While the week started off rather slowly, hardware news picked up towards the end of the week. As such, we have plenty to cover, including a GN exclusive, in which we’re able to confirm the rumored 12-pin PSU connectors for Nvidia’s Ampere. The father of Linux, Linus Torvalds, is also back in the news, this time with a rant over AVX-512. We also go over the finalized DDR5 spec, which will set the stage for industry adoption in 2021. 

Elsewhere, we have a bit more news on Apple Silicon as it relates to manufacturing, a fresh Alder Lake rumor, Skylake-X Refresh reaching EOL, and a bit more. As always, the news article and video embed follow below.

Today is a round-up of the best airflow-focused cases currently out, which can also be tuned to be good acoustic performers by nature of unrestricted intakes. Over all the years that we’ve been doing case reviews, we’ve advocated for high airflow designs. That generally implies lots of mesh and lots of fans, like the classic Cooler Master HAF cases that adopted “high airflow” as a brand name. As those cases aged and optical drives fell out of favor, front panel designs became increasingly clean and minimalistic, and therefore increasingly closed-off. Now the tide has turned again, and in 2020, we have more airflow cases than we know what to do with. Today, we’ll be covering some of our top choices--this isn’t our yearly best-and-worst cases roundup, it’s just a selection of airflow-focused cases with good value. We have almost 300 rows of test data multiplied across about 7 sheets, so although we’ll be limiting ourselves to cases we’ve reviewed, that’s still a big list. As always, let us know if there’s another case we should check out in the comments below.

Another big week in hardware and technology news. It looks like the perpetually delayed Atari VCS is finally set to ship later this fall, hopefully. We also have news of Huawei’s Kunpeng 920 CPU, talk about Volta and Turing encoders shipping with the GTX 1650, news of Apple also ditching AMD, and more. 

At GN, we recently went over the basics of overclocking the Ryzen 5 3600 XT, Infinity Fabric, and memory. We also have extensive review coverage of AMD’s new XT series of CPUs: The Ryzen 3900X, the Ryzen 7 3800XT, and the Ryzen 5 3600XT. We further introduced our new GN PC Component shirt, and you can get one here. The GN store continues to be the best way to support our work. 

News follows below, with the article and video embed.

The Lian Li Lancool II Mesh is a revision of the original Lancool II, which we reviewed in December of last year. For the most part, the Mesh is a simple panel swap, so the build notes from that earlier coverage still apply. We first saw the prototype Mesh edition during our tour of Lian Li’s Taiwanese factories earlier this year, and the updates we discussed back then have made their way to the final product. We’ll mostly limit this build section to differences from the original case.

As a reminder, the Lancool II is a chassis that already exists and was already reviewed, but this mesh version makes significant changes to the exterior paneling. For these reasons, we won’t fully recap our build quality thoughts from the original review, but we will go back over what has been addressed by Lian Li. This means that, for the complete picture, you should also check our original Lancool II review.

The Phanteks P400A Digital was our winner for best overall case in 2019, but our feelings were mixed about the less-expensive P300A because of its single stock fan. Today, we’re reviewing the latest addition to the family, the Phanteks Eclipse P500A Digital, to see whether Phanteks is back on track.

Like the P400A, the P500A comes in both normal and “digital” variants. The base model comes with two 140mm non-RGB fans, the digital version comes with case lighting effects and three 140mm “D-RGB” fans, which is how Phanteks refers to addressable RGB. Listed specs for the fans are identical other than the LEDs. The lighting is compatible with the 3-pin 5V headers used by ASUS, MSI, ASRock, etc. Other than the fans, thin strips at the top of the front panel and along the edge of the PSU shroud are lit. The base model has a reset button, the D-RGB model replaces this with color and mode buttons. The built-in controller has baked-in lighting profiles for those that can’t or don’t want to use control software.

This week’s news recap talks Microsoft’s hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling (something we’ve since benchmarked, written and run after this news piece), alongside discussion of technical documents for Alder Lake and the new LGA1700 socket. We’ll also be talking about a “new” GTX 1650 Ultra, some interesting marketing from T-Force, and the return of data caps.

At GN, we continue to expand our thermal analysis with thermal pads, as we looked at the Thermal Grizzly Carbonaut Pad Vs. IC Diamond Thermal Pad and compared them to pastes. We also looked at how AMD’s silicon has matured, comparing Old vs Original AMD Ryzen 5 3600 CPUs. 

News video embed and article below, as usual.

Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling is a feature new to Microsoft’s May 2020 update, Windows 10 version 2004, and has now been supported by both NVIDIA and AMD via driver updates. This feature is not to be confused with DirectX 12 Ultimate, which was delivered in the same Windows update. Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling is supported on Pascal and Turing cards from NVIDIA, as well as AMD’s 5600 and 5700 series of cards. In today’s content, we’ll first walk through what exactly this feature does and what it’s supposed to mean, then we’ll show some performance testing for how it behaviorally affects change.

Enabling hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling requires Windows 10 2004, a supported GPU, and the latest drivers for that GPU (NVIDIA version 451.48, AMD version 20.5.1 Beta). With those requirements satisfied, a switch labelled “Hardware-accelerated GPU Scheduling” should appear in the Windows 10 “Graphics Settings” menu, off by default. Enabling the feature requires a reboot. This switch is the only visible sign of the new feature.

This week, our news is headlined with surprise supercomputer wins, from Fujitsu’s “Fugaku” dethroning Summit for the new No.1 spot, to Nvidia’s “Selene” that uses AMD CPUs, interestingly enough. Equally newsworthy is Apple confirming its transition from Intel to Arm, in the form of “Apple Silicon,” which leaves more questions than answers right now, but the move will have big implications for the CPU landscape. Speaking of Arm, the server space is set to heat up even more with Ampere’s new Altra Max product stack.

We also have news of a massive air cooler aimed at GPUs from Raijintek, which is a bit different.

On the GN YouTube channel, we took apart the EK AIO D-RGB CPU cooler and compared it to some nearby competition (Arctic Liquid Freezer II and NZXT Kraken series, for example). We also recently overclocked the AMD Ryzen 3 3300X on LN2 for a live stream to answer the all important question of whether it can run Crysis. Separately, you'll likely also find our graphite thermal pad vs. thermal paste content interesting. We also have a new poster over at the GN store -- grab one here.

Another busy week in hardware news, as we’ve got pretty substantial news from both AMD and Intel. We’re also updating the Nvidia Founder’s Edition cooler rumor we addressed last week with fresh information out of Igor’s Lab. There’s also news from Corsair, Alphacool, an update on the WD class action suit, and more.

At GN, we recently took a look at the EK AIO 360 and 240 D-RGB coolers, as well as taking ASUS’ APE “overclocking” feature for a test drive with the i5-10400. As usual, the video and article follow below.

EK is best-known for its open-loop liquid cooling components, as we show at CES every year in the company’s bombastic display of systems, but that’s a small market, and EK has been trying to get into closed-loop liquid coolers for years. The EK AIO series is its newest attempt at that, but after facing one delay after another for shipping, it’s taken some time. Today, we’re reviewing the EK AIO 360 and 240 closed-loop liquid coolers for thermals, noise, noise-normalized thermals, coldplate levelness, efficacy on Intel and AMD platforms, and more.

EK’s AIO D-RGB series of coolers is a new approach to closed-loop liquid coolers from EK, most recently shown in public at CES 2020. Following that public update, the company encountered months of setbacks, but has finally reached the market with its new liquid coolers. Competition is fierce for CPU coolers right now, with Arctic’s Liquid Freezer II, which we reviewed here, posing the biggest challenge for EK.

Pricing for EK’s solution lands at $155 (via EK’s website) for the EK AIO D-RGB 360 and $120 for the AK EIO D-RGB 240. At time of writing, the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280 is $95, but out of stock (at least via Amazon, and Newegg). It’s been mostly out of stock following positive reviews like ours, so although the LF II is directly competitive in price and performance (seen below), it’s somewhat moot if no one can buy it.

NOTE: This is a transcript of our video, for the most part, although the video has some more discussion in the intro and conclusion than found here. We publish these articles to be helpful, but make most our money to sustain this expensive operation via videos. If sharing the content, please consider sharing the video instead.

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