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.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 20, 2016 - 04:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: scythe, fuma, heatsink
Scythe's Fuma heatsink is a fair size at 137x149x130mm with a weight of 920g, including the two 120mm fans, though shorter than many on the market. That stock design could cause some problems if your RAM has impressively sized heatsinks but for most modules you should not have any issues and it does not impinge on your first PCIe slot. In the tests Modders-Inc performed reasonably well when cooling an i7-4770k at stock speeds, unfortunately an overclock of 4.4GHz did see the cooler struggle and the CPU frequency was throttled back almost immediately. For lesser loads the low RPM fans will be able to keep your temperatures reasonable and do so without creating much noise. If you have a midranged CPU and want a quiet cooler in the $55 range, drop by to check out the full review.
"Heatsink designs are driven by the fundamental principle that a larger surface area equates to better heat dissipation than a smaller area. Factoring in componential consent, modern aftermarket CPU tower heatsinks had to get creative to compensate and dial-in the efficiency needed, hence the rise of dual-tower cooler designs"
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240mm AIO CPU Cooler @ eTeknix
- Raijintek Atlantis Series Custom Loop Water Cooling @ eTeknix
- EK Water Blocks Performance 280 Starter Liquid Cooling Kit Review @ NikKTech
- SilverStone Redline Series RL05 Mid-Tower Chassis @ eTeknix
Introduction and First Impressions
A newcomer in the PC enclosure space, RIOTORO has a lineup of unique-looking products to offer in a market flooded with options at every price-point. With this full-tower PRISM CR1280 enclosure the company says that they are providing not just a home for your components, but “the world’s 1st fully RGB case with unparalleled personalization options”.
Clearly, RGB lighting has been one of the biggest trends in PC hardware for the past year or so, and if you are so inclined the PRISM CR1280 promises fully customizable color with lighted accents on the front of the case, and included RGB intake fans.
Beyond the RGB lighting, however, the PRISM CR1280 has a rather unusual industrial design. There is angular black plastic over a steel body, and a large edge-to-edge side panel window (not to mention those bare aluminum feet). It looks like a premium enclosure, and it’s certainly priced like one with an MSRP of $169.99 (selling for $149 currently). Is it worth it? Read on to find out!
Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 12, 2016 - 04:00 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: small form factor, SFX, SF600, SF Series, PSU, 80 Plus Gold
Lee reviewed the Corsair SF600 back in June but you might not have been shopping for a new PSU, especially a SFF one. Take another look at the performance of this PSU over at [H]ard|OCP, which should be enough to power an RX480 or GTX1070 based system if you are eyeing a new system build. They agreed with our results, giving out a Gold Award but also mentioning the SilverStone SX600-G, an older PSU with a smaller price tag and a feature or two that might interest you more than Corsair's new PSU.
"Corsair has gotten into making computers smaller lately with its Bulldog 4K Living Room Gaming System, and now it is going to share its SF600 power supply that follows the SFX standard form factor, which is tiny for a 600 watt PSU. Given its diminutive stature, has Corsair packed it to the gills with good power?"
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- SilverStone ST80F-TI 800W Power Supply @ [H]ard|OCP
- Thermaltake Smart DPS G 700W Power Supply Unit Review @ NikKTech
- Corsair RM750X 750W Power Supply Unit Review @ NikKTech
- Thermaltake ToughPower DPS G 850W Power Supply Review @ Neoseeker
Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 12, 2016 - 09:42 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: magnetic levitation, fans, Corsair ML Series, corsair, case fan, air cooling
Corsair has announced the launch of their ML Series fans, which use the company's new Magnetic Levitation Bearing, along with a custom rotor design. Corsair says this combination will "deliver higher airflow, lower noise and better cooling".
Corsair ML Series fans (Image credit: Corsair)
"When powered, the magnetic levitation bearing completely suspends the fan blades from the motor housing, delivering almost frictionless operation. The huge reduction in friction, in comparison to all conventional physical contact bearings, allows the ML Series to offer lower noise at higher RPMs giving PC Enthusiasts a true no-compromise fan."
Corsair will offer 10 variants of this new ML Series, with 120 and 140 mm versions in different colors, as well as RGB options (of course!).
Corsair ML120 Pro LED in white (Image credit: Corsair)
"ML Series also provides next-level fan customization. ML PRO fans feature removable color co-coordinated corners fitted to the fan’s vibration dampening rubber grommets, allowing easy color matching to accent your build’s color scheme. ML PRO LED goes even further, mounting four ultra-bright LEDs into the central fan hub to radiate vibrant, even lighting through the fan’s frosted blades."
As to performance, Corsair offers this information from their press release:
"All ML fans offer a huge PWM range, giving users total control over how their fans perform. Value silence above all else? At their lowest speed of 400 RPM, the ML Series will push more airflow at near silent 16 dBA (decibel A-weighting). Performance junkie? ML Series fans push up to 97 CFM (cubic feet per minute) of air. Be it a low noise case, high density radiator or anywhere in-between, the ML Series delivers best-in-class performance."
Corsair provides this video for the launch of the ML Series:
The fans are available immediately, and prices start at $24.99 for a single ML120 Pro fan, with 2-packs of the standard version starting at $34.99
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of Primochill
The Praxis WetBench open-air test bench is the newest version Primochill's test bench line of cases. The updated version of the WetBench features a dual steel and acrylic-based design, offering a stronger base than the original. The acrylic accents give the test bench a unique and compelling aesthetic, offered in over 20 different configurations. The open design and quick remove panels allow for easy access to the motherboard and PCIe cards without the hassle of removing case panels and mounting screws associated with a typical case motherboard change out. With a starting MSRP of $184.99, the Praxis WetBench is competitively priced when compared with other test bench solutions.
Courtesy of Primochill
Courtesy of Primochill
Like its predecessor, the Praxis WetBench is unique in its design - built to support custom water cooling solutions from the ground up and re-engineered with a stronger structure for added support. Primochill designed the Praxis for mounting of the water cooling kit's radiator to the back panel with support of up to a 280mm or 360mm radiator (or 2 x 140mm or 3 x 120mm fans). The back panel is designed to allow for radiator mounting to the inside or outside of the panel surface.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 9, 2016 - 05:57 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: thermoelectric, SFF, air cooling, TEC, mini ITX, phononic
An interesting cooling option for small form factor systems popped up in my email recently that is a new twist on an old technology. A company called Phononic has developed the Hex 2.0 which is a compact heatsink that pairs a tower air cooler with a TEC baseplate. At 810 grams and measuring 125 mm tall, the Hex 2.0 is Mini ITX friendly and is claimed to be competitive with closed loop water coolers with up to 240mm radiators (more on that below).
Hex 2.0 uses many of the same high quality components and design choices of traditional tower air coolers. A shrouded 92mm fan is sandwiched between two aluminum heatsinks with 40 fins each. There are eight 6mm heatpipes that pull heat from the hot side of the thermoelectric (TEC) cooler and dissipate the heat. The TEC (which has a copper baseplate) uses an electric current and two dissimilar conductors and the principle of electron transport to pull heat from the “cold side” of the cooler to the “hot side” of the cooler. That hot side then needs to be cooled, and Phononic has chosen to use a tower air cooler for the job (people in the past have also paired TECs with water loops). The TEC is the notable bit about the Hex 2.0, and is what allows the small heatsink to offer as much cooling performance as it does in such a small package.
Hex 2.0 has connections for a 4-pin CPU_Fan connector, Mini USB for software monitoring and control, and a 6-pin PCI-E power connector. The four pin controls the 92mm fan which typically idles at 1000 RPM but can max out at 2,650 RPM, 33 dBA, and 44 CFM. The Mini USB connects to the motherboard and users can use a dashboard application to monitor the cooler, choose a cooling mode (to balance noise and performance), and control the LEDs on the cooler. The 6-pin connector powers the TEC cooler which appears to be capable of drawing up to 35W of power. The fan is able to spin down to zero RPM when the processor is not under load as the TEC and heatsink is able to pull and dissipate enough heat without the fan though the exact point where it would need to turn on will depend on your case and its own airflow.
Interestingly, this product is already available and reviews have already been posted around the net. According to TweakTown, the Hex 2.0 does indeed compete with 120mm liquid coolers such as the Silverstone Tundra TD03 (which is a decent cooler that I’ve used before) and Antec Kuhler H20 1250 (I’ve not tested that one but Morry did a full review of it). When placed in “insane mode” and the fan is allowed to spin up to maximum RPMs, the Hex 2.0 thermoelectric cooler actually beats the 240mm Corsair H100i GTX in quiet mode. While it will be louder, that is pretty impressive to see a 92mm fan HSF up there in cooling performance with a much larger water cooler!
This cooler is nicely packaged in a silver aluminum and black nickel plated aesthetic. Cooling performance seems to make it a possible alternative cooling option for SFF builds that can give you similar cooling performance in a case where a pump and radiator would be difficult or impossible for fit. That’s the upside. The downside to this cooler is the price. At $149.99, this is going to be a tough sell though it is not entirely unexpected considering the niche nature of it. The 1 year warranty leaves a lot be desired as well, I would have liked to see something a bit longer especially at that premium price.
What are your thoughts on this pint sized TEC(h)?
Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 8, 2016 - 03:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Silverstone, TD03-SLIM, AIO, SFF
Silverstone's TD03-SLIM AIO cooler is designed to fit in anyone's case, and their budget as well. The radiator is a mere 153x120x22mm, a measurement which includes the fan and the tube is 310mm in length to allow you flexibility when placing it in your system. The size does mean that it cannot cool as effectively as larger AIO watercoolers and should not be used in overclocked systems, however it does operate more quietly than other coolers of similar size. Drop by Modders-Inc for a closer look.
"One of the good things about AIO CPU coolers is that you do not have to worry about component clearance for the most part on your motherboard. Since memory manufacturers have all but given up making sensibly sized RAM heatspreaders the standard, AIO's have become the cooler of choice for many."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- AIO Watercooler Challenge - 6 Way Round-up @ Kitguru
- Alphacool Eisbaer 240 Liquid CPU Cooler Review @ NikKTech
- Cryorig H5 Ultimate CPU Cooler Review: A Matter of Perspective @ Modders-Inc
- SilentiumPC Air Cooler Challenge – 6 Way Round-up @ Kitguru
- Cooler Master Hyper 212X @ techPowerUp
- Streacom FC10 Alpha Fanless Chassis Review @ NikKTech
- Cooler Master MasterBox 5 @ Benchmark Reviews
- Cooler Master MasterBox 5 Chassis Review @ Techgage
- be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 @ Kitguru
- BitFenix Pandora ATX @ techPowerUp
- Phanteks Evolv Tempered Glass Case @ Benchmark Reviews
Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 4, 2016 - 02:11 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Skylake, passive cooling, kinetic cooling, kinetic cooler, hsf, coolchip
Early last year startup CoolChip Technologies partnered with Cooler Master to show off a prototype kinetic cooler at CES 2015. The two companies were allegedly working on a new processor heatsink that would be priced in line with current heatsink + fan designs but would be smaller, quieter, and less prone to collecting dust! Unfortunately that revolutionary HSF product never materialized (just like the Sandia Labs prototype), and while we may still see that cooler some day it appears like it is not going to be anytime soon. With that said, it is not all bad news for fans of these promising processor coolers, because if a recent social media tease by the startup is any indication CoolChip technologies has decided to move forward with its own branded kinetic cooler!
Specifically, CoolChip teased a new and upcoming product launch aimed at cooling Intel Skylake CPUs with up to 70W TDPs. Along with the statement that the kinetic cooler is “coming soon!” the company posted three images of the new cooler, and it looks awesome.
Resembling something a Predator might be using to cool their PC, the CoolChip cooler has a stationary base plate with a motor that spins a small array of fins in a manner that facilitates heat transfer from the base plate to the spinning heatsink (which is in lieu of a fan -- the heatsink is the fan) via a very thin layer of air that keeps the heatsink balanced as well. That spinning heatsink portion is then further surrounded by stationary rings of fins likely connected to the base plate using heatpipes for that extra bit of cooling potential. The inner impeller (vertical) fins are angled one direction while the outer stationary ring of horizontal fins are angled the opposite direction. The impeller pulls cool air in and pushes it outwards through the stationary fins and out into the case where case fans will then exhaust that hot air out of the case. CoolChips has an animated illustration of how this impeller design cools versus a traditional heatsink and fan design which is available on their website.
Other features of the small kinetic cooler include a braided cable with fan header to get power from the CPU_Fan header on the motherboard. It is not clear if this connector is 4 pin and supports PWM or not though. One of the more promising bits of this teaser is the photo of the cooler in retail packaging which adds at least a little bit of credence that we might actually see this product launch at some point. The package appears to include the 1U Low Profile Kinetic Cooler itself, a motherboard backplate, and a small tube of thermal paste (TIM).
Possibly the coolest (heh) part of this teased product is the third photo which suggests that there will be multiple color options for the impeller which would allow users to customize the heatsink color to match their PC’s design scheme.
You can check out the post for yourself here. I am really excited to finally see new information on kinetic cooling, and this CoolChip cooler in particular looks really interesting and I hope that it actually materializes and I can finally read some reviews on it! What are your thoughts on kinetic cooling for PCs?
- CoolChip Technologies and Cooler Master Show Kinetic Cooling - CES 2015 [Video]
- The fanless heatsink: Silent, dust-immune, and almost ready for prime time @ ExtremeTech
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 30, 2016 - 03:14 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: das keyboard, mechanical keyboard, Omron, RGB LED
Das Keyboard has just launched a crowd-funding campaign for their new Das Keyboard 5Q. The company is known to make high-end keyboards with a focus on productivity, even to the point of marketing some models with blank keycaps to force users to learn QWERTY. This model is an “extra bright” RGB LED keyboard that uses these lights to deliver data to the user's peripheral vision (because you're not looking at your keyboard while you type, right?)
Over the last year or so, RGB LED peripherals have become more commonplace. A new RGB LED keyboard from a gaming company will come in at around the $120 - $170 USD price range. Das is known to be on the higher end of the pricing curve, though. The Das Keyboard 5Q is expected to retail for $229 (although backers perks starting at $109 contain the keyboard -- and Das Keyboard is an established company, so it seems likely that these rewards will be fulfilled).
What you're getting for this cost is a high-quality, mechanical keyboard (with Omron switches) that has an open API. Their examples range from slowly alerting you of notifications, which can be expanded with a press of the volume button, to displaying your CPU load. Their pitch is that you cannot dismiss your keyboard and it's always on your desk, so, using color, it can continually notify you how much free time you have until something needs your attention. You'll need to decide for yourself if that seems reasonable and will help you be productive, or if it will just add to your anxiety, preventing you from zoning out into a good chunk of work.
As always, Kickstarters are backing products, not purchasing them, but Das Keyboard expects backers to receive their keyboards by January 2017.