AIO (all in one) liquid cooling units continue to gain popularity due mostly to the cheaper cost to performance ratio, as well as their leak-proof and low maintenance design. If we look back a mere 2 years ago, liquid AIO cooling units were few and far between, and only a few manufacturers offered this type of cooling solution. Today we find a lot of AIO units flooding the market, and as you may already know, selecting the right one can be a hard choice with so many different styles and types readily available. I am very excited today, because I will be putting three new units on my test bench from NZXT. The NZXT KRAKEN X31, X41 and, Kraken X61 AIO coolers. These three closed-loop liquid coolers are follow-up products to the Kraken X30 X40 and Kraken X60 that were reviewed last year. The NZXT X31 X41 and X61 have kept their same 120mm, 140mm, & 280mm respective CLC design; however, they now come with some new additions in the form of variable pump speed control, increased radiator thickness, and Cam software. Before I continue, let me tell you a bit about NZXT.
After all these years reviewing computer equipment, especially case reviews, it takes a lot to get me excited. There are not too many manufacturers that will spark my interest or kindle and light that fire inside of me. Today Phanteks has now moved to the top of my list as one of those manufacturers. Phanteks as some of you may already know has been on the forefront as leader in the manufacturing of thermal solutions, with their high performance fans and air coolers. Phanteks this year took the industry by surprise when the company ventured into computer case manufacturing, introducing for the very first time their award winning Phanteks Enthoo Primo full tower chassis, a chassis specifically targeting the computer enthusiast and water cooling aficionado. Today will be looking at yet another offering from Phanteks: the Phanteks Enthoo LUXE Full Tower. The Enthoo LUXE is very similar looking to the coveted Phanteks Enthoo Primo, sporting many of the distinct features and designs of its predecessor which includes multiple radiator support, modular HD cages, power supply shroud, and all aluminum look. The Phanteks Enthoo LUXE is available in both a black and a white windowed version. The Enthoo Series is all about versatility, a spacious and clean interior and, of course, Enthoo is famous for making it very easy to build water cooling systems. Read on to see why this case has got me very excited. We are taking an up close and personal look into this new arrival from Phante...
XSPC has been known to bring attractive product to the market usually at an equally attractive price tag. These two factors have made them very popular over the last few years. Radiators, reservoirs, tubing and fittings all were released with a good amount of fanfare. None of those came close to the buzz created by the Photon D5 combo. The sturdy glass Photon was already an instant success and combining it with a strong D5 pump sent a strong message to everyone: XSPC has great minds at work. The sticking point was the overall size left some out in the cold wishing for a combo setup that could fit in the smaller chassis. Ok folks, we are here today to finally silence those that have been complaining, wishing or requesting loudly to XSPC after they released the combo Photon D5 Reservoir . You got your wish! XSPC decided to follow up the incredibly popular Photon D5 with a sought after DDC version. This will make many people happy, including me as I have been working on a lot of small systems lately. The smaller size, good head pressure and sturdy stain resistant glass has me excited to see what it can do and how well it can fit into a beloved small form factor case. Let us get started then.
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:
Today's high demanding games can cause serious heat issues with improperly cooled graphic cards, so what do we do when they start to overheat? Look into water cooling? Not if your graphics card uses a non-referenced PCB. I'm in that boat; I picked up a few video cards without realizing they were non-referenced. The question is, what other options do we have in order to better cool the GPU and memory? Arctic has came up with a solution with the Accelero Xtreme IV 280(X), which is an upgraded air cooling solution that cools the GPU and memory utilizing 5 heatpipes and a custom rear heatsink.
Since the original RAVEN RV01 debuted in 2008, the RAVEN team at SilverStone has demonstrated many times how it can truly define or defy computer enthusiasts’ expectations of what a performance PC is capable of in both form and function. For 2014, the Silverstone team had a new target, which was to exceed and reshape the small form factor landscape with yet another breakthrough case design. The result of this effort is a new line of case products from SilverStone called RAVEN Z. As the first model, this Raven RVZ01 is unlike any SilverStone small form factor cases before it. Utilizing a PCI-E riser and custom designed fans, this slim, 14-liter case is capable of housing some of the biggest consumer graphics cards on the market with superb air cooling performance and the ability to also support liquid cooling. Read on and let’s see if the Silverstone Raven RVZ01 is what we have all been waiting for.