Introduction and First Impressions

The Le Grande Macho RT is a massive air CPU cooler design from Thermalright that pairs a very large heatsink (with 7 heat pipes) with a quiet 140 mm fan. It certainly looks impressive, but you'll want to read on to find out how it performed on our test bench!


"With the Le Grand Macho RT we offer an actively cooled version of our famous semi-passive flagship. Thanks to the silent-running TY 147 B with fluid dynamic bearing, the Le Grand Macho RT can cool up to 280 watt.

The design of the heat sink has not been changed and is still asymmetrical. This offers the highest possible compatibility to the most recent motherboards. Thus it is guaranteed that the Le Grand Macho RT neither blocks the RAM spaces, nor the top-most PCIe slot on current ATX-boards."


While the Le Grand Macho RT is one of the largest coolers I've tested, it is still a little smaller than Thermalright's famous SilverArrow dual-tower cooler. In fact, the 159 mm height means it will fit a large number of enclosures (with 165 mm being a common limit).

The single-fan design of the Macho makes it look like a good candidate for low-noise air cooling, and it's physically larger than the Scythe Ninja 4 cooler I reviewed back in January - which was, incidentally, the quietest cooler I've tested to date.


Why install this giant on a mini-ITX board? Why not!

Continue reading our review of the Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT CPU cooler!!

be quiet!'s Silent Base 800, moderate price and moderate features

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 10, 2016 - 01:38 PM |
Tagged: be quiet!, Silent Base 800

It has been quite a while since Lee's review of the be quiet! Silent Base 800 so it is worth revisiting this case over at The Tech Report.  The price has not changed from the original launch but there do seem to be more colours available, up to and including orange. There are several features which could influence you to purchase the case, top mounted I/O ports and power button and the Pure Wings 2 fans included in the case.  On the other hand there is a distinctive lack of a reset button and the case is rather narrow and extra large GPUs will require the removal of drive cages.  Check out the full review to see whether this case holds any interest for you.


"be quiet!'s Silent Base 800 full tower case features extensive silencing features throughout for quiet operation. We tested this case to see whether be quiet!'s noise-killing efforts deliver."

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BitFenix Announces the Aurora Enclosure with Tempered Glass and RGB Lighting

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 10, 2016 - 09:54 AM |
Tagged: tempered glass, SSD Chroma, RGB, mid tower, enclosure, e-atx, chassis, case, bitfenix, aurora, ASUS Aura

BitFenix has announced the Aurora chassis, their latest enclosure which features tempered glass side panels and RGB lighting effects.


Both sides of the Aurora are covered by tempered glass, with the component side a clear panel, and the back a dark-tinted panel to help hide cables behind the motherboard tray.


One interesting feature is called “SSD Chroma”. BitFenix explains:

“‘ASUS AURA’ certified ‘RGB Chroma Control and SSD Chroma’ are co-developed with Asus Republic of Gamers giving you the ability to customize and illuminate the SSDs.”


Specifications and highlights from BitFenix:

  • Colors: Black│White
  • Materials: Steel, ABS
  • Supported Motherboards: E-ATX│ATX│M-ATX│Mini-ITX
  • Expansion Slots: 7
  • Drive Bays:
    • 3.5”: 2 + 2
    • 2.5”: 2 + 1
  • Cooling:
    • Front: 120mm x 2 or 140mm x 2
    • Rear: 120mm x 1 (Included)
    • Top: 120mm x 2 or 140mm x 2
  • Component Clearance:
    • CPU Cooler: Up to 160mm height
    • Graphic Card Length: Up to 400mm
    • Power Supply: Up to 220mm
  • I/O: USB 3.0 x 2│USB 2.0 x 2│HD Audio MIC & Headphone
  • Weight: 10.58kg
  • Dimensions: 215 x 490 x 520mm

Highlights: BitFenix LED Lighting Controller & SSD Lighting Bracket│20-25mm Cable Management Space│Graphic Length up to 400mm│Support Dual 280mm radiator│Removable HDD cage│Removable PSU Dust Filter

Pricing and availablility for this new BitFenix Aurora are not yet known late August and $99 US.

Source: BitFenix

High-End CPU Cooling Roundup: 5 Water Blocks Compared at ComputerBase

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 3, 2016 - 12:56 PM |
Tagged: XSPC, water cooling, water block, roundup, raijintek, Phobya, liquid cooling, Heatkiller, cpu cooler, Alphacool

Computer Base (German language, Google-translated link here) has rounded up five CPU water blocks to see which might offer the highest performance on their Intel Core i7 3960X-equipped testbed.


Image credit: Computer Base

The tested water blocks include:

  • Alphacool NexXxos XP3 Light V.2
  • Phobya UC-2 LT
  • Raijintek CWB-C1
  • Heatkiller IV Pro Pure Copper
  • XSPC Raystorm Pro

The review offers an thorough look at the design of each water block, as well as an interesting look at the effects of flow-rate on performance:

"The test has been shown that with increasing flow rate decreases the temperature difference of the water before and after heat sinks. However, the question arises whether a higher flow also has a positive effect on the cooling performance itself. A negative effect of increasing flow as well: Most pumps are unthrottled very loud to work, so that a reduced pump capacity is useful for a silent water cooling."

Read more at the source link (translated).

GamersNexus Disassembles an EVGA Hybrid Liquid Cooler

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 1, 2016 - 09:38 PM |
Tagged: evga, asetek, liquid cooler, closed-loop

Well this is interesting. GamersNexus has about a twenty minute video (and a couple-page editorial) where they disassemble an Asetek / EVGA liquid cooler for GPUs. He spends the first half of the video with a discussion of previous videos, an overview of the industry and its split between vendors and manufacturers, and an explanation of various components including the difference between CPU and GPU plates. The second half of the video disassembles the cooler, talking about it as he goes.

The disassembly begins at ~9 minutes.

The availability of closed-loop coolers introduced me to water cooling. While I could be very careful to do everything right, I just don't trust myself to assemble a liquid-filled (non-conducting or otherwise) component that close to electronics. Part of that could be attributed to my childhood, where a dead PC meant no computer for x number of weeks, or months, because we could barely afford one at all. An assembled (and warrantied) cooler, though, while still intimidating when the tubes get even slightly torqued, is clearly designed to go in hassle-free and remain working without maintenance. That's a good part of why, while it's pretty obvious what is inside these units, seeing it first-hand is fascinating (at least for me).

Source: GamersNexus

Seasonic Flagship PRIME 750W, when they upgrade they mean business

Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 25, 2016 - 04:53 PM |
Tagged: modular psu, Seasonic PRIME, 750w

It has been about a year since Seasonic released a brand new PSU as they do not tend to flood the market with incremental upgrades to their PSU families.  While this may hurt their business a little as newer users do not see reviews or advertisements frequently, long term enthusiasts take note when a new PSU arrives.  This fully modular PSU offers a single 12V rail capable of delivering 744W @ 62A and offers six 6+2 PCIe power cables, it even still has a floppy connector for those desperate times when you need to pull one out.  [H]ard|OCP strapped the PSU to their torture bench and this Seasonic unit came out with a Gold medal.  Check out the full review here.


"Seasonic has never been big on marketing-speak. Outside of its impressive specifications, and a list of features, this is all it has to say. "The creation of the PRIME Series is a renewed testimony of Seasonic's determination to push the limits of power supply design in every aspect." Let's see if that is true, or the shortest sales pitch ever."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP
Manufacturer: XSPC

Introduction and Technical Specifications



Courtesy of XSPC


Courtesy of XSPC


Courtesy of XSPC

XSPC is a well established name in the enthusiast cooling market, offering a wide range of custom cooling components and kits. Their newest CPU waterblock, the Raystorm Pro, offers a new look and optimized design in comparison to their last generation Raystorm CPU waterblock. The block features an all copper design with a dual metal / acrylic hold down plate for illumination around the outside edge of the block. The Raystorm Pro is compatible with all current CPU sockets with the currect mounting kit.

Continue reading our review of the XSPC Raystorm Pro CPU waterblock!

Video Perspective: EVGA DG-87 Case Preview

Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 22, 2016 - 05:50 PM |
Tagged: video, huge, evga, dg-87, dg-8, case

EVGA started showing off designs for a unique, and enormous, case in 2015. It has since been rebranded and has undergone some minor work at the plastic surgeon to emerge as the EVGA DG-8 series of chassis. EVGA sent me the flagship model, the DG-87, that features an integrated fan controller to operate intake and exhaust airflow individually. EVGA took some interesting chances with this design: it's bigger than just about anything we have ever used, it rotates the case orientation by 90 degrees so that what was normally your side panel window is now facing you and it routes all of your cables and connections through a side section and out the back side of the case. 

If you haven't seen it before, this video is worth a watch. Expect a full review sometime in August!


Introduction and Features



SFX form factor cases and power supplies continue grow in popularity and in market share. As one of the original manufacturers of SFX power supplies, Silverstone Technology Co. is meeting demand with new products; continuing to raise the bar in the SFX power supply arena with the introduction of their new SX700-LPT unit.

(SX=SFX Form Factor, 700=700W, L=Lengthened, PT=Platinum 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 SX700-LPT to their SFX form factor series. There are now seven power supplies in the SFX Series, ranging in output capacity from 300W to 700W. The SX700-LPT is the second SFX unit to feature a lengthened chassis. The SX700-LPT enclosure is 30mm (1.2”) longer than a standard SFX chassis, which allows using a quieter 120mm cooling fan rather than the typical 80mm fan used in most SFX power supplies.

The new SX700-LPT power supply was designed for small form factor cases but it can also be used in place of a standard ATX power supply (in small cases) with an optional mounting bracket. In addition to its small size, the SX700-LPT features high efficiency (80 Plus Platinum certified), all modular flat ribbon-style cables, and provides up to 700W of continuous DC output (750W peak). The SX700-LPT also operates in semi-fanless mode and incorporates a very quiet 120mm cooling fan.


SilverStone SX700-LPT PSU Key Features:

•    Small Form Factor (SFX-L) design
•    700W continuous power output rated for 24/7 operation
•    Very quiet with semi-fanless operation
•    120mm cooling fan optimized for low noise
•    80 Plus Platinum certified for high efficiency
•    Powerful single +12V rail with 58.4A 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 SX700-LPT PSU!!!

Manufacturer: AMD

Introduction: Rethinking the Stock Cooler

AMD's Wraith cooler was introduced at CES this January, and has been available with select processors from AMD for a few months. We've now had a chance to put one of these impressive-looking CPU coolers through its paces on the test bench to see how much it improves on the previous model, and see if aftermarket cooling is necessary with AMD's flagship parts anymore.


While a switch in the bundled stock cooler might not seem very compelling, the fact that AMD has put effort into improving this aspect of their retail CPU offering is notable. AMD processors already present a great value relative to Intel's offerings for gaming and desktop productivity, but the stock coolers have to this point warranted a replacement.

Intel went the other direction with the current generation of enthusiast processors, as CPUs such as my Core i5-6600k no longer ship with a cooler of any kind. If AMD has upgraded the stock CPU cooler to the point that it now cools efficiently without significant noise, this will save buyers a little more cash when planning an upgrade, which is always a good thing.


The previous AMD stock cooler (left) and the AMD Wraith cooler (right)

A quick search for "Wraith" on Amazon yields retail-box products like the A10-7890K APU, and the FX-8370 CPU; options which have generally required an aftermarket cooler for the highest performance. In this review we’ll take a close look at the results with the previous cooler and the Wraith, and throw in results from the most popular aftermarket cooler of them all; the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO.

Continue reading our review of the AMD Wraith CPU Cooler!!