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Finally, DEEPCOOL takes the AIO Market to the Next Level

All-in-One Liquid CPU Coolers are great for consumers. They offer an overall superior performance to air coolers while costing significantly less money/labor than building custom water cooling loops. That’s why it’s such a shame that the market is saturated with carbon copies. One of the last great introductions to the market was the Cooler Master Glacer 240l, in that it offered a far more powerful pump and allowed the user to expand it by opening up the loop and adding GPUs to the mix. Now, DEEPCOOL has upped the bar even higher by bringing a unit that not only looks amazing, but has a number of superior design features compared to other units on the market. Please welcome the DEEPCOOL Captain 240! For starters, there is nothing wrong with having a unit that looks like a nuclear reactor. That’s no exaggeration. The block on the Captain 240 seriously looks like a nuclear reactor and it’s completely awesome! DEEPCOOL went with the standard gamer scheme with the outside pipe and fan blades sporting the red while the rest of the block, hoses and radiator are black. This will immediately fit in nicely with the Asus Republic of Gamers line as well as the MSI Gaming series products. Honestly, there isn’t an AIO in the market that puts this much effort into the aesthetics and the only one that can come close is the Zalman Reserator 3 Max Dual. DEEPCOOL also managed to keep the design small enough so that clearance and case size won’t be any mor...



DirectX 12 a Big Deal for AMD CPUs?

Back in 2011, AMD made a bold statement with the release of the FX-8150. Their premise was that single core performance was holding the industry back and that it was time to start trading in single core performance for the more advanced multi-threading performamce. That totally blew up in their face. The end result was a CPU that only out performed the previous gen chip (the Phenom II X6 1100T) in multi-threading benchmarks while suffering a hit in the single-threaded arena. Meanwhile, gaming as well as a vast amount of common applications continued to predominantly use single threads and INTEL garnered the massive lead they have today. But what if AMD was right all along and only jumped the gun a few years too soon? PC & Tech Authority had an interview with Crytek, a major game developer, and the resulting discussion shed some very interesting details on what DirectX 12 could mean for the future of multi-threaded performance. The most interesting statement from Crytek was the fact that Microsoft has been “really keen on listening to developers.” The reason why is that developers are the ones who want to utilize more resources from the CPU by having more multi-threaded support. According to Crytek, the main concern not only to them, but also other developers, is improving throughput from the CPU. They explain that for many years now, the best way to move forward is to go massively parallel. There’s more to the picture than just this one piece, but it ...



NVIDIA GTX 980 and 970 Rumored for September Launch

A lot of news has been revolving around AMD and INTEL releasing new products while NVIDIA has been sitting silently in the background. Thankfully, rumors are starting to come out that should be pulling them out of their shell. While the details are still pretty sketchy, it’s beginning to look like NVIDIA is skipping the 800 series desktop nomenclature entirely and introducing the GTX 980 with the GTX 970 in September. The most interesting thing about this is the decision to skip the 800 series name scheme. I get particularly intrigued by the marketing techniques because it shows how intense the GPU war is. The most common sense reason for this is to avoid confusion with consumers in that NVIDIA is also releasing their 900 series mobile GPUs and both chips are using the same underlying architecture. On the other hand, it also sounds like NVIDIA was able to jump ahead making these offerings seem that much more advanced to what AMD is releasing right now and what NVIDIA currently has on the market. Of course without specifications or performance, this could be nothing more than keen marketing. Either way consumers could subconsciously think that the architecture has taken a dramatic leap when, in reality, the GPU should be based around the same designs that brought us the GTX 750 Ti not that long ago. Whether or not these GPUs merit the 900 series badge or not, the exciting news is we’re finally going to see what high end Maxwell is all about. The notorious proble...



AMD Heading In the Right Direction, FX-8370E and Radeon R9 285

AMD doesn’t know how to do teasers right. They make a huge campaign to get people hyped up about an APU that isn’t even a flagship part, but when they release a new flagship FX CPU as well as new GPU architecture, they simply announce a straightforward live event. That’s alright because on the bright side, it looks like AMD is heading in the right direction when competing with Blue and Green. It’s time to get hyped up with the upcoming releases of the FX-8370E and the Radeon R9 285 featuring better power efficiency with better performance. Many of us have been biting our nails in anticipation for AMD to get back in the game with high end FX CPUs. Whether you’re an AMD fan, or just wanting Intel to be challenged to do greater things, the announcement of the FX-8370E is great news. While it’s possible the entire FX line will be getting refreshes over the next year or two, the 8 core chips are the only ones getting the attention for now. The FX-8300 and 8370 are pretty straightforward. There’s some adjustments to frequencies but both are rated at the usual 125w TDP. What is interesting is the new FX “E” chips. The FX-8320E will have the same 3.5 GHz base with a 4.0 GHz turbo, the FX-8370E will slightly boost clock speeds to 4.1 GHz with a 4.3 GHz turbo, but what’s impressive is that they managed to do this at a 95W TDP for both SKUs! Not to mention, the L2/L3 Caches stayed the same while using Piledriver architecture...



Wait for it… A NEW FX CPU!!!

Last week I told you not to get your hopes up about the AMD teasers floating around. This week, I’m glad I said as much because news has come out about what AMD is supposed to be releasing. Actually, there are several somethings announced with an FX processor only being a tidbit of the new CPUs coming in Q3 of this year. Am I saying I’m glad because we were all going to be disappointed? On the contrary, I’m actually saying that I’m much happier today because it seems like AMD is finally living up to the teasers rather than building hype. Let’s look at the chips for the FM2+ socket. On the APU side, AMD is releasing the A10-7800, the A8-7600 and the A6-7400K. It’s pretty safe to say that these variants will most likely add more selection to the 7k series APU line up and not much else. The Athlon CPUs, on the other hand, might be offering some improvements. The Athlons feature the X4 860K, X4 840 and the X2 450. While info is limited, the flagship chip here will clock in at 3.7 GHz with a possible boost of 4.0 GHz and will also have a 2MB L2 cache at 95W TDP. What will be interesting to find out is if AMD “evolved” the architecture here. If you remember, the teaser talked about a hero evolving and regardless of the details, the new naming scheme would indicate that these chips have at least been optimized to increase performance. However, when I think of hero chips, budget CPUs aren’t the first thing to come to mind. Find...



Another AMD Tease but Don’t Get Your Hopes Up

AMD teases are starting to become a bit of a joke. The last exciting release from them (for CPU enthusiasts) was the FX-8350. The chip made some good improvements on the previous Zambezi architecture, but after that things went downhill. Of course the FX-9590 was nothing more than a factory overclocked 8350. AMD announced they were done with the FX lineup. They refused to adopt Steamroller to the FX series. They announced FX but then said it wouldn’t come out til 2016 and finally, they teased an FX chip that was just a 9590 with a new liquid cooler even though they knew that AMD fans are wanting a new FX chip. So when AMD releases a video that says “Core is Back,” you can probably understand why we need to be slightly skeptical. With absolutely no official info, all we know is that there is an A series logo and a possible promotion image that shows 12 cores. At this point, the A series logo seems to negate the possibility of an FX refresh. If that’s the case, then it seems pretty confusing to put this much hype into an APU. While APUs can fill a very appropriate computing niche, they usually don’t make up the kind of material that deserves major hype build up. Enthusiasts would want to see something big so that should leave two options here. Either this is going to be a type of high end APU aimed more at the enthusiasts market, or this is a marketing gimmick to try and pick up sales for something that may not deserve it. This brings us to the ...



Where are the 360mm AIOs?

Now before I begin, I want to clarify that it’s possible to find some new All-in-One units that have the 360mm radiators if I look hard enough. I’m looking for two manufacturers to have their units start popping up with some of the major retailers; particularly Newegg because buying from them is easy for me. So the real question is, “Where is the Cooler Master Glacer 360l and the Fractal Design S36?” I’m hoping to see those for sale at more websites soon, but until then, I want to share what it is that excites me about both of these units. The Cooler Master Glacer 240l already made a huge splash (pun intended) when it released. The powerful pump combined with an all copper/brass radiator put almost every other AIO to shame, but what really set it apart was the fact that you could easily expand it by adding a GPU block and start liquid cooling extra components. The 240l could typically handle a CPU and GPU before considering adding at least an extra radiator. The 360l brings all of the aforementioned features while adding an extra 120mm of radiator to keep things cool. It’s very likely that the 360l could handle a CPU and 2 GPUs in the one loop. The problem is this unit hasn’t gone for sale yet. Cooler Master announced it back in January, but has yet to announce any solid release date. All I have to say to Cooler Master is hurry and get this thing to the consumers! It sounds like an awesome unit that will add even more capacity to t...



Exciting Speculation, Awesome Teaser, Huge Disappointment

A couple weeks ago, I started speculating that something new was going to happen with the AM3+ socket. When I saw the tweet with a picture of an FX series box, my excitement went through the roof because I felt AMD actually was doing something new. When I found out they were relaunching the FX-9590, my excitement plummeted. While a relaunch isn’t a terrible idea, there are two main problems with this that makes it a failure for hardware enthusiasts in my eyes. The first problem with this relaunch is the choice of cooler. The massive 220w thermal rating is one of the largest in the CPU market, but AMD chose to use a 120mm AIO (presumably one of the Cooler Master Seidons) instead of a more suited 240mm AIO. Don’t get me wrong, the Cooler Master Seidons are decent units, but if AMD wanted to be serious about low temperatures and ANY overclocking possibility at all, the 240mm system would be a bare minimum and I would have preferred to see the Cooler Master Glacer thrown in at a slightly higher price. The other problem on choosing Cooler Master is that while their units have shown good cooling performance, they leave a bit to be desired in the noise department. If this release was designed to excite enthusiasts, most of them will see the noise and heat thresh holds as too much of a gamble to go for this unit. Maybe I’m just being paranoid about the 120mm AIO, but the second thing that bugged me the most was the teaser. I want to say something to EVERY company...



AMD FX CPUs Plus a New 990FX Board Equals Exciting Speculation

AMD continuously makes the future look better. Their GPU architecture is taking a turn towards power efficiency, their APUs keep pulling out impressive performance for modern games, and HSA still looks like it has a ton of potential for the future of computing. The problem is when the future becomes today, the excitement can turn to disappointment. I’m at a point of no return with the expectations I have for AMD. So far, with the release of new FX series mobile APUs and an interesting new 990FX motherboard, I’m hoping for the possible release of a new AM3+ CPU. At this point, if AMD doesn’t deliver some high end by 2016, there is going to be disappointment. On the other hand, I think some good things are going to happen very soon. First, let’s look at the new release of an FX series APU. AMD hasn’t released these for full review yet, but quite few people got their hands on a few hour preview. Considering that these were being compared to mobile i7s, in most cases the results were impressive. These APUs aren’t blowing away any performance numbers, but let’s take in all considerations. First off, the FX-7600P is only a 35w chip, but the single thread performance is almost to the level of the the previous A10-5800k. That may not sound all that impressive, but the A10 is a massive 100w chip, and has a 4.2Ghz turbo compared to the measly 3.6Ghz turbo of the FX chip! Also, the graphics performance is the best yet with this APU being able...



Big Release from Be Quiet! at Computex

Computex is finishing up and the hardware news is getting exciting. Be Quite!, a company renowned for their PSU and CPU Cooler quality, brought some pretty cool releases that are not only an improvement for their markets in Europe, but give consumers more items to choose from here in North America. The Straight Power 10 is a new PSU series that will finally be available in North America and the Pure Rock is a very nice looking budget CPU cooler, but the big release is a new computer case that will introduce Be Quiet! to the very competitive chassis market. Having a new PSU line up in North America is great due to the quality that Be Quiet! offers. The Straight Power series had only shown up in European markets but I’m sure the Straight Power 10 series will be welcomed warmly in North America. While the details may be sparse on the PSUs, the new CPU cooler has some very exciting connotations for the budget PC. Right now, the king of the budget CPU coolers is the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ and the close second is the Hyper 212 Evo. These have great price to performance ratios, but they leave a little to desire in the noise and aesthetics departments. Each cooler has what looks like unfinished tips sticking out of the top and while the Evo fan looks slightly better, both are slightly plain while holding the Cooler Master reputation of being pretty loud at full speed. Be Quiet! is now introducing their Pure Rock cooler that is planned to release at $35.00. If this cooler o...



NZXT Releases the Kraken X41/x61 and the Grid+

How do you make a great product better? Sometimes companies can redesign a product to squeeze every ounce of performance out of a design, release an updated model, then call it good. Or, a company can simply add a feature that makes an already great product even better. That’s exactly what we have today because NZXT just announced the release of the Kraken X41, x61 and the Grid+ that are all compatible with their new CAM software. As an enthusiast, nothing excites me more than writing about CPU cooling. This makes the release of new AIO coolers from NZXT all the more exciting, especially since the Kraken x60 had such a huge reputation. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any huge design changes with either loop. You still have a 140mm and 280mm rad with what looks to be the same power pump. On the other hand, NZXT did make some minor improvements that sound pretty good. The pump now has integrated speed control allowing the user to easily tone down the RPMs for quieter operation. This is great since controlling pump speed off a fan header isn’t the best and this can save a valuable connection on the fan controller. They also improved the fans to give a little better air flow but only the reviews will prove if these fans have better static pressure for the radiator. Combine all these features with the ability to control and monitor everything through the new CAM software and what you have is a system that you can monitor from anywhere anytime if you wa...



Intel does Something Amazing!

The reality is, being on top can get pretty boring. Nothing proves this more than Intel’s CPU market. Lately, all we’ve seen from them is minor improvements using existing architecture trying to give consumers a reason to spend money that hardly anybody has. Instead, people are pretty much buying the Intel latest if they were planning a major upgrade anyway or they have pretty deep pockets. Unfortunately, much of what I was hearing about the Haswell refresh, the Haswell-E, was much of the same, but then I saw one release that absolutely blew my mind. Many of you would be surprised to hear me say say that the eight core i7-5960X chip isn’t all that exciting but before you hack my IP and fry my computer, hear me out. While it’s true this is Intel’s first 8-core consumer chip, the specs are a little bit of a give and take. Eight cores and an L3 cache boost force the sacrifice of a pretty significant amount of frequency. This means we can expect some significant multi-threaded performance, but the single core performance probably won’t be blowing away the charts. At what looks to be around a $1000 price tag, this doesn’t seem to be a worthy investment for the average user/gamer in consumer computing. (Then again, when is it ever at $1000!) The next chip, the i7-5930K, is more of a minor factory boost from the i7-4930K. Since both CPUs have six cores, the trade off is getting a slightly higher frequency and L3 cache, but I wouldn’...



Lian Li Makes the Ultimate Computer Desk

Every once in a while, I see something so “nerd-gasmic,” that I pass out for about an hour before I can come back to reality and write something coherent about a new release. Lian Li has done this to me with the release of their DK-01X and DK-02X desk chassis’. As soon as I saw this, I completely fell in love with the design they implemented while fantasizing about the two of us bravely conquering computer hardware across the world. Unfortunately, I had to come back to reality and while the design seems exceptional, the consumer will have to pay for it. First, let’s look at these releases as computer cases. A case is a bit counter-intuitive to what an enthusiast is trying to do in keeping one’s components from over-heating; however, a case serves a great purpose in protecting fragile hardware. With these desk chassis’, the airflow design doesn’t seem like it could be any more ideal. With three 120mm fans on each side of the case…desk…case, fresh air is brought in on one side, expelling the hot air inside on the complete opposite side. There is virtually no chance of hot air being recirculated through the components until you heat an entire room up. That’s not all though. This desk…I mean, case, would be ideal for bench testing. One of the major downfalls of many conventional bench cases is the lack of places to mount liquid cooling, which leads to shots of a nice test system having a radiator sloppily hangin...



Welcome to the First Official Episode of The Hardware Hound

That’s right! He’s back and this time he’s bringing you some pretty sweet hardware news. This episode covers releases from Razer, Microsoft and MSI. From something as tiny as a mechanical switch, to Motherboards with the latest chipset technology, these releases are bound to improve any hardware lover’s gaming experience. So sit back, enjoy the show and try not to go stir crazy until the next episode of The Hardware Hound!



AMD is Coming Back, Hopefully in a Big Way

About a month ago, I wrote a piece titled, “The Story of Steamroller, CPU Benchmark, and FX.” Amidst the disappointment that Steamroller wasn’t coming to the FX line up, I postulated that the performance wasn’t adding up to a quality product and that AMD was going to completely overhaul their high end to be relevant again. Now, in a couple of releases from AMD, it sounds like that is exactly what is happening and AMD fans have something to look forward to again in the high end CPU market. The first bit of news that is showing this overhaul process is AMD’s decision to go back to SMT architecture from their current CMT architecture. Without going into too much detail, CMT was AMD’s own Multi-threading architecture designed to rival the more traditional SMT architecture that IBM introduced back in the 1970s. Unfortunately, as proven by Bulldozer, Piledriver and even Steamroller, this design isn’t living up to potential. Even though AMD has come out with some decent Multi-Thread performance, their single core has significantly lagged behind and even their decent performance hasn’t been enough to to stay in step with Intel’s high end. While AMD did manage to boast the first factory clocked 5 GHz CPU, the power and performance didn’t merit even the reduced cost of owning one after the price drops. That news would be interesting enough, but when Jim Keller, AMD’s top chip architect, says that they’re working...






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