This year’s Computex featured the usual mix of concept and prototype cases, some of which will never make it to market (or some which will be several thousand dollars, like the WinBot). We particularly liked the “Wheel of Star” mod at Cooler Master, the “Floating” from In Win, Level 20 from Thermaltake, and Concept Slate from Corsair – but none of those are really meant to be bought in large quantities. This round-up looks at the best cases of Computex that are in the category of being purchasable, keeping cost below $400. We’ll be looking primarily at ATX form factor cases, with one Micro-STX co-star, with a few “needs work” members in the mix.
This case round-up won’t include everything we saw at the show and will exclude the more exotic cases, like the Concept Slate and the In Win WinBot, but still has plenty to get through. Before getting started, here’s a list of the relevant coverage of individual products and booths that are discussed herein:
MSI representatives were excited to show us the company’s new AIC M.2 adapter & cooler combo, noting that it should address our previous concerns (that the company had validated, with some SSDs) regarding the M.2 heat “shields.” The AIC is a PCIe x8 device that can run 2x M.2 SSDs (at full throughput) in RAID, or can mount a 2.5” drive to the back-side of the card. Each M.2 SSD is mounted under an MSI heat sink, which they still erroneously call heat “shields,” which is made of a yet-unknown material. If it is the same as the first generation of heat “shields,” it is a stainless steel. If it is the new generation, MSI has gone to aluminum, following our earlier complaints of poor thermal transfer and dissipation. The AIC also carries with it a small blower fan, which pushes air through the chamber and out the back. An acrylic cover and LED offer some more interesting visuals.
Deepcool was at Computex this year with what seemed like an emphasis on cases and RGB lighting, although they did have a new CPU cooler to show off. Many of these cases seem to be updated models of previously announced cases at CES 2017, which are still pending release in the North America market.
In Win wouldn’t deign to bring something so pedestrian as a “normal” chassis to Computex. In Win demonstrated two new case concepts—the Floating and the Winbot—that exemplify In Win’s commitment to mostly surpass themselves when it comes to feats of case engineering.
In addition to the technical marvels, In Win’s Computex exhibition included an array of other products including new cases from the 800 and 300-series, which will include wood in their design. Other new chassis from In Win are the 301C and 101C. In Win also showed off their new line of fans, the MARS and Polaris RGB case fans, which we’ve seen in limited capacity at previous shows. In Win’s new magnetic Mag-Ear headphone holder, ostensibly created in the vein of NZXT’s Puck, made an appearance, along with cases on display with the latest EKWB cooling products on show, presumably in honor of their revealed co-operative arrangement from earlier this year.
Out of all the Computex coverage we’ve posted thus far, X299 has proven to be the least successful in view count. Interest is low in X299, it seems, though X399 is doing a slight bit better. Regardless, it’s still important to go over everything: We’ve looked at the MSI X299 lineup (including XPOWER) and the Gigabyte Gaming 9, 7, and 3 lineup, with X399 between. Today’s focus is on the ASUS X299 boards, primarily the Rampage VI Extreme, with some additional details on the ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe, the Prime X299-A, and the TUF X299 Mark2. This all follows our X399 ASUS coverage, where we looked at the Zenith Extreme flagship.
Continuing our Coverage of Computex 2017, we met with the Be Quiet! team at their booth to discuss some of their new and upcoming products. We took a look at their Silent Loop CLC CPU cooler, the new SFX-L PSU, the Shadow Rock TF2 air cooler, and the limited edition Dark Base Pro 900 - White Edition case.
The Dark Base Pro 900 was a case we covered last year at Computex, if it feels familiar. This year, Be Quiet! displayed their new iteration of the Dark Base Pro 900 - now in white. The White Edition uses the exact same tooling as the Dark Base Pro 900, with changes entirely cosmetic. Be Quiet! reps noted that the color-matching process was the most time consuming, and that the run will be limited at first to gauge market reception. The first all white case from Be Quiet! will be limited to 2000 units worldwide, with a specific number being given to each enclosure (a nameplate in the top-right corner, near the drive cages). The White Edition will ship with an included three 140mm Silent wings 3 fans in black, contrasting the white (we’re not sure if we like that just yet), and hosts all the usual features of the DBP900. The chassis is capable of hosting three 140mm fans at the front, another three 140mm fans on top, a single 140mm at the rear for exhaust, and another single 140mm fan at the bottom, near the PSU; that brings it up to eight possible fans in total.
Following our recent delidding of the Intel i9-7900X, we received a few questions asking for the die size and CPU size of the new 10C/20T Intel CPU. We decided to return to the GSkill booth, where overclocker Der8auer helped us delid the CPU, to take some measurements. The original delidding video is here.
On to the sizes: This was measured with a media gift ruler on a show floor, so it’s accurate enough. Millimeters are millimeters.
We stopped by the Cooler Master booth at Computex 2017 to take a look at two of their new iterations of previous Cooler Master cases: the HAF and the Cosmos ATX towers. The HAF, or High Airflow, cases were popular mid- and full-towers a few years ago, and CM will be bringing that back with their new Master Case H500P. The former Cosmos cases are also being refreshed for 2017 in the form of the new Cosmos C700P.
The Cooler Master H500P brings back the HAF series with dual 200mm RGB fans at the front for intake (included), and will provide less noise and more airflow than traditional 120mm or 140mm options. Static pressure is theoretically lower, but we’ll test all that in due time. Front intake is available through mesh on each side and the top and bottom of the curved acrylic front panel. The H500P comes with the two 200mm RGB fans included at the front but is capable of housing another three 140mm fans at the top -- above the top chamber -- or three 120mm fans within the lower chamber of the top panel. A 140mm radiator or fan mount is also present at the rear.
Our initial coverage of the Gigabyte X399 Aorus Gaming 7 motherboard provided a first look at boards outfitted for AMD’s new Threadripper CPU. We’re now moving to ASUS to look at the Zenith Extreme motherboard, for which ASUS provided significantly fewer details than other motherboard vendors. Still, we were able to get a hands-on look and figure out a few of the basics.
The ASUS Zenith Extreme is AMD’s flagship X399 motherboard – pricing TBD, as AMD has not yet finalized socket and chipset prices – and will likely ship in August. As we understand it, Threadripper’s launch should be August 10th, which is around when all the motherboards would theoretically ship. Mass production is targeted for most boards in mid-August.
We posted a content piece pertaining to MSI’s pre-installed software – which we called “bloatware” – prior to the start of Computex. The company had responded at first with silence to emails, but then responded mid-week (in emails) with an overall neutral tone that suggested a wish to improve. There wasn’t much said in the emails, though, and certainly nothing official – so we sought out MSI’s US laptop representative at Computex, then asked for comment.
MSI’s Clifford Chun joined us, Product Manager of Laptops at MSI (US HQ), and discussed the company’s intermediary solution to the excessive pre-installed software. As Chun states in the video below, MSI will begin including an uninstaller package with their new laptops in 2H17. This utility will provide check boxes to each of the pre-installed applications and, upon launching it, will allow users to check and delete software. There is some irony to the idea of including more software to remove software, of course, but it’s a first step. It’d also be ideal to opt-in, not out, but marketing agreements do not generally permit this (as we said in the first video).
We’ll talk more below about why MSI is stuck in a difficult position, but first, the interview:
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