Posts Tagged ‘spotlight’
Introduction Thermaltake shook up the market a few years ago with the release of the Level 10 chassis. It took everything we knew about what a computer case was supposed to look like, and tossed it out a window. It won Thermaltake (sometimes referred to as TT) many accolades and awards for design and innovation. The down side to this was the Level 10 set a high level of expectation that Thermaltake could not live up too with follow up cases. It is hard to please everyone and even harder to please the most hard core enthusiast as they set the tone for what makes for a great case. When faced with such a monumental task as this, it is good to take a step back and reset. The Urban series of chassis is exactly that, a reset of Thermaltake’s design team. The days of boisterous designs are being replaced with sleeker lines and more modern curves. This is an effort to attract gamers, water cooling and overclocking enthusiasts with this new Urban series of chassis. The flagship model, the Urban T81, will be put to the test in this review. We will attempt a build that should please all three segments. About ThermalTake The brand personality of Unique, Aggressive, Vivid, and Stylish makes Thermaltake an expert in creating Exciting things and Fascinating environment for gamers and enthusiasts, also Keep them Constantly High physically and mentally. Moreover, Thermaltake Technology get close to consumers and observe lead users’ behavior and requirem...
A few months ago we had the honor of reviewing the new MSI Z97 Gaming 5 motherboards during the launch of the Z97 chipset. Today, we are here again to look at another MSI motherboard. We have MSI's flagship Gaming Motherboard the MSI Z97 Gaming 9 AC. At first glance the MSI Z97 Gaming 9 AC motherboard looks rather close aesthetically to the Gaming 5 we reviewed. While the looks are similiar, the Gaming 9 has some additional features and aesthetic improvements that make it stand out on its own. The first obvious improvement on the Gaming 9 motherboard is the shield that covers the rear I/O port section and the isolated PCB for its sound card. During the Z97 chipset many manufacturers started to switch over to using higher quality Japanese capacitors and while the caps were much better in quality they looked rather ugly on many of the new boards. It was nice to see that MSI designed the Gaming 9 series motherboard with the shield to cover up that section making the motherboard look much sexier. Let's dive in and put the MSI Z97 Gaming 9 AC Motherboard to the test and see how it performed against its little brother the Gaming 5. But before we do that, let's talk a little about who MSI is.
Today we're focusing on two cards from HIS, a company we're very familiar with, having seen many of their products in the past couple of generations in AMD cards. HIS typically produces cards with custom coolers and aggressive factory overclocks, but these two are a bit different. The R7 260X and R7 250X are budget-oriented cards for those with modest budgets and looking for some affordable gaming, and perhaps even something suitable for an HTPC setup.
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...
There are a lot of different features we look at when purchasing peripherals, especially when it comes to our mouse for gaming. Who wants a heavy, uncomfortable mouse that may jump around while we're trying to make the next kill? Introducing the next ThermalTake mouse capable of operating in wired or wireless mode. It has a sleek design and is capable of being reshaped to your personal comfort level. ThermalTake claims that gamers are guaranteed to find that special spot to rest comfortably spending long hours gaming. Let's take it for a spin and see if this holds true.
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.
Today we're looking at the HIS R9 280 IceQ X2, a mid-range performance graphics card that retails for around $260. We've been impressed with cards from HIS in the past, particularly those with the vaunted IceQ cooler, which has proven to be very impressive with low temperatures and noise levels. Can this card continue the trend? Lt's take a closer look at the HIS R9 280 IceQ X2 to find out.
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.
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 ...
Introduction Over the last few years we have seen ASRock gain movement in the motherboard arena. They have developed and revamped some rock solid motherboards at a very affordable price. In the past, we have seen many flagship motherboards from ASRock that have been top performers when it comes to overclocking and stability. Not only has ASRock performed well in the past, they have great aesthetic appeal too. Today, we have a chance to look at their newest variation from their already popular Fatal1ty series. This is the ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer Series Motherboard. With Haswell’s refresh chipset in full swing, we have tested a number of great performing motherboards. But today, the ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer Series has another advantage in this arena due to its aggressive pricing. So let’s move forward and put this motherboard to the test and see what it can do with our Intel 4770K Haswell Processor. Just in case you are unfamiliar with ASRock, let’s take a look at who they are first: ASRock Inc. is established in 2002, specialized in the field of motherboards. ASRock strives to build up its own brand. With the 3C design concept, “Creativity, Consideration, Cost-effectiveness”, the company explores the limit of motherboards manufacturing while paying attention on the eco issue at the same time, developing products with the consideration of eco-friendly concept. ASRock has been growing fast and become world third largest motherboard ...
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.
Gigabyte as a motherboard manufacturer has been very successful over the last decade, and the last few years have only served to solidify that. In fact, Gigabyte has taken things a step further with their more recent motherboard releases. Their design team has revamped the styling and improved the lineup with feature-rich variations. Giagbyte's popular UDX series motherboards are frequently one of the first considered motherboards on the market since the Z77 release. With Gigabyte's Haswell refresh, the Z97 chipset, they aim to continue that tradition. Today we are going to be looking at the Z97X-SLI motherboard. By the name, it appears Gigabyte has geared this motherboard towards SLI as its defining feature. However, there is more than meets the eye. At a glance, this board looks a little more simplified when compared to the UDX series board. Will it pack the same punch? We are going to put the Z97X-SLI to the test to see how it stacks up to Gigabyte's reputation.