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EK Releasing X399 Monoblock, They Have a lot of Monoblocks!

You know that feeling when you find a $5 bill in your pants pocket that you didn’t know was there? I don’t really, but I imagine it’s kind of like when I find out about a product that’s been around for a while, but I just discovered it. I saw some announcements about a new monoblock from EK for the X399 platform and came to realize that EK has a ton of monoblocks for a bunch of motherboards. The new monoblock EK is releasing is for MSI X399 motherboards. Custom cooling can take a serious investment for builders and when new releases hit the market, old blocks are rendered obsolete. With AMD keeping backwards compatibility with new CPU releases, Ryzen and Threadripper monoblocks will likely hold up to some component upgrades. Of course checking out EK’s shop showed that they cover a whole range of Intel chipsets and CPUs as well. The other plus is that some of the monoblocks have RGB lighting as well for that finishing touch. Personally, I hope they release one for the Asrock X370 Taichi Motherboard… for no particular reason. If you’re already sporting a Threadripper chip in an MSI board, then hopefully this announcement grabs your attention. If not, then check out the shop link below that has a full list of the current monoblocks on EK’s website. If you happen to pick up a block, drop us some pictures in the forums so we can drool over your build! EK® is releasing a new X399 based RGB monoblock for MSI® motherboards https:/...



Corsair Should Step Up it’s Hydro Pro Cooling Game (IMO)

Most of the time, we’re going to cover exciting releases that give buyers something to look forward to. On the other hand, we occasionally need to call out a product that doesn’t seem to be trying hard enough. Corsair has long been known as a leading manufacturer of CLC systems, being one of the first companies to add new features and performance levels to the market. CES 2018 introduced us to new Corsair Hydro Pro series coolers, but the design seems a tad underwhelming. The H150i Pro and H115i Pro are nearly identical. The former has a full 360mm radiator, but everything else about the design is identical to its 240mm sibling. To start with, it seems like it’s time for Corsair to bring their RGB fans to one of their CLCs. The grey color of the blades is so flat that I’d almost prefer them to be black so that they blend into a builder’s system who doesn’t want flashy parts. Corsair has plenty of units like this which also make the release feel bland. Next is the pump block design. If you love the Corsair logo, then it will work great for you. If you wanted literally anything other than another company logo shining at your face, you’re probably as underwhelmed as I am. On top of that, the light grey edge around the logo is such a poor choice of color. I can’t find words to say how I feel about this because while it isn’t a terrible color, it does so little to compliment any build scheme that I feel exhausted looking at ...



Best Reviews of AMD’s Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G

The long awaited pairing of AMD processing and Vega graphics has finally arrived. We may not be able to put the chips to the test ourselves, but there’s a decent number of reviews on the web doing the work for us. Sorting through all of the reviews can take some work though, so we decided to help steer you towards the ones that seem to do the best job of bringing the best information to the table. Check out what we have and if you think a review covers something not listed here, leave a link in the comments below with a reason why you think it should be looked at. Short and to the Point, but Good Benchmarks If you just want a nice, fast read that still gives good testing results, ExtremeTech seemed to hit the nail on the head here. It’s a one page review, but there’s a number of graphs to click through. This should give you a solid overview of what the new Ryzen 5 2400G is capable of. AMD Ryzen 5 2400G Review: The Best Blend of CPU and GPU Performance We’ve Ever Seen Detailed Review of CPU and iGPU I sort of knew AnandTech would be my likely choice for a detailed, comprehensive review ahead of time, but the choice was confirmed after checking several other reviews out. This isn’t to say other sites weren’t detailed, or did a poor job, but this review is certainly one of best ones for digging into a ton of results for the reader to view. https://www.anandtech.com/show/12425/marrying-vega-and-zen-the-amd-ryzen-5-2400g-review OVERCLOCKING? ...



AMD Taking the “Zen” Approach to Radeon with New Graphics Architecture, 2020-2021

Ryzen is one of the biggest, and most exciting releases in a long time. We not only got a huge performance leap from FX, but AMD opened the access to more cores and threads for everyone. This came about by a drastic decision to completely abandon the old and start over from the ground up. The GPU side of AMD has struggled as of late, but it seems like Radeon is about to follow in Zen’s footsteps. GCN was introduced in 2011. AMD had some strong offerings based on the architecture, but Vega is starting a trend that sees Radeon struggle to keep up with the competition. Unless Navi does a miracle of performance increase, it’s unlikely to close the performance deficits Nvidia keeps creating in gaming. It was sounding like it might be time for a complete rework and rumor has it that Radeon’s new leadership is going to helm the way. There’s no word on what the name will be, but sometime around 2020, a brand new macro architecture is expected to succeed GCN. The performance jump is supposedly going to be reminiscent of the jump from TeraScale to GCN. While only time will tell how successful this new architecture will be, I’m excited to hear that Radeon is starting from scratch in a similar manner to Zen. It gives me hope that in a couple years, AMD can make up for lost time and bring back the serious competition on all levels. Of course Vega was a similar hope, so take this with a grain of salt as well. Check out the link from WCCF for more info and c...



600K Read/Write IOPS!?! Viper m.2 SSD Shows off Impressive Specs

I think Patriot is trying to exhaust the bandwidth of NVMe. We’ve seen several M.2 drives release in recent years and performance is constantly improving. While no one will argue that NVMe drives are nice step up from SATA SSDs, the trend of having at least one low spec in the various read/write performance numbers was continuing to be evident. Now all of that is about to change because it looks like Viper’s next M.2 release is going to have crazy awesome storage speeds. Manufacturers tout four performance numbers when they’re proud of their storage speeds. There’s the typical sequential read/write speeds, but the ones who really believe they have a great drive also advertise their random read/write speeds. Typically, either the sequential write or random write speed will pale in comparison to the other specs. Viper decided that weakness would not be tolerated in any aspect of the drive. Granted much of the performance will have to do with Phison’s new PS5012-E12 controller, but both the sequential read and write speeds are at or above the 3000 MB/s mark. That’s not the real interesting spec though. Random read/write speeds are typically more important to Windows users and Viper has blistering 600K IOPS speeds for both specs! Not only does that round the entire drive out nicely, 600K is really freakin’ fast!!! As always, we have to mention one big caveat before we talk about how fast Viper’s new drive is going to be. There ne...



The Bloody B975 Keyboard has Optical Switches and a Great Actuation Point

For many of us, a good keyboard was a bit of an afterthought when it cam to building our PC. It only took our first mechanical one to completely change our minds. The next step in keyboard evolution seems to be optical and I’m a bit surprised I’m not seeing more companies jumping on board. Thankfully, not only is Bloody offering optical switches in their new B975 keyboard, but the actuation point is improved from traditional mechanical switches as well. The huge selling point for optical switches is that they’re supposed to respond 25% faster than mechanical. When you look at how fiber internet improved on the speeds of copper lines, it’s no surprise at all. If you’re a typist, you probably won’t care nearly as much, but the competitive gamer should definitely be interested. You may not sit down to a B975 keyboard and notice a difference in the first 2 minutes, but a couple of days can make you feel like you have a bit more of an edge than before. An issue I’ve seen with other optical switches though, is that they retain the same actuation point as traditional mechanical switches, around 2mm. Bloody improves on the design by making sure the B900 series has a 1.5mm actuation point on their boards. EpicGear, while still using mechanical switches, did the same thing with the actuation point on their Defiant boards. My experience there was that at first I was pretty sure it made a difference, but after some solid use of going back and ...



ANSWERED! Can anyone Answer how many VRMs are for the CPU Cores on this MSI X370 Gaming M7 ACK?

Update: Not only did MSI get me an answer, but the answer was also the one I was hoping for.Based on this, we can make a pretty good assumption on which VRMs are for the CPU core and which ones are for the SOC. Remember, what we see as the objects that are being circled are just the capacitors. Each phase of a VRM involves multiple pieces, only some of which are visible from above. Counting the capacitors is an easy way to get a close idea what a board has to offer. Needless to say there are some points I can’t say with 100% certainty are correct, but this is a much closer picture of where each VRM is at and what their role is. Thank you MSI for your help in answering this! Let’s get the two obvious answers (that I already know) out of the way before all the “smart” people try show off their superiority. We can easily count the chokes on the board and see there is 12. If we do a bit of digging, which I did, we can find out that some say it’s a 10+2 power phase design. Neither of these figures completely answer my question. Let me explain the exact information I’m hoping to find, while I also gloat about how great this MSI X370 Gaming M7 ACK motherboard looks on the surface. Zen+ is coming soon and for builders who want a long term motherboard solution, I like to help them find X370 boards that look like they can handle a few iterations of Ryzen. When it comes to overclocking, finding a good strong VRM is important, but AMD has more to th...



Looking for the Right Closed Loop Cooler for your NZXT Kraken G12 Bracket?

Ideally, a consumer is buying the NZXT Kraken G12 Bracket to take advantage of a CLC that’s not needed anymore after a CPU cooling upgrade. However, buying a G12 bracket with an affordable CLC is not bad idea when it comes to an effective cooling upgrade for your GPU. It will cost you a decent amount, but when you realize that several GPU blocks alone cost over $100, it’s not a bad option at all for some increased cooling. There’s lots of options that will work with the NZXT Kraken G12, but I personally think one CLC stands above the rest for an affordable GPU cooling solution. Disclaimer: the Arctic Cooling Liquid Freezer 120 is not officially supported on NZXT’s site, but I’ll update this if/when I hear otherwise. The Arctic Cooling Liquid Freezer 120 is my favorite option for several reasons. For starters, the 120mm rad is a great size for compatibility in the biggest range of cases. The 140mm coolers would give you a bit more oomph, but some cases don’t support 140mm fans in the front. What makes the Liquid Freezer line such a good choice though is the extra thick radiator, plus two included fans. The extra surface area combined with the extra airflow is a deadly combination for giving your GPU some additional overclocking headroom. The biggest advantage though? An attractive $68 price tag on Newegg. There’s some CLCs that are a bit cheaper, but I don’t think the few dollars you save would be worth the performance hit. Ot...



Swiftech has a New Apogee AND a New Site

Certain products have to make massive changes to make it in the news list here, but custom cooling parts are sort of a requirement to cover. It’s a self-imposed rule, but cooling is kind of a big deal to most of us. Custom cooling is best, but sometimes we have to live vicariously through news posts until our 3 tax exemptions kick into high gear next year. Swiftech just announced their Apogee SKF water block and they also overhauled their site. The blocks are pretty straightforward. While the design elements are fairly similar, you can see some minor aesthetic variations from the SKF Standard ans SKF Prestige. Either way, both blocks look like a great fit for the build and with RGB lighting control, you can match your build scheme pretty easily. The big news seems to be a new 125 micron thick fins on the block, which should have an impact on cooling performance. The other thing worth pointing out is the fact that Swiftech overhauled their site. Do I dare say that it now looks…modern!?! I jest a little, but I can say it’s very refreshing to see the updated look when you first visit the page. Even if the news is more evolutionary in nature, it’s still some nice things going on from a great cooling company. When I cover the CLC market, it takes a lot to get my attention with how many carbon copies there are. The custom scene is a lot more narrow in it’s selection and when performance is already top of the line, even small improvements are pretty ...



AMD Ryzen 2: What to Expect, What to Hope for, and What to Dismiss

New iterations of AMD’s Ryzen architecture are on the horizon and as always, rumors will be circulating heavily until the day of the release. A big one (I’m glad I happened to miss) was that a magical 12 core, 5.1 GHz chip was slated to release at $329. Even if you wanted to believe in a 12 core 5.1 GHz Ryzen 7, the $329 price is a clear indication of a fake leak based on the performance lead a chip like that would have. We may not have clear specs or performance, but I think there’s some pretty safe predictions that can be made based on previous experience. Ryzen 2 vs. Zen+ The first thing we need to address is determining what the naming schemes are referring to. A lot of sites are calling it Ryzen 2, but I can’t verify that AMD has an official slide using that nomenclature. Also, Ryzen 3 is already taken so…. The official term for the refresh is “Zen+”, which means AMD may opt for a term like Ryzen+ to describe the refresh in April. Zen 2 is slated to release in 2019 and that will be a legitimate, 2nd generation design on the 7nm manufacturing process. For our purposes here, I’ll maintain the Zen+ title for the upcoming release and Zen 2 for the 2019 one. Specs We can expect the Zen+ specs to be almost identical to the original Zen counterparts. Core counts, Cache Sizes, and even socket compatibly will all be the same. There really isn’t any hope for additional cores or cache, which means you can probably dismiss any...



Raijintek! Stop Being Awesome!!! Orcus 240 is the CLC Done Right

I love my fledgling custom loop on my main build, but there’s absolutely no arguing that the CLC is a much easier approach to maintaining CPU temperatures. Sure, my loop has intentions of adding GPUs at some point, but not only is that costly, it also requires blocks that fit a specific type of graphics card. CLCs will always add a simplistic method for putting a CPU under liquid and Raijintek might have the best design with their Orcus 240. Companies like Asetek and Coolit certainly revolutionized the industry by designing the pump to sit on top of the block. This led to some major problems though. For starters, there’s been plenty of copyright cases that have come out of it in the years past. Other manufacturers tried to come up with their own designs, but a pump on the block is a pump on the block. Regardless of how fair it seems, original designers are bound to say something about a perceived copy. The other issue that’s far more practical is that you end up with a big, bulky square you have to work with when trying to install the unit on the CPU. Most companies have streamlined this process, but you still end up with the vast majority of units having power cables coming right out of the block. Raijintek makes a perfect design choice by putting a pump on the hose. Think about it. If it’s on the block, it has to be small enough to fit between RAM slots and motherboard heat sinks. If you design it into the radiator, you can find a central dead spo...



The Pure Overclock Awards System

It’s time to lay down the official meaning behind the awards at PureOC. Even though every reviewer will have their own subjective opinion on how components measure up, there should be a general guideline of what we expect when an award is given. Not only should reviewers understand the guidelines, but readers should also have the information at their disposal so they can appreciate the value of an award. So without further ado, let’s get into the general concepts behind the individual awards at PureOC! Every product can fit into 3 main categories that we judge: Quality – A component should be made from quality materials that reflects the budget the part is targeting. We wouldn’t dock a $50 case for using some plastic, but a $200 case might be a different story. Also, the aesthetic appeal should reflect a strong effort from the company. Sure, some companies lean toward professional looks while others like the gaming flare, but in any case the appearance should have an appeal that appropriately targets the intended consumer. Performance – This is a bit of a no-brainer, but a product should have an appropriate performance level. This doesn’t mean we expect every product to have the highest performance either. Top performance is always welcomed, but competitive performance is acceptable if a product has appropriate levels in the other categories. We wouldn’t be true to our name if we didn’t consider overclocking when it applies a...



Did Far Cry 5 Just Recommend CFX or SLI!?!

It doesn’t matter what everyone tells me! I will always opt for two graphics cards over one. I understand that one stronger GPU is better overall than two weaker ones, but I just can’t get over how awesome two amazing cards side by side looks. Unfortunately, CFX and SLI configurations seem to be struggling as of late, but there’s new hope on the horizon. Far Cry 5 recently released their hardware specs for the game and this could be the first time I’ve seen an official recommendation for a multi-GPU setup. You have to scroll down the list a ways, but when you get the 4k/60 FPS configuration, you see a minimum recommendation of either GTX 1080 in SLI or RX Vega 56 in CFX. This seriously made my week! I love multi-GPU configurations in my personal systems and this is just the kind of news I like to see. On the other hand, there’s a huge ramification for the future here. Developers are finding ways to push hardware again to new limits. Two GPUs should be better than one, but it takes a certain level of coding to make them work. If gaming companies keep pushing for high resolutions at higher FPS ratings, multi-GPU could become more of a necessity. If enough games support it, we could see a renaissance of single cards that utilize two (or even more!) GPUs on the same PCB. Graphics performance could start improving by leaps and bounds if that was the case. This could be a one and done deal, but having a title like Far Cry 5 actually recommend multi-...



Gamdias Showed Off Epic RGB PSUs at CES 2018

The last quarter has been the time to find companies I’ve never heard of before doing amazing things. What started with Aigo continues now with Gamdias. The gold font color and triangle logo certainly gives the feel that an ancient Egyptian or Greek deity is powering this company, enough so that I wouldn’t be surprised if they quickly become a force to be reckoned with. While they may have flown a bit under the radar at CES, they’ve got some new PSU units that look absolutely phenomenal. Once again, why is nobody else doing this!?! To be fair, what’s really new to me is only slightly new for this company. Gamdias showcased a new 1200w PSU unit that has a platinum efficiency. We’ve heard of that before so what’s the big deal? Go ahead and get your groaning out of the way because I’m going to say RGB lighting, but hear me out. Yes, I LOVE the RGB lighting ring. It even appears to have a spectrum wave/rainbow effect built in which is a big deal to me. However, they fix a major problem with the design of the placement. The fan is placed on the top of the unit and blows down to eventually exhaust out the back. This means that the fancy RGB lighting is something you’ll actually see when the unit is installed! To control heat generation, Gamdias added additional side ventilation for more airflow. Sure, some people may like the traditional method of PSU cooling, but I have a feeling this will nominally, if at all, impact temperatures...



Sharkoon – Strange Name, a Bit Budgety, Nice PC Case Idea

If a tornado hits a Sharkoon warehouse, would the result be a Sharkoon-ado? I digress! Sharkoon isn’t exactly the company you look too when you want a super professional, brushed aluminum finish chassis. Wait, they do have some of those… Hmmm……. Needless to say, they’re an interesting company that isn’t easy to judge by the cover. What is easy to judge is that their Skiller SGC1 Window Chassis (oh my gosh these names!) is doing a small thing that’s really great for the PC market. At first glance, you have a typically underwhelming budget PC case. I like the outer aesthetic since I’m a sucker for rugged angles and a bit of a gaming flair, but other design choices are easy to nitpick. For starters, the side window is acrylic instead of glass, the PCIe slot covers look to be spot welded instead of screwed in, and I’m almost positive those fans are going to have gaudy molex connectors on them. After that though, we get into surprisingly good features here. For starters, look at how much room is in the top of the case for a rad install! They planned around users installing CLC units ABOVE the motherboard heatsinks and RAM which is something budget cases rarely do. The real big feature though is the painted inside of the chassis. There’s options for blue, green and red painted interiors on the (*cringe) Skiller SGC1 Window. This is something we should definitely see more often on the market. Poorly attempted shark puns ...






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