Introduction Sometimes when you plan out your PC build, you want something that really stands out from the crowd. Price be damned, you want your rig to grab everyone’s attention in the extreme. To that end, there aren’t really a great deal of options out there that deviate much from the standard rectangular prism layout we’ve all come to expect. Things get even more limited when you start to discuss the prospect of an mITX system being the focus of the build; short of making something from scratch, your options get even more constricted. What’s a system builder to do? If money is no object and you want opulence in the most functional way possible, InWin may have something that’s right up your alley. As of late they are most well known for their artful use of aluminum and tempered glass in cases like the S-Frame, the 901/904, and the D-Frame, and today I’m gonna take a look at the D-Frame’s little brother, the D-Frame Mini. Equipped with the same tubular aluminum and open-air design as its larger sibling, I’m going to see if this form factor does an mITX system any justice, and decide if the 300 dollar premium is really worth it in the end. I’d like to take a moment to share the InWin logo story straight from their website:
Introduction The graphics card market has been getting properly shaken up since the release of the new GTX 900 series Maxwell cards, but that doesn’t mean that AMD doesn’t still have a few tricks left up their sleeves. AMD has been diligently at work refreshing and modernizing their GPU lineup, and their most recent efforts have produced for us the Tonga core; a more power efficient and better binned GPU core which, like AMD as a whole, is capable of more than what its specs would suggest. Think of it like this: you get the raw power and value of Tahiti, plus the features of Hawaii and beyond… I can’t really think of anything wrong with that picture if you ask me. For this review, I’ll be taking a look at Sapphire’s take on the new core. Their Dual-X R9 285 OC comes overclocked out-of-the-box, equipped with a great cooling solution that has withstood the test of time, and utilizes a more robust, custom-designed PCB that should help us take this card to the next level. Let’s see just what this card has to offer, and see if the claims of better performance than the GTX 760 hold true for our testing. www.sapphiretech.com SAPPHIRE Technology is well established as a leading manufacturer and world-wide supplier of innovative graphics and mainboard products for over a decade. Its AMD Radeon based products are just as well known in the mainstream PC markets as they are to the gaming and performance graphics enthusias...
Introduction ITX style cases never cease to amaze me. Just when you think there can’t possibly be a better/different way to house and organize your hardware, along comes another case to once again challenge your thinking on how these form factors can be laid out. This is especially important for those of you who, like myself, enjoy a bit of tasteful case modding from time to time to really make the rig stand out as being uniquely your own. It can also be just as important to those who simply require a specific shape/size to accommodate their usage scenario. Azza, always one to bring us somewhat “outlandishly” designed cases, is now offering up their first mITX case: the Z. Somewhat conservatively designed in comparison to their other offerings and providing a unique layout that accommodates both water cooling radiators and a slim profile, can this case really offer an enthusiast what they need out of their next small form factor (SFF) build? I was bound and determined to find out, so I tried to cover pretty much all of the bases here. Now, let’s dig in! www.azzatek.com AZZA’s Mission is simple: You satisfaction is our success! Jumpstarted with the Vision to build a premier corporate company that consistently exceeds the managed expectations of our customers, team members and partners, AZZA is driven by the Mission to provide the highest quality products of unmatched value, along with exemplary customer support. We do this via t...
Let's say that you just got your brand-spankin' new mechanical keyboard. You take it out of the box and it looks even more glorious than you could have imagined; the keys feel perfect to type on, the back lighting is flawless, the accuracy of your typing is better, and in general your gaming experience makes you feel like you could leap tall buildings in a single bound. Flash forward a few years though and you find yourself just not as enthusiastic about your keyboard as you once were: sure it's just as good as it was when you first bought it, but visually it's gotten a bit on the stale side. Thankfully for you, Tt eSPORTS has a solution for you to add some flavor to your existing keyboard with these metal keycaps. Designed to work with any Cherry MX or Thermaltake certified-style mechanical keys, I'm here to check out their construction quality and to gain some impressions on what it will actually do for your keyboard, be it for better or worse.
Greetings Pure Overclock fans! Just wanted to stop by and let you all know that we have a new build log up being written by Mike in the forums! It’s being sponsored by none other than: www.swiftech.com As a leading provider of enthusiast-grade water cooling components, their newest product line seemed the best possible fit for what we have in mind for the build (as well as some old favorites). The theme of the build is “Silence Falls,” a silence-optimized HTPC with more than just movie streaming intentions in mind, but with a bit of a twist that most of our readers wouldn’t really expect from a build of this nature. Be sure to stop by the forums to check out the build log as it progresses, and while you’re all at it be sure to check out some of the other awesome build logs we’ve got on-hand, including Project reDEFINEd by forum member humanityBG and Squircle, a scratch build by forum member glent. Both of them are turning out beautifully so far, so we have plenty of eye candy for you guys to ogle over. Here’s some links to the build logs mentioned: Silence Falls: A Thought Experiment Project “reDEFINEd” – Fractal Design DEFINE R2 XL Squircle [Scratch Build] Hope you all enjoy these builds, and stay tuned in for more projects to come!
Introduction With power consumption getting smaller and smaller, even in our high performance computers, sometimes we just don’t need or want that massive 1500 Watt power supply. We want something that is relatively tiny in comparison to the standard power supply, yet will also offer clean power and only the fewest cables we will absolutely need. This automatically points us towards semi-modular units. Cooler Master thinks that their newest V-Semi-Modular Series lineup might just be the thing you are looking for. Boasting all Japanese capacitors, a slightly smaller form factor, 450-750 Watt capacities, and an 80+ Gold rating, could this be the power supply to go into your next small form factor machine? Before we go on to find out, let’s get to know Cooler Master a little bit better. www.coolermaster.com Cooler Master was founded with the mission of providing the industry’s best thermal solutions. Since its establishment two decades ago, the company has remained faithful to this mission, emerging as a world leader in products and services for companies dealing with devices where heat issues must be resolved. In pursuing this mission, Cooler Master is absolutely committed to delivering solutions that precisely meet customer requirements for features, performance, and quality. Moreover, we strive to be a reliable long-term partner for our customers that they can truly depend on. It aims to be the first and foremost name that comes to mind for compani...
Innovation is the name of the game; if you want to keep your product line relevant and interesting then you need to mix things up a bit and give people a reason to be genuinely excited about choosing a part from your repertoire. In the world of power supplies, this innovation is coming slowly but surely as manufacturers determine how to better serve their PC enthusiast community with products that make their jobs a little bit easier and their builds a little more awesome. BitFenix opted to take the road less traveled with this, their first-ever power supply. They took a solid, stable 80 Plus Gold certified platform using all Japanese top shelf capacitors, then sleeved every single cable for you right out of the box. The name is somehow ironic to us, as they call it the BitFenix Fury, yet this power supply is poised to be anything BUT infuriating. Having well sleeved cables with a myriad of connector options and varying wattage ratings for your individual computing needs, could this be part of your next build? No spoilers yet on what we think of it, so let's read on.
As any system builder can tell you, the proper way to tune your system involves balance. Part of that balance which often goes overlooked by many novice builders is configuring your system fans; without proper airflow, your system might not be performing to its peak potential or might just be making a bit more noise than it needs to. Let us not forget that often times we find ourselves wondering how we are going to supply power to our fans without having to use motherboard headers and having all those unseemly cables running all over the place like so many cob webs. NZXT's Sentry line of fan speed controllers has been a staple for many system builders for several years, ranging in style from simple, mesh-style rheostat dials (varying resistor to control fan speed), to dual bay touch screen units. Here to serve another segment, as well as to update their lineup, is the Sentry 3. Offering 15 watts/three fans per channel, an increased size single bay touch screen, temperature probe, five total channels and an alarm monitor, can these features really create a more balanced build for you, or does this amount to nothing more than a bit of case bling? Before we find out, here's a bit about NZXT:
Introduction Mechanical keyboards are practically everywhere now. If a manufacturer makes enthusiast-grade peripherals, chances are there’s a mechanical keyboard somewhere in their product stack. The tactile feedback and resilience of mechanical keys has always been a draw for gamers and enthusiasts the world over, and as time progresses these keyboards get more and more bells and whistles added to them: RGB back lighting, integrated ARM processors for advanced macros and saving specific data, braided cables, and the list goes on. The one thing that has remained the same until late last year was the switches: every single switch out there was a Cherry. Flash forward to today and we have a patent that Cherry had which has expired, allowing other manufacturers to start producing their own brand of mechanical switches. Thermaltake was among the first companies to pick up some of these new switches from Kailh (pronounced like the plant: KALE) and use them on their newest variant of the Poseidon Z keyboard. By using these switches, they have shaved off quite a bit of the premium normally seen for mechanical keyboards, but has it shaved off quality as well? Let’s learn a bit about Thermaltake eSports and find out. www.ttesports.com “Challenge is the Game” highlights the philosophy to bring out healthy addictions in gaming and the ambition of reaching the pinnacle of success. Tt eSPORTS, a gaming obsessed division from Thermaltake, is uniting gamers ...
Things have been getting a thorough rustling in the case market in recent history. Every form factor from ITX on up to XL-ATX, has been getting some new life breathed into their respective segments with cases replete with features and styling that no one thought possible. NZXT, not being one to rest on their laurels for very long, have introduced a little something new to the ATX mid tower segment. It's something they like to call the Phantom 240. Boasting some pretty impressive specs for an ATX mid tower, yet not requiring you to take out a second mortgage on your house to buy it, this case stands to provide system builders on a budget with a truly impressive space for your hardware to be admired in. On top of this, it still offers the niceties that modern system builders come to expect. We've said it before, and it bears repeating: just because you're "ballin' on a budget," that doesn't have to mean that your system looks mediocre in the process. The question is... can this case provide its intended audience with enough features that make them feel like they aren't really missing too much? History tells us "yes," but like any good review site, we will turn our fair yet analytic eye toward the details for you to make sure that this product doesn't trim too much fat away for the sake of cost and form factor.
Mobile computing is very much a part of everyone's day-to-day life, whether or not we choose to admit it or even realize it. From your cell phone to your tablets and notebooks, everything we use is becoming increasingly travel-friendly. Even our gaming desktop computers are becoming extremely small, as is evidenced by systems built in cases like the Bitfenix Colossus Mini ITX. It should only follow that mobile storage solutions should follow this trend. For those of you who are on-the-go and want a bit more insurance for your mobile storage devices, Adata has a rage of external hard drives that should suit your needs nicely. The DashDrive Durable HD650 comes in storage densities of 500 GB and 1 TB, and comes with an impact resistant shell. Let's take a closer look to see just how solid these drives are.
Lately the push for smaller and quieter systems leaves many enthusiasts and the D.I.Y. crowd needing smaller and smaller power supplies (PSU's). It's not entirely uncommon to see systems being built with powerful hardware like the 780Ti, but with PSUs no larger than 550-600 watts. It therefore makes more sense than ever to go for a PSU that is as efficient as possible to make sure you have as few problems as possible while still being able to do what we all love to do: tune our systems and squeeze the most performance out of them as possible. Enermax has seen fit to produce what they feel is a worthy solution to your small system building needs. The Revolution XT PSU lineup ranges from 430 to 730 watt capabilities; all carry the 80+ Gold certification for power efficiency, have flat cables and are semi-modular. Could this be the next PSU you select for your system builder needs? Let's delve deeper and find out as we review the Enermax Revolution XT 630W 80+ Gold Modular PSU.
When you look at most of the LED case fans out there, they're largely uninspired. Sure the lighting is solid on many of them, and some of them even offer up good cooling performance to match their look, but the lighting effect is ultimately the same: just a blob of light that looks like it could come from any manufacturer. While that may work for some system builders, Enermax has a solution for those of you looking for something a bit different than the rest. Enter the T.B. Vegas and T.B. Apollish fan lineup: coming in 120mm and 200mm sizes respectively, these fans feature not only some of the most unique case lighting you will ever see, but offer a degree of performance that you will be hard pressed to find in any other standalone LED fan. Let's see if these factors add up to be greater than the sum of their parts, shall we?
In the past several months, the push for Home Theater PC's (HTPC's for short) has started to grow wildly. The allure of a fully modular home theater machine that does more than just play your movies or music is simply too strong for many to resist, and rightfully so. Oftentimes the question we may ask is "What platform should I build a HTPC on?" The answers vary wildly based on individual hardware preferences. AMD seems to think that one of the best choices out there for the discerning HTPC enthusiast lies with their newest Kaveri APU. While there are many choices out there of associated hardware, with more on the way, Biostar has one now that appeals directly to the audiophile: the A88W Hi-Fi 3D. Designed with both a high-end isolated audio solution and potential for tuning an unlocked APU, this motherboard looks to be a very sensible choice for those who want a little bit from every buffet of tech; the question is, "does it deliver finely tuned notes for enthusiasts of all kinds, or does it fall flat?" We're here to find out just that.
Usually when shopping for an ATX full tower, you look for the big names in the industry. The reasons for this are pretty apparent: reputation, reliability, service after the sale, build quality, feature set, and the list goes on; but what if we told you that you don't always have to go after the big name and spend excessive amount of cash to have your cake and eat it, too? Casecom is here to show you that their newest ATX full tower, the Halcones CL-86, brings a lot to the table and asks for very little in return. Measuring out at 23" tall, 22" deep and roughly 9" wide, it certainly seems to fit the size requirement. The question is, "does everything else add up to a rewarding and clean building experience?" Let's jump in and find out.