Hardware

Antec P380 & Enthusiast Cases Aren't Going to Cut It

By Published January 11, 2015 at 12:00 am

Antec's CES presence this year showcased a few rehashed exteriors on existing frames, but also teased the forthcoming release of a new high-end enthusiast case. The company's general theme was one of a "comeback" to the higher-end market, suggesting that they're aware of the general perception that Antec dwells in its own shadow. We've got an upcoming article that'll discuss whether we think this plan is going to work.

CES has officially ended and the floor was busy. We pushed, elbowed, headbutted, and bit our way through the crowds. Our first destination was Samsung, right in the middle of it all and with their own building-inside-a-building booth construction. After looking around their booth with all the TVs, mobile phone tech, and business options, we managed to find some things that gamers care about.

Boutique case manufacturer In-Win brought home yet another CES Innovation Award at this year's show. This time, the company’s award-winning case carries the moniker "S-Frame," an $800 piece of metalworked art befitting of a showroom.

We've routinely been impressed by SilverStone's CES showing. Last year saw the exhibition of the jointly-designed SilverStone / ASUS XG02, an external GPU enclosure that garnered significant attention on our YouTube channel. This year's item of interest is the company's Raven RVZ02, a mini-ITX enclosure built to showcase the CPU cooler and video card heatsink.

HyperX is known for producing enthusiast RAM and SSDs, and at this year’s show, Kingston unveiled two new SSD products: the M.2/PCIe Predator and SATA III Savage. If these names sound familiar, it’s because Kingston recently switched-over its system memory kit branding to the same Fury, Savage, Beast/Predator naming scheme.

Maxwell architecture has effectively been solidified in the market at this point, a statement firmly reinforced by the onslaught of aftermarket high-end overclocking cards beginning to ship from various board partners. EVGA's CES 2015 suite spotlighted its new KINGPIN version of the GTX 980 alongside a CLC Hydro-Copper version of the GTX 980, both allowing additional OC headroom and other features.

Last seen at CES 2014, AMD's FreeSync demo went live shortly after nVidia's fanfare about G-Sync, a technology we overviewed here (read this content if you're unfamiliar with frame synchronization). FreeSync and G-Sync are both adaptive refresh rate technologies that effectively ensure the display slaves to the GPU, allowing for a smoother frame output by eliminating both tearing and stuttering (V-Sync on).

Thermaltake released their latest trio of cases at CES 2015 yesterday: the Core X9, Core X2, and Core X1. The cases are designed to be stackable and, when stacked, they have enough room for even the largest liquid cooling systems. The Core X series cases houses its motherboards horizontally and can be almost completely disassembled to the builder’s liking, allowing for complete customization. The other thing that really pops out during the first impression is that they are large, and in the Core X9’s case, really large. Here are some of the measurables:

AMD may have just given the nod of recognition to overclockers looking for a more aptly-priced APU. The company just provided the information at CES 2015 that they are set to release the A8-7650K, providing an unlocked SKU among the A8s. At an MSRP of $105, the A8-7650K is only $6 more than the A8-7600, which is not unlocked. We believe that the small step in price difference was done to address community complaints about larger price differences between regular and unlocked versions of the A10 APUs. The 7650K will come with 10 compute cores (4 CPU + 6 GPU) and have a base frequency of 3.3 GHz with the ability to turbo up to 3.7 GHz. Like the other Kaveri APUs, there is full support for Mantle and OpenCL 2.0.

Among the final pieces of our coverage from MSI, the GS30 Shadow laptop and its accompanying docking system remind us of a SilverStone/ASUS creation from last year: The XG02 external video card enclosure for laptops.

MSI's GS30 Shadow 13.3" gaming laptop includes a PCI-e enabled dock for external graphics card hardware, supporting AMD & nVidia devices. The GS30 can fit everything up to a Titan Black, hosts a 3.5" HDD bay for games storage, and pushes all video content to an external display once docked. This means that the external video card does not re-pipe the graphics back into the 13.3" screen, instead requiring a peripheral monitor. It's a normal docking station in this fashion, it just includes external GPU support for high-end gaming at home.

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