respected manufacturers on the planet. Not only do they market power supplies under their own Seasonic name but they are the OEM for many other big name brands.

Seasonic began introducing their new PRIME Series power supplies last year and we reviewed several of the flagship Titanium units and found them to be among the best power supplies we have tested to date. But the PRIME Series now includes many more units with both Platinum and Gold level efficiency certification.

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The power supply we have in for review is the Seasonic PRIME 1200W Gold. This unit comes with all modular cables and is certified to comply with the 80 Plus Gold criteria for high efficiency. The power supply is designed to deliver very tight voltage regulation on the three primary rails (+3.3V, +5V and +12V) and provides superior AC ripple and noise suppression. Add in a super-quiet 135mm cooling fan with a Fluid Dynamic Bearing, top-quality components and a 12-year warranty, and you have the makings for another outstanding power supply.

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Seasonic PRIME Gold Series PSU Key Features:

•    650W, 750W, 850W, 1000W or 1200W continuous DC output
•    High efficiency, 80 PLUS Gold certified
•    Micro-Tolerance Load Regulation (MTLR)
•    Top-quality 135mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing fan
•    Premium Hybrid Fan Control (allows fanless operation at low power)
•    Superior AC ripple and noise suppression
•    Fully modular cabling design
•    Multi-GPU technologies supported
•    Gold-plated high-current terminals
•    Protections: OPP,OVP,UVP,SCP,OCP and OTP
•    12-Year Manufacturer’s warranty
•    MSRP for the PRIME 1200W Gold is $199.90 USD

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Here is what Seasonic has to say about the new PRIME power supply line: “The creation of the PRIME Series is a renewed testimony of Sea Sonic’s determination to push the limits of power supply design in every aspect. This elegant-looking, exclusive lineup of new products will include 80 Plus Titanium – in the range of 650W to 1000W, and Platinum-Gold-rated units in the range of 650W to 1200W, with excellent electrical characteristics, top-level components and fully modular cabling.

Seasonic employs the most efficient manufacturing methods, uses the best materials and works with most reliable suppliers to produce reliable products. The PRIME Series layout, revolutionary manufacturing solutions and solid design attest to the highest level of ingenuity of Seasonics’s engineers and product developers. Demonstrating confidence in its power supplies, Seasonic stands out in the industry by offering PRIME Series a generous 12-year manufacturer’s warranty period.

Please continue reading our review of the Seasonic PRIME 1200W Gold PSU!

Introduction and Specifications

Fractal Design is well known in PC enthusiast circles for their excellent cases, and they also entered the self-contained liquid CPU cooler market in 2014 with the Kelvin, and today are releasing a brand new cooler lineup called Celsius. There are two models being introduced, with the 360 mm Celsius S36 and the 240 mm Celsius S24; the latter of which we have for review today.

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While on the surface this might appear to be a standard 240 mm all-in-one liquid CPU cooler, there are some key features that help to differentiate the Celsius lineup in an increasingly saturated market. The hoses (themselves flexible rubber in nice-looking sleeves) are attached at both ends with metal fittings, with the radiator side the standard (and removable) G1/4 variety, and the fans connect via an unusual radiator-mounted header that receives power via a hidden fan cable in one of the sleeved hoses. Additionally, the Celsius coolers offer a dual-mode setting with the choice of automatic fan control or PWM passthrough from the motherboard - and this is controlled via a clever switch built into the trim ring around the pump.

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I have been impressed with the low noise of Fractal Design fans in the past, and I went into this review expecting a very quiet cooling experience. How did the Celsius S24 fare on the test bench? Read on to find out!

Continue reading our review of the Fractal Design Celsius S24 Liquid CPU Cooler!

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Alphacool NexXxos Cool Answer 360 D5/UT kit
Courtesy of Alphacool

Alphacool is a German-based company, known in liquid cooling enthusiast's circles for their high performance and innovative product designs. Alphacool provided us with one of their NexXxos Cool Answer cooling kits, featuring one of their 360mm (3 x 120mm) UT copper radiators, a Repack dual bay acrylic reservoir with integrated VPP655 D5 pump, and the NexXxos XP3 Light CPU block. With a retail price of 314.95 euros (approximately $330 USD), the kit comes at a competitive price compared with other higher-end DIY kits.

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5.25 Dual Bay Reservoir
Courtesy of Alphacool

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NexXxoS UT60 Full Copper 360mm radiator
Courtesy of Alphacool

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NexXxos XP3 Light CPU Waterblock
Courtesy of Alphacool

XSPC bundled in many of their high end components into the NexXxos Cool Answer 360 D5/UT kit, including the NexXxos XP3 Light CPU block, the NexXxoS UT60 Full Copper 360mm triple fan radiator, the Repack 5.25 Dual Bay reservoir with integrated VPP655 D5 pump, three meters of 10mm (3/8") inner diameter / 13mm outer diameter clear tubing, six black chrome compression barbs, three 1200 RPM NB-eLoop - Bionic Lüfter fans, 1000ml of their CKC Cape Kelvin Catcher Clear coolant, and all the hardware necessary to put it all together. The Repack dual-bay reservoir has an anti-cyclon design on the inlets and directly feeds the rear-mounted D5 pump. The included VPP655 D5 pump is rated for a 350ml/hr flow rate. All components are copper, brass, Acetal, or acrylic to minimize the possibility of mixed-metal corrosion occurring in the loop.

Continue reading our review of the Alphacool NexXxos Cool Answer 360 D5/UT water cooling kit!

Author:
Manufacturer: Zalman

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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Zalman is well known for supplying cases, cooling solutions, power supplies and accessories to PC enthusiasts around the world. It’s been quite a while since we last reviewed one of Zalman’s power supplies and today we are going to take a detailed look at one of their new Acrux Series units, the ZM1000-ARX. There are currently four models in the Acrux Series ranging in output capacity from 750W up to 1200W.

Zalman Acrux Series Power Supplies:
•    ZM750-ARX
•    ZM850-ARX
•    ZM1000-ARX
•    ZM1200-ARX

The Acrux Series is Zalman’s flagship line of power supplies. They all feature 80 Plus Platinum certification for high efficiency and come with modular cables for flexibility and ease of cable routing. The ARX power supplies are designed for quiet, reliable operation and come backed by a 7-year warranty.

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Zalman ZM1000-ARX Platinum PSU Key Features:
 
•    1000W DC power output at 40°C
•    80 Plus Platinum certification for high efficiency (89-94% @ 20-100% load)
•    All Modular cable design
•    Smart fan control system for very quiet operation
•    Quiet 140mm cooling fan with ball bearings
•    100% High quality Japanese made capacitors with 105°C rating
•    High current single +12V rail (83A/996W)
•    DC-to-DC converters for +5V and +3.3V outputs
•    Multi-GPU ready with eight PCI-E connectors
•    Supports NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire
•    Meets ErP 2013 Lot6 standby power standards and Haswell ready
•    Compliant with Intel ATX12V Ver 2.3 & EPS 12V Ver 2.92 standards
•    Universal AC input (100-240V) with Active PFC
•    DC Output protections: UVP, OVP, OPP, SCP, OCP, and OTP
•    Dimensions: 150mm (W) x 86mm (H) x 180mm (L)
•    7-Year warranty
•    MSRP : $199.99 USD

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Please continue reading our review of the Zalman 1000W Platinum PSU !!!

Manufacturer: EKWB

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of EKWB

EK's Supremacy line of CPU waterblocks are well known for their performance and style. Their latest version in this block line, the Supremacy MX, advances their design in the hopes of getting more optimized performance out of a less costly version of their award winning block series. The base Supremacy MX CPU waterblock is a copper and plexi construction using the same jet-impingement and micro-channel design as that used in their previous block versions. The block comes fully assembled from the factory with a single CPU mounting bracket type (in this case, the Intel version). Note that additional CPU mounting kits are available for purchase. With an MSRP of $54.99, the Supremacy MX waterblock offers a compelling purchase in light of its performance potential.

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Courtesy of EKWB

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Courtesy of EKWB

The block is assembled with hex-head screws going through the copper base plate with rubber grommets ensuring the integrity of the block internals. The top aluminum cover plate is held to the plexi top using short hex-head screws that thread directly into the plexi top plate. The center inlet feeds the micro-channels embedded in the copper base plate through the jet-impingement assembly. The mounting bracket sits in between the top plexi plate and the copper base plate, making any an interesting upgrade if you want to switch out the CPU mount plate to use the block on a different CPU family (like going from Intel to AMD Ryzen for example). The aluminum top plate gives the block a sleek appearance and acts to redirect illumination from the side mounted LEDs (if you choose to use LEDs with the block that is).

Continue reading our review of the EK Supremacy MX CPU waterblock!

Author:
Manufacturer: Riotoro

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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Earlier this year we looked at the Enigma 850W PSU from Riotoro, their first entry into the PC power supply market. Today we are going to take a detailed look at two more power supplies in Riotoro’s new Onyx Series. Formed in 2014 and based in California, Riotoro originally started their PC hardware business with a focus on cases, mice, and LED fans targeted towards the gaming community. They are continuing to expand their product offerings to include two new power supply lines, the Enigma and Onyx Series, along with two liquid CPU coolers and several RGB gaming keyboards.

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Riotoro announced the introduction of the three power supplies last year at Computex 2016: the Enigma 850W, Onyx 750W, and Onyx 650W. All three power supplies were developed in partnership with Great Wall and are based on a new platform designed to hit the sweet spot for practical real-world performance, reliability, and price. The Enigma line kicked off with the 850W unit and the Onyx line will initially be available in 650W and 750W models.

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The main differences between the Enigma Series and the Onyx Series are listed in the table above. The Riotoro Onyx Series power supplies are certified to comply with the 80 Plus Bronze criteria for efficiency, come with semi-modular cables, and both use a quiet 120mm variable speed fan for cooling.

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Riotoro Onyx Series PSU Key Features:

•    650W or 750W Continuous DC output at up to 40°C
•    80 PLUS Bronze level efficiency certification
•    Semi-modular cables
•    Quiet 120mm cooling fan
•    Japanese made bulk (electrolytic) capacitors
•    Compatible with Intel and AMD processors and motherboards
•    Active Power Factor correction with Universal AC input (100 to 240 VAC)
•    Safety protections: OVP, UVP, OCP, OPP, and SCP
•    3-Year warranty
•    MSRP: Onyx 650W $64.99 and Onyx 750W $74.99 USD

Please continue reading our review of the new Riotoro Onyx PSUs!!!

Manufacturer: DAN Cases

Introduction and First Impressions

The A4-SFX takes the minimalist, full-length GPU capable mini-ITX chassis design down to stunningly compact dimensions, and does so with a precise all-aluminum build and refined industrial design. Created by the one-man company DAN Cases and funded on Kickstarter, the A4-SFX share the spirit of the crowdfunded NCASE M1 that preceded it, but takes even that tiny enclosure's dimensions down considerably. It is, as the company puts it, "the world's smallest gaming tower case".

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What was omitted to bring the size down this far? Comparing the A4-SFX to the aforementioned NCASE M1 (an inevitability as both were crowd-funded and manufactured by Lian Li), the A4-SFX drops support for compact ATX power supplies in favor of SFX/SFX-L units, and CPU cooling is limited to a height of 48 mm, with no liquid cooling support. Many low-profile CPU coolers - including Intel’s stock design - fit this description, but the cooling limitation suggests stock CPU speeds are the tradeoff for such a compact case design.

So how compact is this case, exactly? The A4-SFX has a volume of just 7.25L compared to the NCASE M1 at 12.6L. Yet the A4-SFX can still house a powerful, gaming-ready system with standard components including a full sized GPU (up to 295 mm in length) and any mini-ITX motherboard and CPU.

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Continue reading our review of the DAN Cases A4-SFX Mini-ITX Enclosure!

Author:
Manufacturer: Open Benchtable

Overview

Open-air chassis have always been an odd segment of the PC hardware market. While the ability to quickly swap out components is a major benefit to hardware reviewers like us, overclockers, and other people who are working to quickly validate lots of components, they are the antithesis of what most users are looking for from their computers. 

While we've seen some attempts at bringing the open test bed concepts to a more general audience including the Antec Skeleton and the Thermaltake Core P5 and P3, test bench products are often very low volume and are targeting a specific niche market. Due to the low volume nature, test benches are usually pretty low build quality, expensive, and don't seem to be fully formed concepts.

Today, we are taking a look at a product which aims to change all of this, the Open Benchtable.

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From first glance, you might be hard-pressed to tell that the BC1 is meant to be used with computer hardware. One of the unique design aspects of the BC1 is the ability for it to pack completely flat, in a way that may be familiar to you if you've ever had an experience assembling furniture from Ikea. 

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Everything has a place and there's a place for everything on the BC1. Included hardware such as thumbscrews, brackets, standoffs, and even the feet for the actual testbench slot into the single piece of aluminum and store securely into an 8mm thick package. This, along with the completely toolless design mean that the BC1 can quickly be assembled, used, and torn down.

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Once you start to assemble the BC1, one of the most striking features is the build quality. Where we normally see test benches made from lower quality materials like acrylic or bent sheet metal, the BC1 is made of a single slab of anodized heavy-duty AL5052 aluminum. It's difficult for me to imagine a user managing to break this test bench in any way, aside from potentially chipping anodization, without actively trying to do so.

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The first step to assembling the BC1 is to remove the feet from the middle section of the test bench. Simply remove 4 thumbscrews, and you can remove the feet from the main assembly.

Continue reading our review of the OBT Open Benchtable!

Author:
Manufacturer: VIVO

Introduction and Features

Introduction

VIVO is one of the latest entries into the burgeoning PC power supply market. VIVO is best known as a supplier of monitor and projector mounts, stands, carts, and PC enclosures. Their introductory power supply is the VIVO 24K 650W unit, which is designed to deliver 80 Plus Gold level efficiency at an affordable price.

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In addition to 80 Plus Gold certification, the VIVO 24K 650W PSU features all modular flat ribbon-style cables, a single +12V output, and uses a quiet 120mm fan for cooling.

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VIVO 24K 650W PSU Key Features:

•    650W Continuous DC output at up to 40°C
•    80 PLUS Gold certified for high efficiency
•    Fully-modular cables
•    DC-to-DC Voltage converters
•    Single +12V output
•    NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFire ready
•    Meets EPS12V 2.93 standards and is backwards compatible with ATX12V
•    Quiet 120mm cooling fan
•    Haswell support
•    Active Power Factor correction with Universal AC input (100 to 240 VAC)
•    Safety protections: OVP, UVP, OPP, OTP and SCP
•    3-Year warranty
•    MSRP: $59.99 USD

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Here is what VIVO has to say about their company and the new 24K 650W PSU:

VIVO is a U.S. based company that designs, manufactures, and supplies a diverse selection of products across multiple unique product markets. We have a genuine desire to create functional solutions that fit unsolved needs and better the experience of every customer we serve.

The new 24K 650W 80 Plus Gold rated power supply (PSU-650G) from VIVO is designed for lasting performance and reliability. This power supply is made with top quality components to ensure continuous clean power delivery and long life. The 650 watt real power output is enough to easily power a high end gaming computer with dual graphics cards, and the simple to use fully modular flat cables reduce clutter while improving airflow in your system. In addition, the 80 Plus Gold rated efficiency combined with a large 120mm fan will provide quiet operation and help to reduce your power bill. Our "U-style" chassis design is both durable and eye-catching, with an appearance that will look great in any windowed PC case.

Please continue reading our review of the VIVO 24K 650W PSU!!!

Introduction and Specifications

The PC-Q17 WX is a compact, all-aluminum mini-ITX enclosure designed to appeal to gamers, and it features certification from ASUS ROG (Republic of Gamers). As with so many mini-ITX cases on the market there is room for a full-length graphics card, allowing the case to house a powerful gaming build.

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The PC-Q17 WX is smaller than the mini-ITX cases I have looked at recently, with the trend for larger, micro-ATX sized designs prevalent in the last year or two. It is still quite a bit larger compared to the smallest designs on the market, with the NCASE M1 the smallest I have reviewed thus far. There is always an advantage in component support from a slightly larger case, and this case boasts full-length GPU and ATX power supply compatibity - though you will need a compact PSU to fit both of those concurrently (more on this later in the review).

As expected from Lian Li, this small chassis doesn’t just feature aluminum, it is all aluminum, making it ultra light with a premium feel. Getting to your components is easy thanks to side and top panels that simply snap in place with the company’s push pin style connectors, and there is a large acrylic window to show off your mini-ITX build. If you like its looks the only thing left is too see what fits inside and find out how it performs!

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Continue reading our review of the Lian Li PC-Q17 WX enclosure!

Manufacturer: Alphacool

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Alphacool

Earlier this year, Alphacool launched their "Eis" series of products, a collection of high performance liquid cooling products improving upon their existing products. The Eisblock XPX CPU water block introduces a new internal design compared with their previous NexXxOS block series, updating the internal design with an optimized jet impingement-fed micro-channel system. The block consists of a nickel-plated copper square base plate and an acetal top with an aluminum cover plate and an illuminated logo. The block offers compatibility with all current CPU socket types, including the Intel LGA2011 and LGA1150 and the AMD AM4 sockets.

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Courtesy of Alphacool

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Courtesy of Alphacool

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Courtesy of Alphacool

The block is held together with screws going through the nickel-plated base plate with a snap-on top cover. Use of a snap-on aluminum top cover gives the block a sleek appearance. Further, it allows for easy customization of the embedded LED color not to mention the top cover color by switching out the top cover plate without interfering with the block internals. Alphacool offers a variety of top cover plates and customization kits for the Eisblock XPX water block to match virtually any system theme setup. With an approximate MSRP of $73 US, the Eisblock XPX is at price parity with other high-end water block offerings.

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Courtesy of Alphacool

The Eisblock XPX waterblock comes standard with hardware supporting all current generation Intel and AMD processors, including the AMD Ryzen AM4 socket. The block's support brackets snap in place in channels along the lower sides of the block, making for easy customization of the block for different processor and socket types if necessary.

Technical Specifications (taken from the manufacturer websites)

Water Block Specifications
Manufacturer Alphacool
Dimensions (LxWxH) 65 x 65 x 30mm
Threads 2 x G1/4"
Tested Pressure 2 Bar
Material cooling plate Copper
Material top cover Aluminum / Acetal
Socket Compatibility Intel
775 / 1156 / 1155 / 1150 / 1151 / 2011 / 2011-3

AMD
AM2 /AM2+ /AM3 /AM3+ / FM1 / FM2 / FM2+ / AM4

Continue reading our review of the Alphacool Eisblock XPX CPU waterblock!

Author:

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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SilverStone continues to push the envelope of power density with the release of their new SX800-LTI small form factor power supply. Following close on the heels of the SX700-LPT, the new unit now packs 800 watts into a small chassis. SFX form factor cases and power supplies continue grow in popularity and in market share and as one of the original manufacturers of SFX power supplies, Silverstone Technology Co. is striving to meet customer demand.

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(SX=SFX Form Factor, 800=800W, L=Lengthened, TI=Titanium 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 SX800-LTI to their SFX form factor series. There are now eight power supplies in the SFX Series, ranging in output capacity from 300W to 800W. The SX800-LTI is the third SilverStone unit to feature a lengthened SFX chassis. The SX800-LTI enclosure is 30mm (1.2”) longer than a standard SFX power supply case, which allows using a quieter 120mm cooling fan rather than the typical 80mm fan used in most SFX power supplies.

In addition to its small size, the SX800-LTI features very high efficiency (80 Plus Titanium certified), all modular flat ribbon-style cables, and provides up to 800W of continuous DC output (850W peak). The SX800-LTI also operates in semi-fanless mode and incorporates a very quiet 120mm cooling fan.

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SilverStone SX800-LTI PSU Key Features:

•    Small Form Factor (SFX-L) design
•    800W continuous power output rated for 24/7 operation
•    80 Plus Titanium certified for very high efficiency
•    Quiet operation with semi-fanless operation
•    120mm cooling fan optimized for low noise
•    Powerful single +12V rail with 66A 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, OPP, OVP, UVP, SCP, and OTP

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Here is what SilverStone has to say about their new SX800-LTI power supply:

Since its launch in 2015, the SFX-L form factor has garnered popular recognition and support among enthusiasts with its larger 120mm fan able to achieve better balance of power and quietness in small form factor PCs than what was possible with standard SFX. And as a leader in power supply miniaturization, SilverStone has continued its efforts in advancing the SFX-L forward to reach ever higher limit.

The SX800-LTI not only has unprecedented 800 watts of power output but also has the highest level of 80 PLUS efficiency with a Titanium rating. It includes all features available from top of the line SilverStone PSUs such as flexible flat cables, all Japanese capacitors and advanced semi-fanless capability. For those looking to build the most efficient small form factor systems possible with great quality and power, the SX800-LTI is definitely the top choice.

Please continue reading our review of the SilverStone SX800-LTI PSU!!!

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!

Manufacturer: RockIt Cool

Introduction

Introduction

With the introduction of the Intel Kaby Lake processors and Intel Z270 chipset, unprecedented overclocking became the norm. The new processors easily hit a core speed of 5.0GHz with little more than CPU core voltage tweaking. This overclocking performance increase came with a price tag. The Kaby Lake processor runs significantly hotter than previous generation processors, a seeming reversal in temperature trends from previous generation Intel CPUs. At stock settings, the individual cores in the CPU were recording in testing at hitting up to 65C - and that's with a high performance water loop cooling the processor. Per reports from various enthusiasts sites, Intel used inferior TIM (thermal interface material) in between the CPU die and underside of the CPU heat spreader, leading to increased temperatures when compared with previous CPU generations (in particular Skylake). This temperature increase did not affect overclocking much since the CPU will hit 5.0GHz speed easily, but does impact the means necessary to hit those performance levels.

Like with the previous generation Haswell CPUs, a few of the more adventurous enthusiasts used known methods in an attempt to address the heat concerns of the Kaby Lake processor be delidding the processor. Unlike in the initial days of the Haswell processor, the delidding process is much more stream-lined with the availability of delidding kits from several vendors. The delidding process still involves physically removing the heat spreader from the CPU, and exposing the CPU die. However, instead of cooling the die directly, the "safer" approach is to clean the die and underside of the heat spreader, apply new TIM (thermal interface material), and re-affix the heat spreader to the CPU. Going this route instead of direct-die cooling is considered safer because no additional or exotic support mechanisms are needed to keep the CPU cooler from crushing your precious die. However, calling it safe is a bit of an over-statement, you are physically separating the heat spreader from the CPU surface and voiding your CPU warranty at the same time. Although if that was a concern, you probably wouldn't be reading this article in the first place.

Continue reading our Kaby Lake Relidding article!

Author:
Manufacturer: Riotoro

Introduction and Features

Introduction

Riotoro is a new player in the already crowded PC power supply market. Formed in 2014 and based in California, Riotoro originally started their PC hardware business with a focus on cases, mice, and LED fans targeted towards the gaming community. Now they are expanding their product offerings to include two new power supply lines, the Enigma and Onyx Series, along with two liquid CPU coolers and several RGB gaming keyboards. We will be taking a detailed look at Riotoro’s new Enigma 850W power supply in this review.

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Riotoro announced the introduction of the three power supplies at Computex 2016: the Enigma 850W, Onyx 750W, and Onyx 650W. All three power supplies were developed in partnership with Great Wall and are based on new platforms designed to hit the sweet spot for practical real-world performance, reliability, and price. The Onyx line will initially be available in 650W and 750W models. The more up scale Enigma line will kick off with the 850W model.

The Riotoro Enigma 850W power supply is certified to comply with the 80 Plus Gold criteria for high efficiency, comes with semi-modular cables, and uses a quiet 140mm variable speed fan for cooling.

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Riotoro Enigma 850W PSU Key Features:

•    850W Continuous DC output at up to 40°C
•    80 PLUS Gold certified for high efficiency
•    Semi-modular cables
•    Quiet 140mm cooling fan
•    Japanese made bulk (electrolytic) capacitors
•    Compatible with Intel and AMD processors and motherboards
•    Active Power Factor correction with Universal AC input (100 to 240 VAC)
•    Safety protections: OVP, UVP, OCP, OPP, and SCP
•    5-Year warranty
•    MSRP: $119.99 USD

Please continue reading our review of the Riotoro Enigma 850W PSU!!!

Author:
Manufacturer: Corsair

Woof

The Corsair Bulldog, version 2.0, is now shipping and upgrades the internal components to a Z270 motherboard and upgrade fans with improved noise profiles. Other than that, the Bulldog looks, style, form and function remain unchanged.
 
 
The design is likely still dividing opinions; the short squat form factor with angular exterior will appeal to some, but the dimensions are perfectly suited to sitting in or around a TV and entertainment center. And because of the spacing and design of the interior, the mini ITX form factor can support any performance level of GPU and Intel's latest Kaby Lake processors. This gives users the flexibility to build for ultimate performance, making the dream of a 4K-ready gaming PC in the living room a possibility.
 
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Our quick video review will talk about the design, installation process and our experiences with the system running some premium components.
 
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  • Corsair Bulldog 2.0 (includes case, PSU, MB and CPU cooler)
  • Intel Core i7-7700K
  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4
  • Corsair Z270 Motherboard mini ITX
  • Corsair Hydro GTX 1080
  • 480GB Neutron GTX SSD
  • 600 watt Corsair PSU

The barebones kit starts at $399 through Corsair.com and includes the case, the motherboard, CPU cooler and 600-watt power supply. Not a bad price for those components!

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You won't find any specific benchmarks in the video above, but you will find some impressions playing Resident Evil 7 in HDR mode at 4K resolution with the specs above, all on an LG OLED display. (Hint: it's awesome.) 

Manufacturer: PC Perspective

Introduction

Mini-STX is the newest, smallest PC form-factor that accepts a socketed CPU, and in this review we'll be taking a look at a complete mini-STX build that will occupy just 1.53 liters of space. With a total size of just 6.1 x 5.98 x 2.56 inches, the SilverStone VT01 case offers a very small footprint, and the ECS H110S-2P motherboard accepts Intel desktop CPUs up to 65W (though I may have ignored this specification).

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PS3 controller for scale. (And becuase it's the best controller ever.)

The Smallest Form-Factor

The world of small form-factor PC hardware is divided between tiny kit solutions such as the Intel NUC (and the host of mini-PCs from various manufacturers), and the mini-ITX form-factor for system builders. The advantage of mini-ITX is its ability to host standard components, such as desktop-class processors and full-length graphics cards. However, mini-ITX requires a significantly larger enclosure than a mini-PC, and the "thin mini-ITX" standard has been something of a bridge between the two, essentially halving the height requirement of mini-ITX. Now, an even smaller standard has emerged, and it almost makes mini-ITX look big in comparison.

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Left: ECS H110S-2P (mini-STX) / Right: EVGA Z170 Stinger (mini-ITX)

Mini-STX had been teased for a couple of years (I wrote my first news post about it in January of 2015), and was originally an Intel concept called "5x5"; though the motherboard is actually about 5.8 x 5.5 inches (147 x 140 mm). At CES 2016 I was able to preview a SilverStone enclosure design for these systems, and ECS is one of the manufacturers producing mini-STX motherboards with an Intel H110-based board introduced this past summer. We saw some shipping products for the newest form-factor in 2016, and both companies were kind enough to send along a sample of these micro-sized components for a build. With the parts on hand it is now time to assemble my first mini-STX system, and of course I'll cover the process - and results - right here!

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Continue reading our review of a mini-STX computer build featuring ECS and SilverStone!

Author:
Manufacturer: FSP Technology Inc.

Introduction and Features

Introduction
                    
In this review we are going to take a detailed look at FSP Technology Inc.’s new Twins 500W redundant power supply. It’s been quite a while since we reviewed a redundant power supply in the ATX form factor. This should be interesting! (Actually, it turned out to be very interesting, along with a few surprises we didn’t expect).

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The FSP Twins 500W redundant power supply is targeted towards use in home and small businesses for mail or web server systems that require maximum up time. The Twins 500W PSU incorporates two 520W modular power supplies inside one standard ATX housing. Under normal operation the two power supplies operate in parallel, sharing the load. If one of the power supply modules should fail, the other one automatically takes over with no down time. And since the power supply modules are hot-swappable, a faulty unit can be replaced without having to turn off the system.

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FSP claims the Twins 500W is a server-grade power supply designed to deliver stable power and is certified 80 Plus Gold for high efficiency. The ATX chassis measures 190mm (7.4”) deep and is fitted with fixed, ribbon-style cables. Each modular power supply uses a 40mm fan for cooling and the Twins 500W comes backed by a 5-year warranty. Users can also download and install FSP’s Guardian software to monitor power input, power output, and efficiency, along with other parameters in real time if desired.

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FSP Twins 500W Redundant PSU Key Features:

•    ATX PS2 redundant size ideal for mail, web and home server
•    Server-grade design provides stable power
•    Hot-swappable modules design
•    80 Plus 230V Internal Gold certification
•    Digital-controlled power supply supports FSP Guardian monitoring software
•    Smart power supply supports Alarm Guard and status LED indicators
•    Flat ribbon-style cables with two 4+4 pin CPU connectors
•    Complies with ATX 12V and EPS 12V standards
•    Protections: OCP, OVP, SCP, FFP (Fan Failure Protection)
•    5-Year Manufacturer’s warranty
•    MSRP: $399.00 USD

Please continue reading our review of the FSP Twins 500W PSU!!!

Author:
Manufacturer: Seasonic

Introduction and Features

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We are going to kick-off the New Year on a high-note by taking another look at Seasonic’s PRIME Titanium series power supplies. When we first tested the new PRIME 750W Titanium PSU last summer, we concluded it was the best overall PC power supply we had reviewed to date. So was that just a fluke? Did we get a hand-picked power supply? Or did our review sample truly represent the outstanding performance that a regular user would experience after buying one of the Seasonic PRIME Titanium series power supplies through normal retail channels? Today, we are going to test two more PRIME Titanium PSUs and compare our findings with the original PRIME 750W Titanium power supply test results. This will provide a unique opportunity to compare three different power supplies from the same series to see how consistent their performance really is, which can be a good indicator of quality.

Sea Sonic Electronics Co., Ltd has been designing and building PC power supplies since 1981 and they are one of the most highly respected manufacturers in the world. Not only do they market power supplies under their own Seasonic name but they are the OEM for numerous big name brands.

Seasonic’s new PRIME lineup was introduced earlier this year with the Titanium Series, which currently includes three models: 850W, 750W, and 650W (with more to follow). Additional PRIME models with both Platinum and Gold efficiency certifications are also making their way into retail channels with models ranging from 850W up to 1200W.

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The two new power supplies we have in for review are the PRIME 650W and 850W Titanium models. These units also come with all modular cables and are certified to comply with the 80 Plus Titanium efficiency criteria; the highest available. The power supplies are designed to deliver extremely tight voltage regulation on the three primary rails (+3.3V, +5V and +12V) and they provide superior AC ripple and noise suppression with an extended hold-up time. Add in a super-quiet 135mm cooling fan with a Fluid Dynamic Bearing and a 10-year warranty, and you have the makings for an outstanding power supply.

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Seasonic PRIME 850W Titanium PSU

Seasonic PRIME Titanium Series PSU Key Features:

•    850W, 750W or 650W continuous DC output
•    Ultra-high efficiency, 80 PLUS Titanium certified
•    Micro-Tolerance Load Regulation (MTLR)
•    Top-quality 135mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing fan
•    Premium Hybrid Fan Control (allows fanless operation at low power)
•    Superior AC ripple and noise suppression (under 20 mV)
•    Extended Hold-up time (above 30 ms)
•    Fully modular cabling design
•    Multi-GPU technologies supported
•    Gold-plated high-current terminals
•    Protections: OPP,OVP,UVP,SCP,OCP and OTP
•    10-Year Manufacturer’s warranty

Please continue reading our review of the Seasonic PRIME Titanium Series PSUs!!!