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.
“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.
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.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 22, 2017 - 05:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: swiftech, pump, MCP655-PWM, Laing D5
Swiftech's MCP655-PWM line is based off of the Laing D5 pump and ships barebones or with a variety of tops, such as the acrylic model sent to TechPowerUp to test. The pump is rated to move 55 GPM/1250 LPH at 12V, with a head of up to 4m (13') though this will be lowered if you utilize the PWM feature. They note that you should double check your 4-pin headers to ensure that it is a PWM header, not one with a VCC pin. You can take a look at how this pump performs at a variety of settings in their full review.
"The Swiftech MCP655 is perhaps the most well-known retail option of the Laing D5 pump and is Swiftech's attempt at bringing to market a pump that is proven to be reliable, quiet, and high performing. The additional touches provided by Swiftech include a vibration dampening mounting kit and an acrylic top promising good performance and aesthetics alike."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Silverstone SST-SF02 Noise Absorbing Foam @ Modders-Inc
- Scythe Mugen 5 CPU Cooler Review @ NikKTech
- Lian-Li PC-T60 Case @ Hardware Secrets
- Cooler Master MasterAir Maker 8 @ Kitguru
- Phanteks Enthoo Luxe Tempered Glass Edition Full Tower Case @ Custom PC Review
Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 18, 2017 - 01:39 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: keyboard, gaming keyboard
About nine months ago, we reported on the Wooting One Analog Keyboard. At the time, they were expecting to ship the keyboard in November, but that has apparently slipped. Of course, creating products is difficult, and even the big companies have production issues (the difference with crowd-funding is that these issues are publicly obvious). They are expecting to start shipping in April.
The hook with this keyboard is that doesn’t just know whether a key is up or down, but how far it is. This can be mapped into the driver as an XInput device, emulating an axis rather than a button. This is actually where today’s issue arises: a batch of keyboards fail to register the full range of motion, and, thus, QA. They released a video, embed above, to explain the issue, and complain about small pizzas?
Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 16, 2017 - 02:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: AIO, nzxt, Kraken X42, RGB
It will ruin its stealth abilities, but then again a Kraken doesn't worry about such things. [H]ard|OCP had a chance to test the new Kraken X42 from NZXT, with a pump they advertise as more efficient and with quieter operation than the previous model, along with a new 140mm fan. The performance of the X42 on high speed offers almost exactly the same performance as the X60 on low, which is a shame considering the ~$130 price tag. It seems that NZXT put a lot more effort into the RGB effects than the performance of the cooler. If that does happen to be your thing, you should check out the review here.
"The new NZXT Kraken X42 is its new "entry level" All-In-One CPU liquid cooler. The Kraken series is not new to us, but NZXT makes a lot of claims about this cooler being better in many ways, and of course has all kinds of cool RGB LED lights built into it. But all of this comes a price. Does it keep your CPU cooler while overclocking?"
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Scythe Mugen 5 CPU Cooler Review @ NikKTech
- Bitfenix Portal @ techPowerUp
- X2 Isolatic 6020 ATX Mid-Tower Review @ NikKTech
- Fractal Design Define Mini-C Tower @ HardwareOverclock
- Aerocool Aero-1000 @ techPowerUp
- RAIDMAX Monster II Review @ OCC
Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 16, 2017 - 09:34 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: small form factor, SFX, SFF, Portal, mini-itx, enclosure, case, bitfenix, aluminum
BitFenix has announced the Portal, which is one of the more interesting-looking chassis designs to hit the market in recent memory. Available in both black and white, and with or without a top-mounted window to show off your GPU (thanks to the inverted motherboard layout), the Portal is a sleek mini-ITX enclosure with a smooth, rounded aluminum exterior that is certainly a departure from typical case designs.
One of the design concepts made possible by SFX power supplies is a slimming down of the standard tower concept, which leaving component layout identical. In the case of this mini-ITX mini tower case from BitFenix, you might at first think you are looking at a larger case, but that PSU opening is in fact SFX, and the case is just wide enough to accommodate a standard PCIe graphics card.
A smaller mini-ITX case is often more challenging to work in, but here BitFenix has a clever solution with their dual-frame design:
"Designed for ITX Motherboards, the striking key component of the interior is the Dual Frame Design for easy access and quick installation. The inner chamber, equipped with enough space for high-end components, slides into the housing via a ball bearing runner design."
The external housing slimply slides off to reveal a standard chassis frame, allowing for easy component installation. Beyond the requirements of mini-ITX motherboard and SFX power supply, the Portal allows for CPU coolers of up to 125 mm, and full size graphics cards up to 300 mm long.
- Chassis Type: ITX Chassis
- Colors: Black | White
- Materials: Aluminum | SECC Steel | ABS | Transparent acrylic
- 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 x1 (included), rear 80mm x1 (included)
- Radiator Capacity: (Front) Up to 120mm x1
- Front I/O ports: USB 3.0 x2 | HD Audio Mic & Headphone
- 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)
Cooling is another area that has received BitFenix's attention, as they have implemented what they call their "intelligent cooling solution" with the Portal:
"To cool the built-in hardware, the portal is equipped with air inlets at all four corners and the bottom of the housing. The air-permeable inner chamber is further equipped with included 120mm intake and 80mm exhaust fan, for a stable airflow for basic Office and Home Theater PCs."
The BitFenix Portal is available now for $139.99 with your choice of color and window option (product pages already up on Newegg.com).
Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 13, 2017 - 03:47 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: DUOFan, modular psu, enermax, Revolution Duo, 700W
Enermax is bringing back a classic in PSU design, dual fans in a push pull configuration was the standard not even a decade ago. Their marketing team chose Revolution to describe the new PSU, perhaps missing a chance to refer to it as a Heritage, Pedigree or other such designations that you see on a lot of lifestyle products lately. The two fans, one 100mm and one 80mm are housed in a casing just shy of 6" which may be attractive to those with limited room inside their cases. There is a dial on the back of the PSU which allows you to manually adjust the speed of the fans, allowing for quiet operation if you so choose. Even at the highest settings this PSU is still much quieter than those PSUs of old cooled by Delta screamers, modern fans are a definite plus in this design. Check out how this 700W PSU stacks up to the competition in [H]ard|OCP's full review.
"Two is always better than one, right? Two fans in your new PSU is a win-win? That is the theory behind the Enermax Revolution Duo series of Power Supply Units. Enermax has a long history of producing PSUs ranging from good to excellent. Where will the new Duo fall in line today?"
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Kolink Continuum KL-C1050PL 1050W Platinum @ Kitguru
- Super Flower Leadex II 1000W 80 Plus Gold @ Kitguru
- BitFenix Whisper M Series 850W @ Kitguru
- Cougar LX Series 600 W @ Kitguru
- FSP Twins 500 W Redundant PSU @ techPowerUp
- FSP Twins 500W Redundant Power Supply @ Kitguru
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.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 8, 2017 - 03:48 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nxzt, fan, Aer F
The new Aer F series from NZXT offer you the chance to add some colour to your system, without the glow of RGB emanating from your system. They will fit nicely on most radiators as well as being useful as case fans. The Trims are available in red, white or blue and are compatible with both the Aer F series as well as the Aer P series which is already on the market.
The Aer F series operates at lower noise levels than the Aer P, at the sacrifice of air flow, most due to the fan speeds topping out at 1500RPM as opposed to 2000RPM. You can order the new 120mm fans for $17.99 or $29.99 for a twin pack; the 140mm are $19.99 and $32.99 respectively. The trims are sold separately at $5.99 for two trims.
Los Angeles, CA – March 7, 2017 – Continuing to deliver increased performance for PC gamers and builders everywhere, NZXT today announces the newest member of its Aer family of fans with Aer F.
Designed to maximize airflow, Aer F is engineered to move air efficiently, letting even the most powerful systems breath with ease. Featuring the same chamfered intake and exhaust and winglet-designed fan blades found in Aer P radiator fans, Aer F delivers powerful airflow with reduced drag, minimizing resistance and vibration. Like it’s Aer family counterparts, Aer F is made with long-lasting fluid dynamic bearings further enhancing their durability and cooling performance.
“Pushing PC gaming to its limits is very important to us at NZXT,” says Johnny Hou, NZXT’s founder and CEO. “Whether you are overclocking the latest processors or running two Geforce GTX 1080 Ti graphic cards in SLI, products like Aer F are designed to maximize performance without being intrusive. Having a PC running cool and quiet makes for a deeper more immersive gaming experience.”
Aer F main features:
- PWM fan designed for better airflow and near-silent performance.
- Winglet constructed fan blades minimize drag, improving overall cooling.
- Patented fluid dynamic bearings (FDB) deliver long-lasting operation. (60,000 hours / 6 years)
- Sleeved cables for easy and clean cable management.
- Replaceable color trim choices give builders the flexibility to customize their builds (sold separately)
Silence and Cooling Optimized
With sleeved cables, vibration dampeners, chamfered-intake and exhaust, and winglet designed fan blades on the impeller; Aer F is designed and engineered from top-to-bottom to make sure gamers get the best cooling performance without compromising their gaming experience.
Built to Last
Patented fluid dynamic bearings, made from copper, gives Aer F the durability to perform for six years, staying relevant well beyond your next graphics card.
Color Your Way
Aer Trims, compatible with Aer F and Aer P, are available in Red, White, and Blue, enabling builders to color-coordinate their builds, their way. Aer Trims are sold separately.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 7, 2017 - 01:50 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ryzen, CRYORIG, amd, AM4
If you own a CRYORIG cooler, apart from the M9i, you can head to this page to request a free upgrade kit to support AM4 motherboards. Depending on the cooler you purchased you will need to choose from one of four different kits and CRYORIG will send it off to you for free, no shipping or other fees required.
You will need to produce either a product registration number or proof of purchase of your CRYORIG product as well as proof of purchase of an AMD Ryzen or AM4 motherboard. The upgrade kits will ship out later this month and sometime in the latter half of the year CRYORIG will release four new coolers which natively support AM4, as well as previous AM3(+) boards.
07.03.17 Taipei, Taiwan – With the much-anticipated release of the AMD Ryzen, CRYORIG prepares to launch a full line of AMD Ryzen dedicated coolers as well as simple upgrade kits for existing AMD compatible CRYORIG cooling products. Beginning from Type A to Type D, there will be a total of 4 different AM4 upgrade kits depending on the corresponding CRYORIG product. Natively supporting Ryzen dedicated version models will begin to release later in Q2 2017 and will consist of the full CRYORIG cooling portfolio.
CRYORIG’s four AM4 upgrade kits will be released beginning in late March and will be completely free of charge (including shipping) for existing users to apply for. Users will only need to provide a proof of purchase of the CRYORIG product (or product registration number), and a proof of purchase of an AMD Ryzen or AM4 CPU or Motherboard. Just fill out and supply all necessary info at www.cryorig.com/getam4.php, the kit will be sent directly to the provided address. Distributors and select channels will also have these kits available.
Beginning in Q2 2017, CRYORIG will start shipping dedicated Ryzen ready versions of CRYORIG’s full product line. Exact release dates will vary from model to model. The Ryzen Supported sticker will be found on all dedicated Ryzen ready coolers for easy identification, and indicates that no additional kits are required for Ryzen support.
Introduction and Features
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.
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.
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