We last saw the Level 20 VT a couple months ago at Computex, alongside the Level 20 GT and XT. The VT is an mATX case, the smallest of the three.

Inside and out, the VT is similar to the mini-ITX Thermaltake V1 we reviewed, and even more so to the micro ATX V21. The major difference is the use of tempered glass, which could be a sign of Silverstone Syndrome, or following up a well-ventilated case with a sealed box; however, as we pointed out at Computex, the Level 20 cases are being sold alongside the older mesh-fronted V1 and V21 rather than replacing them. In addition, Thermaltake has also earned the benefit of the doubt with cases like the View 71 and View 37 that appear sealed but still manage to keep temperatures reasonable.

Lian Li’s Lancool One is a case we’ve seen multiple revisions of, first at CES (under the name Fusion Elite) and then again during our pre-Computex factory tour. “LanCool” is/was a subsidiary that was treated like a distinct brand for selling cases which were less exotic and more affordable than Lian Li’s standard fare. This is the first use of the name in several years, and it’s now more of a prefix than a separate entity. The version we were sent for review was the Lancool One Digital, which has a few minor differences from the base model as seen below.

The Lancool One ships at $90 for the non-”Digital” version, with the Lancool One Digital offering addressable RGB LEDs for an extra $10. Our Lian Li Lancool One review works with the Digital version, but the cases are the same aside from lighting changes.

The hardware move didn't slow down for our move, it turns out. HW News for the past week includes a major focus on GV104 & GV102-branded GPUs listed in AIDA64's Device ID database, new R3 2000-series CPUs shown by Lenovo, Threadripper 2's specs, TSMC shutting down for a virus, and more. This is also our first video shot in the new space (though we're still doing sound treatment, so there's a bit of echo). 

AMD’s new Threadripper 2 CPUs are slated for launch in the immediate future. We have AMD Threadripper 2 specs, prices, and topological information for the 2990WX, 2970WX, 2950X, and 2920X, most of which have been detailed today. Additional details and reviews are pending publication from sampled outlets. We are not technically working with AMD on this launch, but are looking into review/test options. These will likely be pushed back past our move-in for the new office.

The new AMD Threadripper 2 2990WX will use cores enabled in dies 0, 1, 2, and 3 – so all 4 of the dies under the IHS – which more or less confirms Der8auer’s findings earlier this year. The 2950X and 2920X will be using dies 0 and 1, leaving the other two unutilized.

Between our process of moving into a new office with actual space for testing stuff, we've been working on hardware news videos and other content alongside office setup. This week's hardware news has heavy AMD focus, split between Threadripper 2 SKUs and specs, a new AMD console SOC, and motherboard add-ons for ASUS X399 boards. The add-ons include SOC and Vcore cooling modules, meant to help cope with overclocked TR2 VRM thermals and power delivery requirements.

Also in major news this week, New York state banned Charter communications (Spectrum, formerly TimeWarner Cable) from its state, and has given the company 60 days to leave. This is a major event in a world with duopolistic and monopolistic ISP establishments.

Serious GN Upgrade: Moving Into an Office

By Published August 05, 2018 at 11:29 am

Sorry it’s been quiet on the website for the past week. We’ve been pushing office move updates to our YouTube channel, where we’ve stayed constant in updating everyone what’s going on. The website has mostly been on hold while we finalize an office move. This is big news for GN, as it will allow us to significantly expand our testing operations and push higher quality, more frequent content that is testing-focused.

We are moving from 2.5 bedrooms in a house (after ten years of being located here) into a large office space, including dedicated rooms for testing, production, filming, and storage. All of this means that we can finally set up permanent test benches for coolers, GPUs, CPUs, fan tests, PSU tests, case tests, and more. Dedicated systems will speed-up our production in ways that we can’t articulate – for the past ten years, we’ve had to set-up and tear-down systems for each test, which takes multiple extra hours of work per test sequence.

Our goal is to finalize the move very soon. This will immediately increase our output of technical content. We have been fortunate enough to have significant support via Patreon and our store (including Modmat sales, shirt sales, posters, etc.), which has allowed us to make this expansion without increasing our reliance on advertisers. We are able to maintain editorial independence while expanding in large ways, which is rare and difficult to achieve.

Intel's 10nm CPUs may have had their last delay -- and it's through the 'holidays' of 2019. Intel's latest earnings call indicates a finalized release target of EOY/holiday of 2019, continuing the saga of 10nm delays since 2015-2016. Note, however, that although TSMC and GF 7nm comparisons are prevalent, it's not as simple as comparing the numbers "7" and "10" -- density matters, as does architecture, and this is something we discussed with David Kanter in an upcoming video interview from GamersNexus.

Other hardware news revolves around a mixture of rumors and actual news, the latter represented by AMD's best quarterly earnings report in 7 years, and the former represented by Intel 9000-series specs and Samsung GPU development.

As always, the show notes are below the video.

The “correct” method for applying thermal paste is still the subject of arguments, despite plenty of articles with testing and hard numbers to back them up. As we mentioned in our Threadripper paste application comparison, the general consensus for smaller desktop CPUs is that, as long as enough paste is applied to cover the IHS, every method is basically the same. The “blob” method works just fine. We have formally tested this for Threadripper (which cares about IHS coverage greatly) and X99 CPUs, but not for smaller desktop SKUs. Today debuts our formal thermal paste quantity testing -- not just method of application, but amount -- and looks specifically at the more common desktop CPUs. We are finally addressing the YouTube-wide comment of “too much” or “too little” paste, likely so prevalent as a result of everyone’s personal exposure to this one specific aspect of PC building.

Again, this isn’t really about whether an “X” or “dot” or thin spread is better (and none is superior, assuming all cover the IHS equally -- it’s just about how easily they achieve that goal). This is about how much quantity matters. See below example:

Hardware news this week has been largely overrun with major movers: Micron and Intel are set to end their partnership on 3D XPoint, PC sales have grown for the first time in 6 years, Z370 BIOS updates indicate an 8-core CPU on the horizon, AMD Ryzen CPUs could be targeting more than 8C in 2019, Western Digital is shutting down a major hard drive plant, and more.

As always, our show notes for the episode are below, with sources and links to all stories. We've also got a video for those who prefer the visual medium:

Corsair’s H100i Pro is the third Corsair product to use Asetek’s 6th Generation pump solution. Asetek didn’t push performance in significant ways with 6th Gen, but instead focused on endurance improvement and reducing hotspots that encourage permeation of the tubes. This time, just to keep things sort of interesting, we’ll talk about how pump speed impacts the performance of this particular cooler – a topic we’ve explored with Gen5 coolers in the past.

We originally detailed Gen6 in this H150i Pro review, if you’re a bit behind. On the whole, Asetek’s sixth generation pump isn’t all that different from its Gen5 pumps. Performance is marginally worse, if anything, as almost all changes were focused on slimming down the CPU block and improving endurance. Asetek looked at key hotspots in its Gen5 pumps and rerouted flow to reduce strain and failure potential. Liquid should still remain below 60C at all times, but Gen6 will now better enable this than Gen5. Don’t expect better performance, though. Despite improving the impeller quality significantly, overall performance remains unchanged at best, if not slightly worse.

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