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The Hardware Hound

The Hardware Hound and the Ultimate PC Case

Have you ever felt that chassis airflow needs to be improved? Or maybe you’ve bought a really great looking PSU, only to have it mostly hidden in the bottom of your case? How do you keep a Crossfire or SLI configuration cool if you don’t plan to put it under liquid? These are all questions The Hardware Hound has officially decided to tackle. Welcome to the build log of the Ultimate PC Case. The project involves building a case that not only has a strategically optimized airflow design, but also keeps the system looking amazing in the process. Check out the video below so you can get an intro to the project and stay posted to PureOC to keep up with the updates on the project. PureOC gives a huge thanks to NZXT for helping sponsor the project. Check out their site at the link below and we’ll catch ya’ next time! https://www.nzxt.com/



Intel Kaby Lake

It’s about Freakin’ Time! INTEL has an Unlocked i3

It’s not asking too much! Budget builders like to overclock their CPUs, even if they can’t spend $200+ on them. So INTEL releasing an unlocked version of their i3 lineup of CPUs is huge news, in spite of some of the other news that doesn’t seem so good lately. While an unlocked i3 is a great idea for the budget enthusiast, I’m wondering what this means for the i5. The i3-7350K has quite a few features going for it. Not only do we have an unlocked multiplier (Finally!), but we have 4 threads in 2 cores, a 4.2 GHz boost clock and 4 MB of L3 cache. This would make it an amazing budget chip and if it wasn’t for AMD working on ZEN, I might have to kiss the FX series goodbye entirely. If the chip prices at $180, that would be steep but it could range as far down as $150 which is much more reasonable. The big issue with this release is what it does to the i5. Both chips offer 4 threads, although the i5 at least has 4 individual cores. Still, I’d be surprised that the performance on an i5 would really justify the extra cost at this point. Where does INTEL go from here? I think INTEL could’ve have destroyed the CPU market if they had done one more change with their Kaby Lake lineup. Rather than release a chip that has 4 cores, what if the i5-7600K kept the multi-threading, but only had 3 cores? With 6 threads, you’d have the perfect middle ground processor that splits the difference between the i3 and i7. Each tier could have it’...



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Is INTEL Stalling Out?

A while back, I posted an article talking about what looked to be impressive performance gains coming from Kaby Lake. Performance leaks had been good to me up till that point, but now you can see my shame here. Today, a Chinese review of the i5-7600K has released ahead of NDA and the results aren’t looking good. Even though Kaby Lake has some minor improvements, the IPC performance is running the same as Skylake. Granted, this review is ahead of NDA which also means any tweaks INTEL planned before released aren’t being considered yet, but it’s really feeling like INTEL is stalling out when it comes to pushing the limits of performance. Honestly, releasing a new chip series that essentially has no performance improvement is probably worse than holding back performance for the sake of sales. Technically, Kaby Lake has almost a 10% performance increase, but that number is so minuscule that the average user will never notice it. If this was coming to the professional market, it would make a bit more sense since 10% increases can actually translate to added dollars. As it is, IPC improvements are the things that really make a computer feel faster, as proven by comparing the current FX series to anything INTEL has had in the past couple of years. The FX chip can get it done, but the INTEL one makes it feel a lot smoother while doing it, while pulling better actual performance numbers. IPC for the 7600K is showing the same performance as Skylake and even if som...



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Filling the Loop: SENNHEISER Headsets, TAI-HAO Keycaps, AQUA COMPUTER cuplex kryos NEXT

As a hardware news and review writer, I find that it can be pretty difficult to keep up with everything happening in the industry. It could be that, or it could be the full time job with a family that crunches the schedule a bit. But that’s the life of a freelancer and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Still, there’s some good news worthy releases I’ve received that I’ve been dying to get out to you, but haven’t had the time until now. Let’s fill the loop on some interesting products from SENNHEISER, TAI-HAO and AQUA COMPUTER. I hate to admit it but I was deleting PRs from SENNHEISER because I didn’t realize they were different from the other spam emails I get. Let’s just say spam filters aren’t perfect and I check all of my promotional emails a bit closer now. Still, consistency is not an issue for them and I began noticing what I thought were some pretty impressive products. SENNHEISER deals in gaming headsets, but also has a host of other audio products to check out. For this update, I particularly want to point out the GSP 350 gaming headset with Dolby 7.1 Surround. While I can’t verify the audio quality, the design looks excellent and some user reviews I looked at indicate that the company generally has pretty good sound. Even then, there were a couple of features that looked interesting. One design detail I really like is the fact that the mic will automatically mute when you raise the boom, negating t...



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NZXT Unleashes the Beast, the H440 Hyper Beast

I’m not a CS:GO player, but I know an awesome paint job when I see one. NZXT is releasing a limited number of custom painted H440 cases and if you love this artwork, you a better hurry. There’s only supposed to be 1,337 units made, but at $200 per case, I’m sure only the biggest fans will be clamoring to reserve the design. I have to say though, it looks like a great design and I hope we see more of this with other game titles as time goes by. Check below for the image gallery and the rest of the press release. Los Angeles, CA - Los Angeles, CA – November 1, 2016 – NZXT today announces the H440 Hyper Beast Limited Edition, a very exclusive version of its classic H440. Developed in collaboration with Brock Hofer, graphic artist behind Hyper Beast, this case is focused at CS:GO fans. It features the fierce creature found on the CS:GO M4A1-S Hyper Beast weapon skin.This rare H440 is produced in a one-time production of 1,337 units, each with a uniquely numbered limited edition metal badge.“Being gamers at heart, we know how passionate gamers can be about their favorite titles. And even more so with the rise of in-game items customization featuring intensively sought-after rare skins. That’s why we decided to work with Brock Hofer to help CS:GO fans turn their favorite virtual skin into their own very rare build. With H440 Hyper Beast one can say that the beast is truly unleashed” says Johnny Hou, NZXT’s founder and CEO. H440 Hyper Beast main fea...



HERO SHOT

FNATIC Reveals the Clutch G1 Gaming Mouse and Duel Gaming Headset

Update: I found a tweet to a Youtube link that gives some more info on the Duel headset. Check it out below! What started as one mouse review turned into a bunch shortly after. I’ve had the privilege to try out numerous designs, features and styles during my escapades as a hardware reviewer. While some designs are excellent and deserve special levels of praise, the FNATIC Flick is the simple gaming mouse I keep coming back to. Most of this is due to the fact that I’m too set in my ways to really work out a new button configuration, but the rest is due to it being the best feeling mouse I’ve used to date. In light of that, it’s no surprise to tell you that I’m really excited for the new mouse and headset FNATIC is releasing. The Clutch G1 doesn’t look like it’s going to change much from it’s predecessor, the Flick. Both use a modest Pixart 3310 sensor that doesn’t have the crazy DPI settings the 3360 does, but it was always fast enough for me. It looks like it’s going to be bit larger and have an extra DPI button so that it will cater to FPS players a bit more. That said, each person has a unique taste when it comes to how a mouse feels so larger might be better in general as well. FNATIC is also unleashing the Duel TMA-2 headphones on us. Details are minimal at the time being, but the modular design sounds interesting and I’m hoping for the same level of quality I found with the Flick. Needless to say, the...



PureOC Monthly News

October News Round Up: SWIFTECH Apogee XL2, GAMER STORM Genome II, GTX 1050 Ti and More!

Welcome back to our second roundup of hardware news that happened this month. The CPU and GPU side of things may have slowed down a tad, but there’s a lot that happened with cooling and cases. Let’s dive in and get excited about what’s coming down the road! CPUs Let’s start out with an update on Kaby Lake. Geekbench came out with some impressive results and the story made it look like INTEL has merely been holding back for a while. Recently however, an i5-7500K sample was benchmarked and only showed about a 10% improvement over Skylake. This is actually pretty disappointing, especially considering that the 4970K is still a top tier single thread performer. On the plus side, it looks like all 100 series motherboards will be able to support Kaby Lake with a BIOS update, but I doubt many will see the need to upgrade from Skylake in such a short time table. At the time being, ASUS is the only brand this is confirmed for, but that’s a good indication that other manufactures will follow suit. We’re still a ways out from release so we can almost expect performance to fluctuate a bit more until closer to release. http://wccftech.com/intel-core-i5-7600k-kaby-lake-cpu-benchmarks/ http://wccftech.com/kaby-lake-support-asus-100-series-motherboards-confirmed/ GPUs The big news this month was the release of the GTX 1050 Ti and the 1050. Each GPU offers a great budget option for 1080p gaming while being extremely energy efficient. Rather than reinvent ...



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You Haven’t heard of Pixio, but a 1440p FreeSync Monitor Should get Your Attention

Let’s start with the assumption that you haven’t heard of Pixio, because if you have, then you completely destroy my title. If you’re like me, then Pixio might be a new brand that you need to hear about. I’ve been on this kick for a while, but there is no way I can over emphasize how important a good monitor is to the gaming experience. Nothing makes a $600 GPU look like integrated graphics more than a terrible refresh rate and a crappy panel type. However, spending an additional $600 on a monitor can be rough for a builder, which is why Pixio is offering something I’m surprised I haven’t seen until now. FreeSync is the AMD technology that makes adaptive synchronization extremely affordable for gamers. There’s some catches, like needing an AMD GPU for the time being and having some performance trades with the likes of GSync. My experience with the technologies isn’t extensive, but from what I’ve seen the disparity between the two is beyond my ability to tell the difference. How I managed to stumble across Pixio was during my search for HDR monitors. HDR is the best experience I had at CES in January and that’s including getting to try out a few VR sets. HDR is a pixel technology that more accurately reproduces the color spectrum, making a 1440p screen look as good as, or even better than, a 4k one. While I haven’t found HDR yet, I did find what I would consider to be the ultimate monitor that balances the ne...



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Happy Hardware Hound Halloween, with Star Wars

It’s that time of year again! Scary movies, trick’r’treating, costumes, candy corn, and a review done by a guy dressed as a Star Wars Character? You probably already saw the review for the NZXT S340 Elite VR ready case, but I bet you’ve never seen it like this. If you ever wondered how Kylo Ren would handle building a PC, then check out the video below. You can probably already guess, but the Hardware Hound reviews what makes the S340 Elite great. Happy Halloween!!!  



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The NZXT Kraken is Getting an Update

Some products go through numerous revisions in an ever-evolving attempt to gain relevance. Others are so good at the start that revisions are few and far between. The Kraken falls into the latter group, having had a great reputation since the very first releases. In fact, the Kraken lineup has only seen one revision since it’s first release years ago. With that in mind, it’s pretty exciting to see that NZXT is about to release the X42, X52 and X62 coolers with some simple improvements that will keep the Kraken name going strong. The revisions on the series are nothing major, but look like they’ll keep the Kraken performing well in cooling and silence. The pump seems to be a bit stronger with what looks like an improved lighting effect, while the added Aer P fans seem to follow in a similar fashion. There’s some other improvements, but what I like about this is the concept of bringing better cooling performance without sacrificing the noise the unit will have. The reviews will confirm this, but I’m not seeing much to indicate that this won’t be the case here. On top of that, NZXT is including a phenomenal 6-year warranty. That’s pretty ambitious for a CLC. Availability on the units will be about a month out, but I’m already excited to see how the new Kraken units will do. Once again, NZXT’s lineup already has a good reputation that didn’t require a whole lot to be changed, but I doubt anybody will complain about an...



ENERMAX Introduces the STEELWING Aluminum Chassis

ENERMAX Introduces the STEELWING Aluminum Chassis October 18, 2016, Taoyuan, Taiwan – Bringing craftsmanship to the next level, ENERMAX officially releases STEELWING, a fully aluminum micro-ATX case with a panoramic tempered glass side panel. Its wing-shaped front panel with one pre-installed ENERMAX patented circular-type LED fan makes STEELWING not just a gorgeous computer case but also a modern decoration. Combined with the spacious interior, STEELWING offers a great flexibility for users to build their systems including hard-tubing installation. Exquisite aluminum craftsmanship Composed of a premium quality aluminum body and up to 3.5mm thick aluminum panel, the structure of STEELWING is built to last. The beautiful luster of aluminum makes STEELWING stand out from its peers effortlessly. Moreover, you can enjoy the view of your internal rigs anytime through the large panoramic 3mm thick tempered glass panel. The case surface is further anodized and sandblasted to keep it from corrosion and prevent fingerprints or scratches. Excellent heat dispersion and cooling performance The aluminum material of STEELWING provides up to 3 times faster heat dissipation compared to steel made PC cases. The semi-open design of wing-shape front panel with 7 stacked aluminum plates can optimize the airflow. With the front and top meshes and 1* pre-installed 12cm fan in the front, STEELWING serves as an excellent cooling enclosure for your precious hardware.   Spacious interior wit...



QNAP Launches Enterprise-class TES-x85U NAS Series Featuring Intel Xeon D Processor and Dual OS Options

QNAP Launches Enterprise-class TES-x85U NAS Series Featuring Intel Xeon D Processor and Dual OS Options Taipei, Taiwan, October 13, 2016 – QNAP® Systems, Inc. today released the powerful enterprise-class TES-x85U NAS series, including the 18-bay TES-1885U and the 30-bay TES-3085U. Both models are powered by a high-performance yet energy-saving Intel® Xeon® D processor, and provides the choice of dual OS inside a single rackmount NAS. Users can choose to install the business storage QES operating system or the app-centric QTS operating system based on their needs. The TES-x85U series with QES is the perfect backup storage for the dual-controller Enterprise ZFS NAS (ES1640dc). The 12Gb/s SAS-enabled TES-1885U and TES-3085U adopt an advanced 14nm Intel® Xeon® D 64-bit SoC processor with an integrated PCH (6-core and 8-core respectively). Both models have two built-in 10GbE SFP+ ports to natively support 10GbE network environments, and can further boost system performance with PCIe Gen.3 expansion for additional 10GbE/40GbE adapters and PCIe NVMe SSD. The high-density TES-3085U is especially useful for providing an ultra-fast all-flash storage solution that offers up to 24 drive bays and 6 dedicated SDDs bays for caching. The TES-x85U provides the flexibility of two operating systems, either the FreeBSD-based QES for enterprise-level storage with maximized business continuity, or Linux-based QTS for enjoying application storage with greater functionality. “Wit...



BIOSTAR Unleashes New RACING Series Products in Thailand

BIOSTAR Unleashes New RACING Series Products in Thailand BIOSTAR Debuts Racing B150GTN motherboard and BIOSTAR SSD G300 to Thai Media and Power Users   October 11th, 2016, Bangkok, Thailand – BIOSTAR is excited to announce its formal launch of the SSD G300 series and the RACING B150GTN mini-ITX motherboard for the Thailand market. Held last September 27 at Bangkok, BIOSTAR unveiled its latest addition to its ever-growing list of solutions for gamers, power users and enthusiasts. The new products will be available in the Thai market via STREK. In attendance were Thailand’s media and power users who were treated to try the latest and greatest line-up of BIOSTAR’s RACING series as well as its mainstream series of motherboards and other products.   On display were numerous builds and systems in cooperation with various partners including Thermaltake, Apacer SSD & Memory, Cooler Master and AMD Radeon graphics which together with BIOSTAR showcased their excellent line-up of enthusiast products as well. BIOSTAR’s own Justin Wang addressed the attendees and states that “BIOSTAR intends to expand its line-up further and this is just us getting started. For now while we grow, we’re also showing our regional partners and customers that BIOSTAR is still committed in showing them that the company still invests in building a healthy relationship with them by holding this regional events and giving the opportunity to personally showcase our excellent products and give f...



COLORFUL SPONSORED OVERWATCH APAC PREMIER INTERNATIONAL MATCHES START

COLORFUL SPONSORED OVERWATCH APAC PREMIER INTERNATIONAL MATCHES START Official hardware partner powering the next best thing in eSports October 13th, 2016, SHENZHEN, CHINA – Colorful Technology Company Limited, professional manufacturer of graphics cards and motherboards, proudly announces its participation in the Overwatch Asia Pacific Tournament (Overwatch APAC Premier) is authorized by Blizzard Entertainment and organized by Banana Gaming & Media. The international matches started this 6th October and will last to 16th October. There are 12 teams from Asia (China, South Korea and Japan), Europe and America. They are ROGUE from Europe, NRG from America, AF BLUE and LUNATIC-HAI from South Korea, USG and DETONATOR from Japan with SNAKE, VICI GAMING, IG. FIRE, SKADISGIFT, NGA and ALLSTRIKE from China. The 12 teams are divided into 3 groups. After strong competition, the final eight has been chosen. They are NRG, VG and SNAKE in Group A, LUNATIC-HAI and ROGUE in Group B and AF BLUE, NGA and ALLSTRIKE in Group C. Overwatch APAC Premier will come to the final stage from October 13th to 16th. The final eight will fight for the championship. And the prize for the champion will be \500,000. Which team will become the final champion, let’s wait and see! View the livestream here: https://www.twitch.tv/bananaculture  See match replays and videos here : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLecqhXXASMTAghRIfoYb9iXPqOml4gu43  For more information, please visit Colorful...



Don’t Forget to Get Aer! NZXT Aer that is

We covered the announcement of the new RGB LED fans from NZXT last month, but now we can tell you they are available. While I don’t normally go this much out of my way to frequently mention something, I need an excuse to show off that glorious ring around the fan blades again. Check out the link below if you’re interested in ordering one for yourself. https://www.nzxt.com/product-overview/aer-rgb-features Features Designed to integrate seamlessly with HUE+, the Aer RGB fan provides optimal airflow and advanced lighting customizations. Group and daisy chain up to five fans per channel from the HUE+ for extensive lighting modes that work in perfect harmony. Select and modify over 10 lighting effects with ease using CAM’s software interface. The Aer RGB fans feature fluid dynamic bearings and winglet tips that deliver enhanced performance and minimize noise levels. HUE+ and CAM-compatible for seamless software controls and customizations Daisy chain and group fans together for additional lighting effects PWM fan with optimized cooling and whisper-low 22 dBA Fluid dynamic bearing engineered to last over six years Uniform light dispersion with unique light guide design HUE+ is required and sold separately. Specifications Dimensions Aer RGB120: 120 x 120 x 26mm Aer RGB140: 140 x 140 x 26mm Material Plastic, rubber, PCB Weight Aer RGB120: 183g Aer RGB140: 213g Fan Rated Voltage 12V DC Fan Speed 500-1,500 RPM Fan Airflow Aer RGB120: 20 – 61.4 CFM Aer RGB140: 23.9 ...






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